This blog is about delicious food that you can – and should – make yourself.
Make time to cook. Not a lot of time – after all, I’m pretty sure that there’s no-one who really yearns to stand for hours over a hot stove – but everyone has the time to cook, with the possible exception of someone whose job involves 18 hour workdays, seven days a week.
The secret is in preparation and a little forward planning – but certainly nothing too complicated or rigid – because I know myself how hard those are to stick to.
I love cooking, but I also love doing lots of other things as well, so wherever a time-saving is to be made, I’m the number one fan!
Who’s got too much money? I know I don’t, and that’s another reason why doing your own cooking is to be embraced. Pretty much anything you can buy pre-made in the shops, can be made for less at home, with purer ingredients and fewer additives too. And if that weren’t incentive enough, the taste will be amazing!
It’s the cooking I grew up on, when money was tight – but brought bang up to date with fresh ideas and handy hints and tips.
Why are your pictures like that?
I love looking at great pictures of food – but it doesn’t take much for me to get distracted, and whereas I might start out drooling over a delicious plate of something tempting, it isn’t long before I’m thinking:
“Hrms, that’s an interesting plate pattern,where could I get that….nice cutlery! Wonder what the spoon looks like….what’s that fuzzy blur in the background….I like that napkin!…..I could do with a casserole like that – bet its expensive…..”
Distracted, see? The attention span of a goldfish!
I wanted my pictures to be about the food, so I decided to keep things as simple as possible, and hopefully not take attention away from the star of the show – the food – with fancy styling and staging. I have plain white plates and dishes at home and so that’s what I use in the pictures.
A lot of the recipes are going to be simple, yet delicious food that everyone can have a go at – and just because the ingredients are at the rock-bottom end of the budget, doesn’t mean that they won’t come together amazingly and look and taste delicious. Basically, I’m trying to show that cheap food can be visually appealing – and give these dishes the champagne treatment despite only having a beer budget. 😉
I’m not a serious photographer specialising in food, I’m a cook with a camera – hey! That’s got a certain ring to it. Maybe I should have used that for the name of this blog! Nah – I’ll save it for the book 😉
What’s all this Wotchers! malarky?
I’m a huge fan of the Discworld novels of Terry Pratchett, especially the ones featuring the witches of Lancre. Wotchers! is a very useful, catch-all greeting used (mostly) by the fun-loving, practically toothless Nanny Ogg, and I decided it would be a great way to greet people wandering by.
Doyenne of witches Granny Weatherwax has never been heard using the word – this notwithstanding, she is, in my humble opinion, one of the finest fictional characters ever conceived. If you’re unfamiliar with the Discworld, go read my favourite book: Lords and Ladies. It’s awesome.
My first book, Great British Bakes, was published in November 2013. It was shortlisted for the 2014 Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards in the category of Best Food Book. It was also shortlisted and won – Huzzah! – the 2014 Guild of Food Writers Jeremy Round Award for Best First Book.
My second book, Deja Food, will be published in May 2017.
I love this Mary Anne. Everything about it. Clean design, beautiful photography, great recipes and the writing is spot on. Nice one. I have blog envy. x
Hi Mary Anne – it feels like getting to know you all over again. A lovely blog. thank you so much for linking to mine too. Good Luck! Vashi xx
hi mary anne! here are the Dutch speaking (actually French at the moment)… Great blog!!!! compliments!
Rooting for you to win the Gbbo, your food is so beautiful and so different, I’m really lloking forward to trying out your recipes, especially the buttercream, and your tips on adding water to pastry will make a world of difference I’m sure, as I have never been able to get it right.
Also fantastic to hear that you are a Discworld fan, I suppose it is too much to hope that Nanny Ogg’s strawberry wobbler will make an appearance on puddings week!
All the best
Hi Helen – thank you for the lovely compliments – very much appreciated 🙂
And re: the pink wobbler – alas, no – can you imagine the effect if would have had on Mary Berry’s face?? 😉
I just found you on Twitter, and then found your blog. It’s so stylish and easy to read.
Just wanted to say I’m looking forward to watching thr GBBO final tonight!
