Cooking yes, but baking?

I never had any desire to cook while I was at home but as soon as I moved out I had to learn how to cook and I did so by reading cookbooks. Well, not just reading, following the recipes, too 😉
I started working in the catering industry when I was around 17 years old and over the years have learnt an awful lot from work colleagues and also friends who happened to have their own restaurant. Eating out also helps of course and I don’t have a problem spending quite a bit of money in a fancy restaurant as long as the food is good. And yes, I am one of those people who sometimes take pictures of their food even though Giles Coren hates it (and I like Giles Coren).
Learning by doing has always been my preferred method and often my friends were guinea pigs for new recipes; I would “lure” them into my home with the promise of a six course menu and try out things like stuffed goose neck or young pigeons with sour cream or unusual flavour combinations and I’d say that most of the time it all turned out well. I cooked in unusual locations (in the great hall of a moat castle or at festivals for example) and I continued to entertain friends with my cooking when I moved to Fiji. Of course, there I had to deal with the challenge of finding certain foods but at the same time I learnt how to cook local stuff like duruka (dubbed the Fijian Asparagus) and ota (young wood fern). My kitchen utensils moved with me from Germany to Fiji and then to England, so some of them are over 20 years old and they still work.
And of course I’ve continued the trend of cooking for my friends in the UK and my blog title stems from one Sunday evening where my friend Paul thanked me for the frantastic food I cooked that day.

When it comes to baking however, that’s a totally different matter. I never baked because the women in my family were excellent bakers. Both my mother and grandmother, my sister, my aunts, they all bake and at weddings, confirmations, funerals etc. they would showcase traditional cakes that looked like out of a fancy bakery. They would taste wonderful, too!

Then last year I started to watch the food channel and came across some easy baking recipes and thought, why not try that out? The rest is history as they say. Baking is immensely satisfying. You see your cupcakes or your bread in the oven slowly rising and the smell wafts through the house… of course the real pleasure comes from baking for someone else, like I did for my friend Aggie, who when she saw the cake I baked for her daughter’s birthday went “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, look at this cake!”… that’s when you know you did a good job!
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