My mum was visiting and said she had recently again taken up sourdough baking, something she’d stopped doing when I was a child for lack of time. She suggested we try creating a new starter from afresh in my house in Clapton (E5 naturally). So we did, and though the Victorian house we lived in at the time was freezing cold and as such took its sweet time before producing a starter of any power, the dampness in the house was of help I’m sure. This was the beginning of me taking baking more seriously – I’m a night owl, and having something to do with my hands after having worked with computers and photography in my day job was great therapy. I rediscovered how much I loved baking. I baked baguettes, bâtards, sprouted breads, long-fermented dark rye breads, sourdough cinnamon buns (a personal favourite), whatever I could. I baked way more than our household needed, I got a bit fat and had to start giving away bread to friends and neighbours. I read books and books about bread baking, the history of bread in France and Sweden, the chemistry of bread, looking for recipes calling for stale bread, cursed myself for not being a fan of French toast, taught friends to bake, asked people that are better bakers than me for advice, even took an advanced bread class at E5. I learned to love experimenting with porridge breads, reusing ground-up old breads in doughs, putting any old seeds I could find in the bread (occasionally rancid ones, ew), rolling bread in sesame seeds (my favourite, I’m Swedish after all). I perfected a recipe for madeleines which I swear are the best I’ve had (and I’ve had a lot of madeleines). I cook, a lot.