Forage caught up with Flora Purcell , owner of Food with Flora who supplies some of the delicious artisan cakes, chocolates and bakes we sell in the farm shop.
When did your interest in baking first start?
I would say my love for food and cooking came from home as a very young child. I come from a big family, the youngest of four children with a mum and dad that loved good food and cooking. The heart of our home was always the kitchen and around the dining table.
I’ve always believed that food that’s lovely to look at as well as being delicious can bring people together and add real joy to an occasion.
Friends and family often asked why I didn’t make my cakes for “a living” and I honestly thought I’d never be able to make that a reality so it didn’t cross my mind until I had my own family…and I thought …life’s too short what on earth is stopping me!
What does a day in the life of Flora look like?
Haha oh gosh! Hectic!
I’m extremely lucky that my husband is working from home at the moment, so it’s been a real team effort!
I have a 4yr old and an 1yr old baby at home so the mornings start quite early….I tend to try and get ahead of the curve and be awake/up & showered before them and if I’m very lucky i’ll manage to gather together my deliveries, head to the Forage shop & deliver and be back just in time for breakfast! Haha 1-Nil! Sometimes they catch me out though!
It’s very much a yo-yo arrangement then for the rest of the day with both me and husband working from home so we grab our moments to get lots of work done when we can! When I’ve managed to cram a quick few mile run down the lanes and a walk with the children in as well I feel pretty accomplished but the real work starts when they go to bed……..Maybe i’ll re-visit this question when school/nursery resumes haha… we make it work though because I love what I do and I think that’s what makes the difference!
What do you love most about what you do?
Simple…just making people happy. I genuinely want people to “feel” the love and effort I’ve put in and know that it’s all for them. I think it’s what sets all small or local producers apart and it’s what makes it special.
What’s your biggest achievement to date?
Most certainly being a mum……and managing to start a business at the same time. It’s been a whirlwind…a very tough but extraordinarily rewarding one…. and even if there’s not much else…at least I can put on my CV that I can manage a small team and business! I’m pretty proud of that!
Do you have a chef or pâtissier idol?
Yes! Yotam Otttolenghi …I love his style. His creations are so vibrant and beautiful but not “manicured”. I like food that’s beautiful, but you still want to “tuck in to it”.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
When it comes to designs for cakes or products I’m not actually sure. I love flowers and nature, so I tend to base any design on the simplicity of that and I think it just sort of flows from there….
What’s your favourite Food with Flora creation?
Oooo that’s tough! I don’t get to each much cake (because obviously I can’t supply Forage with a slice cut out of it….haha) but I love my brownies…a lot! I’ve also been working on a new product for Christmas… I’ve eaten a lot of that and I think it might have just stolen the top spot for me!
What’s your best seller?
I’d say maybe my brownies….but maybe florentines too…or cake… I’m not sure! Can you tell me?
Have you ever had an amusing kitchen disaster?
I mean…amusing…it’s never amusing at the time…but now…yes. There’s probably too many to choose…but “Pre- lockdown” I made a lovely large celebration cake for a birthday in a restaurant… it took me hours … I had both babies in the car for this delivery…I was in a bit of a fluster… handle on the box snapped right outside the door of the restaurant and it went everywhere…all over the floor. I then rushed home…cried/laughed and made another because I knew I had a few hours before the party…somehow got it done…both babies back in the car and the top of the cake slid off as soon as I turned the first corner. Needless to say I called it a night!
Where do you want to be in ten years?
Good question ….I’m not too sure of the answer… I’ve started the business to follow a true love and passion for “creating”. I haven’t had any expectations of where it could lead yet….maybe that’s not very wise…but I’m of the mindset at the minute that it’s a healthy way to look at things In the current climate. I’ve been bowled over by the support for such a new and small business I’ve received so far and I’d be lost for words if it turned into something special….. Fingers crossed!
Sweet or savoury? Sweet
Milk or dark chocolate? Dark
Cake or biscuit? Cake
Victoria sponge or Bara Brith? Victoria sponge