Monday 25 March 2013

Garlic and cheese bread rolls!

Howdee hi peeps!

I am so excited about this blog post because I made up a recipe and it actually worked!

It was close to the end of term and one of my housemates had an essay deadline and the other and exam. I decided that I would make them a treat. The day before I attempted to make scones but I forgot the baking powder so it wasn't the best treat for them. Also someone let it slip what I was making so it wasn't even a surprise. Having made something sweet I thought I would try savoury and my friend had hinted that cheesy bread might be nice. I really enjoyed making my eight-strand plaited loaf so I was eager to make more bread. In Paul Hollywood's book: How to Bake there is a recipe for all day breakfast rolls. He also has a sweet version which are Christmas rolls which I made with a friend last year:

They are sort of swirly (yes, an official term) rolls. I wanted to have a go at Paul's savoury buns but I didn't really fancy his breakfast variety. This is where I went off piste. I decided that I would make garlic and cheese rolls.

I followed his recipe for making the bread and then I improvised. I chopped up 3 cloves of garlic and fried them in a saucepan with a large knob (technical* term. *no really it is) of butter and a sprinkling of oregano (by the way if you want to make this an actual surprise, don't cook the garlic when people are in the room as apparently garlic is very smelly!). I spread this mixture onto the dough followed by some grated cheese. If I were to make it again I would add more cheese and more garlic butter because I don't think my bread to filling ratio was quite right. I then went back to the recipe and rolled up the dough, left it to prove and then cooked it. I forgot to take pictures as I went a long, but here is the finished project. They are definitely best served straight out of the oven (once they have cooled a little). 

When I make them again I will measure how much of everything I use so that you can have a go too.  They really are super easy and super yummy!

Come back this weekend for some easter baking treats!

Katie :)

Sunday 24 March 2013

Dear Mr Beeb

I've been getting sad recently about the closure of the BBC Television Centre. It is making me weep (or wee if you miss hear me). This may seem strange seeing as I have never worked there and I wasn't even a child fan. I don't think I knew where programmes were made or even cared who the BBC was. I wasn't one of those kids that wrote to the famous postcode - I just watched the TV for as many hours as my parents would let me. So you may be (although probably not) wondering why I am sad it's closing.

About 4 years ago I took more interest in the BBC. I noticed that all of the programmes I enjoyed watching came from the same place. The comedies I enjoyed; Morecambe and Wise, Absolutely Fabulous, French and Saunders, and Miranda, all came from the same studio. I became fascinated with comedy and I realised that that is what I wanted to do with my life (write comedy that is, not just spend my life being fascinated by it). When I heard that TV centre was closing I realised that if I ever fulfilled my dream it would never be filmed in those studios with the Greats and that is what made sad. There must be something in the air in those studios which allows for amazing comedies and shows to be made.

This got me thinking though, what happens when it's gone? Will the shows be as good? In my eyes, it has already gone downhill. The reason: the British Public. We complain about everything. We complain if someone makes a joke or a comment we don't agree with. Let me explain. Thirty years ago, two twenty year old girls wanted to make a comedy show. One was called French and the other Saunders. It was a big risk at the time putting two women on TV, especially two women that were going to mock men I might add. The BBC took the risk and in the words of Saunders, the execs said 'I'll put my dick on the table'. They took a risk. The first series went out and they made mistakes, the second series went out and the made less mistakes, by the third series they were in their element, but what would have happened if the BBC had looked at their first series and said 'No, let's take them off air'? The answer: we wouldn't have the greatest female comedy double act ever.

Even now, the BBC are making some pretty foolish decisions. I think Caitlin Moran told a story of a girl who pitched an idea for a show and the BBC said 'Oh we've already got a show based on women at the moment, come back in a year'. That is not right but as I said I completely blame the public (or pubic if I misspell it).

