I am very excited about today’s blog post – a blog interview with one of the contestants from the Great British Bake Off, Urvashi Roe. If you’ve been watching the Great British Bake Off, you’ll have seen some delicious-sounding, and looking, dishes made by Urvashi. If you live in the UK and haven’t watched any episodes, I suggest you go straight over to BBC iPlayer and rectify that immediately, and then follow up that good work by watching the next episode on BBC2 next Tuesday at 8pm*. If you don’t live in the UK, or if you do and you want to see more of Urvashi’s tasty baking, head over to her blog, The Botanical Baker, or find Urvashi on Twitter, where she tweets as @botanicalbaker. What do you think about the Great British Bake Off so far? Which of Urvashi’s bakes is your favourite? Leave a comment and let me know!
Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed, Urvashi, and welcome to my little blog!
Let’s start with some quick-answer questions!
Sweet tart or savoury pie?
Sweet tart always
Starter or dessert?
Baking in the Great British Bake Off tent, or baking in your own kitchen?
Baking in the tent was exciting and the adrenalin was pumping but I love the peace and calm of my own kitchen. I know where everything is and there isn’t a time restraint!
Congratulations on getting on to the Great British Bake Off this year. I really admire the way you all bake so beautifully despite the knowledge that the nation will watch what you do. What was it like, and how has it challenged you as a baker?
My application and audition process was so quick that I didn’t really have a chance to think through all the elements that would or could be involved. It’s the first time I’ve just gone with things and been quite relaxed about the unexpected happening.
It REALLY challenged me as a baker as I had to bake things I don’t usually bake – like quiche for example. I hate quiche but actually experimenting with recipes to use for the show changed my view. Developing the recipes and making sure they reflected my personality and baking style was one of the best parts of the experience.
Where did you find inspiration for your recipes on the Great British Bake Off?
I LOVE food and travel. I’ve been lucky enough to have travelled to so many places and savoured some amazing food. I flicked through travel albums of my past, cookery books and newspaper clippings. I also spent EVERY evening brainstorming ideas with my hubby who is also a big foodie.
What is your best bake that hasn’t had any airtime so far?
My best bakes were my little tarts because pastry was my nemesis. Again I hadn’t done much pastry before Bake Off and was really proud of my Country Garden theme. They didn’t really show the Strawberry and Basil which was a really tasty and pretty one.
You have a great blog, which seems to emphasise your interest in flowers and plants and their nutritional values. Where does that interest come from, and what is your favourite recipe on your blog?
Thank you. It took a long while to come up with a blog idea that reflects my passions. I am obsessed with understanding why something is good or bad for you from a health perspective. I think it comes from having babies and wanting to make sure you know what is going into their tiny, vulnerable bodies. I find it fascinating that there are natural foods that you can eat to help different ailments or health issues – or even at different stages of your life. I just wanted to be able to share the research I do on this with people.
My favourite recipe currently on the blog is probably The Blueberry and Coconut Tart. I made it up and got it right first time plus the coconut is my all time favourite fruit!
Your blog is quite new – what was the inspiration for starting it and where do you get ideas for new posts?
I had such a fantastic time in my thirties and did so many amazing things. That can be harder to do when children come along so I committed to do/try 40 new things when I turned 40 last December to make sure life stays as interesting as possible. I also love writing and so the blog is a great way to make sure I do that for fun. (I do a lot of writing at work!)
My inspiration comes from my garden, my weekends at the pick your own farm down the road, food in season, unusual food, tastes I want to experiment with, the media but also from my travels. I’ve just been to India and have come back buzzing with ideas to try out based on food I tasted and plants I saw in the wild. I love that feeling you get when something in your head turns out amazing from the oven!
Apart from your own (!), which blog (or blogs) are your favourite or particularly inspire you?
Oooh that’s tough. I like blogs that feel honest and give a bit of history so my favourite blogs from other contestants are Holly’s and Mary Anne’s.
And finally, what advice would you give an aspiring food blogger?
Pick an area you feel passionate about and just have a go. You don’t have to make the blog public at first if you don’t want to or are not sure what your “style” should be. But just have a go and try something new. You’ll make a load of great new friends around the world who are into the same thing as you. Go for it!
*Disclaimer: I’ve chosen to interview Urvashi Roe, and to talk about The Great British Bake Off, because I love the programme. I’ve not received any kind of compensation for this interview. All of Urvashi’s answers are copyright to her, and you will need to contact her if you want to replicate them in any way.