Monthly archives: February 2015

Taste Tuesday (on Thursday): Banana Bread


Now, besides the occasional set of brownies from the box, I’m not much of a baker (or a chef, for that matter), but when I was asked to take part in Taste Tuesday, I knew that I had to attempt at baking something from scratch. Originally, I was going to make an Apple Pie to give this office a little taste of America, but I figured taking a pie that was fresh out of the oven on the Tube during morning rush hour wasn’t the best idea. I then turned to my next favourite treat: banana bread.

This recipe has no long family history, but instead has been handed down from the legendary Mary Berry to families across Britain and now to me. It’s really simple (sigh of relief) and only takes an hour from start to finish:


3 ripe bananas

170g/6oz caster sugar

170g/6oz self-rising flour

170g/6oz soft butter or margarine

3 eggs

100g chocolate chips

Few drops of vanilla extract


1) Preheat the oven to 160°C / 325°F / gas 3 and blend all the ingredients, except the bananas and chocolate chips, into a bowl

2) Chop the bananas and mix into the bowl

3) Mix in chocolate chips

4) In a lined bread pan, pour in the mixture. Add some extra chips to the top and sprinkle the top with a few pinches of sugar (to give it a crunchy top)

5) Place in the oven for 1 hour, until top is firm

6) Remove from oven and let cool

7) Enjoy

And that’s it! Now you have some tasty banana bread! Enjoy and revel in your ability to follow a recipe and not burn down the kitchen!

Joe  x



Hi Joe, what brings you to Paines Plough? 

Hi everyone, I’m the Production Placement for the next few months here at Paines Plough!

When did you first hear about PP?

I first heard about Paines Plough sometime in fall term of 2014 when my professor spoke about The Angry Brigade. Then, I was informed of a placement opportunity with PP and knew I had to apply!

What excites you the most about joining team PP?

I’m excited to see the whole process of everyone bringing ideas to the table and then watching them come to life.

What challenges are you looking forward to?

I’m not sure, to be honest! But, I’m ready to face whatever is thrown at me.

Can you tell us what you’re working on this week?

This week, I’ve been researching flights and accommodation for SeaWall, organizing a contact list for the upcoming Every Brilliant Thing tour, and archiving photos of Paines Plough productions over the last 40 years! Some of the productions look so amazing; I wish I was around to see them while they were running.

Tea and scones or coffee and a brownie?

Oooh, how about tea and a brownie? Or tea and a sleeve of Jaffa Cakes!

Backstage at The Stage Awards

Here’s an interview with our AD James, Roundabout designers Lucy Osborne and Emma Chapman, and Gavin Green from consultants Charcoalblue. They were speaking to The Stage after picking up Theatre Building Of The Year for Roundabout at The Stage Awards 2015.

Watch  the video below or head over to The Stage for the full feature.

We’re recruiting a Trainee Producer and Trainee Administrator

Wanted: two new members of Team PP.

In partnership with Creative Access, we’re recruiting a TRAINEE ADMINISTRATOR and a TRAINEE PRODUCER to come and join Team PP.

Applicants must be of BAME background and should register with Creative Access to apply here. Please note we will not accept CVs or covering letters for this role.

So, who are we looking for?

Brilliant people of course. For each role we want someone who can fit in to our small and friendly team of theatre geeks (some of us anyway) and flourish in a busy office. You’ll need to be enthusiastic about theatre, particularly new writing and be friendly and welcoming as there’s always someone coming through the door at PPHQ. Good oral and written communication skills are key as well as a good working knowledge of IT packages. If you also like cake and biscuits, that will help.

Here’s a brief run-down of each job:


You’ll be an enthusiastic member of our dedicated team working across all company activities, providing vital support to ensure the effective and efficient running of Paines Plough. You’ll work closely with our Administrator Natalie (lucky you) supporting her in the day to day administration of the company and will also have the opportunity to take responsibility for the coordination of specific projects.


You’ll be an enthusiastic member of our dedicated team working across all company activities, providing vital support to ensure the effective and efficient running of Paines Plough. You’ll work closely with the Production team – that’s our Producer Hanna and Assistant Producer Francesca – supporting them in the delivery of PP’s full programme of work on the small and midscale, and for our Roundabout auditorium.

Hello! Is it you we’re looking for?

