Sunday, 19 July 2015

Kate Doran, Homemade Memories

A few weeks ago this book landed on my desk at work, and if I'm honest I've become slightly obsessed. After constantly telling the girls at work how much I loved it, I thought I should get in contact with the author herself, Kate Doran. For those of you who love baking (and who doesn't?!) this book is a real treat! Full of amazing recipes and gorgeous photos by Helen Cathart, it's one of the best cookbooks I've seen in a while. So I caught up with the author, blogger and baker extraordinaire to find out a little bit more... 

caterpillar cake
You've recently just published your first book, homemade memories. How was your writing experience?
Writing a book has been such a fascinating journey. With the blog I can write whatever I want, with no real word limit whereas for the book the recipe introductions would be set in stone so I wanted each one to be perfect. While I’ll test recipes for the blog roughly three times, I tested some of the recipes for the book up to twelve times to make sure I was completely happy with the results!

What's your favourite recipe and what's the one people mention to you the most?
People seem to love the jaffa cakes which feature on the cover. I think there’s that childhood connection and they’re also so simple to make. Can I have two favourite recipes? For sheer nostalgia and deliciousness, I love the chocolate caterpillar cake. I’m also really happy with the malted milk chocolate ice cream balls – like an ice cream version of a Malteser.

You have your own blog, The Little Loaf. What bloggers do you love?
Where do I start? I must be subscribed to about 100 blogs and there are so many talented and brilliant bloggers out there. Some of my favourites are LondonBakes, NotWithoutSalt, Green Kitchen Stories, Smitten Kitchen and The Vanilla Bean Blog.  

helen cathcart homemade memoriesHomemade Memories Kate Doran

What first attracted you to baking?
It gets said a lot but baking is a real therapy. There’s something wonderful about relaxing into the process and spending time in the kitchen. I’d say greed also played a part!

Why did you settle on a recipe book full of memories?
These are the recipes which I’ve loved to make throughout my life and which seem to resonate most with readers of the blog. I wanted to share my happy childhood memories and tastes with other people.

What was your favourite thing to bake as a child?
Every year, my brother and I would make our own birthday cakes so I think I’d have to say some sort of chocolate birthday cake. There’s a simple one bowl chocolate cake and a chocolate honeycomb biscuit cake in the book, both of which are adapted from those childhood favourites.

Do you have any baking top tips?
Always read the recipe instructions thoroughly. Try to be precise, but also trust your instinct. And have fun!

When you're in London what foodie places do you like to visit?
Restaurant-wise, I adore The River CafĂ©, Spring – Skye Gyngell’s new restaurant – and Moro. For cakes and treats, Ottolenghi is pretty awesome and I recently had an amazing afternoon tea at Sketch.

Victoria Sponge Kate DoranHomemade memories Kate Doran

You have a whole section in your book dedicated to drinks, is this something you'd like to explore further?
There were a number of drinks I had to include in the book, most of which I’ve adapted with a little grown up twist, such as a slush puppy of sorts made with prosecco and lemon sorbet. And hot chocolate of course, which is the ultimate childhood comfort. I’d definitely like to include more drinks on the blog going forwards.

If you were only able to eat three things for the rest of your life what would you choose?
That question is way too hard! If I have to answer, maybe ice cream, crusty bread and seafood. But I’d need some vegetables in there somewhere too – it’s all about balance!

And finally, what are your plans for the future?
Continue doing what I love. Develop and expand the blog. And hopefully write another book – watch this space!

Click here to buy Kate's book Homemade Memories or visit her blog, The Little Loaf!
All photos by Helen Cathart.

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