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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06 September 2016

41 Thoughts I Had Watching GBBO - Series 7 Episode 2

  1. So today it's just Mel delivering innuendos and consoling bakers when everything goes buns up.
    "And it's biscuit week!!!"
  2. "I'll eat a bit of carpet" - Mary Berry 2k16
  3. The first challenge...it be to make 24 identical iced biscuits. They can be of anything the bakers like but they need to look exactly the same, apparently.
  4. Sometimes when I look at Mel I think she belongs in a Wallace and Gromit movie.
  5. Oh Paul's gonna get his dunk on. Let's hope no one thinks Jaffa Cakes are biscuits and makes him those to dunk again.
  6. Welsh Louise is going for sheep Brith biscuits. The Internet tells me that 'brith' is the Welsh word for 'speckled'.
  7. Lovely Val, being the woman after my own heart that she is, is making ice cream-shaped biscuits. Yesssss.
  8. Andrew, meanwhile, is making super cute bee biscuits and according to Mel, the scent of Kate's biscuits is "slightly skincare'. Not sure that's a good thing.
  9. Tom is the name of Vampire Weekend guy. And he's making coffee biscuits.
  10. Solasi, my personal champion from last week, is throwing some scotch bonnet chillies into the mix and they seem a bit spicy for Mary B. Paul approves.
  11. I'm a particular fan of Michael's idea of malt chocolate and orange-flavoured biscuits in the shape of little pints.
  12. At one point, I will follow Bake Off for a whole series and try and make everything they do. Am trying not to eat too many baked goods though right now (someone ought to remind me of this when I go back to uni with its extremely accessible Greggs and its alluring chicken bakes please). Maybe I could just donate my bakes to neighbours or if they're superbly tragic I'd just leave them for the birds to check out.
  13. Benjamina is making flower bouquet biscuits - cute. Jane is making a similar bake as she's a garden designer, what a flipping cool job. And Rav has chosen the rather refreshing-sounding combination of coconut and lime flavours for his biscuits.
  14. Having seen in the preview bit that someone drops their biscuits, I'm quite nervous-OH NO! IT'S LOUISE NO....she has to restart. I would be crushed.
  15. Candice oh my goodness. Salted caramel double-layered heart-shaped biscuits and she has a pug called Dennis. She's winning me over gradually.
  16. It feels like Mel hasn't done a hi-five for a while, she didn't really know what to do with her arm afterwards. Me too Mel, me too. In fact I think I'm allergic to hi-fives, along with some weird face paint I used in 2004.
  17. Biscuits down! I repeat: BISCUITS DOWN. Val's, to be exact. She's being pretty cool about it though: "ice creams aren't meant to be identical anyway". Yes Val, screw the rules, this is the Great British Realistic Bake Off.
  18. Results time! And there's a few issues: Andrew's biscuits are too soft, Louise's are more like scones (not a bad thing in my book), Val's were too messy and she didn't make enough. Not all bad though.
  19. Now for the history bit - why have I never dunked biscuits in booze?! It truly sounds like a quality use of one's time. Thanks for the lesson, Sue.
  20. Challenge 2: 12 Viennese whirls. Frankly I'd forgotten what these were but oh holy cowbell Mary's example has reminded me and they look de-licious. I bet M & P are going to eat them now and that's just not fair, I object.
  21. The first instruction is just 'Make a jam'... I'm not ready to enter Bake Off just yet.
  22. Now everyone's getting around to baking the biscuit parts. Tom's checking for soggy bottoms, a good move.
  23. Solasi's having crumbly results and so is Louise if I've correctly identified her Welshness.
  24. And at the end of this round, Solasi is in last place! Whaaaaat. Benjamina in third, Jane in second and Kate in first. Kate the Bake Off dark horse (ok yes it's only episode 2 but so far she seems like it).
  25. At this point, Paul and Mary are saying that Solasi, Val and Louise are in the danger zone. Yikes.
  26. Challenge numero trois. The showstopper this week is a '3D Gingerbread Story' which is basically a scene with characters/objects on it that's at least 30cm tall and made of gingerbread. Obvs.
  27. Val is making a structure inspired by her roots in Yorkshire, the Netherlands and New York while Louise is re-creating her wedding day. How sweet. Eyyy, gingerbread, sweet, eyyyyyy.
  28. Ambitious Candice, on the other hand, has set herself the mission of building a gingerbread pub as she was brought up in one. A normal one that is, make of bricks and tiles and stuff.
  29. Tom is recreating his near death experience on a mountain....alright, Tom.
  30. 37. That's the number of pieces of GB Andrew needs to build his Cambridge bridge and boat spectacular. Woaoaaoaoh.
  31. "The children are cooked now" - Kate the GBBO dark horse 2k16
  32. This does admittedly look like one of the more stressful bakes. It's basically a timed sculpture exam.
  33. Jane is now expressing how much she hates gingerbread. This is what Bake Off does to you.
  34. Oh jeeeez Louise and Val are not having a good week! Both of their structures have collapsed and there's no more time left for them to fix them.
  35. I'm so invested in these bakers already, I don't want any of them to leave.
  36. And the gingerbread results! Andrew's is incredible and apparently it tastes great. Top quality.
  37. Paul just decapitated Val's sister. In biscuit form. Who tastes good, he says.
  38. Kate's creation looks perfect and it tastes...not gingery...oops. Michael, though, has made the best tasting gingerbread so far. Too bad it looks like aged 9 Michael decorated it.
  39. Candice's pub is gorgeously detailed. It even has an edible pool table. Wowee. Surely she deserves this week's Star Baker title, for this bake alone.
  40. And she gets it! Hooraaaaahhhhh
  41. The bad news: Welsh Louise is being sent home.

