Keep Pushing: New Job (Again!), Desserts & a Cremeux Recipe


Yoghurt & honey mousse with strawberry jelly insert, strawberry gel & fresh Kent strawberries, coffee granola, cereal milk ice-cream and lemon balm.

If there was one word I could use to describe this crazy industry I find myself in it’s this: fluid.

When I started working as a professional pastry chef about 18 months ago (give or take), I never would’ve guessed that I’d have learned so much in such a short amount of time, met so many great people, or been given the opportunities to develop that I have; I also wouldn’t have guessed that I’d already be onto job no. 3.

I have incredibly mixed feelings about this. I come from an accomplished family who work in industries that value commitment and loyalty, values that were instilled in me from a young age. So moving around jobs so much as an adult leaves me feeling a bit torn – on the one hand, I feel disappointed in myself for not sticking it out or “going the distance”; on the other I know that the decisions I make are based on sound, logical (and sometimes medical) reasoning, and they’ve led me to the position I’m now in, which makes me incredibly happy.

Blueberry curd slice on maple pecan biscuit base, chai white chocolate cremeux, blueberry compote and sugar tuile; “The Malteser” – malt biscuit brushed with milk, dark choc & white choc cremeux, milk choc sorbet, malt meringue, malt streusel.

Everybody told me (and still continues to) that this life that I’ve chosen is a hard one, that I will sacrifice so much to it and that’s why I really have to love it; the talk I gave last year repeated this sage advice. The normal rules of “life” do not apply in the professional kitchen: when you burn yourself you pick your cookies up, run it under cold water and slap some cream on it, then you continue; when you cut yourself you wrap it up and keep going, unless you’re bleeding over everything, in which case you might go to the hospital, but probably you’re just going to do something weird like using meat glue to stick yourself back together (side note: meat glue is the most disgusting thing I have ever heard of); racism, sexism, abuse and harassment are just kitchen banter and if you want to complain about it you’re going to be labelled as “that-person-who-bitched-about-everything”. In other words, any normal “work-place propriety” does not apply here and that’s something I’ve had to get used to very quickly.

I remember the first time I saw something I deemed “inappropriate” in a kitchen: a senior chef was bollocking a junior for something they had messed up, which he then followed up by grabbing him by his chef whites and practically shoving his head into the pot of food. I froze, felt my stomach rise into my throat and I remember thinking, “this is really happening, this isn’t on TV, this is happening right now“. It was terrifying but the thing that shocked me the most was how the rest of the staff did nothing. If anything, they sped up, terrified that they would be next (and now, having been on the other side, I know exactly why they did/said nothing). I was called over to a station and truffles were thrust into my hands with the instruction to hurry and put these away as fast as I could – I practically ran, my cheeks red, still hearing the shouting coming from behind me.
“Why am I doing this?!” My head screamed at me, “why am I here?!”

And yet I’m still here, still working, and I’ve finally grown that thick skin everybody told me about. But I was sick of the 16+ hour days, of coming home to find my partner asleep and leaving before he woke up, of not even having enough time to look after my health properly, of being so exhausted and stressed out that I was getting sick every two weeks. So after a year in a busy hotel and a few months in a busy restaurant, I needed to take a step-back, re-evaluate and find a job that would allow me to develop my own work and progress, as well as look after myself and my partner a little better.

Amazingly, I found that and I am now so happy in my work life it’s unbelievable.


Oh Paula, You Crazy Beeatch: Savannah High Apple Pie


It started, as many good things do, with a Tweet.

“SERIOUSLY PAULA?! Are you kidding me?! http://bit.ly/QZY7N

Whilst recipe editing I had come across this gem, courtesy of Paula Deen: a monstrosity of a pie she was calling the Savannah High Apple Pie.

My first reaction was one of absolute disgust – a pie a foot high and looking like it could’ve been expelled from either end of your body?! No thanks. But then disgust gave way to fascination (as it’s so wont to do with me) and I knew that I simply had to make this beast. Throw in another Jackie, all the way in Seattle who, too, felt the urge to birth this creation and Thanksgiving Paula Deen style was on, because Paula? She’s one crazy beeatch.


I Heart My Friends: Tartine Trifle by Rice & Wheat


We interrupt these somewhat regular posts of late to bring you a guest post all the way from San Francisco! Introducing the wonderful Angi from Rice & Wheat!

Angi & I first met through Project Food Blog last year but we really bonded over our infamous muffcakes, a bad word “created” on Twitter and made delicious by ourselves and three other blogger buddies.

When I was in San Francisco I had the immense pleasure of hanging out with Angi, her hubs Nathan and her kitty Toro and a kinder soul, whom I have bonded with instantly, I have never met; of course I asked her to do a guest for me. Not only did she agree wholeheartedly, she sent over this incredible looking trifle! So enough from me, let’s get to Angi and her trifle or, more specifically, her version of San Francisco’s Tartine Bakery’s trifle – yum. Thanks Angi!

