Week 8 De Dan De Dan De Dan

You know these work place fantasy leagues? Well years ago, I was player in a Gran Prix one, with about 30 or so others, it was all well organised, with a league table and rules etc. It was like a fiver a week, and half the pot was split between the lads who had the driver that got the chequered flag and lads with the winning team.   The balance of that weekly pot was held over for the best Fantasy Team at the end of the season.

I rarely got a look in week in week out, but you know it was good craic because I was regularly runner up or as they’d say in bingo; sweating. So on a Monday morning when you wouldn’t be in the humour for anything the banter could get you through to Wednesday.

I was reminded of those days, with the lads, lads I haven’t seen or heard from in probably 20 years, last night. Because at the end of that first season, my fantasy team, Scuderia Forani, won.

I can still see the fecker running it now, ah he was the funniest lad I ever worked with tbh, come into my little office, put about 200 yoyos down and slip-off  like he was ducking out early, and left me hooping and wha’how’ya now bhiys to meself until his smoking buttie came in with a catering size coffee tin filled with coin shrapnel.

Another 300 or so, and the print offs of the league table.  Wasn’t I well clear of the rest of them with their trips ta Silverstone and their cans of Fosters and Jordan t-shirts.  Slow and steady, there and thereabouts, week after week.

Which has been Ruby’s Bake Off so far, and you know who else had the same experience? Last year’s winner Sophie Faldo.

I have come to appreciate Ruby’s Bake Off journey so much, like last week her showstopper give up, but she was all star baker for me last night. The sign of a champ; and she’s still improving.  And she’s fun. Feck’sake, Rahul would have ya reciting the rosary when he starts talking and listing his ingredients.

ruby noel

Something else, now this might be ‘cause we get to spend more time with them now with the culling, but did anyone else notice how tall she is?  Like I think she’s taller than Noel, and he’s in those silly cuban heel things.

Anyway, the real stuff; I really really enjoyed Danish week. Not so much for the baking, or that I was thrilled for Ruby but it was just brilliant telly for the Bake Off watcher.  It could be that I had no idea what to expect or that I sat down with nothing in mind or anyone already mentally pre-selected for going and showstopping.

Just even listening to Sandi pronounce the bakes in their mother tongue Danish, to hearing her laugh was easy listening telly; Dane Sandi Toksvig from now on.

Something else from my bygone days for ye – one time at a local jumble sale I picked up an old cookery book and it had wonderful notes and dinner plans left inside from the previous owner.

Its in olde imperial which can be a pain, and its a bit whiffy as it probably pre-dates Abigail’s Party.  But it started a bit’ve of thing now where I always browse the 2nd hand shelves for cook books, not that I’ve had as much luck since, but I never feel disappointed for trying anyway.

I mention it now because it has a great recipe for Danish Pastries that make them unfaffable.

 

Apologies for the pics lads, but its Cordon Blue Cookery by Rosemary Hume and Muriel Downs, and has the best pastry section you’ll get in one place. So maybe keep an eye out for it yereselves.
To give mention to the bakes last night, well I thought the signature was a great challenge; and we haven’t seen sangwiches in the tent since the garden party final showstopper in Season 1.  Have we?
As the Pru’Paul went over here’s one I made earlier bit with the Technical, the dependent said t’me that’s so you and she’s right. Only thing is it seems to require kit but a egg poacher might do the job.   Also, I wouldn’t be doing the dipping sauce. But Paul’s recipe is cracking, both for the batter and the spicy apple insides. Mind you he has the skill level set at easy. I’m not so sure about that; far be it from me to question The Hollywood, but I’d set it to feckie lads.

You have to hand it to Kim-Joy, and ye’ve heard me say it before, her finishing is the best the tent has ever seen. Maybe she’s an artist at heart and baking is her medium and preferred art form, because an artistic temperament would definitely explain the tears.  Mind you with the exception of our Star Ruby, they all had a bit’ve cry.

Now I know twitter etc has gone mad over Manon getting relegated to the Extra Slice, and Rahul was a goner from the start with his 101 toppings asaic.

But in the balance of the series so far, and that Manon did drift off from Danish week with her French rye loaf while her pain au chocolat in the showstopper didn’t sit well with the Hollywood at all, Rahul did deserve another lash at it.

Although if he survives Patisserie week, I’ll pack this lark in, and ye’ve only two more weeks of this to go anyway.

Then its all over.

After nearly ten years with Frilly

who knows.  But its like losing my best friend.

fruit nuts n’ Veg

Veg; we pronounce that veg don’t we?  Like with a proper Veh and a snippy juicy G at the end.  But vegan is Vee – ghan; limpy and insipid sounding, like it’s a pastel colour, too polite even.

That was just a thought that ran across me notes, nothing more.

So, a first, Vegan week.  I don’t know what the fuss was about with the hash-tagging crowd with their boycotting and cribbing about Bake Off going too far from the original tent.  Jesus you’d swear they’d have gotten over Noel by now.  Who actually looked more normal last night than other shows this season.

I thought it was interesting meself, I’m not going to try anything, well maybe that Technical since I make my own hummus all the time anyway so I might as well give it a lash insteada throwing the stuff out.

Like who knew the grey water your chickpeas were in was called Aquafaba

Did ye?

Sum’ting else in defense of vegan week, ok there’s no fear ah’ me giving up the butter n’ the cream or an’ting of the sort, but any Bake Off follower and home baker would want ta hear what the Bake Off Judges would have ta say about baking without dairy n’ eggs n’ stuff, wouldn’t they?

Ah, anyway.  I enjoyed it, even though, and this happened before too, I predicted Kim-Joy star baker when they introduced the week’s theme.  True, no word of a lie.  But unlike the last time I called it so early an’ was more interested in seeing if I was right rather than enjoy the show, I actually did pay attention all the way through last night’s.

