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on 24 May 2013
So far I've put on 4lbs, just trying recipesand it's been delightful. I would kill for the bakewell tart she makes.
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on 14 July 2013
I'll admit that I am a big baking fan - that MAY or MAY NOT mean big around the waist due to baked goods, but anyway. I loved watching The Great British Bake Off (both series) and I was really fond of last year's winner, Jo Wheatley a mum of three from Essex. Jo blogs at Jo's Blue AGA and her first book, A Passion for Baking, was released last month. I recently bought Jo's book, which involved a special trip to Sainsbury's as they have the exclusive rights to the book, but the special trip was well worth it as A Passion for Baking is a clear and colourful book packed full of delicious sweet and savoury baked goods.

The first thing I made from the book was the chocolate birthday cake as Jo was running a competition on her blog to see who could make the cake and decorate it the best. It tasted delicious, although it looked like a dog's dinner so needless to say I didn't win!

I had more success with a less - ambitious - recipe which was, nonetheless delicious: The White Chocolate Tiffin, which remarkably easy to make and I did the best part of it of an afternoon then left it overnight to set the chocolate and it was ready for lunchboxes the next day.

I can't fault the whole book, which is filled with lovely-looking recipes, with each method described in a very easy-to-understand way and backed up with some lovely photography. I quite fancy the Stromboli next, just to put my sweet tooth aside for a minute and go with something savoury, but there really are recipes to suit all tastes in this book.
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on 26 February 2013
It's been a while since I bought a recipe book and having seen Jo on GBBO, couldn't resist buying her book.

It's wonderful, a really lovely book. I've only made one recipe so far - but have made it four times in the last 10 days - the raspberry torte - so delicious and easy to make. I can't wait to make the rest - and I know I will make all of the recipes. There's nothing worse than buying a recipe book which is aimed at those with big budgets for ingredients when the majority of people just can't afford to spend a fortune on them. Jo's recipes are affordable family favourites. This is a book I am hoping that in 30 years time I'll still be using regularly.

Good things happen to good people - well done Jo on your success - very well deserved! x
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on 10 July 2013
Jo always came across as a friendly down to earth kind of girl on the Bake off and this is portrayed through her book.

The book is full of gorgeous bakes from biscuits and cakes to sausage rolls and Quiche Lorraine. It starts off with Jo's must have ingredients and equipment and then goes onto the chapters of the book. Each chapter covers a different type of bake like breakfast, lunch, baking with children, breads, pastry and so on. I find this makes it so much easier to find what your looking for or to just find inspiration for a special event that you may have coming up.

Something I really love about this book is that it is full of photos! The photography is beautiful and it gives a real sense of 'homemade' as it shows a few crumbs or a dollop of missed chocolate sauce on the rim of a plate... it's what home baking is all about. I tend to absolutely hate a recipe book that doesn't have many photos. I love to see what the end product should look like and I feel that pictures really lure you in and make you want to bake it..so thumbs up on this aspect.

The book feels really personal as Jo tells us where each recipe came from or what inspired her to make it at the top of each recipe. I loved reading about how her Nan inspired her to start baking (I can relate...Nans make the best cakes and pies!). This is definitely a book I go to when I want to get my bake on!
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on 16 July 2013
I nearly weed when this arrived. This has been one of the books that I have been looking forward to most so far this year. I adored Jo on the Great British Bake Off. She was so sincere and real, you felt every mishap with her, and relished in every triumph! My mum (the polar opposite to what you could call a 'baker') had Jo tipped to win from day one. She loved the fact she was a normal mum who found herself on the telly! Girl done good.

I've been reading Jo's blog, Jo's Blue Aga for a while now and take inspiration from the fact she's not scared to try anything, whereas I'm practically in therapy thinking about puff pastry! So when I saw she had a book on the horizon, I couldn't wait to see what wonderful recipes were included! She covers all the essentials, with the book split into eleven chapters:
Baking with Children
Afternoon Tea
Family Cakes
Celebration Cakes
Bits and Bobs

What is really nice, is that Jo has obviously collected these recipes and amended them over the years, and each has a little story. For example, her Apricot Loaf 'started off as a soaked sultana loaf that my Auntie Helen has made for as long as I can remember' and her Easter biscuits are a nod to her nan's friend Rosa who made them with her as a child.

I sat in the garden in the beautiful sunshine yesterday, and read this book from cover to cover. As soon as the heat died down a little, Petal* and I set about making a raspberry torte. This is a really easy recipe, given to Jo by her friend Linda over twenty-five yeas ago (raises glass to Linda!)

I was drawn to this cake by it's pretty appearance, and because I fancied something with fresh fruit in it. I'm a sucker for Bakewell tart, so this seemed the perfect light summery option.

This is a wonderfully easy bake which rewards you tenfold for your effort. It has equal measurements of eggs, flour, sugar, butter, ground almonds and raspberries. It's super-moist with a slightly chewy outer edge. It's going to be a favourite for a while! Some greedy piglet (looks shifty...) ate some for her breakfast...

