Tag Archives: Great british Bake Off

From top: Noel Fielding (left) and Matt Lucas, of The Great British Bake-Off, ‘Cork Battenburg’; Vanessa Foran

Within the last few words of Bake’Sheet Season 10, I said Bake Off could do with a bit of a shake up, but I can’t deny there was some phewing relief when they got it going this year and that it was so familiar to me; like an old friend broke through restrictions and gave me a hug.  A new location and a new presenter, yet I haven’t actually felt the loss Sandi.

Which I feel bad about, I don’t think Bake Off followers, fans or just stuck under the thumb of the remote controller watchers ever saw the best out of her. A tis what it is.

But t’was a blast from the past that made me want to put this oddball re-meander together.

You may not know this but some of my favourite Bake Offs, since this kicked off here, back then, when t’was just Frilly and all of ye, were actually shows I didn’t write up.

One of those was the Festive special just gone with The Derry Girls.  Here, treat yourselves.

Meanwhile; Sister Michael, and it must be said, and not just ‘cause the girl’s from Cork, Siobhán McSweeney’s Sister Michael boots from her own half that Father Jack off into the scruffy mound of old seat cushions that do’be corned in the suite of feckie religious cranks from the telly.

There I said it and have a Hon de Mná with it as well.

Damn right there is no denying Siobhan McSweeney’s roots when she introduced the Cork Battenburg to the Tent.

When Siobhan was describing her showstopper to the Judges I knew exactly what they were going to get.  And I was already sniggering and kinda gagging, but kinda whistful and weepy when the Hollywood was giving her his piercing blue stink eye, while Prue was the dotie dottie domestic science teacher she assumes when she’s around celebrities and non(ish) bakers. Coorke Battenburg well….

To clarify, to us tis Battenburg, just Battenburg, and the only Battenburg bhoy; and it was what our Mam’s and their Mam’s before them got in when something a bit better than a swiss roll was called for.  The early evening visit from the School Head or the Parish Priest stuff.

So you know the occasion, and naturally it’s the one that arises with eff all notice to put together some decent ham for sandwiches, a flan and some tea brack.

The Cork Battenburg was a pyramid shaped log, shaped by brown and yellow heavy dense sponge layers, with a miserable thin white spread running between.  A Thompson’s Bakery confection (since that Bakery is no longer with us,  a better more accurate provenance would be welcomed btw.)

I have no honest idea what the flavours actually were ‘cause they all tasted the same.

The lot was then slabbed, and I mean slabbed in gawkish cheap cooking chocolate, that was raked front to back top to bottom with a fork.  If it helps at all – picture a Toblerone in cake formation.

The Cork Battenburg could cap a roofing truss.

But what the Cork Battenburg’s arrival into the Bake Off tent also promised me, was that I knew we’d get see to everyone else’s Battenburg some day in the tent, and there it was – the very first challenge of the Covid Bubble Tent Bake Off.

Long windy intro, I know, but it was a flash back, even the smell of the crap chocolate type exterior came back to me so I couldn’t refuse it.

Then came 80’s week, and it all got me thinking, or as Frilly would have said back in the first Season of Bake’Sheet;  tinking

Throughout this entire series here on Broadsheet, I have stuck loyally to the principle that Home Baking is a spectrum of its own, everyone is on it somewhere, from the disasters to the Bake Off winners enclosures.  From those that burn the shop bought Apple Tart that only needed a bitta warming to the five tier Showstoppers with sugar work, tempered chocolate and home made fondant figurines.

Not even a Pandemic could this Season flop.

And I’m loving it so far, but not for the Bakers, my favourite two to watch are gone anyway (Lottie the Panto Producer and Rowan the Panto Queen.)  Although I’m going to lay heavy on Hermine for the outright win.  BTW Lottie was robbed.

I’m loving it for the challenges.

This year they really have made it about everyday home baking.  The resurgence in home baking that lockdown activated; although I question the wisdom of sourdough bread being the first adventure with flour and an oven. Homemade proper bakes is the one ongoing theme of Bake Off’s eleventh season.

This time last year no-one would have ventured a bread week featuring Soda Bread? Or Brownies, or Quiches – the rightly honourable baked beans have even made it into the tent.  All deserving and not a bit out of place.

And that’s what’s triggered me out of my retreat from Bake’Sheet.

So many of this year’s challenges are all about the Home Baker.  The everyday Baker.  The Budget Baker.  The Bedsit Baker to the all Mod Cons plus latest gadget room for a pony Baker.

There was even a Technical that was just pancakes, albeit Hipster flavoured crepes if you don’t mind stacked between a filling you can put together while sitting in traffic.

It might suggest the influence of their sponsors this year, Aldi.  But I don’t care, this year’s season is less showstopper and technical, and all about the basic mainstream of bakes, the bakes that 99.99% of bakers all turn to.

So this is where I am reaching out to all of ye, there is no point in me putting together recipes and hints and mince.  Let’s have a tent of ye.

Broadsheet Things that look like …. Soda Bread, Brownies, Quiche, Loaf Cake, posh Visitor Cake, Occasion Cake, Baking with Mammy Daddy Blended Family Cake, Tray Bakes and Biscuits.  Trifles, Tarts and stuff you can do with Baked Beans.

