Top ten essential baking kit

2 Apr

Over the past eight months of studying patisserie at college and working in a professional kitchen, I’ve seen loads of gadgets and equipment. However there are certain things that I use again and again. I thought that I would come up with a list of things that I find useful and hope that these things may help you with your home baking and pastry.

 

1. Sugar probe thermometer

This is something I use all the time, from making macarons, tempering chocolate to making fudge. There are many types ranging from the copper thermometers to the infra red gun ones but for home use, I highly recommend this one from lakeland.

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Afternoon tea at Claridges

31 Mar

Recently I had the pleasure to go to Claridges Hotel in London to experience their famous afternoon tea. It’s something that I’d wanted to do for a long time and thought I would take advantage of being down in London for work purposes and make a special point of going there. Reservations for afternoon tea normally need to be made around three months in advance for weekend sittings, however it is worth the wait.

I’m a pastry chef and I serve afternoon tea on every shift so I was interested to experience afternoon tea from a guest’s point of view and pick up some ideas that may help me in our afternoon tea service. It’s also nice to be a guest instead of the one who’s in the kitchen for goodness knows how many hours covered in flour and cake batter……that may just be me then?! (more…)

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In my diary this week

29 Mar

I must admit I’ve been rather slack at the upkeep of this section so I do apologise. Lots has been happening of late with college, work and other things so this is the first chance in a while I’ve had the time to sit and write. It’s short and sweet but time has been so limited!

 

1. Working with Rachel Khoo

I was lucky to go and work for three days with Rachel Khoo on the set of her new book which is due out in September. I was one of the home economists on the shoot and got to make the food which was then shot for the book. Great experience and got to taste some yummy food in the process! Can’t wait to try some of these recipes when the book is out!

Helen Vass & Rachel Khoo

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Interview with Ruth Clemens, The Pink Whisk

7 Mar

When I am lost and need some baking inspiration, I always go to one of my favourite baking blogs, The Pink Whisk, run by Ruth Clemens. There is something for everyone on her blog and I would be lost without her!!!

Ruth Clemens has had successful baking career since coming second in the first series of The Great British Bake Off and her fourth book, Creative Eclairs, is to be launched  on March 2014.  To celebrate the launch of the new book, Ruth is participating in a The Creative Eclairs Blog Hop find out the other blogs she will be visiting this week, check out this link for further information.As part of Ruth’s blog hop, she has agreed to stop by my blog to answer a few questions.

Ruth Clemens Creative Eclairs

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Lime cheesecake

27 Feb

Whilst shopping in the supermarket the other day, I saw some large limes on sale and they looked delicious, so I bought four of them to do some baking. Cream cheese was also on special offer that day, so I just knew I had to make a lime cheesecake. I didn’t want to make a baked cheesecake, I prefer that for more dense flavours, so a no bake cheesecake it was to be. Lime cheesecake reminds me of summer, sun and good times with friends! Shame about the lack of summer and sun just now!!!

This recipe can be either made as one large cheesecake and several mini cheesecakes. I got about four individual cheesecakes from this and a large one.

lime cheesecake

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HIT Scotland Emerging Talent Conference

7 Feb

HIT Scotland (Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland) is a Scottish charity which helps those within hospitality to reach their full potential by offering a range of scholarships and bursaries to hospitality industry professionals. They raise funds for the charity by organising events such as industry lunches and dinners throughout Scotland. However, the main highlight of the HIT calendar is the Emerging Talent Conference. This conference rewards industry talent with the Scholarships as well as bring innovation and new ideas to industry professionals. (more…)

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In my diary this week

30 Jan

I can’t believe it’s nearly the end of January; how time has flown! I’m glad that January is nearly over as I do find it quite a depressing month after all the festivities, but at least it’s one step closer to the better weather. It also means that I finish my patisserie course in four months time. It seems like yesterday I started the course.

This is what I made this week!

 

1. Mango macarons

I’m still practicing my macaron making. I’m getting there slowly but still got a few things to perfect. However, as they say, practice makes perfect. I decided to make some mango macarons using a silky french buttercream in the middle and these were to die for. To get the mango flavour, I used concentrated fruit paste which gives a fantastic flavour and also allows the buttercream to keep its consistency which natural fruit wouldn’t do.

 

Mango macaron

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Interview with Carlos Lischetti

20 Jan

Just before Christmas, I had the pleasure of meeting up with Carlos Lischetti over in Edinburgh. Carlos and I had worked together the previous year at the Barcelona cake fair, BCN&Cake. Working with Carlos was fantastic. He is a real gent and makes sugarcraft so accessible to everyone. I was lucky enough to work alongside him in his Santa Claus class and all the students loved the class as much as I did working in it!

We met up over a nice hot coffee in Edinburgh to combat the Scottish weather! I still can’t get used to it, neither can Carlos!

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In my diary this week

18 Jan

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged but the Christmas holiday period was filled with lots of work. It’s the busiest season in the hospitality business so no rest for the wicked! However, I’m now back into the routine of college and work after the usual Christmas excess. This week I have been been practicing lots of different things using hazelnut praline which I normally buy, however this time I decided to make it myself. It’s so easy to make and tastes divine mixed with chocolate or on it’s own. Here are a few things I made this week. (more…)

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Merry Christmas

21 Dec

The Diary of a Cake Maker is taking a well deserved Christmas break from the blog after a busy year! It has been a year full of many changes, moving from sunny Spain back to cold and wet Scotland. However, I do not regret this change and who knows if I end up back there?!  Now I need time to recharge my batteries and look forward to 2014, where there will be many more changes, finishing college and seeing where the world will take me!!

I would like to wish all of you a very merry christmas and a happy new year. I look forward to sharing with you my baking journey in the new year of 2014.  Hels xxx

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