Great British Bake Off: Series 7: Episode 1

Guys… it’s back! And it’s CAKE WEEK. I can’t promise my recaps will be well-timed, but they will be presented beautifully. And that’s the nearest you’re going to get to a pun from me (he lies).

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Things kick off, as usual, with Mel and Sue hamming it up and generally pinching themselves that they get to waffle nonsense on camera for a living. That beats flogging Warburtons, doesn’t it, ladies? Said nonsense includes (unless I am being prurient) a coded reference to sex toys… Yep, guys, they’re back with a vengeance and it’s like the Carry On films never left us.

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Ooo caktron. Caketron. No, wait, I can do better.

We start to be introduced to the bakers, accompanied by sweeping aerial views of an unidentified stately home, and various contestants stand in isolated woodland and tell us that it’s exciting to be there. ‘There’ being, presumably, the competition – rather than the woodland. Though Val looks like she’d be thrilled to be anywhere – and is mostly excited that the tent is real. Here speaks a woman who has never fully trusted television.

Also, I would argue, a nat tresjz in the making.
Also, I would argue, a nat tresjz in the making.

Lots of early impressions are flying around. I had – but of course – already scoured the line-up and descriptions, and have Kate in the office sweepstake. But my first thoughts are that everyone seems pretty fab – even (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) the P.E. teacher. I didn’t know it was in me to like a P.E. teacher.

This isn't an unfortunate shot; she had her eyes closed throughout the entirety of her first clip.
This isn’t an unfortunate shot; she had her eyes closed throughout the entirety of her first clip.

Shall we gloss over Mel’s list of ‘Kates’? I feel like it’s a pun we’ve had before, and it wasn’t welcome then. What IS welcome (I can only assume) is Blazer Watch. As the summer gets warmer, will we see these disappear?

Of course not.
Of course not.

The first challenge is a goody. It’s drizzle cake. And Mel adds to the stores of my undying love by saying “no presjz” for “no pressure”. If GBBO has done anything, it’s made abbrevs socially acceptable. Right? It has, right?

…Right?

The bakers start by urgently moving things around their counters in a way that looks entirely like over-enthusiastic extras pretending to be busy in the backdrop of a soap opera. Somebody (who?) just mutters “Scissors, scissors”.

I like that they’re making a drizzle cakes, because that’s something that somebody might conceivably want to do. As Paul acknowledges, the challenges have got a bit eccentric over the years – remember that dry-as-the-desert pancake-sponge-cake they had to make one year? – so Well Done Bake Off Team.

Bakers tut and sigh and show us whether or not their hands are shaking – presumably prompted by the production team, since I can’t imagine anybody would volunteer the numbingly dull information that their hands weren’t shaking – and we’re flung into activity. All is not quite well in the world of hands, though; Jane is our first blue bandage of the night.

Or she's covering up a Smeg logo tattoo.
Or she’s covering up a Smeg logo tattoo.

Mary is, of course, banging on about lemons – but she is ‘expecting the unexpected’. And I can only hope that she is talking about Val and her genial insanity. She struggles with opening a jar, and seems to believe that Paul and Mary have come over with no other purpose in mind but helping her get the lid off.

I love Val: she uses margarine in cakes rather than butter (as do I), she’s from Somerset, and apparently does kitchen aerobics in her slippers while somebody stoops to take creep shots from the doorway.

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One downside to a good, simple recipe is that there aren’t huge surprises. People are grating oranges and lemons, creaming butter and sugar; the usual. Until we get to Louise, whose chief and best quality is being Welsh. Love to hear a Welsh voice on TV.

Mama didn’t raise no fool with this one, as my friend Adam would say – she knows the way to Mary’s heart and that is through soaking everything indiscriminately in booze. Orange liqueur it is. And… lemonade? Let me tell you, I put lemonade in a cake once – aged about eight – and the unpleasant taste is still in my mouth.

