Since the Little Anglophile started solids a month ago, I’ve been having a lot of fun trying out new things in the kitchen. Making food for a baby has some special challenges: no whole nuts, no honey, very little salt and sugar. I stumbled upon a recipe for banana bread made without sugar, which he’s taken to like an adorable bald duck to water, and I thought surely I could find other baby-friendly bread recipes like it. How about pumpkin bread? It’s fall! Surely there must be one out there!
Ha, no. Every pumpkin bread recipe I came across either had sugar (quite a lot, in most cases) or honey. So much for that.
But I was undaunted. Nay, said I. The Little Anglophile shall not go without some pumpkin bread, thus discovering the very elixir of autumn. I myself would go forth, armed only with a sack of plain flour and a can of Libby’s and I would make this work.
I love the autumn. I love the colours and the crispy air and the golden light. And I love the food. Man, the food! Warm stews, roasted vegetables, squash of all types, game birds, pears and apples. So, so good.
This time of year, I tend to go on a baking binge. Cooler temperatures make me want sweet comfort foods, and it’s no longer uncomfortable to have the oven on. Last week I ushered in October with some pumpkin muffins. But this week, it was all about the apples. I love apples. And I love caramel. And the two together…oh, man. Amazing! Now, I know some of you are looking askance at this recipe and thinking: I dunno, that’s gonna take, what, five hours or so of pilates to burn off? But you know what? It’s the weekend.
Previously on The Great British Bake Off: We’ve had dough week, but then there was advanced dough week, which meant filled sweet breads and doughnuts. Once again, Richard rocked, while Martha’s overproved doughnuts sealed her fate.
Mel and Sue welcome us back for the semifinal. Semifinal already! They adopt strange fake French accents because it’s patisserie week.
Luis interviews that, at this point, the judges are going to be super critical. Unlike the total pussycats they’ve been up until now. Chetna can’t wait to get in and start baking this week. Nancy says that one side of her wouldn’t be too disappointed if she left now, having made it this far, while the other side is telling her to buck up and get to the final. Richard’s just trying to keep the momentum going.
Previously on the Great British Bakeoff: Pastry, pastry everywhere. Richard won star baker for the third time while Martha just managed to squeak by and Kate got sent home.
It’s the quarterfinals, folks! I really feel like this is anyone’s game. I think Nancy’s very likely to make it to the finals (unless she massively screws up this week), but as for the others, I feel like it could be anyone.
Previously on The Great British Bake Off: It was European cakes week, and the Bakewells were tasked with yeast-leavened cake, princess torte, and towering dobos tortes. Paul and Mary apparently had the decision-making ability of that idiotic woman from the Better Together commercial and couldn’t agree on who to send home, so they just kept everyone.
Pastry week, people. Get your hot water boiling and your rough puff folding!
Kate’s really excited about the good weather and the singing birds. Mary’s wearing an epically ugly jacket.
Previously on The Great British Bake Off: After the Great Baked Alaska drama, we had a return to form as the bakers settled down and made some crazy custards, pears, and three-tiered pies. Kate came out on top, and Norman was finally sent packing after trying to go risky by making the most disgusting-sounding meringue in history.
It’s European cakes week (I guess when it comes to pastry Britain isn’t considered part of Europe), and in a send-up of Eurovision, Mel and Sue put on bad accents to welcome us. I have no idea what Sue’s accent is supposed to be. American? Dutch? Dutch-American?
Biscuits! The Bakewells parade into the tent while Mel and Sue crack fortune cookies and use them to slag each other off. Bakewells are welcomed back and given their signature challenge: savoury biscuits. 36 of them. They need to go well with cheese. In Sue’s words, ‘they need to be cheesier than an Abba tribute band at an all-night fondue party.’ Heh. Paul and Mary discuss various types of biscuits and their characteristics: water crackers need a snap, digestives need a crumble.
The Great British Bakeoff is back and OMG did you hear that this season has the oldest AND the youngest contestants EVER? Yeah, I don’t care nearly as much as the Beebs seems to think I should. Frankly, I don’t care about any of the contestants’ ages, genders, sexual orientations, skin colours, or ancestry, I just care about the bakes.
So, let’s get to it, so we? Mel and Sue welcome us back as the VO tell us that many applied, but just 12 have made it through to face the next 12 gruelling weeks of baking scrutiny. One woman tells us she’s been baking 60 years, while one guy stresses about potentially burning things. A Scotsman is really looking forward to having Mary taste his wares. That’s not nearly as dirty as it sounds on the page.