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'I have to admit I tune in every week, it's so very moreish'

Fan Kerry McKittrick says she really relishes every moment of this delicious television treat

By Kerry McKittrick

I joined Bake Off mania about three years ago. Of course I had heard about the programme before, but I didn't know much about it. From what I'd overheard about it, I assumed it was an X Factor-style baking show with the worst two contestants fighting it out at the end of each episode in a tense bake-off. I'd never even heard of Mary Berry or Paul Hollywood. And then one night I happened to tune in - and discovered teachers, engineers, stay-at-home mums and marketing mangers making the most astonishing creations.

That these are ordinary people with no professional training never fails to astound me. I've seen them whip up chocolate cake towers, bread sticks made to look like matches and, by no means least, the stunning bread lion's head from last week's show.

It's hardly surprising that past contestants have gone on to study at the Cordon Bleu culinary arts institute in Paris.

But it's not just about the baking, it's about the people and how they fare under pressure.

In 2013, finalist Ruby Tandoh was the bookies favourite to win, but not loved by the audience. Week after week she produced stunning creations, but constantly moaned about how terrible her baking was.

I was heartbroken last year when Northern Ireland native Ian Watters discovered that the ice-cream for his baked Alaska did not set is the stiflingly hot tent.

A baking disaster that was made worse when he threw his entire dessert in the bin leaving him without even the bits that had gone well to present to the judges. As Mary Berry said, just before she eliminated him, "it just wasn't on".

Bake Off night is an event in our house. We gather round the telly, usually with some kind of tasty treat to keep us company - apparently baked goods and baking ingredient sales rise when the programme hits our screens - and live every triumph and disaster with the contestants.

Everyone has their favourite, of course, but if the dough hits the deck or the cookie literally crumbles before the judges' decision, then the gasps are audible.

I'm not one for reality shows, but I will whole-heartedly admit I'm addicted to The Great British Bake Off. My hat is off to the person who created something so simple, but so very moreish.

Belfast Telegraph


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