To Learn Something New

201406 Dark chocolate and sea salt caramel tart

I know, I know. I have gone way off the baking and cooking radar for the longest time, since late 2011, I reckon. You know my excuses. I’ve moved across three countries. I got pregnant. And before I know it, my hands were full with a newborn, then a baby, and now a toddler. These days, I write less about my culinary adventures (or rather, lack thereof) and more about the ups and downs in motherhood. Some of you have left, some of you have stuck around to see what I’m up to, some of you have joined me in this new and permanent part of my journey. But I am still here, and I suspect that I might always be.

You see, this blog is not just another website. Not to me, at least. It chronicles my everything, and everything about me (well, almost). It documents challenges I have faced in life, be it  graduate school a few couple of years ago, my new then-life in a foreign land, and yes, food too. I remember the first time I bought my very own set of baking equipment. We had just moved to London in 2007, and I was keen to pick up baking again since the kitchen was all ours. I bagged the cheapest of the basics I could find, including a very noisy handheld mixer from Tesco which cost me only £3.99. It served me well, taking me from basic cupcakes, to layered cakes, chiffon and even macarons.

Each time I learnt something new, I was absolutely delighted, but not without feeling utterly deflated at my failed first attempts. I was amazed at how basic ingredients could yield all sorts of tasty morsels, and how every quantity, step and trick made the world of a difference. It was particularly rewarding, when I stumbled upon random tricks on my own; baking is almost magical to me, save for the fact that its roots actually lie in the heart of science.

201406 Lemon curd tartAfter leaving London, I barely had the opportunity to learn new recipes. My repertoire was old and tired, and it was mostly executed to feed my husband and daughter, or for special occasions. I have very, very loyal fans though. Most people are always happy to have a slice of my signature chiffon cake or that soft cookie or the grand old dame of a red velvet cake, and I am truly thankful that they still appreciate what I do. But that isn’t enough for me. Soon, I got bored of my own creations. Sad, but true.

I have been pushing myself to try out new recipes, to conquer new pastries and master new dishes. It’s not working out too well, as all this takes far too much time, something that I am in desperate need of. But I’ve stolen pockets of it, when F sleeps (thank goodness we insisted on early bedtime), when M is finally free from crazy shifts to help me with her. A month or two ago, I was really happy to have nailed the tart (the pastry, not a person), and filled them with lemon curd (also a first in my culinary adventure, I know…I’m real slow), or dark chocolate ganache and sea salted caramel. They were, IMHO, absolutely spot-on! I was on cloud nine when I learnt that the tarts were well-received…that buzzzzz, that joy I get when I know my bakes have made someone very happy…

I wish I have more opportunities at some point to challenge myself. I could use with feeling a little more accomplished than just doing what I have been doing thus far. I miss dreaming up exciting flavours in my sleep, and jumping out of bed to get cracking in the kitchen. I miss scribbling ideas on random scraps of paper, and hopping into the pantry in the middle of the night to whip something up. Those days were absolutely glorious, utterly inspired and undeniably pleasurable…and those days couldn’t come sooner.

8 thoughts on “To Learn Something New

  1. Sanna

    I can very well relate with you! Having a toddler take up so much of our time. These days, baking one simple cake needs a lot of planning and scheduling in advance because my daughter just wants me to be around her most of the time. So one simple cake can take the whole day to bake, i tell ya! But we both know as moms,that their need will pass, soon we have to let our babies go because they would want to explore on their own:(

    Cheers! I never skipped reading any of your post. I have to say I miss your baking, i hope you can share a recipe soon!

    Reply
    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      Sanna: Oh yes, that’s so very true. I wish I have more hours in the day just so I can do my own thing and still spend a lot of time with my daughter! Thank you very much for reading, it really makes me happy to see my posts resonate, makes me feel less alone!

      Reply
  2. Annapet

    The tarts are absolutely beautiful and your post, a very good read as usual, Rachel.

    Yes, we are still here! I wish I could try your specialties though.

    Reply
  3. Bunny Eats Design

    I have list of recipes I want to try a mile long. It’s great to try new things or even be influenced by them in your regular go-to recipes. Baking and cooking IS MAGIC and if it makes you happy, worth finding the time for. I hope you do push yourself or find excuses and reasons to do so. You are very talented and you need to flourish🙂

    Take care,
    Genie

    Reply

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