Monday, 21 February 2011

Baking Made Easy

If you haven't been to your local library for a while, you might be pleasantly surprised. Despite being in a small town, our library is fantastic. It's big and bright and very well-stocked, the librarians are smiley, and you can order in any book from the rest of the library network (I think there are about 15 branches) for the bargainous price of 30p. Needless to say, I borrow a lot of cookbooks. You can borrow 16 items at any one time, and currently I have 15 cookbooks and the book of Karl Pilkington's An Idiot Abroad.

Anyway, I'm rambling. If you're in the UK you've probably seen, or at least heard about, Lorraine Pascale's recent BBC series, Baking Made Easy. Lorraine is a former supermodel turned trained chef and baker, and her series was full of good ideas, inspiring recipes and little tricks. What it was NOT full of was gratuitous pouting, finger-licking and expansive bosoms, which meant it was a lot easier to watch than Nigella's latest offering!

Lorraine has written a book to accompany the series, and I've borrowed it from the library. Well... it's lovely! Lots of old favourites like the Victoria sandwich and brioche, some old favourites given an update like coffee and maple pannetone (definitely one I'll be trying) and hazelnut and lemon madelines and lots of both sweet and savoury recipes. I think that no matter how seasoned a baker you are, there's definitely something for you here. And she does seem to place an emphasis on entertaining, so expect lots of ideas and recipes for your next party.

I had a go at making her salt and pepper breadsticks today. They were super easy, took about two hours from start to finish (as there is only one rising) and tasted gorgeous. Just the thing to dip into the pot of Moroccan hummous I found in the Co-Op bargain bin this morning :)

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