My favourite bits of GBBO might be the at-home segments, where people tell us that they are married to their husbands or work in their workplaces. As the selfsame Adam pointed out (or was it you, Rachel?), they ain’t writing the Dictionary of National Biography. Having been told that Louise is a hair stylist, we get video proof for the avoidance of doubt. Which is just her murmuring ‘roots’ at this unsuspecting lady.

Discretion, Louise, is the better part of valour.
Discretion, Louise, is the better part of valour.

Paul H has found his first nitpicking to do: drizzle or icing? The gameshow writes itself. It then also rejects itself, screws itself up into a ball, and throws itself into a recycling bin. As Louise astutely notes, Paul does know what he’s talking about, because he’s a professional. He is no longer eligible to bake in the Olympics.

Lee’s butter is too clumpy, and I marvel afresh at the number of people who apparently cream their butter in a food mixer. I was brought up to use me ‘ANDS. ‘ARD GRAFT. &c. &c. Lee is a builder-turned-church-minister (the repeated use of ‘church minister’ rather than ‘vicar’ – and the fact that he is dressed super casjz while giving his split-second talk – leads me to assume that he’s non-conformist. HE CERTAINLY IS WITH BAKING AMIRITE.)

I like that this is the vista of Bolton that we get.
I like that this is the vista of Bolton that we get.

Mel assures Lee that he’ll be all right – which, hmm – and (as if realising her mistake) quickly waffles about consistency and the need for it to taste like cake, and “the perfect ratio of wet to dry ingredients”, which sounds rather as though you were trying to describe a shopping list to a synaesthesiac. Then we zoom in on this rather dramatically.

I had forgotten Michael existed til recapping. Sorry Mikey.
I had forgotten Michael existed til recapping. Sorry Mikey.

We’ve seen Louise and Lee at work, but nobody is interested in seeing a financy something or other at their desk. Luckily Selasi rides a motorbike and, in his spare time, pretends to be a superhero.

Admittedly, in this photo he looks like he was taking off his coat, got caught, and is trying to style it out.
Admittedly, in this photo he looks like he was taking off his coat, got caught in the sleeves, and is trying to style it out.

Selasi is the chillest contestant ever to be in the tent. He’s entirely unflappable, and the show knows it. Several times in this episode we have little montages of bakers shrieking or announcing hysterically that they’ve never been more nervous in their lives, before seguing to Selasi murmuring that he’d be quite happy to take a quick nap any time. He also has a tea towel around his neck, or over his shoulder, at all times. Why? Nobody knows, least of all Selasi.

Colouring Pencils Man! He’s back, he’s not changed, and he is nothing if not hazy in where he believes cinnamon might be on this drizzle cake.

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Kate is putting apples in her cake – which doesn’t win her points with me, I’m afraid, as I’m no especial fan of the cooked apple. Particularly in a cake. In a crumble, and we’ll talk. She apparently picks them from her orchard – or, indeed, gets her two children to do it gratis. They’ve also picked the blackberries. Said children appear, complete with unexpected flapper haircuts, flinging flour at each other instead of rolling out the curiously tiny lumps of pastry in front of them.

"Oh, children!" Kate laughs, before the camera is turned off and she sets them to Aga-based child labour afresh.
“Oh, children!” Kate laughs, before the camera is turned off and she sets them to Aga-based child labour afresh.

Candice is making a gluten-free cake (oh lord, why) but is rather adorable when describing how she’s going to poke in the custard, giggling away while she earns our first Mary Berry Reaction Face of the series. Which looked lovely in passing, but is a trifle terrifying in still.

So, so sorry.
So, so sorry.

Dear Mel and Sue – could we go through one episode without you telling us that putting food in the oven at the wrong temperature is wrong? It sort of goes without saying, right? The only catastrophe is Jane forgetting to add ground almonds, so she busies herself with starting again. Forgetting is catching, as Selasi has omitted the cinammon – suddenly the vagaries of Colouring Pencil Man’s artwork are explained – but he is less panicked. Instead he wanders over to Candice (who is doing washing up, which I’d always rather assumed was done by the production minions) and… well, I don’t remember precisely what he said, because I was too busy concocting a tent romance between these two.

