Dissertation Diaries: Back to Square One

Hi! I hope you’re all doing well and you had a pleasant week and a lovely weekend. It’s been a pretty decent week, aside from catching a cold and feeling the pressure of uni a lot more than usual. I enjoyed a third date which was lovely (again gin fuelled), plus I spent time with my family and got reading done.

Considering these posts are essentially mini diary entries, I’ll be honest with you. The whole “uni is great and I’m loving every moment of it” bubble I’d grown used to in first and second year has well and truly burst. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t think of anything I’d rather do and I’ve loved exploring a subject I’m passionate about, but it’s pretty stressful right now, making sure I’m on top of uni reading, I’ve got some sort of idea for my December and January assignments and I get my dissertation underway.

My plan was to get a significant amount of it done, just so I’m not stressing when I have three modules next semester, but (of course) an obstacle has been presented!

This obstacle came last week, when I finally got my dissertation feedback. The feedback was good, don’t worry. It just got me confused on my direction. I’d picked a subject I thought was straightforward but, on my feedback, I realised there’s so much I could write it’d well surpass the 8,000 words expected!

So this has thrown a bit of a spanner in the works! I won’t need to restart my dissertation by no means, it’s just picking through what I’ve already written and seeing what’s relevant, where I can go with it and what’s best left out. I’m going for a meeting next week with my dissertation advisor, so it’ll be good to talk it through it with someone.

I’ll admit, I got upset with my mark for this proposal. I didn’t think it deserved more, but it was a bit of a defeat to know that I could get (and have got) better marks. Of course, this is only 10% of my overall mark so I’ve got the dissertation to redeem myself…it just panicked me a bit. I’ve thought it all through a lot since and I feel better now, I’m not entirely sure where I’m going with my dissertation but I know I’ll get to where I want to be soon.

Dissertation Diaries: What to do once you’ve finished your proposal

Hey guys! If you’ve been reading my posts on Sundays, you’ll know that I’ve moved on from recipes (though I will still be posting them up on my blog from time to time!) and towards writing about my dreaded dissertation in something I’m calling my “Dissertation Diaries”.

My first entry was all about how I was feeling about my dissertation which, SPOILER ALERT, wasn’t too fantastic. Even though I knew full well I’d join loads of students actually going to the library to fret over secondary material, it hasn’t felt real until now and- as my first entry will tell you- I’m pretty terrified about that!

In my second entry I talked about getting passed the so-called “planning stage”. I don’t have those pens to colour code everything, or the cute Paperchase notebooks other students have (only because I wouldn’t be able to pick between the choices!), but I just get stuck going over paragraph after paragraph so often I forget about the end result: a completed thing!

Luckily, today’s post is a bit more encouraging! It felt like it took a long time but, I’m happy to report, my dissertation proposal is done! I’m by no means over the moon with it but I’m glad I’ve got it done when, a few weeks ago, all I’d written was a possible title and the word “Plan”.

Of course, rather than put my feet up just yet (though I have, regrettably, indulged in watching Gilmore Girls and The Inbetweeners this week, when I probably could have done some work!), the big one- the 8000 word dissertation every student dreads- is still looming! So, with that in mind, I thought I’d talk about what to do once you’ve finished your proposal:

Start thinking about what you want to say in your actual dissertation

A proposal is basically a poshed-up draft, where you talk about what you’re planning to do when you actually come to write. Of course, sometimes, what you’ve written in your proposal and what you write in your final work is pretty different. So, with that in mind, (I don’t want to say plan, given the fact I’ve just written a post about moving from it!) think about what you want to say in your actual dissertation- get an idea of secondary reading, get to grips with your chosen text(s) and think about an overall theme/idea you’ll refer back to.

Read, read, read

I said about this in my first post, so I apologise for repeating myself, but this is really important. I know students rely on things like Spark Notes to get them through, which I won’t knock as a source as I’ve used it myself (for background information) before, but it’s different for your dissertation.

You actually have to know your texts and, whatever way you look at it, this will mean you’ll be reading things other than one-page summaries. So, head over to the library and get yourself into some books- you’ll be surprised what you learn and how useful books can actually be!

Think about chapters

I know this seems difficult considering many people aren’t set in their ideas but, if you brainstorm possible chapter titles, you’ll feel good.

Look at previous examples

Even though the dissertation subjects had no similarity to mine, I found myself looking at some examples the module leader for our dissertation had sent over.

