Presenting Lucy Simmons, the Curious Kitchen’s very own Star Baker……….
I called in to see Lucy this morning to have a quick chat about her experiences taking on the bake-off technical challenges, to be met with the smell of Christmas in a bowl! Nana, Mum, Lucy and her older sister Jessica had started preparing the puddings and cakes, and the kitchen smelt of cinnamon, oranges, cloves and brandy; all the delectable Christmas spices and fruits merging into one divine aroma! I wasn’t too disappointed to be offered a slice of sticky Ginger Cake which Lucy had made yesterday, though it was hard to turn down the chilli chocolate sauce she had made to go with it, – however sometimes the low calorie option has to be taken!
Lucy is quite sad that her technical challenges have finally come to an end; she thoroughly enjoyed everything that Mary and Paul have thrown at her, with one or two exceptions………
The beautiful looking Schichertorte – 20 layers of Genoese sponge baked under a hot grill, 2-3 minutes per layer, finished with apricot glaze and iced with a chocolaty/rummy ganache. “I nearly boiled my head it was so hot standing by the grill for an hour!” Lucy bemoaned! “Each layer got crisper and crisper every time the cake went back under the grill, and it was almost impossible to flatten each layer so one side would be almost cooked, the other would be almost burnt!” “It tasted OK – lovely icing, but it was a bit crisp, and totally not worth the amount of time and effort spent on it!” was Lucy’s final conclusion.
“I also disliked making the perfect Povitica” Lucy admitted. “I had to borrow one of Mum’s bed sheets to do the rolling out which was weird, and it took ages to roll the pastry out so that I could actually see the sheet through the thin paste. I must admit it completely put me off rolling pastry – I make Mum do it for me now, I don’t mind making it but all that rolling – what a pain!” I wonder if the eager tasters could taste Lucy’s frustration with it!
On the other hand, the Tiramisu looked and tasted amazing – definitely Mum’s favourite; Nana helped with the Florentines as they are her favourite, and they were devoured in one sitting – and not all by Nana!
Lucy has several favourites herself, the Kouignamann tasted like warm flaky croissants, particularly delicious with homemade jam; she loved making the Princess cake – “I loved all the different layers: crème patisserie, whipped cream, sponge, icing, jam, and then I finished it with fondant icing as we aren’t fans of marzipan…”. The trio of afternoon cakes – light, airy Victoria sponge – easy, the lemon tarts, – nice as long as Mum rolled the pastry…. And the scones… the best that Mum had EVER tasted (and she has made a few batches in her time!). The Swiss roll… ..”I adapted the recipe to use my best ingredients, white chocolate and raspberries, it turned out really nice”. The pear pie – poached and wrapped in sweet crumby pastry which looked totally professional; and finally the Ciabatta bread, made with the gloopiest dough Lucy had ever encountered, got stuck to the kitchen counter, but still turned out fine, and was really interesting to make.
To sum up, Lucy enjoyed all of her bakes; some were hard, frustrating and quite frankly not worth the effort; some were easy to make and great fun, all looked beautiful, although to her critical eye some could have been improved on; she learnt lots of new skills, she learnt that if you put effort in, you get rewarded with something beautiful; she learnt that the best bit is sharing it with family and friends and that the best praise is the few crumbs left on the plate!
Will she volunteer for the GBBO next year? Probably not, none of her bakes were time-challenges and Lucy feels that would put her under undue pressure whilst still studying, but in the future? Who knows, this girl is one to watch, she knows what she wants, she is passionate about her baking and she is prepared to give it the effort that she needs to in order to succeed.
Finally, apologies to all on the GBBO, but my absolute fave is the hummingbird cake- Lucy’s version is quite ORGASMIC!
The Rambler, AKA Celia Dulieu
Celia has been sharing food, wine, recipes and friendship with Simon and Sue Gale for more than 15 years.
In a former life she was a mass caterer, working for large companies such as Selfridges, London; but after moving to the countryside with husband, 2 kids and dog, she resurrected her love of food, - particularly by entertaining her large extended family to lunches ,sharing informal get togethers with friends, and developing her small but productive kitchen garden. She is passionate about all things to do with food and wine; from where it is produced to how it arrived on her doorstep.
Celia’s love of meeting people, visiting places and trying different things has culminated in being invited to get involve with writing up the experiences of the Heart Kitchen and sharing her love of food with you through her ramblings.