What’s cooking?

The Bake-Off is back and it’s even better than before

Well, that is what we would like to think anyway.  The first baking for the new season was between David and Alex and a close-run race it was too.  David produced a Bakewell Tart that had great pastry,  shame some of it was missing – he said he had to trim it to fit the tin.  Meanwhile Alex excelled with a double offering of a Peanut Butter, Marshmallow and chocolate Krispie Cake.  The mind boggled but the taste buds didn’t – it was really tasty and belied its name.  However at the end of the day David won with the last vote in.

Comments:

My vote is for …. David!I wasn’t expecting to like Alex’s concoction, but was actually extremely good. However, a good bakewell tart is always going to get my vote – and its a good bakewell tart.

My vote goes to the Peanut butter-Marshmallow-rice krispy ‘cake’. Big Fan of bakewell tart, but the texture of the chewy marshmallow mess took me straight back to my kids birthdays parties. Lovely!

Goes to David for his yummy bakewell tart.

Despite being a big fan of David’s bakewell my vote goes to Mr Perryman’s rice krispie monster, surprisingly tasty but not too diabetes-tastic.

David’s tart gets my vote.

David wins for me, really good baking slightly let down by being trimmed for cycling but good pastry.  Alex’s tasted nice but was a little too chewy for me, has potential for stopping bullets I think, may be worth patenting.

feel as though I should vote for David’s Bakewell given it was actually ‘baked’ goods, and although it was very nice, I was pleasantly surprised by Alex’s rice crispie number and really enjoyed it – so my vote goes to Alex.

My vote goes to David this week. A well-baked bakewell, not too sweet, not too sticky yet perfectly moist and delicious. I’m not a great fan of either peanuts or marshmallow so Alex’s cake didn’t work for me.

Great start to the bake off! David’s bakewell was lovely. I couldn’t believe it was his first attempt at that recipe and it had a lovely light texture whereas Alex’s peanut butter, marshmallow and chocolate squares were amazingly gooey and nutty. While I loved both (and am hoping there’s enough there for seconds…), my vote goes to Alex for this week. I didn’t have breakfast and rice krispie squares really hit the spot! Thanks David and Alex for kick starting the bake off with such flair.

Whilst Alex’s surprised me as it was really quite moreish it was the pastry of David’s tart that did it for me – shame so much was cut off.

THE GRAND FINAL 2/6/10

And what a finale it proved to be. Siobhan baked excellent Burnt Butter cupcakes that would be worthy of any cake shop in the West End whilst Debs produced a Pavlova that sang of summer with whipped cream and fresh fruit.  After such a stupendous series of baking (it gets better every time) we do at last have a winner – DEBS. Well done to both bakers for extreme excellence.

Comments:

Well, what a tough decision!
Siobhan’s cupcakes are absolutely delicious, but I have to declare my love for all things meringue at this stage and say that my vote goes to Debs. Anyone that provides homemade meringue topped with enough cream to give you a coronary wins in my eyes. Oh and it tasted really good as well.

Difficult one… both offerings were delicious.
I’m going for the Pavlova simply because it was not quite so sweet. The icing on the (absolutely superb!) cupcakes made my teeth hurt. I know this is a failing of my teeth rather than the cooking but there you go!

I am so glad that I was here today – what a bake-off.  I loved them both and had to eat pieces of each alternately to even begin to make a decision. Whilst pavlova is my thing I have to say that anyone that gets me to eat a cup cake, and really enjoy it, has to get my vote – so Siobhan it is for me today.

Well, well, well… what a Finale! I can’t muster a single bad word to say about either of today’s culinary delights, both demonstrated superior baking skills. If I absolutely have to pick one, my vote is for Debs with her heavenly pavlova. The meringue was perfection on a plate!

Kudos to both bakers today, Siobhan’s cupcakes were amazing – light, tasty and generally wonderful. However Debs’ pavlova just gets my vote today, what it lacked in structural integrity it made up for in taste, top work.

I’m very torn. I love cupcakes. I love pavlova. Both were superb but for me Debs just shades it

very very tough choice and a worthy final. since both entries were superlative i will have to break my vague feelings of contentment and indeed bliss down into specific criteria and then hope the path becomes clear.
name, Siobhan.
appearance on plate, Debs.
appearance after being served, Siobhan.
topping, tough one. both were excellent. Siobhan’s was sweeter but Debs was not. so that’s a draw.
base. Debs’ meringue base was perfect and quite light, not too chewy but did stick a leetle bit to the old molars. the cream topping and fruity bits were a perfect foil to the meringue base. however the burnt butter brown sugar cupcakes were perfect in texture as well as flavour and their relative lack of sweetness compensated for the sweetness of the icing as above.
so I vote for Siobhan.

Holy Moly, Wow… what a finale… Both contestants seem to have gone full out on quality, (and for once, not so much quantity).
I generally dislike meringue, but smothering meringue in the most beautiful creamy fruity goodnes I’ve ever tasted really wins it for me. I vote Debs’ cake to win.

Extreme baking 17/5/10

Wow, this was baking at its best with Debs producing a really interesting and tasty Italian pistachio and lemon cake and Ellie going for the full on carrot cake with frosting and all.  Baking worthy of the semi-final.  Debs was the eventual winner though there was a possibility that tactical voting may have been going on in the hope that they might have had to do it all again.  Roll on the final.

Comments

Really tough this week, I enjoyed both in equal measure. Debs’ I thought was very unusual and packed full of flavour. I’m not a huge nut fan but I loved it. Ellie’s cake was delicious, and the icing tasted just divine. Even though I’m not usually a fan of vegetable based cakes I couldn’t fault this at all. But I won’t sit on the fence so my votes goes to Debs this week for making something unusual and very scrummy.

Sadly for me, both offerings contained nuts. Out of the two, I have to say that Debs’ lemony cake slightly edged Ellie’s carrot cake out of the frame. A very close call though.

I am deeply torn as both efforts were brilliant. By far the toughest bake off decision I’ve ever had to make…. but Ellie’s carrot cake just edges it for me.

As a rule carrot cake is not an option that I would chose. However, after two slices I have to say that this is a very good one, though the icing is far too sweet for me, and I commend the cook on such an excellent offering. That said, I am a sucker for lemony baked goods and Debs’s Italian River Cafe cake was outstanding so she gets my vote.

Top baking efforts from both Ellie for her ‘bigger than your face’ carrot cake, and Debs for the awesome pistachio nut cake. My vote this week goes to Debs, really close call but the sweet nutty goodness won me over.

I am such a fan of pistachios and the lemon in Deb’s cake complimented them surprisingly well – not a combination I would ever have thought of but am now very tempted to ask for the recipe! However Ellie’s carrot cake was so fluffy and full of flavour that coupled with the light icing gets my vote this week! very very very tough though….

A difficult choice today. I do like pistachios, but ultimately the moist deiciousness of the carrot cake has won it for me; not to mention the sumptuous icing.

I have to say that both of todays baked goods were exceptionally good and it is very hard to choose. I think given they really were on a par in terms of taste, that I will have to vote for Deb on the basis that her italian pecan number was a bit more original than the (superb!) carrot cake. Deb gets my vote.

Both offerings were first class but I have to give the vote to Ellie this week, very good balance of textures and the nuts made it.

Although I love carrot cake and Ellie’s was very very nice…Debs gets my vote this week for a different, yet delicious Italian cake treat!

Clash of the titans 10/05/10

EML saw two of their best bakers in a head to head this Monday. Siobhan and Juliet, both brought in two sets of mouth watering baked goodies for all of EML staff to scoff and judge. Siobhan made a classic Lemon Meringue Pie, as well as some chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, whilst Juliet made mini tartlets, one set contained the filling of cheese, basil and tomato and the other set containing the filling of strawberries and a sweet sauce. It was a tough decision to make, but Siobhan won with her delicious, deep filled lemon meringue pie.