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25 August 2016

43 Thoughts I Had Watching GBBO - Series 7 Episode 1

  1. “Spatularisations”. I have missed Mel & Sue more than I thought.
  2. Someone’s already wanting Mary as her nan. As far as I'm aware we are baking cakes here not adopting. Unless this is a weird spin-off...
  3. Moist is Mel's favourite word. It's a very common least favourite word, it is phonetically disgusting WHY MEL WHY
  4. It’s cake week! First up: drizzle cake.
  5. Val is amazing. She’s gone for quite a simple orange and lemon flavour combination but she dances in her kitchen so I’m sold.
  6. Rav sounds like my spirit baker. He's already injured himself 30 seconds in.
  7. Michael meanwhile is making a giant treacle gloop in a pan. My winner right there.
  8. Okay so Kate already reminds me of a previous Bake Off winner. Good sign maybe? I can’t think who though…
  9. Sue saying “the wrong temperature…the wrong baking time” while we watch people put their cakes in the oven is so unnerving.
  10. “1 hour to make your driz the shiz." And Solasi forgot his cinnamon! Ahhhhh
  12. Some guy is making a Marmite curd...not from Marmite, just one that Mary and Paul-Blue-Eyes will either love or hate. Risky.
  13. Val is now listening to her cakes. Apparently they're saying, "not ready, not ready". She is gold.
  14. Andrew the aerospace engineer is using lemon and rosemary. Yummy.
  15. Val has just reversed into her tray of flower decorations and now they're on the floor - 5 second rule! SAVE THEM VAL.
  16. Und now, the resultos. Benjamina made pistachio and lemon cake and it's fully baked! A good start.
  17. The chap from Bolton got bad texture, Michael and Kate missed out key elements of their cake and Vampire Weekend lookalike man with the Marmite curd has shocked Paul into making a weird face.
  18. A gluten-free creation from the resident goth-lipstick lady. She seemed to ace it.
  19. Oh no... Rav's failed at his spices, aerospaceman doesn't have enough lemon, Welsh Louise needed more orange, Val had no drizzle. So much disappointment in the air.
  20. Solasi now. He's saved the day and kicked baking butt well and truly.
  21. Bridget Jones' mum used poppy seeds (100 brownie points from me) and did well.
  22. Now the technical: 12 Jaffa Cakes! So for this, everyone has the same ingredients and a list of instructions.
  23. I have never closed my eyes while eating a Jaffa Cake. Obviously I'm missing out on euphoria by not making my own.
  24. Ahahahaa Mary just got her sass out. "We don't do that in the South you know," she fully sassed as Paul dunked his Jaffa C in his tea. That's what digestives are for, Paul.
  25. This challenge looks really difficult to perfect. Actually, I think it's just an illusion. Some people have evidently never seen the shape of a Jaffa Cake before.
  26. Val's instincts have saved her - she managed to figure out which way to turn the cakes before chocolate-ing.
  27. And a quick summary of the results: Solasi's Jaffas have got the best review from Mary and Paul, with Aerospace Andrew in bottom place (he made them upside down).
  28. The first showstopper now: a genoise sponge with a mirror glaze. In other words, what the heck.
