The Bake Off Bake Along Week 4 Roundup & Week 5 | Pastry

Pastry week is normally one of my favourite weeks. Normally. I'm quite confident in my ability with the pastry I've made before, but THIS. Well. I have no words.

Before I get into it, it is my pleasure to announce mine and Amanda's favourites for batter week. I said this on twitter, but it really is so wonderful that so many people get involved with the bake along, there's over 400 posts on instagram and just so much talent. I love it. Without further ado, we decided there had to be joint winners this week. The wonderful Sophie made these amazing swirled churros that look almost too good to eat... almost:

And the AH-MAH-ZING Alice who did not just make yorkshire puddings, but also churros. Just would you look at how tasty-delicious her yorkshires look! I applaud your dedication Alice!

But as always a massive congrats to everyone taking part, you're all superstars.

Now for my pastry week post. I'm actually reluctant to even get into this massive disaster with you, just to spare you the drama and heartache. Not only do I never want to make a Danish pastry ever, ever again. I used this recipe, which I'll be totally honest is probably not the best out there. I made the dough FIVE TIMES. Can you tell I'm still not over it? Good. Ok so the first two attempts were my own failing fault because I forgot to add the egg into the dough and freaked out when it wasn't rising in the airing cupboard. Then I sacked off the danish pastry in favour of giving puff a go, which worked but I knew it wasn't right. So I opted to try the Danish again, but ran out of instant yeast and stupidly used dried active (woe you yeast). Yet again there was no rise to my dough, so I enlisted the help of my sister, who took me to the shop to get more flour, milk, yeast and butter.

I can't even tell you how much flour was wasted in the process of making these God forsaken pastries.

So I made the dough... AGAIN. And I vowed that if it didn't rise I'd throw it over the garden wall. But I was patient, and it rose, it took a lot longer than the recipe said it would, even in the airing cupboard. Still, it worked. Then I sort of found myself muddling through and trying to make the best of a bad situation.

ALL the butter, or most of it seeped out in the oven, so the pastry is a little hard and tough to chew. But to be honest, after the saga that has been Danish Pastries, I'm just glad to have something that resembles something edible. I chose to have cinnamon and raisins on the inside and when you do get a bite with the filling, it's actually quite nice. And although the whole thing has been a massive slog, I learnt so much and maybe in the not too near future, I'd like to give them another go. I can't actually believe I just admitted that.

Anyway, here they are in all their glory. And at the bottom is the amazing effort my mum made with her Bakewell Tart, doesn't it look fab?

As always make sure you link up with us to show us your bakes via the link below!

Bake Off Bake Along Week 4 | Batter

Belated batter. I know, I KNOW. I'm sorry! I'm late, very, very late.

In the rush of the beginning of the week I had to ask the amazing Amanda to cover for me this week whilst I get my life together. And as bloggers we all know that life can sometimes get in the way, which isn't ideal when you're co-hosting an online bake along, but I have some news.

I am officially now back in the UK. WAHOO. And it's so good to be back! Shay and I made the move just over two weeks ago and last week was a total whirlwind of job interviews, catching up with friends (who we were surprising) and just general life admin.

But if there's one thing I really couldn't afford to miss out on, because it's been such a long time since I've had a proper roast dinner on home soil is yorkshire puds. I know everyone has a favourite roast and mine is hands down, beef. I've always loved beef over any other roast, so I decided to cook one and use it as an excuse for a bake along.

I have to admit. I have made yorkies before, and they've been a success both times. Last time, they were more uniform and 'round with a hole in the middle' and this time a bit less like that... BUT who doesn't love an unruly yorkshire pud? I used this recipe, and I think the reason they went a bit haywire is down to me accidentally putting a bit too much oil in the bottom of the muffin tin.

To go with my yorkshires, as mentioned, I made a beef roast. Silverside beef joint rubbed in oil and seasoned, an hour in the oven with no foil and rested for about 30 mins after, next to some garlic and rosemary roasties, carrots and broccoli and a gravy made by deglazing the roasting tin with some Rioja, then reduced down, with some fresh thyme from the garden, some more water, a COUPLE of bisto granules and some salt and pepper - bish bash bosh. A little on the thin side, but full of flavour.

Who wants to come round mine for a roast? I'll be back on form this week and hosting the link up so do check back.

The Bake Off Bake Along Week 3 | Bread

Oh bread week, how I love you! Bread is one of my favourite things to bake, in contrast to last week's biscuits because although I don't have much excuse to bake it, the end result gives such satisfaction AND it makes your home smell absolutely divine, don't you think?

Had the a million strand plaited bread come up again this year as the technical challenge I think I would have liked to have given it a go. I guess I can still try it, but ya know it's nice to have an excuse isn't it.

So I decided to haphazardly take on the showstopper... and let's just say my bread plaiting leaves much to be desired. After reading through the requirements for this week's bakes, I decided on the showstopper because 1. I had some making up to do after last year's underbaked disaster and 2. I didn't really fancy a sweet bread or the dampfnudel... although I definitely love the idea of making steamed bread at some point. I do have a confession to make though, I didn't use three different flours, because who has time for that? Not me, and also I didn't have a clue where to start? So I decided to just make a white bread with olive and slow roasted tomatoes in it... and I think it came out alright.