Can we rig the votes to make them both bake again next week please? Everything’s delicious, everyone wins. That’s all there is to it. If I have to get off the fence and choose a winner. Juliet’s tasty tiny tarts were spectacular. However, Siobhan’s mouthwatering mountainous meringue wins the day for me

Possibly one of the greatest bake-offs in EML history and as such a really tough call, particularly between the cheese and tomato things and the lemon meringue pie. This week Siobhan gets my vote as the lemon pie was amazing and the choc chip cookies added a tasty extra.

Siobhan gets my vote…. I LOVE lemon meringue and hers was phenomenal

As much as I would love to have called this a draw, (If nothing else than to give myself an extra week to come up with an idea for my next bake off), I can’t.  So I have to say that Siobhan’s Cookies and Lemon Meringue Pie have to win this week.  It was a very tough call though, so sorry Juliet, your sauce with the strawberries was delicious, and so was your little cheese, tomato and basil tarts, (mine even had a smiley face),  however the light marshmallowy fluffiness of the meringue combined with the fresh tartness of the lemon filling pipped you at the post.

My winner is Siobhan. Juliet’s offerings were lovely, small and perfectly formed but Siobhan’s lemon meringue pie was a triumph!!

I vote for Siobhan, the lemon curd in the lemon meringue pie was amazing…as were the chewy cookies 🙂

Siobhan – what a lemon meringue. dream.

I’m not mad on choc chip cookies, but I’m these were a superb version. I wasn’t mad on the strawberry and cream boats, even though I could see how others may love them. Those were the cons. The pros however are more of a problem. the lemon meringue pie was the lightest, fluffiest, lemoniest – perfectly sharp without being sour, sweet without being sickly – melt in the mouth delight I’ve had in ages, and the little cheese and basil and tomato jobbies were superb. Savoury, light and crumbly with that tang of basil and those little bursts of juicy tomato. I could eat both or either all day until I was sick.
I really can’t choose. They’re a draw for me. Sorry.  😦

The Re-Match 26/4/10

Following last week’s dead heat Debs and Alex sportingly agreed to slug it out again for a place in the semi-finals. Debs provided us with homemade cookies of the white chocolate with cranberry or choc chip and hazelnut varieties. Alex produced, from a store close by, a chocolate fudge cake and a vanilla cheesecake with ice cream. Despite the lavishness of Alex’s offering, Deb’s home cooking won the day and she will be baking against Ellie in the next round.

Comments:

My vote goes to the cookies! White chocolate is always a winner for me 🙂 Thank you Debs.

Top choices from Mr Perryman but Debs’ cookies were superb, particularly the white choc ones so they get my vote today.

A vanilla cheesecake is always going to catch my eye, even if its provenance is questionable. However, white choc and cranberry soft cookies were lovely. Debs, you are the winner.

A difficult one this, because I didn’t really like the biscuits. The cranberry and white chocolate were so sweet they hurt my teeth and the other one just didn’t taste very nice and both were rather floppy. On the other hand both the fudge cake (eaten cold) and the cheesecake were lovely. But the biscuits were home baked. Decisions, decisions. My vote has to go to Alex – I just didn’t get on with the biscuits.

Debs’ fab biscuits get my vote.

I have to give it to Debs, cookies were not as good as the B&B puddings last week but the effort alone tipped the balance, Alex gets solid credit for trying and buying icecream, that’s a first!

Debs – hands down. Back to the old rule of shop baked goods never win over home-baked. And, for the fact that the Cranberry cookies were scrummy.

Debs not only for home baked but also scrumptiously yummy offering. but Im happy to vote for Alex if it will make it a tie 😉

Whilst Alex’s chocolate cake was very good, I don’t like vanilla so the cheesecake didn’t work for me and nor did the white chocolate, but the hazelnut cookies went down a real treat so Debs gets my vote.

I vote for Debs coz her cookies rocked… kudos to Alex for bringing in ice cream with his cake though.

My vote definitely goes to Debs this week. Sainsbury’s – errr I mean Alex – produced some delicious cake but I have to say Debs’ cookies were just delicious and, crucially, homemade!

Controversy cooking 19/4/10

It was Alex v Debs today and it all became QI.  Alex’s offering was a small but tasty almond and amaretto cake whilst Debs went for a double bread and butter pudding whammy – still warm chocolate and orange or fruit loaf with apricot glaze.  As people kept congratulating Alex on the lightness of his cake he felt compelled to reveal that he had used a cake mix as the basis for his baked goods.  Did it make a difference to the vote? Not at all and we ended up with a draw.  So the unanimous decision is that they have to do it all again to proceed to the next round.  Cruel but means more cake for the Monday meetings.

Comments:

Whilst Alex’s entry was even better than I expected the look and taste of the fruity bread and butter pudding won the day for me.

Very tough call even with the last minute controversy, Mr Perryman’s cake was very tasty – even better than I expected and the bread and butter puddings were both excellent. However Debs gets my vote today for the fruit version, top notch work.

I thought of voting for Alex just to annoy him so he had to cook again but at the end of the day (or plate) I had to go with the glassy B&B pudding.

In spite of the fact that I was hungry and love bread and butter pudding in any guise, especially with cream – even those not as attractive as Deb’s. I thought Alex’s almond offering was nicely baked, moist and well chosen.  So Alex gets my vote this week simply because I was surprised how much I liked it.

As a visitor I am honoured to be able to vote in the EML bake off and I cast my vote for the bread and butter pudding offerings.

Goes to Alex, even if he did use a packet mix. It was sweet, tasty and light. Not a fan of BNBP sorry Debs, have to respect the effort with two varieties though!

I was surprised by the quality of Alex’s offering, and even more so when I heard it was from a packet.  However, I  am voting for Debs because the look and taste of the fruity one with the apricot glaze was lovely.

Very closely fought competition this week, but Deb’s tug on the old heart strings (not to mention delicious bread and butter pudding!) just couldn’t overpower my love of all things amaretto. Alex’s cake was just great, and nowhere near as wonky as he suggested! My vote goes to Alex.

Deb’s offering is my choice.  Chocolate and orange – inspired.

I didn’t eat Debs’s fruit bread and butter pudding….but I did eat the choc & orange and Alex’s almond amaretto cake.Both were phenomenal cakes I’d be happy to pay money for.  Alex’s cake may have appeared lopsided from the outside due to his sloping oven, but the texture and flavour were amazing. Debs’ chocolate and orange pudding was soft, tasty and also a winner. Tough decision indeed, but if I could only eat one more piece of cake, and it had to be one of these two, I think it would have to be Alex’s almond and amaretto.

Golly – tough one this week. Alex’s nutty number was awfully good – very moist and lovely. Debs really pushed the boat out with her bread and butter puddings. The choc-orange one was definitely my favourite out of the two. My vote goes to Alex though as I was most pleasantly surprised by this offering of which I could quite happily have eaten much more!

Alex this time. Nice light tasty cake. I’ve never liked the texture of B&B pudding, and as nice as I’m sure they were for someone who gets on with that sort of thing, they weren’t for me.

Breakfast anyone? 12/4/10

Today there was a surprise when Juliet arrived with breakfast for all in the form of homemade Boston Baked Beans with homebaked bread to accompany them. David took a more delicate route with excellent soft shortbread with caramelised white chocolate (not meant to go brown but it worked well).  The sheer volume of Juliet’s offering won the day and the beans were very different from the tinned variety.

Comments:

David’s shortbread was lovely and crumbly, even if the  white chocolate caramelized.  But vote has to go to Juliet with the best breakfast bake off offering I can recall. Homemade beans with chunky bacon and bread in various varieties, tasted fantastic and was just what the doctor ordered.

Breakfast beans V White Chocolate Shortbread???  I have to say I like them both.  The beans and bread were hearty, and had a lovely flavour to them.  I tried the tomato bread which was delicious.  (Will try the others later)  However, following it up with a melt in the mouth white chocolate shortbread round was lovely.  Finished  off my second brekkie brilliantly.  It’s a hard choice but I think the beans have to win.  Just for shear hard work and 3 different breads!!  Sorry David but well done Juliet, (PS Juliet can I have the recipe please, my boys would love those beans!)

