Tuesday, June 2, 2009

domesticated 101 : baking

So the first 3 days of my long weekend I spent drinking wine, eating divine cheeses and gossiping while we listened to music and the bitter thrusting wind outside.

So when Monday rolled around I pulled myself together and got domesticated as it’s not every Monday that you get a Monday off! Not that drinking wine and eating is domesticated. I expect that the average house wife experiences the odd wine on more than one occassion a week ;)

Domesticated 101 : Baking

I decided to get stuck into some of my new baking books I have recently received. The first bake by Alyson Gofton. The second cupcakes, cheesecakes and cookies put out by the Australian Women’s Weekly. Both books are fantastic but are quite extremes of each other.

A month ago I went along to the annual charity fund raiser for Plunket which took shape in the form of a bake off and a spell from Gofton; raising publicity for her new book bake. I made my fantastic lemon muffins which unfortunately didn’t place anywhere despite being a favourite in our office here at work. I personally think it was rigged as Gofton was more excited seeing men had done some baking. She ended up awarding a man with the overall prize, she was very excited to be able to plant her lips on his check and hands around his waist when the congratulatory photo was taken :). But hey, what can I say, it’s not like I haven’t used my womanly charm to my advantage.
I have to say while her speech was a bit lengthy and some of the things that came out of her mouth were not exactly appropriate for tea and biscuit conversations she did make some bang on points about the role of a woman in the kitchen and how things have changed in the last 30 years.
She mentioned how magazines used to feature articles on how a woman was to feed a hard working man; the number of potatoes he needed for dinner and how to make a decent cake to feed all the shearers at smoko. In later times it was how working mothers could make quick and easy food and then there was the turn to the delicate, fine dining food style that was served on the white on white on white table settings. Today food is expected to be all of these things; filling, quick and attractive as well as being cost effective and of course healthy. Gofton went through all of these stages through her career as a chef to cook to critic. Her career involved writing for cuisine magazine, hosting food in a minute, working on the nutrition advisory board and of course being a mother and wife.

Therefore bake was made with all these things in mind but most importantly with the love that she has for food. The book is ideal for every family kitchen; it contains ingredients you find in the everyday pantry, at a basic skill level for every member of the family, requires minimum time and minimum equipment, all you need is a bowl and a wooden spoon. This is all reflected in the presentation of the book with old tea towel patterns being recognised for there timeless efforts and becoming design, simple presentations and items being photographed on Gofton’s family china (bit’s and pieces from here and there that you end up gathering and collecting). I like the statement she made later on; a home is place that is filled with odd mugs and cups, these tell you so much about the people that live there and what kind of family they are.

The CCC however is the complete opposite it’s all about decoration and making a conscious effort with presentation. It’s a lovely book to look at but makes you rather exhausted before you get started with so many choices and so much attention to details. I was tempted by the cup cake called Lemon Meringue Pie Cupcakes (Above firstly mine secondly the books, obviously) (Basically lemon/coconut cupcakes filled with lemon curd and piper with meringue topping) and while they were tasty little morsels they weren’t really worth the effort that went into them. However the baked white chocolate cheese cake with cherries was extremely delicious and left my flatmates ready to pop!

Last night I also wacked together the toffee, sticky date pudding (above) in about 10 minutes, topping and all! It was a hit and perfect for a winters evening with friends and flatties.

yogurt and coconut loaf with passionfruit icing- one word, amazing- bake

detailed little cupcakes-ccc

both books are avaliable in all good book stores at present.

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