I’ll start by tidying up Soda Bread with Notions, a Beat Back Covid with Turmeric bikkies and a Flexi Cookie Pastry ye’ll love so much ye’ll hate me for.

Before I go, if I still have ye like, just to say I’m glad to see more balance now between Matt and Noel in the presenting, general chit chat and continuity bits and pieces.  And Covid wouldn’t stop the Hollywood Handshake.

One whinge and that’s that the Producers this year are a bit mean with the recipes they are making available, but one they did release might be worth a Bank Holiday effort, Peter’s Blackberry & Lemon Tart. Now don’t be put off by the skill level its set at, that’s only the bitta sugar work they stuck in to impress The Hollywood.  And if you’re like me you’ll recognise that as the faff stuff that can be left out.

And its called Jelly Art btw, give it a lash here for a fiver – Shop bought Jelly – shur don’t we all………….

And if you’re not wobbling about Jelly, and can split the faff from the full recipe; go for Lottie’s finest moment. No doubt Wobble Cakes will be a challenge in a future Series anyway, so no harm to get ready to judge them like the all the rest of us armchair amateurs.

You all know how and where to get involved in Broadsheet Bakes that look like (working title)

so lets have ye.

Recipes to broadsheet@broadsheet.ie marked ‘Recipe’.

Pic: Channel 4

From top: Great British-Bake-Off  2019 Winner David Atherton with Paul Hollywood (left) and Prue Leith; Vanessa Foran

Here we are, finally final, where the 2019 Season’s Baker’s dozen shifted down to three.

My tent pole since Cake week, Steph Blackwell’s final can be summed up by the state of her Technical – the girl just completely slumped like that congealed smelly cheesy mess; except her fringe.

If anyone knows how her hair managed to stay so imposingly straight and perfect, please do let me know.  I only have to boil a kettle to have my own hair turn to candy floss.

The most awkward baker to watch this year, Alice, made the final even more uncomfortable with her own personal drama running alongside her, the only support I could summon was an impatient Grow Up ffs.

And the one I couldn’t get behind all season, like I barely had a decent word to say about the lad, David Atherton is the 2019 Bake Off champion. But I’m happy to reintroduce a quote from Jimbo here last Sunday; winners are always grinners

There was so much off about this year’s final, yet there was so much right about it too.

I’ll run with the good bits first, mainly the integrity of the Judging.

I have never been shy about vouching for the Hollywood’s view of the world, but I can’t provide any better proof than this year’s final outcome.  And in fairness Alice even out of all her own anxiety about her Mammy and Daddy, summed it all up best when she said David just blew them away.

He wiped the floor with his fellow finalists over every step of that Final Weekend, even if his Signature was considered too boozy, it was up against two other cakes that didn’t set off any fireworks either.

David is the first finalist not to have a Star Baker to stand on, and he cleaned up.  Even his apron was immaculate.

Neither Paul nor Prue flinched in favour of the previous weeks or demonstrated any favouritism or sentimentality.

This is why I know Bake Off will always be safe, despite the many criticisms of this year’s season in the Tent, and I have a few myself, but for sure and for absolute certainty, we can always trust the Judges to remain free from bias and judge only what is put in front of them.

Before I introduce some of my own moans about Season 10, I want to mention a few highlights, particularly from the final.

I must stand up for the best chocolate feature cake anyone can bake, the BFG.

The 70’s gave us the fillums Jaws and Saturday Night Fever, back-to-back heatwaves, Concorde, LCD screens, even the Bay City Rollers.

Who the hell is anyone, and even Paul Hollywood is at it, think they are to sneer at the Black Forest Gateau like it’s a bad school photo?

I bet those same people don’t look down their noses at Charlie’s Angels; (and just for my pal Neil off the Telly) what does Star Wars remind ye of?  Strikes, Corporal Punishment in Schools, The Pope’s ’79 visit; my ass it does.

Looking down your nose at the BFG is a snide dig at those of us that don’t need high-brow foodies to tell us what we should like’ and besides, the BFG’s inventor lived well into his 90’s so there must be some goodness in it.

I am thrilled that I can pin up here Steph’s own signiture BFG.  It’s a fabulous recipe and it’s even set to easy.

Also, don’t go mad running around and spending money on Kirsch, just drop into your nearest Polish Supermarket and you’ll have your pick from plenty cherry liqueurs for under twenty quid; enough for twenty BFGs.

I am also thrilled this year’s final gives me another great home bake standard recipe to pin up onto Bake’Sheet; Lemon Pound (kinda) Cake.

This was the main sponge in David’s Picnic Basket Showstopper the other night.  Ok – I don’t know what lemon spice is either, but you have an immediate work around.  I can’t recommend a better home bake loaf cake standard, and I’m kinda glad it came from the Bake Off final and from the winner I had no time for all the way through.

So, the season, overall.  You know I hate to say it, but I think it could have done with more scrappy ah shur’ its only cake Selasi and Norman style bakers.

There were far too many distractions this year, between Henry’s Ties, the silly skits from Noel and Sandi, and all the tears, week in week out bloody tears; too much frump and feck all craic.

