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How to make the Great British Bake Off's Ruby Tandoh's kale and chorizo flatbread

When Ruby Tandoh applied for last year's Great British Bake Off, she could never have predicted the level of attention she would receive.

The philosophy student's bakes proved a hit in the tent, but she came under fire from viewers who accused her of flirting with judge Paul Hollywood and weeping her way to the final. Even French chef Raymond Blanc waded in, reportedly appearing to accuse her of being too thin to appreciate good food.

Instead of burying her head in her mixing bowl, Ruby fought back, taking on the Twitter detractors (even calling one a "bitter old witch"), landing herself a high-profile newspaper column, and writing her first cookbook, Crumb.

"Obviously, the general motto should always be 'just ignore it', but every now and again, someone's going to say something that's particularly unfair, and I don't think there's any harm in answering back," says the softly-spoken 22-year-old.

Ruby Tandoh in the kitchen
Ruby Tandoh in the kitchen

"It was really uncomfortable at the time, and it does kind of put a downer on some of the experience. But it's not scarred me for life."

As for the suggestion that Paul Hollywood fancied her, the former model laughs.

"I think it was purely paternal. The accusation that I was flirting, and the counter-accusation that he was fancying me, were both ridiculous and unfounded. It was quite funny in a way, because I found it so absurd..."

The recipes for Crumb, which "focus on flavour, not frippery", were tested in the North London flat she shares with three fellow students. She's just started her second year of a philosophy and history of art degree, having taken a year out to write the baking book.

"The kitchen's always grimy," Essex-born Ruby confesses with a smile.

"It doesn't matter how many times I clean it; it's like a magnet for grease."

Her debut features a mix of new flavours and old favourites, but you won't find any pictures of glittery pink cupcakes or sugary sweet cake pops (although there is a recipe for simply iced camomile and vanilla cupcake).

"I'm as big a fan of trashy, kitsch stuff as anyone, but when I'm baking, I don't want to go to those lengths," says Ruby.

Got the baking bug? Here are three recipes from Ruby to try at home.

Ruby Tandoh's chorizo and kale flatbread
Ruby Tandoh's chorizo and kale flatbread


(Serves 2)

250g strong white flour

1tsp instant dried yeast

1/2tsp salt

175ml lukewarm water

5tbsp olive oil

100g chorizo, diced

125g kale or cavolo nero, stalks removed and finely shredded

How you do it

Combine the flour and yeast in a large bowl, stir in the salt and add the water, along with one tablespoon of the olive oil. Mix with your hands until well combined then tip out onto a clean surface and knead for 10 minutes, or until elastic and less sticky.

Let it rise for an hour or so; you're looking for it to double in size.

While waiting for the dough to rise, bring a pan of water to the boil and add the kale or cavolo nero. Boil for just one minute, then drain and run through with cold water. Once cool, gently press out any excess water from the greens.

Knead just under half of the kale into the risen dough. It'll be a little tricky, due to the residual moisture on the leaves, but there's no need to worry about it being perfect.

Preheat the oven to 190C/fan170C/gas mark 5.

Tip out the dough onto a floured surface, dust it with more flour and roll out to around 20cm in diameter. Now you'll have to use your hands to stretch the dough the remaining distance: when held up by one edge, the rest of the dough should stretch downwards under its own weight. It will tend to shrink back a little as it rests, so just carry on stretching the dough until it's approximately 22 x 33cm after shrinkage. Don't worry if some bits are a little thicker than others. Also, it's not a disaster if there are one or two holes in the bread - think of it as rustic.

Grease the bottom of a 22 x 33cm baking tray, Swiss roll tin or roasting dish with two tablespoons of the remaining olive oil and lay the dough down.

Let the bread prove at room temperature for 15 minutes then sprinkle over the remaining kale and then the chorizo. Gently pat the toppings down then dimple the dough using your fingertips. This is particularly useful here, as it helps to semi-embed some of the topping, securing it to the dough.

Let prove for a further five minutes, then drizzle over the final two tablespoons of olive oil and bake for 20 minutes.

