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Britain's Best Home Cook - Burger Week

Stills taken from BBC's Britain's Best Home Cook on iPlayer.Well I have to say that went much better than I was expecting and big thanks for only showing me crying once after being asked numerous times during the filming, “When is the crying going to stop?!?” Unfortunately if I have any sort of emotion, sadness, excitement, joy, even anger it comes pouring out of my eyes. ***Spoiler Alert*** I survived week one and will be back next week to make my fish dish…who would have thought that would ever happen!?!

Saying goodbye to Alan & Jackson, very difficult

Arriving at the house was so exciting, although I have to admit I did feel a little bit nervous and quite a bit guilty saying goodbye to my little baby and my husband after arriving at the house, what have I let myself in for? Will my babies be ok without me?

Walking into the house for the 1st time!

I tentatively wandered down the corridor and into the kitchen wondering who I was going to be living with… I was instantly greeted and scooped up into a big bear hug by Q, I didn’t even catch her name! We all sat round the table and did a round robin about who we were, where we came from, what our jobs were, and I started to feel a bit more at ease. I immediately had a soft spot for Josie, she was so nervous, I just wanted to give her a massive cuddle and tell her it was all going to be ok. Trevor instantly made me laugh and we quickly became fast friends.

Josie & I having a cwtch during judging...

Conversation quickly turned to food, obviously… but as everyone got into full swing talking about all the dishes they liked to make, I felt like I might have wandered into the wrong room, I only cook for my family and friends, surely I wouldn’t be able to compete with these guys. Deep breath… I reassured myself that I was here to do my best and that was all that mattered, just like what I tell my children when they’re worried or nervous about something.We began to explore the house, Q and I were in the rooms next to each other (I got the best room in the house!!... in my mind anyway), we were the only two on the ground floor. My bedroom was massive! On the first night Q and I stayed up late nattering with a glass of wine, everyone else got an early night, but I wanted to enjoy every minute of the experience, I had convinced myself that I would be the first one going home and didn’t want to waste the time in the house going to bed early! I confided in Q and she was very reassuring and kind to me, not to mention she always made me giggle.

Here comes Mary Berry...!!!

Before I knew it, the alarm was going off (very early) and then it was time to head to the kitchen and meet MARY BERRY!!!!!!!! Well I was such a melting pot of emotions, nerves and excitement all jumbled up, well I couldn’t stop crying every time Mary came anywhere near me, how embarrassing. Mary Berry, the Queen of Cakes, has been my idol since I was maybe 5 or 6, my mother and I have always made her recipes to great success (they never fail) and now Mary is going to be watching me cook, thankfully Mary is as lovely in person as on TV.

Claudia is absolutely fabulous, just as funny and kind off screen as she seems on screen, she managed to make us all smile and laugh even though we were all very nervous. Then we were off…cooking! Clutching onto my recipe for dear life, I had an hour and half for the perfect burger! My one thought, “I should have practiced this burger more than once!”It’s a surreal experience cooking in front of Mary Berry, Chris Bavin (I’ve been a fan for a while) & Dan Doherty (a real life professional chef)! I could feel myself starting to panic slightly and had remind myself to keep breathing and not to look at what everyone else was making.

I made everything I wanted to in the time… Phew! But what was my burger like inside?? Was it cooked? Was it overcooked and too dry? Nothing more I could do it was judging time, it’s hard to describe the feeling when all three judges are standing in front of you…. well judging!!! Before entering the house I told my husband Alan that I was looking forward to being judged, to finding out if my food was actually any good, but as I stood there waiting for the verdict, boy I’d changed my mind!

I was very untidy making that burger, Mary even attempted to help me tidy a little, before we started filming, mortifying. I would have had the ground open up and swallow me whole in that moment if I could have… Mary berry thinks I’m messy!!! In truth in the house I am a little bit untidy, often I cook before a late shift in work and have to rush off and leave Alan to do all the washing up!

