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a photo of Hairy Biker Dave Myers

An interview with Hairy Biker Dave Myers

Sam Banks

It’s time for Cake Break 2020! To celebrate, we caught up with Hairy Biker Dave Myers to chat MS, baking disasters, and cooking during lockdown.

Why are you supporting Cake Break?

My mother lived with MS from when I was a boy until she died, and the MS Society was a great support to us. More than ever, charities that are close to our hearts need as much help as we can possibly give them.

As the MS Society has grown it’s helped an awful lot of people with MS and has helped us to better understand it. Cake Breaks have always been successful – they’ve raised so much money so far, so it would be great to see us hit a new target.

What are easy things to bake if people can't get hold of their normal ingredients?

Tray bakes are great – flapjacks are the easiest and they can be healthy. Can’t get flour? You could try a Polenta Cake using ground almonds. Can’t get eggs? There’s eggless sponge. Swiss Roll is eggless too, but you need a tin. Si and I have never been very good at rolling them – we hide the cracks with icing sugar.

My mother-in-law who has been staying with us is diabetic and I’m pre-diabetic, so I’ve made some low sugar, low carb blueberry and banana cupcakes. They’re very easy and pretty good - nice for all the family.

Do you have any tips for hosting a Cake Break?

Get competitive and try to make the nicest looking cake you can, as you can’t taste it online. Up the ante in presentation. Cover it with icing sugar to hide any imperfections like Si and I do, or do a sugar tuile like James Martin does. Si and I are terrible at those!

What's your favourite cake?

I’m not very fond of fruit with marzipan, but I love a good old fashioned Dundee cake. It has a marmalade base and toasted almonds on top. It’s amazing with a piece of Wensleydale cheese. Haven’t had any for a while, but I used to take a slice when I went fishing before lockdown.

Have you ever had any baking disasters?

Oh god yes. During filming for one of the first ever Hairy Bikers episodes – we tried to make our crab soufflé recipe work on a catamaran from Cumbria to the Isle of Man. We couldn’t get the temperature up high enough, so they kept collapsing. They ended up looking like crab beer mats.

Another time on Saturday Kitchen we made a Pimms Summer Pudding. We took it out of the bowl and it just collapsed!

Why should people do a virtual cake break for us?

Sometimes people living with MS can be solitary and Cake Break brings people together. We need to not lose momentum and keep in mind that we will stop MS. We must not take our eye off the ball.

Have you been in touch with Si since we’ve been in lockdown?

We speak on the phone about business most days. But twice a week we’ve been doing a live Instagram chat. We’ve never really bothered with it before, but we’ve worked at it. 2pm is ‘come and have a coffee’ and 8pm is ‘come to ours for a drink’. We talk nonsense and have a laugh.

This is longest I’ve not seen Si since we met in 1992. It’s very strange cooking on our own.

What have you been cooking at home, and how have you been self-isolating?

I tend to cook, but when I feel I’m being taken for granted I go on strike. This happens once a week, and every time my wife then cooks a Romanian chicken noodle soup. This means I have to eat it every week!

I’ve been catching up on jobs that have needed doing for a decade, including cleaning out the food cupboard after we ate some popcorn that had expired in 2011. I’ve also been tinkering with my motorbikes and taken my wife, Lil, out on the one we did our courting on. It spluttered a bit, but we made it home.

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