Here at Erisea Magazine we’re all very excited about the start of the Great British Bake Off – so don’t forget to tune into BBC1 tonight at 8pm to see the bakers make a swiss roll, classic cherry cake and classic British cakes in miniature.
But will this year’s baker’s dozen be as good as last year’s? We’ll reserve judgement for now, and take the chance to chat to one of our favourites from last year’s Bake Off, Kimberley Wilson. Kimberley has recently been working with Persil to create a selection of quirky jam recipes.
There are a lot to choose from because I had such a fun time being part of the show. Being crowned Star Baker was great; you put so much time and effort into developing the recipes and practicing and it’s really lovely to be rewarded for that.
And what part of it would you most like to forget?
Although I had a couple of disasters (Biscuit Tower, Picnic Pie…) I don’t think I would want to forget them. They make the good moments even sweeter.
Are you still in touch with Mary, Paul, Mel and Sue?
Not really. Sue made herself available by email, which was really lovely but for the most part it was very much a professional relationship between the bakers and the hosts and judges. We’ll catch up when we meet at food events but I don’t think any of the bakers is in regular contact them.
And what about the other contestants? You all seemed to develop a real bond on the show – are you still in touch with them?
That has been the best part of the show. We’re all still in touch and speak almost daily as a group online. We have regular ‘Baking Days’ every six weeks or so when we get together and er..bake. There’s also a lot of gossiping and silliness. I’m in charge of organising our next get-together in the autumn in London somewhere. I’m thinking Afternoon Tea would be fitting but we’ll see. I’m really looking forward to it.
What would be your top tip for the current contestants?
Practice, practice, practice! And bake the food that you love to eat and that you cook at home. I think you’ll enjoy it more and be more successful if you stay true to you. And have fun!
Obviously in the Bake Off you focussed on baking, but on your website ‘But I’m Hungry Now!’ you have a vast range of recipes for dinners, puds, drinks and preserves. What’s your favourite thing to cook when you have an afternoon to yourself and just want to relax?
I’m really happy when I’m stirring a big pot of something; I just find the action really soothing, there’s something wholesome and reassuring about it. So probably a batch of spiced butternut squash soup or some jam.
You have been working with Persil on some jam recipes and created some flavour pairings which might not be familiar to everyone – for example your strawberry and black pepper jam. Would that work in a classic Victoria sponge, or would you be making something a bit more unusual to have with it? Or do you think jam is best served on hot buttered toast?!
Working with Persil Dual Action capsules was great because I’m about to launch my jam business, The Glamorous Jam Co., so I got to get some feedback on some of my flavours. I became known on the show for having some bold and unusual flavour combinations, nothing too outlandish, I hope, but I do like to experiment and look at a familiar food or flavour in a new way. Strawberry and Black Pepper would be great is a Victoria sponge; the warmth of the pepper brings out the sweetness and aroma of the strawberries (as long as you don’t overdo it). I will be creating some recipes to make the most of the jam flavours and putting them up on the Glamorous Jam website but really I think they are great in lots of different ways: in cakes and biscuits, stews, gravies, on icecream, in cocktails…
If someone was to bake for you, what would be your dream come true (baker and bake!)?
Oh, I love being cooked for! I missed out on a Bakers’ Dozen baking day with Richard Bertinet because I was working and Toby is still waxing lyrical about the doughnuts so I would have to try those. I follow Tivoli Road Bakery and The Tartine Baker on instagram, which is torture because everything they post looks incredible. Or anything by the Sourdough Preacher.
Last question – what have been your most memorable kitchen triumphs and disasters?
The Biscuit Tower was an unmitigated disaster. It was a bad idea poorly executed. I’m still really proud of my Peace Bread. It is probably the most creative and original thing I have created so far.
Don’t forget to catch the first episode of the Great British Bake Off on BBC1 at 8pm tonight. We’ll be sharing one of Kimberley’s jam recipes in this week’s Recipe of the Week so come back and take a look on Saturday.