THE LITTLE BAKERY ON ROSEMARY LANE
BY: ELLEN BERRY
7 September – PB, EB and audio
Welcome to my stop on the Blog Tour of The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane, written by Fiona Gibson as Ellen Berry. Just look at the adorable cover…doesn’t it want to make you jump right in and devour it? I have some exciting features on this post. Read below for an excerpt. Then, I also have a lovely treat…a RECIPE for you to sink your teeth into. ENJOY!!!
This September comes a gorgeous, heart-warming read, guaranteed to get rid of those blues. While the autumn weather begins to get us down, prepare to fall in love with the Yorkshire village of Burley Bridge, where a new arrival is going to shake things up.
If you want to move forward, sometimes you have to go back …
Growing up in a Yorkshire village, Roxanne Cartwright couldn’t wait to escape and make her place in the world. Now, thirty years later, she’s a fashion editor living a glamorous life of perennial singlehood in London – or so it seems to her sister Della. But when Roxanne finds her career under threat, she feels herself pulled back to the quiet village she’d been so desperate to leave.
As Roxanne reacquaints herself with life on Rosemary Lane, she slowly makes a surprising discovery: the people who live in Burley Bridge are, well, just people – different from the fashion set she’s used to, but kind and even interesting. Michael, a single dad trying to make a go of a small bakery, particularly so. Little by little, cupcake by cupcake, Roxanne and Michael fall into an unexpected friendship.
Could there be a life for Roxanne after all, in the place she’s spent years trying to escape.
This book has everything you could want – food, family, friends and feuds, and is the perfect read for fans of Trisha Ashley, Katie Fforde and Carole Matthews.
About The Author
Ellen Berry is an author and magazine journalist. Originally from rural West Yorkshire, she has three teenage children and lives with her husband and their daughter in Glasgow. When she’s not writing, she loves to cook and browse her vast collection of cookbooks, which is how the idea for this story came about. However, she remains the world’s worst baker but tends to blame her failures on ‘the oven’.
Chapter One, pp 7-9
Roxanne had chosen to make brandy snaps, her attention caught by the photograph in the book. As fashion director of YourStyle, she liked things to look pretty, and what could be more eye-pleasing than lace-textured biscuity curls? She opened her fridge, averting her gaze from the clear plastic sack of kale, which she had bought with the intention of throwing it into smoothies – to boost her energy and make her ‘glow from within’ – and which was now slowly decaying whilst awaiting a decision to be made regarding its destiny. Throw it away, like last time, and endure the wave of disquiet that was bound to follow? (‘I can’t even get it together to use up my kale!’) Or just leave it sitting there, quietly rotting? Deciding to pretend it wasn’t there, she grabbed the butter, checked the use-by date on the packet and shut the fridge door. It was still edible – just. As Roxanne lived alone, a single packet could last her for weeks.
Not being in possession of kitchen scales, Roxanne estimated quantities, all the while picturing Sean’s look of surprise and delight when he came over later and saw what she’d made for him. An edible love offering for his fiftieth birthday! How sweet was that? In the nine months they had been together, she had never made anything more complicated for him than toast, a coffee or a gin and tonic. ‘My undomesticated goddess,’ he called her, fondly, often teasing her about the kale supply: ‘Why not just stop buying the wretched stuff?’ Well, that would have been far too logical, and would have highlighted that she had given up on self-improvement. It would be like accepting she would never again fit into those size eight jeans stuffed in her bottom drawer and donating them to charity.
You kept them, just in case. Surely any woman understood that?
Anyway, never mind that right now. With all that syrup and fat, brandy snaps hardly counted as ‘clean food’, but on a positive note, an unusually delicious and heady aroma was filling her small, cramped kitchen.
While Roxanne might not exactly be glowing from within – a spate of late nights with Sean had dulled her light blue eyes and fair skin – she still experienced a flurry of anticipation for the evening ahead. Pushing back her long, honey-coloured hair, she smiled at the unlikeliness of the situation: Roxanne Cartwright, actually baking! She owned just one saucepan, one frying pan and a single wooden spoon with a crack in it. As children, her big sister Della had been the one to potter away contentedly with their mother in the kitchen; she now owned a quaint little shop back in their childhood Yorkshire village of Burley Bridge, which sold nothing but cookbooks. Initially stocked with their mother’s collection after she’d died, the shop was now thriving, a real hub of the close-knit community up there. Yet to Roxanne, that kitchen back in Rosemary Cottage had never felt welcoming. If she’d tried to help, she had botched things up and been snapped at by her mother: For God’s sake, Roxanne, how hard is it to chop a few onions? Oh, just give me that knife. Might as well do it myself! At the sound of a bicycle approaching along the gravelled path, Kitty’s expression would brighten. Ah, that sounds like Della. Thank goodness someone around here is capable of helping. Off you go, Roxanne. You’re just getting under my feet . . .
‘Getting under my feet.’ How those words had stung. I won’t, then, Roxanne had vowed. I’ll get well out of your way – as soon as I possibly can. She had dreamed of escape and adventure; of stepping onto a London-bound train and never looking back. Her mother smacking her bare arm with a fish slice – ‘Go on, scarper, can’t you see I’m busy?’ – had been the final straw.
Simple Sling-it-all-in Victoria Sponge / Ellen Berry
I should come clean here: I’m a pretty bad baker, at least as a time-pressed adult. As a child, I remember many successes – but when I grew up, and we produced three children of our own, it all seemed to go to pot. I think a certain calmness is required in baking – a steady hand, and an attention to detail. At one stage we had three children under five (our twin sons are 20, daughter 17) and whenever we tried to create something delicious, chances are disaster would ensue.
Apart from this – a cake that has never failed me, and is so easy you’ll soon know it by heart. The recipe is courtesy of my friend Tania, who’s a fantastic cook. It’s the one I turn to year after year, for birthday cakes – once slathered with icing and sweets, these days decorated with rather more grown-up whipped cream and fresh raspberries. So here goes.
Four large eggs, weighed in their shells.
Plus the same eight of: self raising flour, unsalted butter and caster sugar.
1 tsp baking powder
Jam, cream, etc, to fill and decorate
- Weigh four eggs in their shells, then weigh out the same weight of self-raising flour, caster sugar and softened unsalted butter.
- Put everything in a bowl, along with a teaspoon of baking powder, and whisk until light and fluffy.
- Spread the mixture between two greased 8” cake tins (spring-form cake tins makes removal easier) and bake at 180C/Gas 4, for around 30 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.
- Turn the cakes out of their tins. Once they’ve cooled completely, sandwich them together with raspberry jam, softly-whipped fresh cream or whatever you fancy. Decorate the top with fresh cream, fruit, sweets, sprinkles – or a simply dusting of sugar, like granny use to do.