10 May 2017

The Return of The Blog


Yes, it is I. Abandoner of the blog, conqueror of the dissertation, ecstatic amateur of the ukulele, wearer of orange boots and consumer of the Galaxy chocolate bar (this particular title may have something to do with my most recent activity of late). I have decided to make a blogging comeback. Why, you ask? Well there is one simple answer to your question, oh fine fellow human, and that is PROCRASTINATION. Procrastination from exam revision - it's a serious art.

You see, the time is now upon us students for us to don our backpacks, which may or may not contain see-through plastic pencil cases, and venture forth into the unknown lands of the Exams. What we will find there, noone truly knows (although some tutors have decided to share potential exam questions with students thus making them demand, I quote, 'excellent exam answers'... nice one, thanks for that). Down we will sit at a hopefully-not-wobbly desk with our writing utensils and unlabelled water bottles, waiting for someone who only emerges in the summer months to announce how we should write one answer per answer booklet and fold the sticky bit over our names as indicated, in order to shield our identities from the world of examiners. Despite this being around the 20th time we've heard this in our lives, some of us still fail to remember to switch booklets and end up madly scribbling and having a quarter-life crisis in the last ten minutes of the exam. Some of us *ahem*-not me-*ahem* end up folding the sticky bit half way across the exam paper so our names and library card numbers are hardly identifiable and we end up silently swearing as we try to peel it back off, only to find that it is simply impossible.

This is just a short post to say GOOD LUCK to all the fellow exam-takers out there. You have the powaaaaah to smash it, and you will.

R xxxxx

Image: via

26 October 2016

43 Thoughts I Had Watching GBBO - Series 7 SEMI-FINAL

You may have noticed that I missed out last week's blog because I was busy with uni/work/life/social stuff and I apologise.
This week, though, is the semi-final so I'm getting back in the game. Gimme some sugar (literally).

  1.  "It's the last one that someone goes home... 'cos the next time someone'll be the winner." Good to see Candice knows how semi-finals work.
  2. Oh YES PLEASE surely they put Selasi through automatically - he says he'll be baking in a dress in the final if he reaches it. A real slinky number, please.
  3. That black and white intro with French Mel & Sue is a perfect example of why Bake Off should 100% not be losing these absolute presenting gems. *sobs*
  4. Sue's blazer says 'HAPPY' on the back. I love her.
  5. *French accent* 24 savoury palmiers, s'il vous plait. 12 each of 2 different flavours. I've just googled palmiers and am now about 3x as hungry as I was before.
  6. The way Mary says "layers" is magnificent.
  7. Lots of kneading going on and it looks like we're going to hear about Candice's bake first. Flippin' nora listen to this: red onion, Cambozola (apparently a brie-style blue cheese, so one I might actually like) and walnuts for one type and mushroom, streaky bacon and parmesan for the other.
  8. Pesto alert, pesto alert! Caused by Jane because she's using pesto. What a lass.
  9. Oh holy flippin' palmier. She's teaming it with sundried tomato but wait for it - the other batch is made of 1) goats cheese
    2) olive
    & 3) parma ham 
  10. Praying for Andrew's crumbly palmiers right now. To be more specific: his crumbly cheese and herb palmiers in the shape of elephant ears and treble clefs respectively. Phew.
  11. Hold the phone. Selasi's second batch sound incredible: salmon, spinach and mushroom. Dayyymmmm.
  12. While Selasi's playing around, being all chill as usual, Andrew is frantically making a second attempt at his pastry. In fact, apparently he'd been crying earlier, oh nooooooooo (apparently Mel & Sue ruin the bits of the show with swearing and the like when contestants cry so the footage can't be shown, how fab).
  13. Oh wait, Selasi appears to have lost his chill. That is when you know it's high stakes.
  14. 2 minutes left of Challenge Uno. What can you even get done in two minutes apart from brush your teeth sufficiently?
  15. Results time: Jane's are quite underdone due to the oily sundried tomatoes she's used, says Bezza. Candice's bacon is a hit but not enough like a palmier (and too much like standard pastry) for Paul. Also, a hellova lot of filling by the sounds of it.
  16. Meanwhile Selasi's salmon masterpiece...is not a masterpiece. Raw pastry and not a great bake despite the good flavours. Finally, Andrew - I didn't get what flavours he used at any point for some reason but it seems like he did the best in this challenge! M & P approved.
  17. Now for the next, that means the Technical. "1 High End Savarin". Thanks, Mel. Basically it's a giant cake in the shape of a dome, soaked in orange liquor and with a bit of cream too. Oh, and a fancy chocolate sign.
  18. Candice has got her pout on. Clearly aware her face was being filmed.
  19. "Make a syrup. Full stop." Oh, Selasi, I'm sorry. Actually I'm not because this is going to be really entertaining.
  20. Jane. Is. Stressing. Out. She needs some relaxation tips from Selasi... the one from all episodes previous to this one.
  21. Her worrying might have paid off though - her Savarin is looking goooood. Now for the "orange booze" as Mary so kindly described it.
  22. Semi-final Selasi is SWEATING. Sue kindly helping out there and inevitably causing a Twitter storm by mopping his face with a cloth and looking directly at us, as if to say "you wish".
  23. Judging time. Woah it looks weird with only four bakers left waiting to hear the feedback.
  24. Both Candice's and Andrew's Savarins are overdone slightly, with Andrew's booze having not soaked through. Not enough booze coverage in Selasi's either. Jane's presentation is being appreciated by Paul, but again not enough booze in the middle for Mary. Typical.
  25. Results of this round: 4th place is Selasi, 3rd place is Candice, 2nd place is Andrew and 1st place is Jane! The worrying did work! And she's pretty much speechless.
  26. It's now time for the Semi-Final Showstopper. Oh boy, is it a good one - 36 Fondant Fancies aka. the best thing you can get from Betty's (see below).
  27. Paul has a lot of qualities he wants in his Fancies. Mary's topping that though by saying the bakers will need to produce "sheer perfection" to win them over. No pressure.
  28. Pistachio flavouring for Jane - fantastique.
  29. Andrew wins cutest bake already - little bow ties and sheet music on top of his Fondant Fancies, half of which will have Irish coffee liquor in them. There's Mary approval then.
  30. Candice, meanwhile, is using chocolate and praline for one batch and the other will be cherry bakewell with lilac icing. Sounds pretty as heck. She's pushing herself but I reckon it'll be worth it.
  31. Ma man Selasi is using lime and ginger flavouring for half of his Fancies. Not my thing but good for him.
  32. Mary's getting reflective. I wonder if we'll get any more classic gifs of her face out of this or next week's episode. Maybe if someone's Fondant Fancies have an explosive amount of alcohol in or something.
    see this for reference
  33. Fondant pourin' is occurrin'. Jane has made a beautiful pale green fondant that I loooooove.
  34. This tense music though. Ahhh.
  35. And it's done. Challenge trois of the semi-final is done. Candice up for judging first.
  36. She's presented her bake with a small pink piano. Both of her batches have gone down really well with M & P, Mary is loving it.
  37. Selasi now - Paul loves his sponge. The first bake too sweet but the second (the lime and ginger one) a hit.
  38. I am so blahdy hungry.
  39. Jane's raspberry FFs were tasty tasty and so were her lemon ones - the judges are being picky about the sides though which weren't finished off well.
  40. Finally, Andrew. He did pretty good too.
  41. Now for the big discussion at the end with M, P, M and S. Andrew is up for star baker, says Paul. Will he win it??? Or how about Candice...
  42. And it's... Andrew! He is blown away, it genuinely looked like he was sitting next to a giant fan.
  43. Leaving at the end of the semi-final is.. Selasi. Woahh. So in the final we have ANDREW, CANDICE and JANE. Duh duh duh.
Images: via via via via via

