News Peruse: August 29 Edition

In the flurry of excitement over the latest series of Great British Bake Off and the never ending list of culinary observances, I’ve been terribly slack on keeping up with all the food news you can peruse. So, let me make amends by offering these tasty tidbits and interesting ideas I’ve found on my daily wander across the digital foodie landscape.

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The Naughty Way to Roast a Chicken

On the way home, I picked up a chicken and embarked on a rather obscene journey with the pan that until this fateful moment lived mostly in obscurity in the back of a cabinet, and occasionally made innocent cakes for sweet little tea parties.

Naughty? No, but intriguing yes! I love the idea of using a Bundt pan (one of the most “single use items” ever, hence we do not have one) to do a vertical chicken (and gain a use in the process). Has anyone done this?

Britain’s Dim Sum Trolleys Are Making Their Last Rounds

“The Italians have antipasti, the Spanish have tapas, and us Asians, we have our dim sum.”

A fab piece by my friend Angela – member of the great food content team known as The White Room. I love dim sum from a cart – sad to see it’s fading here. Obviously, I get the space-based reasons why. Still sad. I shall do my part to keep the tradition alive by trying to get some trolley based dim sum next time I am in NYC (where it is, to the best of my knowledge, still available).

Cookbooks’ key ingredient now design not recipes, says food writer

“In my day you could still buy a good cookbook in paperback with no pictures at all. I doubt if that would sell today. But those books were much used: they lived in the kitchen and got splattered with custard and gravy.”

Reading the above quote, I was confused.  I’m not quite sure where Prue has been but Nigella Lawson’s How to Eat had no pictures and sold very well. Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything has some diagrams but even those are pretty sparse. There are no photos. The New York Times Cookbook edited by Amanda Hessler has no photos, neither does the Joy of Cooking – even after all these editions. All of these books are still, as far a I know, selling well.

Yes, I have cookbooks with photos – lots of them but I also have plenty that don’t. Yes, I Google recipes – lots of them, all the time but I still look at cookbooks when looking to adjust a recipe or when looking for something new to do. I agree with her that a lot of newer cookbooks are coffee table book and style (and goodness knows size) but that’s partially because so many are TV and celebrity ties these days. After all, food TV is huge huge business.

I don’t agree that this is the tragedy she seems to think it is because I don’t think it’s true across the board and I don’t think this automatically means people aren’t cooking from them. Also – Prue sounds just a TAD bitter. So, in sum: I am not in any way against beautifully visual cookbooks – the Spice Men is a GORGEOUS book, as our many on the shelves of TransAtlantic Towers but I think Prue is seeing what Prue wants to see. People are buying all sorts of cookbooks – new and classic, text and photo driven and many of them are cooking from those books.

The best cookbooks of all time, as chosen by the experts

“… whenever the fingers stopped turning pages and started tapping on the page, I’d know the recipe had been found.”

The previous article prompted this one where a selection of notable cooks were asked about cookbooks that influenced them. And from this piece, I have learned several things:

  1. Raymond Blanc is self-taught ( I had NO idea & I am flabbergasted)
  2. I still have no time for Jack Monroe (because I’m not as interested in Jack as Jack is)
  3. I am not alone in my love of cookbooks that also provide context and cultural info
  4. There are a lot of cookbooks mentioned in the comments that I would really like to take a look at.

GBBO 2015: Episode 4 (Desserts)

It might have been raining outside the tent but inside all was dry – and occasionally too crumbly. But never mind, it’s dessert week.

rainy_bakeoff

  • Signature Round: Crème brulee, a classic. But this is GBBO so classic must not equal boring. Yes, it needs to have the right wobble and a hard, crackable surface (the result of grilling, not blow-torching) but it needs to have a twist.
  • Technical Challenge: Spanische Windtorte – or, you prefer, Spanish Wind Cake. Or as I prefer to think of it – a pavlova that got all dolled up and has nowhere to go.
  • Showstopper: cheesecake. But not one, not two – THREE and they must be stacked. Cheesecake is not known for it’s structural integrity to this will no doubt be worth watching.

