The Great French Bake Off

I’ve just had The Best afternoon.

Over at Découverte Terres Lointaines, we realised that Fun was sometimes in short supply.  Often busy getting the next event together, with deadlines to meet and crises to overcome, we weren’t getting together and having time sharing our skills for the simple pleasure that brings.

So this afternoon, we had our first atelier to do just that.  We did a little publicity and attracted five women and one brave man, who came along to the CAF (Social Services.  Sort of) with their pinnies to cook.

The work we’re doing this year is on England, Yorkshire in particular, so I was put in charge of the session: though Sylvia did the work of producing a recipe booklet for each participant. What to choose?  In the end I settled for scones, which are unknown here, and crunchy ginger nuts.  Both start with the same technique – rubbing flour and butter together- but end up quite different from each other.  Both are inexpensive and quick to prepare.

Getting stuck into ginger nuts
Everyone rolled up their sleeves, weighed, stirred, mixed, rolled out, organised what they’d made onto baking trays….and waited while the ovens did their work.

Astonishing to see how identical ingredients prepared identically by different hands, with different ovens varied so much.  Some ginger nuts had crunchy crackled crusts, others were smoother, crisper.  Some scones were domed, others, equally well-risen, were flatter on top.

3 cooking squads, 3 sets of biscuits

So we all had to try everybody else’s over – of course – a nice cup of tea. Lots of discussion and constructive criticism (‘Did you add salt to yours?  Which do you think is better?  With?  Without?’).  The scones were a hit, though not everyone chose to have either butter or jam.  The ginger nuts went down well too.

Everyone declared they’d had fun.  Plenty of time to cook, to share, to talk and laugh and eventually sit and eat what we’d made with new friends. We’ve all said we’d like to come and do it again.  Soon.

Puzzled by the title? It’s an allusion to a series which has apparently been popular back in the UK: The Great British Bake Off

6 thoughts on “The Great French Bake Off”

  1. Wish I’d been there! Might have a go at some scones later this week. Making them is similar to American biscuits, but with added egg and sugar. Eat a couple for me.

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    1. I’ve always tried to. Of course we have a few English friends, but generally, we try to get ‘stuck in’ locally. Later today, sadly, a Town Council meeting that could get extremely animated. Wouldn’t normally, but this one’s important.

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