In my own opinion, I think the producers interfered a bit too much with the atmosphere, especially placing more scenes of the Hollywood looming and prowling silently around the tent at the bakers in the final cuts, and the miserable level of the Handshakes (four in total btw) we got to cheer about.

I also think the age profile, while no demonstration of skill or ability, didn’t help, it is after all light entertainment even if its a form of reality telly, it’s still telly.

There were no carefree happy go lucky give it a lash jacks, the young ones this year were all too serious, high achieving and you know what?

Humdrum pretty much sums up the majority of the bakers this year.

But to repeat what I said earlier, I think Bake Off while still in the hands of Hollywood and Prue is safe; but it does need a shake up in the format; I personally would love to see guest Judges for a segment like the technical element; specialists like a chocolatier or a regional speciality we may not be familiar with; Russian Cream Crackers or something.

Maybe it’s time to reintroduce the History Segment, I particularly loved being introduced to the Red Cross Doughnut Dollies in WW2, especially when I followed it up myself and learned that many were Irish girls, it actually joined the long finger of script projects.

I wouldn’t touch Noel and Sandi either, but I would reduce the skittish slapstick two handers; there are totally unnecessary and cut into the time available to the producers that were at the expense of Sandi’s natural gift for elegant sartorial continuity joiners that we want to see, and for Noel’s comfy shoulder to cry on.

In the GAA we say there’s always next year, so until then, or maybe not, I will leave ye with what also came attached to what Jimbo said above Who care’s if they’re insufferable …..

Its cake.

Pic: Channel 4

From top: Henry gets a Paul Hollywood handshake on the Great British Bake-Off last night on Channel 4; Vanessa Foran

It was the week of festival fashion; Steph got a Hollywood.

But ah Michael , you were a goner the moment Alice sat her showstopper in front of Paul and Prue.

And I think we all have to take a knee and show our respects to Alice here, me especially.

She came back from a last place in the Technical and suffered Achilles severing feedback for her Signature; they look homemade At Showstopper time that girl went back into the tent as The Walking Dead and came out like a Grimes.

There is no denying I had hopes for Michael – even touting him for the final here week in week out, now he might be bound for the Extra Slice, but he is the tenth member of a very special guild that’ll never have the likes of me; Bread Week Star Baker.

So, him and his Hollywood handshake will not be just another baker to leave the tent; he is – albeit for a programming technicality; the runner up GBBO Season 10.

Surely it’s Steph’s to lose now.

She was there in it for Star Baker again from the Signature, but in fairness Henry was entitled it. Their Festival Buns, although miles apart in terms of style, had the pair of them narrowed down straight away.

Steph’s Zesty Lemon Curd Cross Buns are set to Easy. Now I would dispute that as so much can go wrong within the different elements and especially when some of them involve enriched dough. But while I’m here I’ll point ye to her glaze for your own notes; (it might be handy to top off a tea brack or a fruit cake.)

Whereas Henry’s MummaBullar cool knot ones are set to Challenging; yet the biggest challenge there for me is the presence of honey.

We have no history or tradition of enriched dough or festival / celebration breads here in Ireland, but if I were to recommend any I would use Steph’s recipe and Henry’s tight roll and wrap around knot technique.

I’ll need to get better at trapping video from the telly, but as soon as I manage it I’ll get a demo pinged up for you. But don’t be waiting on it – don’t let me stop ye.

So, having said that, and with no apologies, I’m not going to bother myself (or ye) going into the other bakes last night. Like, even if they are deep fried, I still wouldn’t eat Ricotta Chocolate and Orange Ravioli , naw’ mind making one from scratch. As for a Sarawak, ah c’mon. Yeah, lovely idea, but so are Crème Eggs.

As we are now into the Quarter Finals, lets have a quick round-up before ye go back to Brexit and Budgets.

This final five are absolutely the best five left after last night, and I think I’ve finally figured out Dr Rosie.

She’s too ould’ for a young ‘wan.

Even though Shut Up Henry is the lad that wears a tie around the kitchen, isn’t Rosie a bit too frumpy? She’s professionally qualified and already in full practice like a veteran with thirty years clocked up, and an incredibly accomplished and confident baker, but does anyone else think she’s a bit too middle aged?

I know I’m being totally unfair and admittedly completely out of order here, but seriously Rosie, you’re still in your twenties girl so look and act like you’re in your twenties ffs, not like an empty nester in their 50s.

I’m just the opposite – an’ ould wan who thinks they are in their 20s, so a punchy begrudgery is a natural occurrence in my subconscious. In any case, good luck to Rosie, she absolutely deserves to be there.

We are after all at quarter-final stage now, so all our speculation, supposing and supporting has to be critical.

To me anyway, David is still the sort of bridesmaid there, but so was Sophie Faldo until the S8 final; just saying, I didn’t warm to her either btw. But for now at least, Steph’s still my odds on.

Pastry, the old reliable of the Bake Off is our quarter final.  So no matter who your favourite is, that’ll put manners on them all.

And honestly I’m glad we’re back to a traditional Bake-Off standardised test.

Over the last ten seasons I would have to agree there is a place for non-recurring themes, like Victorian Bakes, Gluten-Free Baking, Spice Week and even Danish Week.

But the last two episodes had a look that they were running out of ideas and that gimmickry was coming into the tent; and with respect, I think the producers have pushed that line as far as they can with Noel and Sandi’s little vignettes.