Whilst they may not give you an idea where to go for your proposed idea, looking at how a dissertation is structured is incredibly helpful because, let’s face it, many of us won’t have seen one before.

Use your teachers

Ok, ok, I’ll admit, this isn’t an original tip at all…I actually took this from our dissertation module leader. He’s right though, your tutors aren’t just those people whose seminars or lectures you may (or may not) attend. They’re actually people and, even better, they’re people who know their stuff.

Odds are if you’ve submitted your ideas, your supervisor will be matched to you considering the fact that you’re writing about their area of expertise.

Carrot cake squares

Hey guys! I’m a day late (considering I spent yesterday mainly in bed feeling sorry for myself- after cocktail making for my friend’s 21st and falling down some stairs, sober I’ll add!) but I hope how good this recipe is will make up for it.

It’s autumn now and, like it or not, the cold nights are drawing in. So my carrot cake squares are perfect for adding a little warmth.

Here’s how to make them:

Ingredients:

For the cake:

3oz light brown sugar

1 large egg

75ml sunflower oil

3oz self raising flour

2tsp ground cinnamon

100g carrots, washed, peeled and coarsely grated

50g walnuts

50g sultanas

For the icing:

4oz cream cheese

4oz icing sugar

1tsp vanilla extract

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 190 (170 fan) and line a tin with baking parchment

2. Whisk together the sugar, eggs and oil until thick

3. Fold in the flour, cinnamon, carrots, walnuts and sultanas. Then place in the lined tin.

4. Bake for 30-35 minutes and leave to cool.

5. Beat together the icing sugar, vanilla and cream cheese

6. Cut the cooled cake into squares, top with as much or as little of the icing as you wish, top with a walnut and enjoy.

That’s me for now but, as always, I’ll be posting my thoughts on the latest episode of The Great British Bake Off. So stay tuned!

The Great British Bake Off: Week 5

Paul and Prue added another chilli to the already hot competition with a set of new Bake Off challenges, in a competition that’s already been full of great bakes, handshakes and plenty of mistakes!

(You can read my thoughts on the previous weeks: one, two, three and four)

This week the bakers faced Spice Week, a never done before week on Bake Off (so I guess you could say they never saw it cumin, am I right?) but just as stressful as the previous weeks (for me, at least!)

DISCLAIMER: SPOILERS FOR THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF, SERIES NINE EPISODE FIVE, AHEAD!

The bakers

Of course, Rahul was as precious as ever and proved he’s worth another handshake. I was also impressed with Manon and Kim-Joy, who never fails to put a smile on my face with her cute creations.

The challenges

Spice Week began with the Signature Challenge, in which the bakers were asked to make a Ginger cake.

This challenge provided a variety of results, including lemon and ginger drip cake and a ginger cake featuring a tiny house.

Some bakers messed up but others proved they could handle the heat, with Paul dishing out more handshakes.

Next came the Technical Challenge, Mamool (spiced pastry). This challenge proved pretty difficult, considering nobody really knew what they were doing (or, like me, what it was!).

The challenge produced varied results, even if they all looked like Play Doh and far from birth giving creatures (my friends and I legit thought they were cooking up some warm-blooded creatures for the technical, which I can imagine would be pretty…technical.)

Finally came the Showstopper Challenge: a Biscuit Chandelier, able to be hung as a centrepiece (Prue had a jewellery consultation so she couldn’t attend).

There were all kinds of creative chandelier ideas in the tent, from 21st birthday themed ones (which I sort of want for my own birthday, parents/friends if you’re reading this), festive themed ones to Art Deco. A few biscuits broke under the pressure…and so did the bakers.

Many of the Showstoppers looked fantastic, they just made me want to reach out and grab a biscuit- if only I could through the TV!

The result

When it came to the reveal this week, it was Kim-Joy who got Star Baker and- to be fair- it’s about time!

Considering last week, two of the bakers would be leaving the tent and- ironically- one of them was Terry, who was the reason for no elimination last week! Also, this week saw the end of Karen’s Bake Off journey.

Unfortunately, though they both showed skill and good flavours, neither baker proved themselves against the tough competition.

Turns out Spice Week WASN’T too hot to handle so the 7 remaining bakers will be back next week and, as always, so will I to discuss all the action of Pastry Week.

Despite third year well and truly starting this week, I took time out from the reading I was supposed to be doing to bake so you can expect a recipe post on Sunday. Also, let me know if you want me to post my “Thoughts on Third Year” on Friday, as I haven’t actually talked about student life (or books) like I promised!

