Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Good things come to those who bake ~

Every time I talked about how I want to make my dreams come true there was something surreal about it. You fail to notice how with little steps you are everyday a step closer.

Ever since I had this idea about making food as my career change I had started my groundwork. Self learning, buying n numbers of cookbooks, watching YouTube, experimenting, whining, sleepless nights, talking endless even when no one is listening, you get the gist?

After four years, I did reach somewhere but not a place where I wanted to be. It came down to a point where I had to something about getting the right answers to the questions I seek.

The best way to fast track the whole thing was to go to school. The whole idea was so enticing; it had me vibrating with energy. But there was also this fear of stepping out of my comfort zone, which had me in jitters. I was to travel alone for the first time abroad and to the country that was never on my good list. All thanks to the indifferent people I used to work with in a multinational setup. 

Oh boy! Was I in for a ride? For the first time I thought how can I be so judgmental?
I was and I am ashamed of that. I met people who stepped out of their way to help me and I am so moved by that fact. I can never imagine anyone from my birth country doing that. Never!

On to the school, The School of Artisan Food was always my first priority because of the course structure and has been on my bookmark for years now. Anyhow the doubt that no one had heard about it and it was fairly new at that time I had to give the benefit of doubt and research about the other course.

Nothing can beat the course structure they are offering. It made so much sense to learn from the best and that’s what they provide. The humble staff I studied from was world rank holders and we always found out about it from the other horses mouth. Never the baker / horse himself. That speaks volume.

My time spent there was nothing but continuous learning and evolving myself. I started with self doubt of surviving in another country alone to making the most of my time there with lovely people and amazing food.

I kept myself busy with the number of courses they offered during my time there. I practically become a volunteer staff by answering questions of the first timers around and I loved every second of it.

Whenever we were in the class one thing was always predominant, to learn. Wayne often called them the building blocks, Mickael called it French baking. The whole emphasis of the course was to make sure we understand the science and art behind it and then work on the recipe. If we don't know what we are looking for the point of going to school becomes moot. They know what they are talking about.

I am sure my next recipes will be either from the big black book we earned at school or the inspiration I got while I was there. The catering staff was more than welcoming whenever I stopped at their station with my notebook and asking question about the amazing lunches they served the hungry bakers. I often wonder about the kind of pressure they must be under to produce and serve a bunch of bakers and world-class humble chefs sitting at one table together.

If you happen to be around the Welbeck estate, which houses the school, do stop by the opposite yard from the school building. That complex houses another gem which become my favorite in a short while - Welbeck Abbey Brewery


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Tiramisu in a Jar

Today I am very happy! Not only because I finally tamed the untamed, but also because I am back after a 10 day vacation from my Sister's home in Bangalore. Punjabi loudness, the contagious high of her house is still prevailing in my mind.

I believe its going to be there for some time and I am right now full of ideas about what to bake next. I think the concept of moving out of your comfort zone to think 'How to's' of your life really work wonders.

The questionable untamed in this post is THE tiramisu. I've figured that every time I make this dish specifically for the blog, its throws up on me. This time I did not plan anything and just made it for my Birthday last month.

Since it was just two of us at home, I made only two jars. And considering the month of May and the soaring temperature in Delhi, I do not stay near the oven longer than necessary.

Recipe follows:

(Makes 2 jars - 250ml)

Vanilla Sponge Cake
200 grams of Mascarpone Cheese
100 grams Heavy Cream
2 Tbsp Condensed Milk (adjust to taste) or Desired Sweetness
1/2 Cup Black Coffee
1 Tbsp Kahlua or Brandy (Optional)
Cocoa Powder to Dust
Chocolate Chips (Optional)


To prepare the black coffee, add 2 tsp of instant coffee granules in about 3/4 cup of water and add desired sugar. I like it bitter so I added only about 3/4 tsp of granulated sugar and let it boil for about 10 minutes or until you have half cup remaining. Let it cool at room temperature. At this point you can add the liquor or your choice if desired.

Slice thin fingers of Sponge cake (about 1/2 inch) and layer the base in both jars.

Soak Sponge base with the black coffee and keep it aside.

On a slow speed, mix mascarpone cheese and condensed milk until its fluffy and smooth.

In another bowl whip heavy cream until it reaches soft peak stage.

With a light hand mix whipped cream to the smooth mascarpone mixture.

You can check the sweetness at this point and add more if required.

Spoon the mixture to the base and make another base layer by lightly adding more sponge on top.
dd coffee mixture to the same.

Its optional but you can add few chocolate chips to add a bite to your dessert.

Spoon cheese mixture again on top of the second base.

Refrigerate for minimum of 4 hours or overnight for the coffee flavour to set.

Dust cocoa powder on top before serving.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Star Studded Chocolate Cupcakes (Eggless)

The only time that gets me rolling with ideas more elaborate is April. There is so much flutter and celebrations that all I want to do is feed people than sitting on a computer.

To start with, its my daughters birthday month and I try beat my best every year. Considering how she loves the sweet section of the party - it also becomes my area of concentration. To top that its also the month of our wedding anniversary.  ;)

This year I distributed cupcakes to her classmates instead of the usual candy bags. The kids were delighted. If 30 something bouncing kids around me to open the box faster was not enough, the shrilling yays was making the point very clear. It seemed the teacher was not very happy as I had her class turned into an amusement park within seconds.

The minute these kids sat down to taste their cupcakes, the hum and the quietness was enough proof that I had them all charmed.

These beauties were just perfection. Beautiful humped muffins with equally simple pink and purple stars.

The recipe was adapted from Dishes from my kitchen

Recipe follows:

3/4 Cup Cake Flour
3 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/4 Tsp Salt
4 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Water
1 Tbsp Vinegar
1/2 Cup Granulated White Sugar
1/4 Tsp Instant Coffee Powder
1 Cup Whipped Cream


Preheat oven to 350 Degree F (180 degree C) and ready Muffin pan.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.

In a small bowl mix Olive oil with water, vinegar and coffee.

Mix wet ingredients into a large bowl of dry ingredients.

Do not over beat.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Makes about 6 muffins.

Bake for about 16 - 20 mins or until the toothpick comes out clean. 

Let the muffins cool at the room temperature before icing.

Prepare 2 icing bag with a large and a small star nozzle and decorate as per your idea.

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