Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Great British Book of Baking

I have been meaning to give this book a mention for a while: The Great British Book Of Baking.
Based on the recent BBC TV series The Great British Bake Off, it's full of classic British recipes for things like Bakewell Tarts, Crumpets, Cornish Pasties and Maids of Honour. I love the way it is organised - loosely divided into categories like bread, pies, cakes and classics with tidbits of history about the recipes and the region it came from.

I especially like the creepy looking Stargazy Pie which is baked in the village of Mousehole in Cornwall to celebrate Tom Bawcock's eve. Legend has it that after a stormy winter where the sea was so rough that no ships could leave the town's harbour, the villagers were facing starvation as Christmas approached. Then on the 23rd December Tom Bawcock bravely took to the seas in his fishing boat and returned with a huge catch. The Ship Inn (the only pub in Mousehole) baked the fish into a huge pie with their heads poking out of the top, saving the village of starvation. The pie is still baked in the same pub on the 23rd December every year to celebrate Tom Bawcock's bravery.

I haven't tried my hand at Stargazy Pie yet but I have made...


Irish Brown Soda Bread - This is easy (especially if you use a mixer) the dough is mixed together, kneaded and in the oven in less than 5 minutes. The wheatgerm and bran give the bread a lovely rich taste, especially when it's toasted.

OK these are hot crossed buns...minus some of the crosses. They're really hard! The paste for the crosses is really stiff and sticky and hard to work with. I think you would actually need to use an icing bag to get it looking profesh.

Sausage Rolls - not the best photo here, but let me tell you these bad boys are the nuts. I've had so many requests (from Ciaran) for these since. Sometimes I bake them and we just eat the lot on their own for dinner (with some Ketchup and some Lingham's Sauce of course).

Now we're at the beginning of two four day Bank Holiday weekends! How will you be celebrating? I know lots of people are planning street parties for the Royal Wedding, maybe they'll be baking some of the things in this book. I will be at a wedding too and am looking forward to having lots of lovely pictures to share.

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