Paul Hollywood has baked for the Queen. He was Head Baker at the Dorchester and supplies bread to Harrods. Basically, the man can bake.
He’s also known for his steely blue-eyed stare at hapless contestants on The Great British Bake-Off, a.k.a. cooking show crack.
Generally, I read cookery books to entreat myself to make something more interesting for dinner one night, c’mon you can do it, and ooh look at the pretty pictures. This is possibly the first time I have ever read a cookery book cover to cover. And enjoyed it.
Hollywood writes exactly as he speaks and, as a fan of TGBBO, I could hear his voice clear as a bell telling me to use some elbow grease, that suet (the fat around an animal’s kidneys) makes glorious pastry, and that this or that pudding reminded him of home. (If that is the case, I think Paul may have grown up entirely on pies and puddings.) But this all works in his favour – he knows what he’s doing, the photos in the book show him doing the different steps (very helpful), and goodness only knows where I could buy suet in West Australia, but I’m willing to search it out. Call me inspired.
Recommended for daydreaming while on a diet, fans of baking shows, and anyone who wants to make proper English pies and puddings.
PS: apparently American pies are quite sweet. English pies are basically meat-and-3-veg in a handy container.