The present procedure for measuring the hotness of chillies in the food industry, using subjective taste testers, is considered far less reliable. Oxford University scientists have devised a new way of measuring the hotness of chillies. The process, which works by measuring the level of capsaicinoids (the source of the chilli’s hotness) in the chilli sauce, is called Adsorptive Stripping Voltammetry (ASV). This new method can precisely determine the level of hotness more speedily and cheaply than ever before.
I come from Sri Lanka where I worked as an assistant hotel manager, but I’ve always liked cooking, particularly cake-making and decorating, as my mother was very good at it and used to teach me. When I moved to the UK, I decided to start my own business as I saw there were a lot of opportunities in this country.I started Prestige Creations, which I now run with my husband, Rohan, from our home in Swiss Cottage in London and we’re doing well, making and decorating celebration cakes. That was four years ago, but I recently decided to have a look around at the competition and realised that I needed more knowledge. That’s when I decided I could improve sales and grow the business by learning some more skills, so I started off by doing a five-day course at the International School of Sugarcraft, which was very useful.I’m now doing a one-year, part-time advanced sugarcraft course at Brooklands College, where I go one day a week, from 9.30am-1.30pm. It’s pretty tough finding the time to do it, as I’ve also got two children (aged six and 10), but I’m really enjoying it and learning a lot.I’m constantly picking up new techniques; every day you learn something different, such as sugarpaste work, royal icing techniques, collage and bas relief. We’ve also been studying quilling, which is traditionally a paper craft but is being applied to cake decoration; it’s quite difficult and I can’t say that I’ve particularly enjoyed doing it!We work on dummy cakes, which I’ve kept and will have to display as part of our final assessment, while we also have an exam in June, which tests us on the theory we’ve learnt; 75% of the course is practical and 25% is theory. We are set projects throughout the year too and I have to do reading and research at the library.As soon as I learn the techniques, I use them on my own cakes and I think that has helped me sell more. People like the fact that my handmade cakes are fresh – much fresher than those you buy in the supermarkets, which can be frozen – and the fact that I can give them ideas, discuss what they want and come up with a bespoke cake. I particularly enjoy making children’s birthday cakes with cartoon characters, and I get ideas for them from books and magazines.I also enter competitions in my spare time and have had quite a few successes around the country. I’ve won two gold medals in the Squires Kitchen International School of Sugarcraft competition and, last month, I won three gold medals at the Wessex Salon Culinaire hotel and catering competition in Bournemouth, one of which was for my quilling technique on a fan, and another for making sugarcraft flowers – I had to make a rosebud, rose and three leaves in 20 minutes, which was quite a lot of pressure. I’m going to Cork in Ireland next month for another competition. I like entering them and, of course, winning is very rewarding.I’d really recommend studying sugarcraft to anyone thinking about it, even though it can be time-consuming. I think that if you have the drive to do something, you’ll be able to do it. The cake-making business is really competitive but I want to expand my company in future and set up a website and I’m confident that, after the course, I’llbe able to do that. n
901/200 The Esplanade, Burleigh Heads.THE rooftop terrace of this beachside penthouse is a sight to behold.With panoramic coast views as well as a pool and spa, the envious entertainment area was one of the main reasons Michael and Gina Wood decided to buy the Burleigh Heads apartment in 2009. 901/200 The Esplanade, Burleigh Heads.Mr Wood said they loved living in the modern apartment but the daily commute to work in Brisbane was too far. “It’s a bit sad that we’ve got it on the market but I did six years of commuting to Brisbane where I work,” Mr Wood said. “We built a home in the western suburbs of Brisbane and we moved in there a year ago.“The commute just got too much so we rented it out.He said he loved the fact the building was home to mostly owner-occupiers who they all knew well. 901/200 The Esplanade, Burleigh Heads.More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa17 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag2 days ago“That’s pretty special, that was a big selling point for me,” Mr Woods said.“You can sit there and look out to the ocean on both sides.“Up the top there is one of my favourites but otherwise the lounge is nice because it’s all open.”The couple bought the three-bedroom- five-bathroom apartment on the 9th and 10th floors of the Ivory Burleigh Beach building as a holiday home but moved in with their son after returning from overseas. 901/200 The Esplanade, Burleigh Heads. 901/200 The Esplanade, Burleigh Heads.