Yes, I’m trying to be punny here. But this is as good as it gets right now. I have been troubled with baking and writing reluctance for a while. I tried a lot of things, all those pieces of advice you get from fellow bloggers, friends, family and professional writers. It seems that nothing could help me, neither letting it be, taking a break nor just forcing myself. I have had a lot of those phases before, where I couldn’t bring up the time or the energy to write. It simply wasn’t my priority then. But this time it’s different. I know I want to go on with this blog, but don’t really know what to say any more. Writing mostly came easy to me as soon as I sat down to do it, with every recipe there was already a story on my mind. A memory, a person, something I wanted to share with the world, to explain why I did what I did, to make my readers see and feel what I felt. Baking was some sort of therapy for me, a way to cope with stress and demotivation. When in the kitchen and whipping up some bake, I could live out my creativity, not just follow a recipe, rather give them my own twist and create something. It seems that this vibe is gone on most of the days, things don’t come easy and even when I put much effort it doesn’t feel right. But on rare occasions like today, my mind is open to be touched by the muse… Continue reading
March 20th marks not only the beginning of Spring, it is also Macaron Day and I am honoured that today’s recipe is featured on my favourite blog and one & only fandom: Der Kuchenbäcker. The frequent readers may know that I already sang a hymn or two on him, all others are duly invited to check him out.
Macaron Day or Jour du Macaron was initiated 2005 by Pierre Hermé, the godfather of Macarons and Patissiers around the world sell Macarons on this day to fundraise for local charities. I like the concept but unfortunately there is no Patisserie around that takes part. Instead I want to bake some easter cookies again to donate them for a local group here in my town that meets every Sunday to help homeless and other people in need. It’s not just about supplying the people with food and warm beverages, it is also a communication plattform and a meeting point for people in need. None of the people organising it gets paid, everything they give out is donated and they organise via a facebook group. I have been there a few times, mostly to bring some clothes or cake, and stayed there for a while to watch and listen to the people. Most of them have been through a lot and it always reminds me of how small my own problems are. I am very thankful that those people have somewhere to go, normal people to talk to that don’t judge and give them back at least a bit of their dignity. It reminds me of how important it is to give back and to change the perspective on your own live from time to time.
Burger Macarons on Foodbloggercamp in Reutlingen 2016
But let’s get back to Macarons, because that’s what you came here for, right? I intended to host a Macaron session at Foodbloggercamp in Reutlingen because I think sharing ones knowledge is also a way of giving back. Even though I am not a master myself, a barcamp is a good plattfrom to share what I know and exchange with others. When preparing my session a bit I stumbled over a Macaron inspiration book I bought and wanted to bring to show how diversely decoration of Macarons can be. I don’t like the recipes in there but the decoration ideas are truly great. Thinking about last years cam in Reultingen to be very meaty and since I found my sister-in-meat in last years burger session, I felt I had to burger again. So I spontaneously decided to pack some sesame seeds and a packet of fresh mint I still had at home to pimp my Macarons to be Macaron burgers. Talking about my session at Foodbloggercamp, I still don’t feel good about the chaotic session I held. I really want to apologise to all attendees and thank you for your patience. I can do better than this, I hope you guys at least learned something and if you have any questions just drop me a line! Some special thanks go to Diana, for spontaneously co-hosting the session and sharing her experience, Jana & Isabel for jumping in to help me finish the Macarons, Natalie, for being super flexible and letting me block ‘her’ kitchen throughout most of her Session and Gyöngyi for putting me back together after I was really upset about my chaotic session.
What I have learned about hosting a session on the barcamp:
- It’s a barcamp, so expect the unexpected!
- Plan more time! After Berlin I thought doing one recipe in 45 minutes with proper preparation would be a walk in the park. Well… it wasn’t!
- Team up and ask for help! Taking care of hot sugar syrup while talking is a bit of a gamble. Even though I had a spontaneous co-host, I suck at delegating, the sugar syrup got too hot and lumped which resulted in a very hard meringue mass that comes out flaky and makes ugly Macarons.
- Bring a handout! It’s not the recipe, it’s all the little tips and tricks you have to share from your experience that attendees want. 45 minutes pass so fast and it’s just one of 6-8 sessions a day, so a handout helps to remember what you have shared. It also is a good preparation for the host, cause it makes you think about what you want to share in your session.
- Go easy on yourself! It isn’t just you in your kitchen at home all on your own, so don’t expect perfection. This is a tough one for me because I always strive for perfection, especially with Macarons. In my session I talked about how to make perfect Macarons every time and then I deliver lumpy and bumpy Macarons?! Though ugly the Macarons tasted superb, the flavour combination was amazing and the attendees learned a bit too (at least I hope).
It’s not hard to be inspired these days with so many blogs, magazines and pins, so that I could spend more than a lifetime in the kitchen trying out new things. But cracking it down, my problem is the overflow of inspiration. I am an indecisive person, always have been and always will be. Whenever there are too many options and ideas, I am easily overjoyed what leads to being completely uninspired. That happens to me a lot lately, probably because my day-job has been rather demanding in different ways. But whenever in doubt, I can always rely on Martha Stewart. She is not only an icon, she is also an unfailing source of inspiration for me. For my birthday I got the Martha Stewart Cupcake book and my first try, S’mores Cupcakes, turned out awesome, even the homemade Marshmallow, which allegedly is difficult to do, was amazing. And the reaction to those cupcakes at my friend’s BBQ restored my faith in my baking. Though Martha is da Queen, I have 2 major problems with American recipes: The cups measures (here’s a nice piece on why one is fed up with stupid cups measures) and way too much sugar. That’s why I always convert the recipes and reduce the amount of sugar. Reducing the sugar needs to be balanced because it affects the consistency of the batter and as baking is pure chemistry it’s essential. However I think I have found a good balance and like to present you some nice bake for hot summer days: Keylime Whoopie pies! Whoopie pies are like cakes answer to Macarons, 2 halves of cake sandwiched with a decadent creamy filling. And as the pies only take 10 mins in the oven, they can also be made on warm days. Continue reading
Okay, this isn’t baking and it’s dietary but it can be easily adopted for non-dieters! Have you ever made your own pudding? Some of you may ask yourself, why make any effort, just open the bag and stir it in some boiling milk. But I say: you can make your own bag, only very little effort and no odd additives. You can also prepare the mixed powder and keep it in an airtight box or make your own bags, give them to others as a present….
Chocolate Pudding Powder
4 g carob gum (or 15 g starch)
15 g dark cacoa powder
15-20 g erythritol (0 calories sugar equivalent) or 15 g sugar
This amount is enough for 400 ml Milk and makes a creamy and very tasty pudding. And it is also suitable for the Dukan diet 🙂
I fill the pudding in 150 ml pudding dishes and serve it with 2 tablespoons of low fat joghurt mixed with 1 tablespoon of quark cheese and 1 tablespoon of erythritol. Makes a perfect combination of sour quark-joghurt and chocolatey sweet pudding! This totally made my day!