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Kamran Siddiqi: Hand Made Baking
– Recipes to warm the heart –
I learnt about Kamran Siddiqi by his food blog Sophisticated Gourmet & so came across his book. Kamran S. is a self-taught cook/baker who started in his early youth developing his kitchen experience.
“Baking is my peace.”
… & reading his book is a very relaxing activity especially on Sunday mornings when the weather isn’t promising. Based on my surfing the pages of his book I tried 3 recipes:
- “Very Best Chocolate Chip Cookies” (aka soft… softer… vanilla-chocolate cookies…)
- “Everyday Chocolate Cake” (aka 1-layer chocolate cake w/ chocolate cream)
- “Carrot Cake” (coming soon).
In short: it worked & everything was just delicious! (Although I’ve to confess – as usual – that I slightly streamlined the list of ingredients & the recipe instructions for the sake of simplicity & the resources of my kitchen.)
What I liked from the beginning was Kamran S.’ statement on “kitchen basics”:
“You don’t need a professional kitchen with expensive machinery and baking pans, or even a pantry full of posh exotic ingredients, to make any of the recipes in this book. You need only a few basics, which I point out here – and even some of these, to be honest, you can do without.”
Kamran S. launches 55 recipes in his book of 210 pages. For each recipe there is a short – mostly personal – introduction, the list of ingredients, the instruction part, “notes” (based on his experience) & “variations”. The pictures accompanying each recipe seem to be made during the baking process w/ all the flour, the sugar, the butter, the milk… around capturing mostly the moment cookies or cakes have just left the oven.
The contents of the book cover cookies, brownies, muffins, cupcakes, scones, pies, cakes, bagels, brioche & biscuits… – that’s a lot! Kamran S. loves details & nails it to point when talking about how to prepare a dough or a frosting; he’s very accurate in his descriptions helping any reader to get the “secrets of baking”. In addition he talks about kitchen basics (the tools as well as the ingredients) & how to start… I think he worked very hard to optimize any recipe!
When coming to do some earnest baking along to his recipes I noticed happily that Kamran S. not only speaks in cups & Fahrenheit, but also uses grams & Celsius – so no need to transfer quantities & temperatures. However, Kamran S. always uses an oven w/o fan – while I always use an oven w/ fan. (In case of my cookie baking I put up to 3 baking trays in the oven while Kamran S. explicitly denotes that he always does only a single baking tray.
In general – as I mentioned before – all went straightforward according to his recipes. Especially the cakes were absolutely fluffy – I was really proud of having achieved this. …& I’m sure I’ll try more & more of his recipes (including my “streamlining”!).
I think there is a special point you should consider: each time I prepared frosting (twice so far!) the frosting was absolutely delicious, but it was too much – in my view. There were leftovers… For my next cakes w/ frosting I’ll keep in mind to reduce the quantities a little…
Well: if you like to browse a book on baking chilling on your sofa, to be delighted & amused by reading recipe stories & to get your mouth watering just by the idea of some chocolate cakes it’s the proper reading for you!