For more information and if you’d like to apply for the Trainee Administrator, click here or the Trainee Producer then click here. Closing date is the 9th March.

Creative Access is a ground breaking charity that provides opportunities for paid internships in the creative industries, specifically for young people of graduate (or equivalent standard) from under-represented black, Asian and other minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME). Their long term goal is to help improve interns chances of securing full-time jobs and, in the longer term, increase diversity and address the imbalance in the sector.

Creative Access is a strategic initiative which complies with its obligations under the Equality Act 2010.

Creative Access is supported by the UK Commission for Employment & Skills, Creative Skillset and the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.

Taste Tuesday: Lemon Polenta Cake



Now I’m not much of cake fan and my sweet tooth is virtually non-existent but ever since my Aunty Sarah (she will HATE that I have called her that!) made an orange version – just as delicious – of this cake one Christmas I was hooked.

It’s like a less-cakey version of a lemon drizzle.

I LOVE cooking but I’m not much baker (I leave that up to my expert housemates) so I have used my first Taste Tuesday to widen my bake-off horizons.

How it did go?! …rather well. I think the secret to baking is confidence and with this cake in particular a good lemon zesting technique.

If you fancy having a go here is how you do it:


For the cake:
200 grams soft unsalted butter (plus some for greasing)
200 grams caster sugar
200 grams ground almonds
100 grams fine polenta (or cornmeal)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder (see note below)
3 large eggs
zest of 2 lemons (save juice for syrup)
juice of 2 lemons
125 grams icing sugar

For the syrup
juice of 2 lemons
125 grams icing sugar


Line the base of a 23cm / 9inch springform cake tin with baking parchment and grease its sides lightly with butter.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4/ 350°F.

Beat the butter and sugar till pale and whipped, either by hand in a bowl with a wooden spoon, or using a freestanding mixer.

Mix together the almonds, polenta and baking powder, and beat some of this into the butter-sugar mixture, followed by 1 egg, then alternate dry ingredients and eggs, beating all the while.

Finally, beat in the lemon zest and pour, spoon or scrape the mixture into your prepared tin and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes.

It may seem wibbly but, if the cake is cooked, a cake tester should come out cleanish and, most significantly, the edges of the cake will have begun to shrink away from the sides of the tin. remove from the oven to a wire cooling rack, but leave in its tin.

Make the syrup by boiling together the lemon juice and icing sugar in a smallish saucepan.

Once the icing sugar’s dissolved into the juice, you’re done.

Prick the top of the cake all over with a cake tester (a skewer would be too destructive), pour the warm syrup over the cake, and leave to cool before taking it out of its tin.

NOTE: to make this cake gluten-free, make sure to use gluten-free baking powder, or omit the baking powder altogether and beat the batter exuberantly at step 4.


AP x



Roundabout in Brighton

Roundabout is back, and heading for Brighton.


We’re thrilled to be part of a top class line-up at The Brighton Festival this May. Roundabout will pop-up in the beautiful Regency Square over-looking the sea, and host three weeks of unmissable theatre.

Fresh from its hugely acclaimed Off-Broadway run, EVERY BRILLIANT THING by Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe is back on home soil for seven performances in Brighton. It’s joined by Duncan Macmillan’s award-winning, much loved LUNGS which returns to the Roundabout Rep alongside Alexandra Wood’s Scotsman Fringe First Award winning THE INITIATE and Dennis Kelly’s wickedly funny OUR TEACHER’S A TROLL for children 7+ and their accompanying trolls.

Four in a row

The Festival runs from 2 – 24 May, and full details of the line-up curated by guest director Ali Smith can be found on the festival website.

We’ll be announcing more tour dates for Roundabout very soon, so stay tuned. Wherever you are we’ll be popping up near you soon.

Meantime… fish and chips, penny arcades and a world class arts festival line-up by the beach? Yes please.

What’s on the PP stereo

Hey pop pickers! Here’s what we’ve been listening to this week at PPHQ…

Send us top tips for choones please.

Taste Tuesday: Scotch Eggs

Since our Administrator Natalie whipped out her Stilton Puffs for TASTE TUESDAY two weeks ago the pressure has been on to deliver some top quality snackage to PPHQ.  Never one to shy away from a bit of healthy competition I went totally over the top and made 9 scotch eggs…   So if you have a couple of hours to spare and some people to impress here’s Jamie Oliver’s cracking (sorry about the pun) Scotch Egg recipe.



