CRAFT by Under My Host® Issue No. 15 Classics - Page 130

What are your 4 favorite ingredients for baking? What do you like to use them in? Brown sugar – In cakes, crumbles, and cook- ies, for the subtle but unmistakable toffee fla- vour it imparts. Lemon zest – In cake batter, cookie dough, custards and pastry cases, for the fresh bright note and suggestion of citrus without having to add liquid. Roasted Nuts – Especially hazelnuts, although almonds and pecans are great too. Nuts im- mediately add interest, texture and flavour. Fresh fruit – In cakes and all kinds of puddings and sweets. At one point during the making of the cookbook, the stats came in to show that more than half the recipes contained some kind of fruit (or nut!) and an embargo was put on this for further recipes! Thankfully, I also like chocolate and caramels (especially with nuts!). What is your favorite meal to cook at home for your family? I love making crêpes for my sons for breakfast. Sam loves it with lemon and sugar and Jude loves Nutella. But my favourite lunch dish to prepare is Malaysian Laksa. My mother sends me the curry paste these days, which makes it a fairly easy meal to prepare. I also like to per- sonalise it. Extra bean curd puffs and snake beans for the vegetarians, and extra fish balls and kang kong (water convolvulus/spinach) for me! What did you do before becoming a pas- try chef? Why did you decide to make the change? Do you still keep a toe in that world? I had a bachelor of Sciences, and was working for a German pharmaceutical company (!) but was restless. My journalist boyfriend at the time had the option of taking a redundancy package from the newspaper he worked at, and asked me what I would do if I had a stash of money. Very naïvely, I said “I’d open a café!” So that is what we did. Neither of us had had any experience in hospitality (what the hell were we thinking?!), and we never imagined it would be so hard and crazy, but after about a year, we had some great reviews and my cakes in particular were singled out as being kind of special. I became hooked on cooking but al- ways harboured an insecurity about not being formally trained, so we sold the café and I be- gan an apprenticeship at a large restaurant. On my second week on the garde manger, the pastry chef walked out and I was shoved in there to cover the section, where I remained for the next 7 years! I was made head pastry chef quite quickly (and quit culinary college) but after 5 years of working 70-hour weeks, I felt I couldn’t continue if this was the life of a chef and decided to return to university to complete a postgrad in psychology (working dinner service at the restaurant in the eve- nings). I eventually obtained registration as a psychologist (in Australia), and whilst I loved seeing patients, I was regularly lured by offers from the cooking world, so always kept a toe in the industry, working part time as a food/ recipe consultant, and periodically teaching Asian cookery in my spare time (I didn’t have a husband and children then!). When I moved to London in 2006, I needed to obtain chartership to work as a psych here, so decided to cook while I completed a doctor- ate degree part time. I st 'FVBv&BGFЦVvFRvVV'&fVBFBFRЧ7FRvWGFrגF7F&FR6WfW&V'2vfRWfW"7FVB6r6RbW2ƖPFVBFV&RƗfW2'WBFR&6R&WGvVV6r76ЦwBRƖfR6FVǒ6gG2FFPWBf"FW&GVfRB&R&V6VFǒFRFRFV66FFR6&&F6g&Ч&fFR&7F6RFf7W2v&BGFVrЦw&FrFR6&BrgFW"אGv66G&VvB2W"&6W72vVFWfVr&V6S