11 October 2016

51 Thoughts I Had Watching GBBO - Series 7 Episode 7

  1. This week, it's dessert week. When I think of desserts, I think mousses. I think black forest gateau (to this I say "bleuuugh" but it's apparently a British favourite). I think pavlovas..
  2. Sue Perkins announces the first challenge of the week with a cheeky eyebrow movement: a filled, sweet, spongy roulade.
  3. The bakers all sound like they know what they're talking about when it comes to roulade-making... we'll see.
  4. Did the BBC just...edit to make it look like Selasi was smiling over at Benjamina?
  5. Selasi is delivering us (ok, the judges) a strawberry and lemon roulade with a cream filling and lemon curd. Deeee-licious.
  6. "I'm hoping there'll be no crack whatsoever" - Mary Berry 2k16
  7. Nutmeg is going into Tom's Millionaire Shortbread roulade. He's reacted to Sue's subsequent marriage proposal with an awkward, terrified smile. Doesn't seem promising, Sue.
  8. Ay-ay-ay! A Pina Colada roulade from Benjamina. It's going to be filled with a pineapple and rum puree and have coconut and cherries on top with a cutesie teeny umbrella on the top.
  9. oh yes THERE IT IS. The Mary Berry wink, back to delight us all. Of course this happened after alcohol was mentioned.
  10. Banana and a passionfruit curd for Andrew's bake. Paul approves. 
  11. Tom's using a hand-powered tiny pink fan to cool something. Selasi is amused.
  12. Classic white chocolate and raspberry combination for Candice's bake, mmmmm. Some passionfruit curd in there too.
  13. Oooh Tom's sponge is a bit flat, he says. He's re-making it! Praying he has enough time for this.
  14. Oi oi, I hear a Mary Berry lurking. Jane's putting hazelnut liqueur into her chocolate sponge roulade.
  15. Can Selasi have his own show please?
  16. Even Mel's getting flustered (at him "spreading cream") and she's meant to be a composed professional...or so I thought.
  17. Rollin' time. Candice's roulade is looking mighty fine...
    ...whilst Tom is trying to dress up his "informal" a.k.a. "messy" roll with a mass of chocolate spread.
  18. tense music tense music tense musiiiic
  19. spooky results musiiiiic
  20. ...Ok, Jane's up first in the judging for this first challenge. Paul's being fussy about the number of rolls (there's only one) as well as the heaviness of the alcohol. Mary, of course, loves it.
  21. Benjamina has been told she aced the textures but P-dawg ain't sure about the pineapple flavour. She did well though, I'd say.
  22. Anytime Paul starts a sentence with "Interesting that you..." I feel an overwhelming sense of dread. He's worked out that Tom is trying to hide his hellish roll with the choc spread. Tasted great but its looks weren't a hit.
  23. Candice's bake, while it looks perfect, isn't. "Quite dense" "a bit rubbery" oh sacre bleu
  24. Mary and Paul like Andrew's bake quite a bit. Selasi's 'Summer Picnic Roulade' delighted them too.
  25. Now:
    The bakers have to make four layers of something...with praline buttercream and ganache "and the whole thing covered in nuts". A 'marjolaine' cake.
  26. I'm not sure what's going on. Everyone's making and spreading this white meringue type thing around in a tin and I don't know what it is, it sounds French
  27. Praline-making is now occurring. Ah oui oui le history lesson de Mel and Sue, they're in France meeting a confectioner. What a job - not only do they get to commentate in the Bake Off Tent but they get to go around the world interviewing people about tasty foods..and then tasting them.
    Benjamina making epic progress
  28. Bless Andrew, he's never seen a marjolaine before (who has) and so he's basically just hoping and praying that he's making something that looks remotely like what Paul and Mary want.
  29. The bakers are now filling in the stripes with green (probably pistachio) and pale nuts.
  30. Selasi: dacroise a little bit chewy, looked great though. Andrew: very good. Tom: a bit chewy. Candice: "fairly neat".
  31. Selasi last. Third: Benjamina. Second: Candice. First: Andrew!
  32. Paul reckons Tom, Jane, Selasi, and maybe even Candice could be in trouble. So Andrew and Benjamina have got the thumbs up so far.
  33. 24 mini mousse cakes = Challenge Numero 3. So one of the desserts I thought of before this episode came up! Sort of. Gosh how are we not going to get another series of Mel and Sue being this hilarious
  34. Jane is making mousses in an insane amount of flavours. All you need to know is coffee and fruit are involved and they sound scrummy. She's got the fighting attitude too, g'wan Jane.
  35. OMG so I have to stress one of Benjamina's: Apple Crumble Mousse Cake. DO YOU READ
  36. ok ok ok hold the phone. Selasi has taken the lead in the recipe race: Lemon, Raspberry and Passionfruit / Chocolate and Mint mini mousse cakes. Does anyone know if it's legal to marry food yet
  37. Oh bl**dy hell of course Tom's making a 'Hipster Picnic'. He is 'hipster' personified. Carrot for one batch and apple pie flavours for the other.
  38. Candice sounds very stressed. She's making a raspberry liqueur batch and a chocolate and mint batch. If she pulls this off they'll look and taste wunderbar.
  39. Tom's got his teeny pink wind-up fan out again. He can't resist.
  40. Andrew's mini mousse cakes sound gorgeous! Inspired by ice cream, one batch will be mint choc chip and one will be forest fruit. "Ambitious" says Mary. Well, that's how you impress at this stage in the game.
  41. Jane is looking round the tent like a frightened deer. She reckons she's left gelatine out of something...that could come back to haunt her very shortly.
  42. Tom is also not having a great time. Oh Selasi oh nooooo his mousses haven't set at all. I think the resident Bake Off hunk could be leaving today. Even if the flavours are good, that won't be good enough for M & P surely.
  43. Now it's time for the judging of this week's showstopper. Jane is up first and she's smashed it. I'm happy for her.
  44. Selasi's chocolate and mint mousses didn't go down well, but his fruity ones were a hit with the judges.
  45. Candice has done super well on her presentation but her mousse wasn't soft enough.
  46. As for Benjamina's, Mary and Paul are already having seconds. Delicious, apparently, but quite messy. Her apple crumble mousses are lovely too, surely she's safe this week.
  47. Seems like Tom is dreading this particular judging. Too much nutmeg and a "stodgy" mousse. Not so good.
  48. Andrew now - both judges love it and are impressed. So am I as he's presented them on little fairground wheels.
  49. Oooh potentially Benjamina could steal Star Baker title because her bakes tasted so good. I reckon Andrew will win SB and Tom will leave.
  50. Time to find out. Sue's announcing SB and this week it's... Andrew! For the first time of the series. Yaaaay
  51. And leaving us is Tom.
    As predicted. Buh-bye, Vampire Weekend's honorary member.
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02 October 2016