Imagine me putting a batter sausage flavoured bun burger in front of the Hollywood last night as an Irish Festival Signature.

See what I mean?

So even though pastry doesn’t suffer fools, and our favourites might be at risk; welcome to the quarter final everyone.

Same time, same place.

Pic: Channel 4

From top: Paul Hollywood (right) gave his first handshake of current series of the Great British Bake-Off on Channel 4 last night: Vanessa Foran

Interestingly, the weakest three on Great British Bake-Off Week 1 are now gone, and in the correct order. In fairness to Amber she was the better of the three.

However I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Amelia  I expect her to start appearing on daytime telly any minute now showing us how to make curtains in-between homemade healthy lunch box’ibles and dinners for a fiver.

There is nowhere to hide in Bread Week, it’s the Marquee Event, the Cork v Tipp Munster Hurling Final of Bake Off. Even Gardeners and Anglers would tune in for it.

It could be just me, but the Hollywood was more visible around the bakers last night than in other years, and we finally got a handshake out of him.

The moment he turned over Michael’s signature Keralan Star Bread  to check the bottom I knew he was smitten; btw this isn’t as complicated as it looks, and that that Coconut chutney recipe is a keeper.

As I’ve said before, the really the great thing about breads is that there is no kit needed; only patience and your respect.

So tell me; what’s more important, the burger or the bun. A veggie burger? From Paul Hollywood? On Bread Week? That might be all you need to hear from me about the technical last night.

But if, and it does happen, say if you had someone awkward or worse again – a vegan, coming for a proper sit down with matching plates, and candles, you could always say it’s a Paul Hollywood recipe , so it’s worth bringing it to your attention; but he can keep his baps. I’ll still be buying them from the old SuperQuinn Bakery in Walkinstown.

If I’m being honest, I wasn’t really arsed with last night’s technical and didn’t even give the judging much attention, like – a veggie burger, come on. The Bake-Off Lifer can hardly be expected to hang off every word the Hollywood has to say about a veggie burger; besides I had a hidden bar of Dark Milk to find.

I preferred the tradition of doing more international bakes in the set technicals, like that Couronne  (series 4) and Dampfnudel  (series 7).

Before I take us through the Showstopper to the end, Tear and Share isn’t a new in the tent, and I remember Dan’s Chelsea Buns getting a HH.

I’m mentioning this type of bake because I’m a divil for the Cinnamon Roll myself and we saw two attempts last night. I know I would have preferred Helena’s  and to be fair I think the Hollywood tried to as well. But here’s David’s  Cinnamon Swirls  because if you’re going to the effort of a show-off brunch you might as well make them more fancy.

I loved the Showstopper.

Especially the Judging. The Hollywood was handling and dissecting those loaves of bread like he was a forensic pathologist. I was quite giddy; it must be said.

You don’t even need a surgical scalpel to achieve the look most got last night, so do try Steph’s Wholemeal loaf  (Although I would be more likely to do a mix of lemon balm and purple thyme rather than just the rosemary.)

Remember what I said about yeast and bread baking; patience and respect. And these scored loafs are an example of patience and respect. Even if it’s a a homemade shiv your using to slash the shape of a daffodil.

The oven doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care who has mixed the ingredients, what their socio-economic status is or if the operator has a gender. It doesn’t demand you have your shots before your go in nor dose it ask your for a reference. You give it its instructions and its contents.

A recipe doesn’t proscribe religion or who its follower should vote for, or the define a family or even who you use it for.

Baking is the great equaliser, it keeps manners on everyone; and the Hollywood is its independent authority.

So what about our Bakers, Star Baker Michael’s was in no doubt, I didn’t even look at anyone else in the line-up. He reminds me a lot of John Thwaite  who went on to win (series 3), and actually has some of the best recipe books out there.

John was also accident prone and took his baking seriously, but not personally if it went wrong; and he was watchable, Just like Michael.

Delighted Steph and Helena had good weeks, but I’m just not warming to Rosie.

In a way they’re all still in it but I have a suspicion David might struggle next week; Dairy

He just doesn’t have the look of a lad who likes his creamy custard, thick ganache, crème pat or even keeps a just in case carton of double cream in the fridge.

Yes, you read that right. Dairy.

Pic: Channel 4

Previously: Vanessa Foran on Broadsheet

On last night’s Great British Bake-Off on Channel 4, Alice Fevronia’s chocolate and honeycomb confections made her Star Baker for biscuit week

I did say I would be a day late [with this review], but I still need to apologise. I just couldn’t wait to get this one out and there were moments yesterday it felt like I was trying to hide a soggy bottom in a puddle of custard from ye.

Over the Bake’ Sheet series, it may have come across that I never took this particular Bake-Off setting seriously, like last year I did take issue with the sequence in the schedule, and the previous year I set out my own feeble and lazy reasoning for snubbing the home baked biscuit.

But you know what, I think I have to change my tune.

The tenth Biscuit Tent’venture event was brilliant. Every single crumb and snap of it.

I’m not going to pretend any of us, or even the bakers in the Tent would do biscuit bars by choice; but I reckon I’m not the only one changing their mind. Even for a one off.

