After a rather dull episode last week, I’m pleased to say it all packed a punch this week and I was hooked from start to finish. There was a distinctly French tone as Mel and Sue opened the show in French. Pretty good French might I add. These franco interludes carried on throughout the show adding a relaxed and fun atmosphere despite the stage in the competition. Each of the contestants have deserved their place in this semi and as Kimberley so competitively put it, “It will be a fight to the finish”.
The Signature Bake – Canapés
A great dinner party starts with canapés – not keys in a bowl as Sue said she’d prefer. The semi finalists were asked to make 3 sets of canapés – one using shortcrust pastry, one using choux pastry and another of their own choice. Some brilliant ideas this week which definitely met the brief of tantalising tastebuds and being visually enticing. The ones I would have picked up and had a nibble on were all of the French ‘Legume’ themed bites from Frances – chantenay carrots stuffed with hummus, choux pastry shaped tomatoes and the cauliflower cheese Scones – the latter were utter genius in presentation and I’m sure would be worthy for any top end restaurant menu. I also liked Ruby’s rye and poppyseed biscuits with a homemade beetroot jelly. Then I would have gobbled up Kimberley’s crab and wasabi profiteroles and Beca’s Welsh rarebit tarts.
The judges really did do some gobbling this week. Most of the feedback was mumbled through mouthfuls and munching. “Gorgeous, simply gorgeous!”, “Lovely, lovely, lovely”, “Magical” were all rained on Frances with a firm Hollywood handshake. Kimberley was also left glowing with pride with the words “ingenious” no doubt ringing in her head. Ruby had mixed comments regarding lack of seasoning and under filled pastry cases but poor Beca got the brunt of the negatives – “Boring”, “No wow factor”. Her rarebit was dominated by the ale apparently. Well that’s not a bad way to get drunk is it? I think Beca is bloody marvellous at holding it all in when this negativity from Paul starts pouring on her but this week she looked wobbly. I also think Paul’s comments were unfair but then again I’m not the one on that side of the TV screen doing the tasting.
Le Challenge Technique Du Madame Berry
An absolutely worthy semi final technical this week. How blooming complicated can one dessert get?! The ladies were asked to replicate Mary’s Charlotte Royale. I’ve never even heard of this before and to be honest I am not sure I’d give it a go so well done to them all in their attempts.
They started with jam which is tricky enough. Ruby needs the medal for the messiest workstation - which I think by the way they need to start awarding next series - it really did look like a butcher’s bench. Swiss rolls all looked perfect and it goes to show how much this series has moved on in levels as this could be a technical challenge of its own. These then needed to be beautifully sliced and placed in an igloo shaped bowl to house the bavarois – pronounced BA – VA – ROIS - which is a mousse. All the mousses looked a bit gloopy texture and it did leave me wondering whether they would all set overnight. More gloop came in the morning with the thickened sugar syrup that glazed the dome. It really looked rather disgusting but added a nice sheen to the finished dessert.
I rather like the way Kimberley’s claps to herself when things go well and this week she had reason to be joyous as her finished igloo looked lovely. Did everyone copy her trick of lining the bowl with cling film? It was hard to tell. I was sure Ruby had only greased the bowl but when she turned it out, there was cling film in the midst. Perhaps I need to rewind that and watch it again. Ruby, Frances and Beca both suffered major bavarois leakage so there was really not much in it between who would come second to Kimberley who Mary could not fault. Frances came closest leaving them both in very safe positions going into round three.