April 30th, 2012

Calorie marathon visit

Last week, I visited my head pastry chef friend F at his new workplace. - Head chef M kindly let me stick around before, during & after the lunch service.
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First, before the lunch service started, I enjoyed a bit of cheese tasting as I listened to the Maitre d’ explain the week’s cheese selection to the waiters.
- Then back in the kitchen, I ate this…
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(wild raspberry & strawberry with some sort of foam (!)(I have a bad memory…) with piatachio syrup. Plus freeze dried strawberry sprinkles.)
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and this…
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(Caramelized banana tatin with (was it) rosemary icecream, banana chip & crumble.)
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and this…
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and this…
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(hm! pork belly…!! My favourite.)
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and this…
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(Beetroot cured mackerel… perfectly executed!)
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and this…
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… and EVEN MORE as chefs kept handing me more things to try. Left, right & centre. Was I in food heaven? You kidding me? Yeah, no question. Like ice-creams, quails egg that was poached in a very unusual way I never heard of, a slice of beautiful terrine, cut-offs of Sachertorte, & some more that I can’t remember…, oh yeah, a beautifully presented mango parfait that I just couldn’t finish… There was even a glass of wine on offer (that I didn’t take up).
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Whilst I was there, I ate something like 1 starter, 3 main courses & 4 desserts in just one lunchtime…!!! Needless to say, I was full after eating 2 or 3 days worth of calories. Lol!!
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Thank you chefs!!!! xxx
IT WAS ALL SERIOUSLY AMAZING.
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(So beautiful…)
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April 17th, 2012

First ever Coco&Me baking lesson!

www.cocoandme.com - Coco&Me - Coco & Me - baking course London - Z & Tamami

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Hello~hello~hello~ dearest readers!!!!! So sorry for not writing often on this blog…! Hope you’ve all been well. Is life treating you sweetly? And I wonder, are you looking after yourself well?

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I’ve been ultra busy with God-knows-what, just a bit of everything mounting to one big busy-ness I guess, I feel my mind’s cluttered up that, if I was to compare this situation to a computer, it’s overloaded & hence the system is running slowly. Basically not achieving as much output as I ought to. Does this make sense??? Lol. Sometimes I don’t know anymore.

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Anyway, the idea is to do ‘one-thing-at-a-time’ isn’t it? So here’s a write up about what happened (ahem,) all the way back in December 2011.

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x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x . . x

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Actually, no, it was October 2011, I received a special message through this blog by F, a guy wanting to organize a one-off baking lesson as a Christmas gift for his girlfriend Z. And that he wants it to be a surprise for her. (Ladies, one-two-three! “Ahhhhhh…!” How sweet!)

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On first reaction, Hm, I thought. Not sure.

I mean, I can’t even strike up a courage to go to cinemas alone, so how would I feel going to a strangers’ house? But the message read that they are regular customers of mine at the market. I thought back to all the customers that I can remember & I couldn’t think of any weirdos…

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I emailed back hinting that it would be best if he could come to the stall so that we could discuss it further. (Although the actual secret intention was to see who this F was!)

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It turned out he can’t until November as he has to be out of town. – Hm… decisions… Oh, go-on, let’s do it then. Perhaps there must’ve been something in the waters that day, (or maybe I glimpsed a Nike ‘Just do it’ logo!?) but I thought yeah, new experience, new opportunity & all that. Just do it? Yes, I’ll do it! My heart was pounding as I wrote back to confirm, because I was still totally not sure, but I thought (sorry F) I could always call it off if I didn’t like the look of F when he comes to the stall in November.

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Come November, F dropped by my stall. Turns out he is a charming, likable bloke. With great relief, I chatted with him about our surprise plan. He then came back to my stall with the unknowing girlfriend Z to pretend to browse the cakes. The real intention to secretly introduce her to me. Did I do well with my poker face F?? Lol! :)

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December. Knowing who they were was a huge plus. On the baking day itself, I was not as nervous as I’d thought I’d be. Giddy, oh yes, but in an excited way. With a small suitcase full of ingredients, pots n’ pans, & with a heart pounding fast like a small animal, I rang their door bell. F opens & signals me to quietly go to the living room. I hear Z in the other room asking who’d come. She definitely senses something is up. Aw, I hope she likes this surprise… What if she hates this or hates me? Even worse not recognize me!?

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Very pretty girl Z peers in to the living room. One look at me &… big big smiles & little shrieks. So natural, so sweet. I instantly knew that we’d get on absolutely finely.

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F & I spilled the beans of our secret. How F had been planning months ahead, how F took Z to my stall… The surprised look on Z…, & her smiles & laughter as she listened, so adorable.

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So! It’s a 3 hour baking course, I explain. We’ll be making tarte tatin, chocolate truffles, creme caramel & homemade vanilla extract!

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Like a team-work, we peeled braeburn apples, cored them, arranged them in the caramel/vanilla pan… On went the sheet of puff pastry, not forgetting to tuck in the edges… 40 minutes in the oven. Hey presto, tarte tatin.

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www.cocoandme.com - Coco&Me - Coco & Me - Tarte tatin - upsidedown apple cake pie - creme caramel - vanilla - baking course

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Following that, we made ganache for the truffles. This was in tandem with making vanilla extract as the ganache needs to cool before piping, then more cooling after that so that it is firm enough to roll, coat in melted chocolate & finally rolled in cocoa powder. – Finally it was on to making the Creme caramel which was a doddle, & we finished almost exactly 3 hours of lesson time.

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Like I said, we had this amazing team-work thing going on, & I felt that it was rather more like two girl friends having fun baking & chatting. Sure, I’d be peppering in baking tricks & know-hows, & answering baking questions, but it certainly didn’t feel like a strict teaching setup. And I much prefer it that way.

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Thank you F for setting up this most amazing, valuable experience. I’m really glad I said yes. And thank you Z, I’m so happy that my first ever baking student was you! ♥

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