It's been a vintage year for The Great British Bake Off, and as an avid cake-maker myself, I've watched the contestants produce outstanding show stoppers, inventive signature bakes and mind-boggling technical challenges in awe every week. The programme never fails to help me improve my baking skills, but this year, it's also taught me 10 valuable life lessons...
This year when given a cider-y amount of apples I found myself hankering after baked goods to squirrel away rather than chutney. I don't know why. I think I might be spoiling for something. My freezer is my preserving jar this Autumn. Full to the brim with these cupcakes.
The teenage girl next to me sat reading a classic novel, earphones in, occasionally rolling her eyes. I'm not sure whether to be impressed at their joie de vivre or appalled as she was. The only answer to the trauma of this very long journey of being terrorised by inebriated middle aged men was to make a batch of these brownies just as soon as I got home.
I fell off the wagon. Thump, spectacularly to the ground. I was so very nearly there. Just 1.5 stone to go in my five stone battle of the bulge. It started with just one night off and ended in a weekend of gluttony. Here's how I regained 6lb in just three days...
Just back to school and already I'm thinking about the opportunity for wearing thick woollen jumpers, drinking soup and preparing a feast for Bonfire night. There are a few things that must be done on Bonfire night.
Cream the butter and sugar for four minutes in a stand mixer using the flat beater starting low speed and working up, or six minutes with a handheld electric mixer or about 8 - 10 minutes with a wooden spoon. The mixture will be lighter in colour than when you started and very creamy...
I will share with you three mistakes I made that taught my daughter to fear failing and, how the Great British Bake Off helped me rectify those mistakes and build her resilience around failure.
This recipe is easy and adaptable so do as you wish with it - add stuff, take stuff out, just keep the rosemary and mustard.
These cupcakes are something I made for the school fayre. They sold out pretty fast, I'm sure due to their white chocolate dribbleness. The other cakes I made did not sell out fast. It was very stressful watching them sit, lonely and ignored. I won't be making anything other than these for the school fayre, ever again.
You know how it goes. A contestant starts to take their flawlessly baked cake out of the oven, or triumphantly slide their painstakingly constructed choux swans onto a serving plate. Then, in a sudden moment of clumsiness, perfection turns to a mass of crumbs on the floor.
Manly Richard (he's a BUILDER!) wins the technical thanks to Mary telling him his biscuits "have got a nice forking". Inexplicably, no-one collapses into giggles at this comment.
A weird situation has developed: globally around one billion people are malnourished and conversely two billion are obese. One might argue that if the weight on the scales was redistributed, some form of equilibrium could be found.
It's back! People kneeling next to ovens! Thinly veiled baking innuendo! Mary Berry going mad for any cake with a hint of alcohol in! Paul Hollywood's eyes staring through you into the depths of your very soul!
These florentines are delicious and really very easy. The crunch and all important brushing of chocolate make them a big hit amongst the smaller people in our family. Add to this already heady combination some marshmallows and sultanas and this could well be treat heaven.
We're back from our summer hols. We went to Suffolk. Southwold to be precise. We always holiday in Suffolk; it's my attempt at creating childhood memories the boys can bore their own kids with. I regularly irritate them with rose tinted tales of crabbing in Cornwall. It's only right I allow them the same pleasurable adult pastime.
I committed the mortal sin of trying to impart my knowledge on her. It's exactly the kind of thing that used to drive me to distraction as a first time mother... Next time I see her I will make her these brownies as way of an apology and stop being such a know it all.