It was the quarter finals of The Great British Bake Off today.
You can watch it here.
I was sad because of the episode eightness, which means it will nearly be episode ten, and then there will be none and I will have to start thinking about the Dr. Who special instead, but it’s not the same. Fish fingers and custard are no substitute for an eclair made by the hand of a stressed out baker in a tent.
Controversial view point, I know, but I speak as I find.
I was sad because there was no Glenn and no Howard this week, and it was just a tent full of ladies, and Paul, (who doesn’t count because he is a silver back baking ninja) and I have had to switch my baking allegiance to Beca, even though I like her very much because she’s just down to earth and gets on with things without much waily waily.
But I miss Glenn’s burly presence, and Howard’s country and western air of impending doom.
And, unlike many ladies of my acquaintance – I am not consoled by Paul. He wouldn’t tolerate the fact I like cheap, white sliced bread to make toast with, and I feel he would look critically at my cheap custard creams too.
Talking of intolerance, I have so much waily waily in my daily life at the moment I really cannot tolerate it in other people, which makes Ruby my least favourite baker of all time, I am afraid to say.
I concede the fact that she might bake things that taste like gossamer angel’s wings on toast – but the whole ‘Oh, woe is me! I am so rubbish. I never bake things as I have no oven, kitchen,house (delete where appropriate). Oh! Goodness! Am I really star baker – again? What? Little ole me?’ is beginning to wear very, very thin.
It is like having Tiny Tim round for Christmas dinner all the bloody time, and knowing that if you don’t give him all the breast meat and the crunchiest roasties, you’ll look like an unfeeling, callous bastard – and resenting him for it but not being able to say anything, because he’s lame.
And the less bakers there are, the more time there is to focus on such matters, and the less patience I have, and I am notoriously impatient and judgemental at the best of times.
It wouldn’t stop me testing all the cakes mind you.
Hypocritical, I know.
This week the Bake Off was all about weird baking. The episode guide said it was going to be about pastry – but they lied. Mostly it was about complicated flour that didn’t exist before 2011, despite what anyone tells you about paleolithic spelt grains turning up in the digestive tracts of diplodoci etc, and cakes made out of vegetable matter.
I suspect, had they put that as the title in the episode guide, viewing figures might have taken rather a nose dive – so they fibbed a bit to keep things buoyant at the Beeb.
The signature round was to make a loaf out of strange and improbable flour. If I were doing it, I would probably have made one out of plaster of Paris and watched Paul fly into a rage like Tom Thumb in Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Two Bad Mice, when he finds out the ham in the doll’s house isn’t real, and smashes it with a pair of fire tongs.
Just for a laugh.
This is why I am not in the tent in this round.
Kimberley made something that looked delicious, filled with wild garlic pesto and ham. It looked amazing, and by the time we got to Beca’s potato focaccia, I was chewing the arm of the chair. It hadn’t helped that while waiting for Tallulah to finish with the math’s tutor this evening I caught a bit of the Hairy Bikers on the telly, also making focaccia.
I was in focaccia frenzy.
The cat was beginning to look alarmingly like a furry focaccia I was that obsessed.
The technical challenge was to make a dacquoise (pronounced along the lines of dakwise). A dacquoise is a confection made from layers of hazelnut meringue, sandwiched together with a mousse like coffee cream and liberally sprinkled with nuts and chocolate.
I have eaten many a dacquoise in my life, and loved them all. I sensed that the ones on offer in the tent tonight would have been worthy additions to the long line of the already fallen.
You see? There’s the hypocrisy right there – I’d have eaten Ruby’s technical challenge winning dacquoise in a heart beat, even though she knows a song that will get on my nerves – the ‘what this old thing?’ blues.
The show stopper round was to make a three dimensional cake (surely all cakes are three dimensional in real life? – or am I already in the new episode of Dr. Who, where we discover something quantum and yet touchingly human about time travelling methods of making hot water pastry?), out of vegetables, and which could contain no dairy, but which also had to be FUN to look at.
To disguise the vegetables.
And the lack of dairy.
In this round, I would have iced a marrow, made it some hair with strawberry bootlaces, and drawn a face on it in non toxic crayons.
Proof, if further proof were needed, of why I am not under canvas, worrying about icing sugar clumping like cat lit, and struggling to pronounce the word Bavarois in front of a camera crew.
Ruby made a garden plot with a shed on it, which Mary and Paul both rhapsodised over, and which I am afraid I went ‘huh?’ about. It looked rather like one of the homework projects that Oscar and I embark upon from time to time in a fit of creative excitement which far outweighs our technical skills.
By the time the finished piece got to the judging table I would say that the shed had experienced quite a lot of subsidence, and it looked like a structural engineer might have to get involved.
As Ruby got star baker again this week I theorise that despite looking like a thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire, it must have tasted like Ambrosia.
Christine made an alarmingly phallic guitar, not helped by the fact that she iced it in disturbingly flesh coloured icing. It was not helped by being mounted on a light up, novelty cake stand either.
I suspect her husband made it for her – but we won’t go into that after the dibber in the earlier round.
I am making alarming pictures in my head. There is no need for you to join in.
Frances got extraordinarily stressed about her vegetable plot themed garden, and Beca, who made a fabulous looking cake in the shape of cheese on a cheese board, complete with cute sugar mice, also went to pieces after harsh criticism from Mary and Paul. Kimberley survived the week by creating a fairy toadstool out of various vegetables heavily disguised with icing and fourteen tonnes of spice mixture.
It was Christine who went home this week, leaving the final four to battle it out over French pastries in next week’s semi finals.
See you there.