A BBQ on a rainy day with some old friends..

Ok so yesterday I had a barbecue with some old friends at my mums friends house, and I actually had a good time. Even if there was the odd spider hiding in the corner of the ceiling. πŸ˜‚

It was really nice to see people that you haven’t seen for a long time, but the fact that we’ve all grown up since the first time we met actually kind of made me feel old inside. Not to mention the fact that it’s my friend’s birthday today and we helped her celebrate it last night with some food, of course, games, music and a trip to the park too.

Speaking of food, my mum helped out the other mums at the barbecue beforehand by making some marinated lamb chops and chicken wings the night before, with a bit of my help of course.

I also wanted to make something myself so naturally, I decided to make a dessert, and on Saturday, everything seemed fine, and then my mum told me that, rather last minute, I’d probably be catering for up to 30-34 people. Yikes. To make it even worse, I didn’t know what I was going to do, so the next morning cued the last minute shopping trips and the obligatory ‘going crazy in the kitchen’.

Waking up an hour and a half late (as I probably always do), I started the day in my pyjamas (as you do πŸ˜‚), and got on with making the Lemon Tart and Chocolate Mousse Cake. Of course my mum would be on hand to help me, even if I nearly did cry at one point over a sunken sponge. πŸ˜‚

In the end though, everything began to run smoothly for me, which allowed me to buy the last of my ingredients and whip up a light and fluffy Eton Mess, rippled with melted white chocolate.

It was a rather eventful 3 hours for me, but eventually my mum and I made it through (just about πŸ˜‚), and by the time we were ready to go, everything was decorated and had it’s own finishing touch, whether it was sliced lemon on the tart, macerated raspberries and chocolate strawberries on the cake or crushed meringue and strawberry syrup on the Eton Mess. The fact that everything was polished and hand finished had brought a long earned smile to my face too.

When it came to everyone else though, they were in awe with the look of my creations but were amazed with the taste of them, especially the Lemon Tart, as one of the ladies usually doesn’t like the dessert, but was in love with my version. I even had my cake feature as the birthday cake surprise!! 😁

All in all, it had been a really nice day and everyone’s now on their summer holidays, so no one really cared about how early they had to get up or go to bed, which made everyone’s lives easier as we had our own fun during the night. We would’ve stayed until the early hours but to be honest, at some point we had to go home. πŸ˜‚

I had gone to a lot of effort to make the desserts and it had all paid off, I was both relieved and happy to see people enjoy my creations, and that’s what I love most about what I do. πŸ’™

(PS. At some point, I will be adding the recipes for the Genoise cake, the Lemon Tart and Eton Mess so watch this space!! I will also be doing a Q&A this Thursday but more on that tomorrow..)

Introduce yourself Jasmin!

Hey guys, this is my first blog so I’m quite nervous and excited about doing this at the same time!

So my name is Jasmin Tang and if you haven’t read my ‘About’ section yet, I am a 17 year old currently studying Catering and Hospitality at college. I have just finished my first year doing a Level 2 Food and Beverage Diploma alongside a General Patisserie qualification a few weeks ago. Now I’m currently on my holidays but I will be making some of my recipes to share with all you lovely people so don’t fret!! πŸ˜‚

So a bit more about my background, my parents are both half English and half Asian. My mum and dad were both born in Hong Kong and my dad was raised in the same location but my mum was raised in the South of China. They also both happen to be takeaway restaurant owners, so therefore at a young age, cookery would always be, and still is, in my blood.

Growing up, I was a very curious child, I was fascinated by the little things in life i.e. How something or someone grows and matures overtime, and my family have always described me as ‘full of energy, cheekiness and curiousity’. I also used to watch a lot of cooking shows as a child in my spare time as well, and I have a small collection of cookbooks in my room too.

