The Great British Bake Off: Big Book of Baking

People buy the GGBO books for a variety of reasons. There are profiles of the bakers featured in the 2014 competition, some of their specialist bakes, and usually the technical challenges. I noticed that a couple of the technical challenges weren't included, so to make doubly sure you get what you want, I've listed them all here.

The technical challenges for each week of the 2014 GGBO are:

Cake: cherry cake
Biscuits: Florentines
Bread: ciabatta
Desserts: tiramisu cake
Pies and tarts: mini pear pies (not included)
European cakes: dobbos torte
Pastry: Breton kouign amann
Advanced dough: Croation povatica
Patisserie: German schichttorte (not included)
Final: perfect sponge, caramel, choux pastry as petit four

The book is broken down into:
  • A baker's guide 
  • Biscuits and tray-bakes (pecan shorties; Enwezor's pumpkin and sunflower biscuits; fudge brownies...) 
  • Breads (cheddar and mustard loaf; Irish brace; Jordan's rye and spelt load; banana bread...) 
  • Cakes (Martha's dark chocolate and almond liquor savarin; Claire's miniature chocolate & cherry cakes...) 
  • Sweet pastry and patisserie (choux caramel puffs; snowball meringues, Kate's rhubarb & custard tart with almond...) 
  • Savoury bakes (salmon coublibiac; port and redcurrant charlotte; little crab souffl├ęs; tapenade twists...) 
  • Puddings and desserts (hot white chocolate sponge puddings; Richard's Black Forest chocolate fondants...) 

It's not the best book in the series, but if you're a committed GBBO fan, there are enough of the challenges, and enough of the signature dishes to make it worth your while.

You can get your copy here:

The MEATliquor Chronicles... by Yuanni Papoutsis and Scott Collins

By far one of the most original cookbooks in my collection. The recipes are easy to follow, and straight forward. The book is so much more than a cookbook though - it's a journal which documents the beginning of Meat Liquor through it's various incarnations, to the beast it is now. There are lots of photographs of the crew, little vignettes, there's a whole conversation about queuing, refereed by Stefan Chomka... In fact, maybe that's why I like it so much? It feels like my twitter stream, full of the opinionated and food obsessed people I love...

I've listed some of the recipes at the bottom, but I can't imagine you've found your way to this book without knowing who Meat Liquor are. If you do, yes, my darlings - you're going to love it! But, just in case you're not familiar with their work, and you aren't sure what you're getting yourself into, here's a little snippet to whet your appetitie:

'Surely your gospels and all they represent, must live in the air?' a layperson said to the MEATdaddy. 'Because the qualities you celebrate in this place are around us at all times - they're enlightenments, decisions, forces that resist herding into cathedrals like this. I mean, didn't the mobile gospels prove more apt, in that the wagon exposed itself to a greater volume of what we seek? Wasn't it better that diverse peoples from all around came at the wagon's appearance, rather than to one unmoving place?' [... SOME TIME LATER...] 'If all I carry into the cathedral is an intangible value, and if it consumes my whole purpose in going there, then I become intangible too, for the purposes of argument. And as an intangible, I need go nowhere, because the value I represent can be argued in my absence."

The MEATdaddy took a moment to adjust his robes, examining the well-worn sole of a sandal. 'Except for one thing,' he said: 'a burger and a cocktail are tangible.'

'Ah, but then...'

'Do you want a f****ing burger or not?'

'I mean..."

'F*** off then, there's a queue forming.'


'We don't serve intangibles.'

Some of the recipes:
Layover Chili
The Dead Elvis
Greek Lemon Chicken
Salt Cod, Cream and Potato Pie
London Lamb Chops

There are also lots and lots of cocktails:
Diesel and Honey
Blood and Dust
Donkey Punch
Morning Glory
Corpse Revivers (3)
The Negroni
The New Cross Negroni...

I think you get the message...

Want your own copy of this hilarity?

Plenty More... by Yattam Ottolenghi

Mr Ottolenghi has three cookbooks in the top 20 on amazon - no mean feat!! Why is he so popular? Can one person be a zeitgeist in their own right? If they can, then he is... The recipes are clean, full of flavour, use a variety of ingredients, and more importantly for me at the moment, don't rely on mountains of meat... If we're going to encourage people to eat a broader variety of food, we have to make it flipping delicious!

The book is broken down into:
  • Tossed (tomato and pomegranate salad; raw beetroot and herb salad; crunchy root vegetables...)
  • Steamed (miso vegetables and rice, with black sesame dressing; lemon and curry leaf rice ...)
  • Blanched (seaweed, ginger and carrot salad; soba noodles with quick-pickled mushrooms...)
  • Simmered (tagliatelle with walnuts and lemon; fregola and artichoke pilaff...)
  • Braised (fennel with capers and olives; mushrooms, garlic and shallots with lemon ricotta...)
  • Grilled (butternut tataki and udon noodle salad; courgette baba ganoush, marrow with tomato and feta...)
  • Roasted (squash with cardamon and nigella seeds; honey roasted carrots with tahini yoghurt...)
  • Fried (polenta crisps with avocado and yoghurt; seared girlies with black glutinous rice...)
  • Mashed (crushed puy lentils with tahini and cumin; cannelloni bean puree with pickled mushrooms and pita croutons...)
  • Cracked (membrillo and stilton quiche; corn and spring onion pancakes; spicy scrambled eggs...)
  • Baked (stuffed peppers with fondant swede and goat's cheese; winter saffron gratin; baked artichoke and pearled spelt salad...)
  • Sweetened (baked rhubarb with sweet labneh; quince poached in pomegranate juice; fig and goat's cheese tart...)

A great book, one which is staying in my kitchen, and not being shelved in the library - I can think of no nicer way to eat my 5-a-day...

You can buy it here: