I wouldn’t say I am a professional baker but I love baking and I also love teaching cooking and baking. I especially love watching cooking shows. I find them relaxing and I learn so much from them. Plus they are quite trendy I find. I’m glad that now on TV there are channels dedicated to cooking! This includes Food Network. When I was growing up there was no such thing. My favourite cooking shows include:
- Great British Bake Off
- The Hairy Bikers
- Ready Steady Cook
- Jamie’s 15-minute meals
Cooking and baking evoke a lot of passion in me. I get to learn so much and experiment with what I have learned. Also, (and you might find this a bit strange) but sometimes it’s when I see a particular ingredient being used that I have the craving for that food or ingredient). This usually happens with eggs especially but other foods as well.
Have you ever seen some really awesome looking foods being made on the telly and wish you could make them too? Me too. I have a good memory and can most times recreate some of what I see but I am, from time to time frustrated because I would like to be able to make something that I have seen but I can’t because sometimes I don’t have the equipment that is used. I don’t let that stop me, however. If I see something I would really like to make, I invest in the equipment and special ingredients. I say invest because that is how I consider it. I do bake and sell cakes for some additional income! I remember the first time someone ordered a red velvet cake from me. I had never made one before, so I decided to make a small batch before I attempted to fulfill the order. It didn’t turn out as I expected it to. Mind you, the flavour was beautiful but I just didn’t have the correct shade of pink so the cake was an ugly pink! When I turned to my trusty go-to, Amazon I found the set with the correct colour I wanted. Since then I have made several more red velvet cakes that have turned out perfectly.
Getting the Equipment
Some cooking and baking equipment are quite expensive but I am glad that there are less expensive alternatives that don’t break the bank. For example, I saw this beautifully decorated cake and I was not sure how to create that look. I went to my local hobby craft store, showed the helpful staff the photo of the cake and I was able to buy the small nozzle quite cheaply and it did the trick!
One of my favourite cooking shows to watch is the Great British Bake-off and I was very pleased to see it back on television recently. I know the presenters have changed and the format has changed somewhat too, but it is the cooking that I watch for. In fact, I like this format better, and having a comedian on it is just genius. Have you been watching it?
I’ve seen some amazing bakes from the ‘semi-professional amateurs’, I just can’t seem to get enough. I’ve checked out their stories, and whilst they all love cooking and baking, it’s the personal stories of triumphs after ‘experimenting’ for years that I like to read about. Most were inspired by parents or grandparents and some picked it up as a hobby after being introduced to Food lessons in school.
There are those who cook for all family functions including weddings, birthdays and other festive affairs, then there are those who cater for private functions and earn a living from it and then I also read about one whose hobby started as a secret passion, so he would bake and decorate at night in the family kitchen whilst the rest of the family slept.
Keeping up with the Celebrities
Second to Mary Berry, the other cook/baker from the Great British Bake-off that I admire is Nadiya Hussain. I have read their inspirational stories and have loved watching documentaries from both. Nadyias book is called Nadiya’s British Food Adventure. The Kindle edition is just over £6 but it is chock-full of interesting stories and recipes.
If you are a budding chef/baker or even enjoy cooking as a hobby, there are a few simple standard pieces of equipment that you should add to your arsenal that will help you to get some of the jobs done easier and more efficiently. You can see my recommendations below. Most of them I own and some are on my dream wish list.
I love the fact that a lot of fruit is now incorporated into cooking on tv shows. What with guidelines which say we all need to increase the amount of fibre in our diet, this is good news. Some people, however, are turned off from cooking because of all the preparation needed. Good news is here, there is a lot of equipment now that simplifies the process and doesn’t cost too much.
I love this piece of tool that cores and slices apples, which makes them ready to be used in your favourite fruit recipes. I use it every time I make my favourite dutch apple cake. Another reason I love this simple piece of equipment is that it encourages children to eat fruits. I have proved that in my household since purchasing this corer/cutter. The kids love using it and then eating the apple wedges it creates. I have a lovely recipe for Dutch Apple cake which I am offering free of cost. I have also used the cutter to make potato wedges for roasting.
A zester is used to get the zest from lemons and limes, adding flavour, colour and texture to dishes. It’s a really useful little gadget.
Helpful for Students too
This year’s Food Technology GCSE focus was on upside-down desserts which include fruit. I am hoping that a lot of students will take inspiration from this and continue to cook using fruit. The traditional Tarte Tatin is an exquisite sounding dessert that is not difficult to make at all and you can experiment with various fruits, not just the traditional apples or pears.
To make a lovely Tarte tatin though you need a really heavy-bottomed frying pan. One like this should be sufficient. If you click this link, it will lead you to lots of cherished recipes for tarte tatin and other upside-down desserts. Hopefully, you have a Pinterest account and can have some of them too. Have a blast. Give it a go and remember to send some of the amazing pics or we won’t believe you! Just kidding, but do show us the pics just the same.
Have you ever felt like cooking/baking but just can’t be bothered with some of the processes? I know some people hate simple things like the process of greasing tins for example to make cookies. Well I have found the perfect remedy: a greaseproof sheet that you can get from hobbycraft for just £3.00. You know me, always looking for a solution to problems. And as cheap as possible too.
The Great British bake off has me buzzing with excitement and I plan to try at least one new recipe each week. I don’t mind getting the stuff that I need for it either. I use baking as a means not only to relax but also as a relaxing hobby. I hope that if you haven’t yet started, you will be inspired to take on the hobby of baking. Who knows, one day you might even start making money from it too.
My Wish List