Mary Berry’s Apricot Frangipane Tart (or could it be a Quiche?)

But first a Random Rant.

What the hell has happened to the BBC news website? It’s my go-to primary source of news (If, on the other hand, I want non-news I wind myself up by reading about the latest shenanigans relating to Kim Kardashian on the Daily Mail Online).

The BBC website used to just tell you what was going on in reasonably impartial terms (not bad for a leftie organisation). But now they seem to have employed a 21 year old to redesign the site so that it feels like you are looking at….well I’m not sure. It’s like its designed for people who don’t read the news. GREAT BIG pictures. Sentences of no more than a few words. Lots of videos.

They say it’s because most people view the BBC site on phones and tablets. But people know better than to view lots of videos on the move because it uses up the battery and their network credit.

So what’s the real reason? Money. Austerity. Over here everyone who has a TV has to pay the BBC a license fee. It began a looooong time ago. Before commercial channels with advertising and of course well before cable or satellite subscriptions.

But now, in the brave new world of dog-eat-dog, the license fee is under threat. We have to pay it even if we don’t watch it. Even Sky hasn’t managed to pull that trick (although you know they wish they could).

So the BBC is trying to shrink into the background. You can imagine them sitting in their very expensive new offices in Manchester sweating it out.

‘What can we do?’

‘Can we make them forget?’

‘Forget what?’

‘The license fee.’

‘How?’

‘Well, let’s not increase the price. They’ll forget about it.’

‘Well how are we going to afford our inclusive diversity training weekends at Gleneagles?’

‘We’ll slash the online budget. We’ll create one website that works across any device. It’ll look crap because it will have much less content, but it’ll be super cheap to run.’

‘Excellent! Pour the champagne and give yourself a pay rise.’

So there we have it. A vanilla news website which seems oddly devoid of news. It’s got big pictures and large areas of white space. Groovy.

Still awake? Looking for some food? How about this. It came from BBC GoodFood. Now they aren’t messing around with websites. They do spend a bit too much time messing around with foods you’ll never try (like most recently wild garlic. Come on, wild garlic) but they also do really good things. For instance, Apricot Frangipane Tart.

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Fraisier Cake By Mary Berry For Furniaphobics

I just made up a new phobia – furniahobia is the ‘fear of baking’ (from the Latin ‘to bake’). Yes its a pretty slow Saturday afternoon around here and kids are hogging the Playstation.

The problem with food blogging, however, is baked creations are often the most interesting. So in the interest of entertaining readers it seems fair enough to attempt that which can so easily go wrong. This time round I tried out a recipe I found in this winter’s London-based Good Food Show catalogue:

Fraisier Cake! This creation combines Genoese sponge with a crème patisserie filling finished with chocolate and strawberries.

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The Continuing Adventures of the Great British Bake Off – Sachertorte, sort of…

The problem with baking is it’s hit and miss. Some things go right and some things go very wrong. The main points though are a) never give up and b) post the results no matter what, good or bad.

So in a delirium of confidence bought on by my ability to smear melted chocolate around the insides of a mould I decided to try another Mary Berry creation from BBC’s ‘Great British Bake Off’. Sachertorte is a rich chocolatey cake that was apparently invented by some bloke called Sacher or something.

It’s main distinction is a smooth satin chocolate covering. The original has a chocolate medallion on top but most people write ‘Sacher’ on the top in chocolate. Easy right? Well it’s always easy on the TV.

A bewildering array of ingredients – and an empty bottle of wine. That doesn’t bode well…

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