Honestly, if I’m to toast Bake-Off for anything this year it is that it put biscuits back into our recipe folders, drawers and tubs. I even predict trays of dedicated recipe books by Christmas.

Before I go on, let’s get the who and why out of the way. Jamie had to go, like, I was surprised he even came back for a second weekend. It was distressing telly at times, but no harm was done to any other baker. Nor should the producers be blamed, as Henry is coping so well he does it in a shirt and tie.

On a technical point, the Hollywood is wrong, Henry is not the first baker to wear a tie, Nick Hewer ; and anyone remember the very first baker to go?

Now I’m only half convinced about Alice , but from the Signature “BAKE” blow gun she was the Star Baker  all the way; and I have a feeling people will get very attached to her.

You’ll find in her Showstopper a tidy recipe for coconut shortbread, and you might even be tempted to give it a go as a celebration cake. Like everything marked as challenging, just isolate out the individual elements and give yourself an overnight to complete.

I can’t exactly put my finger on my favourite from the Signature Challenge, but I don’t think I was the only one, even the producers have provided four recipes  from it.

I don’t think they have ever been that generous, and bearing in mind nothing we are likely to be producing will ever be subject to Hollywood scrutiny, I am encouraging all of us to give one a go as a traybake.

Who seriously didn’t want a whole packet of Rosie’s  to be in the press? Or who wouldn’t mind just a taste of Henry’s fancy pantsy afternoon tea ones?

The only thing I’m reluctant about touting these bakes is that the kit isn’t in everyone’s press, but most of those ingredients are, OK maybe not that pink chocolate or gold fake, but if I spot those trays in the Aldi/ Lidl I absolutely would.

Did you ever try a fig roll? Shur ye know I didn’t, but I will, Again, this is set to challenging, but you know I don’t think it is, so this is it; my first technical try-this-at-home. Not this weekend, but the first chance I get.

A brief look back to the Signature; Helena and those Wicked Fingers. I have actually done a Witchy Finger before, ladies’ fingers with an almond nail, and the syrup from fake blood sweets that you see in Tuthills.

Besides that personal context, I am also so glad she turned it around, I really did feel from our first meeting last week that she had a lot more baking skill than we were seeing.

Meanwhile, next week is Bread Week, and all I can wonder is: will the Hollywood break one out?

Pic: Channel 4

Great British Bake-Off judges last night, from left: Paul Hollywood, Pru Leith, Noel Fielding and Sandi Tovskig

The Great British Bake-off raised temperatures last night on Channel 4 with Dessert Week.

Too sweet? Not sweet enough? Or just right?

Frilly Keane writes:

Let’s talk about first impressions, and again, I’m sorry to say it was about appearances again last night. Terry’s sick note really spoilt dessert week for me ‘cause before they’d even turned on their ovens I had already predicted that no-one’ll be on the Extra Slice  this week, and that had me vaguely wishing the show along just to see if I was right.

I’m still ticked off with meself ‘cause I really wanted this FrillBake to be sum’ting nice and fulla sugary melty chocolatie Kimmy Joy. Like we haven’t bin’ getting on lately, just thought t’would be a nice reminder that there’s some really other important stuff going on besides elections, and Brexit n’ the like.

Instead I could only think about my Nana Lulus carpet (in her good room) whenever Noel appeared or wonder if The Hollywood had put on a few. At least Manon obliged by leaving the earrings at home, and the weekend in the tent became all about hair plaits. And yellow eyeshadow.

Anyway lads, do yer best to give Dessert week a guilty smile instead’ve a snort. And before we get to it, they’re turtles not trolls.

I think most home bakers have a dessert Signature that is not just a fruit tart. Ye might remember this oul’ reliable , of mine, even though I’ve been promising to try a lime curd kiwi & pineapple one since Tom Parlon was a TD.

My takeaway from last night’s Roulade challenge was Rahul’s rhubarb and custard, and my running favourite Dan got his third Hollywood handshake in a row. Which I can’t remember happening before, but he was Star Baker there and then, and probably should be given a monument inside the tent.

Sum’ting else about Dan, he uses basic everyday ingredients most of the time and he hasn’t needed chemistry, exotic teas or foodie techniques to get those handshakes.

He is the very definition of a proper family home baker, here I’d do this meself but since I’m the only one in my house that eats coconut I’d only make a pig of meself.

Also, the great thing about having Roulade as your own Signature is that it will always be what Jon called rustic looking, and icing sugar will always be your best friend, so you’re never under pressure to have it looking like it came from the Butler’s Pantry lot.

They were being a bit too fond of judging the swirl for me. Its dessert so don’t worry about the swirl, its all about the filling and having seconds; if its full spiral your after you’ll have ta’ reduce your creamy tangy good stuff.

The technical was the technical. Meh for Blancmange but if ye fancy it, Prue’s recipe is easy but loads of ingredients t’ be fecking around with, like Green Cocoa Butter. Yep. Green Cocoa Butter, for biscuits that last a second and involve eight different ingredients, and piping. But it is a good one if you’re baking as a quality time with kids thing.

Last place Manon just asked for it earlier on when she uttered she hadn’t messed up a bake so far.

