Coronation Street star Wendi Peters is becoming as well known for her talents as a baker as she is for her role in the ITV soap. Her gift for baking first came to the nation's attention on Celebrity MasterChef, with Gregg Wallace, a man who knows his desserts, giving her the title of 'Pudding Queen', and John Torode describing her sticky toffee pudding as 'seriously sexy'. Wendi has gone on to show off her culinary talents on numerous food shows, and also blogs about her baking exploits. On Saturday 28th September 2013 she joins The Happy Foodie team, as host of The Happy Foodie Festival in Rickmansworth.
We met up with Wendi to find out just what makes her a Happy Foodie...
If you could only keep three cookery books from your collection, which would they be and why?
Jo Pratt - In the Mood for Food ... wonderful dinner party recipes that never fail to impress.
Nigella Lawson - How to be a Domestic Goddess ... every baking recipe I could ever need.
Katie Caldesi - The Italian Cookery Course ... my favourite food, beautiful recipes, beautiful photos.
What was the first cookery book you ever bought?
Delia Smith's Complete Cookery Course...still use her beef bourguignon and bread and butter pudding recipe from it.
Who is your food hero and why?
Am I allowed two? Rick Stein just makes everything seem so simple and appealing.. proper food with such passion. And also Mary Berry ... who doesn't adore Mary, she's a baking goddess and should be made a Dame !!
Who is your favourite food blogger?
Hmmmm .. I'd have to be biased and say me!! wendipeterspuddingqueen.blogspot.com ... although I've been so busy lately, it's a little neglected.
Do you come from a long line of great cooks or are you the first passionate foodie in your family?
On my mum's side there is definitely the cooking gene. My Grandma Holden was a wonderful baker and made the best chocolate cake. I have really fond memories of spending Saturdays watching my mum prepare for dinner parties, always three or four puddings.... I'm just the same !!
Who first taught you to cook and enjoy food?
Definitely my mum. Baking was a big thing. Fridays were baking day and I'd come home from school to cooling trays full of scones, bread and almond slices.
Which dish says 'home' more than any other to you?
My mum's Meat and Potato Pie... called just Potato Pie by us. Has to have a crust on and served with sliced pickled beetroot. We always request it as our arrival meal when we are driving up to visit... It just says home.
Have you discovered any exciting new restaurants this year?
A couple of weeks ago I went to Bruno Loubet's The Grain Store for a friend's 50th Birthday. We had the chef's tasting menu and everything that arrived was wonderful, packed full of flavour and the restaurant had a great atmosphere.
How do you make a perfect poached egg?
I'm afraid I cheat and use a poaching pan, I've never got the hang of boiling, stirred water etc..
How do you like your steak?
I haven't had a steak since I was 17... on holiday in France that year, I just went off it. I think it's the actual cutting it up as I love beef cooked in other ways. I'm a little weird !!
Is there anything that you just can’t cook, no matter how many times you try?
A poached egg !!
Is there anything you really dislike eating?
Avocado and brussel sprouts. The first for texture, The second for the taste.
What is your ideal destination for a foodie holiday?
Italy. I love all Italian food, just delicious.
Who would be your dream dinner party guest and what would you cook for him/her?
Ooh .. a tricky one. Couldn't ask a chef or cook as that would be too much cooking pressure. I'd have to say Sarah Millican as, not only is she extremely funny, she loves a good pudding... my kind of lady!!
Wendi Peters will be hosting The Happy Foodie Festival in Rickmansworth on Saturday 28th September - join us there for a day of cookery demos and foodie fun. Find out more here.