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Great British Bake Off: Armagh's Mark Lutton 'baking for Ireland'

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Mark Lutton is still in the mix to win Great British Bake Off

Mark Lutton is still in the mix to win Great British Bake Off

Mark Lutton is still in the mix to win Great British Bake Off

Portadown man Mark Lutton has revealed he's "baking for Ireland" on this year's series of the Great British Bake Off.

He was in a bid to win over judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith during Tuesday’s bread-themed episode with creations inspired by Northern Irish flavours.

The latest signature challenge saw the bakers try their hand at two soda bread loaves, one sweet and one savoury, with an accompanying butter.

"I'm excited about soda bread. I've had a lot of it. My granny used to make a soda bread every day," Mark said.

His savoury loaf was flavoured with sobrassada, a raw, cured sausage from the Balearic Islands, as well as honey and an Irish sheep smoked cheese.

He chose Irish stout and chocolate to flavour his sweet loaf.

"So you're baking for Ireland today," Prue noted.

"I am, yes. I have the weight of a nation on my shoulders," replied Mark.

While Paul thought his savoury loaf was "decent", Prue thought it was delicious and full of flavour.

However, the judges were far more impressed with his sweet loaf.

"It's very good. You do get the chocolate instantly then the stout lingers. That's a great loaf," said Paul.

Prue added, "And the butter's lovely. I think it's a good job."

The 32-year-old placed third in the technical challenge, where the contestants crafted six rainbow-coloured bagels, featuring five different colours – a tribute to the NHS.

The rainbow has become a symbol of hope during the coronavirus pandemic, with children making pictures of them to stick to their windows.

For the showstopper, the contestants were challenged to create a large decorative bread plaque in the style of a traditional harvest festival sheaf.

It needed to display the one thing they were most grateful for, with choices including a Worcester pear tree and a beachside home.

Mark's bread was flavoured with sweet apple and savoury wild garlic in a tribute to his home county.

"I grew up in Co Armagh in Northern Ireland, which is known as Orchard County because of all the apple orchards.

"Will Prue and Paul love apple and wild garlic? I'm not sure, but I love it. I think it's such an amazing taste."

But Paul was unimpressed with the loaf's lack of flavour and "basic" presentation.

In the end, Rowan became the third amateur baker to be eliminated from the Great British Bake Off.

The 55-year old from Worcestershire failed to impress the judges during Tuesday’s bread-themed episode.

“I’ve had a wonderful time. It is exhausting, but very rewarding,” he said as he left the tent.

Previous Northern Ireland contestants have had mixed fortunes on the Channel 4 programme.

Holywood man Andrew Smyth came second in 2016 while engineer Iain Watters memorably lost his cool after his Baked Alaska melted, causing him to throw it in the bin in a rage.

Dromore woman Imelda McCarron was the first contestant to leave in 2018.

Belfast Telegraph