This book accompanies the first BBC series of ‘The Great British Bake Off’ TV series. It’s fantastic, which is probably why it’s been in the top 10 best sellers list for ever! It’s got over 120 savory and sweet recipes from around the British Isles. Loads that you’ve heard of and some you may not.
So what’s in the book?
These are the headings for each chapter and a glimps of what’s included.
- A word from Mel & Sue The very funny duo who present the programme
- Tips from the Judges. I’ve mentioned I’m a big fan of Mary Berry – She is the Original Guru, and Paul (I’ve got the bluest eyes on TV) Hollywood. Great tips from them both.
- Biscuits and tea time treats– Annetha’s moulded shortbread, brownies, all the classics I love- chocolate banana bread, Jewish honey cake, scones oooh and Welsh cakes. Yummarge!
- Bread– Farmhouse soda bread (I love this with eggs Benedict so much) Jasminder’s Focccia- do you remember it from the programme? Looks just mouth-watering. Four plait Challah (another Jewish one – Now I REALLY have to have a go at this one. No excuses!) Bagels, Naan, hot cross buns, Mark’s sticky Marmalade tea loaf. Too much choice!
- Tarts and Flans– There is a great section on how to make pastry and fill a flan case and plenty of recipes for savory tarts to whet your appetite, like Blue Shropshire and broccoli tart, but it’s the sweet ones they really float my boat. I want to try Westmorland tart which is packed full of dates and raisins. But there’s all the classics too. Bakewell tart anyone?
- Pies– If you want to make a pie you have to make a rough puff pastry (apparently!) so this is where you get the low down. There’s chicken, beef as well as apple and Cherry pie recipes, individual plum cobbler (Mmmm). I really want to give the Apple pie with cheddar crust a go. I had never heard of this before but it’s been around for 300 years.
- Cakes– Now we get down to the nitty-gritty. Cherry cake, Lea’s Pistachio and cranberry cake, Lemon drizzle, Jasminder’s parrot cake- don’t worry there’s no parrots in it, just loads of exotic fruit, Cornish clotted cream cake and of course a victoria sponge to name just a few! I could go on and on but as there are 50 pages of cakes I think you get my gist. There are tons!
- Puddings – I don’t feature anywhere near enough puddings here on CB&C considering how much I love them. The pudding recipes in this book are of course lush. Loads of traditional ones including bread and butter pudding, sticky toffee pudding, Baked Alaska, Apple and cinnamon Charlotte and Queen of puddings. I hadn’t heard of quite a few of these recipes till I watched the TV series so it’s great to find a book that not only gives the details but where they come from too!
- Fancy pastries In this chapter you’ll learn how to make puff pastry and choux pastry. There’s plenty of savory recipes like sausage rolls and Little goats cheese and tomato tarts but for me a pastry is all about the sweetness of the Honeyed Baklava, cream puffs and Millefeuille!
What I love about this book
There’s so much background information about all the foods and where they come from throughout this book as well as cute little cameo’s from local bakers and tea room owners. It’s so much more than a recipe book. I’ve been sitting reading it all. Things I ordinarily wouldn’t consider making take on a whole new meaning and I am so much more interested in them. It’s almost like a food history lesson.
Although this book is from The Great British Bake Off and has Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood and the contestant’s recipes throughout I can’t review it without mentioning the very talented Linda Collister and Sheila Keating who wrote it. They’ve done a cracking job and I think it is going to become a very dog eared/ stained book on my bookshelves in the years to come.