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A Life Before The Bakery

Updated: Apr 12, 2020

For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to be a baker.

Coming from a very traditional farming family everything was homemade. If it wasn't at home with mum it would be at both my grandparents houses (who also were farmers.) I think your upbringing has a massive part to play in what you want to do with your life, and for me it was to create that homely feeling I had growing up of good food and family around me and sharing it with others.

'Stir up Sunday' we still do this every year

I grew up on the farm with my 3 other siblings, my 2 sisters and brother. Lorna my eldest sister (25) is a veterinary nurse. My brother, John (22) is the fourth generation to farm our family farm, and my younger sister Jenny (20) is also in the vets as a TB scribe and Admin. - Basically I'm the only one that hasn't gone into anything remotely with farming. Having them to grow up with on the farm, there was never a dull moment, from being out on farm making 'mud patty's' to being in our toy room playing in our cafe (and yes I was always the cook in the cafe and they were my customers.) Being so close in age (4 children in 4.5 years) we were (are still) very close, my sisters are like best friends and John.. well just feel sorry for him growing up with 3 sisters.

My first 'Pinny' Granny bought me

Every Saturday afternoon in our house was set aside for baking for the week (sometimes mum would bake in the week when we were at school too.) Something that has definitely stuck with farming families is "Tea Time", at about 4.00pm. For us it would be just as we got in from school, and just before Dad would go out to do the evening milking. There would always be a table full of cake and a pot of tea brewing. I always remember if we ever had friends over they would think it was the best thing ever, but to us it was completely normal which I suppose why we never over indulged ourselves with cake (but can't promise that our friends didn't!) Unlike Mum, both Grandmothers use to make us eat a sandwich first before any cake, "fill up on bread first!" which I suppose comes from their up bringing during the war when things like sugar was rationed so cakes would have to last them longer in the week - cakes were still made though!

We have always had chickens and ducks on the farm so eggs could not be fresher, Mum reckons the eggs are her secret to her cakes being the best. Along with the eggs we also use our own milk, and honestly I don't think you can beat it. It makes the most amazing custards and ice cream with it naturally being so creamy.

It's not just Mum and my Grandmothers who can bake, all my aunties bake too. For my family it's not just a hobby it is a part of our livelihood. A birthday cake for us was always homemade, anything shop-bought was a crime! The spread that is put on for a birthday party in my family will take you about a week to eat your way through it after everyone has brought something. Even though my family can make cakes, biscuits and puddings in their sleep, bread was never something that was really made. My love of bread came from working in bakeries, realising everything that goes into making one loaf, and all the different variations you can have.

The Squad - Me, Lorna, Jenny & John

Farm Cottage Bakery is influenced by so much more than me, it's everything. My Life, my upbringing and most importantly my family.

Alice xx

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