Bake Off is back! Guest blog by author Laurel Remington
Autumn is my favourite time of the year for many reasons – I love the coloured leaves, the blackberries and apples, and most importantly – The Great British Bake Off is back! Yes, this year there are new hosts, a new judge, and a new channel, but the most important things – the contestants and their creations, are still there. What strikes me every time I watch is the sheer amount of planning, creativity, and hands-on hard work that goes into each bake. I guess in a way, it’s like writing. When I write a novel, a lot of thought and hard work goes into each stage – from the basic idea, to creating the characters and the plot – down to each sentence and even each word. There really are no shortcuts, and sometimes you don’t know until the very end whether you’re going to be star baker, or end up with all your hard work in the bin.
I’m glad that my second book Confetti & Cake did not end up in the bin, and I hope that young readers will find it fun and inspiring, whether they’re into baking or not. It was a lot of fun to write about Scarlett’s continuing adventures. I especially liked writing about her mum’s wedding from Scarlett’s point of view. I love weddings – they are beautiful and special times – but they can be very stressful too, especially for a girl with a mum like Scarlett’s. It was fun to imagine the food that The Secret Cooking Club would create for the occasion, especially the wedding cake! Another thing that inspired me to write the book was all the young readers I met at school visits last year, or who contacted me through my website. It was amazing to hear about some of the school bake-offs that people participated in, and there was a lot of money raised for charities. A particular highlight was when I got to judge a school bake-off – though my waistline is not thanking me for it.
So as Bake Off continues, I hope that there will be lots of young people out there who might want to have a go at baking something – or writing something. I often give tips and advice to young writers who contact me via my website. As for baking – I actually prefer nice, simple food rather than the all-singing, all-dancing recipes that some of the Bake-off contestants come up with. So I’ve included below a delicious, yet easy recipe that’s perfect for autumn – spiced apple crumble. I hope you enjoy.
Happy reading and baking,
Laurel’s new novel The Secret Cooking Club: Confetti & Cake is available to buy now, priced £6.99. Find out more at www.laurelremington.com or follow Laurel on Twitter: @laurelremington
(adapted from Delia Smith online)
For the filling
900 g apples (peeled and cut into chunks)
25 g brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon vanilla (optional)
1 pinch of ground ginger (I love ginger, so I put it in almost everything)
For the crumble
75 g salted butter, chilled and cut into chunks
175 g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
110 g demerara sugar
Oven-proof baking dish or large rectangular pan.
1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC, gas mark 6 (Scarlett always forgets to do this)
2. Prepare the apples: put the pealed apples in a bowl along with the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and vanilla. Mix it all together. Put the mixture in the baking dish and spread out to the edges.
3. Prepare the crumble: mix the butter, flour, cinnamon and sugar in a bowl and stir it until it looks like breadcrumbs.
4. Spoon the crumble mixture over the apples, spreading it evenly and up to the sides of the dish. Press down with your (washed!) hands until it is tightly packed together. Run a fork lightly over the top surface to fluff it up a little.
5. Bake – use the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 35-45 minutes (I usually check at 35 minutes and take it out around 40 minutes). The top should look brown and crisp.
6. Eat! – The best part. Serve with custard or vanilla ice cream – or just have it on its own.
Five copies of 'Confetti & Cake' are up for grabs!
To be in with a chance of winning a copy, thanks to our friends at Chicken House Books, simply comment on this blog post or retweet one of our posts about Laurel's guest blog! It's really that easy!
Cake & Confetti
By Laurel Remington
Published by Chicken House
Scarlett’s blog has found success beyond her wildest dreams.
A TV show is on the cards and the Secret Cooking Club has several new members. What’s more, her mum is getting married, and Scarlett is baking the wedding cake. Everything is perfect ... or is it? Her estranged dad arrives in town unannounced, and Scarlett’s friends say fame has gone to her head. As the wedding approaches, she has much more on her mind than the perfect bake …
Confetti & Cake is out now!
Giveaway rules... one entry per person * winner must be a UK resident * delivery to one UK address only * winners will be chosen at random on 2/10/2017 * winners will be chosen from both blog comments and Twitter * Young Writers' decision on the winners is final and no correspondence will be entered into * Good luck!