And a little distracted by the fact that he's needlessly holding a jug of water.
And a little distracted by the fact that he’s needlessly holding a jug of water.

I’m going to have to get pacier on this recap, particularly with so many bakers in the tent, but we can’t ignore the baker who is putting gin in his drizzle. Because:

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This is Tom’s handiwork (I realise now that I had amalgamated Tom and Michael in my head) – he’s also using boiled-down tonic to make some sort of… well, I’m not sure what, because presumably boiled-down tonic is just sugar?

Yes, Val listens to her cakes. There was rather a hullabaloo about this, but I’m sure other bakers in previous series have also given their cakes a good listen? I’m not gonna lie; based on how she does this week, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it as best practice.

Louise steadfastly refuses to join in Sue’s attempts to innuendo her cake out of existence.

Rav is using yuzu, and seems astonished that Sue hadn’t heard of it. Since this is a lady who, seven series in, tends to need the rudimentaries of self-raising flour explained to her, it shouldn’t really have come as a surprise. His description of it as being “a cross between a lemon and lime” does beg the question whether he wouldn’t have been better off with… a lemon and a lime.

Now, Andrew seemed perfectly likeable. I was prepared to cheer him on. But then this happened:

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I realise that it looks like he’s snorting something, but he is (in fact) chopping up rosemary. He believes that infusing his drizzle with rosemary will ‘give it a bit of a twist’. Well, I’ll give you a twist in a minute, Andrew, because NO. Every year somebody starts doing this, and I think I summed it up best on Twitter:

With roast potatoes – yes please; I’ll be offended if you don’t. In anything sweet? Absolutely not.

If you’re after close-ups of pastry brushes and dripping icing and (of course) drizzle, then you’ve come to the right place. Val manages to dislodge her edible primroses – an accident which can only be considered a blessing in disguise and a massive hint from Dame Gravity – but she obviously isn’t bothered, and decides ‘we’ll get away with it’. We being her and the cake which has been confiding in her, presumably.

"No" - the cake.
“No” – the cake.

“You’re the first,” says Mary to Benjamina, who nervously says “Yes”, and it feels like some archaic version of YouTube comment threads. Benjamina is also involved in an elaborate discussion of whether a section of cake is undercooked or drizzle-soaked. Spoilers: it’s fine.

Nobody does disastrously, though Kate’s “that’s disappointing” in response to unenthusiastic feedback is a little heartbreaking – and also an excellent idea for a serial killer’s catchphrase. If anybody writes this screenplay, I am more than willing to appear in the credits as an executive producer. Other highlights from this section? Tom/Michael’s gin is apparently powerful but tasteless, Paul comments of Candice’s cake “Fascinating that it’s gluten-free” (is it?), and Paul criticises Rav’s cake for not being quite lime or lemon enough. Which, considering it had neither lime nor lemon in it, is unsurprising. Most importantly: lingering looks between Selasi and Candice.

Lingering.
Lingering.

And… we’re onto the technical challenge! Mary’s only piece of advice is “It’s suggested that you do things in an order – keep to that order”. This nugget may not be helpful in and of itself, but at least she delivered it in the middle of a rap battle.

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12 JAFFA CAKES. Do people have jaffa cakes outside of the UK? I’m going to be honest, I thought it was trademarked. They’re a fairly dry sponge, fairly unappetising orange jelly, and fairly uninspiring chocolate. Somehow, together, they are a Great British institution. They’re also about 65p for a pack of 12, so making them by hand is something nobody would dream of doing for a moment.

Paul helpfully points at the different bits of it and names them – “Chocolate on the top” – concluding with “that’s a jaffa cake right there”, suggesting that he mistakenly believes he has wandered into the world’s easiest version of Kim’s game. Oh, and a crisis was caused across the nation when this debacle happened:

Mary's face says it all.
Mary’s face says it all.