Honestly speaking I preferred the taste of David’s shortbread. But Juliet’s baked beans were amazing, and she filled my hole at just the right time, when hunger was playing up. For sheer necessity of need-for-food over luxury Juliet scoops it.

JP gets my vote today, the *stunning* baked beans, and the fact that as great as David’s biscuits were, I prefer savoury to sweet and really don’t get on with white chocolate.

Juliet gets my vote as her beans could give Heinz a run for their money. Baking three loaves of bread too… that’s just showing off 🙂

Not just for delivering an excellent baked breakfast on a day when I only ate a banana at home, but for demonstrating baked goods of such variety.  Juliet gets my vote.  David’s shortbread would have been great too if the white chocolate hadn’t turned!

i vote juliet. i thought baked beans were meant to taste like heinz until today. plus the three types of cake was just a bit of showing off, but boy were they lovely. sorry david for the girly cookies – they were delish too.

What a Whopper! 6/4/10

As befits the second round of baking it was a battle between force and finesse this week when Darren met Siobhan, a previous holder of the mighty cake slice.  Darren opted for the GIANT approach again with a Jaffa Cake to beat all Jaffa Cakes while Siobhan took a more refined muffin route with chocolate and pecan versions.  Whilst Darren seems to have once again stunned the tasters with the size of his offering it was the quality of Siobhan’s cup cakes that won the day.

Comments:

Although I was mightily impressed with the giant Jaffa, I have to vote for Siobhan’s pecan muffins. Scrumptious.

This is a tough decision. Whilst Darren’s ginormous Jaffa Cake would certainly invoke hari-kiri in the Japanese school of aesthetic bakery, and could described as the type of cake only its mother could love, the fact is here is a great example of when it makes sense to leave the decision to your taste buds. Delicious. Siobhan’s pecan and multi-choc muffins were delicious and so well made – pleasing both to the eye and to the taste.  Tough choice, but vote goes to Siobhan

I vote Gaffan!  Both cupcake offerings were delish.  Darren’s creation was tasty too, but for me the cupcakes ruled.

Darren’s Jaffa cake was a superb effort, tasted good and had the potential to be a real winner if it hadn’t been for the double chocolate cup cake which was a virtually unbeatable card to play – Siobhan wins, the second nutty cup-cake was just showing off – but nice too.

Siobhan’s cupcakes were beautiful and reasonably tasty but a little dry. Darren’s cake, on the other hand, was a huge mess, but tasted amazing. Darren’s cake-o-joy wins it for me.

Very close – a giant jaffa cake is not to be sniffed at, but the cupcakes were fabulous – moist and light.  Lovely.  Siobhan gets my vote.

Very tough decision! I was surprised at how nice Darren’s giant jaffa turned out to be – novelty value and taste! Even though I don’t particularly like jelly, it worked really well and I could have gone back for more. Siobhan’s  cupcakes were perfectly formed and looked very appetising. I only had room for the maple and pecan variety and it was delicious. Not too rich but sweet enough and a perfect accompaniment to my morning coffee! She’s my winner, and I WILL find room for a choc one!

Seconds out –  Round Two 29/03/10

Today was the start of the quarter final rounds of the bake-off and it was time for new recruit Ellie to show off her cooking skills against Anu, an old hand at this baking lark.  We should have realised when Ellie turned up for her interview clutching cup cakes that she was taking on to a kids party that she would rise to the baking challenge, and she did with a white chocolate and passion fruit cake.  Anu baked truly tasty curry pastries with gooey cheese which really hit the spot at 10am.  However, it was the sweet toothed offering that won the day and Ellie moves on up into the semi-final.

Comments:

Think the competition was a lot closer than I first thought this week. The presentation of the cake, especially the way it cut, was excellent and the layering and chocolate coat were great too. But the pastry entries were wholesome, tasted great, so Anu gets my vote (just) this week.  Tough call – and thanks for the coffee!

I have to say that Anu’s savoury pastries were rather nice, I had a cheese one and apart from the fact that it had seeped it’s contents out it was jolly good and put me in mind of some yummy cheese straws we used to get from our local baker up north.
However, Ellie’s offering of white chocolate and passion fruit cake was truly a delight.  It looked gorgeous, tasted sinful and has put at least an inch on my thighs!!  My vote goes to Ellie.

This was not an easy decision, the delay in my vote is the result of hours of prolonged procrastination. However, my vote finally has to go to Ellie for putting so much effort into her cake, and ultimately for using white chocolate…which I love.  Anu’s pastries were delicious. Voting against her, I feel pain in my heart – it’s like I’m voting never to eat these again which would be a travesty.

I vote for Anu’s pastries. Ellie’s cake was very lovely but I’m a savoury fan and the curried potato pastry was yum.

Ellie’s passion fruit and white chocolate cake has to win for me. Very sweet but also very nice…. and original

Toughie this week, the battle of savory vs. sweet! Really really like Anu’s curried potato pastry puff. But vote just goes to Ellie for her masterpiece that not only looked amazing but tasted heavenly too. White chocolate and passion fruit is a winning combination!

I don’t usually have genuine difficulty in voting for cakes, but this week I have. Anu’s savoury option was cheesy and delicious.
However, how can you argue with SIX layers of white chocolate in a single cake?! That takes professional-confectioner-style skill. And passion fruit? Such an unusual choice, but it works! Ellie’s cake wins for me.

High drama and good baking 15/03/10

Today is the last of the first round of baking and it was Director David versus new Debs for the honour of the last to get into the next round.  David went for the spherical objects with pecan nuts whilst Debs hit us with a ray of sunshine that was her springlike sponge cake. It was a real battle this week which went right to the wire with Debs coming off better at the last count.

Comments: (with apologies for all the ‘balls’ in here)

Whilst David’s balls were lovely, my vote has to go to Debs for her lovely vanilla sponge. Not only did it taste good, but its colourful, spring theme appearance brightened up my day 🙂

Tough one this week. Can’t fault Deb’s spring cake, it was just lovely. I’ve never eaten pecan balls before, but enjoyed immensely. Vote goes to David for his unusual balls.

I vote for David’s balls. They fitted in my mouth perfectly, and were a little unusual.

Debs’ lemony cake gets my vote. David’s pecan puffs were surprisingly light and puffy, but I’m not a big nut fan and the cake was lovely and light, the icing was gorgeous and lemony and it also looked lovely – very spring-is-in-the-air-y

Kudos to David’s balls but Debs’ sponge cake gets my vote today – perfect cakery for a sunny spring day.

The Lemon Spring Cake is a winner! – Lovely icing with just enough lemon and very apt decoration for the season. Clever handmade leaves too! Slightly disappointed with David’s balls… the crumbly texture caught me by surprise and the flavour wasn’t as intense as I’d have hoped.

Debs summery cake wins as it was perfectly timed with the weather!  However David’s balls were surprisingly crumbly (and a lot nicer than their uncooked appearance might have suggested) and that provided the added amusement of making Siobhan choke when I stated it.

Its a vote for David’s balls! Debs cake was lovely, but I have to vote with the nutty goodness of David’s offering…

I loved the look and taste of Deb’s cake but found David’s balls quite a surprise.  Had two of them but just one of the cake. However, the lovely lemony taste of the butter icing (which I normally hate) remained with me for a while and so the spring offering gets my vote.

US v YORKSHIRE 8/3/10

This morning saw Katie bake off against Paula.  Katie went for the all-American favourite of chocolate Brownies whilst Paula stuck to her northern roots with a Yorkshire Curd Tart.  Both were very tasty but Katie had the edge as she had sweated over a hot stove to bring her offerings to EML.

Comments:
Katie’s Chocolate brownies get my vote.

Really enjoyed the curd but Katie’s brownie gets my vote as it was reet tasty

Yorkshire curds was (sic) bizarre but tasty but brownies win it for me.

Don’t like brownies and didn’t like the curds 😦   But the brownies get my vote since it was baked.

Vote goes to Robertson’s brownies. I’ll always choose made over bought, but even so, Katie’s brownies were light, chewy and nut free, the way all brownies should be.

Chocolate with no nuts is like bread without butter but great presentation and home baked taste wins the day! The curd tart was nice and if it had been home curded we’d be in business, however this is a bake-off not a shop-off.

