Kitchen spy: Katherine Sabbath

Blogger, teacher, baker Katherine Sabbath in her kitchen.
Blogger, teacher, baker Katherine Sabbath in her kitchen. Photo: Supplied.

There was never chocolate in the house when Katherine Sabbath was growing up; her Vietnamese mother preferred flavours such as durian and rockmelon. When she finally encountered it, whether it was via her Australian upbringing or her German father's influence, a lust quickly developed. She began churning out brownies and slices as a teenager to rave reviews and now has nearly 100,000 fans on Instagram. She recently abandoned her high school teaching career to focus on her fantastical sweet creations. 

The staples

My pantry: Lots of variations of chocolate – raw cacao, cacao nibs, Callebaut chocolate, cooking chocolate. And nuts. Walnuts,  pistachios and almonds are my favourites and there's lots of nut butters. I'm addicted to them. My favourites are Mayver's and Ridiculously Delicious Peanut Butter because they're just nuts with a bit of salt. And there are all my sugars and syrups – castor sugar, brown sugar, agave nectar, coconut nectar, golden syrup, maple syrup, glucose syrup, molasses. Every drawer in this house is filled with some sort of sugar item. I have to be really careful about ants.

My fridge: Lurpak butter is the best available in my local supermarket. I'd prefer a local brand like Pepe Saya cultured butter but it's just not available there. Black Swan full-fat Greek yoghurt is good if I want something thick. If I want something to clean my palate I'll have Bornhoffen.

I'm cooking

Last dinner at home: Eye fillet steak with a simple salad on the side. We're always so busy and steak's so easy to fry up.

Secret vice 

Blue-vein and soft washed-rind cheeses. I love Blue Castello and quince paste on a Jatz.

I'm drinking

I like a three-quarter flat white coffee or a long black, depending on how good the coffee is. Higher Living makes really cool tea flavours like different chais and sweet chilli. My partner's going through a SodaStream phase at the moment and I've made my own caramelised strawberry and rose syrup for that. 

Saturday night tipple: I really like the Patron XO Cafe tequila on ice. Sometimes if I'm really naughty I'll mix it with Baileys so it's a bit creamy but that makes it a double shot, so I have to be careful.

My toolkit

My Kenwood hand-held electric mixer is really good because I can make things in bulk in a huge bowl. I also like really getting into it and being in control, not walking away from a stand mixer. It hasn't blown up on me yet! I'm doing a campaign with Pyrex at the moment but I've always used their stuff. I'm pretty heavy handed in the kitchen and I've smashed a few things but haven't smashed any of that. My Cuisinart food processor gets a workout with all the nut butters I make. I'd blown up three cheap processors before and I hated the idea of all that landfill, so it was time to get a good one. The small diameter cake tin is great because you can layer the cakes really well. I like making tall cakes and you can get more of a drip cascading down the side, it's more dramatic.

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Favourite

My hoards of sprinkles and food colourings I buy online in bulk from the US. I just can't find the variety here in Australia.

Inspiration 

I find it in flavours. It might be chocolate for a month and everything will be chocolate, or if I stumble across a unique ingredient, like Persian fairy floss, I'll use that for a while. And colours in fashion or in the environment, like on the Great Barrier Reef, all those organic shapes…

Kitchen highlight

I like the splashback and the light, which are really good for my Instagram photos. But I wish I had more space.

Food discovery

Bugs. I've bought ground-up insects as protein powder, which I'm going to put in my savoury bread baking, not for sale to the public, and I've started snacking on the roasted insects. I really want to support this stuff, it makes environmental sense, but I'm still struggling to get over the squirm factor.

Most memorable meal

It was a Japanese meal in the heart of Saigon. We were blown away to find such great Japanese food there. My partner and I smash a lot of food so we probably had about five mains – salmon belly, roasted mushrooms, soy beans, just varieties of things we hadn't seen before. It was refreshing to see Japanese food without a lot of mayonnaise and deep-frying.