I'm a pastry chef, author, cookery teacher, gardener and edible flower grower, celebrating baking with natural, seasonal and local ingredients.
I follow a simple philosophy when it comes to my natural baking, believing all products should have great flavour, great texture and be beautiful to look at too. I love to celebrate the goodness of natural wholefood ingredients, so my base ingredients today comprise of wholegrain organic flours milled in the UK, whilst using some interesting grains from abroad too, unrefined sweeteners like raw Suffolk honey, coconut sugar and brown sugar, cold-pressed extra virgin British rapeseed oil, organic dairy products and free-range eggs. Then come the magic ingredients like seasonal fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, dried fruits, dark chocolate, spices, citrus and many more. I want to create delicious food and recipes that satisfy all our senses and bring people joy!
and a little bit more about how I bake...
I have always loved to cook and bake and a year spent in Italy and France as part of my modern languages degree, tasting the world's finest patisserie, inspired me to enrol at Westminster Kingsway College, London, on the Professional Patisserie Scholarship. I trained as an apprentice at the Lanesborough Hotel, and then went onto working in award-winning kitchens for five years.
With my newly gained knowledge and skills, I moved back to Suffolk the country where I grew up, to start my own business, selling at farmers' markets, making bespoke celebration cakes, catering for events and teaching.
Having grown up in the country and from cooking a lot with my parents with fruits and vegetables from our own garden, I have always understood the importance of using local and seasonal ingredients whenever possible in my cooking. Surrounded once more by some of the best produce in the UK, my passion for natural ingredients was reignited. At the same time, many of my customers were asking for allergy-friendly cakes, biscuits and tarts, complaining that many on offer were not tasty enough. I decided to see what the alternatives were; an exploration of the most interesting and delicious, exciting and new, natural ingredients followed, which led to my first book, Clean Cakes, published in February 2016. It is all about baking with alternative, gluten, dairy and refined sugar-free, wholefood ingredients, applying to them my skills as a pastry in the most delicious ways.
I have since returned to London, teaching baking classes, making natural cakes, catering for special occasions and cooking for supper clubs. I am also writing my second book, The Natural Baker, which focuses on all of the wonderful wholefood ingredients I have discovered since I started baking, with recipes packed with flavour and texture for making delicious dishes, cakes, tarts and much more to eat throughout the day. It's a big mixture of recipes for anyone and everyone and I cannot wait to share it with you all!
Clean Cakes, Delicious patisserie made with whole, natural and nourishing ingredients and free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar, published in February 2016 by Jacqui Small, has a wealth of original recipes with distinctive flavour combinations and intriguing twists on established classics that will help you satisfy your sweet tooth in a natural and nutritious way. This is a must-have cookbook if you have cut out gluten, dairy and refined sugar yet still want to bake stunning, inspiring and nourishing treats. From those wanting to make changes to their diet or lifestyle to those who love to bake and just want to try out new things, it's a book for everyone and I hope you enjoy it.
My second book, The Natural Baker, which will be published in April 2018, is a continuation of my discovery of the great flavours and textures of natural ingredients. Inspired both by my childhood in Suffolk and my years as a pastry chef, the recipes in it embrace the full range of amazing ingredients I’ve discovered since I started baking and focus on the wonderful tastes and textures offered by whole, nutritious flours, natural sweeteners, good fats and oils, nuts and grains, seasonal fruits and vegetables and many more wonderful, natural ingredients.
Natural baking is easy, fun and most importantly, delicious. If you'd like to learn how to bake the way I do then do come to one of my classes. I teach private classes for up to five people in my kitchen in north London. They are bespoke, designed especially for you and I can work around any intolerances and allergies. Prices vary according to needs, so get in touch to find out more. Private classes last for three hours and are a great day out!
I also teach larger groups in various locations in London. Please see below for my next classes.
Botanical Baking masterclass at The Garden Museum, Sunday 5th November 2017, 12.45pm - 4pm. I'm so looking forward to this class, bringing the scents and flavours of our gardens into your bakes. I'll teach you how to weave herbs and flowers into your bakes to create sensational cakes, tarts and breads, such as raspberry, rose and pistachio tartlets, orange blossom and polenta cakes, carrot, coriander, mustard seed and anise crackers and rosemary, feta and olive soda bread rolls (sample menu). This class is open to all levels of skills and interests and I do hope to see you there. Click here for more information and to buy tickets.
Cakes for you
I make bespoke celebration cakes to order and cater for events such as afternoon teas and parties. Please contact me for more details.
A full list of my products will be coming soon.
SAVE THE DATE for the next Bake for Syria on November 18th 2017 at Old Spitalfields Market. Details to come soon. In the meantime, check out Cook for Syria for all the latest news and how to be a part and help the incredible award-winning charity.
Bake for Syria, Saturday 29th July 2017, Columbia Road Flower Market, 10am - 5pm. Come to eat cake, drink marvelous mocktails and dance the day away. Hosted by Lily Vanilli in collaboration with Cook for Syria, this event brings together some of London's best bakers, pastry chefs, preservers, pizzaioli and many more, all bringing their delicious food together for one day only to raise money for the vulnerable children of Syria. I do hope to see you there, it's going to be a great day!
Summer Feast with Mira Manek and Henrietta Inman, Wednesday 2nd August 2017, Neal's Yard, from 8pm. An Indian-inspired, colourful and beautiul meal made using seasonal, British produce. Mira will be creating dishes from Saffron Soul as well as new recipes from masala grilled aubergine to a vibrant summer chaat. To finish, I'll serve a raspberry and mint lassi to cleanse your palette, followed by blueberry and pistachio tart with shrikhand, served with chai tea and Mira's cardamom and date mohanthal. A wonderful summer's evening with food and friends.
The Suffolk Suppers with Joey O'Hare and Henrietta Inman, Friday 29th and Saturday 30th September, from 7pm. I am so happy to be working with my incredibly talented friend, Joey O'Hare, and the award-winning and one of my favourite places in Suffolk, Pump Street Bakery, on two pop-up suppers during the Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival fringe events, 2017. As two Suffolk girls, we want to celebrate the county’s best seasonal ingredients and spectacular local food. Our five-course, vegcentric feasts will open with a welcome drink of Adnams sparkling wine with blackcurrant and lavender shrub. The meals will start with smoked haddock and Shipcord soufflé and culminate in a molten dark chocolate tart. We are proud to be working with some of Suffolk’s best food producers throughout the menu, including Pinney's of Orford, Marybelle Dairy, Fen Farm Dairy, Hodmedods, Maple Farm Kelsale, and of course Pump Street Bakery’s sourdough bread and chocolate. Click here for the full menu and to book tickets. We look forward to seeing you there and if you cannot make our Suffolk events, soon after we will be bringing everything back to London to cook up another storm so do join us there; more information to follow soon.
I love to use edible flowers. Whether it's finishing off a cake or tart with rose petals, scented geraniums or pansies or adding some bursts of colour to summer salads with chive or rocket flowers or nasturtiums. Here's a full list of what I grow.
To finish sweet things I use roses, geraniums (rose and lemon scented), pansies, primulas, lavender flowers, tagetes, marigolds...
To finish savoury things I use rocket, chive, radicchio and coriander flowers, garlic chive flowers, nasturtiums...
List to be updated soon with which flowers to grow during the year.
Recipes coming soon.
Ingredients I love
I am working on some exciting projects and I look forward to telling you about them soon.