> Skip to content
Play sample
  • Published: 25 July 2019
  • ISBN: 9780241987643
  • Imprint: Penguin Audio
  • Format: Audio Download
  • RRP: $27.99

A Half Baked Idea

Winner of the Fortnum & Mason's Debut Food Book Award

A moving, heartwarming and exquisitely funny memoir about one woman's journey from criminal barrister to pâtissière

Brought to you by Penguin.

At the moment her mother died, Olivia Potts was baking a cake. She was trying to impress the man who would later become her husband. Meanwhile, 275 miles away, her mother was dying.

In the grief-stricken months that followed, Olivia came home from her job as a criminal barrister miserable and tired, and baked soda bread, pizza, and chocolate banana cake. Even when it went badly (which was often), cooking brought her comfort. So she concocted a plan: she would begin a newer, happier life, filled with fewer magistrates and more macarons. She left the bar for Le Cordon Bleu, plunging headfirst into the eccentric world of patisserie. Interspersed with recipes ranging from passionfruit pavlova to her mother's shepherd's pie, this is a heart-breaking, hilarious, life-affirming memoir about dealing with grief, falling in love and learning how to bake a really, really good cake.

  • Published: 25 July 2019
  • ISBN: 9780241987643
  • Imprint: Penguin Audio
  • Format: Audio Download
  • RRP: $27.99

Praise for A Half Baked Idea

An utterly beautiful, moving, bittersweet book on love and loss. I loved it

Dolly Alderton

I loved it so much. It's funny, sharp, sad and full of clear observations about food. I laughed so much (and I cried)

Ella Risbridger, author of Midnight Chicken

An open-hearted, uproariously funny, moving love story. It will make you laugh and cry in equal measure, and fall in love with baking, with eating, and with love itself. A remarkable book by an enormously talented writer

Kate Young, author of The Little Library Cookbook

A brilliant, brave and beautiful book: funny and charming; utterly inspiring and life-affirming. I loved it

Olivia Sudjic

I cannot express how much I adored this book. It made me laugh, cry, salivate and, on no less than four occasions, resolve to learn patisserie and leave the criminal Bar. Olivia Potts has delivered a tender and beautifully written tour-de-force on the four tenets of the human experience; love, grief, hope and cake. If this is not the book of the summer, I will eat my wig. An absolute triumph

The Secret Barrister

A heart-wrenching yet humorous portrayal of grief, a delicious collection of recipes, an inspirational tale of changing careers, and a feel good love story


An honest, brave and funny account of what it is to love, to lose love and how to make macarons


Her writing inspires resilience

Woman & Home

I laughed, I cried, I baked gingerbread biscuits. Potts is a writer who clasps you to her floury bosom and wraps you in your apron strings. There is wit and warmth on every page. This is a book of courage, consolation and more custard than you can shake a whisk at

Laura Freeman, Times

A heart-warming book about death and new beginnings that will delight cake lovers; it manages to be moving, funny and mouth-watering in equal measure - a difficult literary confection to master


Uplifting . . . tender


Heartbreaking and heartwarming in turns, it's a candid account of dealing with bereavement

Waitrose Weekend

Honest, humorous and peppered with great recipes


Potts writes powerfully about the nature of grief, yet she has the lightest of touches with her sensuous descriptions of food. A delightful read - and there are some terrific recipes in it, too

Daily Mail

She writes with the precision required of a pastry chef. . . finely observed descriptions of texture, taste and smell. A love story, with sadness, humour and tension. Uplifting

Prue Leith, Spectator

Tender . . . filled with the comfort we all seek when dealing with grief


There are plenty of laughs, and her unfolding relationship with Sam is a joy

Country Life

Related titles