Hi Annie Mae- AKA Miss Culinary Bee, Thank you so much for wanting to be a part of this interview. Mon Dessert means “My Dessert” in French. I want to delve into what are “your desserts”. For example, for me, desserts are often eaten for indulgence and special occasions. I think we are often trying to capture a time lost when we eat desserts. Perhaps a delicious memory imprinted on your lips and on your tongue. Think back to when you were a child and and had your first sweet taste of a much-loved pudding.
Q: I love your blog and look forward to your Instagram posts as your jovial phrases and beautiful photos often cheer me up. Was this your intention when you started The Culinary Bee and how did you get started and why?
A: I first started The Culinary Bee in February 2016 when I first moved to Suffolk for my now husbands work. I had just come out of university ( studying Fine Art at Norwich) and was feeling very displaced from my normal creative routine. I had always cooked and loved photography but never thought of doing food photography! I decided on that day to start journal my life through my food. I can look back on a certain plate of food and remember everything that day. I use my Instagram page like a Visual Diary , hence why you might suddenly see my mug on it from time to time.
Q: What is a typical day for you and what do you enjoy most about what you do?
A: A typical day is starting the day answering emails with a vat of Earl Grey tea ( my absolute favourite thing in the world). I then prepare my breakfast depending on how I feel . If it ends up looking like something I want to photograph, I'll put it on the blog. Again, I'm just like anyone else, there are some days where I just want a bowl of Corn Flakes haha! I tend to go for at least one large walk a day. It really helps me to get out into nature, I am very inspired by flowers and my surrounding landscape. ( Surrey). I try and incorporate floral elements into my food pieces. Lunch& Dinner are usually random acts of impulse. I love buying loads of different ingredients not knowing what I will be cooking during the week. I blame that on being an artist, I am very used to being faced with the challenge of having lots of things in front of me, and then having to turn that into something new.
Q: Who would you say is your typical fan/follower?
A: I would say my typical followers are normal foodies or food porn admirer's. My followers all have great senses of humour, which I absolutely love. I try not to take myself too seriously, since the photos are so 'Instagramable' its important to remind them that there is a real person behind the images. To me there is nothing worse than having a beautiful account and then having a super pretentious attitude. You aren't going to be seeing any foie gras or avocado toasts on my account.
Q: Who made the desserts when you were growing up? Was it Mum, dad, sibling, and granny? What was their specialty in your mind?
A: This is such an easy answer. My dads chocolate microwave pudding which I think is a Nigella Lawson Recipe. ( Checking as I write this). Yes it is. As a five year old being exposed to such a ridiculously adult chocolate cake , it was literally life changing, and I remember bouncing of the ceiling for a few hours, much to the dismay of my parents. It is such a rich and delicious pudding and it's something we have rarely now since have grown up. ( I think we all just swapped that chocolate pudding for wine now).
Q: What was your favourite shop bought dessert or sweet treat when you were growing up?
A: There is only one word. Donuts. They are my weakness in life. The jammier the better.
Q: Now as an adult what is your favourite Michelin star, sophisticated type dessert vs. your guilty pleasure dessert (I’m thinking chocolate hob nobs dunked in tea, Ben & Jerry’s on a Friday night)?
A: I'm not a massive chocolate fan, but when the chocolate cravings arrive, they come hard and fast. I love eating a really good Chocolate Cardamon dessert, like a soufflé. My guilty pleasure is always jam donuts. I turn feral.
Q: What is your “go to” dinner party dessert that you use to impress when you need to pull out all the stops to impress?
A: I would say my Lemon Tart. I absolutely adore anything fruit based for desserts. When it comes to the citrus flavours, the sourer the better!! Plus it's one of those puddings that looks impressive, but is reasonably easy to make!
Q: I always end the interview with a dessert recipe share. Would it be okay for me to ask you to share a recipe? It could be the “go to” dinner party dessert. Or perhaps an old recipe from your grandmother. I would love to share this we Mon Dessert fans if you are okay for me to do so?
A: I love baking, its like the ultimate me time moment...A bit like in a movie where they cut to the montage scene. I get to enjoy a ( large) glass of wine, wack on some obnoxiously loud indie music ( usually The War On Drugs) and get creative.
Try this Zesty Lemon Cake with White Chocolate Icing. It usually keeps for around three days in the fridge or an air tight container. Another great place for it is your mouth.
· 3 Eggs, large
· 150 g Golden Caster Sugar
· 200 g Plain flour
· 120ml Olive Oil
· 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence/Extract
· 1 tsp Baking Powder
· 1 pinch of salt
· the zest and juice of 3 lemons
· 350g Icing Sugar
· 150g Melted White Chocolate
· 100g butter
· 1-2 tbps milk
· 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
1. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder in a bowl.
2. Place the olive oil , sugar and vanilla extract in a separate large bowl and whisk with an electric mixer until smooth. Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Then slowly add the lemon zest and juice, flour mix, a little at a time.
3. Pour the batter between two tins and transfer to the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. (check at 18) Bake until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
4. Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 15-20 minutes then carefully turn them out onto a wire rack.
5. Now to make the icing. In a large bowl, mix the sugar, butter with a spoon, and the melted white chocolate and 1 tablespoon of the milk. Gradually beat in the remaining milk to make the mixture spreadable and silky. (If you have added too much milk, add more powdered sugar).
6. In an icing bag, add a nozzle of your choice, and fill the bag, and put in the fridge for a minimum of 10 minutes.
7. For the cakes, make sure they are cooled. Place the first layer onto either a cake stand or a serving plate. Pipe rings of the icing and then spread evenly. Slather some of the white chocolate icing on top of the cake to create rough strokes ( so it looks...ultra rustic) . And top with a few slices of lemon!