10 large free-range eggs, 2 beaten
800 g quality sausage meat
1 small bunch fresh chives, finely chopped
1 small bunch fresh parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
1 whole nutmeg
1 tablespoon English mustard
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Plain flour, for dusting
150 g good-quality white breadcrumbs
2 litres vegetable oil
3 tablespoons vegetable or corn oil


Warning, unless you are Jamie Oliver, this recipe is messy with a capital M. My kitchen looked like someone had thrown a bag of flour, sausage meat and breadcrumbs over every possible surface just for fun…but it’s worth it. So here goes.

Often the best way to get quality sausage meat is to buy some really lovely sausages, slit them open, then squeeze out the meat. So pop to the shops and pick some up.

Put the first 8 eggs into a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Boil for 3 to 4 minutes, then transfer to a bowl of cold water. Once cooled, carefully peel them.

Put the sausage meat into another bowl with the herbs, a good grating of nutmeg, the mustard and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Give it all a good mix together then divide into 8 balls.

Have 3 plates ready – one with a small handful of flour, one with the beaten eggs and a third with the breadcrumbs. To make the Scotch eggs, start by flouring your hands. In the palm of one hand, flatten one of the sausage balls into an oval-shaped pattie. Roll a peeled egg in flour, then pop it in the middle of the pattie. Gently shape the meat evenly around the egg, moulding it with your hands.

Roll the meat-wrapped egg in the flour, shake off any excess, then dip into the beaten egg, followed by the breadcrumbs. Roll in the egg and breadcrumbs again for a really good coating.

Heat the oil in a deep pan or deep fat fryer. Test if the oil is hot enough by adding a piece of potato and leaving it for about a minute – if it sizzles and browns, it’s ready. Carefully lower the eggs into the pan and cook for about 4 minutes, turning them every so often, until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. (If you’re worried about the meat being under-cooked, deep-fry the scotch eggs until they’re golden and crispy, then pop them in a hot oven for a couple of minutes.) Make sure you look up the best way to dispose of all that oil properly DON’T throw it down your sink. There’s some more info here

There you have it. The humble scotch egg. Serve with cheese, pickle, mustard – a little bit of whatever you fancy. Yummers.



Roundbout wins Stage Award


The prosecco corks were popping at PPHQ last week as Roundabout was crowned Theatre Building Of The Year at The Stage Awards.

The judges described Roundabout as “one of the most exciting new spaces in the country” and praised the portability of our pop-up beauty.

We were thrilled to share the award with The Everyman in Liverpool, which won The Stirling Prize this year, and to share the shortlist with The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. Exalted company indeed.

Our AD James and designers Lucy Osborne and Emma Chapman were on hand to pick up the award from the legendary Richard Pilbrow at the awards ceremony at Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

Here’s the judges’ full citation:

The pop-up Roundabout Theatre is the work of Paines Plough, who wanted to be able to take the companyʼs work to as many different locations and communities as possible. An in-the-round space with 168 seats that can be set up indoors or outdoors, the theatreʼs lighting runs off mains electricity, and when taken apart the entire structure fits in a single lorry. The judges described the “IKEA theatre” as one of the most exciting new spaces in the country, and were impressed with its potential to open up theatre to new locations and new audiences.

Naturally, we’re thrilled. Building Roundabout was a huge undertaking which was only made possible by the brilliance of our designers, collaborators and consultants, and by the generosity and belief of our many donors and supporters. THANK YOU. We share the award with you all.

Here’s a photo of Emma, Lucy, Gavin Green from theatre consultants Charcoalblue and James picking up the award…

Stage Awards

And here’s the TV highlights package from the awards ceremony…

Congrats to all the winners and nominees. And thanks to The Stage. The newly crowned Theatre Building Of The Year will be back out on tour around the UK in 2015. Stay tuned for all the details…

What’s on the PP stereo

It’s a brand new weekly feature for you, dear blog readers. It’s called What’s on the PP stereo and it’s a playlist of stuff we’ve been listening to in the office this week. Tune in every Friday for PP’s top of the pops. And please send us your new music tips.