Friday, 31 August 2012

Great British Baking!


Some people were there when Dylan first went electric.  Some knew about Harry Potter before he hit the mainstream.  I, dear reader, was with The Great British Bake Off from series one, episode one.

Indeed, the whole first series watched without much comment - I loved it, and even toyed with entering the second series.  But then it suddenly became much better known, attracting higher ratings and being a heated topic of conversation in the Bodleian tea room.  I was even inspired to hold my own cake party.  I'm much enjoying series three (and watched the third episode with Mum this evening, on iPlayer) but the standard and difficulty have far exceeded anything I would be able to manage.  In case you haven't watched it, the combination of Mel and Sue's witty, irreverent-but-kind commentary, Mary Berry's grandmotherly sweetness, Paul Hollywood's gruff criticism, and a dozen nervous, jolly bakers is utterly irresistible.  I don't know if the whole series' episodes are available on iPlayer still, but if you can see the cakes in episode 1, they were amazing.  They had to bake cakes with patterns or pictures on the inside... exceptional.  Are you watching it?

And now for something completely different.  My very dear friend Lorna came to visit earlier in August and (despite she being a recently married uber-professional journalist, and me being... well, old) we made gingerbread and decorated it!  I only have two cutters, so they were gingerbread cats and gingerbread teapots.  And we didn't stint on the squeezy icing...

The cutters are ready!

I'm clearly enjoying myself :)

mid-creation...

I couldn't squeeze on 'aged 26'.

I make a Colin cat (it's a Wolverhampton Wanderers shirt...) 

Harry Potter cat!  (Please don't sue.)

Lorna hard at work - such concentration!

Lorna's spread - spot the Parisian teapot, landmarks and all

My finished creations.
Now you see why I didn't enter GBBO...

21 comments:

  1. Oh Simon, your Union Jack Teapot is just too adorable.

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  2. Another GBBO fan here - I do a good Victoria sponge, but am not an otherwise adventurous baker, my 11yr old daughter does more ... Your cookies are such fun - hope you enjoyed eating them too!

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    1. oh, we did! They were very nice, actually.
      I mostly just make the same things over and over again, but occasionally I enjoy experimenting with my baking a bit. And GBBO always makes me want to experiment more!

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  3. Watching it & loving it. You have to admire the contestant who, at the court of King Paul, admitted that he couldn't bake bread!!!!!

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    1. Wouldn't it be so absolutely terrifying to have Paul judge your baking?? I'd just stutter at him, I'm sure!

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  4. I was hoping to spy a teapot that said 'More tea, Vicar?' And who could resist a cat wearing pearls?!

    The show hasn't appeared here yet but I've watched a few episodes on youtube, it's a great show!

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    1. The cat wearing pearls was a brainwave ;)
      I'm afraid 'More tea, vicar?' is a joke that has grown very old in my family, I'm not sure I could cope with writing it...

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  5. Love the Union Jack teapots!

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    1. thanks! It seemed the obvious thing to do ;)

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  6. I am a late comer - I first started with the celebrity version. However I am now totally hooked - and in awe of their skills. My limits are lemon drizzle cake, focaccio and parmesan biscuits (not necessarily all together!).

    Love the gingerbread - but how could you bear to eat the cats?

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    1. I'd forgotten all about the celebrity one! Thanks for reminding me of that. The baking was of a lower standard, so if I want to be on the show, I just need to become a celebrity first...

      Focaccio is a mean feat! The only time I tried, it failed miserably.

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  7. I am another who is hooked on GBBO, and love your biscuits. I don't think I've done iced gingerbread and shortbread since my daughters were in infant school... why not, I ask myself... I feel it may be time for a baking session...

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    1. Thanks Christine!
      And it is such a fun way to spend an afternoon. Why should the children have all the fun??!

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  8. I'm also hooked, but my showstopper would have to be Sue P's head dished upon a plate, preferably with her big mouth stuffed with ... well, anything that would shut her up, I can't stand the woman. Can't believe how polite the contestants are when she's getting in their way. If only someone would stick her under a piecrust and get rid of her.
    I'm also mesmerised by tentative way Mary Berry bites sideways into pies ... is she worried about her false teeth?
    But I'm dying to make a GBBO key lime pie, especially as I seem to have five limes in the fridge

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    1. Oh, I adore Sue and Mel, so can't agree with you there - but Mary Berry's biting has me equally transfixed! I wondered whether she was a pirate in a previous life?

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  9. You have a Be-Ro book! I turn to mine time and time again. I make the chocolate chip cookies most often but I put raisins in instead of chocolate.

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    1. Hurrah for Be-Ro! I have a shelf of beautiful baking books, but the only one I ever seem to use is my battered old Be-Ro book. Mostly for melting moments and rock cakes.

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  10. Pretty hard to see over here. The last series I only managed to find the first three episodes online. Thankfully we are going to the Netherlands in November and my friends there are recording it all for me. Yay.

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    1. Hurrah! I seem to spend most of my time finding US programmes (you remember my love for Cougar Town...) so it's nice to have the better TV for once.

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  11. I think it is telling that one of the first things I did when I got home last night was download the episodes 2 through 4 of the new series, which I'd missed while travelling. Clearly, my priorities are straight!

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