Great British Bake Off 2015: Episode 6: Pastry
Episode 6 of the Great British Bake Off introduced us to some fancy pastries: flaounes, frangipane tarts, and vol-au-vents. Those all sound quite posh, don’t they? Two are of France – the frangipane tart and the vol-au-vents – and the flaounes are from Greece. If you have never heard of these pastries, do not fret. Vol-au-vents are an old-school type of hors d’oeuvre; unless you attended upscale dinner parties in the 1970’s, you probably have never come across them. As for the flaounes, the ingredients are so specialized to the Cyprus region of Greece that you’d be hard pressed to find them outside of the Mediterranean. Frangipane, however, is something you have likely heard of. It’s a common almond filling used in French pastry, and if you’ve done any French baking, you’ll know that almonds are used in French confections as much as sugar and flour.
Great British Bake Off 2015: Episode 5: Free-From
The theme for episode 5 of the Great British Bake Off was “free-from,” meaning that each bake would challenge contestants to omit sugar, gluten, and/or dairy. It was a first for the show, and a first for me, too. I never bake “free-from”, because if I’m going to spend my energy baking, the result must always be rich, and creamy, and sweet. Unfortunately, my taste buds don’t consider agave equivalent to sugar, or coconut milk equivalent to heavy cream. So, I was a bit apprehensive when I learned that there was a “free-from” week. All is well, however, because the end product looked spectacular, and it didn’t taste half bad!
Great British Bake Off 2015: Episode 4: Dessert
Creme brûlée, cheesecake, spanische windtorte – these are the bakes from dessert week on the Great British Bake Off. So far, this has been my favorite episode! Creme brûlée and cheesecake beat out bread and biscuits any day in my book! They are rich, elegant desserts and so classically divine. While I wanted to try out every recipe from dessert week, I decided to have a go at the lesser known spanische windtorte. I had never heard of this dessert, but when I saw its airy whimsy, I knew I had to give it a shot.
Great British Bake Off 2015: Episode 3: Bread
Bread was the task at hand for episode 3 of the Great British Bake Off – quick bread, baguettes, and 3D bread sculptures to be exact. The quick breads and baguettes showed the complexity of making bread, but the 3D sculptures really highlighted the bakers’ skills. So before we get into the bake I did this week, I want to share with you what one of the contestants, John, achieved with his 3D bread sculpture.
Great British Bake Off 2015: Episode 2: Biscuits
In episode 2 of the GBBO, the bakers had to take on biscuits (otherwise known as cookies here in the States). They faced biscotti in the first challenge, arlettes in the second, and edible biscuit boxes for the third show-stopping challenge.
I chose to try out Ian’s orange, rosemary, and almond biscotti. He did win the challenge, after all! Once I started assembling all of the ingredients, I knew it would be delicious. The sweet essence orange, the toasty fragrance of almonds, the tartness of cranberries, and the earthy punch of rosemary herb – an intoxicating blend of flavors, no doubt.
Great British Bake Off 2015: Episode 1: Cake
The first episode of the Great British Bake Off has just emerged, and so begins my journey to bake alongside 12 wonderful and talented bakers. With each week dedicated to a certain type of bake, we had the delight of watching the bakers take on cake in this initial episode.
Tiny onesies, plush little blankets, cozy rocking chairs, and nursery walls framed with the endearing worlds of A.A. Milne and Beatrix Potter. These are the things that melt my heart and increase my anticipation for a new little blossom of life. The little blossom celebrated this past weekend belongs to my future sister-in-law, Kate. Kate is having her first child, a new baby girl. The family is eagerly awaiting her arrival – and with all that wait time you cannot help but want to celebrate. Once we got the go ahead, Kate’s mother, Melissa, and I began swooning with ideas to give Kate the best pre-baby party. Gathering family and friends together is what Melissa and I live for, and now with this new website of mine, I am so thrilled to share with you the things that come to be when we get our creative juices flowing.
My first catered luncheon is next week, and I am very eager about the opportunity. Between my speaking engagements at local garden clubs and churches and my local farm to table business endeavour, people around my town have come to see me as this really flowery hippie with big dreams and a passion for cultivating interesting food and herbals. Now, my little town in the foothills of the Smokies is the equivalent of Mayberry
(just a few weeks ago I overheard an older lady exclaim,”he’s as useless as teats on a boar hog!” – I kid you not-it was the funniest thing.), so you can bet that I have a long road ahead of me when it comes to convincing my townsfolk to try exotic fruits and vegetables and certain gourmet food. In fact, the other day, I was presenting my farm to table business to a local chef; exasperated with my excited spiel of heirlooms and edible flowers, she stopped me dead in my tracks and declared quite humorously, “Honey, nobody ’round here even knows what hibiscus is!”
The other day my sweet pup, Nugget, got a little too close to my plate of Pop-Tarts. And in a flurry of scolding words and baby talk, I quipped – “Don’t eat my poppy tarts!” It sounded silly, but kind of cute too, and got me thinking about poppy seed pop-tarts. This, of course, had me thinking of poppy seed’s eternal partner, lemon. Hmmm…lemon and poppy seed pop-tarts – surely someone had come up with their version of that already. Alas, lemon and poppy seed pop-tart recipes were nowhere to be found (at least on the web). So, I married a homemade pastry recipe with my favorite lemon filling recipe, added some poppy seeds to the mix, and waited for my meadow poppies to bloom so that they could join in on the fun, too!