Home baking failures

A couple of years ago I set myself a challenge to cook through the Edmonds cook book. (It was right after I’d read Julie and Julia .)?? Attempting something similar with our beloved Edmonds sounded like it would be fun.??

Here’s a list of the things I’ve learnt…

1. Cooking a meal sized for 4 people for a single person just results in wasted food even though food portion sizes have increased since my Edmonds book was published.

2. Other people will not have the same edition as me.?? Invariably they will recommend a never-fail-favourite that is not in my book.

3. Baked good are always popular at work providing that a) I knew all the ingredients in them because b) someone will have a food intolerance to one of them and c) knowing that the scones included a “red powder, either chilli or cayenne” is no good because d) one person in the office will be seriously allergic to chilli and one person will be seriously allergic to cayenne and both will want to know specifically which ingredient I used.

4. I got to know what people can’t eat which put a crimp in my plans to cook all the things in the book.

5. I need more friends.

5b. I need more friends who live close to me who are willing (and able) to eat anything.

6. The recipes in the book have not been compared to each other so the same process/tool/technique will be described in different ways.

7. Cooking recipes are often fiddly.?? Pieces of food are often coated in other pieces of food.

8. Cooking win = ‘Taste’ divided by ‘amount of time spent messing about with the food’ minus ‘number of utensils used’

9.?? Cooking has to be watched and stirred ALL THE TIME.

10. Baking recipes have lots of ingredients that need to be measured exactly.

11. Baking win = is it cooked through?

12. My oven’s thermostat is broken.

??

I didn’t end up cooking all of the recipes.?? I got through most of the baking ones and in the process discovered a deep love of ‘measure, mix, heap, heat’. (Baking in other words.?? (FYI – I have NEVER described baking that way before!))?? I have a few favourites – banana cake, chocolate-coconut brownie, anzac biscuits, lemon syrup cake – which I return to over and over again.?? I’m particularly proud of my pumpkin-date-ginger muffins and tiny bagel-and-butter-pudding since I adapted a couple of recipes to create them.?? (Isn’t baking a good outlet for creating??? I guess cooking is too.?? Funny/strange really – I prefer savoury foods but I’m much better at experimenting with sweet stuff.)

Anyway, this post is inspired by the two things that I consistently can’t get right – stewed apple and, (the reason for the apple,) crumble.?? I KNOW.?? Apple crumble is supposed to be the easiest thing in the world to bake.?? I suspect the reason that I always fail is that I’m trying to make a smaller portion and don’t get the proportions right. Do you have any advice for me?

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3 thoughts on “Home baking failures

  1. Thomas Beagle says:

    Two things.1. I once read that "cooking is art, baking is science". Baking relies on reasonably precise measurements to make all the chemical reactions work well. Cooking… well, a dash of this, a pinch of that and a quick sizzle on the skillet and you’re done.2. Apple crumble is easy. The crumbles with oats in are easier. Are you cooking the fruit first and adding the crumble mixture while the fruit is still hot?

  2. Anonymous says:

    1. I never ‘got’ science at school. I couldn’t be bothered with exact measurements and where the liquid should be measured at in the beaker etc. Another funny/strange thing for me to think about. (I like to know the rules, so maybe that’s it?) Cooking is an art huh? Yes, I can see how dashes and pinches create a taste pallette. I have eaten some very profound dishes.2. "Apple crumble is easy." So I’ve heard… The crumbles with oats are certainly tastier (not the way I make it obviously.) The fruit has to be hot? I’ve been pre-making/stuffing-up apple mixture the day before. I guess hot fruit will help the crumble cook underneath… *lightbulb goes on*Thank you! I will try it next time with hot fruit.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I often mix a large’ish batch of topping, keep it in the freezer. If you’re making smaller portions, it cooks faster, too. Not unusual for me to put frozen raspberries, sprinkle with a bit of brown sugar, put the toping, all frozen or near enough, and throw in the oven at 175C ’till cooked.The secret is: experiment! Take notes of what works, what doesn’t 🙂

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