* Paul has worked with a Baker’s Dozen before, but it’s the first time for you, how different is that?
There’s a lot going on in the tent in that first episode but that makes it more exciting, and there’s a lot of adrenaline running high! But it does mean that one week, two bakers will have to leave the tent.
*You have said before you are more of a cook than a baker. Does that make it more difficult in Bake Off?
I think judging is more about the technical and science side of baking, and if you have good taste buds which I do have, then it makes the job as a Judge pretty easy.
*How much are you still enjoying working on Bake Off?
I think I am more relaxed this year, it seems more natural. Paul and I get on really really well and I love it more and more.
*From this year’s series are there any trends from the Bakers that have come through?
Coconut is a bit of a thing this year, and Cinnamon and Pistachio are popular as they usually are.
*Has a baker surprised you this year?
It is always lovely to see the bakers grow in confidence as the series progresses, we’ve seen that this year.
*Fruit cake in Week 1 – that’s always a difficult one to get right and how did the Bakers do?
I think as it’s the first week there are a lot of nerves going on, and they have to get used to the tent and the many cameras that are around, but they all coped really well.
*Do we see the bakers personalities in their decoration and creative flair?
Yes from the very first episode we see the bakers show off their personalities and tell family stories throughout the first challenge. The Bakers are endlessly imaginative, and sometimes I feel my ideas are quite banal when I see what the bakers have come up with. There are some weird and wonderful creations that you can look forward to seeing.
*Any recipes you have taken from the show?
I loved a carrot cake recipe that one of the Bakers made from a previous series, I don’t usually like it as a cake as I find it too sweet, but this one was perfect.
*Longest judging moment, and do you usually agree with Paul?
We have an agreement that we are allowed to disagree, sometimes I like it rustic, casual and homely and Paul might have a different view wanting it too look more professional, but we always end up coming to the same decision.
*Paul and you work so well as a duo, have you learnt anything working together?
First of all I really respect him as a professional, and what I love about him is that he is so direct on most things. I think he could give a Masterclass on television on how not to blink. When he describes something he is so concise and accurate, whereas I waffle away and take ages, but thankfully the edit makes me look good. His timing is perfect and he has such a great sense of humour. We are a bit Yin and Yang. Paul doesn’t need a second take ever, but he has been doing it for 10 years!
*Working with Sandi and Noel – how is it?
Sandi is so kind and looks after us all, I think Sandi and I will be friends for life as we do get on so well. Sandi is a much stronger feminist than I am, but we both care about fairness and politics. Noel – well he is adorable and sweet – and it’s like having a lovely big puppy around – enthusiastic, excitable and a bit mad. I admire him a lot.
*Favourite spice/flavour and most disliked spice/flavour?
I love coconut, and John will often put a chocolate coconut bar in my bag. I sometimes dread when I hear the word caramel as I find it too sweet, and I prefer salted caramel, but the bakers always make it work.
*What kitchen utensil couldn’t you live without?
A Japanese metal plate like a griddle called a Teppanyaki - you can grill anything on it.
*Music that you bake by?
Kate Dimbleby singing Dory Previn songs, they are beautiful ballads and very relaxing.
*If you were a dessert, what would it be?
I think a Lemon meringue pie, so I would hope it would have a perfect pastry, be a bit tart and also sweet at the same time!
*Dream dinner party guests – and what would you cook?
Edmund Burke the 18th century political philosopher, Judi Dench, Terry Wogan, and Malala Yousafzai, the activist for female education. And I would cook a slow roast brisket – a beef dish that is slow roasted in a pot with carrots and veg, so I wouldn’t have to worry about it too much and be able to talk to my guests.
*Wine, Prosecco or Champagne?
Red Wine, and I think I should now add in Paul Hollywood to my dream dinner party guests as he would bring a really good red wine.
*Do you get recognised a lot in the Cotswolds and do you get invited to a lot of events?
No not really but I went to a food show with Paul recently and I suppose as we were at a niche market we were a bit mobbed. It’s very flattering, but ordinarily it’s just about the right amount of attention when people approach you. Everyone is so lovely and as I am such an egotist I love it all!
*Lazy Night in – what would be your favourite meal in front of the TV?
Something like scrambled eggs on toast or cheese on toast, we both quite like that.
*If you could travel back in baking time when would it be and why?
I would go back to medieval times, and like to see Four and Twenty Blackbirds flying out of a pie.
In those days, they baked a pie and then when you cut into it the birds would fly out. It was a great spectacle at special events.
*You are going to be a judge with Liam on JUNIOR BAKE OFF for the first time, tell us about that
I am really looking forward to it and working with Liam and Harry. I have spent a lot of time advocating cooking for children and it’s something that is very close to my heart. Most people come to cooking through baking, and the point is to interest children in food and baking. Nearly everybody starts cooking with mummy in the kitchen.
*And working as a Judge with Liam?
Well of course I know him from being a baker in the tent, and he has such a lovely personality. I think on Junior Bake Off being a judge will show that off, and I know he will be great with the kids. He is a great baker and it’s what he loves and knows about, so I think he will excel at it, and I’m really looking forward to being a Judge with him.
*Did you ever think you would end up in a TV show with Harry Hill ?
I never thought that in a hundred years. I think he will be really funny, he is such a great comedian. I couldn’t keep my composure when he was on Celebrity Bake Off as I was laughing the whole time when he was talking about Camilla on a sunbed, I hope she thinks it’s funny too.
*Are you tweeting responsibly now?
Absolutely. John takes the mobile away from me now towards the end of Bake Off in case I get over excited!
*Prue – have you ever been to Leith?
Yes I have been a couple of times it’s absolutely lovely there, and we also went to Leith Hall in Aberdeenshire. I had my picture taken in front of Leith Hall, which is a bit of a palace and I am looking as if it is mine!
*What’s next in your baking or anything else world?
Next will be Junior Bake Off, Christmas Bake Off. Celebrity Bake Off and I am writing another book.