Multi Bake Day...Part one..

i am finding it very difficult to put into words just how amazing yesterday actually was, but i will give it ago.

for those of you that are not aware, yesterday i attended a food bloggers multi bake day with John Whaite (winner of the great british bake off 2012)

the day started off by getting up stupidly early to get the 7.32am train to london. i hauled myself out of bed and quickly remembered by my alarm was going off at an unearthly hour! suddenly the time didn't matter and i was ready to leave in what felt like minutes.

the train was on time (well...5 minutes late but thats good right?) and first class was almost empty. 

i arrived in london shortly before 10am and made my way to convent garden for an early lunch at the newly opened 
Shake Shack...but more on that tomorrow!

the class was held at the Vanilla workshop in Greenwich, this little gem of a kitchen is hidden away down an ally way with spectacular views of the thames and the O2.

i arrived just in time but lucky for me i was only the 3rd person to arrive! apparently following directions is not a strong suit of a food blogger! we all managed to get slightly lost.

John welcomed us all as if we were close friends, he seemed completely at ease and at home in the kitchen.

the others arrived and we had a quick introduction and then we got on with the baking! starting with the rough puff pastry for the Palmiers.

the heat in the kitchen was insane! we all began to melt simultaneously. 4 ovens on full whack and the amazing weather made it quite tricky to work with the pastry, we had to move quickly!

after rolling out the pastry for the first time we popped it in the fridge and cracked on with the madeleine mixture. for this we worked in pairs

this is Joanne. this lovely lady had a wicked sense of humour and was a pleasure to work with!

she got a new camera to bring with her and sadly hadn't read the online manual before coming! never the less the camera was brilliant and all she had to do was point and shoot! little bit jealous!

we mixed all the ingredients together in the correct fashion and proceeded to divide the mixture into 2 piping bags.

we then placed those in the fridge to thicken up a bit. according to John this is the french method and i would have to agree with him that it does make them a lot easier to divide amongst the tray.

it was then time for a little break and everyone got to talking about their own blogs and we all began badgering John with a relentless stream of questions.

most of the questions on the day were little things that came up in conversation and to remember all of it is beyond me! lucky for me though John held a Q+A via e-mail before the event, i think had we have asked all the email questions on the day he would of needed more than coffee!

me: If you could only bake one more thing, what would it be?

John: It would have to be something really indulgent, like croissants or my chocolate brownies (which are the best)

me: What was your favourite Bake off experience(other than winning)?

John: My favourite part was all behind the scenes: meeting up with my friends every weekend and going for dinner and drinks in Bristol. 

me: If there was one bake off challenge you could go back and redo, which would it be?

John: My Stollen - I couldn't get it right on the day, but I know it is so delicious when done right!

me: What advise would you give to someone who has completed a degree but wants to move into a career in baking without any qualifications in that field?

John: Experience - work in bakeries at stupid o'clock and see if you can get a real taste for it. You can never truly know what you want to do without experiencing it first.

me: What about baking tempted you away from Law?

John: I'm greedy! No, because I have artistic flair but can't express it in any other way than through food. And also because baking and cooking are the things I enjoy the most.

shortly after the break and the chatter a cork was popped and we all indulged in a glass of bubbly...i think John might have needed it!

once the madeleine mixture had cooled down we removed it from the fridge and pipped it down the centre of the tray. a little while later these little babies were pulled out of the oven, beautifully golden and the smell and taste of vanilla was out of this world!

Johns partner Paul was at hand yesterday to re fill our drinks and tidy up after us! he even popped to the shop for more bubbly! what a star!

this post is going to be a long one! its Pimms o'clock anyway now to celebrate Andy Murray winning Wimbledon, so part two will be up tomorrow...keep your eyes peeled!

Kung Po chicken and egg fried rice...

so today i set myself a mission to cook a meal for the family. after watching Ching-he Huang's Chinese food made easy i decided to be adventurous and make something from scratch rather than getting a takeaway.
i ended up making Kung Po chicken with egg fried rice and ohhhhhhhh my gosh it was good! i don't think i will ever have another takeaway after making it.
most cooking program's make it look really easy and then it turns out to be quite difficult. this however was simple and so easy to do!

you will need:

4 chicken thighs, cut into ½-inch slices
Salt and ground white pepper
1 tbsp of corn flour
1 tbsp of Ground nut oil
2 tbsps of Sichuan peppercorns
4 dried red chilies or 2 tsp of chilli flakes
1 tbsp of Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
2 spring onions, chopped into 1-inch lengths
Handful of dry-roasted cashews

for the sauce:

7 tbsps of cold vegetable stock
1 tbsp of light soy sauce
1 tbsp of tomato ketchup
1 tbsp of Chinkiang black rice vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp of hoisin sauce
1 tsp of chili sauce
1 tbsp of corn flour

start by cutting the chicken into small strips and place in a bowl along with a pinch of salt and white pepper. mix that in my hand and then add one tbsp of cornflour, this allows the chicken to remain juicy..i was a bit unsure at first but it really works!

place your wok on a high heat and allow it to get really hot, mine is a non stick tefal which has a heat spot in the centre showing you when it's ready to cook. once it's hot put the groundnut oil into the wok. once the oil starts smoking throw in the chilli flakes/dried chillis and the Sichuan peppercorns. to stop these from burning quickly toss them in the oil.

after a few seconds throw in the chicken and stir fry for 2 minutes.

once the chicken loses its raw pinkness add the rice wine and stir fry for another 2 minutes.

now add the "sauce" and bring to the boil.

once boiling add the red peppers and stir fry for another 2 minutes.

next add the spring onions and stir fry for another minute.

finally throw in a hand full of dry roasted peanuts and give it a good stir.

now for the rice.

you will need:
1 tbsp ground nut oil
500g jasmin rice (cooked, drained and cooled completely)
3 eggs
2 spring onions
light soy sauce
A little sesame seed oil

heat up the ground nut oil and allow it to smoke then add the eggs. allow it to sit still for a few seconds and then stir it to scramble.

then add the rice, it may be a tad stuck together but the heat will help loosen it back up. add the onions and stir fry for a few more minutes. add some light soy sauce and a touch of sesame oil and give it a good stir.

and there you have it, Kung Po chicken with egg fried rice...
i for one will never eat Chinese take away again!

and to make today even more exciting, the creator of this amazing recipe retweeted my picture and started following me! A massive thank you to Ching-he Huang for this.

exciting morning...

so this morning has been fun...
woke up bright and early feeling human which is nice. log into blogger and see that iv had 6 page views, cant complain seeing as i'm new at this. check the blogs i follow, one of which being 
the londoner. becoming overwhelming jealous of her sunshine adventure, i leave a comment telling her so...

i then went back downstairs and had breakfast along with far to many cups of coffee.

upon returning to my computer i see that i have a new comment on my blog...and its from Rosie! i get a bit over excited at this point and i'm really not sure why!

i revisit her blog and she has replied to my comment saying that she liked my blog and that it was nice to see a boy blogging! i get even more excited...

i then go back onto my blogger dashboard and this is where the excitement goes to its final stage....urination...

my page views for today have gone from 6 (half my usual daily views...) to 96 and counting!

so good morning to you all...please feel free to mooch around, comment and even follow my blog?

also a massive thank you to Rosie for her advice on the word verification setting..i didn't even know it was on!