The great Star2 bake-off!

The colum­nists pay trib­ute to The Great bri­tish bake Off.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE -

WE are fans of The Great Bri­tish Bake Off, a tele­vi­sion bak­ing com­pe­ti­tion whose fourth se­ries has just ended. (You can catch it on Hyp­pTV BBC Life­style and YouTube.)

In each episode, con­tes­tants have a sig­na­ture, tech­ni­cal and show­stop­ping chal­lenge to ful­fil. What we like is how th­ese bak­ers – who have honed their am­a­teur skills just from bak­ing at home for their fam­ily and friends – turn out dishes that man­age to im­press the crit­i­cal eye of judges Mary Berry and Paul Hol­ly­wood and meet their strict re­quire­ments.

And so for this month’s col­umn (it’s the fifth-year an­niver­sary of the col­umn, by the way), we have each tried out a recipe from the show (they are avail­able on the The Great

Bri­tish Bake Off web­site; di­rect links to the recipes will be given on the online ver­sion of Don’t Call Me Chef

at www.thes­tar.com.my/life­style un­der View­points). It wasn’t a com­pe­ti­tion be­tween the three of us, but there were times in our own kitchens when we felt we were in an ac­tual bake off.

Bas­ket case By S. INDRAMALAR

COM­PET­I­TIVE cook­ing shows like The Great Bri­tish Bake Off should come with a warn­ing, like “food made on the show are a gazil­lion times harder than how they ap­pear on the show” or some­thing of the sort.

I was overly am­bi­tious when we em­barked on this mini bake-off – I wanted to make Bake Off champ Frances Quinn’s Mid­sum­mer Dream Wed­ding Cake – a three-tiered cake adorned with edi­ble con­fetti, pineap­ple flow­ers and bees made out of marzi­pan. The cake looked mag­nif­i­cent – no sur­prise as all sea­son long, Frances has pro­duced visu­ally stun­ning bakes.

And then I glanced at the recipe. It was long. No, it was mas­sive. A three-tiered cake sounds hard enough, but with Quinn’s recipe, each tier com­prised a dif­fer­ent cake. Adding to that, she has two types of but­ter cream to frost them, a cream cheese fill­ing to go in be­tween them, edi­ble dec­o­ra­tions and two types of marzi­pan (she makes th­ese her­self) to shape some bees and leaves. I gave up be­fore even try­ing. In­stead, I chose to make Ruby Tan­doh’s Veg­e­tar­ian Pic­nic Bas­ket Pie, which seemed slightly less daunt­ing. A pie that is shaped like a pic­nic bas­ket with a colour­ful veg­e­tar­ian fill­ing made of roasted veg­eta­bles, cheese and flavoured cous­cous sounded great. I couldn’t wait to make it and eat it.

The recipe is long, but doable within the three-hour time al­lot­ment. There are four parts to it: mak­ing the pas­try for the bas­ket, mak­ing the com­po­nents for the fill­ing, con­struct­ing the bas­ket and as­sem­bling the pie.

The pas­try Ruby used is a short­crust pas­try that’s kneaded a lit­tle so that it’s sturdy enough to con­struct a pic­nic bas­ket while still re­main­ing flaky and short to the taste.

I like mak­ing pas­try so this part was en­joy­able, even though I’d never made quite so much pas­try at one go (600g flour and 300g but­ter? Whoa!). The real chal­lenge was keep­ing the flour in the bowl and not all over me!

The pas­try took me about 30 min­utes. I was on track ... yay.

I then fo­cused on the fill­ing which was time-con­sum­ing, but pretty straight­for­ward – roast­ing veg­eta­bles, mak­ing the cous­cous and grat­ing the cheese.

OK, time for a con­fes­sion. Ruby uses two types of cheese – hal­loumi and moz­zarella. I was go­ing to buy hal­loumi, but changed my mind when I saw just how ex­pen­sive it is. I de­cided to dou­ble up on the moz­zarella in­stead.

With an hour and a half to go, I then started on the pas­try bas­ket.

Oh! What fun! Al­though more tech­ni­cal than I’d imag­ined – Ruby’s at­ten­tion to de­tail is amaz­ing – it was re­ally ex­cit­ing to watch this edi­ble bas­ket take shape bit by bit. Apart from the in­tri­cately woven lat­tice top that makes the bas­ket cover, Ruby adds a loose weave to the pas­try case as well which makes the pas­try bas­ket look quite real. She also has han­dles and latches made from pas­try.

The verdict: Ruby’s pie was de­li­cious and pretty. It is no won­der she won praises from judges Paul Hol­ly­wood and Mary Berry. I’m def­i­nitely go­ing to make this pie again, pas­try bas­ket and all.

A loaf of pride By JANE F. RA­GA­VAN

I EAT or­anges and drink the juice, and I have made can­died orange peel, but I re­mem­ber cook­ing only once with or­anges, and that was to make orange chicken for a Don’t

Call Me Chef col­umn early last year. The fruit just doesn’t seem to have the same al­lure for me as other cit­rus fruits like limes or lemons when it comes to cook­ing.

But or­anges seemed to be a favourite flavour­ing in­gre­di­ent in many of the dishes pre­pared by The

Great Bri­tish Bake Off con­tes­tants. I bake bread all the time, and lately I’ve started mould­ing them into shapes. Af­ter all, a food as ba­sic as bread can still have a touch of whimsy. Why should cakes have all the frills?

So, I knew I would choose a bread from GBBO to make, and when I saw con­tes­tant Ruby Tan­doh’s White Choco­late and Orange Pea­cock Bread, from Episode 2 of Se­ries 4, I knew that would be my bak­ing chal­lenge. She makes it com­pletely by hand, which is how I like to make my bread too, so I was off to a good start.

The recipe is long, but the dough is one that I am used to. What I wasn’t com­pletely sure about was the shap­ing. And so I watched the last 20 min­utes of the episode three times and did screen cap­tures of the steps that I couldn’t catch.

White choco­late and Orange Pea­cock bread

cus­tard tart and cof­fee for break­fast.

Veg­e­tar­ian Pic­nic bas­ket is as de­li­cious as it is beau­ti­ful to look at.

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