There is something about the smell of something baking that’s been made with Lyle’s Golden Syrup, that transports me back to my childhood with rocket speed. Kablam! And I’m in my grandma’s kitchen with my nose pressed up against the oven, unable to bear the waiting. (It wasn’t hot, don’t worry. Health and safety never compromised, not even by delicious baked goods). “Be patient”, I’d be told. A lesson I never, ever learnt… at least not when it came to biscuits and cake.
I’ve been baking with Lyle’s Golden Syrup ever since I can remember and it is one of the key ingredients of my absolute favourite easy peasy malt loaf recipe, which I learnt when I was 11 and have shared with you on several occasions over the years.
I couldn’t have been happier when Lyle’s asked me to join them for a day of celebratory baking, to mark the launch of their newly launched bottle size in 700g – the Lyles Golden Syrup 700ml bottle. This is a very exciting development in the range and to do the launch justice, we all head off to bake at the Rosemary Shrager Cookery School in Tunbridge Wells, with the marvellous Edd Kimber, who, if you don’t know, won the very first ever season of The Great British Bake Off. So it was baking royalty all round, and then me and some blogging pals, covered in sugar (me) desperately trying to keep up.
Before the day itself, we’d all been asked to let Edd know some of our favourite things and joyful moments, as he was going to create a special recipe for each of us, based on these things. I explained that I loved the 1930s/40s eras, the music that accompanied it and the simpler way of living… I loved teatime as a child, playing my parents old records and sorting through my mum’s button box…
And from these small joys, Edd designed me the most gorgeous Sticky Prune Pudding… it really couldn’t have been more perfect for me.. and so many memories came flooding back to me as I mixed and poured and reduced my sticky sauce…. (I was stirring for ages!)
Edd was a fab teacher and was very patient (phew) non-judgmental (double phew) and showed us all kinds of tips and tricks we could take home with us and use when baking with Lyle’s Golden Syrup.
We also learnt how to make some classic golden syrup bakes, including some delicious honeycomb! This was SO much fun. I’ve never made it before and was so easy – mine did rather have a life of its own though – it just kept on growing!! I was never very good at chemistry, but honestly, if making honeycomb had been on the curriculum, I’d have NAILED IT.
Edd was so patient with us and me especially, when I put the wrong amount of butter in my saucepan, then read the wrong bit of a different recipe, then put the oven on the wrong temperature… and several other baking mishaps. Nitwit. He just kept saying – all the ingredients are delicious – you can’t lose – it’s going to taste great! Thank you, Edd – you were right.
It was such enormous fun to spend the day baking and sharing stories… it’s amazing the memories that baking (and those glorious smells) can evoke, and hearing everyone’s reasons behind why they bake, what they bake and how it makes us all feel, was really very special. I loved it – one of my favourite topics.
There’s always been something incredibly nostalgic about baking for me, and with that comes feelings of cosiness, warmth, safety, home and family. So, if I could bake all day long, I think I would. But, ya know, the laundry and work and stuff just gets in the way ;) And on top of that, baking with Lyle’s Golden Syrup specifically is very heart warming. I don’t know a single family member who doesn’t have a bottle of this magical potion tucked away in their baking arsenal…. It smells and tastes so unbelievably delicious and wonderfully familiar.
We all left Tunbridge Wells in a cloud of baking deliciousness, clutching our new bottles of Lyle’s Golden Syrup, feeling very warm and fuzzy.
Just a few weeks later, a hamper arrived for me from Lyle’s, filled with everything I’d need to make their ‘Last-Word-In-Flapjacks with a May Twist, bespoke to me, with oodles of golden syrup and some gorgeous ingredients inspired by the month of May, when Izzy was born.
The flapjacks were so SO easy to make and again, Lyle’s Golden Syrup was up front and centre as one of the key ingredients. I’ve actually never made flapjacks before, so this was a double treat – and I loved decorating them with all of my ‘Joy of Baking’ ingredients, which reminded me so much of all the amazing floral smells that lapped around me as I pushed Izzy in her buggy around the village for hours in those early weeks at the beginning of Summer…
A dear friend brought me a tin of homemade flapjacks when Izzy was just a few days old, explaining that oats were brilliant to eat when you are breastfeeding and also, well, they taste amazing.
And these tasted wonderful too.
Thank you, Lyle’s, for inviting me to be part of your celebration and getting us all talking about the joy of baking. It truly is a joy for me and I loved every moment.
And for those of you who are inspired by my flapjacks – here’s the recipe…
295g unsalted butter
250g Lyle’s Golden Syrup
500g porridge oats
Pinch of salt
1. Preheat the oven to 180°/160° Fan, 350°, Gas 4 while you combine the butter and Lyle’s Golden Syrup in a large non-stick saucepan. Heat gently until melted, then remove from the heat and stir in the oats and salt.
2. Spoon the mixture into a 20cm (8″) shallow square loose-bottomed tin, greased and lined with parchment paper. Level and press firmly with a palette knife to smooth. Bake on the middle shelf for 25 minutes, until gorgeously golden brown on top.
3. Remove and leave to cool in the tin for 30 minutes. Then lift out of the tin to cool completely on a wire rack. Once cooled, cut into 9 medium or 16 small squares.
4. Decorate however you wish – I used beautifully scented dry flowers
This post is sponsored by Lyle’s Golden Syrup
and all thought & opinions are my own