“We don’t do that in the South, you know,” says Mary, and she is right. I’m anti-dunking in general, and certainly wouldn’t make an exception for jaffa cakes. What I love about our ridiculous nation is that the maker of Jaffa Cakes, McVities, actually released a statement on the matter.

Everyone starts with the orange jelly, and it’s nowhere clear for a moment how they’ve done it. We see them poke an orange or two, and then suddenly we have trays of orange jelly littering the tent. My question: did they use gelatin or pectin? Are these vegetarian? Why do we have to spend so long having the concept of stirring explained to us by a bevy of bakers, when this essential question is left unanswered?

People are spooning their sponge mixture into trays, and Val says she is going to try to “guess the time”, while prodding the timer enthusiastically and seemingly at random.

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And then we segue, of course, into bakers staring into ovens. Oh, the eternal love between baker and oven. It makes the looks between Selasi and Candice seem almost not lingering. (But, to clarify, they definitely are lingering.)

My favourite moment of the first ep might be this one – Candice acknowledges that she has illicitly added orange juice to the recipe, against the instructions, and Mel sotto voce asks her where she got the orange juice from. “The orange,” says Candice, in the voice usually reserved for encouraging the first words of a recalcitrant infant.

I adore how pally they are.
I adore how pally they are.

Various bakers umm and ahh over the size of the jelly in a jaffa cake (fair enough), and then, less explicably, they debate which way up they should go. I mean, wut? Have these people never encountered a jaffa cake before? “Who knows what’s the right way round?” poses Jane, answering her own question with these monstrosities:

Lord have mercy on us all.
Lord have mercy on us all.

(Having said that, I can definitely see myself entering the tent and immediately forgetting every single thing about every item I have ever beheld.)

In the end, only Andrew is doing them the wrong way round. He whispers his every thought at the camera, and – for no obvious reason – does a quick impersonation of Lurch.

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Oh, and we got our first glimpse of the pheasant that got, I feel sure, more screentime than a good half of the bakers. And then, with some quick chocolate spreading and piping and the minister saying (I think) “I don’t know what a cross looks like”, we’re done. And they all look pretty amateurish, I have to say – the chocolate let a lot of people down.

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Highlight, of course, is Paul’s “They are all uniform… ly bad”. It reminds me of Simon Cowell’s endless “You have successfully… not… got through… to going home… because you’re through” style banter. Once we get to Andrew’s upside down jaffas, Paul explains that they are upside down – and then which the right way might be, for the avoidance of doubt.

This looks badly photoshopped, somehow.
This looks badly photoshopped, somehow.

We meander through all the contestants, and there isn’t a huge amount to say. Andrew comes last (Paul reiterates that they were upside down, lest anybody has forgotten), and Lee and Val also do badly. Obviously aiming to confuse me, Tom and Michael (or Michael and Tom) claim third and second place, while good old Selasi comes top.

There are so many bakers that we obviously don’t have time to discover the unexpected history of cake – we get, instead, another shot of a pheasant – and (after a quick debrief from Judge Corner) we’re into the showstopper. And it’s Mirror Cake! No, I hadn’t heard of it either.

What is a Mirror Cake? Mary just uses the word ‘polish’ and ‘glaze’ over and over – and follows the theme of the episode by never quite telling us how one goes about making a glaze on a cake. I thought it was just a very good ganache, but it seems to be separate from that. I suppose we’ll never know (unless, of course, we are willing to google it – which we are not). What I do know is that it must have given Colouring Pencils Man a bit of a headache – but he demonstrates glaze admirably.

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Next stop, Louise. Hers sounds delicious – being based on a white chocolate trifle – but she has more or less ignored the challenge, and is just shoving buttercream on the outside. “And mirror glaze” adds Sue optimistically in her voiceover, though we remain none the wiser as to what that could mean.