54 Thoughts I Had Watching GBBO - Series 7 Episode 6

  1. Seven bakers left and this week it's meringue-stuff, dough-stuff and flowery-stuff. 'Botanical week' they say.
  2. Rav's a bit apprehensive about the theme, understandably. I can't get the horrible idea of an aloe vera cake out of my head.
  3. Challenge 1: a citrus meringue pie. The bakers can apparently add "anything that grows" for decoration. Hair? Dandelions??
  4. Selasi is using grapefruit, orange and mint. Yum yum yummity yum.
  5. Love that shot of Paul perched on the tabletop looking like a bored, sad kid. "no - no more sweets Paul or you won't eat your tea later"
  6. Flirty McShirty situation going on with Selasi and Benjamina. The first lasting Bake Off relationship could be blossoming before our very eyes (not counting Ruby and Paul's...whatever was going on there).
  7. Rav is using mandarin and making an Italian meringue on top of his pie. He's also using..
  8. Tom - pumpkin....he's going all Vampire Weekend hipster on us, getting his inspiration for his next album 'pumpkin (meringue) pie', all in lower case.
  9. Benjamina and Selasi are, oddly, both using grapefruit. Some same-wavelength romantic baking shiz right there.
  10. Jane's using lime flavoured pastry and a coconut meringue. Stealing Rav's signature flavours I see.
  11. Candice is making a lime and coconut meringue too... What is happening here? Tom might actually be saving himself a little bit by picking an unusual flavour.
  12. Bezza isn't happy with the fact that the bakers are using blowtorches. She wants crispy, oven-baked meringues. Tut tut. Meanwhile Andrew's chatting to himself as always.
  13. Tom's got his eyes on the no-soggy-bottom prize. Always an excellent idea.
  14. I thought the green colouring on Jane's pie was nice but Candice's is close to looking radioactive. Bright baking, I like it.
    a biscuit I ate in New York (for the record it tasted gross but it looked too jazzy to resist)
  15. Sounds like Selasi is going to please Bezza with his oven-baking instead of using the blowtorch. And it's judging time!
  16. Benjamina's grapefruit and ginger bake is going down well with the judges. Proportions great and overall "a very very good job" says P. Hollywood.
  17. Selasi did well too but his curd was too dry and the meringue peaks weren't soft enough for Mary. His Bake Off lover just gave him a knowing look.
  18. Elsewhere, Rav's flavours aren't strong enough, Andrew's pastry is too thick and Tom's is underdone with no citrus coming through.
  19. Jane did pretty well. Candice, meanwhile, is paying the price for not wearing one of her lucky bold lipsticks. Her "meringue tastes ok looks awful".
  20. Challengio numero two...-io. The Botanical Technical: two herb fougasse...?! Ya wot
  21. Rav's eaten it!!!! He knows at least something about this, hallelujah.
  22. Leaf-shaped bread, shallow, bit springy. That's what Paul wants, he says. Sounds easy, right?
  23. Ok Tom says fougasse is his "cinema snack". Who is this man and where the heck does he get fougasse from to go to the cinema with?!
  24. Dough-slapping time. Now some dough-abandoning time. Proving, yes, the technical term.
  25. Tom is now trying to sketch a fougasse with difficulty. He must buy his fougasse from the ticket checker, in the dark.
  26. More proving. Now the breads are out, oiled and going into the oven to bake. Selasi thinks his is going to be underbaked. This isn't stopping him from being possibly the most chilled baker on Earth, though. Ok I say this and he's now lying face down on the floor.
  27. Wafting time, shortly followed by the announcement for judgement time. Some mixed results, with Selasi's correct prediction of his bake being too spongey and undercooked, like a "floury bap" Paul adds.
  28. Last place: Selasi :( :( :(
  29. Third place: Rav, Second: Benjamina, First: Tom! So he DID remember what his cinema fougasse looked like. And tasted like.
  30. According to Paul Blue-Eyes, Selasi, Andrew & Rav are in danger. Oooh and Tom, because he did a doo-doo in round one with his failure of a pumpkin pie.
  31. A three-tier flowery showstopper cake using flowers in some way = Challenge No. 3. I would be so excited for this one but as it's so far into the competition the judges' expectations will be high.
  32. An all-in-one mix for Jane to save her time. G'wan Jane. Clever thinking.
  33. Andrew is using elderflower for his bake. Base: cherry and almond. Middle: lemon & elderflower drizzle. Top: "hidden strawberry vanilla cake". Basically a hella lot of ingredients.
  34. Rav's BLOSSOM CAKE aahhhh that sounds beautiful. Orange blossom.
  35. Tom is using chamomile. Sending everyone to sleep with his cake, hopefully to a dreamy doze state where they all think his bake is great for his sake.
  36. Candice is making a Four Seasons cake and if it's anything like the illustration it will be gorgeous. 
    She's making four tiers...alright
  37. Turns out Jane's making orange cake with chocolate ganache and crafting paste flowers to go on top.
  38. Selasi is building a three-tier ombre masterpiece. One layer carrot, one strawberry & vanilla and one lemon & poppyseed. My heaven.
  39. Benjamina is creating a Floral Tea Cake with two chamomile-infused sponges. Sue's hilariously intrigued by her use of the adjective "semi-naked" to describe her icing style.
  40. One of Candice's tiers is chocolate. She's using a lot of decoration by the looks of it.
  41. I think it's safe to say that Rav is hating life right now. I remember this type of pain from doing Art at A-Level - thinking of an amazing idea and then having to execute it with a time limit and then thinking WHYYY
  42. Am praying for Jane that her cake-wrap works out - she's basically creating abstract artwork to decorate with.
  43. Tom's cake looks like a fluffy pastel masterpiece.
    So does Selasi's. Have the lads taken over at the last hurdle?
  44. Results...
  45. Mel and Sue are looking at each other with open mouths in reaction to Candice bringing her bake up. It's gorgeous. Paul likes it all except the carrot cake layer.
  46. Andrew's cake looks like a pretty, amateur wedding cake. Dry cake. Paul said the words "not good", oh that's got to hurt.
  47. Benjamina's poppy seed layer was not quite done. Her orange layer was better though.
  48. Rav's icing is a tad messy, and with a slightly sickly pastel colouring. 
  49. Jane's up next. What is Paul going to say? ahhh the tension........... right, he says it looks a mess but I think it looks abstractly gorgeous in the way a nice vintage shirt does.
    It's overbaked... yikes! Bless Mary, saying "only just" for reassurance.
  50. Selasi holy cr*p holy holy holy cr*p I am in love. That cake is stunning.
    *gazes longingly...at the cake..*
    Judges are very impressed by all three layers.
  51. Tom's cake is gorgey. Elderflower layer yum, chamomile great, green tea & jasmine layer "beautiful" says Paul. Geloise sponges aced too.
  52. Now the discussion part. Rav & Andrew are in the danger zone. Jane had an "off day" according to Mary, will that be excused?
  53. And it's time for the announcements. Duh duh duh.... star baker this week is Tom! Woahhhhh. I wish Selasi had got it but well done to him.
  54. Oh and Rav is leaving...! Ohhhh. Am going to miss his loveliness.
Images via via own via via via via via via via

