GBBO weeks 3 and 4

So, the third week of this year’s Great British Bake Off was bread week. Now, as I’ve admitted on here before, bread isn’t my strongest baking area. I never seem to get a good rise. But, I had seen in a recipe in one of my Jamie Oliver cookbooks that I’d been wanting to try, so week 3 theme seemed a good time to try. It didn’t fit in with any of the categories (a sweet dough, a steamed bake or contain three flours) but who cares?

The recipe was for a ‘Figgy Banana Bread’ from Jamie Oliver’s Everyday Super Food cookbook. It’s a suggested breakfast idea so we actually had our first try of it before the bake off episode (yum yum yum). The recipe is relatively easy with everything going into a food processor. It also doesn’t contain any yeast so does not need to be proved and can be ready in under an hour and a half. Rather than being a typical bread, it comes out looking more like a cake. I don’t think it helps that it is baked in a cake tin. I found it easier to slice the bread into the recommended number of wedges so you can grab a piece each morning. Jamie suggests serving it with a dollop of nut butter and a dollop of natural yoghurt. I did this and loved the combination of salty peanut butter with the sweet figgy bread.  I sliced my piece of bread in half, topping one with the peanut butter and the other with yoghurt. I also had it with home made strawberry chia jam instead of the peanut butter and it was still yummy. Mr W had his with sliced banana instead of the nut butter so the combinations are endless. I strongly recommend having it with something to make it more into a meal rather than a snack. Although the recipe doesn’t mention anything about freezing the bread, I froze a couple of pieces for about a week and they were just as good as fresh once defrosted. The bread until stays fresh for a few days in a tin and I didn’t want to have to throw away the leftovers (I liked it too much). Below is the recipe taken from Jamie’s book.

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Serves 12

  • 250g dried figs
  • 75ml cold-pressed rapeseed oil
  • 125g natural yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g wholemeal self-raising flour
  • 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 eating apple
  • 50g whole almonds
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C. Line a 25cm cake tin with a scrunched sheet of wet greaseproof paper. Place 200g of figs in a food processor with the oil, yoghurt, vanilla extract, peeled bananas and eggs then blitz until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder, ground almonds, poppy seeds and turmeric and pulse until just combined. Be careful not to overwork the mixture. Coarsely grate the apple and stir into the mixture.
  2. Spoon the mixture into the tin and spread out evenly. Tear over the remaining figs and chop the almonds, scatter over the top of the mixture, pushing them down slightly. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool a little. N.B. I found it difficult to remove from the greaseproof paper. Don’t panic if it sticks, just slowly peel it away.

This is definitely a  recipe I want to bake again. It was slightly indulgent having essentially cake for breakfast but it made a nice change.

Now, GBBO week 4 was batter week with the making of Yorkshire puddings, lace pancakes and churros. The obvious option for something to make was pancakes. This year, I never made the traditional pancakes for Shrove Tuesday so took this week as a chance to do so. Now, what a disappointment. Maybe I’ve gotten too used to having slightly thicker, flavourful breakfast pancakes. These crepe style pancakes were plain, bland and boring. Even the addition of lemon, sugar and ice cream didn’t help matters. Not something I will be repeating anytime soon.

 

 

Biscuit Week

One of my favourite television programmes returned to our screens two weeks ago….The Great British Bake Off!!!! Who would have thought that watching 12 amateur bakers battling it out each week would be so popular. I think having Mel and Sue presenting the show makes it even more enjoyable. The start of this years series coincided with Mr W’s birthday which meant I had even more reason to bake. I’d decided to bake Mr W one of his favourite biscuits, Empire Biscuits. Now, I’d never hear of these delectable treats before I met Mr W. They seem to be more popular in Scotland than in England. I guess you could call them a fancy jammie dodger. It wasn’t until the night before the first episode did Mr W point out that it was cake week. And it wasn’t until the end of the show did I find out that it was biscuit next and I was a whole week early with my bake. Never mind. I did do an experimental ginger and lime drizzle cake to make up for it. Although it tasted great, it had more of a syrup topping rather than a drizzle. I was also disappointed with the rise of the cake (more of a traybake than a loaf cake) and refused to take pictures. To make up for it, I made some more biscuits which turned out a lot better. These were a request from someone at work. She wanted the biscuits she used to have at school that had jam in the middle…thumbprint biscuits.

To be fair, these two biscuits weren’t the most technical of bakes but they were very much enjoyed. Although I didn’t get to try the thumbprint biscuits, they met my colleagues criteria which was a hit.

Empire Biscuits

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After a bit of googling, I managed to find a recipe by a previous GBBO contestant (James Morton) that looked like the biscuits Mr W wanted. The recipe has very few ingredients and is extremely easy to make. The only adaptation I made was the halving of the recipe. I followed the suggestion of using some cornflour which gives it a lovely crumbly texture. I also rolled the dough as thinly as possible so that when the biscuits are sandwiched together, the ratio of biscuit to jam to biscuit is as close to the same as possible. Click here for his recipe.

Thumbprint Biscuits

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There were a number of variations of this recipe online. I knew what biscuit my colleague wanted. I managed to buy one a couple of years ago at a food fair and it brought back those school memories. It’s funny how as a child, school dinners were awful but when you think back on them, they weren’t as bad as you thought. The biscuit needs to be crumbly with a good dollop of jam (preferably strawberry) in the middle.  BBC Good Food had just the recipe I needed. Again, it uses very few ingredients and is very easy to make. It is also a quick recipe if you have a food processor as it can do all the work for you. Click here for recipe.

Tomorrow it’s bread week….