Mums NI Chats With . . . Imelda McCarron - Mums NI - A Hub For Parents in Northern Ireland

Mums NI Chats With . . . Imelda McCarron

Mums NI
Written by Mums NI on Monday, 12 November 2018 Posted in: Mums NI Chats With

Mums NI Chats With . . . Imelda McCarron

This November the Mums NI Team were delighted to catch up with Baking Queen Imelda McCarron.

Imelda, from Tyrone, was a contestant on this years Great British Bake Off (GBBO).  You may have noticed that we published one of her delicious recipes on the site and gave it a go ourselves, which we can vouch was tasty tasty indeed.

We were thrilled that Imelda was able to take time out of her rather busy schedule to chat with us. You can catch up with her here:

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Q: Where did your passion for baking come from?

I’ve been very fortunate to grow up in a family of bakers – my mum, both my grannies and aunts on both sides of the family are all great bakers /cooks! Some of my earliest memories are with mummy in the kitchen, watching what she was up to and demanding to get standing on a chair so I could have a closer look!

There is nothing quite like the smell of home-made food wafting through the house, and the anticipation of waiting to eat whatever has just come out of the oven! Food is life!!

Q: Who is your baking hero?

Around home growing up it would have always been Jenny Bistrow or Delia Smith! But as I have gotten older I really admire the work and creativity of the chefs on Great British Menu or Masterchef. Michael Roux Jnr is probably the ultimate though! Oh what it wouldn’t be a dream to sit down to a meal prepared by him! And I guess, a bit of a predictable one is Mary Berry – I absolutely love that woman! I think she comes across as such a lady and a little bit of me regrets not applying to GBBO before she left!!

Q: What made you apply for GBBO?

Genuinely I’m not sure why, this year out of all the years I decided to apply. A few friends had tagged me on a Facebook post that GBBO had put up looking for applicants and I thought I would put in an application. I didn’t even tell my Dad or Piaras that I had applied until I had to go to Manchester for the first audition! I am still so shocked that I got to the actual tent!

Q: How did you react to your acceptance for GBBO and how did you find the media hype?

I was so worried that people would think I was ‘above my station’ even applying for the show! And my main worry about it going out was that I would disappoint people but I genuinely cannot tell you how different the response has been from what I was imagining! I have had nothing but positive comments. The main response has been ‘you did so well to get there’… And I have heard a few times 'you shouldn’t have went out first’…which is always nice to hear!

Q: What is your bake heaven and bake hell?

Bake hell is biscuits. They are so fickle, so many things can go wrong with them with the smallest of margins and to be honest I can’t see that they are worth the effort…I’d much prefer to sit down to a big slab of brownie than a biscuit!

Bake heaven is sticky toffee pudding. It’s a real labour of love to steam it the old fashioned way but honestly; the gooey, sticky cake, the caramel sauce….! Served slightly warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream…absolutely divine!

Q: What's better - Hollywood Handshake or Prue Pat?

Hollywood Handshake on bread week – bread is his thing and I think that would be the ultimate; getting praise on bread week!

The ‘Prue Pat’ is a new thing this year isn’t it?! To be fair, if I had of received either I would’ve peed my pants with excitement!

Q: When you're not baking, what are you doing?

Working out! I have the slowest metabolism and I need to work hard to undo all of the baking calories! I’ll either be in the gym or out running / cycling. I know I don’t look like I exercise a lot…but I love to eat so I like to call it balance!!

Q: We know you hate biscuits, but can't understand why! What is your ideal GBBO challenge?

Anything cake or bread related which is super annoying as week 1 is normally always cakes!! On week 2 we have to do traybakes – I had planned for an apple and cinnamon with brown sugar frosting. That was ideal, perfect marriage of flavours! Or the donuts in week 10! Loved doing my practise bakes for those…!

Cakes and breads are two of my most favourite things to eat in this world and I’m comfortable baking them so it’s a real shame I didn’t get to do those challenges, but what’s meant for you and all that jazz!

Q: Being a Mum, baker, local celeb is sure to drain the energy levels. How do you relax?

I’m the worst at relaxing. Growing up in our house was like growing up in the 50s…there was absolutely no idle hands and if you were sitting still mummy and daddy would’ve been very much ‘have you nothing useful to be at?’ so I think its ingrained from that!

If I’m relaxing I feel guilty about it, which is so contradictory to all the well-being stuff that is so prevalent in today’s world.

I do try and kick back with a book on a regular basis though - it is definitely the best escape - it’s like an active rest; giving my body a rest but the brain is still working so I don’t need to feel too guilty about it.

Q: What's next on the cards for you after being on GBBO?

I’m doing my first adventure race in November! I registered for Sea to Summit in Westport months ago not realising how busy things were going to be, so with limited training that’ll be interesting!

Aside from that, I’ve done a few radio sessions with U105 and I’m really just working on my blog www.theramblingbaker.com and trying to build a bit more of a profile commercially so we’ll see where the wind blows us!

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