Sue also gives her annual explanation of what a genoise sponge cake is (“added air… and keeping it there”). Meanwhile, Val has developed a crippling addiction to the timer. I have a sneaking suspicion that she believes it is counting the remaining moments of her mortality.

"Why is it in minus numbers?"
“Why is it in minus numbers?”

Selasi is whisking over boiling water (“I don’t understand it… I just bake it”) and has forgotten to include raspberry seeds. Seeds? That sounds gritty. Andrew, meanwhile, is making something with salted caramel and orange which looks and sounds delicious – even if Ultimate Indulgence makes it sound rather like the last meal of a convict on death row.

I don't know why those inverted commas are menacing, I just know that they are.
I don’t know why those inverted commas are menacing, I just know that they are.

Michael is using Matcha Tea sponge, which looks revolting, but… no, it probably also is revolting. Mary seems pretty unimpressed.

"It's like a dry grass."
“It’s like a dry grass.”

So, here’s a question. Why is there a bunch of roses on one of the desk? Has Selasi been wooing Candice? Is Val going to sugarglaze them? Answer comes there none.

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Speaking of our Candice, she is having trouble with her genoise sponges – which aren’t rising. It’s an issue, I’ll acknowledge, but nothing compared to the name of her cake. If Andrew broke my ‘no-rosemary-in-cake’ rule, Candice is playing fast and loose with my dictats on naming cakes. I.e. be simple and straightforward. Don’t call it ‘Chocolate Paradise’ or ‘Midsummer Dreams’ and definitely don’t call it…

I'm holding you complicit, Colouring Pencils Man.
I’m holding you complicit, Colouring Pencils Man.

But she gets her comeuppance almost immediately; she flings a sponge against the wall, and starts again. She’s not the only one. Val, Benjamina, and Tom/Michael (possibly Tom AND Michael?) are also starting from scratch. While Louise says she’s making a creme pat, but appears to be mashing raspberries. Er, good luck with that. (It perhaps explains the ‘disaster’ with it that she later mentions.)

Oh.

Oh, Kate.

I hadn’t spotted this name the first time around.

Oh.
Oh.

It’s an oddly pessimistic name for a cake, thinking about it, but it’s definitely on brand: Kate is wearing a swallow dress, has swallow earrings, and I believe – though I may not have been listening as attentively as I could have been – once married a swallow.

Val gets a visitation from Paul and Mary – not in a spectral way – but busies herself with tasting the contents of the unnamed jars around her, ignoring them as much as possible. She narrowly avoids adding cornflour – which does pose the riddle: why are these jars unlabelled? Is it to reenact some sort of Portia situation?

Incidentally, this still life was created by Luigi Lucioni.

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“I’ve literally done everything twice,” says Benjamina, much like Mum did when she had twins. Lee has made a horror of a ganache, Candice is waiting for a jelly to set, and everybody opens and shuts freezers, trying to find an empty one. It’s clearly Portia week. Benjamina, meanwhile, has a little cry because her cream or ganache or something is too runny. She seems to think that continually mixing it will make it less runny?

Bless her. And bless Sue, who comes to look after her.
Bless her. And bless Sue, who comes to look after her.

We see lots of sugar thermometers. Guys, since last year I have actually been given a sugar thermometer! It’s very exciting. I can make things to exactly the right temperature – and have indeed used it for Extreme Baking. Maybe I’ll mirror glaze EVERYTHING this week.

Aaand, with one excellent use of ‘Mother Hubbard’ as an expletive from Candice, we’re done! There are some truly excellent-looking bakes out there. Here are some other photos of the ones I loved the look of:

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Matcha tea, we learn, is unpleasant in a sponge cake. Poor Candice is a bit upset about the state of her genoise (but has served her cake on a huge ornamnetal mirror), while Andrew surprises the judges with his excellent cake. And as for Kate’s luminous blue swallow cake? “Blue isn’t usually a good colour for icing,” Mary notes kindly, having evidently not tasted my (third-place) award-winning swimming pool cake of 1995.

