It’s time for one of our weekly features– “Meet the Neighbors”! Each week, I highlight a different food blogger and you let you “meet” him or her. This has been a fun way to introduce us to different and new recipes/cuisines that we may not have otherwise tried. I have thoroughly enjoyed each one! Today’s featured “neighbor” is Julie, from Bunsen Burner Bakery. From the moment I met Julie, I was impressed– she is a busy wife and Mom who also happens to have a Ph.D. in Biochemistry (wow!!), in addition to running her successful food blog, Bunsen Burner Bakery. She is one smart cookie . . . and if her cookie happens to taste better than most, why that’s just a bonus 😉 What are we waiting for? Pull up a chair, and let’s visit with her! 🙂
What is your name, and where are you located? (Hint: if you live in Hawaii, I am packing my bags as we speak 😉
I’m Julie, and I live in downtown Philadelphia.
Tell us a little bit about yourself– what is the name of your blog, and how did you get started?
I blog at Bunsen Burner Bakery — a perfect mix of my actual career (biochemist) and hobby (baking). (To answer a FAQ: no, I’ve never actually tried baking with a bunsen burner!) I used to bake the birthday cakes for everyone in my graduate lab, and my labmates suggested that I start a food blog so I could share my recipes. And thus, Bunsen Burner Bakery was born!
What is your favorite food? And what is your least favorite food?
I love blueberries and blueberry-based desserts, homemade ice cream, and spicy grilled okra. I absolutely detest cheesecake, which is probably why my husband requests one every year for his birthday – he knows he won’t have to share!
What advice would you give someone who is just starting to cook?
Experiment! I treat cooking the same way I treat protein purification in the laboratory: try something different each time, free free to go a little crazy, but just take good notes so you can repeat it if you have an unexpected success. Recipes are great, but individual tastes vary so much. Maybe you’ll like that chicken bake even more if you add cumin, or perhaps those fish tacos will be even better if you add horseradish to the coleslaw (spoiler alert: they will be).
What keeps you going, every day? Who are your greatest cheerleaders/supporters?
My husband washes all my dishes, so it’s pretty safe to say that I would not be cooking or baking half as much if it wasn’t for him! As far as keeping me going: sheer stubbornness. I don’t believe in quitting! I work long hours in the lab as a postdoctoral research fellow, dedicate most of my evening and weekend hours to my 14 moth old, and stay up until the wee hours of the morning baking and blogging, but the lack of sleep is worth it for something you love!
Julie was kind enough to share a recipe with us– this delicious dessert is her Vanilla Cake with Blueberry Cardamom Curd, which can be found on her blog, here.
“My favorite thing to come out of my oven recently is my Vanilla Cake with Blueberry Cardamom Curd. Yes, it combines the best vanilla cake ever with can’t-stop-eating-it delicious blueberry cardamom curd, but it was also my son’s first birthday cake, so it has a lot of special memories for me. I hope baking him a special, out-of-the-ordinary, cake is a tradition we can continue for many years to come!”
I’d say a cake like this is worth getting a year older for. 😉
Julie– thanks so much for spending some time with us, over here on Cookies for England. We loved meeting you and look forward to more great recipes!
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