The Great British Bake-Off (Series 7 BBC1 2016) – A What I’ve Been Watching Review

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Series 7!  Doesn’t time fly.  I’ve watched every single episode.  It began back in 2010 tucked away on BBC2, where it felt like as long as you could turn out a Victoria Sandwich you were laughing.  Six series on and after a veritable mountain of croquembouche, pork pies, those things that resembled nuns that were so hard to make and those floating island thingies- all “bakes” that remain firmly in the memory, it’s back.

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In fact it was back last week- we are already one episode in.  If you missed that you would have missed them making Jaffa Cakes which would not be on the top of too many baking lists I would imagine- fiddly to make, dead easy to buy.  (By the way, I’m concerned now that my Jaffa Cake anecdote may just be an urban myth.  I’ve always been led to  believe that the jelly in a jaffa cake was actually apricot and it is that which gives it the deliciously tangy citrus taste rather than orange, which when combined with chocolate, as far as I am concerned transforms into the food of the devil.  (A Terry’s Chocolate Orange – not if my life depended on it!)  Yet, in the series opener they were making orange jelly, but then, mind you, some of them were making their Jaffa Cakes upside down!

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The Bake-Off Team

Onto episode 2- Biscuit week and Sue Perkins was unavoidably absent leaving Mel in the tent with Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry.  Sue was in the mid-way educational bit, looking at the history of biscuit dunking, a very important aspect of British history.  I like the bits in the middle, there wasn’t one last week and I thought they might have been abandoned, that after 7 series there wasn’t a biscuit or cake left that we do not know the history of so I was relived to see Sue and food expert Anastasia Edwards wiggling langues du chat into wine and digestives into tea.

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In case you’ve been living in a tent for the last 6 years there are three challenges taking place each week in the bake-off marquee.  A signature dish upon a theme, a blind baked technical challenge and the ostentatious showstopper round which shows what the amateur bakers can really do and to sort out those who play it too safe from those whose confidence leads to recklessness.  Paul and Mary are there to award “Star Baker” and weed out the contestants one at a time and Mel and Sue do the double entendres (to the consternation of the Daily Mail who take a very dim view of discussing cream horns on a family show!)

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cream horns – ooh er missus!

This week, being biscuit week there were 24 identical iced biscuits to make, a technical challenge of Viennese Whirls and some autobiographical gingerbread work.  This showstopper provided us with the most thrills of the series so far.  Despite Paul Hollywood saying that Xmas gingerbread if made properly, should still be standing in February we saw much snapping of walls, statues, turrets and a glorious moment of complete collapse.  Herein lies the hypocritical joy of “Bake Off”.  We get to know and to really like the contestants and will them on to perform patisserie wonders but we enjoy it if something goes wrong.  (Who can forget the melted Baked Alaska ending up in the bin incident in Series 5?) So as the gingerbread started to fall we ooh’d and ah’d with delight but couldn’t help but feel sorry for those whose cookies crumbled.

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Two weeks in.  Have you spotted the winner yet?  It’s usually the middle of the pack participant who starts to shine only after the early favourites have had some culinary cropper or overstretched themselves with fondant icing.  Whatever happens, it is great to have it back as a mid-week treat although my waist-line is not so happy.  As we all know, baked goods are an essential accompaniment to watching the programme to try and watch it without is just too difficult.  There’s added pleasure in watching them plough through the recipe for a Swedish Prinsesstarta Cake whilst chomping on a shop-bought Garibaldi.

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The Great British Bake Off is shown on BBC 1 on Wednesdays at 8pm.  Catch-up episodes should be available on the BBC I Player.

 

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3 thoughts on “The Great British Bake-Off (Series 7 BBC1 2016) – A What I’ve Been Watching Review

  1. I’m back reading your blog, having been away for a week and having to go back to work and deal with the depressiion of that, i just havent opened the laptop. I love Bake Off. Mr Hollywood can bake me a cake anytime. I missed the first episode, as you know, we weren’t at home and a certain daughter who was house/cat sitting forgot to record it. Never mind, I have seen the rest. It has in the past given me a few new ideas for cakes for the cattery open days instead of the usual Victoria sponge or muffins. Aha, I have been led to believe I was the only one on the planet that didn’t like Terry’s chocolate orange, awful things and I always seem to win one in a Christmas raffle. I liked the bit about the dunking of biscuits, chocolate digestives (plain chocolate) always better dunked in coffee imo, but there is definitely an art to proper dunking. I did make the floating islands once, a long time ago, and they were ok, but too fiddly to warrant doing again. I don’t know anyone who can make 24 identical biscuits, I have problems making 2 that look alike, but homemade are supposed to look homemade, aren’t they? Some of the challenges are not really too difficult in principal, it’s just the execution of the instructions. I’m always having disasters, I cant tell you how many cakes I’ve made and had to turn them into a pudding with ice cream or custard.
    So what are your thoughts on GBBO going to Channel 4? It wont be the same.
    PS. Wayne made his first Plum Jam last Saturday.

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    • I’m having Bake-off anxiety after hearing about Channel 4 taking on the show without Mel and Sue (and probably without Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry- I’ve heard a rumour that Channel 4 want it as a vehicle for Jamie Oliver !) hard to take in. It is such a BBC programme. I think it will be a very different programme on Channel 4, so we should probably appreciate this as the last series. Good on Wayne for making plum jam – I take it you had a glut then! I’m looking through the cookbooks for a cake to take to a craft event at the weekend. I think I’m opting for a Coffee Streusel or maybe I’ll opt for one of those croquembouche towers (or maybe not!!)

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  2. I made a coconut and lime sponge. Lime zest added to the sponge, with coconut buttercream and lime curd filling and the buttercream on top with extra coconut. It went down well. And yes. We couldn’t eat or give away the plums fast enough. He’s talking about making other flavours next year and entering the cookery section of the flower show. Watch this space. GBBO will never be the same again. Good luck with the cake, pictures please.

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