  29. Welsh Louise is taking her buttercream to the outside even though that's where the shiny glaze is meant to be...hmm.
  30. Goth-lipstick lady is called Candice. She's having to bin her first sponge so Paul has authorised her throwing of it at the window. That is satisfaction right there.
  31. A lot of people are restarting actually. Can't remember if Benjamina did but she seemed to know her genoise.
  32. Bolton Chap trying to ask Paul for hints...cheeky behaviour right there.
  33. What is ganache. Not what Bolton Chap has made that's for sure. Obviously didn't pick up on Paul's sly comment about needing cream.
  34. Candice's jelly isn't setting. Maybe something to do with the OJ she added in rebelling against Mary's almighty recipe.
  35. It's Episode 1. And the tears are already flowing from Benjamina. The stress level is high, in fact I'm pretty sure Kate compared her nerves to giving birth earlier, jeez.
  36. Solasi is making the prettiest reddy-pink cake I've ever seen. And time's up!
  37. Bridget Jones' mum did really well. Bless her she looked so nervous. Vampire Weekend guy not as good.
  38. Kate's glaze is BLUE. I APPROVE. Mary, sadly, does not.
  39. Val got a great shine and Bolton Chap's cake was too dry. Ouch.
  40. Benjamina kicked butt with her praline flavours while Candice has put her cake on a mirror. I think she was trying to be edgy. Like with her lipstick.
    I can't talk but I just wanted an excuse to use this gif
  41. Aerospace man...Andrew (I will learn names eventually). He did really well and surprised Paul after his upside-down Jaffas earlier.
  42. And now the Star Baker announcement.....it's....Bridget Jones' mum!!!!! A.k.a. Jane. Yaaaay. I think Solasi deserved it too though, am hoping he gets it in future weeks to come.
  43. Bolton Chap, Lee, was the first baker to go home. Lee, you have a great accent but no one likes a dry cake. No one. Except birds.

Find out more about the remaining bakers here!
Images via via via via via

24 August 2016

DIY: Notebook Cover


This is my first blog post in a reaaal long while and that's not because I haven't had the time to come up with anything. It's just that I...never came up with anything. The longer I waited for an idea, the more amazing I felt it had to be and so I left it and left it until I semi-abandoned this little writing-haven of mine. Which is very much not cool and I intend to redeem myself.

What better way to do that than with a DIY post (making what you see below)...

...shortly followed by a series on the Great British Bake Off which starts TONIGHT!

aah excited Seinfeld gif
(check back soon for that deliciousness)
A couple of weeks ago I decided to start brain-storming stuff for my dissertation as I'm soon to enter the excitingly daunting land of Third Year. Normally, for exams and the like, I brainstorm on humongous sheets of paper with my 1 billion coloured pens but a voice suddenly echoed through my brain like I was one of the many troubled characters in Stranger Things. "RESEARCH JOURNAL.......GET A RESEARCH JOURNAL......ALSO BUY MORE ICED TEA BECAUSE YOU REALLY LIKE THAT STUFF," the voice said.

