Around about mid-October (not coincidentally: around the time I last updated the blog), we upped stakes and moved to lovely East Lothian. The move has been…an adventure, to put it euphemistically, but we’re now settled in enough for me to get really excited for the holidays. I love Christmastime. Especially over here, because Britain gets really into Christmas. Our town had a whole big ‘Christmas … Continue reading Cranberry Cake and Christmas Trees
Getting ready for Easter (or just have some sourdough starter discard you need to use)? These muffins are a quick, delicious way to get one of your 5 a day! Continue reading Sourdough Carrot Muffins
Previously on The Great British Bake Off: Flora finally bowed out, and then there were three.
Tamal, Ian, and Nadiya suit up in the tent. Nadiya whispers to Tamal that she’s really nervous. We’re reminded of how excellent they’ve all been thus far. Remember when Nadiya used to come in last in the technicals? She’s really turned that around, hasn’t she? Apparently, Ian keeps a journal. For those of you who like to know these things.
Judges and presenters appear and holy cow, who’s dressing Mel and Sue? Their outfits are almost engrossingly bad. Thankfully, the camera cuts away from them quickly so they can give the first challenge: two types of filled iced buns.
Previously on the Great British Bake Off: Patisserie proved too much for Baker Paul, while Nadiya clinched Star Baker again, even though her bubblegum éclairs sounded frankly disgusting.
Semifinals, folks! Where has the time gone? It’s chocolate week. Yum! For their first challenge, they have to make a chocolate tart.
Everyone’s quite tense and nervous. Paul unnecessarily tells us that there’s now no room for error. Mary says that these have to be perfect and have a superb flavor.
SueVO tells us that cocoa pastry needs just enough liquid to bind it. Yeah, doing a chocolate pastry can be a bit difficult, because cocoa obviously doesn’t have gluten, so it won’t form any structure at all.
Previously on The Great British Bake Off: We went back to the 19th century for Victorian week and learned that the Victorians really loved gelatin and ate something called tennis cake. Tamal rocked it, while Mat floundered.
It’s the quarterfinals, folks, and things are getting tense. Everyone gathers in the tent and is told they need to make cream horns. Two flavours, twelve of each flavor. Off they go. Nadiya remembers her last grapple with puff pastry and says she really needs to not screw this one up.
Paul prefers a full puff pastry (as opposed to rough puff) for a cream horn. Mary needs her horns really full of filling.
Previously on The Great British Bake Off: Pastry week overwhelmed Alvin, Nadiya had a vol-au-vent meltdown, and Mat became Star Baker on the strength of his really delicious-sounding English breakfast vol au vents.
Well, this is something new: this week is all historical recipes. Cool, I can get into this one!
Sue VOs that the Victorian era ushered in a new dawn for home bakers, and the Bakewells will be tested on techniques that defined modern baking. Flora tells us she knows little about the Victorians, apart from their lovely frocks. Yes, Flora, frocks that actually killed people. Sigh.
The Bakewells are welcomed to the tent and given their first challenge: raised game pie. Which they can fill with whatever they like. Yeah, but if it’s a game pie, that really limits the filling, no? They get started while MelVO tells us that raised game pies were Victorian status symbols.
Previously on The Great British Bake Off: The Bakewells had to do without an awful lot of vital ingredients for various bakes. Nadiya had a great day, finally winning Star Baker and tossing Ian off his pedestal. Ugne, however, had a terrible time of it and got sent home.
It’s pastry week, so I hope everyone’s got their tart bases good and crispy. Bakewells report to the tent. Tamal would ‘quite like’ to be Star Baker. I would quite like to be a Booker Prize winner. Let’s see if we both get lucky!
For their first challenge, they have to make a frangipane tart with shortcrust pastry. On your way, Bakewells!
Previously on The Great British Bake Off: The Bakewells had to make desserts, which included crèmes brulees, some crazy meringue cake that I’m pretty sure Mary Berry just made up, and an insane number of cheesecakes. Ian triumphed once again, while Sandy peaced out.
This is apparently ‘do without’ week—do without gluten, sugar, and dairy. I hate this sort of baking. It never quite tastes right.
Everyone agrees that Ian’s the one to beat just now. Well, yeah. But it’s all in good fun, because this is the Bake Off, the nicest competition show in the history of television.
Previously on the Great British Bake Off: It was bread week, and Ian knocked it out of the park yet again, with Paul’s amazing lion bread sculpture nipping at his heels. Dorret was out, her ‘unmade bed’ sculpture failing to wow Mary in the least.
It’s dessert week, that week that always confuses me, because isn’t almost everything they do on this show a dessert?
Mel and Sue complain about the absolutely shitty weather we had this summer. Seriously, I’m not one to complain about the weather, but it really and truly sucked.
Previously on The Great British Bake Off: Marie experienced a spectacular fall, tumbling from Star Baker to second person to go home, while Ian rocked biscuit week.
Bread week! One of my favourites! The Bakewells head to the tent to make two free-form quick breads of any flavour. Paul explains that quick breads use no yeast, so you need to use bicarb and/or baking powder.
Flora is doing rye, hazelnut, and fig breads, which sound like they could be nice, though that rye can be tricky to deal with. Mary notes that it often makes a fairly dense bread.