Cooking with friends and gathering to enjoy a meal is what lies at the heart of good food. It is a coming together of good friends, old friends and new friends. This is what Flora Shedden wishes to highlight with her very first cookbook, Gathering, published this month.
Last Wednesday, Toppings and Company invited Bake Off Star Flora Shedden to come speak about her new cookbook and give us a cheeky taste of what it had in store for us. We were promised a sneak peek before its official publication, and I was lucky enough to chat with her at the end of the night.
Gatherings is, first of all, incredibly visually beautiful. The pink pastel colour palette and gorgeous photography by Laura Edwards make this, not only an amazing cookbook, but a perfect coffee table book to casually have lying around the house.
As the event started, Flora began describing how she thought food is about getting people together. Mentioning her time here in St Andrews as a student, she felt young people do not cook together enough. She wanted to create a cookbook that is not overly fussy, with recipes anyone can cook.
As she spoke about her journey from the bake off, to her new plans to transform an old newsagent to open up a bakery, trays with treats from her cookbook were passed along to the audiences. Flora had baked apple, cheddar and oat scones, golden glory bars, and brownies for us to taste from her cookbook. As I took my first bite of the scone, I was immediately sold. I had to get the recipe. The golden glory bars were equally delicious, and it puts store bought granola bars to shame. Needless to say, I purchased a signed copy after the event, and recommend everyone to do the same!
The latter part of the event was a Q&A with the audience. Flora cheerfully answered our questions
and told stories about walking into the tent on the bake off three times to get the “right” walk for television. As well as this, she described the
difficult process of deciding which recipes to choose for her book, whilst explaining that a recipe has to have, legally, three different ingredients in order to be considered original.
After the event I chatted with Flora, asking for the top tips on making a breakthrough in the food scene. She explained how social media has become a strong tool for foodies. Twitter and Instagram can be good ways to reaching out to others while showcasing your own work – if you manage to be consistent with it.
Flora’s new bakery will open up in May in Dunkeld – not too far from St Andrews, so be sure to follow her blog/Instagram for news!