ON THE MENU: CUTTER & SQUIDGENovember 15, 2016
Annabel and Emily Lui, sisters and co-owners of Cutter & Squidge will be bringing their delicious ‘biskies’ to UO press day. We catch up with them to find out their inspirations and to ask them to share their very choclately brownie recipe with us…
UO: Where did the initial idea of starting your own bakery come from?
We have always loved sweets and baking, so we were always in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes on our time off, like some sort of therapy. As one of us loves biscuits, and the other loves cakes, we eventually came up with the idea of the Biskie, which was unique to the market and we thought we might have a good product there. We worked hard on the development of the product, started selling it on foodie markets, and the rest in history.
UO: What was your favourite dessert growing up?
Annabel has always liked crème caramel – I guess she has always been obsessed with simple things that are well made. And for Emily, the black forest gateaux has always had a special place in her heart. She’s a true berry lover!
UO: How do come up with all the different flavour combinations that you offer?
We have an oriental background, so that has been a starting point to a few things like our iconic OMG It’s Green Dream Cake, that has a combination of matcha and raspberry. But we also love classic flavour combinations, giving it a little twist to make them our own. And of course, when one of us comes back from holiday, it’s a whole new world of flavours to explore. We always come back with an array of sweet treats to share with the kitchen staff and getting the ball rolling on how to use the things we like the most.
UO: What are each of your favourite items on your current menu?
For Annabel it is the Coconut Cake. And Emily just loves the Raspberry Cheesecake Biskie.
UO: You’re known for your ‘Biskies’. When did you realise that you had created something special?
We have always loved the Biskie from the moment it was created, but it must have been when Selfridges and Harrods started selling them in their food halls. They have the best selection of products from around the world, so if they were selling the Biskie, we knew we were up to something good.
UO: How much of your work relies on traditional methods, and how much is pure experimentation?
It’s a combination. We feel like traditional techniques give you a safe base to experiment upon, so we always try to have a starting point. But baking is chemistry, and when you understand the magic, it’s a lot easier to play with ideas.
UO: As well as being delicious, your treats are beautiful! What inspires their design?
Everything. A sunny day, a song, an Instagram image. We’re very connected and energetic, so anything in daily life can inspire us, and we take the time to write ideas down before they leave us! Trips abroad are especially good, as they usually take you away from your everyday flavour profiles.
UO: Tell us more about your efforts to make your treats from natural ingredients and flavourings.
We have gathered quite some knowledge by now but it was a struggle in the beginning as the market is not prepared to cater for it. We had to do a lot of testing and experiments before we could get the results we have today – and it was only a couple of months back that we could start using blue in our products, a difficult colour to find in nature.
UO: What is the one dessert you couldn’t live without?
Gelato, or any kind of ice cream. We just love the endless flavours and combinations in one (or two) simple scoops of goodness.
UO: What’s the best accompaniment to one of your ‘Biskies’?
A hot cup of tea. That is why we have developed a range of premium loose leaf tea to complement our signature product.
Cutter & Squidge Very Chocolatey Brownie
200 of dark chocolate chips
100g of unsalted butter
100g of cocoa powder
200g of flour
400g of sugar
1. Pre-heat the oven at 180 C. Melt the chocolate and the butter in the microwave, 10 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until it is just about melted through.
2. With a mixer, beat up the eggs and the sugar until slightly white, and about doubled in size.
3. Add the melted chocolate and butter.
4. Combine the flour, little by little, in a low speed.
5. Spread it in a tin lined with greaseproof paper, and bake it for about 45 minutes, until crisp on top but still soft in the centre.
6. Serve warm with a drizzle of your favourite sauce (we love salted caramel), and vanilla ice cream if you’re looking for the ultimate treat!