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Great British Bake Off: BBC2 8-9pm Tuesdays

berriesPaul Hollywood’s role as the Great British Bake Off’s “bit of a git” judge took a bashing on Tuesday as he sacrificed his taste buds to save those of his lovely co-judge:

“Pah! Salt instead of sugar. Don’t eat it, Mary!”

Spoken like a true gent.

Bake Off had started on the deceptively simple high of the first round sandwich cake, all prettiness and light, just like the kind of proper summer’s day we in the UK will remember for years to come when we look back on this summer. But from here we quickly descended into a storm of slipped and sodden angel cakes, including the salty one with “issues”.

“Ah yes. John’s salt rum baba. 2012,” intoned Sue Perkins, sadly, knowingly, as she looked back to the lore of historic Bake Offs.

It’s the fourth series now and do we still have the same appetite for cakes as we used to? No-one, thankfully, has messed with the format of the programme. But I’m not sure if we couldn’t do with a change from the same stock characters that seem to infest both this and the Sewing Bee programme: the ethnic dude; the really competent older lady; the total disaster zone; the manual worker; the slightly OCD thirty something woman; the scientist; and of course, (Bake Off only) the middle aged woman who Paul takes an inexplicable dislike to.

Or maybe there are only 13 types of people in the world?

My hopes are with the scientist. I love a good scientist on a food programme. The science of how cooking food works fascinates me. But scientists on these programme often seem to end up as the plucky runner up. They always seem to fall short for lacking creativity.

If not the scientist, then at the other extreme, I also like the really creative, slightly bonkers ones. I suddenly thought of Masterchef 2008 finalist Emily Ludolf, the one who made the mud pie that looked like a real garden scene. I am not trying to be uncharitable, but there is a really young contestant on this year’s Bake Off and she seems to have been put through solely on the merits of her age. This reminded me that Emily was only 18 or 19 when she went on Masterchef and she made some amazing stuff.

Next week is bread. I’m not actually that keen on bread, or cakes. But I do want to see them make pies. Pies are REALLY DIFFICULT. If you are making from scratch, the recipe reads from start to finish as a roll call of things that can go wrong.

I’ve included a couple of my pies in this post. They are tarts really, but “Pies!!!” makes for a better exclamation.




  1. Great review Denise, I did finally watch it and am already looking forward to this week’s episode 🙂 Was it just a tad embarrassing for you know how? The Bake-Off will not be put off!

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