At first glance it might seem that I am just a happy, normal girl who loves to bake and walk her dog. However, I have suffered with an eating disorder since I was 13. It was only in May 2014 when I realised that this Voice in my head was slowly but surely trying to kill me. And so began the long, hard, and painful journey which is recovery...

I want My Cocoa Stained Apron to be a special place...a place for reflection, memories, shared stories...and of course a little bit of cocoa-staining ;) Recovery might be the hardest thing you ever choose to do in this life. But it is also the bravest and best decision you will ever make.:)

Sunday, 31 August 2014

I'm in Cornwall...

Yes! Yes! Yes! I DID it - I made Cornish pasties and they turned out beautifully. Well, maybe it's silly of me to describe them as beautiful...but I must admit I was quite chuffed with them. I have, as I might have mentioned to you before, or perhaps not - apologies in advance if I did - had a few little technical difficulties in making certain types of pastry in the past. Now this might sound a little strange to some bakers, but I have always been much more comfortable in making choux pastry - for those of you who are unfamiliar with this term, I am referring to the kind of pastry you get with profiteroles, eclairs, etc. - than shortcrust, which I know many bakers would think of being the simplest one to make. Not so for me! I find choux pastry a breeze, whereas with shortcrust I proceed with alot more caution. As for the other kinds, I haven't really had that much experience...well, croissants I have made dozens of times, so I suppose I could argue I have taken on puff to some extent. But this kind of was all unfamiliar and new territory for Ganache-Elf. For this sort I actually had to grate the rock-hard fats into the flour...I never recall doing this for any other sort of pastry, anyway. After chilling for a few hours, I then divided the dough into 6 little balls, rolled out to a circle...and then for the filling. This consisted of diced beef, swede, potatoes and onions. The funnest part was sealing them...I had to fold over the circles and seal the moistened edges together, before crimping them with my fingers to secure. And there I had it: 6 great big filled pasties were sitting proudly in front of me on the baking tray, ready to be glazed and baked. But appearances can be deceptive as we all know! Did they taste ok? 
Well...there are no pasties left in the house now, anyway...the two remaining ones were taken away by my brother to eat cold at the Electric Picnic, which he is attending this weekend. :) So yes, the pasties were very well received. My Daddy says is took him back to the days he was in Boy Scouts when he would be given pasties the size of a boot :)
And best of all, my pasty success has given me a new boost of confidence. There is nothing more rewarding for a baker, I believe, when something that looks quite complicated and challenging comes out as well as my pasties did! And now I feel more ready than ever before to take on the pastry-making world. I've ticked choux, puff (sort of), and the pasty pastry off my to-do-list. (ooohhh...I know. This makes me sound incredibly unprofessional, but it's true: I'm actually not sure whether this kind of pastry is classified as flaky or rough puff!! I really do apologise for my ignorance and I promise to clarify this matter as soon as I find out the identity of this pastry.) And so...what's next? Well, I think this is the perfect time to take on my old nemesis, shortcrust! All I need to decide on is what exactly I am going to conjure up this time. I think it's going to have to be something sweet...what with all the savoury baking I've been indulging in lately, my sweet tooth is feeling a little neglected somewhat.;) 

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