Saturday, March 01, 2014

Weekend Cooking: Great British Bake Off (aka how I spent my Saturday)


Every now and again I go through phases where I put the TV on the Food Channel and basically just leave it there. I then tend to gorge on the shows that have caught my attention and then not watch much again until the next time that I need to gorge.

Recently I have been watching My Kitchen Rules with my son which is on one of our commercial challenges, but when I have the TV to myself my viewing has been focused on The Great British Bake Off on our Food Channel. I think it is season 3 and to be honest I am kicking myself that I haven't seen the earlier seasons. Today, I spent most of the day watching season 3 which was a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a Saturday. In fact, the only down side is the fact that I was left craving something delicious to eat. Need to remember this for future notice. Don't watch while hungry!

I assume that the show is showing on food shows around the world, but just in case I thought I would mention the structure.

The first segment that the contestants participate in is the Signature Bake where they bake what they consider their signature bake is that will meet the criteria set out. The second segment is the Technical Bake where they are asked to create a specific dish that they have been given a partial recipe for and the third segment is the Showstopper. This is where they are asked to produce something that fits within the theme of the episode but shows great skill in both cooking and presentation.

Whilst like so many other shows this is primarily a cooking show, I love that it is more than that as well. I love that they also include some historical information in the show, some instructional information and also segments relating to regional specialities. It makes for a good mix of cooking, personal drama as the contestants stress their way through each episode, entertainment and history!

Here, for example, is a segment on the history of donuts and their place in WWII history which is from one of the episodes that I watched today.




and here is a video of one of the judges, Mary Berry, showing how to make Sachertorte



And finally, here is a Showstopper segments about hidden designs in cakes. I can't imagine making cakes that look anywhere near as externally impressive as these cakes do without having to have a hidden design as well.



One of the things that I enjoy in the British show is the hosts. Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins. Mel and Sue had just started to come to prominence on UK TV back in the late 1990s when I lived there and they have a great chemistry together in terms of the comic timing. They also bring a lightness to the sometimes tense kitchen environment. This isn't the first time that I have mentioned Sue Perkins here on the blog. She is also one of the hosts of Supersizers Go which I posted about a couple of years ago.

They did attempt to make an Australian version of this show last year, but to be honest I don't think it was that successful. I only watched the first episode, and I wasn't overly impressed. I didn't not intend to watch more (if you know what I mean) but I didn't end up seeing any more. In fact, I am not even sure if the whole series was shown or if it was pulled after a few episodes.

I have just noticed that my library has both the Great Australian Bake Off book and The Great British Bake Off book so I have requested both and might do a comparative post at some point in the future. I did also see that at least one of the contestants in the British version has ended up with a book deal out of it, so that might be interesting for future reference.

And now I need to get back to the book that I was planning to be reading today and not watching food on TV!

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. For more information, see the welcome post.

22 comments:

  1. Thanks for including the videos! I loved all the segments. I agree -- just the cake decorations alone would be daunting but to have a surprise inside? Wow. I can see how that show could become addicting. I'll have to see if we can get it here.

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    1. I get excited when a cake turns out let anything anywhere near as fancy as we see on this show!

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  2. I love The Great British Bake Off; it's one of my favourite shows to watch, and I can't wait for the next season. Mary Berry is awesome and you are right Mel and Sue are brilliant!

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    1. I think we have season 4 still to come. I hope that they show it soon.

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  3. So glad you're enjoying the GBBO, Marg! It's always great fun. I watched the whole series of the Great Australian Bake Off too and really enjoyed it as well. It's much louder and more frantic that the British version but that's part of what made it so fun. And Dan Lepard is my dream judge for any baking show.

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    1. I hadn't heard of Dan Lepard before he started on the Australian version.

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  4. Enjoyed all the videos! Hadn't heard of this series. I'll have to see if we can get it here in Virginia.

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    1. Hope you can. It's so much fun!

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  5. I watched the American version and wasn't impressed - I'll have to check out the British version and see if it catches my attention more!

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    1. I think this might be a case of original and still best!

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  6. The GBBO is surprisingly addictive - I was hooked the last series too! Haven't read the cookbook though - looking forward to seeing what you think of it.

    Li

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    1. Hopefully I will get to the cookbooks soon.

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  7. Yep I gorge on the food channel now and again too - I also love the quirky stuff like Pitmasters etc. Such fun

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    1. Not sure I have heard of Pitmasters before! *goes off to check it out*

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  8. My brother (who does not cook) loves watching all of these food channel shows.

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    1. I think watching some Food Channel shows really helped me get back to cooking a bit more.

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  9. If only we could read and watch TV at the same time! When I was in college I watched quite a bit of cooking shows during the day but now I don't watch many at all. I've heard quite a bit about Bake Off and it sounds like you need to do some baking while watching!

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    1. Maybe not while you watch, because apparently to be a good baker you have to spend some time watching your baked goods in the oven, but definitely after! lol

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  10. Sounds like a great show. Wish I could see it in the US! I often leave the Cooking Channel on for hours at a time, until the family comes home and decides they need to watch something else.

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    1. Hopefully you can see it there!

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  11. Oh, I saw a couple of episodes of this while I was traveling in Ireland last year! Loved it. So funny and tense and delicious!

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    1. Exactly! Funny, tense and delicious

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