“Easter is a celebration of life, new beginnings, and togetherness. It’s a show of sacrificial appreciation. Your menu should result in bringing people together, something that encourages you to go the extra mile and step out of your kitchen comfort zone,” said Terri Ann Abdool, owner of the Blue Kitchen in San Fernando.
Blue Kitchen's slogan is "Baking and creating edible memories."
Abdool has been baking professionally for three years, but the brand Blue Kitchen is a year old. She worked in a corporate environment for 15 years, but at the end of 2021, she rewrote her long-term plans, with the blessing and support of her family.
“Baking was not envisioned,” she related, “but one decision, some years ago, created an opportunity that grew and evolved.
"My mother was the baker in the family, so I guess a seed was planted in my early years. But only now it is being nurtured and given life.”
Although her business is relatively young, Abdool has her hands full with orders and special requests from loyal customers, including some from the corporate world. She makes artisan breads, cakes and desserts. Blue Kitchen’s portfolio also includes gluten-free, dairy-free, eggless, and vegan options. Blue Kitchen also provides delivery.
Asked what baking is symbolises, Abdool said, “It’s an avenue to develop and explore the imagination; a platform for freedom, inspiration, and expression.”
She said she loves baking and food because it allows her to express her creativity, is ever-evolving, and it isn’t stifled by a routine other than the science behind the execution.
“There is always a new recipe and technique to learn.
"Having my creations enjoyed is one of the best feelings in the world, and I appreciate every opportunity. There is a special sense of responsibility when someone trusts you to bake for them; it is a responsibility I do not take lightly. I see my talent as a gift from Christ, and it has allowed me to meet a lot of fantastic people from all walks of life. Clients became friends –some we have nicknamed 'family.'”
As is evident in her life, Abdool’s motto is “God first, everything else will fall into place.”
She shared her strawberry soufflé recipe.
½ cup strawberries (sliced or cubed)
2 ½ tbsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 egg whites (room temperature)
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
4 small ramekins. You can use ceramic mugs as an alternative.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place strawberries (fresh or frozen), 2 ½ tbsp sugar, and lemon juice and blend until smooth. Strain through a sieve to remove excess seeds, into a medium-sized saucepan. On medium/low heat, add cornstarch and stir continuously until no clumps are visible. Stir until mixture thickens, remove from heat and transfer to a clean medium-sized bowl to cool while you prepare your ramekins.
Butter each ramekin and sprinkle sugar to coat the inside (bottom and sides). This helps your soufflé to “climb.” Place in the refrigerator while you move on to the next step.
In a clean bowl, let’s create a meringue. Put in your egg whites and salt and whisk. It’s best to use an electric mixer once available. Add 2 tbsp sugar in thirds, whisking between each addition. Continue whisking until all the sugar has dissolved.
Do not whisk to stiff peaks, as you need to keep your meringue at the soft peak stage. A soft peak is when you lift your mixer, and the meringue curves at the ends and falls back into itself.
Add your meringue to your cooled strawberry mixture in thirds. Fold the batter using a spatula. You do not want to fold vigorously, as this will deflate all those bubbles you’ve worked hard to create.
Fold until there are no more white streaks. Your aerated meringue is what gives your soufflé that iconic rise.
Fill your ramekins to the brim. Place in your pre-heated oven and bake (no fan), middle rack for 15 minutes or until doubled in height. There should be a slight jiggle when you gently move it, and the tops will be slightly browned. Remove from the oven and serve your ramekins immediately.
You can dust the tops with icing sugar, slit the middle and pour custard, or enjoy as is. Make ahead and store covered in the refrigerator and bake when it’s almost dessert time.
It’s normal for a soufflé to deflate slightly once removed from the oven.
Happy baking and happy Easter!