Investing in my hobby ( & eating pies)

Remember when you were little and you seemed to have all the hobbies?

I’d play piano like I was destined to be the next Beethoven
I was an explorer, building dens in the woods
I’d collect fossils, stones, things I found on the beach
I was a story writer, I’d write poems and stories about anything and everything
If my Mum, Nana or Aunties were baking, I was right there with them, even if I hadn’t quite got the whisking, folding or kneading down, I’d ‘help’

Then you hit your teens and hobbies seem to go out the window. I think it has a little bit to do with commitment. As a child you throw yourself in to it all fearlessly without any care to what other people think, but in to your teens suddenly it feels like all eyes are on you and your hobbies might not fit in. Sure, building dens in the woods probably wouldn’t pass as cool but the one hobby that’s stuck with me is cooking and I’m investing in it every day.

It doesn’t always have to be actually making something, some days I’m just reading about it but I’m always thinking about it, planning my next experiment and how to improve my skills. That’s when the real investment comes in. Lessons.

A few Fridays back, I went to Lucy Cook’s at Staveley for a lesson in Cumbrian Cuisine on behalf of CircleMe, a website all about hobbies (more on that later).  This is my haul:

porkpiesdone.jpgcakepeppered.jpgchutney1.jpg  Cumberland pork pies | Westmorland pepper cake | Spiced relish

I had such a good morning there. Just six of us on the course, the perfect venue and a real good mix of recipes that had enough freedom in them to get creative and the right balance of skill and simplicity.

We got to taste the Westmoreland pepper cake with our coffee in the morning whilst we got to know each other and it was a knock out. A rich fruit cake with a real spicy black pepper kick that led it more towards savoury grounds and cheese boards than I expected. It was a really easy bake, and one that I’ll be making again.

The highlight of the day for me was the pork pies. If this was the Great British Bake Off, they were the technical. We were shown how to master hot water crust pastry, something I’ve wanted to get to grips with for a while.


The filling was then left to us. I chose cumberland spiced pork with sage and lemon zest- a bit unusual for a pork pie but I don’t do things half heartedly.


Then it was time to start the assembly line. Shape the meat, cut the pastry, hand raise the pies, glaze them. I’d say it was the only time that all six of us were silent. Full on concentration faces are required for hand raising pork pies.

pork pie raising.jpg

As each person’s pies were ready for the oven, we snook around to look at everyone else’s. It was amazing how different six sets of pork pies could look. We all had our own unique style and shape. I’d call mine ‘rustic’.



You’ll just have to take my word for it for now, but they were up at the top of the pork pie charts. Matt was pretty happy with the goodies I brought home too!

What’s your hobby? If you fancy reading more about it, investing some time in it and meeting like minded people, CircleMe might be for you. I’ve just joined and started to add the things I like to my profile. It’s kind of like Pinterest, but with articles, news and reading based on the things that you like. Ok, it isn’t like Pinterest but it’s as addictive. My profile is here if you want to take a look.

Find out what’s in my kitchen

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    • Vicki Higham says

      You’ve never had a pork pie? Whaaat!!!? Naomi, honestly you need to go and buy one now! If you have a local butcher that sells them I bet theirs will be much better than a supermarket’s.

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