Ah the Showstopper. Now a bitt’ve tale here. When they trailered it, I was heard saying sum’ting like ‘I would no more be arsed’ … like fecking around with a chocolate dome only to melt it before ya can get to your afters. But the dependent was a bit too quick with the snark herself; it must be the weather now that I think of it, at home as well as this gaff.

Anyway, I got a bitt’ve ‘you’d have to give it a go first and see can you do it before deciding you’re not being arsed’ (pronounced aursed.) Yep, getting it everywhere lately.

But wasn’t it great tho’ ? Like none of the bakers really made it look painful or too fancy with kit and techniques; a balloon was used for this. Shur’ it doesn’t matter if it melts and cracks. I’m definitely going to give one a go over the Christmas. Like for a group. Maybe the Broadsheet Christmas do, and I would probably do something like Kim Joys Turtle Astronauts …troll truffles, with bitter orange sauce.

Ah I’m only messing. I still love ye all.

Here, one thing before ye start separating yere yolks, Kim Joy was hard done by not t’get herself a Hollywood Handshake, but I reckon she’ll be there or there abouts in the last 2 weeks.

Star Baker, no need to mention. But its worth noting that three of the last four Star Bakers were lads.

Spice next week.

Yeah me neither

So hopefully I learn something new to do with my favourites, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves; and there’s a bit more to Spice than gingerbreads.

Frilly Keane can be followed on Twitter: @frillykeane

Tyrone-born Imelda on last night’s ‘Great British Bake-Off’

The Great British Bake-off returned on Channel 4 last night.

Watched by a happy, if crumb-laden, Frilly Keane

Frilly writes:

Talk about shifting it up, Biscuit week trading places with Cake week! I think I would have coped better if they redecorated the tent.

Admittedly I did have an uncomfortable inkling on Monday when I retweeted Bake Off’s official little vid for shortbreads and wondered weakly why t’wasn’t a cake recipe when I did the 1 sleep to go thing.

As with other years, I purposefully do not follow all the online chatter about Bake Off, simply because I prefer to go into each heat completely ignorant and open minded, and will continue that same policy this year. I only  follow the Hollywood @judgebakeoff as a vocational obligation, and now in recent weeks @BritishBakeOff; and I will endeavour to keep it at just that.

So, week 1, Bikkies. Firstly, the opening Bake to the Future didn’t work for me and I hope we’re spared these uncomplimentary intros over the next 9 weeks, but I doubt it; there I’ve said it.
Secondly, remind yourselves of my view on Biscuits.

I do think doing Biscuits on week 1 was unfair and it should have been cake; if they really wanted to shuffle the formula a bit, maybe put Bread week ahead of Cake. They are the main occupation of the home baker and that’s what we should have been allowed  to consider from all 12.

The Technicals in particular, have always introduced something we, the home baker, have either not known of or even considered attempting; so last night;s Wagon Wheels, was a great opportunity to try something we’ve only ever shop bought and try and make it smart and artisan.

OK it’s not for a beginner, but Biscuits aren’t anyway, so if you’re nervous use Stacy’s fluff recipe  from last year’s Bikkie week.

One more bites from the bakes last night; boiled & shifted egg yolk in shortbread? Yep, I’ll give that a go meself so thank you Briony .

So, what of the contestants;  There’s France-born Manon . She’d been on a cooking show before. I never saw it, I never heard of it, so I’m comfortable saying she’s one to watch.

Ruby  was trying too much to be a character but isn’t irritating; Yet. And isn’t it great to have a flake back in the tent?  I also think Kim-Joy is one to watch.

I’m currently predicting another Win for the Girls; although Tyrone girl Imelda had to go last night. (Might be a sign of things to come in Croke Park there, Shayna?)

Overall, I think we’re in for a great season, although I’m very unsure about Vegan Week. Yep it’s a thing. No Handshakes, but I definitely got a sense that this year The Hollywood appears to have got attached to all the bakers.

I just wish Pru would shurr’up about calories tho’.

Frilly Keane can be followed on Twitter: @frillykeane

Monday: And We’re Bake

Pic: Channel4


Tasty, in fairness.

The Great British Bake-Off returns tonight TOMORROW on Channel 4 at 8pm.

This can mean only one thing.

Frilly Keane has got her ‘pinny’ on.

Frilly writes:

8pm Tomorrow we’ll be tuning inta the tent to try and suss out 12 new bakers  . Hardly a spoiler but you can expect the same gender break-out as before; 6 boys 6 girls competing and watching their ovens, 1 male judge, 1 female judge, 1 female presenter and Noel Fielding.

I’m hardly alone in noticing the lead up this year has been very quiet and steady, but I suppose that was to be expected since Bake Off in now in its second term with Channel 4 and any anxiety or doubts were all settled, and sugar dusted last season, and the only fluctuation with presenters and judges to fret about might be Noel’s latest girth; I suspect he enjoyed the filming a bit too much.

But shur’ that could happen to the best ov’us.

Any noise out there ahead of this season tended to circulate around the bakers, and there being some chatter about the producers going old school with a number of this year’s shortlist not having any Social Media profile ahead of entering the tent tonight; this was a criticism in previously with Selasi and his already established insta carryon being a particular target of the soggy bottom conspiracy tins.

