It all started sedately enough, with ginger cake being the theme. I love ginger cake in all its forms, indeed, I love ginger in all its forms: nuts, stem, crystallised, beer, root, powder, thins, nobs, I love it all. Paul claimed that cooking with ginger was ‘difficult’. Who knew? Certainly not this week’s bakers who all made a decent fist of it.
Rahul and Karen opted for a bonfire theme, on what appeared to be another scorcher of a summer’s day and Dan produced, initially, a hot mess and confined the original to the bin but pulled his second attempt out of the (black bin) bag to make something edible. Jon used some complicated techniques using olive oil, lemon, water and an agar solution to make glitter lemon balls. I warned him about this nonsense in last week’s review.
The fanfare that greeted Terry’s return turned into a weak ‘parp’ as we were instantly reminded of his talents as he stuck his two hot cakes together with icing. What did he think was going to happen? Once again, Rahul was acclaimed, this time as a genius. He got a proper handshake this time. He even apologised to Paul for being so good. Kim-Joy, who is fast becoming my favourite, topped her cake with a cute little gingerbread house, handshake number two, and Manon made it a hat-trick of hands with shake number three. Truth be told I could have eaten them all.
This week’s technical challenge was a weird one: Ma’amoul. I’m still confused as to what they were making and I’ve watched it twice and made copious notes. Some sort of Eastern biscuit which featured dates walnuts, cardamom, blossom water and who knows what else - I think.
Noel came out with the line of the series so far as he described the Arabian biscuit: “Never before have I known less about what I’m talking about.” Noel and Sandi are the stars of this series. Warm, charming, funny: they are my favorite cookery double act ever. I’m sure most of you have forgotten the pair who went before them. Sandi and Noel are the Vic and Bob of the cake world, and I love Vic and Bob.
Ruby was victorious, Terry was eighth out of a possible nine which to be fair, was a triumph.
Next on the menu were biscuit chandeliers, which sounds like a disparaging euphemism, along the chocolate tea pot lines. Paul, whose speciality seems to be stating the bleeding obvious, pointed out this was a highly unusual challenge. You don’t say. A light fitting made out of cookie dough? Unusual? You should come and live in NR2. They are as common as cats: we’ve got three in our downstairs loo.
In the end, the judges had the easiest of calls to make in this, my favourite show of the series so far. Kim-Joy was triumphant, and Terry and Karen went home. Entirely the right result, though the closing goodbyes were most unexpected, emotional and even moved this chef’s heart of stone. Just for a few seconds. Karen, I don’t know if you’re reading this, I don’t know your personal situation but please, go home with Terry and live happily ever after.