Every Buns a Winner!

And so, at last, the day of the Roddy Great Bake Off Grand Final arrived. Over the last weeks we’ve learned some surprising facts about the Roddy bakers, and we’ve sampled some truly ‘interesting’ bakes.

The grand final was open to all the Roddy Bakers who have been brave enough to bake along with the Great British Bake Off for their colleagues here at Leafletfrog. The challenge for the final week was to make 6 filled iced buns and the stakes were high, with a showstopper prize up for grabs for the supreme champion.

As you can see, the standard of entries was surprisingly better than expected. After a fair amount of sampling over our morning break, we can announce that the winner of the 2015 Roddy Great Bake Off is Julie Roddy Campbell. Well done from all the Roddy Team and also from the makers of Rennies, whose profits have probably soared over the last few weeks.

 

Fill your buns!

As the Great British Bake Off and the Roddy Great Bake Off both draw to a nail-biting conclusion next week, we’ve got something really exciting planned for the grand final of our very own Roddy Great Bake Off.

I’m inviting all the Roddy bakers to enter the grand final competition, and the winning baker will walk away (well, strictly speaking, they’ll be walking back to their desk) with a fantastic prize. All the bakers need to do is to make 6 filled iced buns. Sounds simple, doesn’t it! Who will rise to the challenge? Whose bottom will be soggy? Who will show that they have the buns of steel to succeed? The bakes need to be brought in by 11am on 7 October, and our very own “Paul” and “Mary” will be on hand to do the judging.

We’ll be posting pictures of the bakes and the judging, so get ready for an exciting week!

Mark drives us fruit and nutty

It’s the penultimate week of the Roddy Great Bake Off and the tension is getting unbearable. It’s chocolate week. As any chef will tell you, chocolate can be challenging to cook with. It doesn’t like it too hot or too cold, and it can very quickly become impossible to work with. Come to think about it, that does sound rather like several people in the Leafletfrog office – mentioning no names!

One name I will mention is Mark Johnson our Production Manager, who admitted that the last time he did any baking he was a small child helping his grandma. He’s now 44, so you could say it’s better chocoLATE than never! Not wanting to attempt anything too ambitious, Mark made chocolate crispy cakes for this week’s Bake Off.  Mark used to race in Formula 1 until a nasty accident cut short any hopes of a life as a millionaire playboy racing driver. I think that racings loss is our gain, and you could say that at Leafletfrog, Mark’s ‘Livin’ la vida cocoa’!

If the choux fits!

The pressure is rising in the Leafletfrog offices as the Roddy Great Bake Off nears the final stages. It's patisserie week so we've all been thinking about choux puns and buns, profiteroles, éclairs and cream horns. As Leanne in sales has recently admitted to spending rather a lot of money each month on shoes to add to her Imelda Marcos-esque collection, it seemed fitting for her to 'choux' away the competition and make choux buns. 

What ‘choux you talkin’ about? Here are some pics of Leanne ‘Imelda’ Spencer with her choux buns.

We are not amused!

 

Talk about putting the cat among the pigeons! As soon as I mentioned that it was Victorian week on Bake-off, and that perhaps a nice ‘game pie’ would be in order for the Roddy Great Bake Off, there was compete pandemonium. It appears that said pandemonium was because the Leafletfrog offices are not in an area exactly well known for its game. Now, on the other hand, talking of cats and pigeons, they are always in plentiful supply (although I hasten to add that they should be left free and not put into pies), but there’s not a lot of grouse, deer or pheasant in the great metropolis of Bolton.

Everyone was very relieved when Debs in customer services came up with a solution that kept everyone happy – and guaranteed the safety of the local wildlife population – by offering to make chicken pie.

Julie's Frangipane

It was over to Julie (Print Finisher Extraordinaire) for Pastry Week on the Roddy Great Bake Off.

As the day of the bake approached, the offices became unusually subdued and quiet. It was odd. People were just getting on with their work. Quietly. In an orderly fashion. There was no singing, gossip or chatter. And definitely no dancing around. After a bit of investigation though, it turned out that everyone was scared stiff about inadvertently mentioning ‘soggy bottoms’ in case they caused offence (or, more likely, got a slap round the chops). Thankfully, there was not a soggy bottom in sight. We shouldn’t have worried - as with a good puff pastry, Julie has many layers.

As well as folding, stitching, cutting and laminating all the print here at LeafletFrog, she makes a mean chocolate cake, she’s a professional pianist and, as we now know, makes perfect pastry!

Roddy's Gluten Free Scones

There was a distinct lack of volunteers for this week’s “alternative ingredients” week. Alternative music? Yes. Alternative comedy? Yes. But alternative ingredients? The whole concept caused complete confusion and, I’m shocked to say, panic in the offices, with a lot of muttering and tutting.

So it was up to me (Roddy) to save the day. Perhaps I’m just a “gluten” for punishment!

Anyway, the heat was on, so I attempted scones … but WITHOUT ANY SUGAR. I’d planned on using fruit to sweeten them, but decided against that because I don’t like fruit scones. The finished scones looked OK, but there was no sweet smell – or taste – of success. The finished scones were disappointingly bland and tasteless. That was, of course, until I spooned a generous amount of jam on them, which goes to prove the old saying, “cane sugar just can’t be beet”.