Initially though, I wasn’t drawn to being the idea of a chef. When I was younger, probably at least 6 years old, I first wanted to be a fashion designer, as I was so interested with the idea of creating something new and trendy for people to wear. I would always have a sketch book with multiple bits of paper that I would use to draw out my ideas.

Then when I was 10-11, my parents taught me how to cook, starting with a simple bowl or ramen noodles, and then it would move on to the basics, such as frying or boiling an egg or making soup dumplings (wontons or sui gao). It wasn’t until Year 7 that I decided to finally get into cooking and follow my parents footsteps.

But obviously this being life, there were a few personal hardships along the way for me.

When I was least 10-11 years old, I was diagnosed with having ASD, which is a form of autism, and therefore I can be a bit awkward during certain social situations, a lot of the time I struggle to understand certain things i.e. Whether someone is laughing with, or at me, certain instructions which are quite long winded, but mostly I have a few learning difficulties and my mind can take a long time to understand simple instructions.

I know that bringing up my autism can sometimes be a sensitive subject, considering I was bullied in Year 7 and I didn’t realise it until I was told by some of my peers, and that was quite a difficult time in my life because I felt alone and it was my first year at high school, which didn’t help matters because most people were much older than me.

Because of this, it took most of my time at high school to rebuild my own self (maybe Year 8-10?), and during those years I was so shy and self conscious of what people thought about me. I was just a normal girl who wanted to make friends and be liked by people around me. But you know what, present day, I’m much more self confident and stronger than I used to be, and even if I have the odd breakdown during my exams, it’s because I always care about what I do, I always put lots of effort and heart into it, and you know what? I’m much happier in my own skin, especially when I’m around food, because I love to make new things and experiment with different ingredients, and that’s exactly what I did at school.

I would always be creative and original with what I made during my Food Technology lessons, and that’s when my teacher began to realise my passion and creativity for food. I have to be honest though, she had no idea what to expect from me during our first theory lesson but when it came to making a basic fruit salad (and by basic I mean mango, berries and pomegranate soaked in cranberry juice πŸ˜‚), we both knew that there was some potential in me.

Throughout my five years at high school, I never thought I’d learn as fast as I initially did during those first practical and theory lessons. Whenever I made a new recipe, everyone would be impressed with what I made, such as a rack of lamb with dauphinoise potatoes, Raspberry and Praline Millefeuilles, or even a Lasagne drizzled with White Truffle Oil for my GCSEs (that one probably wasn’t as much a hit considering I nearly vomited after it was made due to the rather pungent smell. Lovely. πŸ˜‚)

Everytime we would have a practical lesson, she would help try and stretch my knowledge even further, especially during my GCSEs, and she would always support me during the most difficult of times. So when I left high school, my Food Technology teacher was the teacher I would miss the most, and it was an even bigger shock for me when I found out she had moved to America as I went to collect to my GCSE certificates. Well I wasn’t even shocked at the point, I was rather disheartened inside. But at that point, I knew she would’ve wanted me to carry on with what I loved the most, and that was cooking.

Since high school, I managed to enrol into college to study Catering and Hospitality, the latter of which I studied for my first year. I have to admit though there had been some tough times throughout the course, because it’s still life, and you don’t know what it could throw at you. But you know what, I enjoyed it for the most part and I loved doing Patisserie the most, as I was most interested in making dessert products, such as a bavarois (a fluffy, gelatine set custard based mousse), lemon tarts and choux pastries (profiteroles, eclairs, Paris Brests or choux swans). Thankfully I managed to pass my courses with flying colours and am expecting my certificates this month.

So at the moment, that’s enough about me and my life! (Just kidding πŸ˜‚)

I will be posting my own recipes for you to read and create yourselves so expect a few coming up over the next couple of weeks or so. Anyways I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my first post (if I’ve bored anyone then sorry πŸ˜‚), and I’ll be posting my first recipe, which will be my Chocolate Mousse Crunch Cake, in a few days for all you lovely people!

Thanks guys,

Thecheekyteenchef πŸ™‚ xo