Special mention has to go to Louise, who seemed to disregard the challenge entirely – but let’s not be hasty. Perhaps she misunderstood, and thought she had to do a cake that seemed like a mirror – in the sense that her cake has the exact colours of her hair, face, and lips.

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All of which, thankfully, are great colours for cakes and faces alike.

We barely have time for another couple clips of the pheasant, before we’re into the announcements. Star Baker is…

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Jane – to her surprise and, I’ll admit, to mine (but only cos I thought Selasi had it in the bag). Leaving us, sadly, is…

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Bye Lee – you seemed a delight, and I’m sorry that we haven’t seen more of you. In fact, this group of bakers might be the nicest bunch we’ve had yet – as of yet, I’m rather fond of all of them.

Next week looks like it’ll be stressful. Biscuit towers, Viennese whirls, and collapsing trays. Can’t wait!

It’s been fun to be back – hope you’ve enjoyed the recap. And thanks to everyone who asked about it coming back :)

One more time:

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50 thoughts on “Great British Bake Off: Series 7: Episode 1

  • August 28, 2016 at 10:45 pm
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    Really glad you’re doing these recaps Simon – I’ve been looking forward to reading this first one! Thank you!

    • September 8, 2016 at 9:38 pm
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      :D Thanks Judith!

  • August 28, 2016 at 10:55 pm
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    Your recaps are pure brilliance :-D

    Not that I’m overly obsessed with GBBO (I am) but yuzu’s been used in previous series, and John Whaite (who won) also did that listening to cakes thing so I really feel the production team need to improve in finding us hardened viewers some novelty this year ;-)

    I am however, still reeling from having my fondly held prejudices completely undermined, presented as I am with a likeable banker and PE teacher – who seem to be in a budding romance – awww!

    • September 8, 2016 at 9:39 pm
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      Thanks! That’s lovely.
      And yes, I can’t get my head around liking a PE teacher and a banker – even if my envisioned romance doesn’t seem quite to have materialised in later eps…

  • August 29, 2016 at 1:15 am
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    So glad your recaps are back! Nope, we don’t have jaffa cakes in the USA, but I’ve read about them in British novels and was glad to find out what they are.

    • September 8, 2016 at 9:40 pm
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      Even though I didn’t know they were a British treat, I sort of suspected they might be! Though nobody would dream of making one at home.

  • August 29, 2016 at 1:18 am
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    I was hoping you would do this again-thank you. Have you ever been asked to appear on “Extra Slice”?

    • September 8, 2016 at 9:41 pm
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      Ha! I haven’t, though was once obliquely referenced on it. And I’d go on it in a heartbeat!

  • August 29, 2016 at 3:53 am
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    “We being her and the cake which has been confiding in her, presumably.”
    I cackled.

    What a terrific recap; thanks for this! Brilliant. As a previous comment says we don’t have Jaffa Cakes in the states but there is a “fancy” brand by the name of LU which does “European biscuits” and they have a biscuit called “Pim’s Orange” which is a Jaffa replicant. I can’t attest to its authenticity though because I believe the marriage of orange and chocolate goes against the laws of nature. (Apologies to Terry.)

    Oh, and btw, Sue does say at the beginning that they’re in Welford Park in Berkshire. Easy to forget as the “Kate/Cake” joke just after deadens your brain.

    • August 29, 2016 at 4:44 pm
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      I’ve also seen those pseud-Jaffa cakes with raspberry filling, which I much prefer to orange and chocolate.

    • September 8, 2016 at 9:42 pm
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      Thanks Joshua – and thank you for the history of Jaffa replicants! Though I will not hear the Terry’s Chocolate Orange disparaged in my hearing.

  • August 29, 2016 at 7:19 am
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    Mother Hubbard, it’s good to have you back, Simon!

    But I have two – nay, three – bones to pick with you:

    1) Isn’t it “cazh”? I’m getting confused with your spelling and thought you were being all clever and doing your recap in a foreign language! Is there a ‘j’ in cazh? Am I wrong??

