Hi! I’m Carla. I’m Canadian-born, from a Portuguese family. I currently live in Madrid, Spain with my husband, Andrew (Canadian/British – grew up in France) and my 3 daughters: Madison, 9, born in Barcelona, Shawna, 5 1/2, born in Auch (France) and Evelyn, soon turning 1, born in Madrid. We also have a dog – Moxy – a light coloured Golden Retriever who melted our hearts the moment we met her. As you can see, we are a very international family. We travel lots, and we’ve lived in many places.
This little blog of mine is an attempt at collecting and practicing all those recipes I find and to which, I always add my little spin. I’ve loved cooking and baking ever since I can remember. I always dreamed of being a Celebrity TV Chef, way before it was cool to be one (well, either that or a rock star).
I graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in 2011 as a Grand Chef (Cuisine and Patisserie). I’m also a trained Sommelier, and a certified Bartender… But the professional side of this business is all new to me… I worked in many restaurants and hotels in Canada, Australia and NZ as a student and backpacker, but spent my 10-year career in Marketing before deciding to give it all up for Chef School. And I’ve never been so happy.
About this Blog.
So, truth be told, this is not my first attempt at having a blog. I’ve tried 2 or 3 before but just couldn’t figure out what to write about… then, i started my own baking business (designing cakes, cupcakes and traditional pastries) and realized that, in Spain, just there wasn’t that much out there that offered an international look into sweets… and so, www.dulcineacakes.com was born. Although my spanish is pretty good, (I’d like to think so, anyway), writing takes me forever 😉 I post cakes and recipes but it is hard for me to do it on a regular basis – because of the proof-reading time it takes to write each post. So, after months of planning, I’ve decided that an English language all-encompassing blog, was really the way for me to go.
As it turned out, this past fall, I also got hired by www.tasteofamerica.es as their “brand ambassador” and Chef. Taste of America is a chain of supermarkets in Spain that specialize in selling high-end food products from the USA and other english-speaking countries. I do all their PR appearances and create recipes for them, using their products… which I then teach to customers (American cuisine is the new thing, here in Spain). You may find some product placement in some of my posts. These will normally be as a result of recipe testing for one of my Workshops.
Whenever possible, or acceptable, I will provide both metric and imperial measurements for each ingredient. I do, however, recommend always weighing your ingredients as weight is more accurate than volume and will ensure a greater success rate in your recipes – especially traditionally french recipes.
For all baking recipes – try to follow the quantities and instructions as closely as possible. Baking is very scientific (especially the traditional French delicacies). In baking, metric weight measurements are, by far, more accurate than using cups/spoons/imperial measurements.
For all cooking (savoury) recipes – I will give you measurements for these as well, but you must know that I NEVER MEASURE… Cooking is an art form, and just as Picasso never measured the amount of paint on each tableau, I never measure the ingredients – I throw it in by instinct and taste, taste, taste… every step of the way. (Not that I’m comparing myself with Picasso in any way).
What else can I tell you about me?
I recently took an online photography course. My pictures have gotten a lot better but they are not yet as good as I’d like them to be. I guess I should probably learn Lightroom and Photoshop next. (its on my long list of things to learn). I use a Sony Alpha 350 with just the regular 18-70mm lens that it came with and always only natural lighting. I’m hoping to buy some new camera equipment, this year.
I speak 4 languages; English, French, Portuguese and Spanish, which serves me well as I love to travel for history, wine and food (I’m not big on the all-inclusive trips by the beach – I much prefer to “rough it” out with the locals). I’d love to learn Arabic and Russian, and also refresh my German, Italian and Japanese back to the levels they once were at.
My kids are my world. Nothing I ever do will be as wonderful of make me feel as successful as they do. I’m proud that they are every bit the foodies that my husband and I are – their favourite foods being anything green, cured black pig Jamón, Foie Gras, soufflés… We’re still working on mushrooms, but they actually eat a lot more mushrooms then they think (Shhh. Don’t tell them!).
If you are in Madrid…
There is just so much to see and do here. And Madrid is one of the best cities I’ve ever been to if you have kids: So many parks, 2 amazing zoos, Warner Bros park, Amusement parks, water parks, awesome tapas restaurants (and many fabulous sit-down fancy restaurants too)… Spanish food is delicious and easy to enjoy because what you see is what you get – no hidden ingredients or surprises. And Kids love it too! It is a city full of history where many of the great literary minds and artists of the 20th Century came to create. And what so many people don’t know is that Madrid was once a place where so many dinosaurs died because of the topography of the land around us… so, there are some great paleontological finds and archeological museums, too. I recommend Madrid to all (if you come, send me an email at carla[at]chefcarla dot com.
So that’s about it! Let’s get cooking!