Every year at the beginning of September, we eagerly await with joyous anticipation the start of the Great British Bake Off. And this year, we tuned in with even more excitement than ever to catch our first glimpse of Maggie – a retired midwife from Poole in our beloved Dorset!
From the moment we saw her standing at the front of the tent, oh no, hang on, that was Prue Leith – from the moment we saw her standing behind her station, we knew she was our new favourite contestant! With a warm smile, fabulous aluminium hair and 60 years of baking experience she is just the kind of person we can imagine having a chat to over a cup of tea and a delicious slab of cake! Stop reading now if you’ve not yet watched week one – spoilers alert!
So what happened in the tent this week?
First up was the signature bake – this week the group were tasked with creating mini rolls and Maggie controversially went for a flourless bake to create her ‘Knit and Natter’ chocolate and orange offering – a dedication to the local Dorset knitting group she attends. With Paul Hollywood making his first little jibe about Maggie’s resemblance to his fellow judge asking, “have you practiced this Prue?” it later became clear that she had. The judges were impressed with her flavours and “nice little swirl”. We thought it looked delicious and have just found the recipe… we may even give it a go ourselves this weekend! We also loved the look of Christelle’s ‘Chai and Chai Again’ mini rolls infused with such yummy flavours!
Next up was the feared technical challenge – this week it was one that lent a favour to the older contestants – malt loaf! We have to admit that most of us have only ever seen malt loaf appear from a little yellow packet but Maggie was cool, calm and collected as she got stuck in (presumably strong traits from her former profession). The judges, doing their blind tasting, were impressed with the taste, tension and topping of Maggie’s loaf. When she was awarded best bake she endearingly remarked, “When they went down the numbers I thought they’d just missed me out. I’m terribly pleased”.
Finally it was time for the showstopper and despite it being just week one, there were no holds barred with contestants being tasked with creating a gravity defying bake! The results were mixed with Amanda’s bright blue wave collapsing, Chigs’ mug crumbling into pieces and a decidedly flat looking bake from Tom. Maggie opted for a seaside themed ice cream cone, inspired by her beach surroundings in Dorset and although the judges remarked that her design had “gone from a cornet to a tub”, we still thought it looked impressive!
Maggie’s favourite Dorset spots
Dorset Live were lucky enough to have a chat to Maggie and we were excited to hear that she loves our county just as much as we do! She’s a big fan of watersports and regularly sails, canoes and kayaks in beautiful Poole Harbour. This is a lovely spot and from the water you can soak up the wonderful views of the natural harbour with the town of Poole sitting on its shores. There are some good areas to choose from with shallow waters making it a great place to learn before you head out further afield. It’s without a doubt one of our favourite spots to hang out too – maybe we’ll even see Maggie out on the water! Maggie - you bring the cake, we’ll bring the tea!
Maggie also told Dorset Live that she regularly practises making the county’s specialities – Dorset apple cake and Dorset knob, so maybe the nation will be introduced to some of our delicious local delicacies over the coming weeks!
Tea and cake – the perfect combination
But what is it about cake that makes us crave tea and vice versa? The two together just make the best pairing and we have spent many hours sitting in some of our favourite local Dorset cafes devouring slices of cake and pots of tea. Even on Tuesday evening, despite our distinct lack of cake, the mere sight of it on TV got us boiling the kettle and brewing cups of our sunshine blend. Okay, we admit, it maybe should have been a cup of calming camomile that late in the day but sometimes we just can’t resist!
Had we been lucky enough to have some of Maggie’s yummy malt loaf we think our earl grey would have paired beautifully. The bold taste of the black tea and the citrusy flavours of the bergamot would be delicious with the slightly savoury flavours of the malt and the sweetness from the fruit. Hmm, we don’t know about you but we’re going to be stocking up on cake ready for next week’s viewing!
We‘ve been trying to get hold of Maggie, although she’s freely admitted that social media is more challenging than French patisserie, so Maggie – if you’re reading this, we’d love it if you got in touch! (You can follow Maggie on Instagram @maggietheseasidebaker). If you’ve been inspired by Maggie or any of the other bakers this week, we’d love to hear from you - tweet us @dorset_tea #GBBO #maggietheseasidebaker