Holly Bell was a finalist on the second series of The Great British Bake Off and has an extremely successful food blog of recipes, brilliant cooking tips, reviews and giveaways. (You can take a look at the blog here)
Holly’s first book was published earlier this year ‘Recipes from a Normal Mum’ and includes various recipes that the whole family can get stuck into. As a mum of 3, Holly understands time is precious so many recipes are quick and easy but there are also brilliant ideas for weekend dinner parties, baking and large suppers.
We caught up with Holly to find out a little bit about her cooking habits…
Q What is the greatest thing you have ever baked, and why?
A Probably a cheese, potato and onion pie with flaky pastry lid. It always gets people going back for more and even managed to impress Mr Hollywood!
Q What influenced you to get into baking?
A My main influence is probably my own greed! I love eating, researching recipes, talking to other people about food and always have done. Rolling my sleeves up and getting involved myself was always inevitable.
Q What would you say is the best type of oven to bake in and why?
A My current oven is an electric fan assisted oven with a gas hob which works pretty well for me. I like the control of the gas flames but the consistency you get with an electric oven. Having said that, I do believe that a good cook or baker can learn to adapt to the tools they’re given.
Q What is your most essential piece of equipment in your kitchen?
A My digital scales – I’d be pretty much lost without them. The day I invested in a set was the day my baking improved. Precision is really important for most baking.
Q Do you have any top tips for people who want to start baking?
A If you have more baking disasters than successes treat yourself to an oven thermometer. You might be surprised at your ovens interpretation of 180 degrees! Don’t forget a preheated oven means just that – completely preheated to the correct temperature. Don’t be tempted to start baking your goodies before.
If you want to surprise your family and friends with a great Christmas present this year, buy Holly’s new book here and get baking!