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The Great British Bake Off – Series 2

Sorry for not posting much recently but I’ve been very busy, actually I’ll hopefully have some big news to share soon.  The Great British Bake Off was the best thing I have ever done, it lead to some amazing experiences and I had a wonderful time filming the show, which brings me to the point of this post.  The show is getting a second series and the BBC is looking for 10 more amateur bakers who love home baking and want to put there skills to the test, and steal my title! If you are interested and want to find out more email baking@loveproductions.co.uk or call 020 7067 4876

If you fancy it but are not sure, I’m happy to answer any questions about the process you might have. Just leave a comment and I’ll answer.

To apply you must be over 16 on 1 April 2011. As an ‘amateur baker’ your main source of income cannot come from commercial baking in a professional environment and you cannot have ever worked full-time as a baker or chef. You cannot have acquired any catering NVQ or other professional catering qualifications in the past 10 years.

Further Info

– There have been a couple of requests for more info about the application and audition process so here is how it worked for me. This does not mean it will be the same this year but it might help.

The first stage was a paper application, which is quite long but nothing scary or out of the ordinary. This was followed by a phone call to get a feel for you and to flesh out what I wrote in the application. The first major part was the first audition, where you took some baked goods to a kind of mock judging with the judges, this was immediately followed by a screen test. After all this there was a bit of a gap but once everyone else had been seen you then heard if you got through to the final audition, a mini bakeoff to see how you coped with cameras and time limits. This was when you wait to find out the verdict. I cant remember the exact time line but I do know I applied in February and found out I was on the show in May. Filming took place over 7-8 weeks mainly on the weekends. Whilst that may seem not too intense, bear in mind you have normal life, recipe writing, and practice in between filming too. Yes it is intense but it is also a lot of fun and obviously, it can lead to exciting things so its well worth a go.

Great British Bake Off – Episode 2

I meant to write a post last week about my experiences of the show and of the cotswolds but never quite got around to it so this week I was prepared. I loved filming this weeks episode, the weather was so much better than the previous week. You couldn’t tell on the show but it rained almost the whole weekend and it was bitterly cold as well. Scotland was warm and sunny and when we were not filming we were out enjoying the sun. I also felt very comfortable in the kitchen compared to the week before, I was relaxed and excited to be there doing what I love.

For the first challenge we had to make biscuits and yes my definiton of biscuits includes cookies! I went with my oatmeal raisin cookies which were inspired by and adapted from a recipe from a New York bakery called Momofuku Milk Bar (original recipe here). The really interesting thing about the recipe is that they used milk powder to make crumbs to add a creaminess which I loved. So I played around and came up with a recipe using the same idea. For the show I adapted it further and changed the way I make them to make simpler and more straight forward. The recipe I used on the show isnt on the BBC website but my original adaption is here.

The Second Challenge was scones and, well… yeah I didnt do great on the challenge. I grew up on my mum’s wonderful scones and holidays in devon with real cream teas, but the ones my mum taught me to make are slightly more rustic so maybe ill just brush over this challenge…

The third and final challenge was the big one, macarons, meringues and choux buns. I make macarons a lot but not so much choux pastry and meringue but i wasn’t uncomfortable with them either. My macarons were filled with raspberry jam and a rose flavoured French buttercream. If you want to look at the recipes I use most often take a look at this post here.

Pierre Herme’s “Macaron”

Anyone who knows me well or reads this site knows that I love Macarons and Pierre Herme. Unfortunately he has no shops in this country (which is apparently shortly going to change) so when I heard rumours that Monsieur Herme’s “Macaron” book was coming back into print I knew I had to get it. When it was first published I left it too late and when I finally went to place my order it was out of print. Yes the book isn’t the cheapest and yes its completely in French but to be fair its absolutely gorgeous and has every macaron recipe you could ever wish for, including all his signature flavours. If you have ever wanted to try the foie gras or the ketchup macarons then this is the book for you, as alongside the more regular flavours the book is full of interesting and experimental combinations. Continue reading