My baking influences come from around the world. I am a Hispanic- American who has lived in Europe since 1991.
When I was growing up in Texas my Mexican mom use to make empanadas on the kitchen table and filled them with apple butter and pumpkin. I was allowed to brush them with condensed milk in the assembly line. She also made amazing lemon meringue pies for my dad’s Mexican cafe that we took turns working in from a young age. My father originally came from New Mexico which is where one of my favourite cookies originate, “The Biscochito”. It is an anise and rum cookie that I love, I make them by the hundreds at Christmas with my two daughters. When I moved to England in 1991 I was introduced to some of my favourite deserts, mince pies, summer pudding, bread and butter pudding and bakewell tart. Having spent the last 18 years in Co. Kildare, Ireland, it is impossible not to try to perfect apple tart and tea brack. I’m still practicing. My travels have given me a love of all French pastries, especially macarons, éclairs, and tarts. I have been fortunate enough to be able to learn how to make the temperamental macaron in the Paris cooking school, La Cuisine Paris.
“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!”
― Julia Child, My Life in France
I love Julia Child. She was 32 when she learned to cook and influenced generations of American home cooks and bakers, proving that it is never too late to find a labour of love….. I was in my late thirties when I started cooking and baking, before that, I only made reservations.
Julia introduced Americans to the art of French cooking. She believed that anything worth doing, is worth doing right, no matter how much effort is required.
“I joyfully celebrate the food I am given. May it deeply nourish everyone that I feed.”~ San Pasqual.
My small baking business is named after San Pasqual, a Franciscan monk who is the patron saints of cooks and kitchens . Things in my kitchen often don’t turn out the first time, especially when I first tried making macarons, so I often look to him for some divine help.
Paschal Baylon was born on May 24, 1540, in Torrehermosa, in the province of Zaragosa, Aragón, in what is now Spain.
The son of peasants, from the age of seven Paschal worked as a shepherd. Even as a child he showed signs of the profound devotion that would become one of the most prominent features of his character, along with charity, self-sacrifice, and courtesy to others. When he was 24, Paschal was received as a lay brother among the Franciscan friars of the Alcantarine Reform. In the cloister, his duties were to prepare meals and keep the kitchen clean. He was hesitant to accept such a role; it was hard work, and he feared it would keep him from his prayers. However, Paschal found cooking to be meditative, and discovered that he could be deep in prayer and still prepare food.
Regardless of your faith, the story of Paschal Baylon resounds in all of us who love to cook: It’s the story of a person who found a sense of divine purpose simply by preparing food for others.