This week was one of the most dramatic episodes so far, featuring a blood-covered John and a lucky escape for James and Sarah-Jane!
It was pudding week and the challenges were: a signature sponge pudding, a technical challenge of Queen of Puddings and a showstopper strudel.
Sponge puddings may have sounded simple, but the results from the contestants were surprisingly poor, at least in the eyes of Paul who was on fire this week – he wasn’t letting anyone get off easily. No one escaped his criticism, creating a tense, nervous atmosphere in the tent for the rest of the weekend.
The technical challenge was the old fashioned Queen of Puddings – a layered dessert of custard, jam and meringue. Surprisingly James finished bottom of the class, his underwhelming sponge leaving him languishing in the danger zone. Once again, Brendan came top which, at this stage in the competition, marks him out as one of the strong favourites.
The third and final challenge was a strudel which requires making a very tricky dough – a pastry that has to be gently stretched by hand, as contestants try to avoid tearing the paper-thin mixture.
During the challenge John cut his finger in the Magimix but avoided getting it seen to properly. The drama continued a little while later when he appeared visibly faint, brandishing a hand covered in blood...
Accidents are quite common on the show – in the final of series one I had a rather serious injury that left me despairing as I tried to knead my bread one-handed! Thankfully there is always someone from St John's Ambulance present and luckily this year there was also Danny, an Intensive Care Consultant, on set to save the day. As John was unable to continue he was ushered out of the tent to recover, not to be seen for the rest of the episode.
Brendan’s brilliant savoury strudel of courgettes and cheese gave him the edge over the rest of the pack and he was awarded star baker once again, topping off a very consistent few weeks for him.
Due to John’s inability to complete the challenge, Paul and Mary made the tough decision to postpone the elimination until next week - probably the fairest thing to do in the circumstances.
We’ve now reached the halfway point in the show and the remaining contestants will be very focused as they begin to count down the weeks to the final. Expect to see their competitive natures starting to emerge in the coming weeks…