I actually preferred the curd tart as the brownies were too sugary and not a deep enough chocolate taste for me (bring back Richard’s).  However, home baking always has to take precedence over the shop bought offerings so Katie gets my vote.

I do vote for the home made offering. I gobbled them both up when I was really stressed and remember thinking the pie was yum, but when I had calmed down I thought the brownies had a true chocolatey flavour that carried the day. Katie it is.

Sorry Paula, fruit doesn’t suit (me), so Katie and her brownies are this week’s winning baking combo.

Sorry Katie, although the brownie did look delicious, it was a bit dry for me.  I have to go with the Yorkshire Tart from Paula, very crumbly and tasty.  (And I am a bit biased as Yorkshire is a fav place of mine.)

Clash of the titans 01/03/10

A new month, and new bake-off offerings. And what offerings they were.
Here at EML Towers we all take our baking fairly seriously. Well, actually, we take our baking VERY seriously. I mean, we don’t want to give away job tips here, but if you ever come to an interview with EML, bring cakes. Lots of cakes.

Anyway, today saw a clash of baking might ‘twixt  two people who take their baking very, very seriously indeed; Managing Director Richard and Account Manager Juliet.

This was reflected in the quality of the goods, with a sumptuous set of mouth-watering Green & Blacks nutty, gooey brownies on Richard’s side, and on the other an apple cake that, just like Juliet, was tangy, tasty and perfectly-formed.

In the end Juliet’s apple cake carried the day.

Will Juliet barnstorm her way to another overall win? Watch this space.

Bitter and sweet, here are some of the EMLers’ comments on the matter:

Well, what a juicy and professional baking selection to greet my eyes on this sunny spring-like morning. The apple pie was lovely, but I’m afraid I am not a fan of sultanas. Although a brownie may seem an obvious  (even cliché) choice, but these were mouth-wateringly moist – so my vote today goes to Richard.
Having said that, I would like both contestants to go through, because it would be wrong to deprive EML of more baking of this quality

My vote goes to Juliet for her wonderful offering. I am not really a fan of chocolatey baked goods, but even if I were, I suspect JP’s would have still won hands down for m

Really really tough call this morning, top efforts from both bakers. The brownies were perfectly moist and loving the white chocolate bits, however Juliet’s Dorset apple cake gets my vote for today for being simply delicious.

I have seldom seen such blistering quality. The apple cake was amazing, but I simply must give it to Richard for having the good taste to use Green & Blacks chocolate in his brownies; and loads of it. That bittersweet chocolate rush made my morning.
Now excuse me while I go and sob about my expanding waistline.

My vote goes to the apple cake.  Very Yummy.

Goes to RP and his brownies. I enjoyed both offerings very much and although inclusion of nuts is almost unforgivable, they tasted damn good.

Brownies were great, and normally would have won me over but I particularly like Dorset Apple cake and Juliet’s rendition was excellent so gets my vote.

this is hard to decide. first i ate the brownie and it was wonderful. but then i ate the apple cake and it made me want to have s*x. not with the cake. or maybe it was the brownie kicking in. both were brilliant overall. can i resign from round 2 and put both of these worthy contestants into the next round? if pressed i will have to vote for juliet for jogging across the office the wrong way with her arms up in the air.

my vote goes to Juliet’s apple cake, very moist and delicious. Richard’s brownies were very good if you like that sort of thing, but as I’m nether a fan of chocolate or nuts in cake, I don’t.

BACK TO NORMAL

The bake-off was back its old ways this week with everyone back from MWC and the bakers baking to time. This week it was previous winner Siobhan versus ace baker Andrew, a finalist a few bake-offs ago. It was interesting as Andrew produced excellent cup cakes from the Hummingbird Bakery cook book whilst Siobhan took a quieter route with a simple madeira cake. Against the visual odds Siobhan won the day and moves smoothly into the next round.

Comments:

Both cakes were again delicious. Madeira cake was moist and lovely. However, my vote has to go to the cupcakes for the presentation – they looked as good as they tasted!

The Madeira cake was lovely, moist and tasty but my vote goes to Andrew for the sheer visual impression of his cup cakes – it was staggering.  And they tasted good.

Siobhan’s Madeira cake was lovely and lemony.  Very nice indeed. Andrew’s cup cakes very bright and jolly for a Monday morning, However have to give it to Siobhan this week as much prefer the taste of hers.  Sorry Andrew just a little too much chocolate for me.

I went for the creamy fluffy confection from Andrew first but found the icing just too sickly – cake was very good though. Siobhan’s madeira cake proved the perfect antidote and I give her my vote today.

Siobhan’s cake was certainly humbled in the face of such a cornucopia of colourful cupcakes. Andrew’s cupcakes were tasty, and very moist. But since I do prefer a simpler and less-sweet cake, and in terms of hitting the right texture and all round yumminess, my vote goes to Siobhan and her madeira.

I had Andrews cupcake first and to be quite honest, with all its glamour and its lovely creamy texture, I did worry that SG’s Madeira cake would not really compete. How wrong I was! The Madeira cake was perfect in terms of taste and texture and it would definitely be my favourite to accompany any cup of Yorkshire.  Just goes to show – never read a cake by its cover. My vote goes to Siobhan

Both were delicious and Andrew’s were so pretty, it is hard to choose between them.  But, Siobhan pips it to the post because I almost broke my tooth on the silver baubles on Andrew’s cupcakes!

Very tasty Madeira cake, but Andrew’s cupcakes could not have been more perfect if they’d tried. Moist, fluffy, beautiful icing, novel decorations. More from that cookery book please!

A STRANGE WEEK!

Thursday, 18th February.  This was a different week in the world of EML baking.  First of all it was MWC so there were not so many people in the office to eat and vote (all the more for the rest of us) and then, once again, it became an elongated eating session.  The cooking was between Darren and Ben and was epic, in many senses of the word.  First of all Darren came in on the Monday with the most inspired choice – a GIANT Jammie Dodger complete with heart cutout for Valentine’s Day (see photo).  Ben baked a very professional Carrot cake… but left it in the fridge. Tuesday … he still left it in the fridge.  But it was worth the wait when it appeared on Wednesday (got eaten too quickly for a photo).  However, overall Darren won, I think, for the level of inventiveness if nothing else.

Comments:

The carrot cake was superb, absolutely wonderful, even if it did contain nuts (which I don’t like in cake). However, I’m going to vote for Darren’s giant jammy dodger, just because it was such a great idea.

Undoubtedly Ben’s mum. unless we disqualify him on the grounds that his mum did all the actual baking. but if we are looking for another second round entrant I’d like to push for Darren cos I loved eating the giant jammy dodger. If Ben’s mum hadn’t pulled out all the stops as ever – heavenly moist and yummy even after 7 billion days in the fridge being nibbled by slugs – I’d have voted for Darren. in fact can they both win?
The carrot cake was very nice, and taste wise was my favourite, however points lost for lateness meant that it just lost out for me to the jammy dodger.  Which got extra points for originality.
Not being a fan of most vegetable based cakes, my vote goes to the inventive Darren for his oversized Jammy Dodger. Wonder if oversized food could be the theme for the next bake off!
Carrot cake was quite sophisticated, didn’t risk the other thing!
I actually thought Ben’s was the better cake, but we all know we can’t let him win, given all the suffering he has caused. Darren wins, mainly because I want to see more gigantification of confectionary. I vote for a giant Twirl or Cadbury’s Creme Egg next time.

Carrot cake reigns supreme over the sweet and tasty giant jammy dodger.  Well done Ben (and his Mum) for remembering, I mean, baking the delicious cake.

I am not a carrot cake fan but I have to say that this one was excellent.  However, the sheer inventiveness and WOW! factor of Darren’s offering – and it tasted good – makes him my winner.

THE BAKE OFF BEGINS AGAIN

The Spring 2010 EML Bake-Off began in earnest this week after a bit of a stutter in the first round when the contest was spread over three days because of forgetfulness and sickness. Not a good start but ALEX finally triumphed over Sara to make it into the next round.