So the next day I walked into a big shop called Monsieur John Lewis and had a choice between a lot of fancy notebooks with stripes and stars and sarcastic phrases on. The sarcastic phrases I liked the most but it turns out that having "I'm a notebook, bite me" on the front makes one of these things double in price. It was then that I decided to design my own cover and buy a cheaper, plain ring-binded kiddo.

1. Buy/find a plain notebook with a cardboard cover.

my NB, featuring my weirdly flexible thumb
Cardboard covers work much better than plastic for this; plastic is generally much harder to stick things to/draw on/paint.

2. Gather all materials/equipment needed and lay it out in an arty fashion.

Okay that last part is unnecessary but it does make for a good blog photo. As I wanted to doodle my diss thoughts into this journal as soon as possible, I chose to avoid painting and stick to good old collage and Sharpies. I prepared the following materials:
  • Notebook (erm)
  • Range of Sharpies (other coloured markers or felt pens will do)
  • Pencil
  • Glue Stick
  • Scissors
  • Magazine cuttings of cool textures and colours that I like
  • Spare magazine (just in case)
  • Groovy inspirational photo of a bunny and some fake mushrooms (optional)

3. Suss out your colour scheme(s).

Rainbows are great - everyone knows this fact (I definitely did not just get stuck in an Double Rainbow meme spiral on Google Images). Yet a colour scheme can make things feel a little bit more sophisticated.

As predicted, I couldn't resist one colour and instead went for five (I did later skip the blue however). If you don't have coloured pens to go with all of your chosen colours, using a black, silver or gold marker is always a good shout.


And what I mean by that is cut out the shapes your heart most desires from the super interesting bits of magazine you've found.
I chose triangles because I'm Illuminati confirmed, now you know. I also just like geometric designs.

To get the perfect shapely shapes, grab your pencil and draw them on the BACK (the side you don't want facing up on your notebook) so you don't have any pesky pencil lines showing when you glue everything down. Then, grab your scissors and cut out your shapes. As you might have a lot to do depending on the size of your notebook, I recommend listening to a banging playlist such as this one.


5. Get gluing.

The good thing about triangles is that they tessellate - if you're using shapes that don't (e.g. cute lil' circles) then I'm sorry you are the weakest link goodbye you might want to overlap them, in which case you'll get a cool textured effect. I tried my best to leave an equal gap between the triangles so I wouldn't have to fit them next to each other perfectly. It also looks groovy, which is a bonus.

Janelle Monae taking pride of place
Of course there's no law of notebook design which says that the same pattern has to cover the entire thing (there's none full stop, just to clarify). If you do want to sneak in some bigger versions of your shapes or indeed a picture of one of your musical/life heroes then go ahead and do iiiiiiiiit. After all, you're going to be the one using this notebook and if it's for studying, you'll need it to look inviting so you want to stop procrastinating that little bit more.

6. Add more detail with coloured pens.

And ta-da!

To finish off my notebook cover, I did two things. Firstly, I used my beloved Sharpies to add details to the left and right edges of my design in colours that matched each shape I was doodling next to. Secondly and finally, the apt heading of 'Research Journal' was bubble-written into the remaining space by yours truly. For a study notebook, it's always a good idea to have some reminder of what you're meant to be using it for on the front for that extra, motivational boost.


And there ya have it! If you have a couple of hours to spare, it's definitely worth saving some dosh and enjoying spending some time on creating something you're sure to use and be proud of.

what Eric's mom said

Images all own except this one and this one

13 April 2016

Why are cats sitting up so cool to look at

I don't even know why.

Has someone done the science behind this or what because I really need to know why I can't stop finding this amusing.

I've now opened my eyes to blogs full of this stuff.

This feline knows.

OK this one has done too much sitting
This is making me feel like cats are just furry small pointy-eared humans who are waiting until the right time to reveal that they can also talk and do other things like basic maths and jigsaws and the last level on Simpsons' Hit and Run.

Okay I'm going to revise now.

Images: via via via via via via