I nearly weed when this arrived. This has been one of the books that I have been looking forward to most so far this year. I adored Jo on the Great British Bake Off. She was so sincere and real, you felt every mishap with her, and relished in every triumph! My mum (the polar opposite to what you could call a 'baker') had Jo tipped to win from day one. She loved the fact she was a normal mum who found herself on the telly! Girl done good.
I've been reading Jo's blog, Jo's Blue Aga for a while now and take inspiration from the fact she's not scared to try anything, whereas I'm practically in therapy thinking about puff pastry! So when I saw she had a book on the horizon, I couldn't wait to see what wonderful recipes were included! She covers all the essentials, with the book split into eleven chapters:
- Baking with Children
- Afternoon Tea
- Family Cakes
- Celebration Cakes
- Bits and Bobs
What is really nice, is that Jo has obviously collected these recipes and amended them over the years, and each has a little story. For example, her Apricot Loaf 'started off as a soaked sultana loaf that my Auntie Helen has made for as long as I can remember' and her Easter biscuits are a nod to her nan's friend Rosa who made them with her as a child.
I sat in the garden in the beautiful sunshine yesterday, and read this book from cover to cover. As soon as the heat died down a little, Petal* and I set about making a raspberry torte. This is a really easy recipe, given to Jo by her friend Linda over twenty-five yeas ago (raises glass to Linda!)
I was drawn to this cake by it's pretty appearance, and because I fancied something with fresh fruit in it. I'm a sucker for Bakewell tart, so this seemed the perfect light summery option.
Apologies for the slight yellow tinge on the photographs, but the kitchen was still bathed in light from yesterday's lovely sunset!
This is a wonderfully easy bake which rewards you tenfold for your effort. It has equal measurements of eggs, flour, sugar, butter, ground almonds and raspberries. It's super-moist with a slightly chewy outer edge. It's going to be a favourite for a while! Some greedy piglet (looks shifty...) ate some for her breakfast...
I could have made anything from this book. I know that this will be one of my staple 'bibles' for may years to come. Jo's book is available exclusively at Sainsbury's at a bargainous price of just £8 - yes... just eight British notes! Run to buy one pronto!
The next series of the Great British Bake Off is due on our screens mid 2012. Cannot actually wait!!!
* Petal is my pink mixer. Yes, I know that's crackers. Thanks.
A Passion for Baking by Jo Wheatley
Publisher: Constable & Robinson Ltd, 2012
Disclaimer: I reviewed this book because I really loved watching Jo on TV, reading her blog and talking to her on Twitter. She is genuinely one of life's lovely people, and happens to be a bloody good baker! I received no payment from the publisher for doing so.
Read more about the author at Constable & Robinson Ltd.