Butterfly cakes

Hey guys!

Hope you’ve had a great weekend, whatever you’ve been up to! I spent mine trying to get some uni reading done, babysitting my little nephew and getting stuff prepped for my 21st birthday (which I’m sort of in denial is happening if I’m completely honest).

I guess that explains my choice for this week’s recipe (not as exciting as last week’s chocolate brownies ) as butterfly cakes are something I’ve made since I was young- my fondest memories are baking with my parents and grandparents over the years, and I suppose this is one of the earliest recipes I remember making.

(My photos aren’t the best as I had to rush, considering my family were waiting to eat them!).

Here’s how a few simple ingredients make these:

Ingredients:

For the cakes:

– 100g butter

– 100g caster sugar

– 100g plain flour

– 2 eggs

– a dash of vanilla extract

For the buttercream:

– 50g butter

– 75g icing sugar

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 180 (fan)/ 200c/ gas mark 6 and line your tin with cupcake cases.

2. Mix your butter and sugar together until fluffy and pale

3. Add the eggs and flour, plus a dash of vanilla extract (or whatever extract you like) and mix together completely

4. Fill your cases with the mixture and bake for 15 minutes (or when the cakes are golden brown)

5. For the buttercream, mix the butter and sugar together- spoon this mix onto your cooled cakes.

6. Cut your wing shapes out of the top of the cake (fill any gaps in with your buttercream), sprinkle some sugar on top (if you want) and enjoy.

Although they aren’t the prettiest things, these cakes are delicious. Plus they’re perfect for making with friends or with little ones.

That’s me for now but, as always, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the latest episode of The Great British Bake Off. So stay tuned!

(You can keep up to date with my thoughts so far: Week One| Week Two| Week Three| Week Four)

Have any of you been baking this weekend?

Chocolate brownies

Hey guys!

I’m back with another baking post! It’s not as exciting as last week’s (with Rocky road and flapjacks, you guys were spoiled!) but- I promise you- they’re just as delicious.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made Chelsea buns and more ‘savoury’ bakes before (The small amount of Food Tech I did at school taught me plenty of uses for pre-made pastry, and that tuna pasta belongs in the bin!) that would’ve suited this week’s Bake Off– Bread Week (read my thoughts HERE)- to a T but- until I learn and get better- my strength is in sweets.

Anyway, enough rambling. This week, I decided to make brownies- considering the fact that I couldn’t go to my friend’s house empty handed and they sort of expect this from me now. They were so simple to make and, in the end, they were a crowd pleaser.

The brownies only took a short time to make (about as long as it takes to gather and combine ingredients plus the 20 minutes cooking time) so, if you do find yourself making them, you have plenty of time to relax, put your feet up and (maybe) catch up on the latest episode of Bake Off (just a suggestion).

Here’s how to make these beauties:

Ingredients

140g soft brown sugar

2 large eggs

100g butter

150g chocolate

80g flour

20g cocoa powder

(Feel free to add whatever extra ingredients you wish. Maybe salted caramel or your favourite chocolate).

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 170/180 and line a square tin with baking parchment

2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of boiling water then leave to cool.

3. Whisk together the butter and sugar until the mix is pale and, when you lift your mixer, it leaves a trail (pale and leaves a trail, I’m sure you’ll remember that!)

4. Pour the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and fold carefully

5. Add the flour and cocoa powder (using a sieve) and fold carefully. (You can leave the cocoa powder out and add more flour and chocolate but I just felt that the cocoa powder added to the taste and the brownies were really rich and fudgy). Transfer the mix into the prepared tray.

6. Bake for 20 minutes or at least until the brownies are soft in the middle but (obviously) cooked through. (Of course you can adjust your baking time to suit how fudgy/not fudgy you want the brownies to be). Leave to chill then, once chilled, cut into slices and serve.

Here’s how they turned out:

In other news, I was nominated for a Sunshine Blog Award. I had no clue what that was but thankfully my nominee Miss Blogs-A-Bit explained. So, as well as this rambling recipe post, I’ve included my answer to 11 questions set by the blogger who nominated me, plus I’ll leave my questions for my nominees (get all that?). Also a big BIG thank you to the blogger who nominated me- it’s such a surprise considering the amount of time I’ve been blogging for but I’m glad that my content is viewed positively already. The nomination made my day!

