Last week I made a point of taking time to do a 'slow' activity. Something just for fun, no pressure to succeed or be 'perfect', just because I wanted to and something that didn't involve sitting in front of a screen. For the first time in a VERY long time, I baked. Despite my mum being a really excellent baker (her banana walnut loaf is unrivaled) I haven't inherited her knack. I'm messy, unconfident and things don't turn out the way they look in the book or on the recipe card. "You should now have a cake" - nope, I have a large biscuit and as my family will attest, I can make shortbread so hard that you could use it to build houses. It was the same in science class at school, my experiments were always a different colour to everyone elses ("You should now have a green liquid" - nope, I have a grey powder) and in HomeEc I was probably regarded as 'least likely to succeed at home making'. I still can't sew (and I definitely won't be trying any science experiments any time soon) but you know what, I whipped up a pretty decent batch of cookies last weekend.
This was my prize specimen... IT LOOKS LIKE THE ONES IN THE BOOK!! The sense of achievement was huge. Maybe because both my mum and boyfriend are excellent bakers, or because baking has become such a big deal over the last few years and a lack of baking skills marks you as something of a failure? Whatever, I say if I can do it anyone can do it. Since becoming vegan I also have additional motivation, I do love hob nobs but there are only so many I can eat before I get bored, and it's not always viable to take a trip to Cookies & Scream in Camden or Ms Cupcake in Brixton. On my first visit to Ms Cupcake, I bought the book:
|Click here to buy the book!|
It was Ms Cupcakes Snickerdoodle recipe that I made last weekend. It's a great book to use, with straightforward recipes that are easy to follow and lots of advice, tips and tricks on baking without dairy. The recipes can also be adapted to be gluten free so it's great not just for vegans but for anyone with allergies. Veggies and omnivores can't tell that Ms Cupcake cakes are any different when I take them for tea and the greatest compliment I had for my cookies is that someone in my office refused to believe there was no dairy in there (someone else initially turned their nose up when offered one, but came back for another once they'd taken a bit of one!) The cookies didn't last long and my colleagues with allergies could tuck in as well so as office treats they're great crowd-pleasers.
Bolstered by last weeks success, I'm moving on to making brownies today. Eventually I want to try one of the amazing cupcake recipes (golden syrup cupcakes with gold sprinkles... how can I resist?) So while we're in the kitchen and baking, here's my wishlist of baking accessories:
1. Measuring Spoons - £22 Sophie Conran for Portmerion. Essential for getting your measurements right and so beautiful.
2. Enamel Prep Set - £65 Falcon at Folklore. Pricey but they will last a lifetime. You will need a few bowls of different sizes anyway and these can double as a fruit or salad bowls too.
3. Linen Apron - £14 from H&M Home. An apron is a must for even the cleanest cooks. Flour gets everywhere.
4. Palette Knife - £7.25 from John Lewis. Inexpensive and perfectly designed, great for getting cookies off the baking sheet and cakes out of the tin.
5. Black Toast Biscuit Barrel - £15 Emma Bridgewater. If you don't eat your cookies all in one go you're going to need somewhere to store them!
6. Dani Cake Stand - £18 Habitat at Homebase. Perfect for showing off your creations when friends come for tea.
7. Upcycled Skull Gold Cup & Saucer - £35 By Melodie Rose at Not On The High Street. Put your feet up after a hard afternoons baking and enjoy the fruits of your labour with a cup of tea in this pretty but edgy set.
8. Swear Like Gordon Teatowel - £6.99 Mollie & Fred. Almost too good to use, you could frame it instead.
9. Kitchen Scales in Flint - £20 Garden Trading. Robust and easy on the wallet, these will look great on your counter top, keep your citrus fruits it the bowl and it will earn its keep even when you're not baking.
10. Whisk - £15 by Normann Copenhagen at John Lewis. There's no reason why the most utilitarian of equipment shouldn't be beautiful too.
Everything you need to get in your kitchen and get baking. Of course, you don't need lots of fancy equipment, a few basics will suffice, the important thing is to enjoy yourself and enjoy the treats you make!
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