October 2013: We’re baaaaaack!

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water…. 

KABLAM! We’re BACKAMUNDO! (Sorry…)

Singing Hinnies and Fat Rascals – that’s not a sweeping generalisation, nor (I promise) should you be offended and planning to hurt me.  You might be familiar with cake clubs, they’ve become really popular of late, but this, this my friend is different.
 
This… is a baking club.
 
Bring your own baked goods, we will share them and swap them to take away afterwards.  We have a voluntary theme, and this month’s is:
 
Friendship bakes!
It’s been a while and we all need to do some ritualistic bonding, so bring along something you’d make to share with a friend, or you’d make on your first day in a new job to win favour, maybe something you’d make for that new next door neighbour (not where I live, we don’t encourage mingling, but you know what I mean…).
 
What will happen on the day?
Well, you’ll definitely meet me.  My name is Suzy and I ate all the pies.  And cake.  And bread.  Mmm, bread.  Anyway, you’ll come to our lushious venue with your baked goods, and a suitable container for taking baked goods home with you too.  And some pennies to buy refreshments from our lovely hosts.  And a copy of your recipe, if you’re happy to share.  Also bring a notebook if you might want to copy down other people’s recipes.  And if you want to, you can bring a friend along too!
 
Thursday October 3rd, from 6pm at Quilliam Bros in Newcastle.  We will eat, drink and be generally merry for a few hours together.  Then we will plan to do it all over again.
 
Sign up here – now! Any questions at all, just give me a shout on twitter (@gasmarkfour) or by emailing singinghinnies at gmail dot com.  Please sign up for our mailing list too.  Pretty please?

DONATION TICKETS: There are some costs associated with running these events so if anyone could chip in some pennies I’d appreciate it. Or there’ll be a money box there on the day too, to help us pay for napkins/plates/stationary etc etc. No pressure, no requirement and nothing greater than £2! Any questions, just shout.

Oops!

Life has gotten in the way recently, I apologise.

We’re busily sorting venues and dates for the remainder of 2013, following Skinny Hinnies back in February where we proved tasty does not need to mean waistline expanding.

Stick with us, folks…

September’s inaugural bake club: meet the hinnies…

So, on Sunday September 9th, a small but perfectly formed group of very clever singing hinnies descended upon Pink Lane Coffee in Newcastle for an afternoon of excessive nomming, chatting and laughing.

It being our very first get together, I won’t lie, I was nervous that come 2.30pm I’d be sat with my bacon scones and banana cupcakes feeling more than a little sorry for myself and dying to drown my sorrows in something stronger than coffee.

Mercifully, that wasn’t to be the case, as over a dozen hinnies turned up bearing gifts over the next half hour.  The table was creaking and groaning under the weight of all the goodies, many of us having brought more than one thing to try. It’s amazing how self-depreciating we all are – “it didn’t quite go as I wanted” – when everything tasted so delicious!

We had big cakes, little cakes, flans, tarts, muffins, brownies, blondies, scones and even a roulade gracing our plates on that fine day.

 

Being as we weren’t a huge group, once everyone had filled their tummies a little we were able to chat as a group. Mainly the pro bakers entertained us with cake talk, we of course talked about #GBBO and the crushes that several of us have on the one, the only, Paul Hollywood – surely a future honorary fat rascal in the making, I might add – and had a lovely afternoon.

All too soon it was over, time for us to pack up and leave.  We all filled our respective tins and boxes with leftovers, and headed for the hills after a swift clean up.  It was a lovely afternoon, I’ve met some fantabulous ladies (ahem – men – get your acts together!) and am looking forward to the next one very much!