Here’s the rules:

– Thank the blogger who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog

– Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you

– Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions

– List the rules and display the award’s logo in your post and/or on your blog

So, here’s the questions I was asked:

1. Do you collect anything – what is it and why?

I used to collect Disney Tsum Tsums (little stackable Disney toys) but then I sort of realised they were going to take up too much room if I continued!

My friends and sister contributed a lot to that collection though, as they all know how much I love Disney.

2. What was it that made you step into the world of blogging?

A few things. First off, a journalist did a talk at my uni once and said- in order to be a writer of whatever kind (which I’d love to!)- you have to a. Say ‘yes’ to things and b. Take opportunities. So I guess I took his advice, and my own initiative, and took the opportunity to blog. Also, I have wanted to blog for a long time and, for a while now (I’m very stubborn!), I’ve said I’d start blogging. My third year at uni (which starts very soon) was a big factor in my decision to blog. I thought about a way to take myself away from the stress might just be by documenting the stress! Plus, when I finish third year and I have to start being an ‘adult’ (ew) I thought that this might be a good platform for potential employers to get to know me/ this would be a good platform for me to showcase my writing skills.

3. Where in the world would you most like to travel to?

A few places! Paris, Budapest, Berlin, Venice, I’d love to see more of America and Spain. Mainly I think the places I’d like to travel to are quite romantic and couple oriented- so I might have to wait a while!

4. Do you tend to plan your blog posts far in advance or are you quite spontaneous?

I think, unfortunately, the nature of my blog (so far) means I have to plan ahead. I have to make sure I record my then and there response to Bake Off and I’ve also got to be careful to be precise on my recipe posts! When I do move to talking about uni and books, I can see the posts becoming more spontaneous.

5. Which famous person would you most like to meet and why?

I’d really like to meet Chris Pratt. He seems really funny and cool in real life so I’d love to see if he’s the same away from all the spotlights!

(Plus he’s nice to look at)

6. Which of your own posts is your favourite so far?

Wow, that’s like picking a favourite child! I guess my favourite post is my very first one on Bake Off (and my first post ever). It showcases what I love plus it showed me and the readers who I am and how I write- which I liked and hope people do, too!

7. What is your biggest fear?

My biggest fear is losing people. Even though it’s inevitable and I can deal with being alone, it scares me that one day I won’t have the connection I used to.

(Plus my small scale fears are clowns, balloons (only when they pop) and (I’ve grown out of this) people dressed in costumes).

8. What is your idea of a perfect weekend?

No early get up (which I always seem to ignore, even on weekends). Probably brunch with family or friends, then either going out to do something or staying in to watch TV/a movie. Or…baking!

9. Would you ever go on a reality TV show?

Although it’d be a great way to plug my blog/ inspiration for a book, I couldn’t think of anything worse!

10. If you were reincarnated as an animal, which one would you like to be?

Good question! I guess I’d be a dog because, considering I have one, I know they eat, sleep and play all day and don’t have to worry about anything!

11. Which one beauty item could you not live without?

It sounds stupid but something like Carmex. I get awful chapped lips at the best of times so it’s always good to have one handy!

Plus it smells great.

Here’s my 11 questions and 11 bloggers I want to nominate:

1. Who’s your blogging inspiration?

2. What did you want to be when you were younger?

3. What’s one food item you can’t live without?

4. Do you prefer sweet or savoury?

5. Best book you ever read?

6. Worst book you ever read?

7. Have you ever had a baking/cooking disaster?

8. What famous faces would you invite to a dinner party?

9. What advice would you give your 16 year old self?

10. What’s your favourite Gordon Ramsay meme?

11. Where do you want to go with your blog?

My nominations are: Aimys Antics|Awkward for Days| With Lujain| Imogen Chloe| Ruth in Revolt|Put the World to Writes| Makeup by Beth| Everyday Empowering | Lorna Cole| Emily K Burr and Bearded Igor

That’s me for now but, as always, I’ll be posting my thoughts on the next episode of The Great British Bake Off . So, stay tuned!

Have any of you been baking this weekend/ do any of you have any suggestions for what I should make next?

The Great British Bake Off Week 2

The Great British Bake Off returned to our tellies last week (you can find out what I thought about the first episode HERE) and if you couldn’t tell already I was pretty excited!

My sense of excitement was ramped up a notch this week as the baking competition continued, this time with Cake Week (to which my Marble cupcakes I baked last week would’ve been the perfect accompaniment).

As with last week, here’s a breakdown of what happened this week: my thoughts on the bakers, the challenges, the Star Baker and (in the end) the latest Baker to leave the tent.

