Taking local produce seriously with a large pinch of fun - Lesley our Baker

Our Food Team - Introducing Lesley the Baker

Introducing Lesley the Baker

Although Pauline bakes our scones and cakes, which have been recent introductions, the bulk of our baking is done by, our friend, Mrs Lesley Hughes.

We first met Lesley in 1994, when she and her husband Adrian moved into the little hamlet we used to live in called Iveston Village. It was a dormitory village with no amenities at all and really only famous for the excellent Cantonese restaurant called The Pavilion, which is located on the corner of the entrance road into the village and the main road. We recommend The Pavilion as a place to possibly go for your evening meal but although we have offered to drop guests off and pick them up no one has accepted our offer yet. It's only two miles up the road.

Lesley, unfortunately was widowed two years ago in 2013 and has gradually adjusted to a new life with lots of support from family and friends.

She has always been interested in cooking and has been an inventive baker all her life with baking in her genes. Her Great Uncle had a bakery in Newfield, near Willington, Co Durham and her Grandmother baked all their cakes. Lesley's other Grandmother baked for the 'big houses' of the London gentry so the tradition is strong in her family.

Even, Lesley's Mum, Mary, was an avid baker in her time but had a very demanding and interesting job in the Intelligence Corp after the war. She worked within the Control Commission in Germany carried out the Marshall Plan for rebuilding the country post WW11.

Lesley made our daughter Gemma's wedding cake in 2013

Lesley made our daughter Gemma's wedding cake in 2013 with a theme, in marzipan, of a tent with two adult feet, their son's baby feet and their chocolate Labrador peeking out of the bottom of the tent – very inventive.

Our girls at the bottom of the garden are integral to our total food offer with their eggs benefitting our guests directly but also being used by Lesley for her homemade baked products.

Lesley makes both white and wholemeal bread for breakfast and the biscuits in the guest's rooms.

In addition, when we introduced our Autumn/Winter seasonal special breakfasts last October Lesley and I came up with a variant on her fruit compote to accompany one of our porridge versions, which proved to be very popular.

In early 2015 we extended the range further by introducing Lesley's homemade marmalade for our breakfast table. We bought many kilos of Saville oranges from our village greengrocer and off she went. She has virtually turned into Lesley Enterprises Ltd and we keep her pretty busy now that our number of guests has grown over the past 10 months.

We really value the contribution that Lesley is making. Not only can we underpin our homemade and local credentials we know that being part of what Pauline and I are doing has helped her through a difficult transition and we are even happier for that.

More enlightenments on our other local producers shortly - Be Happy

Keith & Pauline

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