25 September 2016

54 Thoughts I Had Watching GBBO - Series 7 Episode 5

  1. It's Week 5 and that means pastry week. In other words, the bakers will have no empathy from me whatsoever (never made pastry, not in a rush to).
  2. Challenge 1: 2 different types of Danish pastries, 12 of each. At what point does a pastry become Danish that is my question.
  3. Ok so the dough needs to be made quickly, that's what I'm understanding from this. Benjamina seems wise in just using one dough for both types of pastries so she can make it all at once.
  4. Everyone's aggressively hitting their doughs with rolling pins. Can someone remix this please.
  5. Mmmmm, Andrew is doing pear & chocolate for one of his pastries. De-licious.
  6. Selasi, spelled correctly, is making a rhubarb, mango and ginger plait. And something with coconut and pineapple in.
  7. Andrew is doing a 'book-turn' (?!) fold on his pastry...
  8. Val's secret weapon: dental floss to cut pastry. Reminds me of how my primary school teacher used to cut clay. I think she used a wire or something - OK BACK TO BAKE OFF
  9. More maths. So much addition/multiplication going on.
  10. Maple syrup granola spirals from Tom. Yes please s'il vous plait. I'd like to make an order for 1 each morning for the rest of eternity.
  11. Candice is making 'apple roses'. Whatever that means, I'm all for it.
  12. Okay Candice is using mushroom and...bacon?! Or ham... Either is fine, it's just bacon is ever so slightly more exciting.
  13. Some serious rolling going on now. Making me think I need to do some arm exercises.
  14. No cavities in Val's bake. Good to know, and her technique for slicing her jam-roll-type-thing is working well.
  15. Jane's having trouble with her bake however - overdone with 5 minutes to go! So there's not much she can do apart from pray and maybe just give in and eat one anyway because they look great to be honest
  16. Candice...may have caused a slightly tiny fire.
  17. Results time: Val's idea sounds good to me. Underdone, Val says her family likes them a bit underdone...hmm. She did say this before the judging but Paul's eyes are giving away that he thinks this is a cheeky fib.
  18. A lot of flavours as usual in Selasi's bake. Have noticed this is a recurring problem across Bake Off in that M & P can criticise when just one of the flavours doesn't "come through".
  19. A few more errors - Tom's and Benjamina's bakes were generally raw, Rav only got 11 plaits finished (and Paul called them "bone dry", oo-er), Kate overfilled hers and Candice did some criminal underbaking. Didn't stop Mel taking six of her rose-sweetened pastries for her "family" though.
  20. Andrew, on the other hand, wowed Mary Berry the legend herself and Jane aced both of her bakes.
    But overall, not great baking to be honest. Some flavour knowledge definitely present though.
  21. Challenge 2, the technical: the almighty Bakewell tart. MB is demanding "sheer perfection". Alright, alright. I honestly have never made one of these and it's something I'd definitely be kicking myself about if I was in that tent.
  22. "WELL DONE BEZZA". Did that just happen?! Did... yep I need to rewind, praise the tellygods for Sky Plus. Never has Paul been so cool/try-hard...and Mary's not even flinched, this is his peak right it's all downhill from here Paul
  23. Val is making it known that she does not have a problem with this challenge: apparently, she makes a Bakewell tart every week and it seems like she's sticking with her own recipe. As in, completely ignoring Mary's. Let's hope this pays off and doesn't piss off the queen of the tent.
  24. Selasi doesn't seem to have a clue on the other hand. He's struggling to think about what to fill his tart with...
  25. Andrew's jam and frangipan have mixed oh jeez CALL 999 THIS IS AN EMERGENCY
  27. The tent is currently not a place of calm. Who would've thought a Bakewell tart would cause such mayhem.
  28. The bakers are having to put on their icing while the tart is still warm. Having done this on a cake I recall that the outcome is generally not pretty and quite devastating.
  29. Technical results time!
    Jane, Selasi and Benjamina did the best overall with great flavours and baking. For others in the tent, there's jam-overloads, underbaking, tarts that are still warm, unfinished icing and the first soggy bottom of the series (credit to Val). Bit awkward.