Not for me since I don’t follow him, and he was one of my favourite bakers in the tent. OK he was never going to be a winner, but he was great telly; and he is the one baker I’d love to see back in the mixer with Sandi and Noel.

Something also for this season that is Social Media related, the personal accounts have been handed over to the producers’ PR people to run for the duration so they can ‘leakproof’ the tent; although I don’t believe that could ever be possible.

One thing that did stand out, to me anyway, in the ramp-ups over August is that the producers were particularly emphatic about the rules; no baker must have a formal confectionary qualification or training awarded within the last 10 years.

And no baker can have earned most of their income from baking. That tells me that they must have taken a bitta’ve stick over Steven and personally I’m glad they did, because this is all about what we can do from our own kitchens.

That last bit it worth mentioning as there are a few contestants you’ll meet tonight who are stay-at-homes; and in equal quota split, one boy one girl.

One thing I’ll comment on as a Bake-Offender since season 1, the cloning from season 2 onwards has been immaculate; Signatures, Technicals and Showstoppers remain untouched, and the old reliables are still there, Cake week, Biscuit week, Bread week etc. While the unimpeachable

Judging has persisted; it remains all about the bake, save for the odd week of dissent with the Hollywood, but shur’ that’s what we’re here for.

So as with every other season, the benchmarks remain intact. Bread Week is the marquee event and the [Paul] Hollywood handshake will still be the central tent pole.

In the meantime here’s some handy tips for some of us, and lingo translators for the rest ah’ ye.

Before I go and set the timer on the telly; a Tyrone girl, not Shayna, will be among, the bakers tomorrow, and watch out for the fussy ‘tash.

Your time starts now; BAKE!

Frilly Keane can be followed on Twitter: @frillykeane

Pic: Channel4

Countdown presenter Nick Hewer on  this week’s Celebrity Bake-off

Sleb Bake-off continued this week.

Frilly Keane was watching.

She writes:

Sorry tis a day late lads, I was off getting me bits done for Paddy’s weekend so I was caught for time.

No time wasting so first things first; no disputing the winner ah’tall.

It was one of those rare Bake-Off occasions that the Star Baker was top bun in all three bakes. On a side note, I found the lad, Perri Kiely, the big haired dancing cutie a daycent sort who clearly took every ounce of pleasure he could from the experience, from being in the tent, to getting the handshake to winning the technical etc.

The sort that doesn’t pretend they never heard of Bake Off and is handy enough to know the difference between plain and self-raising; but wouldn’t fret if his pastry wasn’t flaky enough.

He’s a proud and an as long as I like it type of baker. In fact t’wouldn’t surprise me to learn he was one’ah the real Kiely’s (although having been in school with Mattie’s eldest I doubt it since none’ve ‘em were over 5 feet and weren’t the fittest or most athletic.)

Having said that Ricky the Rockstar ()) took it all very seriously and fancy didn’t he? Feckin’ Seaweed Scones and Anchovy Butter, shur’ that’s Masterchef carry on. Although I will have ta’ get me hands on that Choux recipe – more about that in a sec.

Then there was Dagenham Stace. I always had a bitta’ve soft spot for Stacy as I remember being told she was from the Avenues. A series of terraces in Dagenham I know well as my grandparents lived on 3rd Avenue, and subsequently my Aunty Dee, who btw could burn cream crackers and curdle packet gravy if she was left anywhere near a cooker.

But Christ those eyelashes were as off putting as the blinding bleached teeth. Pure Dagenham Barking Romford I know, but I was waiting for The Hollywood to find one of the eyelashes in her bakes.

Yet still there is something very genuine about her and I would love the lemonade and blueberry scone recipe myself. And she’s not the worst with a spatula and la-di-dah mixer.

So, Posh Nick. Like, what’s left to say since Tuesday night since you’d swear he won the main gig with all the chatter? Well I’ll give it a go, I think it’s unfair to consider him the useless one in the bake off tent because he has actually never done anything in a Kitchen, and probably never turned on an oven in his life.

I also have to respect the fact that he kept going, and actually put something in front of Pru n’ Paul, nor did he flap or throw a wobbler once; unlike the Paddy that time with the melted Ice Cream.

The boss here was skitting laughing at him, I wasn’t meself now although his wryness wasn’t tedious, but I was surprised he was as immaculate at the final judging as when he arrived into in.

Shurt n’ Tie with an apron, the only other time I’ve seen that was Mark D’Arcy in Bridget Jones. Never the twain…please, Mark D’Arcy should be a protected UNESCO sum’ting.

So Choux got the better of Lord Nick Hewer. I don’t feel so bad meself now. But I made a promise here the other night; when the new kitchen is in Cork’embouche will be the Champagne off the side of it.

The Hollywood’s Devil Food cake  isn’t a bad recipe if anyone wants to give it a lash. Vanilla Paste is about the only thing you might have to search carefully for as it wouldn’t be an Spar/ Aldi/Lidl thing normally. I’m not a fan of only Chocolate but I know most people love Chocolate Cake, and one fact about all his recipes, if you follow it exactly – and I mean chemical explosives exactly, it’s supposed to work.

See ye next week

Happy Paddy’s.

Frilly Keane can be followed on Twitter: @frillykeane

The Great British Bake Off Episode 5 took place last night on Channel 4.

