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Aubergine, Chestnut & Stilton Wellington

This is a rather special vegetarian dish for Christmas. Some elements can be made in advance, even the day before, helping to reduce the work on Christmas Day itself. I am suggesting a Scandinavian pastry that is easier to work with than rough puff but if you prefer to use shop-bought, all-butter puff pastry that […]

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Barm Brack - Ireland

Barm Brack – Ireland

This tea bread exists in various forms. In Wales it is known as ʻBara Brithʼ and in Scotland as ʻSelkirk Bannockʼ. ʻBrackʼ reportedly comes from the Gaelic word ʻbreacʼ which means ʻspeckledʼ – a reference to the bountiful dried fruit in this moist loaf. Traditionally served at Halloween, this bread is delicious spread with butter […]

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Ten Things I’ve Learned from The Great British Bake Off

The excitement surrounding the final has receded and there is now time to step back and reflect on my journey on the Great British Bake Off. This journey began nearly a year ago when I sent in my application form, continued through the audition process at the start of 2012, then the weeks of recipe […]

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Brendan's Raspberry & Lemon Mini-Sponges

Raspberry & Lemon Mini-Sponges

These little cakes were created for an informal gathering of friends. I wanted something light, full of flavour and quick to make. They also look quite special without suggesting great effort. If raspberries are not available blueberries or blackberries would also work well – just be sure to change the jam accordingly. This quantity makes […]

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Yellow Plum, Walnut, Almond Upside-Down Cake

Ingredients Cake 150g (5½oz) butter 150g (5½oz) caster sugar 2 eggs, beaten 1 tsp vanilla extract 1/2 tsp of almond extract + 3 drops of bitter almond essence 200g plain flour, sifted 1 ½ tsp baking powder, sifted 125ml (4fl oz) full-fat milk Caramel Topping 125g (4½oz) caster sugar 75ml (2¾fl oz) liquid – juice […]

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Brendan joins Seasoned Courses

Brendan has confirmed he will be delivering baking courses at Seasoned Courses’ converted stables at Catton Hall, set in beautiful countryside outside Lichfield in the Midlands. It is expected that he will be providing 2 courses a month, and details will soon be on Seasoned Courses‘ website. Brilliant Baking – This will be a day […]

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Episode 9 – Semi Final Nerves

Getting to this stage of the competition brought with it a lot of tension. We were so close to the final and nerves were jangled. I think that we were also pretty fatigued. Everyday life of study and work hadn’t ceased for any of us and the cumulative effect of all those weekends spent filming […]

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Brendan's Spinach, Cheese and Walnut Strudel

Spinach, Cheese & Walnut Strudel

I have often made apple strudel which is always a popular and delicious dessert. For the Great British Bake Off, however, I decided to do something savoury instead. Trawling through recipe books I came across some interesting ideas in my well-thumbed copy of the classic ‘Greens Cookbook’ by Deborah Madison. The filling I came up […]

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Episide 7 – Getting Sweet with the Dough

After the dramas of the previous episode, this week felt relatively calm. We had all originally been asked to prepare recipes for two different buns. However, after John’s injury the week before and the consequent decision to evict two people the following week, we were asked to drop one of the buns and double up […]

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Episode 6 – Riding the Rollercoaster

Sarah-Jane’s comments about GBBO being like a “massive rollercoaster ride” felt especially apt this week. Viewers will have seen the dropped puddings, flying pastry, John’s injury, and the tears at the end. These incidents give some sense of the pressure that we were all feeling. On one hand the competition was moving up a notch. […]

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