When did you first get in to cooking and do you remember the first recipe you tried?
I can remember making little fairy cakes and biscuits at playgroup and I haven’t stopped baking since!
What's your kitchen like and how do you keep organized when cooking?
I am lucky to have a pretty big open-plan kitchen now with lots of cupboards for all my ingredients and equipment - it’s the reason we chose this flat! That said, there’s never, ever enough work surface for my liking.
We have lived in flats in Paris with really tiny kitchens and often no proper oven. I once cooked a Thanksgiving lunch for 10 people and had to brine the turkey in the bike shed. We had to put our oven in the living room as there just wasn’t room in the kitchen!!
I’d like to pretend I’m organised when cooking but that wouldn’t be true. It’s even worse now I’m baking with a baby and a toddler around - I have to go as fast as possible as I don’t know when I’ll be interrupted so cleaning up often has to wait until they’re both in bed.
What tips would you give to someone wanting to become a better cook?
The main thing is to cook something you love to eat. You may well need to tweak a recipe to get it just the way you want and everyone has an occasional disaster but if it’s something you love eating, you’ll find the motivation more easily to get cooking.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party and what would you cook for them?
I would definitely invite Nigella Lawson - I love her approach to food and eating - and Jamie Oliver, whose enthusiasm for all food is infectious. I would invite Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, and Mel and Sue too, to find out more about the Great British Bake Off (I’m still a fan of the original line-up!)
I know I should make them one of my tried and tested menus of food prepared in advance - my moussaka or Spanish beef stew followed by choux buns or ice cream - but, knowing myself, I’d probably decide to try something completely new!
Do you do any other crafts and what are your hobbies?
Baking really is my favourite pastime. I started writing my blog and publishing my bakes on Instagram to turn my hobby into a vocation. I realised that I would always find time to bake, over and above any other kind of work.
I also love to do yoga. It makes me so happy to squeeze in a yoga class although that’s tricky at the moment with two little people to take care of!
Which cooking blogs do you love to read?
I love to read the Smitten Kitchen blog but I kept finding that the American recipes just didn’t work out with ingredients I could buy in the UK or France. The inspiration for Holly’s Pinny was to refine, develop and share recipes that would work for others, in a similar style to Smitten Kitchen.
More recently, I have come across the Instagram account @bravetart which I highly recommend - her bakes look amazing!!
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Please tell anyone you know who likes baking or food escapism about my Instagram account @hollyspinny or my blog hollyspinny.com. I love nothing more than to talk about baking with other food-lovers!!
Let me know how you get on with my recipes and tell me if you’d like a particular bake - I’m always happy to take requests!