4 October 2020

Hi - welcome to my blog, and all my good wishes to you, especially those of you living in the areas undergoing extended restrictions. I am so sorry: just when we thought we would be able to behave more normally, see those we love more often and enjoy all the good things about life that we take for granted, this wretched virus reaches out and grabs us again, as we feared it might.

Maybe I can offer a little distraction by taking your thoughts to something completely unrelated, relatively unimportant, and frivolous: the joy of baking… As usual for this month I’m planning to bring you a fun recipe project to celebrate Hallowe’en but that will come in a couple of weeks, so instead of a recipe at this point, I’m offering a couple of videos.

Every year, up in Liverpool where the Home Bargains offices are based, a special conference is held for all the store managers, who work so hard and so effectively to keep all the stores functioning as they should (and I’m amazed how tidy, clean, friendly and well stocked they always are - and I’ve worked with many other shops in my time!). Usually I am up at the conference speaking to all the managers and showing them some of the new items coming into my range - and I love it. It’s always very satisfying to me to be able to thank them in person and to watch the presentations on all the company news and catch up in person with the buyers who work on my range. This year, of course, things had to be different, and I was invited to make my presentation virtually instead. So I made a video for it, thanking the store managers and chatting about the range and lots of the new products on the way and, as part of it, I demonstrated two new mixes: one that’s been in store a few weeks and the other one due to be on the shelves any time now.

And I thought it might make a change to show you these two short baking videos. One is for the Red Velvet Cupcakes that you’ll be able to buy very soon, and in the other I show you a Christmassy way of decorating the fabulous Chocolate Chunk Cookies which are proving so popular (I know it’s a bit early for Christmas ideas, but you can of course decorate the cookies for any special occasion using this technique - including for Hallowe’en).

I do hope you enjoy them, and I will be back in a couple of weeks as promised with a recipe specifically for Hallowe’en.

Meanwhile, keep well and I wish you a very happy October.

Love Jane

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Chocolate Chunk Cookies