I could have made anything from this book. I know that this will be one of my staple 'bibles' for may years to come. Jo's book is available exclusively at Sainsbury's at a bargainous price of just £8 - yes... just eight British notes! Run to buy one pronto!

* Petal is my pink mixer. Yes, I know that's crackers. Thanks.

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on 10 October 2012
This book contains some really lovely, mouth watering recipes, which are quite simple to make. The only problem I have had is that the quantities are sometimes way out. The dough for the cheese and onion chutney scones was so wet I had to ask almost double the flour suggested, and then the egg glaze started to burn before the scones were properly cooked. I will miss the glaze off next time! On the carrot tray tray-bake, the frosting needed double the stated amount of icing sugar otherwise it was just too wet again - and there was, in the end, about double the frosting that was needed. What a waste of ingredients. I am a little wary of trying other recipes!
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on 5 December 2012
This book is very well presented with recipes to suit all tastes and for both beginners or those looking for those extra ideas.Highly reccomended.
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on 20 July 2013
Jo's book offers a range of delicious and generally simple recipes and I like her warm and personal tone. So far I have only tried the 'Mini Banoffee Pies' and the 'Strawberry Cream Chocolate Cups'. Both went down quite well, and although I found the latter recipe time consuming, I decided in the end it was well worth the effort! I'm looking forward to trying more of her recipes- in particular the 'Stromboli Loaf', and the Raspberry Iced Fingers', which closely resembles the ones Greggs offers, and I'm sure will surpass it in taste!
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on 17 August 2012
Bought this book the day it was released as I really enjoyed watching Jo and the things she made on GBBO . So far I have made the Chocolate Mud Cake twice , just gorgeous and moist and really easy to make . Cinnamon and Sugar Popovers twice , again really nice but would definately get better results with a popover tin , they seem to be easily available in the States ! Chocolate Cheesecake Mini Cupcakes , these didn't work at all . I " spooned " the mix into the mini cases , but obviously used too much as they overflowed in the oven , maybe if the method had stated how much to use this wouldn't have happened . Tried a second batch using less mix , these didn't rise at all so I gave up ! Banana Muffins , the recipe is incorrect for these . I made the crumble topping using 50g of butter as stated , this mixed with the other ingredients for the topping made a thick paste , not crumbly at all ! I had another go using 30g of butter and this worked perfectly , made the muffins and they turned out great . Mini Banoffee Pies , I just felt the method was really hard to follow . What happens with the paper cases , of course they're just thrown away once the bases have set so couldn't the muffin tin just be lined with greaseproof paper ? Also no timings were given for the bases to chill or for the toffee to chill . Cheese and Onion Chutney Scones , lovely taste and really easy to make . Vanilla Birthday Cake , didn't rise particularly well but maybe that was just me ! Oat and raisin Cookies , have made these quite a few times , not sure about the " makes 18-20 " though as I get approx 40 each time I've made them . Chocolate Mousse Melting Moments , as with the Banoffee Pies it was a really difficult method . Again " chill until set " , I'm just starting to bake and have no idea how long mousse takes to set . Chocolate Chip Cookies , just gorgeous but again I gat at least 30 when the method states " makes 10 " . Although 400g of flour is used so its pretty obvious you're gonna get more then just 10 ! Custard Creams , quantities are spot on for these and they tasted really nice as well . Honey and Mustard Sausage Rolls . they do take a while to make because of the puff pastry but well worth it they are just amazing ! There are still lots of other things I'd like to make from the book so will keep going , I just am a bit disappointed with some of the things I've made .
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on 24 May 2012
This book is wonderful - beautifully laid out, with lots of glorious big pictures and clear instructions.

Jo covers a comprehensive list of baking for every occasion - Breakfast, Brunch, Family Baking, Afternoon Tea, Celebration Baking (Christmas cake, Easter simnel cake and even a wedding cake), Baking with Children, Breads, Biscuits and Cookies, Pastry and Desserts. All the basics you could possibly want are in there, and I especially love that she dedicated a whole chapter to child-friendly baking, with savoury and sweet recipes, as it truly makes it a book for all the family.

There are also a lot of recipes with the trademark Jo twists that won her the Great British Bake-Off crown last summer. The recipes that look extra-special and exciting are:

Coconut and cranberry Danish
Blackcurrent and cream cheese pancakes
Cinnamon and sugar popovers (amazing little doughnut-type things)
White chocolate tiffin
Blackberry and apple loaf cake
Chocolate, cardamom and strawberry swiss roll
Mini pistachio meringues (with whipped cream and topped with a fresh raspberry - so pretty)
Chocolate cheesecake mini cupcakes
Spiced orange rolls
Chocolate mud cake
Cinnamon swirl loaf
Halloumi and chilli flatbreads (I love halloumi - I didn't know you could bake with it!)
Honey and mustard sausage rolls

These are just my personal favourites - there's so many more in there! The most excitng cookery book I've bought in ages.
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