You may not have won The Great British Bake Off but your recipes are always very interesting, and you are so down to earth and very amusing as you turn out such treats. I like the fact that you are very inventive and have so much knowledge of recipes, some of them hundreds of years old. Long may you continue to be such a character and good baker. Thanks for the entertainment you provided over the last few weeks. I also very much liked your reaction and comments when Jo was announced as the winner – you said such nice things about Jo and none of it was about you – well done for being such a nice person. I also liked Jo’s baking, she just needed confidence in herself and you obviously saw that too – good on both of you.
My family and I love watching the show and were rooting for you from the begining!
From what I have seen of the blog it looks great and I’m definately going to try some of the recipies 🙂
well done for getting to the final and keep up with your posts!
I am a fan..
Good to see a lot of experimentations at your baking on The Great British Bake Off…
Well done for the achievement…
Hello Mary Anne, enjoyed watching the bake off so much I am feeling inspired to bake and cook. Recipes are so lovely, thank you Cheryl
Hi Mary Anne
My daughter and I loved watching you on the Great BritishBake Off; your recipes inspired us and you made us laugh so much with your eternal optism even when your piping bag misbehaved! Will look forward to reading your blog and attempting some of your fantastic bakes!
Kirsty from Bath
Sorry you did not win last night. I was rooting for you as are not afraid to be bold in your approach
Have already done your ploughman’s twice, with the basic flour a local wholemeal and the beer our local Emu Bitter (Bush Chook’s to us).
Top taste lass; anyone can do sweet but few can sort out cheesy onion with originality.
The onion oil goes over breakfast grilled toast here.
Should’ve maybe made Paul some Lancre dwarf bread? Pastry cooks *can* get a bit rarefied unfortunately.
Enjoyed your contribution to the entertainment very much. Great admiration for anyone able to do their stuff in public, but much more so if they retain a vocab and sense of humour too!
Nan from Western Australia
Hi Maryann – I absolutely loved you on GBBO. Brilliant food and so creative – I would not have a clue about how to make stripy sponge!! You have inspired me to bake more so am going to spend tonight studying my many cookery books as like you I love reading them and have a weakness for great photography.
hey i really enjoyed your techniques on the bake off and your recipies are amazing but can you also upload the stripey cheesecake you made in the finale of bake off
You should have won !!!!! But well done anyway
Hi Mary Anne… I just got to see the final yesterday and was very sorry you didn’t win…but any of the three deserved it!
Love your creativity and am glad to find a blog with your recipes…keep posting!
Kisses from Argentina!
Hi Mary Anne, You really made the GBBO programme for me. I loved your sense of adventure, interest in experimenting and great technical skill and knowledge. More than anything I would have died and gone to heaven to eat some of the lovely food you created. I thought your final series of bakes were so gorgeous, and if I could have put my hand into the screen and tried them it would have finished off the programme for me. For me you were the winner, and the reason I kept watching. i hope you go on to have a great career and keep maiking such lovely and inspiring food.
Hi Mary-Anne, I’ve just recently got into baking myself since watching GBBO with my wife, we’ve both been rooting for you through the competition. I’ve always enjoyed cooking but tended to shy away from the baking side as it frankly scared me 😉 But we have a 2 year old son and it’s great to bake for him and though he does like to help a little at the moment, i’m sure he’ll love to join in more when he gets a bit older ( I hope so anyway ).
Anyway… I love the way you go about your cooking and just happened to notice on the end credits of the final that you had a blog, so a quick Google later and here I am.
Keep up the great work and I’m sure i’ll spend loads of time browsing through your recipes, ( like the look of those Sausage Spaghetti Monsters )
P.S. You’ve gone even further up in my estimation as I see you’re a fellow Pratchett fan! 😀
Have just found you! Enjoyed watching you on GBBO. Well done in getting to final 3 you were all superb. Myself and youngest daughter watched every week and loved the way you could laugh off any mistakes. Will enjoy following your blog and trying out a few of your recipies. Keep up the great work, happy baking.
Dear Mary Anne,,, I just had the chance to see season 2 of the GBBO, and you were by far my favorite contestant! I loved your relaxed approach, your funny asides, and your beautiful, instinctive bakes, I felt that many times, you were in fact the Star Baker, but narrowly edged out by someone else.
Just wanted to say that watching you was a sheer delight! I felt like you were a friend I’d like to meet.