2015, Ian Cumming and would be an afternoon of fun baking challenges...with a twist. I (obviously) jumped at the chance to be involved in something as exciting as this but I was a little confused how baking would help launch smart meters...
Arriving at the Open Kitchen in London, I had a belly full of butterflies but they didn't last for long as within a couple of minutes I had bumped into Cassie from Lily's little learners and Lynn from Mrs Money Penny. There were bloggers for all different blogging backgrounds, finance bloggers, fashion & beauty bloggers, food bloggers and of course us good old parent bloggers. Everyone was so friendly and I felt really at ease. I then was lucky enough to grab a chat with the host himself, Mr Ian Cumming! If I am being honest, I felt a little starstruck as I had watched him on telly but he was such a lovely, down to earth guy and we stood for a while discussing his family, blogging and photography (which is his actually job when he's not baking!).
It was then time for us to be given an introduction to the #EstimationNation campaign by the lovely people from Smart Energy GB. They explained how it is their task to help everyone in Great Britain understand Smart Meters, the national roll out and how to use their new meters to pay for their gas and electrical easily and efficiently. They then went on to explain how, at present, we estimate our gas and electric usage and bills are sent to us based on this. You wouldn't estimate other areas of your life so why do we estimate this? We were then shown the AMAZING Smart Meter TV advert and I think it gives a clear message and is really thought provoking (as well as pretty funny) Click here to watch it!
Next it was up to the kitchen for our baking challenges. After a health and safety briefing we were paired off and given our first recipe with the twist that there were no measurements for any of the ingredients and no cooking times...we just had to estimate! I was paired with the lovely Tom from Diary of a Dad and we got to work on the first recipe which was for light and fluffy Chiffon cupcakes! No only was this challenge difficult because we were blind baking, it was made even harder because these cupcakes use oil instead of butter and the eggs have to be separated and whipped to make the cakes light and fluffy. We THOUGHT we had done a really good job and the batter looked okay, they cooked and looked the part and then even tasted alright but they were a bit more like a stodgy muffin than a fluffy cupcake. We later found out it was because we didn't use enough oil!
After a quick tea break it was then time for us to start on our next challenge. Cheese scones!! I was totally honest with my baking buddy Tom and told him I had never eaten a scone in my life let alone baked one so I had no clue about this one! We tried to follow the recipe as best as we could as guessed what we thought were the right amounts. The scones came out the oven and they looked and smelled amazing!! I was so impressed that we had made these and I couldn't wait to try one. I bit into the golden puff and instead of the cheese, flaky, scrummy flavour I was expecting I was left with what tasted like a mouthful of dry flour with a hint of cheese!! I don't know what we had done wrong but they were awful!!!!! This really proved the point of the whole afternoon...estimation is not good!
Finally, after all the excitement of the baking, it was time for a glass of vino, some canapés and the awards! Ian and the guys from Open Kitchen had judged our two bakes and had awarded best bakes for both recipes and also the wooden spoon awards for the worst. I am proud to say than mine and Tom's scones were awarded WORST in the class :) I am not lying when I tell you that they were really really bad! We won a voucher to use for cooking lessons which was fantastic (and hubby was happy about it when I told him...cheeky git!).
The guys at Smart Energy GB filmed the whole day and you can check out the video here (keep an eye out for yours truly!!):
Overall, it was a fantastic afternoon which really showed me the importance of Smart Meters and what Smart Energy GB is trying to do. We don't estimate with any other areas of our life so why do we do it with one of our biggest household bills. I can't wait to get my smart meter and if you want to find out more about the roll out then click here!