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Category Archives: Baking

It’s wrong but it’s right

It’s all been really enjoyable telly but the Italy episode of the The Hairy Bikers’ Bakeation was a particularly good one for me. I generally prefer savoury to sweet baking and the emphasis was on bread and pizzas – obvious but it’s always worth repeating how simple and satisfying this stuff is to make.

The real highlight though was the PASTA PIE. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on April 23, 2012 in Baking, BBC, Hairy Bikers

 

watch with martha

That was very nearly the name of this blog.  I thought Martha Stewart may not be totally familiar territory but it summed up the site’s theme nicely.  I was very happy to spot Martha Bakes on the schedules of the Good Food Channel so, yeah, I dabbled.  What of it?

This is essentially Delia Smith for American TV.  No fuss and no frills, as the photo illustrates.

Cookery’s favourite jailbird shows us how to make blueberry muffins and popovers (whatever they are) while extolling the virtues of organic produce – Ms Stewart has 200 chickens on her ‘property’.  I bet her property is humongous!

A nice touch was to see an ice cream scoop being used to place the muffin mixture into the cases – just the right amount and not much mess.  We then move on to the mysterious popovers.  Ah, pretty much a Yorkshire pudding, I see.  One sweet, one savoury.

Yep, OK, that’s Martha done – not much to see here, move along.

 

 

baking bad

SIGH Unfortunately I have to blog the good, the not-so-good and the bloody awful.  The Fabulous Baker Brothers are getting a repeat on More4.  Baking powder? Ex-squeeze me?  Yes, if there’s one thing I don’t want repeating on me, it’s this.

Now, I like to think I’m a reasonably nice person who tries to see the good in most people.  I feel bad at bitching for no real reason and I often default thus: “oh, I’d have a drink with Gareth Southgate no problem but his post-match interviews leave a lot to be desired …” etc.  However, even I would struggle to nip down to the local boozer for a drink with the Herberts (even if I was in Chipping Sodbury).

A butcher, a baker ...

I would politely request that anyone currently finding Rachel Khoo annoying watch one episode of FBB – you will never complain again.

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KHOO 2

Rachel, Rachel, Rachel, with your glossy lippy and your saturated Hipstamatic kitchen and your cheery everywoman accent and your multiple costume changes (where is that woman’s storage?) and your Global knives and your crowd-pleasing K-Tel cookery classics and and and. Who wouldn’t fall for your carefully stage managed Nigella’s-hot-baby-sisterish charms?

The second episode gives us more of the same: Parisporn, that hoary standby “cheery banter with market traders”, more nice-and-easy looking recipes (I must do fish in paper more often), flylady Fifties action, piping bags (she doesn’t ‘choux till it pops’ though), vintage enamel, and a whole raft of c’est touts and et voilas (does she actually speak any more French than I do?). And why does she have her salt in an annoying, finger-inaccessible jamjar though? That would drive me insane. Her beef bourguignion was waaay too liquid for me, but the salted caramel puds were genius though, an fairly easy hit as long as you know your oven pretty well.

The boulangeries of Paris are as fucking amazing as they are pictured, by the way. I once got up on three hours sleep to go to Gosselin in Les Halles purely because Jeffrey Steingarten recommended it in passing as selling one of the best baguettes in Paris, but that’s because I’m a tragic food-addled knob. I spent a fortune and ran for the Eurostar looking like some kind of mobile bakery. Good times.

 

oh, oobee doo, i wanna be like khoo

Yes, I admit, I was skeptical upon seeing the adverts for a forthcoming show about a pretty lady in Paris – blurgh!  But I actually quite enjoyed it.

Maybe I stupidly fell for the lovely clothes, the nice lipstick and exciting atmosphere of gay Paris.  But what I did like was the size of her kitchen: she could stand in the middle, reach out and touch each wall.  Impressive.  Her simple French dishes were created on a little gas ring, grill and oven with the fridge doubling up as a chalk board (nice idea but there’s a far better Etch-a-Sketch in Chez Fanny).

Yes, I wanted to be one of Rachel’s hip mates, squeezing in to her petit appartement to eat madeleines stuffed with raspberries and curd and drink tea.  Well, maybe one day I will.  Rachel runs La Petite Cuisine a Paris out of her miniature flat so one day, I’m sure …

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the roux, the whole roux and nothing …

Recently concluded on Good Food is The Roux Legacy, a ten part series focusing on the legends that are the Roux family.  For the first time all four chefs unite to cook their dishes, recount some amazing stories and generally bicker like most families do.

The subjects of this programme are fascinating, the overall feel of it however is quite dated with a synth soundtrack and the occasional VT wipe …. niiiiice.  [I have just been advised that the main music used is Marillion]

As someone not old enough to know, it was a revelation to be told the Roux story – opening Le Gavroche when the quality and availability of British food was, by all accounts, appalling in 1967.  Their one ray of sunshine was Billingsgate Market where they would buy all they could and advise the traders what types of fish they should be stocking.  They became known as Mickey and Albie and pretty much transformed the way markets and shops were run.  In more recent years M&S had regular access to the Roux kitchen and changed how their own fruit and vegetables were packaged – green beans, for example, were top and tailed and stored in small, plastic trays – something you often see presented this way these days.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard

Two episodes in to the second outing for this ad for cookery classes Channel 4 Food ship-of-the-line, and it’s all pretty familiar.

Eric Lanlard is a French patissier who looks like a puggy crossbreed of Alex James, Richard Herring and Peter Andre, hiding slightly underneath a beard which looks weirdly like it’s been drawn on with a black biro. He seems pleasant enough, but with a slightly reticent, sod-you-gits manner, like the whole thing was his agent’s idea, which it probably was.

The format is pretty standard, and inexpensive. It opens with a gushing fruity voiceover about the ‘master’ over a montage of Eric slebbing it with Amanda H and Claudia S and the like, followed by a few standard pan shots across his lovely puds. Eric makes a carrot cake in his ‘home’ kitchen, deploying his essentiel cheffy accent and pink KitchenAid mixer (they sponsor him). There’s some soft-peak frosting porn, lingering soft-focus pull shots, “rosted woolnuts”, “arsing sugar”, and a great tip about pulling a knife down the centre of a half-cooked cake, the better to give it a nicely domed top. But so far, so what.

The obligatory competitive element has a trio of contestants (a classic mirepoix of posh / ambitious / worthy) piping macaroons flavoured with champagne and the like, as Eric watches them from a peephole. I think that’s what he says, anyway. There’s some seriously bored who’s-gonna-win-then cutaways before the strangely alien-like Dwayne takes it, and (after some hot pastry funnel action) gets to help Eric construct a showcase macaroon tower fit for emperors, with ganache, chocolate beads, glitter, raspberries and more which he then puts in the window of his shop. Did he mention he had a shop? Yes. Yes he did. He has also swapped his pink KitchenAid mixer for a covetable ‘Conran rainbow’ model, which I presume is a custom job cos I can’t find it on their website. Want.

The last section is suddenly riddled with sexy technique and talent and excitement. A properly-thrilled Dwayne gushes right at the end that it’s a day that he’ll remember for the rest of his life. Actually, I believe him.