Monday 8th February. Chris v Anu.

Chris produced a victoria sponge with buttercream icing with chocolate flakes as decoration. We believe that the nations most popular food retailer might have had a hand in its production whereas the only hands helping in the production of Anu’s cheesy scones were those of her two children.

The resounding winner this week is ANU.

Comments:
It has to be Anu and the little Ramanis.  Very Cheesy and lovely shapes too!
No time to eat but on aesthetics alone Chris has my vote.
I vote for the misshapen scones, even if Anu thought they tasted stale.
I vote for Anu & the little Ramanis. Light & very tasty, also I think I got a pepper one!
I wanted to give Anu points for trying to do something original and interesting. There’s no doubt that Chris’s is a middle-of-the-road choice. But untimately, Chris’s classic was a winner. More jam and cream next time Chris, and more cheese from Anu.
The tasty cheese scones get my vote this week, particularly liked the pepper ones.
The home baked item has to win my vote.
I didn’t really enjoy the sponge I am afraid (sorry Chris), plus I am definitely a fan of savoury offerings – so Anu wins hands down for me with her cheesy number. Great taste and the fact that the kids helped too – has to be a winner 🙂
The scones did it for me, but I didn’t get a pepper one, though I am guessing that would make it even better.
Anu’s cheesey things get my vote, but Chris choose an excellent option.
Anu’s soft and “fluffy” (the top word for the 2010 bake off comp) cheese scones won it for me.  No question.  Mr Tesco just doesn’t cut it for EML taste buds… Boo to the Chief being on a diet.
I’m voting for Anu – I love a good cheese scone.
Anu gets my vote as she did it all herself – well almost.

MOVEMBER IS THROUGH, LONG LIVE MOVEMBER

Just to say thanks to everyone who helped us raise cash for Movember this year. Suffice to say we made quite a bit.

Much as we’d love to post pictures of the final state of Darren and Alex’s faces, the only pictures available are from the end-of-Movember gala party. Between the costumes and the general disarray… yea… they’re not suitable for the blog.

Just a reminder that all donations from friends, colleagues, clients, etc will be going towards mens’ prostate cancer charities.

Thanks all!

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Yes kids, that time of year has rolled around again. Once again several brave souls, Alex, Darren, and WAG Roger, have opted to push hair out of their faces for prostate cancer charity.

You can quickly and easily donate online to their cause by clicking their names, above, or you can donate to the entire team by clicking here.

Don’t worry; it’s a thoroughly reputable site that’s been doing this for years. And we promise not to sell your details to Russian fraudsters.

Well, maybe a few.

The theme for this year’s Movember Gala party will be…. well… actually never mind. All you need to know is that we’ll be going in drag.

In the meantime, I have to immediately work out a half-baked excuse as to why we’re allowed to blog about Movember, when this blog is officially about Technology PR.

Without further delay, I therefore present to you, a picture of a robot with a moustache….

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… or some such jazz. Meh.

The point is, EML is a thoroughly charitable company that gets behind several worthwhile causes every year. Alex, Darren and Roger would be delighted if you’d take the time to donate as much as you can spare to the cause.

Mo photos soon, you lucky people.

BAKE-OFF FINALS – WE HAVE A WINNER!

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After a hard few months of slogging through every cake known to man we’re finally at the Bake-off final.

This is a momentous occasion in the EML office, which really sorts the men from the boys. Which was particularly difficult this time around, as both finalists were ladies.

Marked in the  calendar as EML’s holiest of holy days, the Bake-off final saw two truly outstanding entries.

Juliet really went down the Cheesecake route; always a popular way to go, but surprised everyone by preparing both a savoury bacon and tomato cheesecake and a sweet Blueberry and lime cheesecake. Siobhan followed up with a stunning lemon cake.

And this year’s winner is. JULIET!

Later this week we shall all bear witness to the presentation of the famed EML Bake-off silver cake slice, which shall be engraved with Juliet’s name to remain immortal on the wall of our office.

VERDICTS:

This is the toughest vote ever. siobhan’s lemon pound cake was just moist enough, just sweet enough and just everything enough.but my vote is to juliet for the softest, smoothest, lightest and tastiest cheesecake in the world.

OK, this is a tough one…. perhaps we need a rematch next week just to be sure? I really enjoyed Siobhan’s pound-cake and on any normal bake-off, against mere baking mortals, she’d win oven-gloves down. However, Juliet’s unusual cheesy bacon savoury option was like an English breakfast, all rolled up in a cheesecake. To have that followed up by a delicious cheesecake covered in blueberries….inspiration!   Juliet, you have my vote.

I’d like to vote Siobhan for champion!  I’m not usually that keen on lemon cake, but this one was delicious.  Juliet’s offerings were lovely too, but not being a fan of cheesecakes (not Juliet’s fault, just me being fussy!) means that my vote goes to the Gaffan.

A worthy final with three fantastic offerings.  Siobhan’s pound cake was lovely, light and tasty.  Difficult to see that being cooked better.  Juliet’s savoury cheesecake was brilliant, lovely idea and well executed but… the blueberry and lime cheesecake is the cake they  serve in heaven.  It was magnificent: great mix of flavours, light, good texture.  Juliet gets my vote.

Cheesecake will always win in my books, and these were exceptionally well put-together. Juliet gets my vote.

Top efforts from both bakers, deserved finalists. My vote though goes to Juliet for the Blueberry cheese cake, tasty but not over powering and perfect Monday morning food. (However it’s not so good when you accidentally mix it with the bacon one)

Juliet brought home the bacon, winning won my vote hands down with her baked cheesecakes – totally satisfying!

Juliet’s savory cheesecake was delicious and means she just shades my vote, even though I wasn’t so keen on the sweet one.

THE SEMI-FINALS

Over the past couple of weeks the semi-finals of the bake-off have taken place and we have two people through to the final which takes place on Monday 10th August.  In competition will be Siobhan and Juliet. Juliet has a tough task ahead of her as Siobhan is a past winner so knows all the tricks to get those vital important votes.

The comments on the semis are:

Siobhan’s lemon tart was absolutely delicious – I almost licked my plate clean (OK, OK, I did) A tang-tastic delight.  Great effort from Ben – muffins were lovely and fluffy

As delightful as the muffins are, my vote has to go for the lemon meringue pie. A gorgeously tart tart.

Voting against Ben’s mum seems wrong but Siobhan’s lemon meringue was delicious and definitely gets my vote this week

It has to be the lemon meringue tart – always my favourite and this was an excellent example.

My vote goes to Siobhan’s meringue – not too heavy and really tasty.

I’d like to vote for Siobhan this week, although it has been a really tough to decide.  Ben’s muffins were lovely and flavourful and I was impressed that we got two different flavours, but I have to go with my taste-buds and Gaffan’s lemon meringue pie which was delicious, really light and sweet.

Siobhan’s carefully crafted creation wins the day, though I do like Ben’s mum’s muffins…
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Presentation of both entries was excellent this week but my preference for lemon meringue won through so Siobhan gets my vote, of the two entries by Ben’s mum I liked the blueberry bun best.

Juliet never disappoints and this morning was no exception. Her three way chocolate cookies are just bloody gorgeous, and the right consistency of crunchiness and chewiness. And then the cheese biscuits, what can I say, light, tasty, baking perfection! I’ve already had a second helping of each!

I agree with ALL of the above – brilliant baking (as always) Juliet.  I can’t believe I booked a holiday on the day of the final! Danger for me and my belly as I know they’ll be none left on the Tuesday

photoDelicious. I especially loved the cheese biscuits, the way to my heart is with cheese!

The cookies were crumbly and the chocolate melted in my mouth 🙂

I have nothing to say other than both of Juliet’s efforts were very, very nice… particularly the cheesy option

I loved the savoury biccies. Very tasty indeed. Didn’t try the choccy ones, but they also looked great

Biscuity goodness all round – delicious cookies, delicious cheesy things = me very happy with my morning’s snacks

Top efforts from Juliet, the cheese things were lovely and well topped off with the sauce thing as well

THE RESULTS – MONDAY, 6th July 2009

Here we are, the last of the quarter finals and Ben’s scrummy chocolate/raspberry/marscapone combination has beaten director David’s excellent almond Greek biscuits – called kourabies apparently.  Last week’s round was a resounding win for Siobhan with a bakewell tart to die for. A cakeless week next week and then into the semis.cake photo

This week’s comments:

Ben. a winning combination!