As Dan cut into the burger I had everything crossed….inside the burger was nicely cooked and they liked it, all 3 of the judges actually liked it…. Cue…Tears of joy!! I felt as though my whole body relaxed, even parts I didn’t know were stressed! I couldn’t believe it my simple Welsh Rarebit Cheese Burger had not only been tasted by Mary Berry, Chris Bavin & Dan Doherty but enjoyed by them! And Mary was particularly taken with my Cheesy Onion rings!

I managed to get around and taste everyone else’s burgers, so varied, so delicious and everyone did a fantastic job, no disasters. All three judges chose Pippa as their favourite, and very well deserved, I cannot wait to make that recipe for my husband he is going to love it! Pippa was so surprised…So the favourite has been chosen and I’m looking forward to a quiet night relaxing at home then Bombshell…NUTS!! Who would chose nuts over berries?? I did tease Pippa in the house afterwards but everyone else seemed really happy with nuts, strange bunch!As soon as we got back to the house everyone started researching their recipes, I was a bit naughty and didn’t do any research, I had already decided that I was going to make a coffee and walnut Swiss roll the next day, I’d convinced myself the right ingredients would be there… and had a sneaky G&T!!The next morning I was up bright and early, it was lovely having breakfast with everyone, but it was sad to think that there would only be 9 of us coming back to the house that night.

"I'm making a coffee & walnut swiss roll"

I was happy to be back in the kitchen cooking, and baking a Swiss roll is something I do regularly. I was still very nervous because I had never incorporated nuts into the mix before, would it be too heavy? Would I be able to get the flavours right? I was especially worried about the rolling and then to top it all off, I find out it is going to be the battle of the Swiss Rolls, against Tobi and Fiona, oh dear and I had no back up recipe! Just keeping smiling….

My Swiss Roll Mix

Ready, set and we’re off cooking again, 1 hour to produce a cake for MARY BERRY!!! Was I mad? It started well, my mix had a lovely consistency and baked beautifully then just as I’m getting ready to roll up my Swiss roll, Mary Berry appears like a vision….!!!! Just to explain my anguish at this , if a Swiss roll is going to go wrong, it is going to go wrong at this precise moment and Mary Berry is standing there WATCHING ME! Mary was so kind, she said “I’m here to help” and lightly touched my arm, right another deep breath and away we roll…it’s only a cake right?!? My sponge had a little crack but I reassured myself “I’ll get away with that!”

Mary Berry always had a kind word for us

I will remember it forever, whilst filming Mary was helping me, and she said “You’ve baked a perfect sponge” well I simply melted and had cry into my fridge for about 10 minutes.Judging time again, and low and behold all three judges liked my swiss roll! I just couldn’t hold back the tears yet again!


I found it nerve-wracking waiting for the judges to decide who was going to cook again, but we did get to sample the swiss rolls with our cup of coffee whilst we waited and after tasting the other two Swiss rolls that’s when I really started to feel very nervous,

Fiona’s sponge was so light and flavourful and Tobi’s was like a new modern version of a Swiss roll, mine suddenly seemed a little bit boring, but I told myself, no matter what, I did myself proud and Mary Berry liked my sponge.

We're on the edge of our stools...

When Mary called my name, announcing I was safe, I was shocked and I was very lucky to get a stool and be safely through to cook again next week. Sadly Josie, Dipa, Fiona and Trevor had to cook again, and they made a recipe which would have sent me home in a heartbeat, my husband Alan always poaches our eggs! Seriously!! Those stools seem innocuous but sitting on one comes loads with a lot of heavy mixed emotions, on one hand joy at being safe and on the other despair that our wonderful group is about to be broken up and we can merely sit there and watch their misery!

As you now know sadly Fiona was the first to leave our merry house and she was sorely missed, she was a fantastic home cook and her fashion sense was second to none (her scarfs alone!), unfortunately I think her nerves stood in the way of her undoubted talent. I’m hoping for an invite for Sunday lunch, in her beautiful kitchen!

Fabulous Fiona...Love the Scarf!!

Britain’s Best Home Cook continues Thursday 10th May 2018, 8pm, BBC One

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