Martin's Crème brûlée

This week, the Roddy team could choose from crème brûlées, cheesecake or something very complicated to do with meringues. Martin is Leafletfrog’s Consultant Technical Director. No one is sure what that actually means (he could just make the tea for all we know), but because he’s got ‘Director’ in his job title he thinks he’s the ‘crème de la crème’.

Nobody was surprised when Martin volunteered to ‘dessert’ his post to make some crème brûlées. Martin’s ambition is to make Roddy a household name, so perhaps he’d better stick to the day job, judging from the photos!

Martin's top tip is - "don't get distracted while they're under the grill as they can burn very quickly!"

Crème Brûlée Ingredients

  • 500ml (17 fl oz) Double Cream
  • 100g (3.5 oz) Caster Sugar
  • 1 Vanilla Pod (de-seeded and chopped, keep the seeds) or 1tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 6 Egg Yolks

Pre-heat your oven to 150oC

Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl until it goes a pale colour, smooth and consistency of very thick custard.

In a saucepan, add the vanilla (of whichever type) and all the milk and bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.

Bring back to the boil before pouring into the egg mixture through a sieve, continuously whisking. Carry on gently whisking for about 5 mins, it should be now a very thin custard consistency.

Pour into ramekins in a bain marie (tray of hot water about half way up the ramekins) and put in the oven for 40mins, they should be a little bit wobbly when they're done.

Leave to cool to room temperature.

Spread a heaped teaspoon evenly over the top of each, using the same bain marie but replace the hot water with iced water to stop the custard cooking any more under the grill.

Place under a very hot grill keeping an eye on them to not burn too much.

Done!

 

 

Mark's Bread

It’s Bread Week for the Roddy Great Bake Off. Mark Holme usually earns a crust in dispatch and finishing (and quite frankly, spends quite a lot of time time loafing around), so he’s risen to this week’s challenge.

A little-known fact about Mark is that as well as baking a mean soda bread, he also helps those in ‘knead’, working part time as a bike mechanic for Bury Tandem Club for the Visually Impaired. When we asked Mark where he finds the time – he said ‘It’s the ‘yeast’ he could do….’

Soda bread Ingredients:

  • 250g (8oz) plain flour
  • 250g (8oz) wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 30g (1oz) unsalted butter
  • 300ml (1/2 pint) buttermilk

Sift the flours, baking powder,salt together, then rub the butter into the flour

Make a well in the centre of the mixture & pour in the buttermilk, stir the mix until a soft crumbly dough

Turn out onto a floured surface, knead the dough until smooth and elastic, takes about 3 minutes

Shape into a 2 inch high, 6 inch diameter flattened round, cut a 1 inch deep cross into the top,dust with flour ,place onto baking papered tray and bake for 35mins at 200'c oven.

 

Kate's Biscotti

Kate 'Roddy' Taylor is our customer services manager, and we were all a bit surprised that as soon as we suggested doing a Roddy Great Bake Off here in the office, she was first to volunteer to attempt this week's bake - Biscotti. It turns out that Kate's eagerness is because she has a secret life that none of us knew about - being an expert cake decorator (she even spent 2 years in college learning the craft of cake decorating and honing her skills).

Ingredients (make 24)

  • 200g plain flour
  • 11/2 level teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 100g almonds, skins on
  • 150g golden caster sugar
  • 2 large egg, lightly beaten
  • few drops almond extract

Pre-heat the oven to 170°C, gas mark 3

First sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl, then add the ground and whole almonds and sugar. Give it a good mix, then add the egg and the almond extract, and mix it together first with a wooden spoon and then using your hands to bring the mixture together to form a smooth dough.

Now place the dough on a lightly floured surface and, using your hands, roll it into a log about 28cm long. Put it on the lined baking sheet and bake it near the centre of the oven for 30 minutes. After that, transfer it to a cooling tray and leave until completely cold.

Then reduce the oven temperature to 150°C, gas mark 2.

Now use a serrated knife to cut the biscotti into slightly diagonal slices about 1cm wide. Then place them back on the lined baking tray and bake for another 30 minutes until pale gold and crisp.

Transfer them to the cooling tray and when cold, store in an airtight container.

The Roddy Great Bake Off

Here in the Leafletfrog offices, we can hardly contain our excitement now that GBBO is back on our screens each week. To celebrate, and also to give us all an excuse to pig out each week, we’ve decided to have a ‘Roddy Great Bake Off’ of our own.

Each week, one lucky team member will be chosen to showcase their baking talents, and I’ll post a picture of them – and their bake – on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

We’ll be adding the posts every Thursday so make sure you watch out for them as they could be spectacular (or they may be spectacularly hilarious).

This week was cake week so I decided to volunteer first. As I need to keep an eye on my figure, I decided against attempting a heartstopper challenge of a cream-filled, chocolatey Black Forest Gateau, and instead decided to try a slightly healthier option of a Madeira cake.

Judge for yourself, but I think I’d better stick to folding leaflets and beating prices! Get ready for the challenge of biscuit week next week – I’m sure it will be bake-tastic for one of the Roddy team!