Category Archives: Great British Bake Off

Great Bloggers Bake Off – The Masterclass: Sticky Ginger & Treacle Traybake

The Great British Bake Off is now finished until sometime next year, however Jenny from Mummy Mishaps and Helen from The Crazy Kitchen gave us the whole month of November to make anything from the series that we wanted to make again or try for the first time. As ever, I am leaving it until the last minute to link up and take part.

After watching the four Masterclass episodes I decided to make Mary Berry’s ginger and treacle spiced Traybake. I liked the look of the combination of flavours and thought it was very different to the usual traybakes that you see around. It was very easy to make and I only made one adaptation to the recipe. I added in a teaspoon of dried ginger instead of the mixed spice and allspice as I did not have any in. I think the recipe needed the extra ginger in it to work, however I really love ginger! I took this into work on Wednesday for my last day in the office before maternity leave. Everyone loved it and it disappeared very quickly!!


The BBC Good Food Show Winter is This Week!!

From Wednesday to Sunday of this week, the BBC Good Food Show Winter will be at the NEC, near Birmingham. My big bump and I are visiting on Friday and we are looking forward to seeing:
  • Lakeland are back at the show – they're sponsoring the free of charge Saturday Kitchen Stage and will have a shop at the show too where visitors can find the latest gadgets, Christmas gifts and baking essentials.
  • All the Great British Bake Off contestants from all series have been invited to the show, and many can be found demonstrating on the free of charge The Great British Bake Off Stage, along with GBBO Village with a fantastic selection of companies demonstrating, sampling and selling baking supplies, ingredients, equipment, baked treats and more!
  • The World Cheese Awards are being judged on the Wednesday of the show with over 3000 cheeses from all over the world on display. There'll be a tasting shop too for cheese fans to taste and buy their favourite cheeses.
  • Lots of small artisan producers where visitors can find some unusual that they won't find on the high street. We can stock up for Christmas on luxurious drinks, smoked salmon, juicy hams, free range turkeys, bacon, fizz etc.

If you want to join in the fun but have not got a ticket yet, you can use the discount code below to get 15% off the ticket price until Sunday. This offer comes to you, my readers as I am part of the Good Food Show Bloggers Community.


A few weeks ago, along with my fellow Good Food Show bloggers (Gingey Bites, Annie Ko, The Foodie Couple Blog & Glamour in the County) and our organiser and font of knowledge of everything to do with the Good Food Show, Katy of Fabulous Food Finds, we went to Fiesta del Asado for lunch. While we were there, owner and chef Aktar Islam was in the kitchen practicing cooking his dishes for the next series of Great British Menu. He wouldn't tell us what he was cooking but it looked very interesting!

While we were there, we ate a vast array of amazing food including fried whitebait, padron peppers, baby back ribs, grilled chicken, lamb and a couple of varieties of sausages, all served with homemade bread, fries with parsley and garlic, orange and fennel salad and Malbec sauce. It was delicious and I cannot wait to go back there again soon!

At the end of our meal, Nikki of Convivium Wines told us about an exciting new wine tasting concept that you can try at the Good Food Show called WineTubeMap. The basic idea of the map is that you find a wine (station) that you like then travel further up or down that line to find similar wines that you may like too. It is a really simple idea and I am sure it will be really popular at the show as it makes wine tasting much simpler and enjoyable to understand.

I hope you have a great time at the show if you are going. Please say hello to me and my bump on Friday if you are there then!!!

Thank you to Katy and the Good Food Show bloggers community for an amazing meal at Fiesta del Asado.

Disclosure: The meal at Fiesta del Asado was complimentary. I am attending the BBC Good Food Show Winter on a complimentary press pass. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.



Great Bloggers Bake Off Week 9 – Easy Charlotte Royale

This week, the four remaining contestants on the Great British Bake Off were challenged to make savoury canapés, a Charlotte Royale and an Opera cake. As ever, Helen from The Crazy Kitchen and Jenny from Mummy Mishaps are challenging us to do the same.

Time has been a bit tight this week as I have been doing lots of baking for the Nearly New Sale of my local NCT branch. I made 4 large trays of Rocky Road, a chocolate sponge cake and 18 large cupcakes. I liked the look of the Charlotte Royale as soon as I saw them, however I do not have the time or the inclination to make them in the Classic French way as shown in the programme. Therefore the recipe below is my easy (otherwise called lazy!) version of a Charlotte Royale. I presented the finished Charlotte Royal in my sunning new cake stand from the cookware department at Debenhams. I think it looks lovely and shows the cake off really well.