DISCLAIMER: SPOILERS FOR THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF, SERIES NINE EPISODE TWO, AHEAD!

The bakers

We were introduced to the latest batch of hopefuls last week and (even though I’m still rusty on a few names) we got to know them more this week.

This week, I was impressed with Ruby (not just because she’s my person in the sweep I mentioned in my first blog post) Dan (something about his recent performance makes me think he might just be one to watch) and Rahul (I think people might be quick to underestimate him but, after last night, I think people might just change their minds!). These bakers all have something in common this week, too, they received the first ‘Hollywood Handshake(s)’ of the series!

(He was giving them out like perfectly sliced individual cakes or, well, handshakes!)

The challenges

This week was Cake Week and the show’s Signature Challenge called for the bakers to create a traybake, essentially a cake baked in a tray only to be cut into 16 slices. This challenge, like most in the Bake Off tent, gave way to a series of different bakes: an Indian Bakewell tart, a Spanish traybake and two tries at a Black Forest inspired bake (only one worthy of the first [of many] Hollywood handshakes).

For the second challenge, the Technical Challenge, the bakers were tasked with making a Gateau Vert. No idea what that is? No, me neither! Basically, if you combine a pistachio flavoured Genoise sponge, a pistachio marzipan and icing made of spinach (yes, spinach)- that, my friends is a Gateau Vert.

Many of the bakers were stumped- with a few starting again, some not getting it right but going for it anyway. Others, like Jon, took it in their stride. It produced varying results, some not green enough, some flat or washed out but also some success.

Not as fiddly as the previous Technical, but I still don’t think I’d give it a go- the thought of a green cake alone makes me feel uneasy!

The final challenge, the Showstopper, saw the bakers create a two tier chocolate collar cake in four hours- during the heatwave…as you do! This involved a chocolate cake encased in an intricate chocolate collar..because regular chocolate cakes are “so last year, darling” (I don’t know who said that, but somebody probably did).

Making these cakes proved as challenging as you’d imagine doing so in the time constraint would be, just with added heat! This heat proved difficult, with masterpieces melting and chocolate not co-operating. In the end, Rahul wowed with his stunning chocolate collar creation and so too did Ruby- both earning the coveted Hollywood handshake!

The result

When it came to the reveal this week, Rahul earned the title of this week’s Star Baker (and I sort of felt like a proud parent). Though Karen and Terry were in a precarious position, it was Luke who left the tent. So, I guess he had to hang up his apron and put on his headphones once again..maybe?

I’m not really sure what this week means for the competition. I had my money on Manon but, now, it actually could be anyone’s game!

Next week, the bakers face Bread Week and I’m (er) totally bready for it!

This week, I made rocky road and flapjacks for watching the second episode with my mates, so you can expect the recipes up on Sunday.

What did you think of the episode?

Marble cupcakes

Hey guys!

It seems apt for me to post this recipe, staring outside at a rather bleak looking Sunday sky, as nothing makes me feel better on the most drab of days than baking.

It also is pretty apt considering, this Tuesday on The Great British Bake Off, it’s Cake Week. So, instead of slaving over the oven for God knows how long trying to attempt a showstopper, why not attempt these marble cakes?

They only require 45 minutes of your time (20 minutes for preparation and 25 for cooking) so you’ve got plenty of time to catch up on the latest episode of GBBO (or do whatever other people do!).

Here’s how a few ingredients become this

Ingredients:

For the cakes:

150g (5oz) softened butter

150g (5oz) caster sugar

175g (6oz) self-raising flour

3 medium eggs

50ml warm milk

3 level tbsp cocoa powder, sifted (I had to improvise and use hot chocolate powder as I thought I’d ran out!)

For the frosting:

75g butter, softened

150g icing sugar

For decoration:

1 Malteaser (can sub for whatever chocolate/topping you like, especially if you’ve eaten the packet beforehand!)

Method

1. Preheat your oven (gas 4, 180, 170 fan) and line a muffin tin with cases

2. Combine butter and sugar in a bowl, then add the eggs, milk and flour until the mixture is incorporated (I added a dash of vanilla extract to the non-chocolate mixture, feel free to do this or leave it out- depending on your taste)

3. Divide half of the mixture into another bowl, stirring the cocoa powder into one half

4. Using a teaspoon (or two if you’re as clumsy as me!), take small dollops of each mixture and spoon them alternately into the cake cases. Then, take a skewer or the end of a teaspoon and create the marble effect by swirling the mixture together

5. Bake for 25 minutes and leave to cool. Combine the frosting ingredients together and spread as much (or as little) as you’d like on the cooled cakes.

