Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Bake With Bree - My New Blog!

Introducing my new blog! 

Bake With Bree

A Collection of Recipes to Accompany the Bree McCready Book Series

I like making things. Whether that’s stories, cakes or drama it is something that’s been in me from day one. And I like to think my handsome, clever son is the perfect evidence of my creative skills. 

Baking and writing are really not that different. Both require some carefully measured organisation, a generous spoonful of inspiration and a sprinkling of patience.  Both can be messy and time consuming and sometimes both can go spectacularly wrong. But ultimately both can result in a wonderful feeling of accomplishment, a perfect moment when you step back with dishevelled hair, sweaty brow and tear stained cheeks to admire the results of your hard work. It’s easy to compare the process of baking a batch of cupcakes with writing the first chapter of a novel. Firstly you must gather together some essential ingredients – character, plot, conflict, resolution (or flour, sugar, butter and eggs) - throw them together, tweak, alter, add a pinch of this and a pinch of that and then wait for everything to come together to form one perfect product. 

Combining my passion for writing with my love of food has been an exciting and enjoyable venture. I always knew I would incorporate recipes into the Bree novels, not simply because I love food but also because it helped to bring the stories to life and give a different dimension to my descriptive writing. I found the warm, fruity aroma of Castle Zarcalat Scones helped me to better visualise the dark confines of Don’s castle chamber and when I tried my Honeypops for the first time the tingle of space dust on my tongue really helped to connect me with the wacky, sassy side of Honey Pizazz. The books are set during different seasons and the recipe ideas have reflected this – whether it’s the waft of spicy apple squares on a chilly Autumn morning in Bree McCready and the Realm of the Lost or the thick icing dripping down the sides of Mrs Matlow’s Christmas Cookies in Bree McCready and the Half Heart Locket. The zingy taste of Lemonade Lovelies never fails to transport me up onto Bree’s rooftop garden on a scorching afternoon with Madeleine McCready serving up ice cold lemonade as the trio enjoy a lazy summer in Bree McCready and the Flame of Irenus.

Lemonade Lovelies

Baking and writing have offered me the perfect outlet over the years, a way of escaping some difficult times.  I have a reputation for completely immersing myself in any project I take on and I find that while I’m busy making and baking there simply isn't any space left in my head for the other stuff that weighs me down. I am completely and utterly in the moment which, according to Buddha and the Dalai Lama, is a very good place to be. When I slide my baking equipment out of the cupboard I can squeeze my stress and worries into the space left behind and firmly shut the door. They don’t shrink or disappear but I do get to forget about them for a while. Rolling, sifting, kneading and stirring are therapeutic in much the same way as scribbling, typing, cutting and pasting are. Granted, there are a few more calories involved but nobody is forcing me to swallow my creations, tempting as it may be. Treats are nice but it’s the added joy of serving them up to others that’s the real cherry on top of the cake. There are always plenty of willing volunteers on hand to provide feedback. It feels like I’m giving away a little slice of myself every time I present my baking for someone else to enjoy. Food and love are so closely intertwined and giving pleasure to others leaves me with a warm, fuzzy feeling that money can’t buy. I especially love watching my son bite into one of my culinary creations, waiting for that moment when his eyes roll, followed by a long “Mmmm” of appreciation as he licks his fingers and scrapes the plate for every last crumb. 

Perhaps one day (I can live in hope) he will devour my books with a similar enthusiasm.

So, off I trot on this new and very delicious adventure. I hope you enjoy the recipes in the Bake With Bree blog as much as I have enjoyed putting them together. Please feel free to email any questions or comments (positive or otherwise) to bakingwithbree@gmail.com I’m always open to constructive feedback about my books or my baking.

So, get messy, lick the spoon and bring the world of Bree to life!
Love and sticky fingers,
Hazel x