Easy Charlotte Royale


  • 1 large jam Swiss roll or 2/3 small ones, cut into 1 1/2 cm rounds
  • 184ml tub of double cream
  • 3 tablespoons of icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Small handful of strawberries, chopped and stalk removed
  • Small handful of raspberries


  1. Line a small Pyrex bowl with cling film. Place the Swiss roll rounds in the bowl to form a wall and completely cover the bowl. Ensure the Swiss roll rounds are close together so no cream will come out.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk up the double cream with the icing sugar and vanilla extract until stiff peaks are formed. Gently stir in the fruit then carefully put into the Charlotte Royale shell.
  3. Put more Swiss rolls on top then cover with cling film. Then put in the fridge overnight weighed down (I used a large saucepan old and two time).
  4. Once set overnight, carefully remove the Charlotte Royale from the bowl onto a plate/cake stand. Put back in the fridge though if you are not going to eat straight away otherwise the cream will start to soften. Eat and enjoy!

Disclosure: I received the cake stand to review from Debenhams. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.


Great Bloggers Bake Off Week 7: Spotted Dick

This week, the Great British Bake Off contestants were challenged to make a suet pudding, Religieuseand a selection of puff pastry treats. Jenny of Mummy Mishaps and Helen of The Crazy Kitchen are asking us bloggers to do the same. As pastry is my nemesis, I decided to stick with suet as I have generally found it to be quite easy to work with.

I have always loved traditional steamed suet puddings such as treacle sponge and spotted dick made for me by my nan since I was a little girl. She always made them in the traditional manner but steaming the puddings in a saucepan, however due to the demands of modern life, I do not have the time to do this so I made mine in a microwave instead. I was interested to see how the taste would be affected compared to my Nan’s. I decided to make Spotted Dick as I have not had it got ages and have never made my own. This has got to be the most easiest and the least attractive of my bakes so far. The recipe below reminds me of Spotted Dick’s from my childhood but does seem to be missing something so if you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Microwave Spotted Dick

Ingredients (serves 1 hungry person)

  • 25g of sultanas or currants
  • 1 teaspoon of water
  • 25g soft unsalted butter
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 25g self raising flour
  • 25g shredded suet
  • 1 egg
  • A few drops of vanilla extract
  • Custard to serve


  1. In a cup or a small bowl, put the currants and the water in the microwave and cook on high for 30 seconds to plump up the currants
  2. Put all the other ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined. Add in the currants and their water and mix again.
  3. Pour the mix into a greased small pudding bowl and put in the microwave for 2-3 minutes until cooked through and leave to stand for 2 minutes.
  4. Serve with the custard

PS: I have lots of things to blog about other than the Great Bloggers Bake Off. I just have not had much time recently. Please bear with me.

PPS: Many thanks to Debenhams and Home Bargains for sending me some baking stuff recently. I will be using it in another post soon



Great Bloggers Bake Off Week 6: Belgian Buns

This week, the Great British Bake Off contestants had to tackle sweet dough in the form of a tea loaf, a Couronne and sweet buns. As ever, Jenny from Mummy Mishaps and Helen from The Crazy Kitchen are asking us to do the same.

I love sweet dough but do not get the chance to make it very often so I seized this opportunity and made one of my favourites, Belgian buns. A brief search on the Internet brought lots of recipes for Chelsea buns but not many for Belgian buns. I eventually settled on this one from Riverside Baking as it only made 6 (or my case 7!) Most of the recipes I found made 12 or 13 buns. This would not normally be a problem but as I am pregnant and craving sweet things, I do not want that many in the house as I will eat them!!

I adapted the recipe slightly. I used bread flour instead of plain and made the dough in my breadmaker. I put all the dough ingredients in at once (wet ingredients first) then put my breadmaker on dough setting. I followed the recipe from that point on but added extra glaice cherries into the dough with the sultanas. They are the best bit of a Belgian bun in my opinion! I overcooked them by a minute or two so they are slightly crisper than what they should be. I enjoyed making these and look forward to making them again soon!


Great Bloggers Bake Off Week 5: Double Chocolate Malteaser Traybake

This week, the contestants on the Great British Bake Off were challenged to make a traybake, tuiles and a biscuit tower. As ever, the lovely Jenny from Mummy Mishaps and Helen from The Crazy Kitchen are asking us to make the same.