Frequently wondered musings… (or FAQs for short)

I realise that bake clubs aren’t always the easiest concept to understand, so here’s answers to some of the questions I’ve been asked the most so far in this journey. I’ll update this as more come through, too. Cos I’m good like that. Don’t say I never give you anything!! ;o)

  • What in the blue blazes is a bake club?  Easy. We’re a small but perfectly formed group of likeminded folks who share a passion for putting stuff – usually involving flour – into an oven and seeing what emerges.  Every so often, we all do this at the same time (“baking”) and soon afterwards, we all get together and eat each other’s goodies.  At the same time, we share recipes and baking tips, and generally get to know each other.  We eat good food, we make good friends, and then we merrily go home again.  Simples!
  • I love baking but I’m not very good….  You’re better than you think, I’m willing to bet.  There is no judging of baked goods whatsoever, and I’m not afraid to kick out anyone who thinks differently!  None of us are perfect, the important thing is that you enjoy the experience.
  • I hate baking.  Then I’m not sure you’re in the right place.  Why are you here, anyway?  Weirdo…
  • I can’t commit to coming regularly, should I bother at all?  YES!  Tickets will be promoted for each event and though there will be some familiar faces (mine in particular otherwise I don’t know why you’d all be together!) there will also be lots of new ones.
  • What are your rules?  We’re a bunch of renegade mavericks and we don’t care much for rules.  So as long as you made it yourself and it’s edible, we’re entirely satisfied.
  • I’m veggie/vegan/gluten free, can I join in?  Absoflippinlutely. However, we can’t guarantee what the other bakers will make. We will ask you about special dietary needs when you sign up and we’ll inform all bakers before the event. Foods will be labelled so you know what you can have.
  • How big/how much should I bring?  We ask people to bring a min of 8 portions/slices or enough to feed that many.  There’s always TONS of food, so we’d really encourage you not to worry too much about this.
  • I won’t know anyone…?  In baking there are no strangers. Just friends who’s food you haven’t tried yet.
  • What’s the theme?  It’ll be on the eventbrite page.
  • I can’t think of anything for that theme… Neither can lots of us!  No problem – the theme is voluntary.  Have fun with it. Use this as a time to try something new, test a recipe, see how to portion a dish… whatever you like.
  • How much does it cost?  Nowt. Wherever we go, we always make sure we spend money with the host, usually buying refreshments etc.  But there’s no charge for Singing Hinnies at all. See, told you I was lovely…

Look at us, all posh and whatnot.

Well.  You guys never cease to astound me. It seems our collective enthusiasm for all things that come from an oven is as bright and shiny as ever! And in just fourteen short hours, I’ve come to believe we may be able to make something of a go of this.

So, using every ounce of technical capability available to me (that’ll be one ounce, then…) I’ve created a little mailing list, so you can sign up there and I can tell you when we make progress.  Just click here to access it.  And don’t forget to comment on our last post and follow us on Twitter

Sorry if that all sounds bossy.  It’s not really in my nature.  Honest.

Now, first club… cafe or pub? ;)

Suzy

(Image courtesy of Travel Pictures Ltd)

Cake, the bakiverse, and everything

Baking tools

Hello fellow baker!  Well, I’m glad you’re here, but that aside you’re probably wondering what all this is about.  At this moment in time, so am I.  So let me explain.

Singing Hinnies and Fat Rascals – that’s not a sweeping generalisation, nor (I promise) should you be offended and planning to hurt me.  You might be familiar with cake clubs, they’ve become really popular of late, but this, this my friend is different.

This… is a baking club.

A subtle difference, yes?  Actually, it’s quite a chunky difference.  Because the rules are, there are no rules.

I’ve been baking for years, seriously for around three now, and always fancied joining a club but geez, rules ahoy! None of this, must be that, follow the theme, no judging, one guest, yadda yadda.

That’s great for some folk but not for me, as soon as I see ‘Don’t bring X‘ I can think of NOTHING other than bringing X. A pie.  A flan.  A danish pastry.  Mmm, pastry…

Fat rascalsAfter some debate, singing hinnies & fat rascals was born as a rule-free bake club.  The plan currently is to do some research with you guys ahead of our first party in September, somewhere in the North East of England. This is where I need YOUR help – without you it’s just me eating my own baked goods in public!

So, do you like the idea? The name? What kind of venues? Do you like to compete? Should we try to get bake-y speakers? Mix sweet and savoury? Have themes? Go mad, tell me everything and let your imagination go mad.

Leave me a comment, tweet me @gasmarkfour or mail me at gasmarkfour(at)mail(dot)com.

Suzy :)