Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Technical Difficulties

I think I should start by saying thank you to all you lovely people who left me such fabulous moral boosting comments on my last post. It does feel a little pathetic that I can so easily doubt myself when times are unsettled but there you go... the creative urge is a strange thing at times and I'm not always as confident as I seem to appear. It's all a bluff!

But I do what I always do when there are deadlines and life seems a challenge, I retreat to the kitchen and bake... and set myself more deadlines and challenges! This year I thought it would be fun, because obviously I have nothing elsle to do, to make the signature bakes as well as the technical bakes for this year's GBBO.


You have already seen my mini rolls which was the technical bake from week one but I also made a signature fresh fruit cake too... an trusted Dorset Apple Cake recipe full of lovely fresh apple. I also made a blueberry cake that week and wondered why some of the contestants found it so difficult to add fresh fruit to a cake.


Week 2 was biscuit week and the technical bake was fortune cookies. The first batch ended up in the bin (the oven temparature in the recipe is too low)... the second lot weren't much better and all I could think was why on earth would anyone want to make these. They burn your fingers when you make them and they don't even taste nice.


Definitely not worth the effort nor the calories! I think my fortune should have read "You will never make fortune cookies again".


The signature bake was to make sandwich biscuits so I made these carrot cake inspired biscuits from a recipe on the Great British Chefs website, which also happened to part of a bake along competittion on Twitter.


Not only did they taste great, they also won me a prize in the competition... this fabulous Emma Bridgewater biscuit barrel which is waiting to be filled with homemade biscuits!


Bread week saw a technical bake of a cottage loaf.


My shaping was a little bit out as I think I made my dough a little too wet but it tasted great and had a good crumb. I used butter instead of lard and I did just about do it in the alloted time but the figures didn't add up in the recipe... 10 minutes kneading, two one hour proving sessions and 35-40 mins in the oven... all to be done in two and a half hours! I managed it by cutting the proving times down to 45 minutes.


The signature bake in bread week was teacakes, something I had never made before. I made an apricot and date version flavoured with orange and cinnamon, mostly because that was what I had in the cupboard.


They were a big hit and I may have eaten a few too many, delicious toasted with lots of butter. If I get the time I may even share my recipe, although I may have to test them again first!


This week saw the bakers in the GBBO tent  having to deal with caramel and attempt a technical bake of Stroopwafel... a thin Dutch waffle with caramel filling. And so ends my journey of baking every technical bake this year because I am certainly not going to invest in a cone waffle maker that I will use once and then consign to a cupboard for the next ten years! I will probably try the signature bake of millionaire's shortbread though.

In other news, I've heard from Joe who had a brilliant four days in Vancouver and is now enjoying Cuba, the painters have finished and have done a great job, and Hector has has a little outing...


He loves going out in the car... but I'm not sure he was so thrilled whan he came home!


It may calm him down a little, it may not (the operation not the cone) as opinion seems to be divided but the vet seemed to think it might stop him running off even if it doesn't dampen his adolescent enthusiasm, only time will tell!

And as you can see I've not stopped blogging... at least not for the moment so thank you for continuing to read and being such a lovely supportive community of people. See you again soon.

28 comments:

  1. Hello Gina, so pleased you are back in the saddle and being SO industrious! Ever so slightly jealous about Joe in Cuba- we absolutely LOVED it. Onwards and upwards oh lovely one! x

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  2. Poor Hector, but he will get over it. The tea cakes look interesting.

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  3. I often wish I could come and taste your lovely bakes but I know Slimming World would not approve, even with syn allowance. If I showed my husband he would move in with you. He did make some cookies the other week and bread rolls on Monday though and they were very good! If I showed those beautiful carrot cookies he may give up and I'm not one for denting a trier's enthusiasm! Hug for Hector.

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  4. Your bakes look so delicious and how great to win a competition. (I've had two attempts at a cottage loaf which I really don't want to talk about.) Hope the, erm, procedure does the trick for Hector. Seems I missed your previous post and would have to say I'd very much miss Fan My Flame if you stopped blogging. So don't you dare!

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  5. Tea cakes look wonderful. Poor Hector, I'm sure he'll bounce back - but hopefully not too much. He has a very lovely face.

