Great British Bake Off Audition

Another post before the New Year is in 🙂  I think I’m getting blogging and baking withdrawal symptoms as John and I have been away from home for 10 days now and I’m itching to get back to my kitchen!  I don’t start work again until the 7th of January, so baking is going to be my main focus from the 2nd January to the 6th 🙂  I thought I’d take the lull in baking as an opportunity to tell you about an exciting day I recently attended in London.  At the end of November I applied for the ‘Great British Bake Off’.  To my non-UK friends, this is a programme in which 12 amateur bakers take part in baking challenges (different types of bake each week), until one is eventually crowned the winner.  Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood are the judges (queen and king of all things baking) and they set the bakers a challenge each week.  In the last series, these challenges included making an 8 strand plaited loaf and chocolate teacakes (scary!)  I would not be surprised if other countries ended up with their own version of the programme, as it has been phenomenally successful after 3 series’ here.

I filled in the application and after around a week, I received a phonecall and went through a telephone interview where I was asked all sorts of things about my baking and also some technical questions (such as: what are the main ingredients in bread?  What are the ingredients in chocolate ganache?)  I am proud to say that I got all the technical questions correct!  After the phone interview I was invited up to London to attend one of the first round auditions.  For the audition we were asked to bring with us one sweet and one savoury bake.  I have to admit, I found the savoury bake quite hard to decide.  I don’t make a lot of bread, which may have been the obvious choice.  I decided eventually one mini lemon sponges with lemon curd mascarpone cream and spiced cheese and nut biscuits.  In the near future I’ll do a blog post that features both these recipes 🙂  On arriving to the audition, it was clear that some people had gone all out to impress.  I think my bakes held up though!  Everyone that I met during the process, from the other auditionees to the producers of the programme were absolutely lovely.  The audition involved a short chat with some of the producers about what you brought with you and about your baking in general.  I was honest when talking to them and their feedback was that they liked what I baked, however I didn’t make it through to the next stage as they felt I needed more experience in certain areas of baking, which is fair enough.  I think that this blog will help with that!

I had a great experience at the audition and I’m pleased to have made the cut from the thousands that applied, down to the first audition.  I may apply again next year, but in the meantime I’m going to enjoy developing Baking-Joy.com!

Have a fantastic evening everyone whatever you are doing.  Happy New Year and here’s to 2013!

Happy New Year! (& news for 2013!)

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy new year!  Baking-Joy is only a few months old, but I can safely say I’ve had a fantastic time working on it since I started in October 😀

I’m looking forward to where Baking-Joy is going in the new year…I’m moving over to self-hosting in January and having a blog redesign, which hopefully should be up and running in February/March, which I’m very excited about!  I’m also starting a new photography course in photoediting in February 🙂  Santa was very kind with his Amazon vouchers this Christmas, so as soon as John and I get back from our New Year holiday…50mm prime lens here I come!  I’m looking forward to improving my photography throughout 2013.

 I’ve met some fantastic people through my blog and other blogs and am incredibly grateful for all the friendship and support I’ve received since October.  Thank you to you all and here’s to a fantastically baked 2013! 😀

Below are some of my most popular recipes since I started (well…popular on my scale!)

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After Eight Mint Chocolate Chip cookies

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Peanut butter banana muffins

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Peanut butter layer brownies (my personal favourite!)

Coming up next week…

I have a few ideas for baking projects next week…chocolate orange cupcakes with cointreau ganache, peanut butter chocolate
brownies & kinder chocolate cookies! I’ve also got myself a new tripod (Velbon) & am saving up for a 50mm prime lens for my SLR 🙂

Homemade lemon curd

I know you can buy decent lemon curd.  However, you haven’t tasted lemon curd until you’ve made your own.  This is an amazingly easy recipe that is done, start to finish, in 15 minutes.  That’s right, 15 minutes.  Whilst ordinarily you’d have to faff around with a bain marie and stir for at least 25 minutes, you can have your lemon curd prepared and ready speedily, with the magic of the microwave.  Don’t worry, I thought the same as you when I first saw the microwave method for making lemon curd (seriously?!), but I promise, it is incredibly easy and gives fantastic results.

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Ingredients:

  • 125g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • Juice and rind of 4 lemons (unwaxed)

Makes around 600ml (enough for 2 medium jars)

Method:

  1. First sterilise your jars.  Wash in hot soapy water, rinse and place on their side in the oven, set to Gas 3/160C.  After 10 minutes, turn the oven off and leave jars in there until they are ready to be filled.  Alternatively if you are lucky enough to have a dishwasher :-), the jars can be sterilised in there.
  2. Add all the ingredients to a large glass bowl, mix briefly and place in microwave.  Microwave for short bursts (20-30 seconds at a time) and stir in between.  Do this for around 6-7 minutes, until the curd will coat the back of the spoon.
  3. There shouldn’t be any lumps in the lemon curd, however it can always be sieved if there are.  Pour the lemon curd into the glass jars, being careful not to touch the inside of the jar.  Leave the cool completely before placing in fridge.  It will keep for about a week in the fridge (if you can resist for that long! 🙂 )

Lemon curd is fantastic on scones, as a cake filling or eaten straight out of the jar!  I will be using today’s efforts in a lemon curd cake and lemon curd shortbread over the next couple of days, so keep your eyes peeled 🙂

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter

Please visit and ‘like’ my Facebook page if you’d like regular updates from the blog and occasional random waffle!  Similarly, you can follow me on Twitter, @Baking_Joy for randomness, baking tips and photography stuff 🙂

Thanks for reading 🙂

Peanut butter…

Everyone knows I like peanut butter.  Ok…let’s change ‘like’ to ‘obsessed’.  I’m constantly thinking of recipes that could incorporate the lovely stuff, including my Peanut Butter Banoffee Pie (coming soon!)  I favour the no added sugar kind (Whole Earth being the favourite) as when used in baking you sort of don’t need the extra sugar!  Keep an eye on this section, as it will become full pretty quickly!

Welcome to Baking-Joy.com!

Hi and welcome to my new blog!  Baking-Joy is a blog that is hopefully going to let me combine two of my favourite things…baking and photography.  Baking has been a long time obsession, however the photography I’m completely new to, with the recent purchase of my first (and beautiful) DSLR camera.  I’m very excited about the photography, as I’ve long believed that I don’t have a creative bone in my body, however my new camera seems to be having a positive effect!  I’m looking forward to chatting about all things baking and photography and welcome any feedback about recipes/photos.

Thanks for reading!

Joy