August 28, 2019 10:06 am Leave your thoughts
It’s Episode 1 of the Great British Bake-Off 2019 and the viewers have been promised smut. A kind of Carry On Up the WI, according to the previews. There were some entertaining moments of course – but on the whole, most of the fruitiness was to be found in the baking. There was nothing much there to scare your granny.
And that’s good, because grannies (and mums and great-grans) featured prominently in this episode. Not amongst the actual contestants – some of them were still in primary school when Bake-Off first began, ten years ago. ‘Does your mum know you’re here?’ Paul asked a particularly youthful Jamie. Contestant Phil redressed the balance, heading firmly towards grandad territory: ‘Don’t panic! Don’t panic!’.
At Naturally Good Food we sometimes exhort our customers to ‘eat food your grandmother would recognise’. But much, of course, depends on your grandmother. The signature bake for this first episode was a ‘classic fruit cake’, with many of the contestants reaching out across the years for recipes from their mum, their grandma or their great-grandma.
Each fruit cake needed to include a ‘significant’ amount of dried fruit. Unseasonal, given the time of year? Priya proved that need not be the case, with a truly summery cake incorporating dried pineapple, mango and papaya. It’s not all raisins, currants and sultanas in the world of dried fruit, you know.
In any case, this was an episode that ran amok amongst the seasons. Signature bakes included Christmas wreaths, Halloween bakes and Simnel cakes at one and the same time. Paul and Prue had dressed for winter, as the audience sweltered at home. For the showstopper, everyone’s birthdays came at once.
But one thing was bang on schedule: right now is the right time to talk about dried fruit. From the start of September, Naturally Good Food customers go crazy for dried fruit. We bring in huge buckets in which to mix up our particular blend of raisins, sultanas and currants. We buy in dried figs, prunes and dates by the pallet-load. We delve, elbow-deep (but, rest assured, gloved-up), into the stickiness of Sicilian orange and lemon peel. Right now is the right time to order – for Christmas.
The big sellers are still raisins, sultanas and currants. If you’ve only ever tried dried-up handfuls of these from the supermarkets, you probably don’t know what the fuss is about. You need to nibble some of our juicy, rich, sun-soaked dried fruit instead, sourced from the organic vineyards of Turkey and Greece. Our currants are little black bullets, with an intense fruitiness that explodes on the tongue. Our raisins are so sweet and rich you’ll never need more than a handful. Our sultanas are mellow and juicy, with a real depth of flavour. Mix them all together (or allow us to do it for you) and you’ll have a combination to carry you to a showstopping Christmas all of your own.
Check out all our dried fruit here.
And while you’re in this section, take a look at another important ingredient.
‘Marzipan, right down the middle!’ exclaimed Paul, in exactly the same way the deckhand on Titanic said ‘Iceberg, right ahead!’. This situation ended slightly better than that, however: the cake didn’t sink.
At Naturally Good Food we sell the world’s very best marzipan, from the Lubeca company. Made with 52% almonds, pale in colour, soft in texture and wonderfully delicate to taste, it’s organically and ethically produced. Take a look here.
Don’t teach your Grandmother….
I’ve got a number of family fruit cake recipes of my own. One that serves me particularly well came from my mother-in-law, who herself received it ‘from a Polish lady in Aldershot 40 years ago’. Try it here: Granny’s fruit loaf. It’s fatless and very simple and requires the very best dried fruit to make it perfect. If you’re vegan, try our egg replacer in place of the egg.
Grandmothers? Eggs? I wouldn’t dream of teaching anyone to suck them. Try as I might, I’ve yet to make this recipe as well as my mother-in-law does. Perhaps one has to become a granny before it works properly.
Carry On, Angel
But what if your grandmother was more of a corner-shop-cake kind of a gal? Well, you’d have been laughing in the Technical Challenge, when the contestants were asked to make Angel Cake. Some of them had never heard of it. They’d had the wrong kind of grannies.
So who was an angel? And who let the family name down?
Henry, the kind of young man you could happily take home to meet your grandmother, soared to the top. Jamie, however, a youth who might appeal to a different type of granny, managed only two layers.
Snakes in a Tent!
In a brief gap in the adverts, the showstopper challenge asked for the kind of birthday cake the contestants had dreamt of as a child (easy enough for some, still sleeping in their childhood beds). They duly produced sweetshops, fairy gardens, rockets, carousels and pirate chests. Whereas their dried fruit cake had to be Significant, these cakes, they were informed, were to be Spectacular and Sizeable.
The contestants thus pulled out all the stops – and the production team pulled out all the innuendos. Much revolved around rice-krispies-and-marshmallows (apparently A Thing).
The climax (if you can’t beat ‘em…) saw Michelle crowned Star Baker. Dan, sadly, was obliged to pull out. Noel offered to help him graffiti Paul’s car. We can probably guess what they sprayed.
And so the Baker’s Dozen is down to 12, keeping us all on our toes with the possibility of a double-firing at any point. The excitement is almost – almost – too much to take.
Tags: currants, dates, dried fruit, dried mango, dried papaya, dried pineapple, figs, GBBO, Great British Bake Off, Lubeca, marzipan, mixed fruit, organic currants, organic dried fruit, organic lemon peel, organic mixed fruit, organic mixed peel, organic orange peel, organic raisins, organic sultanas, Orgran egg replacer, prunes, raisins, sultanas, vegan egg replacer
This post was written by Yzanne