I used this recipe by the one and only Mr Hollywood, it was easy and straight forward and there's not much else to say! I was a bit worried wondering around the supermarket that I wouldn't find fresh yeast... I didn't know that was a thing but I found it! I FOUND IT! Anyway, I guess this week's bake, as mentioned is an homage to last year, to prove to myself I CAN BAKE BREAD! I promise. And I'm really actually pleased with it, it's got a good rise, and the filling is evenly dispersed. Well done me.

Make sure you head over to Amanda's blog to see this week's winner for the Bake Off Bake Along and link up your bakes with us via the link at the end of this post!

Let's not talk about the fact that this might be the last year of Bake Off - Crrrrrryyyyyyyy!

The Bake Off Bake Along Week 1 Roundup & Week 2 | Biscuits

I'll be honest, in previous years my biscuits whilst baking along have been pretty dreadful. I never bake biscuits because why would I, when I can get really great ones from the shop. I'd start writing a list of my favourite biscuits but I think we'll be here all day so lets crack on with the bake along shall we?!

First of all, Amanda and I would both like to thank you all so much again for taking part, I LOVE being tagged in your instagram posts and seeing everyones amazing efforts - you're all star bakers to me. But afterall this is a competition and each week Amanda and I are picking our favourite bakes and for cake week it has to be the one and only Alice of Wooden Window Sills and I think we can all agree that her mirrorglaze cake looks absolutely stunning and I wouldn't hesitate to eat it all in a single heartbeat. Although it's so beautiful, I wouldn't want to ruin it. Well done Alice you absolutely smashed it, as always!

For week 2, I decided to take on the technical challenge again - I'll be honest, my bake choices are being completely directed by what I can make most easily without all of my kitchen stuff. I've been so nervous about baking but it is actually quite amazing what you can do without the essentials... even like a sieve. I know, sacrilege. Don't tell Mary & Paul, OK?

I did however really enjoy making the Viennese Whirls, despite not really knowing what I'm doing when it comes to biscuits. I absolutely love the M&S Viennese biscuits that are dipped in chocolate so I knew I had to give these a go. The only alteration I made this week was strawberry jam instead of raspberry because... hello $1 punnets of strawberries. That's like 60p people, quite the bargain!

I'm not overly fond of how the swirls look purely because of the crappy piping nozzles I used, I miss my wiltons so much - and if that's not a first world problem I don't know what is. I really enjoyed making the jam as well, it always astounds me, remembering *just* how easy it is to make. Fruit, sugar, heat, done.

I also didn't dust them with icing sugar because again *don't shoot* but I don't have a sieve so, I opted for the non-dusted look! I'm so looking forward to seeing everyone elses bakes and make sure you link up with us below. And just finally, we really do love being tagged on instagram so keep em coming - what a bunch of superstars.

The Bake Off Bake Along Week 1 | Cake

IT'S BACK. Finally, GBBO is back and I don't know what I'd do without it in my life again.

For the third year in a row, I'll be baking along, and for the second year in a row, hosting an online Bake Along with the amazing Amanda of Rhyme & Ribbons.

My blogging has been pretty non-existent as of recently, I've been working unsociable hours, as well as working ALL THE HOURS IN THE WORLD. So that is why you won't have seen me round these parts for a while, but I'm here now and baking is happening.

Another excuse to get out the way, as I'm currently living in Australia, I have ZERO amounts of my kitchen belongings, including my pride and joy Kitchen Aid, which is somewhat hindering the baking process but where theres a will, theres a way. Ain't that the truth. I also have to apologise for the fact this post is officially TWO DAYS late. I'm so ashamed, but probably the best excuse of all, I ran out of time to take photos and then went on a two day trip up and down the Great Ocean Road, will you forgive me? I hope so, I promise to post some amazing photos on here of the trip - truly one of the most stunning roads in the world... I'm looking at you Hai Van Pass.

ANYWAY. Cake week hooray! I think I knew what I was going to bake immediately, being a complete and utter jaffa cake fiend (along with the rest of the UK) I knew I had to give it a go. But I decided to make jaffas with a twist and so I present to you my white chocolate and lime jaffa cakes. Because, why not.

I actually really enjoyed making these, the sponge was a total dream to make, I struggled with cutting out the jelly because I had nothing to do it with, and ended up having to trim the jelly down on the sponge... :) ha! I didn't even attempt the lines on the chocolate because let's be honest, with the way these look, I'd definitely be last place. BUT the sponge is totally springy and light and I love the lime and white chocolate combo.

Still, I think these turned out alright overall, especially for my first time baking in almost a year... certainly dusting off those cobwebs. Make sure you head over to Amanda's blog to link up with us this week - I just love seeing everyone's bakes. WE SHOULD ALL WIN STAR BAKER.