  30. In last place is Rav, despite Val's soggy bottom. 3rd is Selasi, 2nd is Candice and Jane got 1st place! She's rising like a true baking phoenix.
  31. According to Mary/Paul/Mel/Sue discussion time, it's Benjamina, Val, Tom and Rav who are in trouble this week. About half the bakers then.
  32. Challenge Trois: 48 filo pastry amuse-bouches, within 4 hours. Yeah, good luck everyone.
  33. Val's off to a good start. This time I was being sarcastic: she hasn't made filo pastry for 35 years.
  34. Meanwhile, Rav is making my dreams come true Chinese prawn tartlets. Y-u-m.
  35. Jane is creating ice-cream cone-shaped cherry and chocolate amuse-bouches for half of her batch. Honestly all of these things, probably because they're basically pastry holding delicious fillings, sound perfect to me. Especially those Chinese prawn ones, gimme.
  36. History lesson time - Mel's voice is luring us away from the bake. 2 tonnes of sugar are used for 'Baklava' in one bakery that Mel's visited. I spelled 'Baklava' right first time *can I get a woopwoop gif* (also what is Baklava I still don't know)
  37. Nigerian Benjamina is making plantain and spinach samosas. Never had plantain (related to the banana says Bing, Google too much effort) but she's making it sound great.
  38. Has occurred to me that I could 'Bing' Baklava but I can't be bothered. It's nicer to dream about the possibilities of what a Baklava might be than face the reality.
  39. Val with another one of her ideas: rolling pastry with a broom handle. I didn't think this woman could get any more endearingly bonkers but I was wrong.
  40. Thin filo achieved, time to make tiny parcels of loveliness. 48 of them, that is, as Mel reminds us. Bit tricky then.
  41. 45 minutes left and Tom has pastry envy. That's natural Tom, just know that your pastry is unique to you and beautiful in its own special way.
  42. Jane is at the back of the kitchen making weird noises. It's because she's frozen her jam by accident. Oh rats, well that would do it.
  43. There are no rats in the tent, just to be clear.
  44. Rav is calm and collected, all done with minutes to spare. That's actually quite refreshing.
  45. Sue Perkins, just nominated for Bake Off Quote of the Year with "Leave your balls alone".
  46. And now...let's judge. Benjamina up first and she may have saved herself from the danger zone; the plantain bake tastes delicious, while her sweet one with chai in is deemed as good. Selasi, although apparently having used lovely parma ham, scored not so well with a dry savoury bake and underbaking for the rest.
  47. OUCH, Paul has stolen Bezza's "informal" adjective to describe Tom's amuse-bouches. A dagger straight to the oven.
  48. Jane did much better, amazing the judges overall, but her ice cream creations don't count really as they're too big and amuse-bouches are meant to be really small. Hopefully they'll give her the benefit of the doubt.
  49. Andrew's smashed it yet again, while Val had 12 of one bake missing! And a number of errors too. Am getting an unwelcome feeling that she might be leaving this week.
  50. Both Candice and Rav (the champion of saving himself) achieved great results. As for Candice, her sausage meat, black pudding and apple amuse-bouches were "spot on" and looked fab. Her sweet banoffee bake also went down well. As for Rav, he made spiced white chocolate and hazelnut samosas - I need him in my life.
  51. SO the time for the final discussion of Week 5 arrives - Paul reckons Benjamina and Rav have saved themselves, whilst Val and Tom are in danger of going. My predictions for Star Baker? Jane, Andrew or Candice - they all deserve it imo.
  52. Time for the announcements. Sue says the Star Baker this week is.........Candice!!!
  53. Mel's delivering the sad news now of who's leaving: it's Val. Ma woman is gone! Bless her she's so lovely. Had something in my eye after her little au-revoir speech.
  54. Next week: meringue pies, herby bread and a floral cake showstopper. Basically we've ran out of themes and from now on it's a mishmash.
    Down to the final seven...
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19 September 2016