I love a good traybake and my Rocky Road recipe is regularly made by myself and many of my friends and family. However, I felt like doing something different and a Malteaser traybake sprang to mind. I love Malteasers but have never really used them in baking before. This is a really easy recipe and is something that older children could help out with, as long as they are supervised.

Double Chocolate Malteaser Traybake


  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 100g golden syrup
  • 400g milk chocolate, in chunks
  • 350g of Malteasers, (250g bashed into small pieces with rolling pin, 100g or so left whole for the top)
  • 350g white chocolate, in chunks


  1. In a non-stick saucepan, melt the butter, golden syrup and milk chocolate together on a low heat, stirring constantly.
  2. Once melted, add in the crushed Malteasers and pour into a lined 28cm small roasting tin. Flatten out the top as much as you can and put in the fridge to set for about 6 hours.
  3. Once the milk chocolate layer has set, melt the white chocolate in a double boiler (heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water) and pour in an equal layer over the milk chocolate base. Flatten it as much as you can and put the whole Malteasers in the top to decorate any way you like.
  4. Put back in the fridge for a couple of hours to set then cut into small squares and serve. Eat and enjoy!

PS: I did attempt some mini fruit pies to enter last week’s challenge but there were an absolute disaster. Pastry is my number 1 guaranteed failure in the kitchen and it happened again!!!




Great Bloggers Bake Off Week 2: Garlic, Parmesan & Parsley Breadsticks

This week, the theme of the Great British Bake Off was bread. The contestants had to make breadsticks, English muffins and a shaped plaited loaf. I have been a bit busy this week due to my husband being in hospital (he is back home now) so went for the easy option of making breadsticks for the #greatbloggersbakeoff run by Helen of The Crazy Kitchen and Jenny from Mummy Mishaps.

My breadstick recipe is based on a pizza dough recipe and are very simple and easy to make. I used my breadmaker to make the dough but follow the instructions for normal pizza dough if you want to make them by hand. Children can help you put the topping on as long as they are not too generous with the garlic oil. The breadsticks passed the ‘snap’ trust but I do not think Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood would be impressed as they are very inconsistent. I am very pleased for a first attempt though. I took them to my cousin’s 40th birthday party this afternoon and they all disappeared in about 30 minutes with everyone saying how lovely they were.

Garlic, Parmesan & Parsley Breadsticks

Ingredients (makes about 30)

  • 225g strong white flour, plus more for rolling out
  • 150ml cold water
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried active yeast
  • Generous seasoning of salt and pepper
  • Small handful of Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs

For the topping

  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 8-10 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Small handful of chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • Extra Parmesan to grate on top
  • More olive oil to oil the baking tray


  1. In a breadmaker, mix all the ingredients except the topping ones according to the manufacturers instructions. Use the dough or pizza dough setting on your breadmaker to get the dough ready
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. On a floured surface, roll out the dough until about the size of an A3 sheet of paper.
  3. In a pestle and mortar, crush the garlic cloves with the salt and then add in the extra virgin olive oil and parsley. Stir until combined.
  4. Using a pastry brush, brush the garlic and parsley oil over the dough in a thin layer. Grate some Parmesan evenly over the dough.
  5. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into long stick shapes to the thickness you desire. Place gently on an oiled baking sheet and allow to cook for 8-10 minutes. Watch them carefully as they can go from underdone to burnt very quickly.
  6. Remove from the baking sheet as soon as they are cooked and allow to cool to keep the texture right. Eat and enjoy :-)


Great Bloggers Bake Off Week 1: Rhubarb & Custard Sandwich Cake

The lovely Jenny of Mummy Mishaps and Helen of The Crazy Kitchen have created a new linky for all bloggers who are fans of the Great British Bake Off. Each week, we have to cook something related to that week’s challenges on the show. This week it was cake and the contestants had to make sandwich cakes, an Angel Food cake and a chocolate creation. I would of loved to have attempted an Angel Food cake but being a bit short of time, I did not feel brave enough to give it ago.
Inspired by one of the contestants on the show and determined to take the normal Victoria Sponge to the next level, I have dreamed up a rhubarb and custard sandwich cake. This recipe is a hybrid between my normal sandwich cake recipe and Nigella’s custard birthday sponge. I am not going to put the full recipe down as I mostly followed the Victoria sponge recipe for the cake. I only added a couple of tablespoons of custard powder to the mix at the same time as the flour. I followed Nigella’s recipe for the buttercream with an added bit of yellow food colouring to make it more custard like. The rhubarb (from my Nan’s garden) in the middle was roasted for about 20 minutes in a hot oven with a tablespoon of caster sugar, mashed up slightly with a fork and then cooled. The top is decorated with more buttercream using the duo icing kit from Lakeland.
I served the cake this morning at my local NCT branch coffee group. Everyone loved it. It is one I will make again. :-)


