A GRANDMOTHER whose baking know-how was passed down the generations has launched her bid for stardom on The Great British Bake Off.
Didcot resident Christine Wallace, 66, is hoping to win the popular prime-time show, which began its fourth series on Tuesday night.
Mrs Wallace, who has lived in Didcot since 1988, is by far the most experienced contestant taking part in the new series, with at least 60 years of baking under her apron.
She said: “I’ve loved baking since I was very young. I used to watch my grandmother and mother baking and I love being in the kitchen.
“Cakes are my favourite things to bake. I enjoy baking anything, bread, biscuits, tarts and pies, but cakes are my favourite, especially occasion cakes so I can do all the sugarwork.
“I just love baking and thought I might enter, and then thought about how many thousands of people enter, but my niece Hannah Wilson was very insistent and said if I didn’t fill the form in myself, she would do it.”
The show takes 14 amateur bakers and sets them three challenges in each episode. One is eliminated every week until only three are left, and a winner and runners-up are selected.
Mrs Wallace knows the outcome of the show, which was filmed earlier this year, but has to remain tight-lipped about the winner.
For former fashion company worker Mrs Wallace, who runs a laser-engraving company with her husband Rob, 56, the filming of the series was a new experience.
She said: “I’ve never done anything in the media before or really in public so to be in front of the camera baking was exciting. The recording all happened earlier this year and finished in June.”
She added that presenters Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc and judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry had been fun to work with, as had her fellow contestants.
She said: “They’re absolutely amazing, wonderful people. What you see is what you get, they’re exactly like they are on the television.
“I’m not nervous about watching the series, just a bit apprehensive because when you do these things at home you can do them standing on your head, but it’s different when you’re being filmed.”
The series goes out every Tuesday on BBC Two at 8pm until the final on October 22, when the winner will be revealed.
A 'FAVOURITE' RECIPE
One of Christine’s favourite recipes is cheese and walnut scones:
Ingredients: 8 ozs plain flour, 2 teasps baking powder, 1 level teasp of salt, 2 oz butter, 1 large egg, 4oz strong cheddar cheese (grated), 2oz chopped walnuts, milk to mix Method: Set oven to 200° (F).
Method: Add the salt to the flour along with the baking powder.
Rub the butter into the flour mix until a fine breadcrumb consistency is achieved.
Fold in the grated cheese and chopped walnuts.
Add the beaten egg and enough milk until the dough is soft but not sticky.
Turn on to a floured surface and roll out until about ½ to ¾ of an inch thick.
Cut into two-inch rounds and place on lightly greased baking tray.
Brush the tops with a little milk but don’t let it run down the side of the scones as that will prevent them from rising.
Bake for about 10 to 12 mins until well-risen and golden brown.
Serve warm, split and spread with cold butter.