Sam is back! And with a beautiful marriage and family, who better to talk about love, Valentine’s Day and baking? How do I love thee? Let me count the ways This is the first line of Sonnet 43 and it is my … Continue reading
Hurrah! It’s a New Year, and for lots of people, a time to make new resolutions. But what about all the lovely kitchen equipment you may have received for Christmas? Who’s going to eat the fabulous creations you want to bake?
My great friend Sam muses on the question of Christmas gifts versus New Year healthy-eating in her latest post.
January Baking Blues
It is 6 January.
Following the excitement, joy and often frantic baking of the Festive period, the home baker is now left feeling redundant. For weeks, family and friends have enjoyed endless rounds of mince pies, cakes, puddings and sweet treats. My baking highlights have included chocolate brownies (with the help of Lauren, my eldest daughter), meringues with raspberry cream and millefeuille with lemon and blueberries, although I would recommend serving them with raspberries as it appears that while most people like the idea of a blueberry, they couldn’t eat a whole one.
Less successful was the Quick Chocolate Mousse, which was neither quick, nor mousse like. I knew I was in trouble when my husband noted that ‘it has a rather unusual texture’. Chocolate scrambled eggs anyone.
As the Champagne corks ushered in a New Year, it seems only natural that we turn our focus away from recreating the lift from Dirty Dancing at 2am (don’t ask) to the more sedate activity of a cup of tea and Midsomer Murders. This seems only natural as we all tighten our financial and dietary belts during the first month of the year. But let’s face it, unless you have a birthday or a special event to celebrate, there is no escaping that January is a long and boring month.
‘I don’t mind if I do’ turns into, ‘I’m doing a dry January’ (has there ever been a more depressing phrase?) and ‘I know I shouldn’t, but just one more’ turns into ‘Sorry, I’m giving carbs a miss’. Ditto above. The kitchen has been the centre of the home baker’s world, but now, as a Nation unites in ‘New Year, New Me’ resolutions, where does that leave the baker? In short, what happens when no-one wants to eat your food?
My resolution is not to panic. I do not doubt the resolve of those nearest and dearest to me and I will, of course, respect their desire to rein in the excesses of the last few weeks. I will not succumb however, to the January Baking Blues. I do not need to stand in my pinny holding a rolling pin staring longingly at the food mixer or piping bags (my new obsession from Lakeland), as I will always have a welcome audience for basic biscuits and cakes with my two daughters and their friends. Also, please note that my new found obsession with piping has come as much as a surprise to me, as anyone else.
I will look this month to challenge myself and become more adventurous with my baking. Whilst I don’t think I can ever emulate my host blogger, Ele and her triumphs with macaroons, I would like to experiment more with pastry work and after my recent disaster, cooking with chocolate. Hopefully by this time, my official ‘taste testers’ will return to ‘I know I shouldn’t, but go on then…’.
In the meantime, it seems that our supermarkets are one step ahead of us in the baking game. Hot Cross Buns were spotted in a local shop today. After all, it is 6 January.
So, if you still want to play in the kitchen but have your desserts and bakes willingly received, why not give one of my healthier baking recipes a try?
Today is my birthday, hurrah! Birthdays in my family are traditionally celebrated with ‘birthday tea’ – vegetable crudites, M & S dips, crackers, cheese & pineapple on sticks, bread-sticks, sausage rolls, mushroom vol-au-vents, grapes, clementines and … birthday cake. The … Continue reading
I received an early birthday present from a school friend, which led to an epic, and perhaps the longest, cake-making session to date. Have you heard of Kransekake? Me neither, but according to Lakeland, it’s a traditional Scandinavian Christmas cake. … Continue reading