The first time I baked was when I was 5 or 6 years old, helping my mum while she made us our favorite chocolate cake. I say help but I suspect I made more of a mess than anything else. She was and still is the best, and made it all seem effortless. At the time this seemed strange because baking really is quite technical. There are rules to be followed and measurements to keep in mind. But without a doubt, there are very few things that make me happier 🙂
I took to baking quite early and spent school holidays interning in bakeries around the city. The warm kitchens of Nigella Lawson and Rachel Allen are a far cry from the rigour and pressure of a real bakery floor. Its long hours on your feet (bakers don’t like chairs) and the novelty of eating unlimited amounts of sugary goodness wears out by day 2. And yet on the last day of my first internship I was already planning where I could go next. The first chef I worked for now runs a Patisserie Academy and even back then he took the time out to explain every little detail of what the different grades of chocolate were or how various techniques could be combined to form textures and flavors that are unique. This is what I love about baking – it’s precise and technical yet immensely creative.
Thankfully my family were very forgiving with the innumerable failed chocolate mousses and were the perfect test kitchen for me to try whatever flavour or idea that caught my fancy at the time. It got to a point when my mum literally said ‘stop we still have 2 cakes in the fridge’! But then I moved to University and all of a sudden the idea of an oven in my kitchenette was as remote as it could possibly be. So when I went home over Christmas break I decided I was going to make absolutely everything that I felt like and have friends over for a meal of JUST DESSERT. The idea being you start with dessert, move to something savoury when the sweet gets to you, and then end with dessert again. Thus giving birth to what is now a tradition of Dessert Lunches/Dinners !
Last weekend was the first London edition of Dessert dinner, and here’s what was on offer.
Complemented by some of my best friends, a good dose of “Heads up” and lots of snacks and bubbles, this is how dessert is meant to be eaten 🙂