47 Thoughts I Had Watching GBBO - Series 7 Episode 4

  1. I'm in serious denial about the fact that we're going to be losing Mel & Sue's bake off intros on our tellyscreens.
  2. This week it's Batter Week, a first in Bake Off history.
  3. Challenge uno: 24 identical Yorkshire puddings. This whole 'identical' thing is the real issue. Even Mary's saying it's difficult.
  4. I've just realised I've never made Yorkshire puddings, yet I'm from Yorkshire. Oh jeez, Mary is now saying to Val that as she's from Yorkshire they should be a "doddle".... am now questioning my entire being
  5. Val's filling them with chilli. Mmmmm.
  6. Candice seems pretty confident this week. She's dropped a fork but apart from that she's on top form with a beef wellington filling.
  7. "I can't make Yorkshires to save my life". Jane setting herself up for victory there.
  8. Thai-inspired filling with tofu for Rav. This is fairly exotic, am just used to gravy, beef and some roast potatoes to be honest.
  9. Vampire Weekend Tom, last week's winner, sounds quite confident also.
  10. Selasi...I have been spelling his name wrong all this time, aaaaah. Anyway, he's using pork crackling and Paul is very happy about that. Kate, meanwhile, is making Christmas dinner Yorkshires.
  11. The baker winning me over this week is Benjamina. She's using possibly the best combination of foods ever: brie and bacon.
  12. I didn't catch what Andrew was up to earlier but he's using chicken, that's all I know. Apologies.
  13. There's Mel being Tom's Bake Off Guardian and telling him he needs to work harder if he's going to keep his Star Baker title. No pressure.
  14. Selasi has made HUMUNGOUS Yorkshires. Seriously giant. They may not be even but who cares.
  15. Mary and Paul care actually, that's who. Aaaand probably Selasi.
  16. Ohhhh, Tom is having to start again. His Yorkshires just didn't rise. The same situation for Val too, at least they're in this together. 10 minutes left!
  17. And at results time I've found out that Andrew has been making 'Tapas' filling for his bake. Mama M and Papa P approve.
  18. Jane absolutely aced the flavours but her Yorkshires were a bit under-baked.
    what ya gon' do
  19. Candice also kicked flavour-y butt. A bit shallow in the Yorkshire department though. Similar result for Benjamina.
  20. Selasi has well and truly won Paul Blue Eyes' affections with his pork crackling bake. He may have indirectly deafened Sue though, from Paul almost breaking his jaw as he bit through it.
  21. Rav did really well too, despite Paul not being a big fan of tofu. So did Val, much to her delight. Tom's were a bit of a flop though - obviously Mel's attempt at encouragement didn't work all too well.
  22. Time for the Technical. The Batter Technical. 12 heart-shaped lacy pancakes (oo-er).
  23. Candice has enlightened us on the complexity of the recipe: "1. Make pancake batter." FOR PETE'S SAKE PAUL
  24. I would say that it seems like some of the bakers have common sense here in terms of pancake-making but I really wouldn't know.
  25. Selasi, Bake Off 2016: "Can you smell definition"
    oh Sue
  26. Ohhhh one of Val's has split!
    Bound to happen in this sort of time allowance though. The bakers only have 1 hour to make 12 so that's... half an hour for 6 and... 5 minutes for 1. Gosh.
  27. Time up! It's the blind judging and it's a mixed bag. Rav used all the sugar which turned out to be too much, Tom's turned out okay, Benjamina's very good and Andrew's too dry.
  28. Results time: Rav is in last place. Third place is Jane, second is Candice, and in first is Benjamina. These three have done well this week.
  29. In their little chat at the table, M & P have named Benjamina, Andrew and Candice as safe so far. Rav is currently in a big pile of doughy doo-doo.
  30. But it's not over yet - time for the showstopper! And this week it's....churros. 36 of them, to be exact. Oh yum, I hope someone makes chocolate sauce.
  31. Andrew is playing it safe and simple with his churros mixture, but is using a tricky flower design and tasty-sounding dipping sauces. The others seem to be complicating the churros mix itself, adding flavours all over the shop.
  32. For example, Rav is using matcha and pistachio and a range of dips and that sounds kinda delicious.
  33. Val either sounds like she's a churros expert or she's recalling fake knowledge from a dream and doing it very convincingly. Anyhow she's using chocolate dipping sauce!!! Yessss Val. That's for her orange zest churros filled with chocolate ganache.
  34. Tom and Rav are piping their churros mixture straight into the fryer, which seems like a dodgy move in that their churros ain't gonna be identical, surely.
  35. Someone's brought in a sheet of fake grass.. oh it's Tom with his fennel snake churros.
  36. And time for judgment. First up, it's Val: very uniform and great ridges but too doughy for M & P.
  37. Tom's snakes are too tough as he baked them for too long. D'oh.
  38. Selasi had gone for the freezer approach in order to keep the dome shapes of his churros, but it's backfired and he's ended up with raw dough inside. Sad times.
  39. Jane, despite never having eaten a churro, has aced her pistachio ones and I think she has a shot at Star Baker fo' sho'.
  40. Rav's been called out for his inconsistency and his bad flavours....oh man.
  41. Andrew's flowers were in the fryer for too long, such a shame.
  42. Kate let the oil get to her churros, resulting in a lot of crispiness and no softness in the middle. They looked cute though.
    Kate's 'bunny boiler' churros
  43. Candice's weren't terrible, it seems. I reckon she did enough to stay in the running.
  44. Benjamina now. On image, she's aced it. On taste, she's aced it. Oooh so maybe Benjamina is SB?
    Benjamina's coconut churros with passionfruit dip
  45. Tom, Rav and Kate are in the danger zone.......must be weird for the bakers to watch the show afterwards and see the times that they didn't think they were at risk. These three know it this time however.
  46. Now for the lovely Mel to announce Star Baker. And it's... Benjamina!
  47. Now for the lovely Sue to announce the leaver of the week... it's Kate. Her dark horse destiny was not to be, evidently.

