Friday, 24 October 2014

Profile: Jemma Wilson!

Hi everyone! I'm so excited to share this post with you all, firstly I just need to say how lovely Jemma is and secondly you're all in for an absolute treat! I invited baker Jemma Wilson (the brains behind the amazing cupcake company Crumbs and Doilies) to join me on my blog for a good old natter to talk about all things cake. Just to let all you YouTube addicts know Jemma also has her own YouTube channel and is part of Jamie Oliver's Food Tube network, I'll leave the link to her channel at the end of this post! 
roberts radio cakes
Mini Roberts radio cakes made by the team at Crumbs and Doilies
So when did you begin baking?
I’d been at Rose Bakery for a year and, while I loved my job, I felt I couldn’t go any further with it. I was 27 and I wanted to create something of my own. I wanted people to be eating MY cakes and bakes. When I left Rose Bakery I didn’t have a plan but it came to  me one day that I should start a market stall selling my cakes and cupcakes. I got a pitch at Sunday UpMarket in Brick Lane and off I went. Everything that Crumbs & Doilies has become started there in that stuffy indoor market.

I am a tad obsessed with your YouTube channel, I literally cannot stop thinking about those Chocolate Teacake High-Hat Cupcakes you made recently. What are some of your favourite bakes you've created?
My absolute favourite has got to be the S’Mores Brownie. I actually didn’t have a clue how it was going to turn out. Usually I like to be sure that my recipes will work and be awesome but on that particular day I’d left it all a bit to the last minute and I was kind of scrabbling around for something to make and the idea just popped in to my head. So, when I’m eating it on camera that is genuine glee! It was so flipping good! The Halloween videos we’re about to release on Halloween week are also some of my favourites but that’s mainly because Halloween is THE BEST!

Perhaps quite a generic question but where do you get your inspiration from?
I get inspiration from all over the place. I have a sweet tooth so I always try and eat dessert when I go out for dinner, to see what all the chefs are creating, and what’s current. American treats are a big inspiration for me too. They have some of the best sweets and snacks in the whole world and I like to deconstruct them and see how they might work as a cupcake or some other kind of bake or dessert. 

deftones cupcakes
Jemma's incredible Deftones cupcakes!

Do you have any secret food spots you love to visit in London? 
I don’t think I have any that are secret but there are some that I keep going back to because of how brilliant they are. Patisserie des Reves in Marylebone is one of them. It is a bit on the expensive side but I understand all too well the amount of work that goes in to the pastries they create so I don’t really mind. They do something called a Grand Cru Vanille which is heavily and their Paris Brest is the best I have ever tasted. For non-sweet food I have so many favourites but El Parador in Mornington Crescent and Barrica on Goodge Street are two of the best tapas restaurants in London, in my opinion, but without all the hype. Real honest, seasonal, beautifully prepared and reasonably priced food. Check them out!

Who would you love to bake for?
I like baking for all people. There isn’t any one in particular I think should eat my cakes. No one famous or important. Every mouth is equal! The only exception would be my friends, who are my biggest fans so I always get a really positive reaction from them!

If you were only able to eat three things for the rest of your life what would you choose?
Risotto, bread and that S’mores Brownie probably. If someone told me I couldn’t eat bread anymore I would be devastated!

ombre rainbow cake
Amazing layered cakes made by the team at Crumbs and Doilies

You're also part of Jamie Oliver's Food Tube which is pretty incredible. How did you become involved with that and what is he like to work with?
I met Jamie by chance at an event he hosted and a few months later he got in touch to see if I would come and do some filming for a show he was working on. That went so well that I actually featured on the show and then a few months later, when Food Tube was being born, they gave me my own channel and a book deal! It was all a bit nuts really. Jamie is brilliant. He is so generous with his time and his wisdom. He has been such a massive support for me this year. He’s really fun to work with. He’s been doing this gig for a really long time so he’s very professional but because everyone that he works with are all great fun and good friends there is always a really fun vibe and loads of laughs. He’s got a very naughty sense of humour, as do I! 

Do you ever get bored of baking or being surrounded by cake? ( I struggle to think that anyone would!)
Yes and no. I never get bored of the cupcakes we make at Crumbs & Doilies. It’s crazy because I must have eaten thousands over the years. They are just delicious, that’s all there is to it. I do get a little tired of eating sugar sometimes. I actually gave it up for about 4 years because it was sending me a bit loopy. But I realised that I couldn’t really do my job without it. Not only because it’s important that I taste our cupcakes and make sure they are as good as they can be but also I need to eat sweet food for inspiration and knowledge (good excuse right?). I started eating it again a couple of years ago and while I love it, I do sometimes yearn for something really savoury instead.

Lastly, what's next for you?
Well, Crumbs & Doilies is opening a shop! So that’s pretty exciting and scary and awesome. It’s going to be in Soho and we’re hoping to be open before Christmas this year, fingers crossed. Meanwhile, my channel is ticking along and I’m really enjoying making the videos. It gives me a chance to bake new things. But my main focus right now is on getting the shop ready which is a dream come true for me and my partner, Sam. It’s the right time for us and I hope it does really well and smashes the competition!