SANDY: Oh Sandy, I’m going to miss you so much. You were having so much fun and it was fun to watch you. Your wobbles, your sparkly shoes, your joy when things went right, your unwillingness to let things get you down. As I’ve said before, everyone can have an off day – and you weren’t alone this time, Alvin wasn’t having the best of weekends either. But your crème brulee didn’t set – Paul described it as soup and I have to admit, I was with Mary when she expressed doubts about the liquorice flavour. Your showstopper was two tiers and not three – not from lack of stacking effort on your part (and Tamal’s bless his helpful little heart) – but because the cakes were too heavy (the world’s thickest crust didn’t help there) and the bake time was off so the cheesecakes didn’t set. You said yourself – you should have followed your instincts. :-(

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Sandy, I will miss seeing you on next week’s show but by golly, you are a baking role model. I wanna bake with the same sense of fun as you.

IAN: DAMNED, Ian! Star Baker 3rd week in a row? I’d say that Ian is unstoppable but that would be both premature and wrong. After all, Richard Burr (the baking builder of last series with the sassy pencil behind his ear) got Star Baker 3 weeks in a row too. And did he win? he did not. Not that winning matters when it comes to post-GBBO longevity. Winners or not, the baking success and public popularity of contestants seems solely based on their personalities and willingness to continue baking in the public eye.

Ian’s taste combos continue to puzzle Mary and give her pause until she tastes them and then she can hardly shut up about them. Yes, Mary we KNOW no one has ever suggested tarragon and apple to you before but you love it – you’ve said it 4 or 5 times now. He knows tricks no one else seems to know – pre-caramelising the caramel? BRILLIANT and a great way to keep the grill time down! Nothing seems to rattle Ian – or maybe something would if he encountered a problem He seems to bake serenely and steadily, without incident. Surely at some point Ian will be in the middle of something that comes utterly unstuck and we will see the Dalai Lama’s official photographer lose his crackers. But this week – it was smooth sailing, from the creme brulees that Mary adored to the technical challenge that looked amazing and more importantly in this case correct – and finally to his showstopper cheesecakes.

As Paul Hollywood said, “The Ian train blows on, three Star Bakers on the bounce.” That said – it does make you wonder what someone is gonna have to do to beat Ian.

NADIYA: The queen of expressive faces was expressing away all hour – and impressing us not only with the end result on the showstopper cheesecake tower (super fun and super adorable) but also with the steps she made in preparation for it. Reducing 3 fizzy drinks down to syrup over 10 hours? Good gads, woman. And hello? the third meringue of the evening – Nadiya, having survived Swiss and French meringue during the technical challenge, uses Italian meringue for the “fizz” of her fizzy drink. I shall rename her the Marchioness of Meringue. I also note that her brulee is tea flavoured – she does like her tea notes doesn’t she? And adorably served in tea cups. Go, Nadiya! She also had one of the great lines from tonight: “I produced what they wanted, just the ugly version.” None of it was ugly, Nadiya. Stop being so hard on yourself.

nadiyapop

FLORA: We were watching Flora this week and were trying to figure out what it is that makes 19 year old Flora so – well, un-19ish. I don’t mean she looks older than 19. I mean she has the confidence of someone much older at a guess, as was suggested by dungeekin, I’d say Flora grew up not only socializing with children her own age but also spent a lot of time hanging out with the adults as well. Also, she does rock a slightly retro look – which suits her. Interestingly though – she’s kinda firmly upper middle of the pack. She’s obviously a very informed baker, has done it since she was high enough to reach the top of the counter, researches what she wants to do etc … and while engaged in the act of baking, confident, well-spoken relaxed. When being judged she is all nail-biting and winces – and though it doesn’t happen often, when something goes wrong (even though it doesn’t go HIDEOUSLY wrong) she deflates. We know Flora is the eldest of a number of siblings and I suspect a type A child of type A parents.

