The second that I realised that Pasteis de Nata were going to be a technical challenge on The Great British Bake Off I was over the moon. Earlier this year I spent a long weekend in Porto with my two best friends, and we ate a lot of Portuguese Custard Tarts in a quest to find the best in the city, so I really felt prepared for the challenge of making them.
Stroopwafels are one of my favourite biscuits ever – gooey, crisp, caramel-filled and improved by sitting over a cuppa. Whats not to love? I’ve had the pleasure of many stroopwafels in my time, from the supermarket packets that light up an office when someone decides to splash out, to an incredible fresh honey stroopwafel in a hipster cafe in Amsterdam, but never even considered they they were an achievable dream at home.
Bread is one of those things that is still slightly mysterious to me. I don’t find kneading relaxing, I’ve never got to know the exact change in texture when dough is just ready, and who knows whether a loaf is over or under proofed. But when bread from scratch goes well it feels like crazy yeast-based magic. This means I tackled bread week on The Great British Bake Off with equal parts excitement and trepidation.
This year I’m once again going to be baking the technical challenges in the Great British Bake Off each week. Baking along last year really took me out of my comfort zone and introduced the to some amazing bakes I loved (Savarin! Dampfnudel!) And some which I will never make again (I’m looking at you, Spanische Windtorte).
This summer I have completely embraced gardening. Moving out of London means more affordable housing and a halved commute, with the added bonus of our own patch of of green space. The second we moved in I started reading gardening books and planning, set on growing as many edible plants in pots as possible (it’s a rented house so I can’t dig up the lawn and plant potatoes, sadly).
Veganism is something I’ve had an interest in for a while, but just isn’t practical alongside an allergy to nuts and coconut. The best I’ve managed is four days before I had to give up. Although I can’t commit to it as a lifestyle, I still have an interest in vegan baking, and substitutions in general. Who doesn’t like making tasty treats as many people as possible can enjoy?
One ingredient that has been particularly intriguing me is aquafaba. Aquafaba is the liquid from a can of chickpeas or beans, and has properties similar to egg whites, which make it great for vegan and egg-free recipes. It whisks to stiff peaks and also has bonding qualities, thanks to the combination of carbohydrates and proteins it contains. A common use is meringues, which I’ve attempted and failed beofre, but I wanted to get back of the aquafaba train. I’ve joined an aquafaba recipe Facebook group and been getting daily recipe inspiration. I decided that this ice cream recipe would be a good place to restart my aquafaba journey.