I wasn’t sure if I’d like David’s Greek biccies but they were very very nice. However Ben’s chocolate cake was one of the nicest I’ve ever eaten and has to get my vote this time around.

Ben’s cake is this week’s winner for me, the choc cake was moist and the vanilla topping was lush!  David’s contribution was good too, but not liking nuts made my decision a little easier.

I have to admire David’s biscuits for innovation. Nuts and sugar ain’t something we see much of. And boy was there sugar.
However, a rich, chocolatey chocolate cake slathered in vanilla mascapone and raspberries?! There can be only one.
Ben wins for me. My only regret is that there wasn’t more of his cake to smear around my bloated face. Bang goes my diet again.

this is the hardest one yet! gooey chocolately toothsomeness or crispy bites of delectability? arrrr…. david’s bikkies then…

David’s powdery Greek things were nicely unusual, he wins for me – Ben’s Mum sure can cook though.

I’m still not sure what one to go for – I enjoyed both very much. I could deliberate all day long but I think that ultimately David’s greek biscuits just clinch it

Ben’s all the way (sorry David) Very soft and sticky – YUM!

Very close.  Perfect biscuity things and the chocolate cake was fantastic.  WHo to vote for? Ben’s cake by a raspberry.

A difficult choice today and my initial impression was definitely for the choc and rasp combo but as I got into the almondy biscuits I enjoyed them more and more so it is the snowy Greek things that do it for me today.

My vote this week goes to Ben, really tasty chocolate cake with just the right topping so that it wasn’t too sweet first thing in the morning.

THE RESULTS – MONDAY, 22nd June 2009

The next quarter final saw an absolute feast from Sarah-Jane and Sara – just what we needed to fuel us for the week ahead.  Sara-Jane baked a medley of muffins, blueberry and walnut, banana and honey, and Sa went overboard with homemade veggie pates, jam, curd and baked rolls.  We have not been able to move from our desks!  photo

Once again it was a very close-run thing but Sa just pipped Sarah-Jane to win this round and move on into the semi-finals.

Comments:
Really really tough call today, and I haven’t even tried the jam! The chestnut pate was amazing but the banana muffins just about edge it.

Alright, so it’s not cake. But thank you Sa for opening my eyes to the delicious potential of vegetarian pates. Baking bread was impressive enough. Making four types of delicious condiment was above and beyond. Though should the pates influence our decision. Were they baked?

Despite thinking that SJ’s muffins, particularly the honey ones, were absolutely scrumptious – vote has to go to Sa for her bread rolls with various accompaniments.

Can I please vote for SJ, her muffins were delicious and perfect for Monday morning breakfast.

Tough one this week, both contestants brought something to the table that was partial to. but my final vote goes to sa not only for her excellent buns (hur hur) but also for the veggie-ness, quality and quantity of the dips.

I was determined to base my judgement purely on the baked element of both submissions this week, but then had to include the beer and cheese pate in the calculation as it was particularly noteworthy.  Both Sarah Jane’s cakes were very good, I liked the one without the berries best – however Sa’s bread was great (particularly as it was not baked today) so gets my vote this week.

Credit to SJ for some fine muffins but my vote has to go to Sa – lovely rolls and amazing pate (especially the chestnut one)

Major food related dilemmas this week!  Sa astounded me with the sheer choice of homemade food – it was immense and to say that I can’t stand stilton, the pate was delicious (not so sure about the cat dish it was served in though!)  I also loved the red wine and chestnut pate and the homemade bread.  Sarah-Jane’s muffins were delicious – the walnut and banana one was my favourite.  I am going for…. Sa no, SJ, no, Sa, no, SJ… OK – SJ wins it! I simply have a weakness for walnuts (and most other foods)

Thought SJ’s blueberry muffins were great (alas, anything with cooked banana is a no-go area for me) but Sa’s sweet and savoury spread won the day, especially the nut pate and amazing lemon/lime curd.

I am going to give my vote to Sarah-Jane. All the food was excellent today, but I am a sucker for muffins and the banana, walnutty one was delicious.

My vote to Sarah-Jane and her selection of tasty muffins

Again close, Sarah-Jane’s muffins were brilliant but Sara gets it, by providing a full meal with bread, two home made preserves, two pates.  The stilton and Guinness pate was lovely, serving it in a cat dish was off putting.

EML in exercise shock

Over the months the ‘What’s cooking’ page of our blog has seen a multitude of different things. Cake, charity cake, moustaches, cake, biscuits, moustaches and of course, cake. However this post contains no cake or facial hair…

Earlier this week EML sailed into unchartered waters with its first ever sports team,  for a 5-a-side football tournament organised by our client PubliTronic. The tournament was held at the Goals football centre near Wembley and saw EML up against the likes of MTV, QVC and Nickelodeon. Being a company of only 16 we didn’t fancy our chances.
team EML
We somehow scraped together a squad of 6 along with a manager who brought us oranges and some supporters, then assembled ready for our first game against PubliTronic. Now one of the key rules for any PR agency is to always look after your client and make sure you go out of your way to keep them happy. Ever the professionals EML then proceeded to beat said client 8-2.
EML footy
Next up was MTV, the group favourites. They had already beaten Nickelodeon in their first game so the crowd, numbering at least 5, were expecting a close one. After a tense start EML went on to win 4-0 all but sealing progress to the semi-finals. EML’s place in the semi-final was secured in the final group game against kids TV channel Nickelodeon, with EML chalking up a 4-1 victory.

After a quick break (and visit to the buffet and bar) it was time for EML’s semi-final against shopping channel QVC. In a hard fought game QVC emerged 2-0 winners and went through to play MTV who won the other semi final on penalties. The final was the day’s closest game, and with only a few minutes remaining QVC got the goal and held on to win 1-0.

So not a bad outing for EML’s first ever sports team and our thanks go to PubliTronic for organising what was a great evening’s worth of entertainment.

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ROUND TWO – THE RESULTS – MONDAY 15th  June 2009

We are now into the quarter finals of the bake-off and it was Juliet versus Alex.  Alex produced a well iced and decorated Victoria Sponge, though he swore it was a Madeira cake, whilst Juliet went for the sweet and savoury scones option. With cream and jam to spread on the sweet ones and cream cheese for the savoury ones you could say that Juliet was playing to the masses.

Well, it worked and she moves effortlessly through to the semi-finals.

The comments are:

Juliet’s cheese scones were truly great.  Really nice consistency, just the right amount of cheesiness. Juliet gets my vote.
Juliet – home baked always has to get the win. Also, the cheesy scones were yummy.phototoo
My vote goes to Juliet. Home baked always gets extra brownie points but the scones were amazing.
Juliet for the best scones I have ever eaten. The savoury ones especially were superb.  Good effort to Alex for a very well decorated cake.
It has got to be Juliet and her scones for me – especially the cheese and chive. Yum!!
Even though he can’t win the creative presentation of the Madeira cake deserves a nod to Alex, but the scones (with goo) get my vote, hedging the sweet/savoury divide was perhaps not necessary – next time Juliet big fat cheesy scones would do!
Juliet – for the effort and catering to sweet AND savory (the madeira cake was very yummy though :P)
It has to be Juliet, sorry Alex!  The savoury scones were lovely and really hit the spot!
Scones and iced madeira cake?!  It’s like I’ve died and not only have I gone to heaven, but heaven’s made of cake (and you’re allowed to eat it – I’d be like a [dead angelic] cow, grazing on a field of cake)
Perhaps both could win so we have another opportunity for more scones and iced madeira cake? Both were delicious, and not an easy choice – but my vote goes to Alex and his madeira cake.
Scones all the way – delicious and I loved the cheesy one.  Nice touch on the Philli cream cheese Juliet. hmmmm.