flora_pipes

PAUL 2: You know, I think Paul 2 just might finally be enjoying himself. Yes, the brulees puffed up too much despite all that practice but his technical challenge was top of the field and his showstopper won smiles all around. After that special commendation-winning lion, we want Paul 2 to stick around so we can see what he does next. His goal this week seemed to be “Get Mary drunk” what with the “adult” creme brulee and the booze soaked cheese cakes. It might have worked if Mary were judging alone but Paul H is made of sterner stuff. From a looks perspective by the by – I adored Paul 2’s cheesecake tower. Those berries were GORGEOUS.

TAMAL: Was very much, in my mind, up for Star Baker this week. Tamal, like Sandy, always keeps his sense of humour about him but unlike Sandy this week, also kept his head. His creme brulees were spot on and during the technical challenge he seemed to be the only person in the tent who KNEW what violets were supposed to look like. This no doubt helped balance out the fact that he only had ONE kind of piping on his Tarted Up Pavlova – sorry, Spanish Wind cake. He leapt in to help Sandy, was even more devastated than she was when her bake went flop but this in no way impacted on his results since his cheesecakes kicked ass from a taste and look perspective. While I have no issue with Ian winning Star Baker – I do think Tamal did JUST as well (if not a SMIDGE better) this week and he deserved it. But you know what? Tamal has been consistently top notch. He’ll get it at some point.

tamal_cheesecake

UGNE: Oh Ugne get your hair out of your eyes. You can’t bake if you can’t see. Also, I am beginning to think Ugne has a bit of a chocolate fixation. Not that this is a bad thing – I myself have one. I just note it and think MAYBE it’s gonna end up getting in the way for her. What becomes important as the episodes click by is showing a breadth of skills and bakes. If it’s chocolate and caramel, every single week someone’s gonna get bored (Paul quite likely) and they will call you out for being too one-note (Again, quite likely Paul but Mary might gently suggest a bit of variety would be welcome). Also, quit using things we’ve never heard of! What the hell is marula?

MAT: Thanks to Mat, we learned that Mary does not care for desiccated coconut. Actually, we learned that Mary has “come to enjoy coconut a bit more” – which translates to “Coconut? Ewwww.” Both of which she said to you, Mat during the first round. So what did you do in the third round? Used coconut. Mat, what I said last week about raising your game still stands. Oh and Mat – stop flirting with Ugne. “how do yours wobble? The brulees that is.” She’s a body builder and will break you in half, assuming Mrs Mat has not done so after the sassiness of last week. Also – Mat, you remember what I said last week about raising your game? Your custard was runny and your judge wasn’t happy. Get on that.

ALVIN: This week Alvin learned that to survive , you don’t have to be better than everyone – just be better than one. And this week, he was ever so slightly better off than Sandy. Well, according to Paul and Mary. I might have made a different decision – especially based on the results of the technical challenge. Both Alvin and Sandy had trouble getting things to set – custard and cheesecake but Alvin really screwed the pooch on the Spanish Wind Torte. There is a definite difference between French meringue and Swiss meringue. If the judges can’t tell the difference when judging, something has gone more than wrong. Another thing – Alvin doesn’t seem to be learning from his mistakes. More than once, Alvin has been kneecapped by fresh fruit making things too wet. Einstein said insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Alvin – stop the insanity.

Next week: ‘Free-from’ baking. Yes, it is exactly what you think it is – recipes with no gluten, no sugar or no dairy. Hmmmm …

In the meantime, keep on dancin’ Sandy

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Snapshot: Herby Goodness

Herbs are amazing things – you cut them back within an inch of their lives and they grow back. Today’s herb cutting includes; marjoram, basil, oregano, and mint.

herb_cutting

Chives will be cut later for the potato salad. Frankly, they’d have been cut anyway before they take over that side of deck.

