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Monday, 19 September 2011

Kitchen Buzz & a Quick How to Make Fondant

What is a kitchen without a propper Pantry?
& What is Dima's Kitchen without an extra pantry dedicated to
Flavours, Home-made Essences & Mixes?
This is my Flavours Bible!!
Boy, this week is buzzing! But today, was the cherry on top! I had the pleasure to lunch with the crew of Al Tayer Group, the very people behind many fashion stores in Dubai, auto dealerships, and of course the famous and best loved Bloomingdales, Harvey Nicols, Crate & Barrel, More Cafe, Almaz by Momo, Armani Cafe Dubai... among others. They have very exciting upcoming live demonstrations and events that are open for all to enjoy, which will liven up the scene in the city, so stay tuned and visit their stores to find out more! I know I will :)
To top an already full day with the cherry, I just been told that Dima's Kitchen blog will be the Featured Blog on Foodista! Yay :) hence the badge. Will tell you more once the feature is up, so stay tuned.

As you might already know, I have started yet another set of courses, beginning with "All About Cakes & Cupcakes". I am so excited about this course specifically, because joining me is another Dubai-based food blogger Kari Heron from Chef & Steward who is being trained in cakes & cupcakes and will be the judge through her own progress.

Kari with the freshly baked cakes
Also joining me is a Fashion Design student, discovering a passion for food and baking, let's see if we can convert the Fashionista into a baker! Or maybe mix both into a fashionable foodie; kind of like Isaac Mizrahi's Cake collection  (fall 2011), where food and fashion intermingled into one fashionable deliciousness.

Isaac Mizrahi's Cake collection (fall 2011)
There is also one passionate lady, taking this course in order to make dream come true and open up her Cakes Bakery back in Nigeria! She is actually going back to Nigeria, after the course and starting her own bakery :) How sweet is that?

Since I had been caught up with the course, some home works, kids going back to school, parents introduction sessions, reading assignments ...etc, I haven't had enough time to blog! I have been cooking up a storm though, and have been doing a lot of baking, of course! I have been taking lots of pictures as well, and will be posting the recipes ASAP :)

Keeping on the sweet note where we started, it has been requested that I post a Fondant Recipe -Referring to the paste made to cover cakes- for those who do not have access to ready-made fondant, or prefer home-made fondant to commercial types, so I have included the recipe here for you to try. But before I go to the recipe, let me tell you a thing or two about my Flavour Inspirations Pantry: it seems to be fascinating the girls in the cakes course, so I promised them to say a little some about it lol

Home-made Vanilla Essence
Food is flavour, and for that reason I have a designated flavours pantry - staple items that I use regularly to add flavour to my food. Just as I have a pantry, I find that it is only fair to create one for flavours. Because I prefer organic, all natural flavourings, to the commercial chemically produced ingredients, I regularly prepare my own flavourings, essences, spice mixes, herb mixes, bouquet Garni, Flavoured Oils, Flavoured Sugars, Home-made Marshmallows, Caramels and Nougats. This pantry also includes dried edible roses and rose petals, dried lavender flowers, a variety of dried mushrooms, truffles, dried roughly grated coconuts, candied bananas....etc. It is basically my favourite things, and things that I use to add flavour to foods! The pantry regularly evolves and gets influenced by what I am currently crazy about, and the season offerings...etc. I am telling you a Flavours Pantry is life changing. It excites you about creating new food, about trying and being more experimental in the kitchen. If you don't have one, I totally recommend you create one! Don't go crazy though, remember nothing is going to fall off the face of earth and disappear, everything will still be there tomorrow! Get the flavours you are feeling crazy about, and some new flavours to experiment with. Then gradually build on that.

Hope you enjoyed Dima's Kitchen buzz, and that you are inspired to create a flavours pantry in your kitchen. Here is how you can make Fondant, to add to that pantry :)

Fondant & Sugar Paste
Fondant here, is the white pliable paste that is used to cover cakes in prep for decoration. Fondant covered cakes used to be more popular for weddings, but are now popular and demanded for all sorts of occasions. It creates a velvety finish that looks very elegant, and allows for various decorations in order to carry out various themes. Fondant is firm, and can easily be rolled out on a board dusted with equal amounts of icing sugar & cornstarch to prevent it from sticking to the work surface. Once rolled it can then be used to cover cakes, or can be used to cut out shapes (using templates or cookie cutters) which are then used in the decoration of the cake. Fondant can tinted to any shade you like, best using gel-based food colours. It can also be made more pliable, and hard upon setting by adding Gum Tragacanth to it, Kind of a recreation of Gum Paste. This is usually used for modelling, basic flower creations, and decoration structures that need to be hard and hold shape.

Actual Fondant recipe carried out by bakers, is mainly heating sugar syrup to soft ball stage, then turning this sugar over on a marble work surface and working this sugar with metal scrapers (hard spatulas) till it forms a white paste that is smooth and pliable.
Please be cautious when working with heated sugar, to prevent risk of severe burning! 
An easier adaptation of Fondant, suitable for domestic production is Sugar Paste. It is hardly any different to fondant in texture and function, but easier and less hazardous to prepare at home. Sugar paste is treated exactly like fondant, can be tinted, is pliable and used to cover cakes as well as in cutouts...etc
So if you do not own a candy thermometer, or if you are worried about working hot sugar, don't fret! Just make Sugar paste. No one will know the difference! Of course there are many variations and recipes, this one is a simple recipe that you can easily make, it requires a bit of work but works every time...

To make Sugar Paste
You Need
2 tbsp water
1 1/2 tsp Powdered Gelatine
1 1/2 tbsp Liquid Glucose
2 tsp Glycerin
455g Icing sugar, sifted
2 sachets vanilla powder (optional) for flavour

You will need a stainless steel or non stick saucepan (non Teflon coated).
Pour the water into saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin on top and dissolve over low heat. Once dissolved add the glucose and glycerin and stir to combine. Immediately remove from heat.

Gradually add the sifted icing sugar, mixing continuously with a wooden spoon. If you do not continuously mix, lumps will form. Continue to gradually add the icing sugar, until you can't stir the mixture anymore. 

Dust a clean work surface with the remaining icing sugar and flip the sugar paste dough over it. Incorporate the icing sugar - on the work surface - into the sugar paste by kneading it in using your fingers not your palms. Continue kneading, till the paste is smooth.

Your sugar paste is now ready for use. When not in use, sugar paste must be tightly wrapped with cling film to avoid drying out and becoming hard!

You are now ready to transform cakes into artsy masterpieces :) Stay tuned for the post on covering cakes with Fondant, coming soon!!

Meanwhile, go ahead, make some sugar paste, and bake the cake, as we are getting ready to cover it with fondant and carry out a simple SPIDER-MAN THEME!!! Yes, coming shortly.

Hope you enjoyed reading this post and found some inspiration in it. If you too have a dream to start a career in food, then click this link for how to make that dream come true. Remember if you want to learn more about Baking, then join my specialised baking course: All About Cakes & Cupcakes.
Would love nothing more than hearing from you, so leave me a comment before you go <3 b="b">

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