Ever since Urvashi Agarwal, Choc Chip Uru to us all, appeared in the food blogging world, we have been wondering who this charming lady was. What makes her tick? From the first time I visited and read her blog at Go Bake Yourself, I’ve been dying to know more about her.
I couldn’t believe my luck when she agreed to give us a peek into her life. She’s absolutely beautiful inside and out. AND she can bake!
She lives in Sydney with her parents and older brother, the latter currently studies at the university. She made this for her brother’s recent 19th birthday and had this to say about him on her blog:
When it comes down to the crux of the matter, a sibling is one of your best friends and you don’t even realize it. You appreciate them, you hate them, you get jealous of them, you wonder about them and you learn from them. And that is the relationship that my Bhaiya (*Hindi word for brother) and I have always had 😀 (though he has never been jealous of me 😛 )
Encouraged by her mother, she started her blog at the ripe old age of 15 but she’d been baking since 13. Why? She’d watched Masterchef on TV and thought, “If they can do it, I can too!” She readily admits that her mother’s urging made a big difference. It’s not her mother’s cooking (which is amazing) as much as her mum’s zest for life that inspires her daughter to keep baking and to never give up. I really admire a young woman who acknowledges how important her mother is, especially since it’s nearly Mother’s Day.
Uru has been a vegetarian all her life. Seriously, all her life. I’ve never met anyone who’s never tasted meat until this amazing person told me she hadn’t. She loves traditional Indian food like ultra spicy paneer but she’s quick to add that a good Aussie veggie burger and fries or even mashed potatoes are tough to resist. Her joy is baking and traditional meal preparation is still done by her mother with assistance from Uru when she’s got the time. I look forward to some amazing meals from her one day but until that happens, I’m going to enjoy all her baking, like this snazzy green and gold patriotic cake that she made for the last Australia Day celebrations.
My friends are gorgeous 😀
So supportive, caring and always hungry to see whatever I post (pun intended!) – their encouragement means a lot in continuing this blog!
Every food blogger/recipe creator has at least one dish or creation that he or she is most proud of and Uru was quite humble saying she wasn’t sure she had anything mind blowing but her recent Easter pavlova nests were something she’d never seen before.
When she finishes high school she plans to head to university where she will study interior design. I wondered if all the studying and university life would put the blog on hiatus but that is not what she plans. Interior design will be her career but baking will always be her passion.
Uru finds blogging really creative and loves the twisting of words and thinking of new ways to “present the goods” but baking is her first real passion. Like many of us, me included, she wishes her photos were better and she’s taking steps to improve and is enjoying the process. As clever as she is with her blog, I expect we’ll all be drooling over the photos and saying, “She’s only 17 ???”
How about this recipe titled “Caramel Chocolate Snickers Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream with Homemade Caramel”? Just saying the title aloud is a mouthful!
My experience with my own teenagers is that they loved to cook but were totally crap at cleaning up after themselves. Her mum must be very proud because Uru, despite her admission that she’s lazy, cleans up after herself in the kitchen because she wouldn’t want to leave it for her mother to do. “The extra work on my mum would irk me considerably.” I doubt those words were ever spoken by either one of my children.
I read on her blog that Uru and her family recently took a holiday together so I asked her how she feels about travel. I would cheerfully travel full time if I could afford it. Uru said that traveling is something that encompasses everything she is passionate about. Languages, culture, food and history – she could travel forever, no doubt. Since the age of 6-7 when she was given a myths and legends book, Egypt has inspired, frightened and intrigued her all at once. She did get to experience Egypt and it was an unforgettable trip that’s led to a desire for more travel. The travel destination she has a burning desire for? Europe – every single country. If she had to choose just one, she’d go to Russia for the history.
Other than Indian food, her favorite cuisine is Mediterranean. She finds the culture so unique and exquisite with the flavors very enticing for both sweet and savory.
I asked her if she ever bakes the same recipe more than once and the answer is yes. She has a perfect scone recipe and she makes that recipe again and again but she’s always on the lookout for a better biscuit/cookie or cake. She said the ‘perfect dessert’ idea certainly applies to brownies. One of my favorites is her Oreo Brownie Sandwich. I can’t decide if I want to eat it with my fingers or get a big spoon.
If you’ve ever left a comment on Uru’s blog, you already know that she really appreciates it and returns the favor every time. She’s in high school with studying, friends, family, chores, a busy blog, baking to do and she visits every blogger who leaves a comment. “I am also a strong believer in the idea if someone has been kind enough to give their time to me, it must duely be returned 🙂 ” Her most recent post has 175 comments on it. Nuff said.
When I asked her if she looked to any food blogger/writer for inspiration when she first started her blog, she said what many of us said in the first months of our blogs going online. ”
I actually got a little worried as to how to increase viewers and basically get publicity. One blogger who much helped me was Balvinder from Simple Gluten Free Kitchen. One email telling me how much she liked my blog had me flying over the moon and more into following blogs, trying new writing styles etc. – without her I may have actually stopped! I have much thanks to give her!
Then I followed the example of Tina from Flourtrader who has never missed a post of any blogger in her life! And learnt of commenting, commenting, commenting! Tina was also one of the first constant commenters and I just appreciate her support so much!
This of course led me to inquire about how many blogs she follows. She doesn’t say but she admitted that it’s a lot. She subscribes to many via email and gets the rest through communities like Foodbuzz.
Finally I asked her if life ever got hectic with all she tries to do at such a young age. She said that sometimes she has a tendency to bake and blog and puts school on the third rung but she knows that her education is her biggest priority. She makes time for her family and friends and the only sacrifice she makes is that she can’t read or draw as much as she’d like to do because there just isn’t enough spare time. She’s trying to fit them in though! Is it ever overwhelming? Sometimes but she says it’s always manageable.
Uru’s in her last year of high school so she’s nearly ready to flee the coop. She’s certainly got both feet on the ground so there won’t be much fleeing and she adores her family so hopefully she’ll stick around and entertain us for a long time.
In honor of her name, her photo and my American heritage, we bring you the Original Tollhouse Cookie.
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
- 1 cup chopped nuts
- Preheat oven to 180°C or375°F
- Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.
- Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Gradually beat in flour mixture.
- Stir in morsels and nuts.
- Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
- Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.
- Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes
- Remove to wire racks to cool completely.