There was a fascinating segment on Words and Music on BBC Radio 3 this week, in which the conversation focused around the use of hands in our everyday lives. The speakers touched on the topic of working with one's hands for both practical and creative purposes.
I had one of those ear worms happening on baking day this week. It wasn't an annoying tune, it was an upbeat number from the 1960s, and I found myself happily bopping around the kitchen. Some of you might remember the song in question. It was originally recorded by The Drifters and the chorus was: "Sweets for my sweet, sugar for my honey, I'll never, ever let you go."
Speaking of words I love, oliebollen is quite a good one. Pronounced oh-lee-bollen, which is apparently Dutch for 'oily balls', the delicious little fruit-filled doughnuts are said to be popular around the world.
It doesn't really matter how old you are, there's something immensely pleasurable about playing with soft, squishy dough - especially when it's still warm and has not long come out of the pot.
'That loaf looks better than okay,' noted a lovely friend and fellow baker when she saw the photo of my latest creation. I must admit, I thought it looked better than good too. To me, my bread looked like one of those artisan loaves that one buys for upwards of $10 at specialist bakeries. So, I must admit I was feeling rather chuffed, and even more so once I'd tasted it.
A few months ago I was one of just a handful of cooks from across Australia invited to preview the Tefal Cuisine Companion. At an exclusive launch held at the Sydney Seafood School, I received a big box containing my very own, complementary Cuisine Companion and was signed up as a Founding Member of the 'Cuisine Companion Club' (an online community for those who own a Cuisine Companion).
It's baking day and as I open the oven door, the heady aroma of freshly baked bread brings me to reflect on the summer of '94 spent with my family at Budaörs on the outskirts of Budapest.
Looking back on my life to this point, I can say that I feel truly blessed. While there have been some hurdles along the way (and some of 'em were biggies), I am privileged to have come so far from humble beginnings, to have found my niche as a cook and food writer, and to have had some amazing culinary experiences over the years.
Legend has it in certain Australian kitchens that a clever farmer's wife would always keep an eye on the farm gate. If she saw visitors arriving at the gate, the fire went on and a scone dough was mixed, cut and in the oven before the vehicle pulled up outside the front verandah. Practice makes perfect, apparently.
'An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it makes a better soup.'
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I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.