Homecooks Spotlight : Charlynn Gwee

Almond Macarons 1

Charlyn Gwee

Hi, I’m Charlynn and am currently a business student who spends more time in the kitchen than with my books (if only cook books are counted). Apart from studying, i’m also a freelance photographer & “part-time”home baker. I have done orders for dessert tables, wedding favors, pastries, cakes etc.

Baking is my thing but i love cooking too! It just came together one day when i started watching Asian Food Channel (AFC), FoodNetwork & TLC on cable & instantly it hits me! Being self taught, i do have my hits & misses but that’s how i learn along the way. Being passionate about what i love makes me hungry for knowledge & that’s what drives me to experiment with different ingredients, techniques, reading up & watching countless videos on Youtube. Joy from people who have my food brings me great satisfaction!

Interview Questions –
1. What inspires you when it comes to food?
Freshest ingredients is definitely top on the list. Having the freshest ingredients & knowing how to handle it, bringing out it’s natural flavor.

2. What do you enjoy about cooking or baking?
I enjoy both cooking & baking. To me, cooking is relaxing & baking is therapeutic. I absolutely enjoy the process of shopping for ingredients, working out the menu in my head to the actual execution & presenting the final product.

3. Where do most of your recipes come from?
Family recipes, cookbooks, food programs ( i tend to jot down notes/recipes while watching food shows) & blogs.

4. What is our favourite kind of food to make?
Meat & seafood! As for baking, i love baking macarons & bread.

5. Do you plan a weekly menu? If so, what inspires your menu?
I don’t. If i happen to be in a supermarket & sees an ingredients that i feel like cooking with, i will just cook. As for baking, my pantry is usually stocked with everything i need, so it’s more of coming across a recipe that i feel like trying out or if the family requests for a particular bake.

6. What is your favourite recipe posted on your blog/website?
I’m pretty new to the blog sphere thus i do not really have that many recipes up there. If it has to be from the blog, i would say it’s the apple crumble pie! I’m a sucker for anything cinnamon.

Apple Crumble Pie

7. What is your favourite kitchen tool/appliance?
It definitely have to be my trusty Kitchenaid Mixer. With a couple of attachments, i’m able to churn out cakes, bread, ice cream, pasta etc.

8. What is your best tip for getting dinner on the table?
Being ORGANIZED! I have quite a big family & gathering is always at my place so i’m pretty used to cooking huge quantity & the key to getting everything served is definitely maximizing the usage or ovens & stove & keep a watch on the time. Preparing all ingredients in advance helps as well. We all know washing & chopping up ingredients can be quite a handful. Always pace yourself and work out a little time schedule if you are afraid you can’t keep up.

9. What kind of food did you eat growing up? Do you cook the same kinds of things today?
My paternal grandma is a Peranakan & my maternal grandparents are both Hainanese, so i had the best of both worlds. I do not really cook peranakan food (maybe just making kuehs) but i still cook quite abit of hainanese chicken rice, pork chop & making my own chilli (Grandpa’s recipe) to go with the chicken rice. As a child, my family would go for weekly seafood trips & my grandpa who loves fishing would always bring back fresh seafood that we all could indulge in (those were the days where fishes were bigger & the sea wasn’t as polluted). Cheese Crab & prawns are my specialty .

10. What is your favourite part about blogging?
Definitely interacting with various people, sharing a bit of what i know & off course knowing people from other countries, from exchanging emails, to being friends.

11. Will you show us your kitchen? What is your favourite thing about your kitchen?
Sure! Why not?! My favorite thing has to be my oven!

Charlyns Kitchen 2

12. Which are your favourite food blogs/ websites?
Brown Eyed Baker (http://www.browneyedbaker.com/)
Tartelette (http://www.mytartelette.com/)
David Lebovitz (http://www.davidlebovitz.com/)
Jamie Oliver (http://www.jamieoliver.com/)
Nigella (http://www.nigella.com/)
I also love visiting David Loftus site, instagram & foodtube, seeing how food are being photographed. (http://www.davidloftus.com/)

Recipe to share –
Almond Macarons

Almond Macarons

Macaron Shells:
• 3 egg whites
• 50g granulated sugar
• 200g icing sugar
• 110g ground almonds

1. Sift icing sugar with ground almond (Make sure you sift so that your macarons shell will be smooth)
2. Whisk egg whites till foamy and slowly add in the sugar. Beat till you get a soft peak. Be careful, you do not want a stiff peak/ dry egg whites
3. Add your dry ingredients to your egg whites & fold in. i did mine in 2 portions. (You really don’t have to be too gentle with it.)
4. Fold in till you get a slow moving magma batter
5. Pipe on baking sheet & allow shells to dry
6. Bake at 150C for 12-15 mins

Chocolate Ganache :
• 1 cup chocolate
• 1/2 cup heavy cream

• Melt chocolate & heavy cream over the stove
• whisk till they are smooth and shiny
• Refrigerate them and pipe when macarons are ready

For more of Charlyn’s kitchen adventure check the links below
Website : http://mybakingcottage.wordpress.com/
Instagram : http://instagram.com/charlynngwee

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