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.:)

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Why I love to bake...

As I mentioned before, it was in third year of secondary school when I really grabbed the bull by the horns and went into unexplored territory in my baking. Now, I know back then I didn’t quite stress about the teenciest and most ridiculous of things as much as I do now - (eg: my first little concern this morning? That there isn’t enough bananas left until Saturday when we next go shopping…the thought of not being able to have banana dessert! :o) but of course it was indeed an exam year and so I was bound to be a little bit all over the place. But it was the theraputic qualities of baking that really drew me to it, I think…I found that there was something wonderfully soothing about spending a rainy evening in the warmth of my kitchen with the music on and the oven merrily humming away in the background; baking away to my heart’s content; free from the stress and hassle of school and school life just for that little while.
I think that was one of the main reasons why I loved baking so much…of course, I understand that it is not for everyone; and that for some it might actually be the cause of stress and hassle rather than serving to lessen it! But anyway; this is and never was the case for me. And so today I would just like to dedicate a little post to the wonderful, wonderful branch of cooking which is baking. Perhaps in reading this you will be converted too and want to try it out for yourself. 
and so I compiled a wee list…Why Ganache-Elf is just crazy for baking. <3
  •  Nothing makes me happier. You know yourself; there are just certain things that just always float your boat, no matter what time of the year it is, what kind of mood you are in, or how crappy or awesome your day has been. And for me that certain thing is baking. 
  • I love to be able to make yummy foods which I know will be enjoyed and appreciated by family and friends. There is something really special about receiving a home-baked cake that’s been made just for you; or a box of miniature truffles which you know has been made with you in mind. And seeing those smiles of delight and gratitude on the faces of my loved ones when they receive something I’ve made for them gives me, in trun, so much joy and happiness. And so I like to put as much care into what I bake as possible, no matter what it may be: so that in each and every little biscuit, in every single slice of bread, in every wedge of cake or pie, the love and fondness I feel for them is safely and securely encased. It’s my own way of saying that I care, I suppose, and that making this just for you has given me so much pleasure.
  • I love the creative side of baking. To be sure, baking is a very creative and exciting branch of the culinary world. It’s one of diversity and endless possibility for you, the baker. Who knows how many varieties of cookie are out there, awaiting discovery? Who could possibly be able to count the different kinds of pastry throughout the entire world? What limit is there to the different kinds of ingredients that a cake could be made from? If you make buns today…there are probably dozens, if not hundreds, flavours you can choose from: you could go for the classic butterfly bun topped with vanilla buttercream and strawberry jam…or you could be really exotic and make pineapple cupcakes with a pretty yellow frosting. It’s the same with everything in baking…there really is no limit to what you choose to make: and then the way you go about making that particular thing. And everyone’s baking is different: those brownies you made today, say - they are unique to you; no one else. :)
  • Home-baked always tastes and smells so much nicer than anything you would get in the shops. You don’t need me to remind you of that. There is of course the argument that baking your own stuff saves money too - I haven’t done any exact calculations so do’t quote me on that; but at a guess I’d say that it;s probably true - but even if it didn’t work out cheaper, well I believe it’s worth paying that little bit more. You will never get that gorgeous smell, the fantastic flavour, the yummy warm freshness in anything out of a packet or a bag that you would in eating something crafted in your own kitchen, by your own hands..
  • Being the baker of course means…you get to sample everything first. Whether that be in its cooked or uncooked form. Personally, as you know, one of my favourite things to eat ever is cookie dough, before it actually makes it into the oven. And ganache and melted chocolate of course; they’re high up there in my list of favourties as well.
  • Baking is just…so fun. Some may think me simple for being so easily pleased - in that I find immense enjoyment in doing certain baking tasks, such as rolling out dough, filling bun cases with batter, kneading, and so on…and perhaps I am. But I’m not going to deny that I love the creaming stage of making a sponge cake; when I get to beat all that yellowy butter with my big wooden spoon to a soft, squishy mess, perfect for being mixed with the aster sugar…or that cutting out rounds of scone dough with my utter, placing them on a baking tray, and then proceeding to glaze them with a little milk, fills me with joy and contentment. And they’re just some of the hundreds of little procedures involved with baking that I adore.
There are more, of course…but I think I will leave it at that, for now. All this talk about baking has made me both a) quite peckish so I think it time for breakfast - probably Shredded wheat and homemade milk bread toasted and spread with peanut butter - and b.) in the mood to bake, so no doubt the apron will be pulled out of that well-used drawer in the kitchen very shortly. ;)

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