GBBO 2015: Episode 3 (Bread)

Bread. Amazing stuff bread. It is both basic and complex. Wondrous in its variation and a stern task master.

bread-large

It was bread week on Bake Off and the rounds were as follows:

  • Signature Round: Quick bread –  that would be bread made without yeast and which get their rise from bicarb or baking powder. Or in the case of Unge, both.
  • Technical Challenge: Baguette.
  • Showstopper: Bread sculpture, 3 different breads at least one of which should be filled.

Bread, as we know, also happens to be Paul Hollywood’s THING so his eyes narrow and glint even more than usual, his expression disconcerts and his questions rattle contestants almost as much as his silence.  So, who did what?

DORRET: OK, let’s get this out of the way. Dorret has gone home.  I was not surprised. I don’t think anyone was surprised – and not because Mary let it slip a during an interview earlier in the day.  No, we were not surprised because Dorret seemed overwhelmed and unprepared from the start. Her bakes didn’t come together, her taste balance was off or missing altogether. Maybe the first week can be written off by nerves and settling in but this week showed that Dorret just wasn’t up to the task. She admitted — to the camera and THEN to Mary and Paul — that she didn’t practice the showstopper at all. Now, I know others have “winged it” in the past – James famously winged it all the time but he practiced the base recipe and then improvised a bit on the day. He didn’t just show up with something utterly untested and untried. Also, worth noting that James was a dab hand at taste composition. He got away with a lot because of his abilities in that regard.  Dorret didn’t have that to fall back on and only lasted as long as she did because Stu and Marie made bigger mistakes than she did. This week her previous stumbles caught up with her and her lack of preparation sealed her fate.

No, Dorret didn't seem surprised either.

No, Dorret didn’t seem surprised either.

FLORA:  fig and hazelnut quick bread sounded nice except for the rye flour … I’m not a huge fan and the texture doesn’t thrill me. But Flora is canny and had  mixed her rye flour with regular flour. Her baguettes were baguette shaped ( which put her well ahead of about 6 of the others who had produced ciabatta) and her baguettes relatively crispy since she knew to put water in the oven. And speaking of that step – I know the instructions didn’t say put water in the oven but surely they’ve all seen the show before and they know not all the steps are included. Also I have to believe that as they are all interested in baking and KNOW bread is coming, they’ve looked at Paul’s rule for baking – which includes putting water in the oven for crispness. Hell, I don’t make bread and I know it. As for Flora’s showstopper – I was impressed. Not as impressed as I was about the lion because LION but Flora’s skirt and corset were works of delicate bread art.

PAUL: (who from now on I shall call Paul 2)  – I can hardly remember anything Paul 2 did OTHER than the lion. Hell, I can barely remember the rest of the episode at all – other than the lion. The lion was glorious. A white bread head, a wholemeal tail, and a body filled with figs and walnuts. Paul 2 also seemed slightly more relaxed this week. He wasn’t a laugh riot and he wasn’t the life of the party – I suspect he never will be – but he didn’t seem as uptight as before. Even when Paul H was TRYING to unsettle him.  Dude, the lion was the most rocking thing ever. You deserved that commendation. Oh – also, I applaud the decision to go with a citrus soda bread. Not only did it get you a handshake from Grumpy Paul, it was different and sounded yummy. Keep shaking things up, Paul 2.

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SANDY: I remain firmly Team Sandy, never more so than when she announced her bacon and onion soda bread.  Bacon, as we know, makes everything better. Sandy is also now a fashion icon for me – while waiting for the baguette dough to prove, Sandy displayed the most fab sparkly slipper shoes. I want them! OK, her baguettes were soft and her sculpture wasn’t sleek and stylish. I don’t care. Sandy is fun, her bread tastes good and I adore her.

IAN: Ian’s soda bread uses wild garlic that he picked himself. I suppose now that all the people who were giving Flora grief for being too posh will now go after Ian. Never mind those people. They don’t know what they are talking about.  The garlic pesto soda bread was awesome and the first of many excellent rounds for Ian, again winner of star baker. His baguettes were the best – even, uniform, crisp. He is bread man. Hear him roar. His showstopper was gorgeous AND innovative. They’d never had anyone bake in a flower pot before on the show. They do like novelty.

