gillybirds

What came first- the chickens or the blog?

Spotted on Paul Hollywood’s tour blog!

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Every night Paul or one of his minions takes a photo of the audience. It has just been posted on his blog, and lo and behold, there we are, me and CC in all our glory.

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We are sitting upstairs in the second row of the balcony. I’ve got a green scarf on, and CC wearing a turquoise scarf is in the spotlight!
See if you can find us!

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An Evening with Paul Hollywood

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Last night my dear friend CC and I spent two hours with Paul Hollywood – you know-the one with the piercing blue eyes and silver grey beard from Great British Bake Off that isn’t Mary Berry.
It was ¬£32 per ticket. If Mr H had got his way with us we would have spent a shed load more on his recipe book, aprons, tea towels, calendars, t shirts, fridge magnets…
Fortunately I only had my bus money home, and CC kindly bought and shared a minute bottle of white wine which we had to drink in the foyer before the show even started.
Others were not so restrained. At the interval and the end of the show there was a bit of a scrum and a scramble round the merchandise table.
It was a cooking show. However to take home the recipes you had to buy the programme. Oh wait. We spent all CCs cash on a thimble full of wine. So no recipes then. Oops.
Sure we could always buy his new book. Did he mention he had a new book out? Yes. About every sixty seconds.

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On the way to the theatre CC casually mentioned that Paul brings people up from the audience to assist him with the baking. Well, dear reader, my blood ran cold. On a previous night out with CC I ended up on stage as a magician’s assistant for the fabulous David Meade. (There are photos to prove it.) So the thought of donning a PH apron and massaging his dough made me feel quite faint. We were sitting in the balcony so I thought we were probably a safe enough distance not to be chosen.
With a nod to Christmas PH demonstrated four recipes. Chocolate roulade, baked brie, mince pies and Stilton, walnut and pear bread.
They looked easy to prepare, and smelt delicious even from where we were sitting. I’m not giving you the recipes. You’ll have to buy the book.
The audience, mostly ladies, were salivating. We were encourage to tweet and instagram (ask your grandchildren) live directly to PH himself on stage. He read out the ones he was able to. It was a family show after all.
At one point Paul accidentally dusted his immaculate black shirt with flour. “Get your shirt off” come a shout from somewhere behind us. I rolled my eyes. This was a baking show, not the Chippendales. But PH gives as good as it gets when it comes to banter from the adoring ladies in the audience. He strode about the stage wagging his rolling pin and those blue eyes looking menacing. The heat wasn’t just from the ovens.
Audience members also had an opportunity to ask baking related questions directly. The giggling ladies brought on stage managed their tasks well. And got to keep their PH aprons as a reward. The winner of the bread dough shaping competition even got a signed copy of…well, you guessed it, his latest book.
Paul spent most of the night telling us anecdotes about his side kick, the fabulous Mary Berry- or Maz Bez- as he calls her. And he encouraged more entries from our fair land for the next series of Great British Bake Off. Provided we didn’t throw our baking in the bin, referring to our local bake off contestant Ian who “lost the bap” as we say in these parts, and chucked his melted Baked Alaska into the trash.
When the bread was baked, Paul cut it into chunks and threw it into the crowd. There was an undignified scramble for a taste in the front five rows.
Us ladies sitting upstairs even got to sample the baked brie. This for me was the highlight of the evening. Made by PH himself. Even eating it with our bare hands off a paper plate it was delicious. Brie cheese, with Parma ham and cranberry sauce wrapped in pastry and baked for 20 minutes. Yum. It would have gone very well with the toothful of crisp white wine we had imbibed in the foyer before the show.
It was all great fun. Not perhaps the amazing baking demonstration I had been anticipating, but an interesting study of how Mrs Joe Public behaves when face to face with a TV baker oozing with charm just like his baked brie.
CC and I are booked for an evening with Michael McIntyre in Nov 2015. I wonder if he will have a book out too?

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Mr Paul Hollywood. To misquote Meghan Trainor for me “it’s all about the bake”.

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Festive Treats

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Way back at the beginning of November our Christmas cake was made and carefully wrapped and hidden away. This week it reappeared and I had some fun decorating it with the traditional family pets -two dogs and three hens, doesn’t everyone? All my mummy skills of playing with playdoh over the years have paid off don’t you think?
Even Gillyboy number four who is very partial to a bit of fondant icing can’t bring himself to eat them.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2063967/How–Bake-Christmas-cake.html
The cake, our second year using Paul Hollywood’s recipe, is fabulous! As well as unusual dried fruits such as pineapple and prunes, I add crystallised ginger and dried mango. Most recipes recommend that you feed the cake with brandy over the weeks between baking and eating, but I find this is so moist it doesn’t require any further assistance in its fruity deliciousness.
I know fruit cake isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but here at Gillybirds Manor we love it!
It has been lovely to cut and share with family members after various carol services.
And today I get the fun of decorating my very own birthday cake for tomorrow.

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When Life Gives You Lemons

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The Gillybirds have been laying very well and I had a massive glut of eggs. This combined with some heavily discounted lemons, led to a baking session yesterday using Paul Hollywood’s great book “How to Bake”, in particular his Lemon Meringue Pie recipe. It gets a big thumbs up from all the Gillyboys and Mr G himself. Today we shared some of this yummy pud with my parents, since mum cooked a massive rib roast for us all complete with mini Yorkshire puddings!
The list of ingredients includes 6 lemons and no less than 12 eggs. It may sound extravagant but it is well worth it. Today i served twelve portions, and a little of this goes a long way! If you enjoyed the Great British Bake Off on tv recently Paul’s book focuses more on bread making whereas Mary Berry’s books are mostly about baking.

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Until I discovered this recipe we always made lemon meringue pie using a wee sachet of powder lemony stuff adding water and an egg yolk and stirring on the stove, making sure the lemon capsule broke to release the flavour of lemons, It is one of the earliest recipes I remember helping my mum to bake. I can honestly say that the process of making my own lemon curd is not any more complicated than this artificial mix, and tastes so much better.

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