Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Bake Off Blues...or Greens

So picture the scene - 
The day before wedding number three, I have just finished making a dress, I've cleaned bedrooms and made up spare beds for our six guests arriving that afternoon (well eight guests actually but over three nights, two went, were replaced by two others, and then the original two came back again) I have made four large salads for a post wedding rehearsal buffet, I have shopped and filled the house with food and I have finished making a wedding cake.

I know you have already seen the wedding cake but I loved this shot by one of Kirsty's friends so thought I'd sneak it in!

Photo credit: Claire Tyne

So with an hour to spare while Stewart went to the airport to collect his sister and niece I thought I would try the technical challenge from last week's Great British Bake Off... yes, homemade Wagon Wheels. I don't know what possessed me either!


The biscuit base was easy and even making marshmallow wasn't too bad despite never having done it before. Although just for the record I probably won't do it again. Homemade marshmallow is infinitely superior to the shop bought variety but after three or four they have the same effect of making you feel sick. Just don't ask how I know. But I digress. I opted for shop bought jam under the circumstances (I know, slacking!) and then it came to coating the biscuits in chocolate and putting them all together.


You have probably never seen so much mess in your life. Everything, and I do mean everything, was coated in chocolate... and all this was done at 10.30 pm, after the rehearsal supper, the night before the wedding. Because of course, the whole process took far longer than the hour or so Stewart was away to the airport!

And the verdict... well they all went and everyone seemed to like them except me. I'd forgotten that one of my pet hates is fruit jam with chocolate. I took one bite and almost spat it out. I thought they were revolting and won't be making them again!


If you have seen last night's show you will know that the technical challenge was a sponge cake with pistachio marzipan and fondant icing coloured with... spinach! Which frankly sounds ridiculous and looked far too heavy and sickly for my taste so I won't be making that. Instead I will show you my version of a green cake from a recipe by the amazing Jin, master of Eastern flavours and wonderful cakes, which was flavoured with pandan (not made this week I might add but a couple of years ago!)


Only brought to mind because one of the contestants used pandan last night for her signature bake and Paul Hollywood turned his nose up to it and Noel Fielding likened it to pond weed which seemed rather unfair given it has a delicate flavour reminiscent of the fragrance of basmati rice crossed with coconut. 

Two shows into the new series and I think it is starting to look a bit past it. The challenges are becoming more and more ridiculous (they are meant to be amateur bakers for heaven's sake) and the presenters more and more irritating. The corny jokes are painful... or is it just me? What do you think?

32 comments:

  1. I'm not overly fussed on Bake Off to be honest, its on but I'm usually knitting or on my lap top and am only barely watching. It just isn't the same anymore.

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  2. Do you ever sleep??? Your bakes always look so good. Wagon wheels were my brother's favourite which, fortunately, were sold in our parents' shop (we lived out back, handily). They seemed to be the size of plates back in the day and I never managed to eat one. I'm watching GBBO but the format does feel a bit tired and it's all so predictable now.

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    1. I agree that it is tired and predictable... and inventing more and more tricky technical bakes doesn't seem to be giving it a new lease of life.

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  3. I'm so impressed with all you achieve in such a short time! The wedding cake looks so lovely and the pandan cake, interesting. I have to say I wouldn't be making wagon wheels. I loved them as a child, mainly because they were a rare treat. Had one recently and had the same reaction as you...yuk. GBBO has lost it's allure for me. I watch it but wouldn't be upset if I missed an episode.

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    1. I still don't like to miss an episode but my interest is definitely waning!

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  4. You never fail to surprise me Gina. Although why I am surprised that you decided to bake wagon wheels in a spare minute eludes me at the moment :-) I love wagon wheels but I wouldn't ever attempt to make them.

    I was just thinking yesterday that I like the Bake Off better than in previous years. I much prefer Sandy and Noel over Sue and (can't remember her name), despite the dreadful jokes. I also like Prue, she reminds me of an auntie. And Paul is just Paul. That green cake they had to make appeals to me, it is something I might consider making. Some day. Have a lovely and hopefully less hectic few days xx

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    1. I surprised myself this time... what was I thinking! I guess it is a good think we all like different things I suppose... but I'm still not convinced by spinach in a cake. It has too much of a strong flavour... but that's just my opinion. It may taste fabulous for all I know!