6. Add your chosen decoration and enjoy.

I really hope you give this recipe a try and (if you do) I’d love to see your take on it, I love seeing how people adapt recipes to suit them.

I’ve already shared pictures of them on my Instagram (take a look if you haven’t seen them already), but here’s how mine turned out.

(I couldn’t get a picture of the inside as I, and everyone I gave them to when we watched GBBO, ate them far too quickly…which is hopefully a good thing!)

That’s me for now but, as always, stay tuned for my post on this week’s The Great British Bake Off!

Have any of you been baking this weekend?

The Great British Bake Off Week 1

Ah it’s that time again! Nothing is more British (and more enjoyable, for me at least!) than watching 12 people panic over pastries and crumble over Paul Hollywood’s icy stare…(I mean, who wouldn’t?!).

 

The Great British Bake Off is back for its ninth series (its second at its new home, Channel 4), which means we’re set for a few weeks of cake (and pastry and bread, of course) delights, frights and plenty of baking based banter.

(Can you tell I’m excited?!)

As a self confessed super fan (at least if watching every season, sometimes at least twice, and owning my very own Great British Bake Off apron- cheers Mum and Dad!- qualifies as super fan!), I thought I’d give you a breakdown of what happens each week plus my thoughts on the contestants, the bakes, the Star Baker and (in the end) the latest to leave the tent.

DISCLAIMER: SPOILERS FOR THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF, SERIES NINE EPISODE ONE, AHEAD!

The bakers

(I got Ruby in the annual Great British Bake Off sweep with my friends, so I guess if I had to pick someone to root for I guess it’d be her!).

A brand new baker’s dozen entered the tent and let me tell you I’m excited! It’s early days (obviously) but a few people stood out. As she proved, Manon (a Software Project Manager from London) had Star Baker Potential.  I was also impressed by Briony (a full time parent from Bristol), Dan (also a full time parent, from London) and [surprisingly] Terry (a retired Air Steward from West Midlands).

I sort of love Karen already, too, especially after she (having finished her Signature bake early) sat eating a packet of crisps, completely ignorant of the chaos around her!

The challenges

This week was Biscuit Week and the show began with the Signature Challenge, in which the bakers were tasked with making 24 identical ‘regional’ biscuits. This challenge produced all kinds of different results, including orange blossom flavoured biscuits, biscuits featuring (or at least they were meant to feature) lambs and Yorkshire parkin biscuits finished just in time for a celebratory packet of crisps….as you do!

The second challenge, the Technical Challenge, was actually technical as the baker’s had to make Wagon Wheels. This presented difficulties for a few bakers especially (Antony had never heard of them and Manon, despite coming third in the challenge, had trouble getting her head around the name (settling for ‘wheely wagon’ instead!)) and, to be fair, was amazed by how fiddly this bake was- part of me half expected Paul and Prue to ask the bakers to make the red wrapper from scratch, too!

(Safe to say, if I ever find myself eating a Wagon Wheel, I’ll appreciate the work that goes into it).

The final challenge, the Showstopper, was perhaps one of the hardest (especially this early) in the history of The Great British Bake Off: a biscuit selfie (how current?). This involved several layers of biscuit and icing, in the hope of depicting a memorable moment in the baker’s life. For many of the bakers, this ‘moment’ was a mountain climb (maybe they had to specify this in their application?), but a particularly memorable one was Dan’s: a less than flattering depiction of himself and his first-born child (is it a prawn? is it a pink burrito? is it a…well you decide).

The result

When it came to the nail-biting reveal, Manon (unsurprisingly) gained the accolade of Star Baker- showing the other contestants (and the viewers) she’s the one to watch…for now. Despite failing to complete her marathon (in biscuit form, at least), and failing to cement her place at the top in the other two challenges, Ruby survived the first week of the competition. The unlucky first contestant to leave the tent was Imelda, who failed to wow the judges with her offerings.

Aside from Manon, nobody (so far) screams ‘winner’…just yet. Of course, there are plenty more weeks to go.

Next week, the bakers face Cake Week.

As for me, Cake Week came early as I (expecting cake based challenges this week) baked marble cupcakes for watching the first episode with my mates [Recipe will be uploaded on Sunday, so keep a look-out!].

What did you think of the episode?