THE RESULTS – MONDAY 1st June 2009

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It is the last bake-off of the first round and it was a feast as visiting Caroline joined in as well and we had cup cakes, pear and stilton tart and multi-choc brownies.  Nobody needed lunch today.

The result was unexpected as for the first time in the history of EML baking a chocolate offering has won and Sarah-Jane pipped Richard’s tart for a place in the next round which starts in two weeks.

Comments:

Apart from my waistline, there are no losers today – struggling to reach my keyboard after sampling them all – just trying to finish SJ’s yummy triple chocolate cake. My vote has to go with Richard’s savoury tarts – but special thanks to Caroline for baking cupcakes and making this a real Monday morning feast….Why did I bring lunch again?

This week my vote goes to Sarah Jane, she has achieved the impossible and got me to eat nuts and enjoy them!  The fudge pieces in the brownies were also inspired. YUM!

hmmm… another tough one this week. let me start with a resounding round of applause for caroline who in trooper fashion entered the lists with gusto with her nostalgic cupcakes. i was particularly impressed with the one with “EML” on in icing. but after typing “pear and stilton tarts” and deleting it for “triple choc brownies” – im going to have to plump for the brownies. chocolatey goodness – not too dense. a lovely sink-your-teeth in feeling.

Well done Caroline for getting in the spirit but this week much as I like Cheese I have to vote for chocolate, congratulations Sarah-Jane for being brave and putting nuts in too!  Couldn’t eat a whole one though.

A delightful array of goodies. I’m a savoury woman at heart though so my vote has to go to RP.

Both entries superb. Chocolate brownies will always win in my estimation. Just right; soft, squidgy, moist. Yum yum yum.

I am going to vote for the DELICIOUSLY soft and chocolatey Brownie – the addition of the pecans was a great idea, well done SJ!
I thought Richard’s pastry was, as usual, very nice but I despise (I know, strong word) Stilton. Bad times. Caroline’s cupcakes were a sterling effort though and made up for the lingering taste of Stilton. Hmm – good Monday morning eating.

Good efforts all round. I thought I’d be voting for Richard’s savory option as I love all things cheesy but the chocolate brownies blew me away. Sarah-Jane it is.

Top efforts from all bakers today, don’t think I’ll need any lunch after that feast. The tart’s were excellent but I’m not a huge fan of stilton so my vote goes to Caroline’s bakewell tart type things, with SJ’s super heavy super chocolatey brownies a close second.

The cup cakes were a great addition to the bake-off and added to the complications of the day. I really thought that Richard’s tarts looked most tempting but then I had S-J’s brownies and I had to go back and have a bit of each again to make up my mind. However, in the end the brownies did it for me the tart was excellent but was missing the wow factor that the chocolate had.

Although the pastries were packed with two ingredients I don’t like, stilton and pears, I found them very subtle and enjoyable. However vote goes to Sarah Jane for her triple chocolate brownies! Marvelous just marvelous.

THE RESULTS – TUESDAY 26th 2009

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After a long weekend away the denizens of EML really felt they had lost time to make up for. And boy did they make up for it. An exceptional round of entries that almost had a hung vote from the staff.

Despite wrongly calling a draw initially, the eventual winner was David.

Votes below:

This gets said a lot, and I’ve said it before, but never really meant it: Today really, really was a tough decision. Ultimately I think David’s cakes win on technical expertise; they were moist, light, fluffy…. In every respect David’s cakes were bakery-perfect.
However, technique cannot beat my preference for tasty caramel shortcakes. Selection should be at least 50% of the competition, and I simply prefer caramel shortcake. Siobhan wins in my estimation.

A really difficult choice this week, both were delicious and gave me quite the sugar rush!  I think I have to go for the caramel shortbreads though, I could probably scoff them all day whilst I the cupcakes were quite sickly so I could probably only manage about five.

Unholy amounts of sugar this week, so kudos to both contestants.
Both cakes were delicious, but I have to say that I prefer cupcakes to caramel so I vote for David’s cakey goodness.

I loooooove caramel shortbread and Siobhan’s was no exception but David’s moist cups of creamy goodness win my vote. They were delicious.

My vote goes to Siobhan. David’s cakes were tasty but just too sweet for my liking. I think I’ve slipped into some sort of sugar coma after this morning’s cakes.

I’m voting for Siobhan’s shortcake, good combination of textures and nice presentation, David’s buns were impressive too – you don’t get many of them to the pound do you!

A superior way to start the week.  Surprisingly, David’s cupcakes eclipse Siobhan’s flat things.   Eating both put me into a sugar coma.

I vote for David. Siobhan’s offering was very tasty but a bit rich for the time of day. David’s safe cupcakes hit the spot.
I’ll pick David’s cupcakes – very fluffy and light but i wasn’t a fan of the icing! Siobhan’s shortbread was a very good effort but would have been better after lunch instead.

THE RESULTS – MONDAY 18th May 2009

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With Eurovision out of the way, and a long weekend ahead, the EML’ers entered the week in fine spirits today, with a selection of baked goodies that could only make things better.

And what a pair of entries. Chris cooked up a delcious batch of shortbread, and Juliet a fine, fine victoria sponge with cream and strawberry filling.

The EML’ers are a varied bunch in terms of their likes and dislikes. Being a devious tactician Chris attempted to play the field by cooking several varieties of his shortbread; plain, choc chip, and lemon and orange. It seemed like a foregone conclusion. But Juliet’s clever decision to play the middle ground won the day, and the Victoria Sponge crippled its crumbly counterpart.

Here’s a selection of the EML’ers votes:

Tough decision but Juliet’s cake wins – lovely and light and summery.  Shortbread was very tasty too but someone has to win.

Unfortunately I’m not a fan of sponge or shortbread, but Chris’ offering was original and clearly a lot of thought had been put into pleasing the office.
Chris wins for me!

Hum I really liked Chris’ shortbread, only tried the chocolate one but it was GOOD. Saying that vote has to go to Juliet for her summery sponge.

I think I was in the mood for something soft and moist which I why I vote for juliet’s toothsome and soft sponge with strawberries in the middle. excellent stuff. but a nod to chris for his shortbready effort too.

Personally, I am a huge shortbread fan but I have to say that the winner for me definitely has to be the gorgeous summery cake.  But good effort on Chris’ part making all those varieties!

Whilst Juliet’s sponge was light and fluffy and creamy and strawberry-y and everything a sponge should be, Chris’ citrus shortbread was so delightful it has to be the runaway winner for me.

What a great Monday (hmmm).  I vote for Chief’s shortbreads – they were buttery and truly delicious plus I liked that there was a variety of flavours (all the more to eat and test).  I’m sure Hetty and Flo (the chickens) will share in the pride that comes from baking such delights. Juliet’s cake wasn’t far behind – soft and tasty sponge. The strawberries went down very well too!

This is a really difficult decision.
I really enjoyed both Juliet’s cream & strawberry-loaded cake and Chris’s selection of shortcake. Both of them hit the spot and I’d happily eat either of them all day (ignoring that I’d be rushed into hospital by the end of the day).
My vote goes with Juliet, no Chris, no Juliet, no Chris…..For the first time, I think it’s a draw!

Top efforts from both bakers today, I am a big fan of shortbread but today the sponge cake gets my vote. Really light and tasty- just what you need on a Monday morning.

I am really torn this week, two excellent entries. The sponge was delicious and the shortbread went perfectly with my tea this morning.
But I’m going to give my vote to Chris’ shortbread – I haven’t had any for ages, and then three varieties come along at once…

THE RESULTS – MONDAY, 11th May 2009

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A fine week of baked deliciousness. Katie ruled the roost with her outstanding Red Velvet Cake. More cochineal-based food colouring went into that dessert that you could shake a tasty stick at.

This is also the first time in a while EML has had a ‘clean sweep’. Despite an excellent Fudge Brownies entry from Stacey, Katie’s red cake won unanimously! Well done Katiekins!

This win was particularly well-earned, given that Katie apparently destroyed half of her kitchen, and ended up splattered with red colouring, in the pursuit of culinary excellence.

