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2011
Delicious Magazine Recipe Feature Recipes published in Princes Trust Charity 'Trusty' Cookbook Guest panellist on UKTV Food's 'Market Kitchen' Recipes published in 'Come Dine With Me Special Occasions' book Blog named as a "Media Must-Have" in Jan & Feb issue of Olive Magazine

2010
Launch of Sabrina's one-to-one private cookery tuition Guest critic on Gordon Ramsay's 'F-Word' series finale Organised Top Chef Charity Banquet for Haiti raising £70,000 for 'Action Against Hunger' Seasonal Food & Recipe Writer for 'Blue Tomato'

2009
Winner of Channel 4's 'Come Dine With Me' (West London) 'Bronze' winner in professionally judged 'AA Home Cooking Competition 2009' Appointed resident cookery columnist for Foodepedia

Japanese Rice Risotto with Miso, Lemongrass and Scallops

Japanese Rice Risotto with Miso, Lemongrass and Scallops

Seasonal Penne Mediterraneo

Seasonal Penne Mediterraneo

Persian Split Pea, Dried Lime and Lamb Stew

Persian Split Pea, Dried Lime and Lamb Stew

Thursday, 15 October 2009

ART VERSUS SCIENCE - A RECIPE FOR DISASTER?

I absolutely SUCK at making pastry, cakes and generally anything that involves baking! I don't know why, but its almost as if I have developed a fear of baking. Inspired by Pierre Koffman's infamous Pistachio Souffle and also the heavenly Chocolate Souffle at "Equilibrium" restaurant at Fawsley Hall Hotel, I decided I need to "Get my bake on" - So to speak.

Never being the type of person to accept my own imperfections, I have throw down the gauntlet and challenge myself to make the perfect souffle as well as perfect one type of cake, bread and pastry by the end of the year. My “4-Bake Challenge”, as I like to call it, may seem a tad “Half-Baked” (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!) and although I may not be successful, I certainly am persistent in the ironing out this little flaw in my skill set.

Last week I made Chocolate Meringues that despite looking pretty dreadful, were absolutely delicious. That’s not a bad start, I guess? I don’t know what went wrong as I had ‘loosely’ followed a recipe online and it seemed to work up to the point I’d added my sugar to the whisked egg whites, suddenly the airy mix became more of a glossy mousse. Who knows what went wrong, but my meringues came out looking a little flat and whilst the inside was deliciously chewy, the top crust seemed to cave-in. Not my desired result, but I still managed to eat them all!

See? This is why I prefer normal cooking to baking. Baking is a science of exacting, weighing, measuring and skillful blending. Temperature, moisture and gentle technique will dramatically vary the exact same ingredients every time. What the hell is that about? I find it very frustrating at times. Whilst baking is a science, I feel cooking is more of a creative art. I like to take risks when I cook, taste things as I go along and add new ingredients to the mix in search of a higher level of satisfaction. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t but what I have learnt is that there is no room for this kind of ‘riffing’ in baking.

I guess my fear of baking makes it easier for me to not only sympathise with those who are a bit scared when it comes to cookery, but actually empathise with them too. Many of the greatest Chefs in the world have confessed that they hate baking and making desserts, because again, it’s a very different type of cooking. I am no Chef, nor would I ever claim to be. I am but a humble home cook, someone who takes pleasure in feeding people and someone who is incredibly passionate about food, ingredients and the ‘magic’ that brings them together, which is cookery.

So anywa, I guess all we can do now is see what happens with my “4-Bake Challenge”, which I will kick-off with my attempt to make a perfect chocolate Souffle and some kind of bread. Who knows exactly which kind, but something rustic with herbs and cheese. I want to try and genuinely perfect these recipes so that I find the confidence to continue making them and experiment with other types of bread and other ingredients too. Next I will try cake and last will be the pastry and already I think I will be going for Choux pastry so I can learn to make Profiteroles in time for Christmas.

Lovers of baked goods, WATCH THIS SPACE!!!

7 comments:

  1. Mikayo whole-heartedly seconds your opinion of baking: she feels the only time you get to be creative is when you put the icing or decorative elements on. I am not keen on her baking either. The few time she has tried we either had a fire in the kitchen or undercooked stuff. Never have that issue with her cooking. :-)

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  2. Hi Sabrina, great posting as usual and glad to see that you enjoy a challenge! Life would be so boring without them. I have just printed out your Crab Linguine recipe from Foodepedia and will try it one evening next week, thanks for that. You might want to visit my blog The London Foodie, and if you like what you see, become one of my followers too (but pls don't feel obliged)! I have only started mine a couple of months ago so early days... pls give me some feedback. Thanks. Luiz @ The London Foodie

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  3. Don't be afraid of baking - I never stick to an exact recipe and I haven't yet had any complaints from anyone.

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  4. Thanks guys!!! I shall persevere with the baking!!! I just made a killer chocolate Molleaux last night... Ooey gooey, yumminess!

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  5. Hey Sab, do you still want to make a Chocolate Souflé after having tasted (and reviewed: http://tinyurl.com/ygqpqx6) Equilibrium's souflé? Won't you be disappointed with the comparison? :-)
    By the way, we have Czech guests for dinner tonight and your Mongolian Beef Skewers with Peanut Noodles recipes has gone down an absolute treat. One of the guests asked for the recipe on his knees!!! Note that Mikayo marinated the meat (a leg of lamb bought and carved up) for 24 hours and then barbecued it on the barbecue. It was mouth wateringly good. Awsome. Heavenly.

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  6. Dear Sabrina,

    I can't believe you are Persian - I am crazy, crazy, crazy about Persian food! I went to a cookery class by Eat Drink Talk called "Flavours of Persia" and since then, I have been cooking loads of Khoreshs at home and just can't get enough of it... My favourite cookery books are New Food of Life by Najmieh Batmanglij and Persia in Peckham by Sally Butcher. I love both equally, although they are very different. This weekend, we had some friends over and I made a delicious warm salad of shredded pheasant with barberries, pomegranate, fennel, chicory, rose water among other things... I also made saffron rice with sour cherries and managed to get my tahdig to work this time!! I was so happy with the results. Thank you for telling me about Ras-el-Hanout, i have looked it up, it sounds amazing. I will try a recipe out with this spice mix, hmmmmm....

    Have a lovely week!

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

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