BBC Good Food Show

The popular BBC Good Food Show Spring takes place at Harrogate International Conference Centre (HIC)  8-10 April. It has a celebrity line up of Paul Hollywood, Tom Kerridge, Michel Roux Jr. and the Hairy Bikers. Take your pick according to taste. There are demonstrations, interviews, books signings and lots of food exhibitors.


Bloggers-BadgeWe have been invited (along with other local bloggers) by the BBC Good Food Show to blog about it in exchange for discounted tickets for our followers, free tickets to give away and news about upcoming events at the show. We don’t usually accept free meals or other blandishments and declare our interests when we do but on this occasion we thought a) readers might be interested in a local Good Food Show and b) it might introduce more people to Squidbeak. So, here’s the deal: if you want 20% off your ticket then book through Squidbeak, the rest is up to you and your conscience.

*Use the code BL20 when booking your ticket subject to conditions

*20% off Adult/Over 65s tickets only. Not valid on VIP or with any other offer. Ends 10/04/16. Standard Supertheatre seat included with Super tickets, subject to availability, Gold seat upgrade £3. Offer valid on Value tickets where available. Details correct at time of print. £1.50 fulfilment fee per advance order. Good Food® Good Food Logo © BBC Worldwide. Organised and presented by River Street Events.



Capital of Cake

Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood, Bake Off, Celebrity Bake Off – everyone’s at it,  baking cake, eating cake or watching other people making cake and now the North York Moors National Park are jumping on the cake stand. They claim there are so many regional cakes in the area that they are calling their patch – the moors and coast – the Capital of Cake.


Cakes made by Tricia Hutchinson of Real Staithes

I don’t know about the capital but Yorkshire does indeed have a long tradition of home baking. In the past it was the cheapest way to fill a hungry family, not with the lemon drizzle or the banoffee pies on the Capital of Cake list, but far plainer cakes: sad cake, fatty cake, suet cake, turf cake and nodden cake, all variations on flour, lard, water and maybe a few currants.


If you are looking for something a bit more indulgent then download the places where you can sample tea and cake from the Capital of Cake list


We can confirm delicious cakes from the link at the Ship Inn, Port Mulgrave; Tricia Hutchinson’s baking at Real Staithes, and the gorgeous find of the Middleton Post Office Tea Parlour, but there are dozens more we haven’t inspected or discovered. We’re on the case.


Mary Berry’s Oat Biscuits

This is one of our most popular recipes. No wonder, it has just four ingredients, quickly mixed together to give you a tin full of delicious little oaty biscuits. Bring them out with a cup of tea and you will be instantly transformed into a domestic god(dess). It comes from the baking goddess herself,  Mary Berry from her Ultimate Cake Book



50g caster sugar

100g of butter or soft margarine

100g porridge oats (rolled oats, not jumbo oats)

50g plain flour

Pre-heat the oven to 160C/Gas 3. Lightly grease 2 baking trays.


Measure the sugar and margarine into a bowl and cream together. Add the oats and flour and work them into the mixture. Lightly knead the mixture until smooth and then roll out to a thickness of 5mm on a lightly floured work surface.

Cut into rounds using a 6cm plain cutter and place on the prepared baking trays.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes or until beginning to colour. Lift onto a wire rack to cool

The Great British Bake Off

I’m a bit weary of TV cookery programmes but I do admit to being a fan of The Great British Bake Off. It’s all so gentle and low-key with the charming Mary Berry and her side-kick Paul Hollywood and although it follows the usual formula of eliminating some poor competitor every week, it’s not as humiliating  as some. And Sue Perkins makes me laugh.

The programme has also confirmed that baking goes wrong for everyone, not just me.   I thought I was rubbish at it until I watched this programme but to my relief their mixtures curdled,  their cakes failed to rise, and their meringues wept sugar just like mine. So I’ll be there with them through the toughest ‘bakes’ and may even have a go myself now I’ve been given a copy of the book to go with the series. 

This latest book, The Great British Bake Off is subtitled How to turn Everyday Bakes into Showstoppers. Each chapter starts with a basic recipe, a sponge for instance, and then progresses in stages to more elaborate cakes like the Mocha Marbled Loaf, classed as  ‘Easy’ then to chocolate covered Chess Cake that ‘Takes a Little Time’ through to the ‘Showstopper’  Champagne Heart Cake, baking heights I can only fantasise about.

The ‘Technical Challenges’ and ‘Signature Bakes’ have been written by Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, the rest by a friend and colleague in the Guild of Food Writers, Linda Collister.  She’s a talented and meticulous baker and has a raft of books to her name so you can be certain that between the three of them these recipes really work. I daren’t think how much time and skill it took to bake and prepare the ‘Showstopper’ bakes.

I did like the snowy gingerbread house with a difficulty rating of ‘Needs a Little Skill’. When I made one a few Christmases ago, never mind the skill factor, I also needed a lorry load of icing sugar paste to stick the whole wobbly edifice together. It didn’t look as elegant as the one in this book but you can get away with murder with a bag of Smarties and some drippy icing sugar snow. Can’t wait to see the contestants have a go at that one.



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