Introducing a Friend and a Chef Extraordinaire

13 Feb

Not often times, does life spring surprises and such extraordinary ones.

When you are just about resigning to the fact life’s falling into a rut and nothing can ever change, life does what it does best. Be unpredictable.

On a whim, I enrolled for the Bahrain Writers’ Club (more about this in my weekly update) and until the d-day I was undecided about attending it. I enjoy writing but do I think of myself as a writer. I hadn’t made up my mind about that. The only writing I have ever done seriously was when  I had to write those boring essays in school to pass. I started this blog to mostly while away time and to chronicle my life( atleast this current phase) as much as I could. So to cut the long story short, I did go to this Writer’s Club Meet after all. After this meet, do I consider myself a writer, will I ever publish a book, will this writing ever take me anywhere – these fundamental questions, still remain unanswered. But what I did gain from this meet were some great contacts and  a good friend – Aaron Maree

This post is to introduce this wonderful, incredibly talented friend of mine. I feel ever so honoured.

Aaron has been a professional pastry chef for the past 28 years. Having worked in a professional capacity in more countries that you can think of, he has 12 cook books to his credit. Currently, he is based out of Bahrain and plans to do a lot things. I got his attention when I introduced myself as a food blogger. Probably, in the entire room full of people, we were the only ones who did something that was  food related. So it was natural to have bonded. He came over and introduced himself  and told me that he had gone through one of the restaurant reviews posted on my blog. I was overwhelmed to say the least.  A professional chef, going through my blog. That is an accolade enough for me to revel on.

A little more into the conversation, Aaron said he wanted my help to set up a food blog. Since he was too busy baking cakes, he kind of never got around the internet too much. I promised that I would help him. We got together for coffee a few days back and felt it would be better if he got comfortable with the whole blogging experience before he went out there to get a domain name and the works.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention, Aaron was very kind  to gift me his latest book on Arabian Desserts by the name of ‘Arabian Dreams’. This is my first ever cook book. Really.

Silly, when you think that I have a food blog. Until now, I was stalking the food blogs for my recipes. But now I have my own cook book, gifted to me by the author, himself. When I flipped through his book, I was flabbergasted at the kind of desserts he made. He had neatly combined the flavours of the middle east with the modern baking techniques of the west.  One of the desserts, therein, that intrigued me was the ” Gateau de Voyage Chai Spice”. I looked into my larder and found that I had most of the ingredients required to make this spectacular cake. Almost immediately I got down to the task.

Aaron says, in the book, that the inspiration to come up with this delicacy was from the Indian chefs in his team who constantly drank chai in their breaks. He has incorporated the loose  dust tea version ( the one that we desis, drink) in his recipe.

While I mixed the beautiful silken batter, I already felt the aroma of the spices waft in my kitchen. I knew instantly, that this wasn’t your run-of-the-mill gateau. The spices were mixed in a particular order and in a particular way. I followed the instructions to the tee until the point where I thought that it would be better to pour this into cupcake liners instead of a  loaf tin. I didn’t have the patience to bake it for an hour or more to see how it turned out. So I made cup cakes instead- a mistake. But nevertheless, when they did pop out of my oven, there were really something.

Chai Spice Cup cakes

The recipe uses aromatic spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, garam masala, star anise, cloves, ginger and our regular chai. The whole house smelt of this wonderful concoction. Deviating from the recipe a bit, the cup cakes had cream cheese glaze instead of the milk chocolate glaze as suggested in the book.


The book is doing very well in the middle east , so Aaron and team of extraordinary chefs have big plans to promote middle eastern dessert all over the world.

'Arabian Dreams' -The Book

The cupcakes were wonderful and I got 24 of them. That apart, I also got a whole cake which I decorated the glaze and chocolate shavings and sprinkles. I sent it packing to my hubby’s office where it got devoured in no time. So this recipe goes down to my “Repeat Recipe” list as I am going to try it out again and again.

Aaron and I have been in regular touch in order to get him to start his voyage on the internet. I felt his talent was too incredible not to be out THERE. So here’s the link:

Whatever little time he gets after his 10-14 hour baking day, he engages himself by writing for magazines. He enjoys writing a lot and thinks he has more to him than just writing for cookery sections and cook books. So cheers to Aaron and here’s wishing him all the luck!!!



5 Responses to “Introducing a Friend and a Chef Extraordinaire”

  1. Anks February 14, 2011 at 6:38 am #

    U inspire me Anu !!! Great job..Keep baking

  2. Akshata February 17, 2011 at 3:27 am #

    Loved reading the post. Good luck to you and Aaron. Happy baking! Isn’t it such a therapeutic exercise.

    • Anita Menon February 17, 2011 at 7:13 am #

      Baking is very relaxing, no doubt.

  3. dewdrop February 17, 2011 at 6:52 am #

    That was so sweet of you to help Aaron set up his blog. And yes, your friend is so talented 🙂

    • Anita Menon February 17, 2011 at 7:23 am #

      Thank you Hima! Thanks for dropping by.

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