I live in the Rhine valley in south-west Germany and work as an engineer in the pharma/biotech sector.
Maybe this explains my recent fascination with all things yeasty as the preparation of bread/cheese/beer/wine are all applications of biotechnology from a time when people didn’t even know the term existed. (and now as the terms exists, it gets a little hazy as to what it means; but that’s another story) As my work involves some traveling, there are times when I have to eat in rather mediocre restaurants a lot. Over time I became annoyed by this and kept thinking “Even I could make it better than that.” again and again. At some point maybe two years ago I began to cook from scratch when at home and discovered the phenomenon of “food blog”. If you are aimlessly reading food blog after food blog, you are inevitably bound to find a post referring to the Daring Bakers at some stage. And again. And again. In October 2008 I contacted Lis about joining the Daring Bakers. It’s been an interesting journey since then.
How long have you been a Daring Baker/Daring Cook and what’s your favorite thing about being in the group(s) so far?
Since November 2008 (caramel cake). Aside from the support and the fun of comparing the different results people achieve by baking from the same recipe, the coolest thing about being a Daring Baker is that you can talk to other people as if both of you would be characters in a Harry Potter novel. (I’m going to try you-know-what this weekend.) Another thing I like about the DB forum is the focus on discussing actual techniques and advice instead of endless yadda yadda about the pros and cons of high-carbon steel above ceramics in chef knives.
Reading any good books lately? Which ones?!
Wooden Boats by Michael Ruhlman (yes, The Michael Ruhlman), Quirkology by Richard Wiseman, The Year of Eating Dangerously by Tom Parker Bowles.
Are you known for making a certain dish or dessert? If so, what is it?
I like to make a double batch of pasta bolognese or chicken curry, so I don’t have to cook on Sunday and can use the time for baking or dealing with certain Challenges.
Is there any recipe and/or technique that we haven’t covered yet that you’d really like to make/learn?
I have a list of things I’d like to try (ok, I guess everybody who’s reading this does ) e.g. Tarte tatin, a biscuit roll, making my own preserves, making a batch of buns of some kind as opposed to bread (Done that. Yay for Bread Baking Babes!). I’d like to try my hands on a three-tier cake just for the fun of it and having to deal with static problems.
Do you have a favorite movie? Actor? Actress? Genre of music?
Monty Python (original TV series) /Terry Gilliam (Time Bandits; Big Fish; Brothers Grimm)
Aardhouse Studios (Wallace&Gromit; Chicken Run)
films by Lasse Spang Olsen; These are not foodie films as such, but eating is a recurrent theme.
Rivers and Tides, a documentary about the works of Andy Goldsworthy
You’ve had a rough week. We feel your pain. How do you relax after a rough week?
I try to accomplish all household chores and the weekly trip to the supermarket on weekday nights. On Saturday I will get up early to beat the crowds at the green market. Back home, I will cook something with the fresh produce and spend the rest of the weekend relaxing, reading or some other activity (see No. 10 below).
What is the ultimate comfort food to you?
Pretty much anything you eat with bowl and spoon. E.g. the bolognese and curry mentioned above. Ice cream is also always a prime candidate.
Which season (Winter, Summer, Spring, Fall) is your favorite.. why?
Fall. I like the harvest of this years produce, the coloring of the leaves and the cooler weather after the summer heat. Fall (as well as spring) has a feeling of change, of movement which appeals to me.
Other than cooking and/or baking.. what hobbies do you enjoy?
I go hiking quite regularly. I’m a member in a local kayak club, but haven’t spend much time on the water in the last year. As for indoor hobbies, I play Go.