We have been crazy busy. The Chef is decidedly focused on work and preparing for new menus, and all the tasting sessions that lead up to the final menu selection. I, The Steward have been working with Tavola to present a Blogger Breakfast for the UAE’s food bloggers as well as writing my weekly column, working with a publisher and lawyers to finalize an agreement for a book for which I will be Photographer, handling administrative issues for this blog and baking everyday, twice per day on account of attending a 2-week intensive All About Cakes & Cupcakes course by Dima Al Sharif.
I will give you a quick rundown of my week:
I am full of anticipation but a little fearful. I was told “Make sure you arrive on time” and the clock announces my arrival at 10 past the hour. Dima receives me warmly and hands me my goody back that is a cool starter kit. It is a really nice way to start the week and I am thrilled about her own mixed spice for baking. A girl of my own heart. I fall asleep with my course manual on The Chef’s side of the bed. I am tired so I am out before he gets home. Baking is no joke! I am excited to be in a class again. There is something about being in a learning environment that feels very familiar and comfortable to me.
We bake for the first time. I get excited. We mix batter by hand to make sure that we know the basics. We discuss basic cakes and make a sponge. I take it home and eat 1/4. I beg our helper to take it with her. She is tiny. She can handle it.
My first homework assignment comes out like this…
The Chef doesn’t even cut a slice. I wonder why? Dima cut the slice to critiqe the texture. I took this piece out of the bin to photograph. I have no shame. I have the oven from hell. Dima saves my baking confidence and encourages me to get an oven thermometer. She has a way with empowering her students to bring out their baking mojo.
I take a trip to Tavola and stock up on baking things to complete the course. Something tells me I will be doing a lot of baking after this! I have already made friends with my 3yo neighbour who has now received cookies and cake from me. We are best pals.
I fall in love with Dima- at least on a professional level. We make her Best Loved Carrot Cake and Cupcakes and Butter Cream Frosting. We also make marzipan decorations. Chef Lij will not stop chomping on the cake and my Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes. My friend Christine gives me rave reviews. I feel like a superstar.
We are initiated into egg white fluff. Meringue becomes our friend and we take on the traditionally difficult but totally worth it Angel Food Cake. We are now Divas in Dima’s Kitchen. I make a Chiffon Cake at home. I do not have the requisite tube pan so I use a 10inch pan. It comes out well enough and we review it in class. I know how to improve it. I must get the pan this Saturday at Tavola.
While we wait for our Syrup Cake to bake, we sit for tea and slice our darling Angel Food Cake, which we serve with Vanilla Whipped Cream and a Raspberry Coulis that we made. I bite into the cloudy foaminess. Cue angelic music. I announce “I have died and gone to heaven. My classmates, Zaina, the talented Iranian Fashion Student, and Dami, the enterprising Nigerian both declare that they too are already there. I take some with me for a photo shoot but between the rave reviews and requests at the office and an ever tasting husband, I only have a little bit of coulis left. No photo but happy bellies.
I don’t know how Dima plans to get me out of her kitchen at the end of my course next week! I am having too much fun! You can visit her blog or her facebook page to book any one of her diverse baking and cooking courses. I promise you, you will definitely learn something and have a good time while at it.
See the final result of my experience in my weekly column for the Khaleej Times.