12 September 2016

53 Thoughts I Had Watching GBBO - Series 7 Episode 3

  1. Mel and Sue are BACK. TOGETHER ONCE MORE! I'm ecstatic, can you tell.
  2. So it's Week 3 and according to the official 2016 Bake Off Schedule (don't quote me on this) it's Bread Week. 
    trolls, dementors, he who shall not be named - ANYTHING BUT BREAD WEEK
    Val sounds pretty confident as she makes bread all the time. I personally have only ever made pizza dough and it turned out to be more like a pizza loaf in the end. Obviously got a bit keen with the easy-bake yeast.
  3. The first challenge is to make "chocolate bread" in any form. I wish to see a giant brioche with chocolate sauce in the middle. Basically an enlarged one of these:
    ooh la la je les adore
  4. Yes, Candice!!! Bringing the brioche with chocolate and some caramel too. Bonus points for fighting off Paul's intimidation tactics too, good work.
  5. Rav, meanwhile, is using cardamom and hazelnuts in his loaf. It'll be like a 'Babka', he says. "I know what a Babka is": Mary reasserting her Bake Off tent dominance there.
  6. Turns out Benjamina is in on the secret too: she's making an 'express Babka'. I'm just smiling and nodding at this point.
  7. Trying to listen to what the others are doing but there's so much distracting kneading action... ok, Kate is baking something that looks like cobbles. Excellent.
  8. Aha! Andrew has decided to bake a traditional Irish Halloween loaf. Ireland is just magnificent, they have food especially for Halloween. Come to think of it, do us English folks have anything?! All I can think of is a load of miniature Mars bars in a pumpkin bucket.
  9. Val is using chocolate spread as a filling for her vanilla-and-something loaf, yesssss get in ma belleh.
  10. I've just made some Nigella Blondies and watching this is making me want to eat every single one of them. Send help.
  11. Michael is crafting a spicy spicy bread with cayenne peppers and dark chocolate. I'm not sure I'd eat it myself as I'm still a dark-choco-phobic (?!) but it sounds like something someone somewhere would eat. At some point.
  12. Solasi! He's obviously been watching old Terry's adverts as he's bringing in some orange flavour, as well as some cinnamon, to go with his chocolate bread extravaganza.
  13. "Noone likes a small under-filled ball." I bet my dry shampoo that Candice was provoked to say that by Mel and Sue. Keeping her promise of red lipstick for this week I see.
  14. Mel has found her true calling as a human smoke detector. She's just informed Solasi that his bread is burning...
  15. And Candice's creation has collapsed! There was too much liquid and not enough substance. Candice, you were wrong: everyone likes an under-filled ball.
  16. Results time: quite iffy results in general. Some overcooking, some over-chocolating, some under-baked goods. Poor Candice.
  17. Michael ended up using too much spice, I fear Ainsley Harriott and his spicy ways have gotten through to him too soon..at such a young age..
  18. Oh, hang on! Tom, Vampire Weekend guy, has aced this challenge! And so has Rav with his cardamom loaf.
  19. Now it's time for the technical. When Paul says beware, it's not a good sign. "12 dampfnoodel". With 2 sauces....what the actual heck.
  20. Mel tells us that the word 'dampf' translates to 'steamed' in English.
  21. Mary describes them as an "iced bun without the icing", to Paul though and not to the bakers who actually need this tip. All they have is a list of instructions that starts with "1. Make a dampfnoodel dough". Sorry WHAT
  22. HOW??!
  24. Paul is having a field day backstage in comparison.
  25. History lesson time, stress relief is needed. Apparently there's an official dampfnoodel song which I now want to have as my ringtone. I will somehow make this happen.
  26. Back to the Bake Off tent and GCSE Maths is coming into play. So many calculations for these dampfnoodelen (I'm pluralising as I heard Mel do it and I am a language sheep).
  27. Andrew is playing a guessing game. To be honest, he's not alone - everyone is. Val's guesses seem to be working well for her yet Rav looks like he's in deep trouble with a foamy swamp yet to evaporate from his dampfnoodel pan.
  28. "It's the kind of burn that you like." Yes, Solasi, we all like a good specific type of burn on our dampfnoodelen.