    2) ROSEMARY IN CAKES IS DELICIOUS!!

    3) Val. No. A nat trezh over my dead bod. I don’t find her genially insane at all – just a very ordinary woman trying far too hard to look like fun. Ugh.

    But this was a fab recap! I loved the bit about the orange too! xxx

    • September 8, 2016 at 9:43 pm
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      Thanks Helen :)
      I think I’ve also put a ‘j’ in but I wouldn’t swear to it… cajz? cazh? cajzh?

      And HELEN I can’t believe you re: rosemary. Tsk.

  • August 29, 2016 at 8:27 am
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    Love the recaps being back – hooray! They should totally have you on Extra Slice …

    • September 8, 2016 at 9:44 pm
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      Thanks Liz! Oh that would be super fun :)

  • August 29, 2016 at 8:53 am
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    Just for the record, I did NOT say: “I’ve literally done everything twice,” when ‘having twins. The only ‘recorded’ utterances were ‘I don’t know’ (in answer to all / any questions) and ‘I need a cup of tea’ (which request was completely ignored, resulting in a 3 hour wait for said tea and, possibly, your addiction to it).
    Brilliant as ever, Simon – looking forward to the next recap!

    • September 8, 2016 at 9:45 pm
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      Thanks Mum :) ANd thanks for putting us right! x

  • August 29, 2016 at 9:23 am
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    I totes lolled at this. By the way, they used a packet of orange jelly for the Jaffa cakes. A packet.

    • September 8, 2016 at 9:46 pm
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      Thanks Laura! And I saw a screencap of that recipe and was OUTRAGED by the packet jelly. Shocking behaviour.

  • August 29, 2016 at 11:53 am
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    Yay! Thanks Simon, your recap is as marvellous as ever, these are definitely the highlight of having GBBO back on our screens :)

    • September 8, 2016 at 9:46 pm
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      Aw, bless you Tommi, thanks!

  • August 29, 2016 at 2:58 pm
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    More, than you might wish to know, about the yuzu available here: http://www.citrusvariety.ucr.edu/citrus/yuzu1.html

    OK, I’ll bite – what is wrong in principle with rosemary in sweet things? Clearly one would wish to use it sparingly and with some considerable insight, but it sounds as if you have had a bad experience with it.

    It’s worth saying that I have only ever watched series one of this programme [so references I probably don’t get]. I couldn’t put up with the silliness and learned rather too little from it to satisfy me. Your reviews are, I suspect, rather more entertaining by a wide margin.

    • September 8, 2016 at 9:48 pm
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      I don’t think I have actually had rosemary in a cake, so my distaste for it is all about what I’m imagining in my mouth! I’m not a fan of sweet/savoury combos.

  • August 29, 2016 at 3:36 pm
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    Just adored the recap.mi followed this programme when I was in Melbourne but don’t get it in Sri Lanka. I just lov the snippets and the pictures.

    • September 8, 2016 at 9:49 pm
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      Thanks so much Mystica :)

  • August 29, 2016 at 4:47 pm
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    I’ve actually been able to watch this time around and your recap is just as fun as watching! And for the record, I have had fresh rosemary scones and they were delicious. I keep meaning to make them again but I never seem to get round to it. And now I’ll have to go back and reread all your previous GBBO recaps from seasons 4-6, still haven’t seen the first three.

    • September 8, 2016 at 9:51 pm
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      Now, rosemary scones sound delicious – if the scone is savoury.
      Glad you’ve been enjoying! I started recapping around series 4 I think, so it works out perfectly.

  • August 29, 2016 at 5:13 pm
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    I never watch the prog but I love your recaps, Simon. Totally agree about the rosemary in cakes issue. And as for jaffa cakes – they’re sacred and no-one should mess with them! :)

    • August 29, 2016 at 5:17 pm
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      I have only ever had a commercial Jaffa cake and I must say I hate them. perhaps a properly made one would be a different experience.

