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.