If you want to find out more about Jemma you can watch her on YouTube, visit her companies website for the most amazing cakes you'll ever see and you can buy her book here!

All Photos have been given with the users permisson

Monday, 20 October 2014

Make your own Jammie Dodgers

make your own jammie dodgers
jammie dodger recipe

This recipe has been adapted from the BBC Good food website & then made by me! My sister who is an amazing baker helped me out with this blog post and I can safely say they taste really good, and are a firm favourite in our household. These would make a great and inexpensive gift for Christmas if you used either stars, baubles or Christmas tree shapes. 

For this recipe you will need:
  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 100g strawberry, apricot, cherry or raspberry jam, anything you fancy! You'll need around half a jar.

The Method:
  1. Put the butter, sugar, flour and almonds into a bowl and use an electric whisk until the mixture nearly comes together and forms a ball. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  2. Remove the dough from the fridge and knead until it is soft enough to shape and roll. Divide into two even-size balls. Sprinkle a little plain flour over your work surface and roll out one ball of pastry. The dough should be approximately 5mm thick. Using a cookie cutter or any shape you like cut out as many shapes as you can. Keep going until you have about 25 shapes. Carefully place them onto a baking sheet, making sure you keep them slightly apart.
  3. Roll out the second ball of dough the same way. Cut out the same-size stars and place them on a baking sheet. Now cut out a small circle in the centre of each biscuit using a small cookie cutter or the end of a large piping nozzle.
  4. Heat oven to 140C (if you have a fan pop it onto 120C) or gas mark 1 and cook the biscuits for 20-30 mins until they are a lovely golden colour. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack to completely cool. Place a  generous blob of jam onto the centre of the biscuits without the cut-out circle. Place the top halves of the biscuits on and push down gently and there you go. Your very own jammy dodgers!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Sorry about last night...

This interview is something very different to what I usually write about and I expect some of you won't like it, but I want you to read this first before you make any sort of judgement. I want to introduce you to two female comedians from New York who are changing people's perspectives on the way we think about sex. Krystyna Hutchinson (in the photo below she is on the left) and Corrine Fisher (right) are doing something pretty unique. They are talking about their sexual experiences one guy (or girl) at a time, then recording a podcast which is released onto the internet for everyone to hear, and I meant EVERYONE. The podcast is named Guys we F***ed so you can imagine it's pretty racy stuff and is very explicit. Something perhaps not to listen with your grandma, (or maybe you should, these girls want us to have no shame, right?) I have warned you, so don't listen if you're easily offended as they go into every detail possible. However they are hilarious and they make some interesting points about sexuality. I spoke to the girls about everything from Emma Watson's  UN speech to female comedians, Beyonce and of course sex.

sorry about last night

What made you want to start the podcast? 
C: I mean, do you just want the guy's name? As many artistic endeavors do, this started from a pretty dark place. The guy I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with dumped me in a Panera bread and I lost my shit. I thought if I could go back and talk to every guy I had ever dated or slept with, I could find out what I was doing wrong. How very High Fidelity of me, right? I quickly realized I wasn't doing anything wrong and that this concept was much bigger than its selfish, pathetic beginnings. But, the main goal was to use comedy to heal myself. And it certainly did. This podcast has truly been my salvation. Some people find Jesus, I found Krystyna Hutchinson and some microphones. 

K: When Corinne talked to me about the idea, I was immediately on board. I have my own hangups with my sexuality and the only logical way, in my mind, to rid myself of those hangups is to talk about them at a level of honesty that's uncomfortable for most. Also, adding humor to sex talk is key. Its one of the few things all humans have in common and we all feel equally weird/awkward/nervous about it at times. Also, so many people carry a sense of shame about their sexuality. Shame is made-up by a culture of people. It's not real, it's programmed in your head over your lifetime. That's why Corinne and I make a point to be 100% honest about what we say on the podcast, even if we're embarrassed, because we want to spread the word that it's ok to make mistakes. As long as your comfortable and safe with what you're doing... do away!

A massive congratulations is in order after reaching half a million listeners! Does it not worry you that so many people are hearing about your sexual experiences? 
C: Nope! This podcast is like my diary. You're saying things that are intimate, but that, deep down, you really want people to know about you. I don't really have any secrets, I find them suffocating. We're all fuck-ups. I say let's bask in it together. 

K: When the podcast first got popular and we started to get some press, I had a mini panic attack because I realized that our sexual laundry is being aired for the entire world to hear. Once we started getting emails from our listeners telling us how much more comfortable we've made them feel about their own sexuality, that panic melted away. To be able to make people laugh AND feel better about whatever's going on in their life, goes beyond what I've hoped for with this show. 

Who's been your favourite guest on your show so far? 
C: Probably Jim Norton because I unexpectedly met my soulmate that day. He still doesn't know, though.

K: We recently had on a woman on named Veronica who was very candid (and hilarious) about her experience as a stripper in a high end club and having a sugar daddy pay her rent for a few years. I love talking to people from different walks of life and that woman can tell a story. I was crying-laughing for the majority of the episode. 

