This Week I’m Loving …

In between trying to create a little scrapbook of our Mum and Daughter mini break I’ve been checking out a couple of bakers who blog …

Miranda (Runner Up on the Great British Bake Off), has been quietly working on a book, but her blog has some great bakes from the series, I’ve made most of them and they all come highly recommended by “Chez Todhunter”.

You should also check out Hannah’s Home Baked Blog, a bit of sewing, bit of nattering and some delicious recipes too.

Also, I discovered this lovely little site selling illustrated cards made by Charlotte Strawbridge (thanks to a proud Mummy Brag on twitter – best way to discover new talent!)

I am also still in love with Pinterest, especially being able to look at what others have pinned, a bit of late night mooching led to this beautiful discovery, although I need google translate to make sense of it, the photography is stunning.

I’m also loving, the growing harvest from the allotment, so far this year: peas, beans, spinach, onions, garlic, fresh coriander and enough lettuce to feed the entire village!

Bye Bye Great British Bake Off

Tuesday nights will not be the same. I haven’t enjoyed a TV cookery show so much since the very first series of Master Chef (yes, I really am that old!)

I could hardly bear to watch the judges making their decision last night and have to admit Edd was a worthy winner, but Miranda’s lemony Cupcakes were the epitome of home baking for me and I am so glad Mary Berry spoke up for her. Praise from Mary is like gold dust and Miranda should be able to hold her head up high. Ruth, so cool calm and collected produced stunningly sweet looking buns and I’m intrigued to try the recipe, but I have a feeling I will have to fight the urge not to use crystalised ginger.

Mel and Sue – thank you for being so sensitive about the contestant’s feelings and being so laugh out loud funny at the same time (The first episode where Mark went home stands out for me, such kind words). Finally, to all the contestants a huge thanks for entering and putting yourself in the public spotlight – a very brave thing to do – baking is such a personal thing and I couldn’t have done it.

I wonder what the contestants will do next? I hope Miranda continues to post her recipes online and finds time to make a business from her superbly decorated cakes and biscuits. I hope Edd gets the job of his dreams, I hope Ruth publishes a cookery book and gets her own tv series – she is so entertaining!

Thanks to everyone involved with making the show, I have loved it.

Right, now back to mundane family life and in case you all think my family live on a diet of cupcakes, think again. Today I’m making three bean soup inspired by a summer trip to New York and posting a batch of biscuits to a friend who completed his first Great North Run at the weekend.

The Great British Bake Off

Tuesday nights in this house have been dominated for the past 5 weeks by the BBC 2 series: The Great British Bake Off, the phone doesn’t get answered, dishes go unwashed, it’s my hour in front of the tv. I don’t really go in for reality shows, have never watched “Strictly”, seen Britain’s Got Talent once and after a serious addiction to series 1 of BB, never again!

But, baking is different. I love to bake so I couldn’t resist watching and although  I may not be the best or tidiest of cooks no-one has ever complained there’s too much cake in the tin or refused a second helping of my meat pie!  Of course, being a reality show, the “GBBO” is meant to incite rants from the viewer, we’re meant to have favourites, enjoy the hot and bothered contestants sniping and failing or gradually getting more bitchy as the weeks progress and the final gets closer.

Only, somewhere along the line, the programme makers seem to have forgotten that most home bakers are genuinely nice people and so it’s no surprise to me that 1 week away from the final I can’t bear to see any of the last 3 bakers leave and will admit to shedding a tear yesterday when Jas was sent home. There’s Ruth, technically competent and as a fellow “Cheshire Wife” I should be rooting for her,  her clear joy at producing food her family will eat makes it impossible to dislike her. (I’ll bet she was in management – probably retail in a previous life, she is scarily organised).  Then we have Edd, obviously very at home in the kitchen and with a wicked grin and a baker of great cakes  he has won me over and I’d love to see him carry home the prize. Finally there’s  Miranda, the contestant with whom I have the most in common, so I do secretly have a soft spot for her – and not just because she shares my penchant for fancy iced biscuits and Cath Kidston accessories! She’s the one who bakes for love, I imagine her kitchen is a place full of laughter, she probably turns up at school fetes with icing on the tip of her nose and a tin full of immaculately decorated goodies. If I was going to indulge in stereotypes then Miranda’s baking is all about fun and good company, she’s the one I’d most like to share a cup of tea with. I bet we’d giggle and gossip and be late for the school run! Edd’s is about technical ability and Ruth is all about championing the cause of good, practical, well presented food people will want to eat. The judges are another story entirely, Paul Hollywood is a professional baker, he wouldn’t go down well at the WI because he slices his scones instead of tearing them (which spoils the texture – I’ve read the rule book), while Mary Berry is old school baking at it’s best – my very first recipe book was my Mum’s Mary Berry Cook Book circa 1970 complete with pictures of pineapple upside down cake and queen of puddings, which seemed very modern to me at the time! The thought of cooking for Mary would scare the living daylights out of me and when she said: “You’ve let me down, Miranda” I couldn’t help but fill up with tears.

I’m not sure I can bring myself to watch the final next week, or maybe I’ll let myself watch until the last  minutes and then when Mel and Sue reveal the winner I’ll switch off quickly to avoid the pain. But then again, the programme makers aren’t daft, I’ll be there, glued to my seat, nails bitten, family ignored enjoying  reality tv at it’s best.  Tuesday nights have been  a joy and I’ve loved it!