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Eaten Cake Is Soon Forgotten – The Great British Bake Off Week Six

Posted on: 10/09/2014 with tags: An Appetite for Violets, author blog, baking, cake, historical fiction, historical novel, historical recipes, Martine Bailey, Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood, recipes, taffety tart, The Great British Bake Off, The Penny Heart

This week on The Great British Bake Off, Paul and Mary challenge the contestants to bake a continental cake – a Germanic Gugelhupf, fluorescent green Swedish Princess Cake, and a showstopper of Hungarian layered Dobostorta. So where are the British equivalents to these symbols of national pride? ‘Eaten cake is soon forgotten,’ says an old proverb, and so it seems in the case of British bakery. Grand Tourist, George, Lord Lyttelton,1762, summed up his patriotic fondness for cakes when  he wrote f…

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Of Tea Loaves, Toast and Tea (and The Great British Bake Off)

Posted on: 24/09/2013 with tags: afternoon tea, An Appetite for Violets, bread, cake, food, historical recipes, Martine Bailey, recipes, tea, tea loaf, The Great British Bake Off

Yes, it’s that time of the week again (hooray!) and on tonight’s episode of The Great British Bake Off, the contestants will be asked to make tea loaves. The East India Company started importing tea to Britain in the 17th century, but it wasn’t until the early 19th century that tea consumption really took off. It was allegedly Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, who started the fashion of afternoon tea with a light snack in order to avoid what she called ‘that sinking feeli…

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Of Biscuits and Banquets (and the Great British Bake Off)

Posted on: 17/09/2013 with tags: An Appetite for Violets, baking, banquet, Bergamot, biscuits, Earl Grey tea, Elizabeth I, food, historical fiction, historical recipes, Martine Bailey, recipes, Spice, Sugar, Sugarwork, The Great British Bake Off

Tonight it is Biscuit Week on The Great British Bake Off, with a technical challenge to bake the thinnest tuiles and create a ‘Biscuit Tower’. We usually associate the Georgian past with roast beef and steaming puddings, but in fact their biscuits were extraordinarily delicate. Macaroons, lemon wafers and ginger nuts were popular, though generally eaten with wine rather than tea. Bergamot was a high fashion flavouring, extracted from the skin of bergamot oranges. Nowadays, its spicy orange scent…

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Georgian Fig Pie recipe

Posted on: 10/09/2013 with tags: An Appetite for Violets, baking, food, great british bake off, historical recipes, Martine Bailey, Georgian

Tonight’s episode of The Great British Bake Off is all about pies and tarts. Ah, pastry. Shortcrust, puff, flaky, filo, choux – so many wonderful variations of the same essential ingredients, but also a million opportunities for error! The whole of Britain holds its breath, it seems, when Paul and Mary turn over the contestants’ tarts to judge whether or not they have a soggy bottom … We don’t know yet what mixture of pies and tarts will be on show this evening, but we do know that figs are in s…

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