After her rise to fame as a quarter finalist on The Great British Bake Off in 2018, Manon Lagrève is known and loved for her delicious recipes, Tuesday bake alongs, responsible fashion and now, as a new mum. Ahead of the festivities, Manon has shared all on motherhood, style and her passion for baking, as well as an exclusive recipe that’s great to make with little ones.
Baby Fleur is gorgeous! How’s life as a first-time mama?
Thank you! The initial first month was tough and I don’t think anything/anyone can prepare you for this, but I couldn’t be happier – I’m so in love with her and being her mum. I feel very grateful!
We loved watching you on The Great British Bake Off! Tell us about your time on the show.
It sounds like a lifetime ago now! Especially because I have been able to do some amazing things thanks to it! I remember the first challenge, I felt like I might pass out from the pressure of doing something edible. But then you get into the groove of feeling like you are in your own kitchen, and things get more comfortable, but not easier! I was working full time at the time as a project manager for IBM, so it was probably the second hardest thing I have done after becoming a mum.
Where did your passion for baking come from?
All of my family works in food. My parents have an egg farm (guess what we did with eggs at home), then amongst my grandparents, uncles and aunties we have two restaurants, a butcher, a milk farm, a winemaker in Bordeaux – not counting my cousins who also went into the food industry. We live from food and for food, so I started to bake at a very early age, and never stopped!
Christmas is just around the corner… What are your top tips for hosting the perfect festive feast?
Prepare in advance and fill up your freezer! Especially canapés, nibbles, sides (potato gratin, purées etc). Then in terms of making it special, try fresh fruits on your table as decoration, in bowls or free standing, with some candles and maybe one garland in the middle. Simple but effective, affordable and not wasteful.
We love your style, what are your wardrobe staples over the festivities?
Like my mum, I love a good tight velvet dress. Makes me really feel Christmassy! I pair it with my favourite sparkly Jimmy Choo’s for the occasion and a red lipstick. Over the years I realised how ‘French’ my style was and will always be – simple, but special.
Of all your delicious recipes, what’s your favourite thing to bake?
This question is very hard! But I love making anything with Choux pastry. It still blows my mind that by mixing a few simple ingredients together, you get these little puffs of pastry. (I also make the best vanilla crème pâtissière to fill them up with!)
Could you recommend an exclusive festive recipe for our readers?
I have a ton of free recipes on my Instagram @manonlagreve and also some on my website www.manonlagreve.com. I made this amazing Art Deco Buche de Noël this year, with a ginger almond génoise topped with a white chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream – an absolute delight for the eyes and taste buds! The recipe is on my profile.
- 80g of salted butter
- 240g of plain flour
- 280g of caster sugar
- 2 eggs free range eggs
- 240ml of British whole milk
- 1 tbsp of vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp of baking powder
For the icing
- 3 egg whites
- 150g of caster sugar
- 150g-175g of unsalted butter
1. Mix the butter, sugar, flour and baking powder using an electric mixer. Add the milk, eggs and vanilla extract. Quickly mix for 1 minute, then pour over 12 cupcakes tins with paper.
2. Make the buttercream. Add the sugar and egg whites to the bowl of an electric mixer. Fill a pan with water and place the bowl on top to warm up. Warm the mixture up for 5-10 minutes until the sugar has dissolved.
3. Mix the meringue for 10 minutes. Then add the butter in cubes until you get the right consistency. If it turns liquid, place in the fridge for 30 minutes, then whisk again. That will bring back your buttercream to life!
4. Pipe the cupcakes and make snowmen.