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UNGE: a chocolate quick bread? Um … ok. I don’t really – I mean, I have to say it didn’t LOOK very appetising. And Mary said it smelled of raising agent. But once they tasted  it, Paul and Mary were ALL smiles. So, Unge knows more about these things that I do.  That’s OK – I know more about baguettes than she does. You never use a proving drawer at home? No, neither do we – because we don’t have one – but if I were making baguettes on the clock, I’d damned well use a proving drawer. She also threw down during the showstopper about her use of truffle oil. Paul H looked doubtful but she said it would be fine. He’d love the easter basket with bread bunnies, she assured him.

TAMAL: He had me at Goat’s cheese in his quick bread. I was still thinking about the quick bread during the technical challenge so I will overlook his baguette results. I love love love his  ‘breadcycle’ (and the Chelsea bun wheels did hold up – again despite Doubting Paul’s doubts). I was impressed (as I always am) by the braided bread he used as a chain for the bike. I cannot braid bread so I admire those who can.

NADIYA: Like Mat, Nadiya’s quick bread was a spicy Mexican bread but the colour on hers was fab! In fact, the colour of her showstopper bread snake in a charmer’s basket was also remarkable. Especially as she mentions – almost in passing – that when she tried this at home, the snake kept exploding. Nadiya wins for best colour work this week (except for the lion – always except for the lion) and she always wins for most expressive face. Honestly, I hope she doesn’t play poker because her face is like an enormous open book. Big brown eyes, lovely smile and the most flexible face on the show.  I am not the only one who thinks her facial expressions are a highlight each week.

snake_bread

MAT: I thought Mat’s soda bread (the cheddar and smoked salt) sounded lovely. It looked a bit flat and apparently needed to crumble more. His baguettes were pretty bad (yes, Mat, I think it had something to do with your decision not to use the amount of water listed in the recipe. What on EARTH were you thinking?) but he gave the Brighton Pavilion Made of Bread a good go and it held together despite Paul Hollywood’s doubts.  Mat is safe. But as he was told – he has to raise his game.  He also wins innuendo of the week “Doing as my wife says – leaving it in for an extra ten minutes!”

ALVIN: Alvin, like Tamal, has gone for a cheese quick bread. He has used manchego cheese, proscuitto and basil (lots and lots of basil) for a cheese representing the romance languages of Europe. I had my doubts it would hold together but apparently it tasted amazing and looked really impressive. Alvin’s baguette were distinctly ciabatta-like and his showstopper was on the large size as well. But only large in volume – not a sculpture as much as a display of bread like you might find in a bakery window. If the cornucopia horn had been bigger and the bread inside ot it – yes. But it wasn’t. It was just a pile of bread.

allthebread

Impressive bread, yes. But not a sculpture.

All in all, a good week and though there were problems – I think a strong week for most of the field. Especially when you consider that Paul “Bread is my Life” Hollywood was prowling the tent, judgment oozing from every pore of his being.

flora_quote

Next week – desserts, which confuses me as a theme since many of the bakes throughout the competition are desserts. Cake? Hello?

GBBO 2015: Episode 2 (Biscuits)

If it’s Thursday, it’s time for the Fabulous Foodie Great British Bake Off Recap.  Before I get to that however, I should touch upon the two bits of drama that occurred between last week and this week.

First, betting was again suspended on GBBO results amid fears of a leak  – that someone or rather several someone’s know the winner already. I hope it can be contained because I hate spoilers.

The other GBBO-related headlines this week were about Marie having taken a week long class decades ago. The kerfuffle-makers said this meant she wasn’t an amateur. The BBC, who know more about the rules (having written them) and the contestants (having interviewed and vetted them over many months) had no issue with it as she had never made a living as a cook/chef and week long cookery courses do not a professional chef make.  It was one week, 30 years ago (10 years being the time frame in the BBC rules). I took some tap dancing lessons 30 years ago – but I’m not about to star in the remake of Singing in the Rain any time soon.

