We know what we like and the Great British Bake Off is one of those things, we adore the gentle fun of it, the way a nation has convened around it and the fact that it's got people into their kitchen, inspired to learn skills to feed themselves and their friends and family. And we do like the contestants, who seem to be particularly nice human beings.
We've really hit it off with Kate Barmby from this year's series, through our shared interests in art, swallows and Norfolk, so we've enfolded her into the floury Bray's Cottage world and she's come up to HQ a couple of times, and what's more she's brought us (oh it was so good) cake!
So, a week or so ago we set aside a whole day and a corner of HQ (which was a-bustle with Thursday pie baking) for pastry play with Kate. She came bristling with ideas and a scrap book of inspiration. It coincided with a day that Emma, a key member of our creative team and a craft star in her own right, was at HQ and hot water crust pastry sculpting synergy was unleashed.
Because of her cake and art background, Kate is an expert in sugar craft so she brought multiple tool boxes of sugar-craft implements and, as Pastry Manager Erin kept them supplied with raw materials, the pair set to work pushing the boundaries of where hot water crust pastry meets sculpture.
Emma crafted beautiful hawthorn berries and Kate created the most glorious feathers, which were actually inspired by a magazine picture of a feather fascinator worn by that other Norfolk Kate, HRH Duchess of Cambridge.
There was also much laughter and gossip - which we couldn't possibly reveal (unless plied with very fine wines).
The results were breathtakingly stunning. We're so thrilled with where a friendly chat over coffee in HQ has taken us, rediscovering British pie decorating traditions with a very modern slant.
We've decided there will be more to this story - watch this space...
Join the great British craft pastry revival...
If you'd like to learn how, we hold regular pork pie workshops in Norwich (they also make extremely welcome Christmas presents) and we incorporate pie decoration tips. The courses are held at the Macarons & More Cookery School and you can book online.
You can buy our frozen uncooked pork pies online and add beautiful decorations yourself (hot water crust pastry is very easy to make) at home. If you do feel inspired, we'd love to see the results of your efforts - drop us an email or get in touch with us on Twitter.
We also make bespoke celebration pies with your own message written in pastry (though not with Kate Barmby feathers....yet).