Wait, come back.

it was pudding week!

Frilly Keane writes:

I know last week I kinda dissed puddings a bit, but I’m opening up this week with a complete backtrack. I’d forgotten how easy the prep is and how much fun you can have with them, and how cheaply they can come together with the few bits that might already be in ye’re presses.

Some of ye may have noticed already that I don’t mention my own mother very often, that tis usually her mother, my Nanny Lulu that features from time to time; she’s still alive but we’re not close and would probably qualify as estranged. I have no regrets about this status or suffer any guilt over it.

But it was my mother who was the baker I grew up with.

The only thing I’ve asked from her in the last 10 years was for her recipe books and notes, at the time there was only one hand written one I was explicit about;

A Christmas Cake recipe in the most beautiful graceful handwriting I have ever seen; still. It came into my mother’s collection by way of my sister’s best friend, and my babysitter for years Trisha.

Anyway one year my older sister was charged with doing the Christmas Cakes (it could have been a few years as my mother worked nights – I’d say t’was mid to late 70s anyway), and Tisha came by to sort it out; poor ol’ JackJack still can’t manage to re-heat a shop bought Apple Tart, but she’s an American how, so she probably gets them delivered. (If it’s of any interest I have contacted JackJack just now to get her to confirm how that recipe ended up with us and how it came about that Mam didn’t bake them herself – so a TBC sticky in this paragraph please.)

I digressed here because Mam was, when she was about, a committed and studious home baker. She sourced ingredients and kit from my aunts still in England pretty much from every call and letter between them. And what she did most and best; Steamed Puds.

Although not actually steamed like you saw last night; she used a Pressure Cooker. And in that collection of recipe books is a book with 365 Puddings in it; one for every day of the year.

My 10 year old’s memory thinks it was a St Michael’s Marks and Spencer one. But she had loads of their books, so I won’t let ye rely on it. But with every bake session there was always a few puddings done too.

Interestingly for me now, and hopefully for ye. A steamed pud will keep for weeks if its kept in the bowl its baked in and the greaseproof paper seal and top remains intact. Mam would even leave the string still on, and when it was cold wrap a tinfoil cloak around it.

So, why am I telling ye all this. I was wrong about Puddings. Maybe it was an unintended blocking out of them based on my own relationship with the woman that taught me how to make Queen Cakes and turn them into Butterfly Cakes. I dunno. I don’t care;

I’m putting ye right now.

Give one a go; try a sweet one first and don’t get too fancy with fruit and compote and curd n’stuff. Just put your favourite jam into the bottom of your pudding bowl and pour your sponge mix slowly over it. I’m sure there’s enough YouTube vids up there to teach ye how to seal and tie up a pudding bowl before steaming.

At last, Back to Bake Off; and apologies for taking this long. What I really enjoyed about last night, was that every challenge, Signature, Technical and Showstopper can all be attempted by a first-time baker.

In particular the Showstopper, OK not quite the ones we saw last night. But a tiered dessert is so easy to do, and its great if you have smallies wanting to help. A loaf tin, cling film, some fruit covered in an inch of jelly. Set it. Mix up a layer of Ice cream or custard or mouse or even yogurt and pour over your now set Jelly.

Next, crushed brownies, cheesecake base, trifle sponges, even slices of Swiss Roll; anything. See that, everything there now can be shop bought in the shop across the road. No baking or measuring or weighing or sifting. You won’t even need an apron.

Recipe of the week is not what ye might be thinking because it mentioned a certain gentleman known to us all here. Christ, I couldn’t even think of him and that pond together with Earl Grey tea. I’m holding back my throat now thinking about being forced to drink hot water with washing-up liquid in it.

I’m going to recommend Steven’s Lemon Pud although I’m going to swap out the Blackcurrants for Blackberries or Blackberry Jam. If any of ye have access to any Country Markets, now is the time to get a few jams in to get yere puddin’ on.

No daycent smutty stuff worth bringing to ye’re attention, nor any shurt talk that would be of any interest. As predicted, the new faces in the tent, Prue, Noel and Sandi are fully embedded into the Bake Off; and they did it without stepping on anyone’s toes or by overlooking the tradition and legacy started by Dame Mary Berry and the other two, Mel and Sue. Yeah I know but she should be.

Three Hollwood handshakes in the Signature last night; a record. But only two of the recipients were in contention for Star Baker, Stacey and Yan, who ran alongside Sophie in that final decision.

Sophie who in all honesty was up there at that level for Cake week and Biscuit week anyway, and will be a finalist imo. So, it was well earned and well deserved to final breakthrough into Star Baker.

Now to who went home, James. Ah here t’was only a matter of time anyway. And he was the only one on that step last night.

Next week is Pastry week. And ye all know too well that pastry is an art form all on its own. And no matter how many times we follow the same recipe there is always something different about each outcome.

I’ll be looking for some new tips and techniques meself, and hopefully I can get finally figure out Choux.

It’s still all to play for. The best last 7 ever and if Yan can survive Pastry week, I think Patisserie could be right up her street, and we might just have another new contender for Season 8.

Oh, and what happened to all those Recipes, my mother gave them all away to my father’s niece. Along with all her kit.

Pic; Channel 4