June, 2016

May, 2016

April, 2016

  • The six rules of barbecuing

    28 April, 2016 The six rules of barbecuing

    Even the best cooks can be stumped when it comes to cooking to perfection over coals. We ask Ben Tish to tell us the six most important rules of barbecuing so we can grill with confidence over the long weekend.
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November, 2015

October, 2015

September, 2015

August, 2015

July, 2015

  • Eat like an Italian

    20 July, 2015 Eat like an Italian

    If you’ve ever been on holiday to Italy, like us, you’ve probably eaten classic pizzas, pastas and risottos until you’re fit to burst. While sticking with what you know isn’t always a bad thing, delve a little deeper and you’ll find the true heart of the region; eating cotoletta in Milan, beans in Florence and artichokes in Campania will open up a whole new world of Italian cooking. We spoke to three Air B’n’B hosts about the food of their region, must-eats while you’re there, and asked about the best-kept secrets when it comes to eating out.
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  • Michelin Stars in Your Eyes

    06 July, 2015 Michelin Stars in Your Eyes

    With so many Michelin-starred chefs on the site, we challenged Cooked writer Imogen Corke to test her mettle on some of the trickier recipes. This week, she cooks Atul Kochhar’s cod in nilgiri korma gravy from his latest cookbook, Benares.
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May, 2015

  • Q&A with Rosie Birkett

    22 May, 2015 Q&A with Rosie Birkett

    We ask our authors ten questions about their life long love of food. This week, we speak to Rosie Birkett, author of A Lot on her Plate, about roast dinners, tuna tacos, and why you should never run your finger through hot caramel.
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  • The Lunchbox Edit: Spring Greens

    01 May, 2015 The Lunchbox Edit: Spring Greens

    Each week, we take some of our favourite recipes and give them a little tweak to make perfect packed lunches.
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Richard Burr’s verdict on week one of Great British Bake Off

By
Richard Burr
Added
06 August, 2015

Our resident GBBO baker gives his verdict on the highs and lows of week one in the competition.

Cake week is always a good start to the series, mainly because it should be the easiest week; allowing bakers to settle their nerves with something they are relatively confident in baking. 

There are a lot of unexpected factors to overcome when they first walk into the tent – weird, posh induction hobs; humidity; the looming presence of Paul and Mary making you second-guess everything you think you know about baking! 

The bakers who can hit the ground running are the ones who have the best chance of making it. 

Technically, the things to watch out for are keeping the Madeira mix nice and moist, which forms the crack in the top, and cramming enough citrusy flavour to give it sufficient zing. There are plenty of pitfalls when it comes to Black Forest gateau, especially when feeling tempted to make a massive show-stopping beast of a cake! Typically the sponge is soaked in a kirsch syrup, which can leave the bottom layers soggy and compressed if you’re making a tall cake. Add that to incorporating juicy cherries (and hoping they don’t split the gallons of cream you’ll need for balance) and nailing some impressive chocolate work, and you’ve got your work cut out!



 

I feel Marie was a worthy star baker this week, but I’d have been equally happy to have seen Nadiya or Tamal get the top prize.

Between them, getting cardamom and rose successfully balanced and both managing beautiful chocolate work, they certainly showed confidence and flair. 

  

Who’s in danger? 

Well, Dorrett had a nightmare this week. But she did show some skills in her signature and some aspects of her Black Forest gateau looked really good despite her mousse disaster, so if she can get her head together and recover, she still might feature in episodes to come. I think Ian and Paul might have some work to do, and even though Ugne powered through the technical, the weaker aspects of her other two bakes showed a few chinks in her armour...



 

Stu, poor fella! looked like he over stretched himself from the start.

It is quite a pitfall to watch out for in the tent. Sometimes the urge to shine from day one can make a baker move out of their comfort zone to the extent that they muddle the basics. The fact that he made it into the tent in the first place means the guy is definitely a decent baker. I think maybe reining it in a bit until he was comfortable and had a feel for the tent would have kept him in longer and maybe given him the chance to shine. Basically, he was too brave.



 

I really liked Nadiya’s show stopper. Having the confidence to present a smaller cake in a tent where everyone is vying to be noticed speaks volumes about her abilities.

Not only attempting, but nailing that shiny chocolate glaze on week one for me makes her very definitely the one to watch. I would have piled into that one with gusto. Nice work Nadiya!



 

I would have loved to have tackled this signature bake; with two kids and their associated birthdays, bake sales and bored Saturday mornings we can churn out a pretty steady stream of Madeira cakes from my kitchen.

As well as the traditional loaf shaped, sugar drizzled cracked topped classic, I also like to use Madeira if I’m making a tall cake or birthday cake. The strong structure of this sponge lends itself to tall, heavy cakes, where regular or Genoese sponges would compress under the weight. I have been mucking about with grapefruit sponges… it can be quite tricky to balance, but if I were making a showstopper this week, I think a grapefruit and poppy seed Madiera would have fitted pretty well. Also, candied grapefruit peel is a bit of a guilty treat for me. Hopefully the judges would have agreed... 


Madeira cake

Richard's Madeira cake from his new book BIY, published 27th August on Cooked. (Image: Chris Terry)


All images from Great British Bake Off supplied by BBC/Love Productions/Mark Bourdillon.

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