When Jackie asked me to do a guest post here on I Am a Feeder, it didn’t take me long to decide to make a trifle because after all, doesn’t it just seemed appropriate to make my favorite British dessert for my favorite British blogger?? But hehe, I have to admit I also had an ulterior motive in mind. You see, I’ve had my eye on the trifle recipe from the Tartine cookbook for a while and well, just needed the perfect excuse to test it out. So… thank you Jackie! But hey, Jackie and I totally had lunch at Tartine when she came to visit San Francisco, so it’s totally 100% appropriate, don’t you think?


One Year Later: Mason Matcha-Misu v.2.0


Photo credit: David Mason.

The end of last year was one of the worst times of my life. My then boyfriend David had moved to Canada and I was mourning not just the loss of a relationship but of a close friend; I had completed formal education and in one swift move had gone from being the girl with the five-year-plan to the one drifting from day-to-day, unsure as to what direction my life should take; I was working two jobs at once, one as a private caterer and the other in retail, and though I adored my boss and my retail “family”, I wasn’t doing what I wanted and it was making me miserable.

My personality is such that when one aspect of my life is in jeopardy the rest of it goes completely to pot – it’s terrible but I simply cannot function when something is out of whack. Food was my escape – it didn’t judge, it was there, comforting me and the sense of satisfaction when I created something beautiful was almost better than eating it.

For David’s birthday that year I created this dessert which I named the Mason Matcha-Misu; it was my present for him even though he couldn’t taste it as he was in Canada. Based on David’s family mocha tiramisu recipe, I made the Matcha-Misu with matcha green tea powder, white chocolate laced with pistachios and even more pistachios, chopped roughly. It was a good first effort but it wasn’t quite there yet and so I didn’t share the recipe.

Fast forward a year and I’ve found myself making a living (or trying to) with food and words. David has also returned to London for the time being but we exist together solely as very good friends, a decision that is perfect for the both of us – I get to keep my best friend, mentor and muse with none of the drama that comes with relationships. It’s a tough world but I’m doing well, not the least because of my diagnosis and subsequent medication that is totally re-aligning all of my chakras, or whatever you want to call it. Yes, I’m single, yes, I’m still fighting to make a name for myself, yes, I’m living in a country I’d rather not be in and sometimes I wring my hands with despair at my situation, but for now? This is where, who and what I am and I’ve found a contentment in that. In other words: I’m happy.

And as for this Matcha-Misu? This year I not only perfected it, David finally got to taste it and give it his seal of approval.


Oh I’m A Terrible Tease, I Am


You see those beautiful little muffins right there? Take it in. Take it all in. Imagine those melting in your mouth (because melt they certainly do). Now hear this: I’m not giving you this recipe.

“WHAT?! HOW CAN YOU TEMPT US LIKE THIS, JACKIE?!” I hear you cry (…in my head I hear this. In reality you’re probably thinking, ‘meh. Big freakin’ deal’). Well that’s because I’m holding back on this gem for the cookbook.


Releasing My Inner Foodie Communist: Food For The People By The People #7


Entry #7! I know it hasn’t been that long since I posted #6, but I’ve actually got some time to get some cooking done and I’ve got a slight backlog of recipes to get through, so here you go! Deets are here if you don’t already know, so get reading and submitting!

This entry is brought to us by the fabulous Keely, a great friend and all-round pretty wonderful person. And she’s Irish, dontchaknow. I do a terrible impression of her. I’m sure one of these days she’s going to snap and beat me mid-oy-dee-oy or something, but for now she tolerates it and laughs. For now…


Releasing My Inner Foodie Communist: Food For The People By The People #2


Entry #2 in my new foodie project! Details can be found here and if you want to get involved drop me a comment or email me!

Over at Kudocities, the lovely cfalconer submitted her favourite summer pudding recipe which is both delicious and easy – no cooking required and can be prepared up to 36 hours in advance. Just the kind of recipe to bust out for a party – it both looks beautiful and tastes wonderfully rich, balanced out by the tartness of the fruit, and the crunchiness of the demerara sugar. I would recommend sprinkling a little more demerara before you serve, just to get that real crunch that can be a little lost in the cream/yoghurt overnight.

And, for a special extra twist, add a wee glug of an alcohol such as kirsch to your fruit before adding the cream/yoghurt. I used Rachel’s Organic honey yoghurt which gave it a really lovely extra sweetness, but you can use any yoghurt you like. Plain yoghurt is probably best, but I can’t pass up Rachel’s honey yoghurt when I see it in the shops!

Thanks CF for the recipe! It was divine!