In an interesting way like.  And as I said earlier that Technical was useful learning for this home baker anyway.  Mind you, I hope they don’t do any more ov’em.

Nothing much in the signatures for me, the only stand out was with the way the Hollywood made such a commotion about his handshake that it had me wondering, was he hesitating because he was after getting too flaithúilach with them or was it because he didn’t want to stamp vegan grub with one?  Comment away on that lads

Anyway, the showstopper.  I suppose if you were to do one it would be have to be Briony’s Chocolate Hazelnut one.  The only thing about it is it has sum’ting you mightn’t have to hand or like me, never used before; xantham gum.  But its easily got and shur’ its in loads of shop bought stuff anyway.

Although tbf, when the Hollywood cut inta them, they all looked like insides of a seat cushion; didn’t they?

Jon’s gone but you’ll have seen from the trailers they’re sending him off in style with them all wearing commemorative shurts in his honour.  There can be no doubt the lad was a goner anyway; but a great baker and a great contestant in this years tent.

As I said earlier about Kim-Joy, she was in the running the moment we saw the yellow eye-shadow, but funnily enough none of her bakes made it into the cut on the official website.

Her finishing skills were well demonstrated again last night, but I couldn’t help ‘tinking Hello Kimmie.

vegan show stopper

 

And a shout out for poor oul’ Ruby like she didn’t deserve for it to happen, and she, of them all has really surprised and thrived week on week.  I seriously didn’t expect her to last, nor expect her to grow on me, and it seems like everyone else too, like when that cake finally gave up on her it was like the tent deflated in sympathy for her along with everyone else.

Ruby fallsruby

Next week, anudder first; Danish Week.

I have no idea either.  Probably some pastry.

Sorry about the relocation folks.  It wasn’t my decision n’ don’t ask me why, ’cause I still don’t know the real reason either.

So Troll Up Troll Up lads; the more the merrier.

The Bake Off that got lost in the troll’ope: Wk 5 – Spice – but not very nice

As if we haven’t had enough of Ginger Spice

Late, but I got there in the end.  The hardest part about missing last’s week’s episode when it aired was staying away from twitter and the like; also, my routine felt a bit weird.  Like I had forgotten something, when all that happened was I switched over to another provider and moved the telly to follow the new terminal points.   (And the new settee.)

I know ye’d probably love something more cynical and pathetic, like I was in a huff or off sulking, but no.  Nothing for some of ye to t_roll around in.

Anyway, neither here nor there ‘cause in the end Spice week wasn’t worth worrying about, unless fifty shades of ginger is your thing.  Not for me, my attitude to ginger bread is that its only of use when its smothered in custard, and ginger nuts are the ones no one wants anyway.

And I did warn us all in week four that there mightn’t be much more to it than gingerbreads.

But t’was a savage week for innuendos.  I won’t repeat too much because it’s a bit weird coming from me, but wet and ghee made it to the top of my best ever list.

The first ever, and hopefully only, Spice week Signature; would I bake a family ginger cake?  I doubt it to be honest with ye, but I do like the idea of Lemon and Ginger topped with meringue.  The only thing that I would criticize about Manon’s, which in fairness got a ‘soft and lovely’ PruePat, is that Italian meringue has no staying power, and ye don’t need me to tell ye ginger bread or cakes or anything, does better after a day or more in the tin.  Also, the curd involves gelatin, and you’ll also need a sugar thermometer, and I’m always reluctant to promote anything that can’t be done with stuff you’re more likely to already have.

Maybe its something for a Roulade – Lemon Curd and Ginger Crumbs. Now there’s a guilty heemmm

An interesting thing about the Signature, all the bakes that weren’t classed as claggy, boozy, more rum than ginger, dry, gluey or a shambles got a Hollywood.  Three in fact.  So, we have officially reached peak Hollywood handshake; the Hollywood has now dished out the same number as he had in the whole of last season, and we’re only half way through.

Ma’amoul, anyone else call it a fancy feckie fig roll?  That isn’t meant to cause offence, like I love its significance and its lovely remembrance in a religious and cultural setting; but I find it hard to believe the skill is set at easy.  One thing I would add to the Technical recipe is that the pastry is worth trying on its own, and drop in a thought; mincemeat (the Christmassy kind) paste.

Do I really need to go into the Showstopper?  Sorry lads, but none of us have any intention of it, but it has to be said that Kim-Joy owned Spice week and didn’t even need to turn up for Showstopper day.  Although I’m glad she did.  She’s not my favourite, but she deserves to be.

Although I already twigged she was one to watch in Week 4’s edition, I have to make more of an effort on her behalf this week.

Kim-Joy’s ability to bake, create, combine flavours along with not being afraid of being different or using techniques others never heard of is brave and its charming, but it’s her finishing and piping skills that need particular mention, because they have not been seen yet in the tent in nine seasons.

Like I said, we wouldn’t dream of doing biscuit chandeliers, but we will all be doing these bikkies.   if ye don’t have the cutters already they’re easily got in any supermarket or euro shop.  I’m touting for them because they have one of my favourite ingredients, and its one that never seems to get a look in with cinnamon, nutmeg, and mixed spice being more everyday, everyday; ground cloves.

Chandeliers
Biscuit Mobile

The two to go home, no surprise, even Terry’s ‘tash had thrown in the towel before its owner took his place in the Technical line up.  Whereas I never warmed to Karen at all.  I really don’t think we’re going to miss them next week, oops tonight.  Or the other night now as it happens

Another Gran Prix event; Pastry

Again, sorry for the wait.

and for one night only

Vanilly Spice