Giveaway: Natural Selection Hamper

Another week, another giveaway! How lucky are you lovely lot! This week I am pleased to let you know that I have hamper from Natural Selection to send to one lucky reader. In the hamper there are:

  • 3 x packs of Chopped Apricots
  • 3 x packs of Dried Cranberries
  • 3 x packs of 5 Fruit Mix
  • 3 x packs of Crystallised Ginger
  • 3 x packs of Cinnamon Cranberries
  • 3 x packs Chopped Dates
  • 2 x packs of Crimson Raisins
  • 1 x Natural Selection branded apron
  • 1 x rolling pin
  • 1 x Great British Bake Off: How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets

If you need some inspiration as to what you could do with all this dried fruit if you win it, please see Holly’s (Finalist from The Great British Bake Off) blog for some ideas :-)

Also if you like Natural Selection on Facebook, you can download a coupon from their Facebook page and get a £1 off their dried fruit bags in Asda or Sainsbury’s.

To enter the giveaway, all you need to do is leave a comment on the post below telling me your favourite Easter dish that you like to prepare at this time of year. Its that easy!

If you would like another chance to win a Natural Selection hamper please see the giveaway over on Fuss Free Flavours

This competition has now closed. Thank you to everyone who entered. The winner will be announced asap

Terms and Conditions

  1. Only 1 entry per person
  2. The competition will close at 5pm on Monday 9th April  2012 BST
  3. The winner will be chosen by and will be contacted via email as soon as possible after the competition has closed.
  4. The competition is open to UK residents only
  5. The prize will be delivered by Natural Selection Foods once the winner’s contact details are confirmed.
  6. Any questions or queries, please email

Winner of The CrockPot Cook & Carry

I am pleased to announce that the winner of the CrockPot Cook & Carry is comment no 4, Lynn Savage. Congratulations Lynn, I have sent you an email. If you can send me your address details as soon as possible, I will arrange to get the Crockpot sent out to you. Thanks to everyone who entered!

Many thanks to Natural Selection for providing the hamper to giveaway and for sending me some fruit to try myself :-)

The Pink Whisk October Challenge: Apples

This month, Ruth from The Pink Whisk is challenging us to bake something using one of the ingredients of the moment- apples. I love cooking, baking and drinking apples so I knew I had to take part in this challenge. There are many things you can make with apples including cakes, tarts, crumbles, pies and so forth.

For me, the simplest and the best thing to do with apples is make a crumble. It is one of the first things I was taught to make as a child and was left on my own to make as I got older. I know it is not really original or fancy but my opinion is, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! My recipe is very traditional. It does not use oats or anything in the crumble mix. I do not even put any cinnamon in with the apples. If you have good local apples like I did, you should just let them speak for themselves. My recipe below is a bit vague as it depends on how many apples, you have and the size of your baking dish as to how much you need. You just need to use your own judgement and don’t forget you can freeze any left over crumble mix for another time.

Apple Crumble


  • Apples, local if possible, chopped into chunks (1 large or 2 medium sized apples filled up my little Le Creuset dish above)
  • 125g butter, unsalted, cut into small chunks
  • 250g plain flour (always do half fat to flour, however much crumble you make)
  • 125g caster sugar plus a couple of extra tablespoons for the apples
  • Lemon juice


  1. Put the apples in your baking dish and add some lemon juice in with them to prevent them from browning.
  2. Put in a couple of tablespoons of sugar in with the apples and lemon juice and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, make the crumble mix by rubbing in the butter into the flour until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. This may take a few minutes depending on how soft your butter is.
  4. Add in the sugar and mix well.
  5. Top the apples with the crumble mix (don’t do it too neatly- rustic looks better) and bake in a moderate oven until golden brown and bubbling. Eat with custard, cream or ice cream and enjoy!

Happy Cooking! :-)

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