Bake Off Week 3 - Bread Week

We're now into week 3 of my Bake Off obsession and it just so happens to be a perfect week for me. I eat out a lot with colleagues on away jobs and after the first couple of nights they always seem to pick up on just how much bread I eat - so much so that a current lunch invite in my calendar says 'tbd, but there will be bread...'.

I once again took the easy route out as I don't fancy my bread sculpting skills to be that good. I have made bread before, but only ever from a pre-made mix, so this was a bit of a novelty.

Quick bread was the first challenge of the week so I went for Soda Bread, which turned out to be ridiclously easy to make. I used the Telegraph recipe for Soda Bread.

I had no idea where to buy buttermilk, but it turns out it's in the dairy section pretty much anywhere - who knew?
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Bake Off Week 2 - Biscuit Week

I've continued my new found Bake Off obsession this week by recreating challenge two, which this week were arlettes. (I'd never heard of them, by they're essentially just very flat cinnamon swirls).

I didn't fancy making biscotti as I'm not a fan, and there was no way we were going to be able to make a box out of biscuit, so I tracked down this recipe for arlettes. I'm admitting to cheating - we used pre-made puff pastry as we also decided to repaint the kitchen on baking day so there wasn't time to start from scratch (plus I think they'd have been a complete disaster!)

This week's big question - would they stay flat and snap? (Spoiler: No, but they're awesome anyway)

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Adventures in Eden

I first went to the Eden Project with school when I was about 11 years old and fell in love. With it being in Cornwall, and me being caught up with uni and various things, I hadn't been back in about a decade, until the boy booked a weekend away for my 22nd birthday in July. It's safe to say I fell in love with it all over again. (Also, he'd never been so I got all excited talking about it before we'd even got there.)

The project is in the bottom of an old quarry, so on approach you can't actually see anything - it's only after you step through the visitors centre at the top (which is home to a rather lovely coffee shop) that you are hit by the scale of it.

In essence, the Eden Project is two great big bubbles (biomes), each housing a different climate. I've made it sound rather simple but in reality it is so so much more. I couldn't do the idea or science behind it justice, so I'm not going to try. 

I first went soon after it opened, and I'm happy to say that so much has changed in a decade that the visit felt like a whole new adventure. The winding path on the way down to the biomes is now full of beautiful Cornish climate flowers, and they're introduced loads of street food stalls, as well as a stage for concerts.

We went into the rainforest biome on the left first, and it was perhaps even more hot and humid than I remember. There seems to have been a few additions to the biome itself, including various bamboo huts, an ice room to cool down and a view platform (no pictures of this as it was really high up and I spent most of my time clinging to James trying not to look down between the mesh...)

The other biome is a Mediterranean biome, which is slightly easier to breathe in - it's more of a dry heat and recreates the environment in Spain, Greece etc. The most notable addition to this was a restaurant in the middle of the biome which we chose for lunch (couldn't resist really!). It was like being on holiday in Spain - really really lovely.

We spent some more time exploring the outside sections of the project and then wandered up to the gift shop which sold basically everything I ever wanted so I left with lots of tea, candles and beauty products. We have annul passes so hopefully we'll go back soon!

We finished the day with a walk along the nearby Carlyon Bay which was beautiful - we were basically the only ones there!

Have you ever been to the Eden Project? Where do visit in Cornwall?

Bake Off Week 1 - Cake Week

First things first - I have an admission to make. If you've read my blog before, you'll know that I LOVE baking, however (and forgive me), what you may not know is that I've never seen the Great British Bake Off until this week. 

Yes, I've heard about baked-alaska-gate and I have a vague idea who Mary Berry is, but until Thursday, I had never actually seen an episode (much to the surprise of my colleagues and my boyfriend who is apparently a long time fan!)

When I did sit down to watch it, I of course became hooked and declared that we would host our own bake off every week and try and re-create one of the challenges in the show. Just without the stakes, and competition element.

This week, we attempted the first challenge and made our own Madeira cake!

We used the recipe from BBC Good Food and in-keeping with Bake Off, added lemon icing to mix it up a bit.

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