We are not letting the BBC take enough risks. Obviously we don't want to watch shit programmes all the time, but I think we need to let the BBC take more risks. To put on programmes that might need a series or two to come into their own, or put on shit programmes, so we find the next French and Saunders or Morecambe and Wise. The BBC thinks it knows exactly what we want, but we have told them that we want safe, predictable, risk-adverse programming. Imagine if Miranda Hart hadn't stood her ground when pitching her show? Miranda is a hugely popular, award-winning show that the BBC didn't know it wanted. Why though did Miranda have to dig her feet into the ground to stop them changing it? She made the BBC take a risk, but it was damn hard work for her. It shows that in order to get great programmes the BBC need to take risks and we need to accept that it won't always run smoothly, but it means we will get outstanding programmes as a result.

French and Saunders quit there show because they said that they were too old for sketch comedy and that it was a young persons game. In truth though it has also be rumoured that they left because the BBC thought they knew better. The BBC weren't letting them create the show that they wanted and so they quit. I think Saunders said that the people will pitch a show to the execs and they will say we don't want your show but how about writing this show instead. They think they know better and I am almost 100% certain they don't. I want to work in a better BBC. I may not be able to write a show that gets recorded in Studio 8, but I at least want to make a show in a respectable BBC that everybody loves. I keep trying to defend the BBC, saying how great it is, but recently it has become incredibly difficult.

So here is my letter to the BBC, I hope you agree:

Dear Mr Beeb,

We, the British Public, would like you to take more risks. We want you to trust the talent being born to make shows we want. We understand that it won't alway end well, but we know that risks need to be taken and we are fine with that. We want the BBC to have the spirit that was around when Morecambe and Wise and French and Saunders started out. We want a better BBC.

Yours sincerely,

The British Public

ps. closing TV Centre was the biggest mistake you've ever made. We don't want you taking those kinds of risks, jut programming risks.

Katie :)

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Bread (and Red Nose Day)!

Hello Bloggenes!

I have finally finished my dissertation today. I wanted to celebrate and the only thing I could think of doing was baking. I know, I'm 80... There is nothing better than fresh bread.

Anyway I decided to make Paul Hollywood's eight-strand plaited loaf. I have made it before so it wasn't as scary as it may sound. You can use his recipe here: eight-strand plaited loaf.

I started off by making the dough. It was a pretty simple dough to make. I was worried that I used too much oil as I was kneading it, but actually it worked alright.

The next step was to let it prove in a bowl. I left mine for about an hour and a half, but I'm sure one hour would have been enough.

Once it had doubled in size, I knocked it back and split it into eight balls to make the eight strands of the plait. I weighed the balls so they were equal, but it would be just as good to guess.

The next step is to make the plait. Don't be daunted when you read the instructions. Keep calm and do EXACTLY as he says. Pulling it tight will help to keep it neat and hopefully you should start to see a pattern emerge.

Here is what the end plait should look like:

As you can see, towards the right hand side of the picture it has got a bit loose. If I were to do it again, I would ensure it stayed tight right until the end.

It was then proved for another hour and then it was time to cook it. 

Here is what my finished loaf looked like:

It has a lovely golden crust and it tastes great. I am so pleased with it. I would have hoped for a slightly harder crust, however I think that was the result of using a student oven. 

I know I have made this before, but I was still apprehensive about making a loaf from scratch. This loaf however looks impressive and has given me confidence to try something more exotic. Hopefully you will have the same positive results. Let me know if you decide to give it a go.

Katie :)

PS. Red Nose Day happened last weekend and it was brilliant as usual! I dyed my hair red and I baked some treats for my housemates. I think I have raised about £190 which I am so pleased with. Overall Red Nose Day raised over £75 million which is their biggest total yet.

The highlight for me was watching Miranda organise a real wedding with the help from French and Saunders (they were bridesmaids in gorgeous dresses for the happy couple) . My three favourite people together made me one very hyper girl!! Plus there was a lot of kissing... If you want to watch the wedding it's on BBC iPlayer here: Miranda's Mad March day five - The wedding planner

Katie :)