As I'm sure you're aware Emma Watson made a pretty incredible speech about gender equality at the UN conference this week. How do you feel about this and do you have any experiences where you've been discriminated because of your gender? 
C: In keeping with our podcast's theme of being completely honest, no matter how 'embarrassing', I did not watch this speech. And, keeping with this theme of honesty, I probably still won't even after kind of feeling like a dumbass for a few seconds just now. This is a huge movement and I know Emma Watson is doing her part, I don't need to witness it. I'm busy doing my part. And also listening to Katy Perry and eating gummy bears. What I'm trying to say is I'm very busy. Busy SANS boyfriend which I know is a shocker to many. 

K: I loved Emma's speech and completely agree with the notion that we need men on our side in order to make any progress with equal rights. Whenever any repressed group is fighting for equality, it takes the group of people at the opposite end of the spectrum to join in on the cause in order to get results. There are plenty of times I've been discriminated against but I try not to keep those experiences handy, otherwise I'd go nuts. The only one that really sticks out is when I was a little kid and my dad wouldn't allow me to do the things he allowed my brother to do at my age. I was always so frustrated by this and asked him flat out one day if it's because I'm a girl and he said yes and I've been pissed ever since (JK, love you Dad!!).

Why do you think people are so afraid to say that they're a feminist and would you both classify yourself as one?
C: Probably because it makes them think of a lot of armpit hair. I refer to myself as a 'MODERN feminist' and what that means to me is based on what the Spice Girls used to say...like, I can wear hot pants and still fight for my rights as a female. 

K: Because they think it means that you hate men which is entirely false. Corinne and I are feminists and we CERTAINLY don't hate men. I mean, we have a podcast dedicated to talking with the men that have been a part of our lives at some point. 

In the UK there are very few well known female comedians. Why do you think the industry struggles to appeal & connect to females involved in the industry? 
C: I think a huge part of comedy is about being super open, and, for the most part, women have been forced to hide shit about themselves for so long that it's just gonna take an extra beat to let our freak flags fly, ya know? We're jetting forward at an amazing pace, though. 

K: I'm not sure that the industry struggles with that so much. There are a ton of female comedians that are killing it right now that connect to both genders. 


guys we fucked podcast

Who do you look up to as inspiration?
C: I look in the mirror and I'm like, "Gross, you can be better." Then I go out and try to suck less than I did the day before. I'm a delight. 
K: My mom, Catherine O'Hara, and Sarah Silverman.

On the podcast you spoke about the powerful relationship between BeyoncĂ© and Jay Z, which caused a bit of a negative reaction from your listeners. Why do you think that was & what was the point you were trying to make? 
C: This is pretty much directed at me. The BeyHive can send me all the threatening Tweets they want, but I pride myself in being a pretty good people reader and there is something very strange about the Jay-Z/Beyonce dynamic (which, btw, a lot of listeners saw as well). All I can say is watch those interview portions of the Beyonce "Life Is But A Dream" documentary again and if you don't find some of that shit mildly alarming...I cannot help you. The conversation I started about Beyonce was meant in no way to take away from the fact that she is a ridiculously gifted performer, that's undeniable. But, unfortunately, I tried to have an intelligent conversation, and, instead was greeted with blind defensiveness which I have absolutely no respect or tolerance for and it left an even worse taste in my mouth than I had initially.

K: I love Beyonce always and forever and am I die hard fan of hers. Whenever anyone criticizes her, I usually put ear muffs on. I've had my fair share of arguing over my take on Beyonce's influence and overall magic and I've realized that I don't care to change anyone's mind. If you don't see it or if you're focusing on an area of her private life that you likely know nothing about, you're missing the point and I can't help ya. 

Sex is still such a taboo subject, however we all want to hear about it out of natural curiosity hence the reason you have half a million subscribers. Do you think that your podcasts have helped people become more open about their sex life, as you open up in such huge detail about yours? 
C: Sure! I think the podcast has helped start a larger conversation between friends, spouses, mates and fuck buddies, but we're just a small part of a much larger (and super exciting) sexual movement. 

K: I do! And the proof lies within all the emails we get form listeners around the world every day. They share their experiences and it opens up a dialogue that they maybe haven't had before. It makes me so happy when people email us, we read every one and try to respond when we can! (sorryaboutlastnightshow@gmail.com)

So what's next for the both of you?
C: Tacos, probably. 
K: Some really cool things are in the works. Keep an eye out! 


You can listen to their podcasts here:

Friday, 3 October 2014

Autumn fashion picks + Student discount!

I thought I would do a super quick post for you today with my picks for Autumn! There's some really great student deals on at the moment including 15% off at Misguided, 20% off at Miss Selfridge, 20% off at Warehouse and 20% off at New Look to name a few! So snap up those deals whilst you can & you still have some of your student loan left! I seriously love all of the things below and I wish I still had a student loan as these would all be going in my shopping basket!
For those who might not be able to see my picks below turn your Google ad blocker off! Some reason it blocks this widget!