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  6. You should definitely enter to be a contestant next year , your cottage looked better by far than any of those on the show. I couldn't see the point in those waffle things , give me a Millionaires shortbread ANY day xx

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  7. Oh poor Hector, that has given him pause for thought. I fear something similar may lie in Bertie's future before too long. The sandwich biscuits and the teacakes look divine, you definitely need to be on that show, we'd all be cheering you on. CJ xx

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    1. That's a top idea! apply for next year, Gina? x

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  8. Your fortune cookies look better than any on the show! I always give mine to a child, they stick to the palate, which I don't like. We love stroopwafel in this house. The ones we buy are just two rounds of waffle with stuck together with caramel. Similar to your carrot cake biscuits I guess. I would give much to have one of those just now! Congratulations for winning a fab biscuit tin. Poor old Hector, the cone of shame! I hope he calms down a little. x

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  9. wish I lived near you to be a taster for you.

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  10. All these spectacular bakes!! Everything looks perfect and golden and yummy!I'm with Irene above and would happily be a test taster for you ;)
    Poor Hector. My dog had the dreaded cone for 8 weeks because he's very agile and could reach his incision when he twisted up really tightly. I even resorted to putting an old pair of child' underwear on him to keep him from bothering it. It worked for a while until the day he ran out the door and peed WITH the underwear on. Such fun. Hector looks like he's admitted defeat, but hopefully he will bounce back to his usual playfulness quickly.
    Wendy

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  11. The stroopwaffles sold by Aldi are wonderful. We have had 2 different Dutch ladies stay with us in the past. So, we were introduced to them While watching the show, I thought probably homemade taste even better!
    Sandy in Bracknell

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  12. What I don't understand is why, when you make all those yummy cakes, you are still so slim. Or is that a trade secret known only to dedicated bakers?!

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    1. I try not to eat much of what I bake, although that didn't happen with those teacakes! And a combination of a lucky metabolism and never sitting down!

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  13. Congratulations on winning that lovely biscuit barrel, and making such a good looking cottage loaf and tea cakes. I have been watching Bake Off and the standard seems to get ever more demanding.
    Hector looks a little sorry for himself - maybe he is feeling a bit ashamed of his recent behaviour!
    Glad Joe is having a good time and that you are still blogging.

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  14. You have been busy! What a sad face, poor baby. :)

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    1. Tea cakes sound good, if you do decide to share your recipe. I wont be trying to make the Dutch Stroopwafel either, far to time consuming, but they did look good.

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  15. Your kitchen must smell divine, Gina. How do you all stay slim and trim with such delicious baking always available? You must be very self disciplined!
    Hope Hector will be quieter from now on.
    My travelling son is coming home for 2 weeks, with his partner, an American girl who we have yet to meet. So excited.

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  16. Gina, I have just been listening to Mark Vette - an animal behaviour expert - talking about his new book AND how to get your dog to do what you want. I am sending you the link. Hope you enjoy it and find it helpful.
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player?audio_id=201859504

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    1. Thank you Erica... and enjoy spending time with your son x

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  17. Congrats on your win Gina and what a lovely prize too!
    Those teacakes look delicious. :)
    Glad life has settled a little for you and that you've heard from your son......and hopefully Hector will be a reformed character after his little 'trip'! ;)

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  18. Wow, Gina, I'm so impressed with all your bakes. They all look fabulous. I've never tried teacakes either but might give them a whirl as yours turned out so well. Hope the pup calms down. I find ours (aged 8 and nearly 4) still go through phases of odd behaviour that I can't account for (just like humans, I guess!). Hope you're feeling more settled now xx

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  19. Having read this post I can't wait to get home and do some baking. Always tricky in a holiday cottage. Hope Hector settles soon. B x

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  20. I cannot bring myself to watch GBBO since I dislike Hollywood so much. You certainly do like to challenge yourself!

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  21. Teacakes are a favourite here though I've never tried making them. Yours look delicious. I'm glad your son is enjoying his travels - it's always unsettling when they up sticks and leave. Sending you a hug x

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  22. Another challenging few weeks and you're coming through them in excellent shape xx

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  23. Oh Gina, please do not stop blogging. I love reading about what you have been doing - I promise to comment far more often. My feeble excuse is the problems I have with the software on my computer that lets me enlarge everything bounces around and I give up.
    Congratulations on winning the competition - I am not surprised, your baking always looks so mouthwatering.
    Has Hector bashed you up yet with the head collar? I was covered in bruises when our dog had to wear one for a week. Hopefully hector will calm down soon. Cheers

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  24. Please share the Tea Cake recipe ... just the sort of bake I'd love xx

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