    • September 8, 2016 at 9:54 pm
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      Thanks Karen! And at least they didn’t do their spin of jaffas – if they’d put extra ingredients etc in I’d have been angry.

  • August 29, 2016 at 7:55 pm
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    I am so torn as to whether to read this or not. I am madly obsessed by this show, but I live in the States and the powers that be keep us waaaay behind. For example, we just finished your last years show, Nadiya et al.

    So the question is, should I wait and come back to this later or should I do my drooling and fantasizing now, because, OH MY, you have included photos??? I know, this is not your call to make….sigh…. :)

    • September 8, 2016 at 9:55 pm
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      I can help you compromise, though, because I have been recapping for a few years – so you can go back and read the reviews for the series on in the US :)

  • August 29, 2016 at 8:05 pm
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    Loved this! I’m also loving the romance between Candace and Silesi. Those lingering looks….

    • September 8, 2016 at 9:57 pm
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      Yes Rachel! LINGERING.

  • August 29, 2016 at 10:23 pm
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    Hoorah to the return of your recaps! So pleased they’re back.

    • September 8, 2016 at 9:58 pm
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      Thanks Beth!

  • August 30, 2016 at 2:34 pm
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    I have never seen this programme … I do not like competitive programmes like this as it seems at times that their main aim is to make someone look / feel bad about themselves & their efforts … also, there is no CAKE for me! I do not want to just watch CAKE, I wish to eat CAKE but am too busy working, paying attention to my husband & reading! to bake CAKE!

    Anne

    • September 8, 2016 at 9:58 pm
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      Haha – yay cake!
      But GBBO is the wonderful antidote to that sort of reality show – everybody is so lovely and supportive. It’s such a delight.

  • August 30, 2016 at 3:06 pm
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    Well worth the wait for your recap, Simon.
    You are so kind to the contestants while we at home are – well, not so kind.
    Tell us, do you also watch The Great Sewing Bee? I should look at your sidebar but I’m supposed to be working.

    • September 8, 2016 at 10:00 pm
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      Well, I will concede that I keep some of my snarkier moments off the blog – but they are a lovely bunch this year!

      I watched the first series of Sewing Bee (though didn’t recap here) – I didn’t watch more because I found my profound ignorance about sewing left me a bit nonplussed.

  • August 30, 2016 at 8:21 pm
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    Yay Simon’s recaps are back! Something to fill the gap between An Extra Slice on Friday night and the next episode of GBBO on Wednesday night… #addictedmuch?
    Love it. Don’t love Val. Love Selandice.

    • September 8, 2016 at 10:01 pm
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      Aw, thanks Yvann. And which of us isn’t loving Selasi? He’s fabs.

  • September 1, 2016 at 10:34 pm
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    Thank you, Simon, for making me laugh so much. Awaiting Blazer Watch in episode 2 recap…

    • September 8, 2016 at 10:01 pm
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      They do love those blazers!

  • September 2, 2016 at 12:05 am
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    Yay! So pleased to see your recaps are back! I enjoy them (almost) as much as the show #teamselasi

    • September 8, 2016 at 10:06 pm
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      Good old Selasi! He’s definitely up there among my faves.

  • September 5, 2016 at 11:43 am
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    Both halves of this American/German household were aware of Jaffa cakes but neither of us had ever contemplated the notion of homemade ones. Question: If one walked into a British bakery, would one be able to buy baker-baked Jaffa cakes or would the very question result in strange looks?

    • September 8, 2016 at 10:08 pm
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      You would get strange looks! Basically you won’t find these anywhere except in packets from McVittie’s, which is why it seems all the weirder that they made these.

  • September 5, 2016 at 12:53 pm
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    My only gripe with you is your use of Colouring Pencils. This is why pencil crayons are dying out.

    • September 8, 2016 at 10:09 pm
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      Hahaha! Mea culpa.

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