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So – I’m back. I’ve been in Mexico. Yes, wonderful, thank you!  And since I was in a location where we didn’t even have electricity, never mind WiFi, blogging was off the agenda. We still managed to get the US election results though. 😢 And how long ago they seem now, those happy pre-Trump sunlit days where our only concern was the loss of Bake Off to the BBC. Oh, and Brexit, of course. 2016’s been a bit of a crappy year one way and another, hasn’t it?  A friend suggested the other day that we should wrap Sir David Attenborough in cotton wool and keep a very very close eye on him until midnight on 31st December, and I’m all for that. I’d suggest it for M. Bez too, except she’s pretty well indestructible and in any event could always be revived by the simple whiff of a sherry cork under her nose. I imagine she’s like the Queen in that, although in her majesty’s case the tipple of choice would of course be gin. 

Hey ho. Never mind. Onwards! Irrelevant as Bake Off may seem now, and no matter how far into the mists of the past it may have faded for normal people, I have a self-imposed to duty to finish this series of GBBO Intermissions and then finish my You Know What series of intermissions about what we may term the WTF nature of contemporary politics (and how complicated has that got now!) before finishing my F word thesis probably around the time that President Pumpkin starts his 2020 election run. Unless he’s been impeached by then. Well, a girl can dream.

So…. the semi-final! Jane, Andrew, Candice and Selassi in a titanic struggle for the three places in the final. Well, as titanic as Bake Off gets, anyway. And to start with, the Signature challenge was two types of savoury palmiers. For once I actually knew what a palmier was, as I’ve had one several times before (or, to be strictly grammatically accurate, have had several palmiers at various times – I don’t mean to imply that I kept re-eating the same palmier, as if I have evolved a pastry-based bovine style digestive system), but I’ve never knowingly had a savoury one. Paul and Mary must lead very different lives to me. (No shit, Sherlock!)

One of the main things this challenge demonstrated was the sheer baking chops remaining in the tent. Andrew started his pastry (proper puff, none of your rough puff – for the lamination, apparently, and God knows what that is, although all the bakers seemed to), then decided an hour into the three hour challenge that he wasn’t happy and was going to do it again. By rights he should have crashed and burned but he pulled it out of the bag and served up crispy delights (with lamination! What is this? Is it a wipe-clean surface featuring a printed image of a perfect palmier? Probably not.) How the twelve year old  lovechild of Tintin and Basil Brush manages this is beyond me. Does he even need to shave? At any rate, his laminated two hour palmiers won him the vote of the judges in that all important confidence boosting first round. The bakers kept muttering that “Any mistake could mean you’re out at this stage” like Premier League managers in the UEFA cup, or whatever the football trophy du jour is, only nicer and with better snacks.
And on to the Technical. More tomorrow!