OK, back to the show.  The Rounds:

  • Signature Round – biscotti. Seems straight-forward enough though biscotti are the kind of thing where Mary expected uniformity and tidiness so the rulers and straight-edges all come out.
  • Technical Round – Arlettes. No, I’d not heard of them but neither had most of the contestants. Here, FYI:

arlette_pic

  • Showstopper Round – biscuits in an edible biscuit box made out of a second kind of biscuit.

So those were the assignments. What were the results:

  • Marie – Let’s get this over with, shall we? Last week’s star baker had a really off weekend. This goes to show that in baking, as in all things, sometimes sh*t happens and it all goes wrong. Marie has made biscotti before – she said as much. But her biscotti goes to pieces (she determines that she has added too much fruit) and her technical challenge results (what there were of them – only 4 out of 8 arlettes) were wrong. Her showstopper was – nice but apparently bland and ordinary taste wise. And that was just not good enough to balance out the results of the previous day. So last week’s star baker went home this week.
Good days and bad days, people. We all have them.

Good days and bad days, people. We all have them.

  • Ugne – Mary tells Ugne her showstopper is garish. *cast my mind back over series after series of Mary’s jacket choices. says nothing because it is important to respect ones elders even when their fashion choices give one pause* Was it garish? Sure, a bit. And I am not sure having a fondant baby climbing INTO the box was entirely necessary for a bake that already looked like a crayon factory had exploded, but to each their own. It certainly fulfilled the brief of showstopper and apparently her Lithuanian biscuits were so good that they made Paul all extra feisty and twinkly. “I don’t like them,” he said, Ugne face falling. “I LOVE them!” Ugne suddenly beamed with relief and joy. Naughty, Paul.
  • Mat – Fireman Mat produced neat, uniform and tasty biscotti (cranberry, pistachio and white chocolate) in the signature round so was off to a great start. OK, technical challenge caught him out but to be fair, it caught out 9 of the 11 contestants this week and he came in 5th so he is in good company and as safe as anyone could be at that point. His showstopper – though perhaps not sophisticated and elegant – was both clever, fun and – key for Mary Berry – showed a variety of skills. A gingerbread fire engine WITH candy windows and filled with earl grey teabag biscuits – in the shape of teabags? Mat, you sir – have my respect!
  • Flora – bakes incredibly calmly and steadily. Don’t get me wrong – I’m sure she’s as nervous and anxious as anyone might be under the circumstances – baking for a TV show must be nerve-wracking and there’s an artificial deadline for these rounds that you wouldn’t have at home. But she moves confidently around, deals with whatever the bake throws at her and brings both instinct and learned knowledge into play. I suspect that Flora’s cookbook collection is well thumbed and has a lot of jottings in the margins . Yes, the top of her biscuit box cracked but frankly when your piping is that even, delicate and gorgeous – who cares. Flora, by the by, also made earl grey biscuits in the shape of teabags, very similar to Mat’s. There’s a “teabagging” joke to be made in there somewhere but I am far too well brought up to make it.

