So I’d have to say after writing, baking would have to be my next hobby/ passion and pass time. It’s kinda ocd like really, at any given time I have to have something in the cupboards that can be there to whip up or bake at any given time. I’d like to say that any given time I can just think of something off the top of my head and throw it together, that I’m some novice. Alas thats not true and while there are a few things that I can do like that, I’m a big fan of a cake mix or a recipe.
I love the Betty Crocker cake mixes where at a pinch all you need in the house are a few eggs and some oil and they always make the best most moist cakes. I have all these left over packets of frosting which i never really am bothered to ice the cake, or maybe I’m just far too impatient to wait for the cake to cool before eating. None the less if ever I do get a crazy craving for icing, theres plenty in my pantry.
I love the great greek sweets that my yia yia makes too. Over the years she would make these fabulous desserts and when going home now I’ll always put in a request for the baked goods. She has though now diabetes so these great sugar laden desserts she once made have lost some of the punch ( which everyone says is a good thing, but call me old fashioned but I love the sweetness of them all). I remember going around to her place whenever I wanted these goods baked and she would make me help her. It wasnt just a cookery lesson, but also a bit of a family history class and also she’d dish the gossip on what was happening in our small country town. I miss those days of baking with her, I do quite often though give her a call whenever I feel like whipping something up however to make sure I get all the right ingredients and that I’m doing the right way. Try as I might though, and I’m certain she’s holding out one or two key ingredients on me, can I get it exactly the same. When I’ve been baking with her at times, I swear the minute I turn around she puts something extra in there, which she tells me is oh, nothing.
It makes me think though, all these great recipes that our mothers, grandmothers and members of our family always make, which are a family favourite will be lost one day. I keep saying to my dad and just recently my brother that we need to get over there for a weekend and make all the family favourites, photograph them and put them in a book for all the grandkids to come and so we have a copy too. I’ve got my own stash of recipes from over the years but it’s just not the same. Remind me to do that when I go home next.
Whenever I have someone over I always feel compelled to make something. If I go somewhere to bring something. Not sure why, probably my greek up bringing in that you never show up empty handed and that you should always bring something. Plus baking is so simple! Taking basic ingredients, a few hours (if that at the very most) and getting something that tastes so delicious. It’s far better than anything you can get at a supermarket and damn it tastes good.
I find it so odd that hardly any of my friends do it. The excuse that theres no time is a feed of shit. Really, to take that little time to get a house that smells amazing and tastes that good is definately worth the time. But dont get me wrong, there have been times where some of my stuff has completely bommed. Last week for example. I have this amazing new cake mould that is shaped like a Sandcastle. When I was living in the States, Cathleen from across the street had one and she would always make them with brown sugar around the outsite and it looked amazing. I stumbled across the form a few weeks back now and every cake I’ve been making of late is in the castle form. I love it ( and it makes an amazingly moist cake). So last week my brothers over, I whip up a cake for dessert and send them with half the cake. Not even realising Tim had bought a new dish liquid for me (after mine dropped 6 floors to the street, just missing a parked car) and I had no idea it was that contentrated. So cutting int a piece and taking the first bite I realised it was uber dish liquidy. I had to send an 911 sms to them telling them to NOT eat the cake and to throw it out. I was so devo. Plus it was the best looking marble cake I’d made yet.
Alot of the stuff I bake though is really hybrid. Think 80′s/ 90′s kids birthday partys meets Americana desserts. Yep I’m a sucker for sweets and sugar. I love the simplicity and effort that all the Mum’s would put into baking for their kids birthdays and all these recipes like Crackles, slices, cakes take you for a walk down memory lane and then the American stuff is stuff that I never come across until I moved over there.
I fell in love with Red Velvet cakes over there. A bright red cake which tastes chocolaty with cream cheese icing. Go one better and go to the Cheescake Factory & voila! It’s a cheescake too. If you ever get the chance to go there try it. Theres everything really you can think of. Boston Cream Pie, Maple & Pecan Pie, Peach Pie and my favourite is Pumpkin Everything!!!
Yep Pumpkin as a dessert. Why this is usually a fall ( autumn) dessert because thats when the Pumpkins are in season, there are so many great tasting desserts that use this ingredient. I love them all. Pumpkin Cheese Cake, Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Maple Bread and the best thing even carrys over to a perfect marriage of Pumpkin Beer. Yep a subtle Pumpkin Spiced Ale which is only available in the fall. Oh how I miss it.
The other great thing is any dessert you like I gaurantee you theres a body wash, lip gloss or candle that comes in that scent. It’s so common too and so foreign here in Australia.
There are so many times where I would pine for all these items, some I was able to get others I crave when I cant get them. Yesterday I was luckily enough to find Libby’s tinned pumpkin puree which comes live and direct from the USA. Last year it was recalled and there wasnt any around. Since then I’ve been going to all the stores I know of that sell it here to put my name down on the waiting list for it to come in.
So at current I sit here with my Pumpkin Spiced Candle burning away ( thanks Dusk) and my first attempt at a Baked Pumpkin Cheesecake in the oven. Nfi if it will work, as I had to do the whole conversion over, but fingers crossed it does. Theres nothing more comforting than the smell of baking in house and warming and if you’ve never tasted this then I urge you to get off your butts, get online or to David Jones and get baking! Get your head around the fact that it’s orange, that it’s a vegetable. But rather that its got all the spices and flavours of Cinnamon, Nutmeg, All spice and is truly delicious.
Take the time to enjoy baking, I find it most theraputic and you’ll find most people that do get more joy out of the actual process than they do out of eating. Lol I seldom will have more than a piece of whatever I make.. Lol no wonder everyone’s always over here when I cook.
Enjoy.. I’m off to check my oven.