The first Covid-19 lockdown of 2020 saw many people reignite their love of baking and the woman behind Crafts of Ireland, who tapped into that with videos from her kitchen, has now published a book of her recipes ‘Baking Together, 2020 Favourite Recipes’.

“2020 started out as a very busy year for our small business,” said the dynamic Sandra Coote.

“We were getting lots of bookings for our craft workshops and had a number of international groups booked to visit our studio. Everything changed dramatically in mid-March for us, as with so many businesses throughout Ireland and indeed the world,” she said.

“When we initially went into lockdown, I missed the interaction that teaching workshops brought and sought to find an alternative way to connect with our customers,” Sandra said.

“I suggested to my Facebook followers that I would do some live videos from the farm, our craft studio and some baking from our kitchen. This received a very positive reaction from our followers and our foray into live videos began.

Positive impact

“Very soon we began to realise the positive impact our videos were having on people who were cocooning and on people that found themselves at home with more time on their hands,” said Sandra, who is based in Co. Cavan.

“The baking videos were especially a big hit with people. Some people had never tried to bake a cake, others were getting back into baking and found that the easy traditional recipes that I used were easy to follow.

I made everything from pan boxty and potato cake to traditional brown bread and numerous delicious cakes. All the recipes are easy to follow, use ingredients that are readily available and the old recipes are well tried and tested so they produce perfect results every time.

“As we progressed through the weeks, the generosity of people became evident, some suggesting online that I should receive some compensation for the work I was doing and other people took pen to paper to personally contact me.

“When I set out on this online journey, I never expected to be financially rewarded so to meet the requests of followers, I set up a fundraising page for Childhood Cancer Foundation Ireland and raised almost €2,500.

Lockdown memento

“The other suggestion from our followers was that I should compile the recipes that I used into a cookery book, both as a way to reference the recipes and as a memento of the time we spent together during lockdown.

“When we reopened the business in early July, the cookbook was placed on the back burner. Workshops were busy and the time to type and edit was not available. However, this changed yet again.

“When Covid cases started to rise again and it became inevitable that we were facing another lockdown, the cookery book got boosted up the priority list and plans to restart the live videos were put in place again,” Sandra said.

The live videos have restarted and most days we are on our Facebook page at 12:30pm. We are back baking but some days we do some crafting instead.

“This book contains many traditional Irish recipes and family favourites including traditional breads and scones; boxty and potato bread; tea brack; Guinness porter cake; and lemon drizzle cake,” said Sandra.

“We are delighted with the reaction it has received and the level of sales to date. When we decided to self-publish the book, we wanted to support local and engaged the services of a local small printing business.

“We are also trying to support a small Irish charity and a percentage of the profits from the sale of the book are going to Childhood Cancer Foundation Ireland, the charity that we supported earlier in the year.”

‘Baking Together’ can be purchased through the Crafts of Ireland website.