earl-greybox

  • Ian – Ian uses rosemary in his biscotti – a daring move as far as I am concerned, using rosemary in anything because there is a fine line between the right amount and either “where is it” and soapiness. But Ian is a rosemary-whisperer and gets it spot on. He also gets star baker and deservedly so. His showstopper was uniquely constructed, his macarons were gorgeous and both biscuit box and biscuits hit the stop taste-wise for the judges.
  • Sandy – still claiming to be random, Sandy showed up with customized templates for her showstopper (which was brill and looked yummy), took steps to ensure her biscuit box components didn’t rise too much (a lesson Tamal has now learned) and produced very even, tasty biscotti. If that’s random, I’d love to see what Sandy calls organized and focused.
  • Paul – I don’t know what Paul does for fun in his spare time but presumably he does something. If it’s baking, it doesn’t seem to come across here. Don’t get me wrong – he obviously knows what he’s doing and has spent considerable time and effort in developing his baking skills. He MUST enjoy it otherwise he wouldn’t do it. And yet, I’m not getting a “love of baking” from him. It may be, as @dungeekin has suggested – and it’s quite probably the case – that Paul simply isn’t all that expressive and therefore doesn’t come across well on TV. All that aside, he apparently doesn’t know the difference between macaron and macaroon even when he’s making them – he was making macarons, by the way. As some people will have guessed, (White Room Team, I’m looking at you) this irritated me. A lot.

contestant paul

  • Tamal – Last week, the Tamal love was all about the best smile. This week’s reason to love Tamal? The sarcasm. Having reviewed the recipe, Tamal chirps, “They’re really helpful instructions, actually. It just says, ‘Make the dough’, which is great.” Tamal was firmly middle of the road this week. He didn’t have a great week bake wise but he got the taste right – and this can save you when the chips (or biscuits in this case) are down. Luckily for Tamal, others had a worse week that he did and he remains to bake another day. Which pleases me because I think Tamal is going to get pretty darned far in this race.
  • Dorret – I’m not 100% sure about Dorret. She seems awash in doubts – not just occasionally but as a given. Dorret, honey – you beat tens of thousands to get there. You can bake. Take a deep breath. This state of assumed defeat is going to hobble you! She also makes some dodgy decisions – the whole mousse thing last week and the “dangerous to Mary’s dental work” amber sugar crystal topping on her biscotti this week. Then – to use store-bought cookie cutters! Quelle horreur – possibly not explicitly against the rules but clearly not in keeping with the spirit of the thing as we have seen over the life of the show. But then, she manages to produce the best plate of Arlettes (in my opinion, a really tough challenge even amongst technical challenges. I simply don’t know what to think.

mary_biscotti

  • Nadiya – her biscotti (and her approach to her biscotti) rocked. Oops, she forgot to add the fennel to the dough. No problem, in it does with the coconut for the finishing because as she said, “I said they would get fennel and they will.” The technical challenge wasn’t her finest hour but to be honest only Dorret and Flora produced anything close to the expected finished product so I don’t fault Nadiya there. And then the showstopper round -where Nadiya fell victim to Sue’s wonky spatial awareness. Remember when Sue smooshed Howard’s muffins in series 4? The Perkins did it again – this time breaking the top of Nadiya’s biscuit box. “How can I make amends?” Sue asks contritely. Nadiya with a resigned smile, replies, “If I leave you’re coming with me.” and then gets on with making another lid. Even after Sue’s confession to the judges, Nadiya declared that the box was not decorated because she was committed to providing a whole box with lid. But her fortune cookies were GORGEOUS and according to the judges tasty. And even more important – something no one had done on GBBO to this point. Mary and Paul love a bit of novelty and it’s getting harder and harder for them to get it. Nadiya is my fave for the week. She was plucky and determined throughout. Go, Nadiya, go.
fortune_cookies

“If I’m going down, I’m going down making fortune cookies!” – Nadiya

  • Alvin – Right off the bake, using fresh fruit for biscotti? I’ve never made biscotti and I know this is a mistake. Even before Paul’s VERY LEADING QUESTIONS, I know it’s a mistake. Alvin, therefore, should also have known. In the showstopper round, Nadiya’s determination made Alvin’s lack of biscuit box that much worse. Alvin obviously felt bad about that (and if you don’t fulfill the brief, that can send you home regardless so he was right to worry) but he decided to focus on getting the brandysnaps right and that worked. My issue with Alvin is that I keep forgetting about him. He hasn’t yet don’t anything to stand out for me. Come on, Alvin – show us what you’ve got!

Next week? Bread. Beware the Hollywood. For he is watching.

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