A Lockdown Bake-Off


To combat the boredom of lockdown, where almost every day is identical, I suggested we had a bake-off. (This had nothing at all to do with the fact that I hate cooking dinners and thought it would be a good way to involve other people). Everyone agreed (there are five of us) and we decided we would have it at 6:30pm (dinner time, which was a complete coincidence) on Saturday. As everyone involved is an adult, they had to buy their own ingredients, but they could use stuff from the larder if they checked with me first. (I was loath for my bag of flour to be wasted unnecessarily in case it couldn’t be replaced.)

I issued the rules via WhatsApp:

So, to clarify the ‘rules’ for Lockdown Bake-off:

Each individual will serve a dish at 6:30pm on Saturday.

The dish will have 5 portions (or more).

The dish can be prepared in advance, but late entries will be abused.

You may refer to a recipe but you cannot ask for copious amounts of help from another individual so they feel like they may as well have baked it themselves.

You need to buy/check availability of ingredients in advance (like, today!) You can use one hob ring, one oven shelf (unless you cook when no one else is cooking). Any other equipment must be prebooked. (I am prebooking the microwave.) The dish must use at least some raw ingredients (ie, it cannot be a ready-meal or takeaway dish) Please say what your dish is by Friday (so I can see whether I need to cook something else for dinner!) You can cook either sweet or savoury. (I am making smoked salmon blinis with Hollandaise sauce.) If your dish has meat, there must be a veggie alternative. You may not use ingredients that people are allergic to (Quorn or Penbritin) We will all allocate marks for each dish (to be decided but will include taste, presentation, interesting value) The winner will be awarded a prize (Husband to provide).

As the day approached, there was a little manoeuvring amongst the contestants. Bea announced she planned to make Baked Alaska. Husband worried that there might not be space in the freezer (I assured him there was) and then it transpired that it clashed with the dish he planned to make. Bea chose a different dish. Jay kept his dish a secret, and did not appear to buy any ingredients, until the very last minute. As in, the very last minute.

Two hours before, and the tension was palpable. There was an issue with tinned tomatoes having added basil which ruined the taste (they are now in a mug in my fridge). My kitchen looked like a bomb had hit it (not a rare event) and there was a little jostling for room and tension over the allocation of serving plates.

At 6:30, we all sat at the table. Forgot to say Grace due to the excitement. First up were my blinis, which looked better than they tasted, but the hollandaise sauce didn’t curdle, so all was okay. Then we had three main courses. There were veggie tacos, with a kick in the smokey black beans (tasty, and served with freshly made guacamole). Then a spinach tart, with rocket garnish and balsamic glaze—all very professional. Last up was Jay’s goulash, served in ramekin dishes with rocket garnish (stolen) and a hunk of freshly baked bread.

Then it was Husband’s turn. This was worrying, as he doesn’t cook, ever—not since the day I was in labour with child number two many years ago, and he cooked Bea pizza complete with melted polystyrene base attached. He was serving dessert, but we were worried, especially as he disappeared into the garage, then ran to his study with something stuffed up his jumper. We discussed in low voices how to avoid eating his offering if it looked too unhygienic, and pondered as to why it was being prepared in his study. We waited.

Husband returned, carrying a tray of sugar-glazed sundae dishes (I mention the sugar-glaze, as this was the main skill involved). They looked very pretty. We do not actually own any sundae dishes—he had ordered them specially—we now own six. He then brought in a tray of toppings, and a tub of ice-cream. There were crushed Crunchie bars, and mini meringues, and raspberries and strawberries (I checked the fruit had been washed—and which sink it had been washed in). All seemed hygienic, and was, to be fair, very tasty. The only cooking involved was heating the jar of salted caramel sauce in the microwave, but to be honest, that suited everyone.

We then completed the score sheets, added the totals, and awarded the prize of a bottle of Prosecco to Bea (who pointed out that she owned it anyway as it had been a birthday gift—so I guess it’s a good thing no one else won!)

Following the success of this, I am considering suggesting we have a sewing-bee, or a hairdressing competition (they were surprisingly unkeen on this idea!) We could also try a ‘clean-off’ whereby everyone has one room to clean, and then we each judge each other’s efforts. I think this one is my favourite. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Hope you’re managing to have some lockdown fun too.

Take care.
Love, Anne x

Thanks for reading.
Why not sign up to follow my blog?
anneethompson.com

******

Invisible Jane continues tomorrow. . .

***

Here is the score sheet, in case you want to copy:

Lockdown Bake-Off Score Sheet

Name of dish:
(To be completed by cook)

 

Score (To be completed by other contestants. You must award one dish at least 9 points in each category.)
Marks out of ten to be awarded for:

Is it edible?

1.

2.

3.

4.

Does it look nice?

1.

2.

3.

4.

Does it taste nice?

1.

2.

3.

4.

Is it ‘interesting’?

1.

2.

3.

4.

Is each portion a uniform size?

1.

2.

3.

4.

How much skill was involved in creating the dish?

1.

2.

3.

4.

Would you like to eat this dish again?

1.

2.

3.

4.
Other comments:

One thought on “A Lockdown Bake-Off

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.