  29. Resultos: Andrew did well but with crispy bottoms, Val has also passed this round. Kate and Rav's dough was super undercooked, Tom's tasted great but had signs of underproving, Benjamina's sauce was too thick (gosh I forgot they had to make sauces) and Candice's is slightly underdone...oh dear she's got a concerned face on and it's not comfortable to witness. Solasi and Jane did OK and Michael not so OK. And Rav...well Rav came in last place. He's laughing about it though, taking it pretty well so kudos to him.
  30. Third place: Candice! All those uncomfortable facial expressions for nothing. Second is Andrew, and in first place is Val!! Ma woman!!
  31. So most people are in the conceptual danger zone at the end of challenge two it seems.
  32. It's time: the super-duper bread showstopper. A savoury plaited centrepiece using three different flours. I reckon this'll be a masterpiece-producing round, like the lion from last series. Who's it gonna beeeeeeeee
  33. Tom has just spoken some foreign words and he's making something to do with Thor. Yay.
  34. Val's creating a plaited Noah's ark. She's had to back up her reasoning for not keeping up with the two-by-two tradition with respect to the featuring animals though. Apparently one of the elephants left as they argued and one of the doves flew off for no apparent reason. I may have just broken my personal best for laughing volume.
  35. Benjamina is making pesto for her loaf, mmmm. Rav is also taking this route but adding some spice, as well as a tasty-sounding masala chutney.
  36. Pesto for Jane too! She's combining it with chorizo, chillis and parmesan in her showstopper. Y-u-m.
  37. Did Andrew just develop an American accent or was that just my hearing playing up.. obvs been paying too much attention in my phonetics lectures.
  38. Val and Solasi are having trouble remembering how to plait four strands of dough. Meanwhile, Tom is showing off to be honest with his six strand plait...which looks slightly 'male' (Sue's word, not mine).
  39. Kate's leaving hers in the oven for longer as she was off by minutes on the last bake. Praying that the extra time is needed and won't result in an over-bake.
  40. It's towards the end of the challenge now and the bakes are coming together. Andrew has made a b-e-a-utiful basket out of bread, wow. Candice, on the other hand, is looking rather flustered.
  41. So the time for results is here and Jane is up first. Baked, great texture, good plaiting and the pesto works! Four out of four, yasss Jane.
  42. The judges think that Val's bake is rather messy, or "informal" as Mary likes to put it. Tom used an interesting ingredient that I've never heard of in bread before: seaweed. Mary approves.
  43. Andrew's basket up for judging now, gosh it does look gorgeous. But the wrath of blue-eyed Paul cannot be stopped - he's picking it apart, physically and verbally. The flavours are great though, he says.
  44. Benjamina KILLED IT, getting "gorgeous" x3 from Paul Hollywood himself.
  45. Rav has redeemed himself slightly with great flavours but some under-baking let him down.
  46. A take on Solasi's showstopper by Mary Berry: "That looks good, I want to eat it." Well, what a review.
  47. Paul has just this moment sipped the 99% alcohol used in Michael's showstopper, the alcohol having been given to Michael by his aunt. Safe to say Paul did not maintain his cool. As for the bake itself? A classic flavour combination but messy execution.
  48. Kate the dark horse has done so well with her loaf that Mary is trying to invite herself to her next picnic. I would not object.
  49. Candice...has not got great feedback from Paul. Oh dear. She ain't a happy bunny this week.
  50. So it's ultimately Val, Michael and Candice in danger. Val again! I'm worried ma woman is going home as it's her second week in a row in the danger zone.
  51. The announcements....star baker title this week goes to...Tom the Vampire Weekend guy! Yaaaaay. He did not expect that.
  52. And leaving us is: Michael.
  53. Prepare your eyes and ears for next week, for it is batter week. Oh my god. YORKSHIRE PUDDINGS HERE WE FLIPPING GO. This may determine my absolute favourites as I allocate super shiny bonus points to whoever makes a good Yorkshire pud.
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