12/07/2016

Guest Post: Andrew in the Kitchen

If you remember a while ago, we had the honour to guest post on Andrew's blog, as a part of his new #fdbloggerfriends series. We thought it was an amazing concept for him and to share with others to get to know other fellow foodies and bloggers! In the process, we have met lovely people with the same love as ours and we too, hope you find the love of food in his blog! 


Background

As you can probably tell from my blog name, my name is Andrew and I blog about lots of food topics that grind my gears as well as post recipes at least once a week. I have very recently just turned 18 so while most 18 year olds spend the summer partying and drinking, I’m spending it posting on my food blog. But obviously university beckons next year and if all goes to plan, I will be starting a maths degree at Nottingham. In the future, I would love a career in food but while the book deals and the Bake Off appearance aren’t looking promising, teaching is what I would love to do. I specialise in baking rather than cooking; I love the precision and idea that you can take very basic and cheap ingredients of flour, sugar, eggs and fat and combine them to make biscuits or a cake. But I am a very frugal cook; I believe you can make great meals on a budget. And I am one of those who eats food a month past its best before date because I can’t stand to see it thrown away in the packet!

Why did you start a blog?

I don’t particularly know why I started my blog; I thought it would be a fun thing to do when I started it over 3 years ago. There was a period of time where I left it for a while but it was when I did my GCSE coursework on The Great British Bake Off that I really started getting into it. I have always wanted a career in food – a cookbook in my own name, a slot on This Morning or Sunday Brunch cooking one of my recipes – so I guess this was my way of trying to get that job!

How has food shaped my life?

I’ve been around food all of my life; my parents have a Chinese takeaway and I have been working there solidly since the age of 15 out of necessity. But the one thing I have never wanted to do is work in a restaurant; seeing the amount of hours and stress that goes into running a smooth ship is enough to put you off! I myself have had to lead the kitchen while everyone else is cooking frantically and it’s not fun. But being passionate about food from a young age – and coming from a culture where food is everything – it’s not hard to see why I am so into food now! 

Last meal

If there was one thing I had to eat for my last meal, it would have to be chicken nuggets. I know that sounds awfully strange for a food blogger but it’s so bad for me that it’s just why I love them so much. The only caveat is that I need McDonalds curry sauce. Apologies for the dirtiness!

5 facts

1. When I was 2 years old, I apparently shaved off my right eyebrow
2. I have been taking Zumba classes for around 4 years now – I haven’t done it for a while due to exams but I hope to get back to it soon
3. I applied for Bake Off this year – but didn’t get any further than the application form
4. I have baked 2 dessert buffets for 120 people as part of our school’s Charity Week in the past 2 years
5. At AS-Level, I did better in further maths than I did in maths...

Favourite Posts

I am definitely a baker so writing about baking is what I do often on my blog. But actually my favourite posts are the posts where I just write pretty freely about what I think about a food related issue – whether that’s ‘Should cooking be compulsory for secondary school students under 18’ or whether healthy eating is a food trend, I just love to write freely and openly about what I truly think with no inhibitions. I do passionately believe that all students in the education system should have compulsory cooking lessons; I left school knowing how to cook simply because I have been brought up in a food-driven environment but I also have many friends that struggle to cook and I know they wouldn’t be able to make healthy meals for themselves. 
Another post which I am really proud of is my Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies. I made around 300 of these for my school’s open evening – even though I left, I couldn’t resist another opportunity to promote my blog as well as bake literally the day after my last exam – and they went down a storm! I had many parents say they would make them over the weekend but whether they did is another story! Anyways these are crunchy around the edges and soft and chewy in the middle, as the perfect cookie should be! 
One of my other favourite posts is my Chocolate Macarons with Chocolate Ganache. Macarons are notoriously difficult to make and using this recipe, I made my best ever batch of macarons with the signature foot and hardly any cracking. The recipe was from John Whaite and is a good base to practice your macaron making with because I reduced the quantities down to just 1 egg white so you don’t have to worry about wastage! 

Chinese Cocktail Buns


If ever you find yourself in a Chinatown or a Chinese bakery, you have to try the Cocktail Bun! It’s a sweet bun with a rich buttery coconut filling that is finished with a paste almost like the one that makes the cross on a hot cross bun and then topped with sesame seeds. Rumour has it that the bun was created by a baker who crumbed up his unsold bread with sugar and coconut! 

For the bread dough
500g plain flour
100g sugar
1 tsp salt
180ml whole milk
60g margarine
2 x 7g sachets of fast-action dried yeast
1 egg
For the cocktail bun filling
90g margarine
50g sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
20g custard powder
32g self-raising flour
45g desiccated coconut
Sesame seeds, to decorate
Heat up the milk and margarine in the microwave until the fat has melted. Allow to cool to body temperature and add the 2 sachets of yeast. Stir and allow the yeast to bubble up for about 10 minutes.
For the bread dough, pour the flour into a large bowl and add the sugar and salt to one side of the bowl. Use your finger to stir through and make a well in the centre. Add in the egg with all of the liquid and use your hands to bring the mix into a ball of dough – it shouldn’t be too sticky or too dry.
Once the dough has combined nicely, transfer to a floured work surface and knead by hand for 10 minutes. The dough should not be sticking to the surface neither should it be crumbly. Test whether the dough is kneaded enough by pressing a finger into the dough and it should spring back fully.
Place into the bowl and cover with clingfilm and prove until doubled in size.
Meanwhile make the coconut filling. Place all the ingredients into a bowl and beat together with a wooden spoon until the filling is even, golden yellow, flecked with plenty of coconut and is thick.
When the dough has proved, knock back the air and divide the dough into 50g portions (you should get 18). Roll out each of the dough balls into a rectangle slightly longer than it is wide. Place a heaped teaspoon of the coconut filling onto the bottom third of the rectangle. Leave as a quenelle shape, do not press it down.
Fold down the top third so you have two thirds lying on top of each other. Then fold over the bottom third dough over the coconut filling and around the bottom. Press down slightly to flatten, fold the open edges on the bottom and shape into a rectangle which measures about 8x4cm. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment. Put 3 of the buns near each other, leaving a 4cm gap.
Repeat with all the buns, and cover with clingfilm and prove for a further hour or so until doubled in size. The buns should almost be touching. When you are ready to bake, sprinkle the buns with a few sesame seeds and place the buns into the oven as it is preheating to 170°C. Bake for 18 minutes until the buns are browned well.

If you are a food blogger and would like to take part, make sure to follow his social
 media and get in touch with him!
Blog - 
https://andrewinthekitchen.wordpress.com/
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2 comments

  1. Hey Andrew! Nice to meet you!!!! 8-) I love the look of those cookies, I may just have to make them myself! hehe! Yes I can see how working in that sort of environment would put you off restaurant work! ahaha!
    I may have to pop over to your blog and drool at the recipes!
    Sarah @sunshinesarahxo | www.writingrambling.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw thank you Sarah for being so welcoming to Andrew on our blog! Doesn't his recipes look so good!? Please do check his blog!

      Thank you for reading and commenting ☺️💓

      Delete

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