Get baking for your local life-saving Charity!
Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT) is inviting supporters to hold their own afternoon tea during June and get friends and family together to tuck into some treats for a donation to keep the Air Ambulance flying to emergencies.
Kate Oliver, who runs Kate Vintage Afternoon Tea at The Six Bells in St Albans, has a very personal reason for supporting the initiative.
In 2010 Kate was airlifted by the Air Ambulance following a horrific accident which left her with head and chest injuries.
Left in a wheelchair with limited mobility, Kate couldn’t go back to her previous job as a croupier, or pour pints in her parents’ pub.
“I didn’t know what I was going to be good at again. I gave baking a try and found I was good at it so I carried on. After a year or so my parents bought a new pub – The Six Bells in St Albans – and I saw that a part of it could make a lovely tea room when the pub isn’t so busy.”
Soon after, Kate’s Vintage Afternoon Tea was born and Kate, of Welwyn Garden City, suddenly found herself busy.
Baking fresh each day for customers who have booked in advance, cake has become known for her perfect brownies, delicious Victoria Sponge, meringues and tarts.
Kate, who is still recovering, says: “People keep asking me for my chocolate brownies recipes but I can’t give that away – they’ll just have to visit the tea room to enjoy them!
“I love running the tea room. Baking fresh for customers who have booked makes it so special. We have music on, the room is decorated and we even have things for children to do if we know they are coming.
“The accident affected my memory so in a way baking is therapy as it helps me to remember timings and measurements. It’s also a time I can clear my mind and focus just on one thing – baking. I find it relaxing.”
To help people get started Kate has some tips of her own to share to make sure people’s home bakes turn out perfectly. Kate says: “When you are making scones, try not to handle the mixture too much. Mix the ingredients until they are just combined. I also add milk until it is just combined, rather than all the measurement specified in the recipe. Then when I flatten the mixture out, I add a little bit more then. It’s always worked really well for me!”
Essex & Herts Air Ambulance’s A Very British Afternoon Tea runs from June 1-30. To get a free fundraising pack full of ideas, recipes and more, visit www.ehaat.org/fundraise/