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 discusses biscuit week on Great British Bake Off

By
Richard Burr
Added
13 August, 2015

Our resident GBBO baker gives his verdict on the highs and lows of biscuit week.

jam biscuit

A lot of competent bakers will specialise in cakes, or bread, or pies, but not many people have a lot of experience making biscuits.

Also, biscuits tend to have really short baking times so the margin for error (over or under baking them) is really small. With biscotti, for me, the secret is to include citrus to balance the flavours as they're a thick, heavy biscuit and you don't want them to taste too stodgy. For similar reasons, it was good to see fennel and rosemary included in some of the bakes. With biscuit construction it's important that your ‘cement’ is strong. I always use royal icing with egg white, or 'Two Chicks' fat free liquid egg white if I'm icing things for kids. Though Alvin didn't get his made, his biscuits looked like they would have been perfect.


Star baker? That’s a tough call this week.

At this early stage I tend to disregard the results from the technical bake as it's the signatures and showstoppers that reveal more about their baking styles. I was really excited by Nadiya's biscotti flavours and Alvin's inclusion of jack fruit was a joy to behold. However, keeping your cool in the tent is the key to making it through the competition, and with quite a few disasters with the showstoppers I was really impressed that Nadiya kept going after Sue's accidental break of her lid and still presented something. Her fortune cookies looked awesome. I really want to give them a go myself. So I think I'll say Nadiya, though credit to Ian - his rosemary biscotti sounded great.



I really enjoy biscuit construction and would have loved to try my hand at this one.

I think I'd have made a toolbox with different compartments for different tools. There could have been a lot of scope to play with on that theme. I'm trying to find an excuse to give this a go. I make a lot of biscuits at home; they're quick to knock up and always go down a treat on a building site.

.

I think Dorret needs to complete a bake to her satisfaction.

She did really well acing the technical bake this week, but I still don't feel I've seen her style come through in the signatures and showstoppers. It might be that she's got more of a flair for savoury baking.


What could Marie have done differently to not be sent home? Switch her oven on!

Poor Marie just had a really bad day at the office. It happens to everyone but not always on national television. It's so frustrating to see a competent baker scuppered by something like an oven malfunction. She definitely left before we'd seen the best of her and she must have felt so frustrated. Her mistake in the technical (only making half a batch) might have come from the pressure of being the star baker the week before - ‘the curse of the Star Baker’, as we called it in our year. And when each series begins with cake week, some bakers are incredible at cakes but less experienced in other areas. That might have been the case for Marie as she was perfect across the board last week.


I really liked the structure of Ugne's showstopper, even if I wasn't sure about the decorating style.

To make a huge, cylindrical cookie jar shows real skill. Likewise with Nadiya's bowl-shaped biscuits. But with quite a few mistakes in the tent, not many of them turned out like Tom Hovey's pictures of what they were supposed to look like. This must have been so frustrating after so many weeks of practice for the contestants.


biscotti

Don't be intimidated by biscotti, they're well worth trying your hand at.

I have a great recipe in my book for chocolate, orange and pistachio biscotti and every time I make them they get hoovered up in a flash. They're great with a strong coffee or dipped in dessert wine at the end of a meal. As Paul Hollywood warned Paul, with a chocolate biscuit dough it can be a little hard to judge when they're done, but that just gave me an excuse to practice them more as I developed my own recipe.

 
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