At work, I think of baking. Different cakes with wonderful names: Chiffon, Genoise, Dacquoise. They dance in my mind as the hours pass.
I like baking, even though I’m not particularity good at it. Too impatient to work one pastry to perfection, I jump from one recipe to another. From salted caramel brownies with amber pools of caramel to charred pizza dough, from eclairs that explode with cream when you bite into them to three layered rosemary steeped cakes.
When I bake, I never think of much. And if you’re anything like me, not thinking of much is a blessing. I am tired of consuming fears, of existential crises, of the passing of time. When I bake, time ceases to exist. There are simply actions: melt, mix, fold. Bake on 350f until a toothpick comes out clean. These stabilities ground me, so I bake.
I made a cake for a coworker a when he was missing home. It was a Tottenham Cake. The sponge fell flat and chewy, and the beautiful pink icing cracked. I felt shame presenting it to him.
He wolfed down the four squares I brought before saying a word. “It tastes just like home”, he finally said.
And when I think about that, I cry. We are small, and we are insignificant. But god, what power do we have.
- Instead of a cake, I now make this Tottenham Cake into a loaf. It slices beautifully and makes a great breakfast, or an afternoon snack.
- In order to cream the butter and sugar successfully, the butter MUST be in room temperature. Same goes for the eggs.
- Start creaming the butter only (no sugar), until light and fluffy, using the beater attachment (not whisk).
- Once fluffy, begin adding the sugar – making sure to stop every now and then to scrape the sides.
- When adding the eggs, add them one by one (seriously).
- Recipe adapted from here.
Living in the internet-age is a stressful thing. And I’m not even talking about social media, or the news. I’m talking about finding recipes. PERFECT recipes. My mom was telling me how back in the day in Russia, they didn’t have cooking books or cooking magazines. Recipes were just developed, handed down, and modified. Now, how nice is that? While I’m not actually being serious (#lovepinterest), I’m sure you know what I’m talking about – you’re googling a recipe and get 4 million results. And that’s not even the worst part! The worst part is that ALL of the recipes on the first page are promising to deliver the “Best. ~Insert Food Here~. Ever. ”
So yeah, it can be pretty stressful 😥. On the other hand, when you do find that perfect recipe, it’s the BEST feeling ever. You know you can lock it down in your recipe binder, favorites folder (or um.. blog?), and enjoy it forever.
Since I discovered this recipe about a month ago, I made it about 10 times, double batch too. Ben has been requesting it over and over again, having beef stew for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And no wonder, it’s so good – nobody would mind having it 3 times a day 😋 .
This recipe was inspired by the beef stew of Once Upon a Chef.
Beef Stew Tips – Lazy Edition
- Use baby carrots and baby potatoes. It makes life SO much easier. I just cut the carrots in half, and the potatoes in quarters.
- Don’t peel baby potatoes. Call the stew “rustic”.
- If you don’t have time to make the stew in one day (3hr in the oven, anyone?), prepare all of the ingredients the day before in a lovely mise en place – liquid in one bowl, onion& garlic in another, then carrots&peas&potatoes, and seared beef in the next.
- Don’t tell anyone – but you can actually pulse the onion in a blender (or a nutribullet), until desired consistency achieved.
- To give the noodles a lovely taste of their own – sprinkle some chicken stock powder on them, it’s so good!
- After cooking the noodles, mix some butter into the bowl – this will prevent the “dry-pasta” syndrome.