Banana bread from Crumb: The Baking Book by Ruby Tandoh
Banana bread from Crumb: The Baking Book by Ruby Tandoh


Makes a 900g loaf

125g unsalted butter, soft

110g agave nectar (if you'd rather make this with normal sugar, swap the agave for 140g of caster/light brown soft sugar and add 50ml milk with the rum or brandy)

2 medium bananas, well mashed

2tbsp rum or brandy

2 large eggs

190g plain flour

11/2tsp baking powder

1/2tsp cinnamon

1/4tsp salt

4 cardamom pods, seeds only, crushed

For the glaze:

100g icing sugar

25ml water

How you do it

Preheat the oven to 180C/fan160C/gas mark 4. Grease and line a 900g loaf tin with baking parchment.

Cream the butter then stir in the agave nectar. Beat in the bananas and rum or brandy, then the eggs and a couple of teaspoons of the flour. Beat until smooth, but don't worry if it looks a little curdled at this stage. Combine the remaining flour with the baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom and salt in a separate bowl then add this to the wet mixture. Fold the ingredients together then stir lightly until fully combined.

Spoon the mix into the prepared tin and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

While the cake is in the oven, make the drizzle icing: add the water to the icing sugar, a teaspoonful at a time, until combined. Set aside.

Once the cake is done, let it cool in its tin for five minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack set over a tray (to catch any drips of surplus icing). Spoon the icing over the top of the cake while it's still hot. It'll cover the top and run down the sides in thick rivulets, but will set to a cracked sugar crust as the cake cools.

Recipes courtesy of Crumb: The Baking Book by Ruby Tandoh, published by Chatto & Windus, priced £20

Mexican breadsticks from Great British Bake Off: Everyday by Linda Collister, published by BBC Books
Mexican breadsticks from Great British Bake Off: Everyday by Linda Collister, published by BBC Books


(Makes 36)

90g fine cornmeal, plus extra for dusting

370g strong white bread flour

11/2tsp salt

5g (1tsp) fast-action dried yeast

1/2tsp chilli powder (mild or hot to taste)

1/2tsp ground cumin

2tsp paprika

2tsp smoked sweet paprika

1/4tsp garlic powder or fine granules

1/4tsp onion powder

4tsp virgin olive oil

300ml lukewarm water

100g drained sliced jalapeno chillies (from a jar)

Here's how you do it

This recipe creates two different doughs - one white and one coloured with spices - which are sandwiched with chopped Mexican chillies, then cut into strips and twisted.

Put the cornmeal, flour, salt and yeast into a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly with your hand. Tip half of the mixture into another bowl and add the chilli powder, cumin, both types of paprika and the garlic and onion powders. Mix well. Make a well in the dry ingredients in each bowl.

Add half the oil and half the water to one bowl and mix to a soft but not sticky dough. Sprinkle the worktop and your hands with cornmeal, then turn out the dough and knead it thoroughly for about five minutes, until very smooth and elastic. Return it to the bowl and cover the top with clingfilm.

Repeat all this for the other bowl. Leave the two doughs to rise in a warm spot for about one hour until doubled in size.

Towards the end of the rising time, heat your oven to 180C/350F/gas 4.

Chop the chillies finely. Put them on a clean tea towel (or thick kitchen paper) and squeeze them dry.

Sprinkle cornmeal on your worktop. Place the white dough on this and sprinkle it with a little cornmeal. Roll out to a rectangle, about 18 x 16cm and 1cm thick. Cover the dough evenly with the chopped chillies and gently press them into the dough.

Roll out the dark pink dough to a rectangle exactly the same size as the white one, then set it on top and gently press the two doughs together.

Roll out the layered dough to a rectangle, 36 x 20cm and 5mm thick. Using a pizza wheel-cutter or a large sharp knife, cut the rectangle in half to make two pieces, each 36 x 10cm. Cut each piece across into strips 2cm wide and 10cm long.

One at a time, roll each strip with your hands, back and forth on the worktop, to make a thin pencil shape about 25cm long. Twist the strip to give a striped candy-cane effect, then roll in a little extra cornmeal. As the breadsticks are shaped, set them slightly apart on baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal.

As soon as they are all shaped, place in the heated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden and crisp. Give the baking sheets a little shake halfway through the baking time so the breadsticks turn over slightly. Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.

Recipe courtesy of Great British Bake Off: Everyday by Linda Collister, published by BBC Books, priced £20

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