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  5. I have to say I stopped watching it half way through the last series and don’t miss it! I love your wedding cake! Well done x

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  6. Your baking always looks so good and I am not that interested in technical bakes. If it tastes good that's what matters to me. I think I get that from my grandmother who never had time to be a perfectionist. Bake Off has probably run it's course and some of the challenges are bordering on the ridiculous for amateurs.

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    1. I agree Heather... too much fiddling about with food when it's the taste that matters.

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  7. Ach!!! you're BRILLIANT. In everything. I'm not your number one fan for nothing am I? I also feel the presenters aren't 'doing it' on the Bake Off. I prefer Sandi observationally witty and clever, no skipping please Sandi..no, please, not ever again... Noel? I like him, but, erm...does he love or care about cake?..you wouldn't really know would you? He likes clothes..and haircuts. I DO like this years contestants..Ruby for prime minister!!! (although, take yer big cardi off love inside a hot tent, ). Keep up the spectacular work Mrs (zooms like a)Ferrari, done any stitching lately? lotsalove Sharron x

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    1. Lovely to hear from you Sharron... not too much stitching lately!

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  8. I don't watch GBBO - thank goodness because I would have been furious at the pandan comments. I first tried pandan in chiffon cakes by The Baking Jin and it's wonderfully aromatic with a sweet, floral and coconutty flavour. It's so good! Jin's cakes are not easy to make and yours looks fantastic. As for the wagon wheels I do have to say they look good and I love chocolate, jam and marshmallow. Well done for making them, even though it was a pain and you didn't enjoy them :)

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    1. I was furious with the Pandan comments too!

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  9. Phew Gina! How do you do it?! I missed most of last year's Bake Off as I couldn't really be bothered to watch, but I have started watching this series mainly because younger daughter likes it and we text each other ( she lives 60 miles away) with comments! But like you, I think some of the technical challenges and showstoppers are getting ridiculous. Self portrait in cake??

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    1. I totally agree that it is all getting rather ridiculous. I really used to enjoy watching it but I'm not the least bit bothered now.

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  10. The wedding cake was beautiful, and I am sure just as delicious as it was beautiful. Making wagon wheels at that late hour sounds like something I might do. And, the mess too! :~)

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  11. I love when you recreate the technical challenge- haven’t tasted a wagon wheel for years. I think Prue Leith is a better match for Paul as she basically ignores him and says what she thinks! Don’t like the i creasing silliness of what they are being asked to do so may not bother to keep watching.

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    1. I can't see me bothering with many of the technical challenges this year. It all seems too ridiculous.

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  12. That wedding cake was superb.

    I stopped watching GBBO when it went to ITV; I had tired of it even before then because of the Diva Hollywood - he raises my ire very quickly. It seems that I have made a good choice!

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  13. I stopped watching - I hate cooking and cookery programmes, and now that Noel has had his hair cut there's just no point. Not sure WHO I'm going to run away with now. X

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    1. I'm finding him more and more annoying and his haircut is ridiculous!

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  14. I've been relying on you to report back on GBBO! Never made the transfer I'm afraid.

    Wagon wheels - now there's a blast from the past, though given the choice aid probably opt for a Tunnock's tea cake. Or maybe a banana.

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    1. I may not do much reporting back this series if it carries on like this!

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  15. You're so funny! How on earth do you ever have time for all this baking??? Your cakes are BEAUTIFUL!!!

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    1. I find time because I am totally bonkers and think it is sensible to be coating cakes in chocolate when I should be going to bed! But thank you x

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  16. Whipping up Wagon Wheels from scratch the night before a wedding after everything else, Gina, you are amazing! I dont like the BO much now, its just not the same without Mary, Mel and Sue. In now feels like a ‘format’ rather than a happy accident, as it was at first, and the forced humour of Sandi and Noel is not comfortable to watch. I watched one of the new series but probably wont bother with the rest. X

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    1. That is exactly how I feel about GBBO now... it all feels contrived and forced. The humour is painful. And I don't know about amazing (although thank you) more like stark raving bonkers

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