With the sound of chickens clucking, dogs chasing each other, the happy laughter of children and the scent of herbs by the kitchen door, our Clandestine Cake Club ‘English Country Garden’ event could not have been held anywhere better than Vanessa Kimbell’s countryside abode, which is also home to her Juniper and Rose Cookery School.
It just wasn’t warm enough to use the garden as planned but Vanessa encouraged us to place our cakes in several rooms so that we could ‘circulate’ and, once everyone had arrived, the various tables bedecked with large cakes looked really sumptuous.
To accompany our bakes, we drank premium apple juice produced by The Village Orchard. Sadly the owner, Jonathan Chaplin, could not be with us to introduce us to the drink but I thought you would like to know that the orchard, attached to his Flore home, includes an abundance of heritage apple trees. A couple of years ago, rather than see the apples just drop and be left to rot on the ground, he decided to press them and make them into juice. The resulting drink has now won several awards and it will be interesting to see whether other ‘forgotten’ orchard owners will follow suit.
It was really lovely for me to meet again our special guest CCC founder, Lynn Hill, and I’m sure she chatted to as many members as possible. As I said at the time, if it wasn’t for her inspired idea to start a cake club, none of us would be meeting and chatting as friends – thank you, Lynn, and I hope it won’t be too long before we get together again.
Despite the grey skies, we also managed to snatch a few moments in Vanessa’s kitchen garden - full to the brim with plants of all shapes and sizes, and all beautifully set out in beds and rows. Vanessa kindly said a few informative words about using various plants and herbs as decoration in baking, and many samples of flowers were handed around, sniffed and admired.
Thank you Vanessa, and all the Kimbell family, for hosting our latest CCC event - we all much enjoyed the splendid cakery and I hope we didn’t leave too many crumbs behind!