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The Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Centre is ever growing, but who is making that happen? Drawing in more and more people across cultures, across spiritual practices, across continents… the centre is an interconnected village of free spirits, artists, teachers, speakers and more. The colourful villagers are what makes the Centre the special place that it is, of course. It takes a village to raise a child, the adage goes. But, attention and appreciation is due to one woman in particular, who works tirelessly behind the scenes to make it all possible.  Our Centre Manager, Shereen Elder. For every event you attend, for every workshop, for every short visit; Shereen works hard to make it a memorable and positive experience for you. From arranging volunteers to finding the highest calibre of hosts for events. From slaying mountains of paperwork to hauling tables and chairs up and down flights of stairs. Shereen makes the Centre what it is.

And she also happens to love baking! Now that she’s confined to home, Shereen has transformed into a one-woman bakery.

“I’m a big fan of baking but rarely get to eat my bakes myself thanks to my hungry husband. I suppose that makes the whole concept of baking more guilt-free, right? I’ve always loved it, and cake creations are my favourite!”

We’ve all been experiencing hard times, dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a stressful time of uncertainty for many. But especially for those working in essential roles. Shereen’s husband, Steven works for the NHS in operating theatres. He is on the frontline, seeing first-hand what’s going on.

Whilst still keeping the centre running in its current virtual state, Shereen decides to make herself useful where it counts. To do her part to help in one way she knows how – baking!

Steven and his team love getting homemade treats, but especially now they need uplifting more than ever.
 
“I may not have a medical degree or the ability to help on the frontline, but for those that can, here’s my thank you to you!”
 
Thank you, Shereen for making the centre what it is today. Thank you for supporting the NHS. And of course, thank you to all who work on the frontline helping save lives in these uncertain times.
 
To end on a sweeter note, here is one of Shereen’s recipes you can make yourself at home. Don’t forget to leave a comment if you have any inspiration for her next one!

Banana and Medjool Date Cake

 

This cake is simply delicious. Gooey, sticky and sweet. Use dark chocolate if you like your cake a little less sweet.
 
Serves 8-10 (or one person depending on how you are feeling. No judgements.)
Ingredients:
300g salted butter (softened)
300g golden caster sugar
3 eggs
3 bananas plus 1 sliced for decoration
9-12 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
100g milk or dark chocolate broken into pieces
350g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Instructions
Preheat oven to 160C (fan) (180C/350F/Gas4) and line a 27cm (11 inch) round baking tin with baking parchment
 
Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and light. Add the eggs and beat again until well combined.
 
Peel and mash the bananas in a bowl until just smooth with a few chunks. Add to the cake mix with the dates and chocolate and fold in gently, being careful not to overwork. Fold in the flour and baking powder.
 
Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and arrange the sliced banana on top for decoration.
 
Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
 
Leave it to cool, then serve with tea or coffee. This cake will keep for a day or two in an airtight container.