The verdicts:

I am traditionally a chocolate person but in this instance I have to vote for Katies red devil cake. Thge richness and deliciously moist texture, combined with the not-too-sweet icing was deliciously divine. The chocolate brownies were tasty too but on the whole as staz herself pointed out a bit burnt, thus sort of diminishing their value for me.

Katie’s Chainsaw massacre cake wins it, but Stacey’s brownies were lovely, much better than advertised.

Think it has to go to Katie. Stacey’s brownies were however very yummy and if I hadn’t known that they were a little burnt I’m not sure I would have really noticed. But the vote goes to Robertson for the wonderful red velvet cake that looked and tasted fantastic.

The decision wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be. Stacey’s brownies survived a duff oven and weren’t bad at all, but the winner for me this week is Katie’s very creamy four-layered cake of redness.

My vote goes to Katie and her red thing. Very moist and tasty. Good effort by Staz though – they really weren’t bad.

Katie’s cake, well worth the mess.

Katie – Her cake was moist and tasty (exactly what I look for in a sponge), wasn’t too keen on the yoghurty icing stuff on the outside though.

Stacey – I saw past the burnt edges…. and I found fudge – I dont like fudge. This is unfortunate for Stazzle.

KATIE FOR THE WIN!

I have to vote for the big red cake.  A delicious and novel entry. Not sure I want to know what’s actually in it altogether mind…

Despite Stazz’s efforts to put me off, the brownies were actually quite nice, although my vote this week has to go to Katie, absolutely delicious big red cake thing.


THE RESULTS – MONDAY, 27th April 2009

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Week two and the cake baking is well under way.  This week Anu brought in an excellent coffee and walnut cake, which she got up at 5:30 to make, and Sa a rich Guinness and ginger cake.  After much deliberation, and mastication, Sa was voted the winner this week.

Comments:

This is a tricky one for me as I could tell the Ginger cake was a really good one, the texture was great and if you like ginger then it would have been delicious, unfortunately I don’t.  The coffee cake was lovely and soft and not overwhelmingly coffee-e, so this week it gets my vote.

Goes to Sa. I was certain I’d like the coffee cake more but Sa’s Guinness and ginger cake was just fantastic.

Tough call again this week but I’m not a massive fan of coffee and I am a big fan of Guiness so Sa gets my vote.

Tough, I enjoyed both but Sara’s ginger cake was light and fluffy and gets the vote.

My vote goes to Sa – very tasty.

I love ginger, I vote for Sa’s very nice cake.  Anu’s excellent cake was very nice too but it didn’t contain much ginger.

This is a tricky one for me as I could tell the Ginger cake was a really good one, the texture was great and if you like ginger then it would have been delicious, unfortunately I don’t.  The coffee cake was lovely and soft and not overwhelmingly coffee-e, so this week it gets my vote.

The choice of coffee or ginger is a difficult one as both are cake favourites for me.  However, although the coffee cake was very light, the softness of the Guinness and ginger one did it for me.

I have to vote for Anu this week. Normally I don’t like coffee cake and I love ginger, but Anu’s cake is really good!

My vote goes to Anu for a tasty coffee and walnut cake (and made at 5.30am I hear).  I liked Sara’s Guinness and ginger cake but though nice texture slightly too gingery (for me).

THE RESULTS – MONDAY, 20th April 2009

https://putsimply.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/eml.jpg

The Monday Munchies are back and our first winner is Ben with a stupendously good baked cheesecake. He was up against Andrew who produced an excellent mince tart with extremely fine homemade pastry under difficult circumstances.

Unfortunately, we all set upon the food so quickly we omitted to take a photo so you will just have to read our comments to get the flavour of the day.

Cheesecake was superb. Can’t comment on the mincemeat pie, not veggie-safe.
Well done Ben (and his Mum) from a cheesecake convert!
Cheesecake –  Well a cheesecake will always win, this on was lovely and I could taste the eggs.  On the flip side the base was a bit thick and on the dry side. Mince pie – surprisingly tasty but the cheesecake gets my vote.
Really tough call, the mincemeat pie was much nicer than I anticipated but Ben’s giant cheesecake gets my vote.
Benjamin’s mum’s cheesy cake wins and hands down for me…. but I admire Andrew’s effort, it was nice. If I’d have raided my cupboards and tried to throw something together last minute it would probably have consisted of cat treats and tinned tomatoes.
Ben’s baking bonanza did it for me, though the biscuit base was a bit heavy.  Excellent pastry from Andrew once again.
The humongous cheesecake from Ben has to win the day – and all that cream.

EML raises £400 for Movember!

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Nothing lasts forever, in the words of Roderick Thorp / Sidney Sheldon / Echo & The Bunnymen. And, even if they could, some things just shouldn’t.

It’s hard to resist shouting out ‘Happy Movember!’ to any stranger I see on the tube sporting novelty fuzz. It might, after all, be a permanent feature, rather than a joke. I’ve also almost got used to the odd looks I get on public transport; the people edging away, not sitting next to me.

And so it is with some regret that team EML enters the final day of Movember. But everything must go. On Sunday the Mos are off in preparation for Decemberween. I’m taking mine out the back and shooting it.

Our group has raised a very respectable £400 for mens prostate cancer charities, which is what it’s all about. Thanks to everyone for their generous donations. All we had to do was look daft. The right men for the right job…

The fine organisers of Movember are throwing a big fancy dress party in central London for everyone that raised enough money. As we raised a shedload, the EML team gets to go! Thereafter top hats, canes and monacles required only a short leap of logic. It was either that or go as pirates.

So, anyway, that’d explain the photos.

As of Monday EML will no longer have to put up with our Mos, and we won’t need to be embarrassed to go to client meetings. It’s the end of an era. It’s a fine charity, and a fun way to raise money for a good cause. We encourage everyone to take part in Movember next year (www.movember.com). After all, how bad can you look?

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WE INTERRUPT THIS MO-BROADCAST TO BRING YOU NEWS OF BAKED GOODS

Pudsey cakesOn Tuesday 18th Movember EML held a special, one-off, bake off extravaganza to raise money for Children in Need. I’m delighted to announce that we raised  a total of £132 by selling our cakes (I can’t tell you how much it hurt us to share our cakes with others, but hey, it was for charity). The event was such a success that we could really only conclude that Pudsey was the winner. Comments on the yumminess included:

Too many cakes… too little time. I had my fair share this morning after donating but then I had to sit on a conference call surrounded by the sugary delights, without munching on them – pure torture but all for a good cause!

Because I could not stay I have not had the full sugar rush that everyone else has had but I did enjoy Richard’s upmarket cheese and ham pinwheels, of which I nicked two before I left, and thought Paula’s sausage rolls were a good rival to mine.

I think the lack of competitive pressure produced some of the best quality baking this competition has seen, I particularly liked the tea-bread and the savoury pastry offering.  I believe the chocolate and sweets concoction probably needs a government warning; health food it is not.  The pink cake with dolly mixture topping seemed surprisingly popular.

Absolutely fantastic.  Can’t move now.  Can’t eat lunch.  Need sleep.

What a spread, tried everything and went into a virtual coma from the sugar intake.  Expecting a low around 3pm.

_tbx2613And, on this special occasion, we have feedback from our friends and buyers of cake at Immedia: “I would just like to let you know how much Immedia Kingston enjoyed your baked goods! I especially enjoyed the wonderful sausage rolls, the amazing lemon pound cake, the massive sugar rush inducing rocky roads, and the very cute blueberry cupcakes. We think you could make a lot of money by selling us your food for elevenses on a daily basis! Can’t wait for next year!”


RP pie.

I’m not allowed to vote am I, if so I’d vote for Richard!

The quiches were certainly nice, especially the one with bacon in it. But Richard’s entry was both unusual and very tasty. For sheer effort and imagination, as well as the fact it was very nice, Richard wins for me this week.

Richard’s dome/flying saucer wins the day. Bit heavy on the potato but seasonal and tasty. Particularly liked the egg-wash.

One Response to What’s cooking?

  1. putsimply says:

    Suggestions for the caption competition for these pictures are welcome!

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