Thursday, 31 July 2014

What I Love... Baking

Definition of love: to display great affection for a person or a thing. 

Well, I am known for being affectionate, aren't I? 

As a teenager in possession of an affectionate nature, getting attached to things is as commonplace as the £1 bottles of shampoo I constantly buy. And my current attachment? Despite the reference to what you attach to a Kitchenaid, my passion goes as far as the kitchen - and what I bake inside of it. 

From my fetishes for indulgent (translation: waist-expanding) chocolate chip brownies to sweet affairs with classic sponges, baking is a passion which brings me more happiness than the entire contents of a packet of Oreo cookies. Whether I'm grinning from ear to ear or down in the dumps, baking is my ultimate pick-me-up, though it could be argued that the sugar rush might have something to do with lifting my mood!

Ever since my baking journey began several years ago, several things have popped into my mind which, whilst eyeing up a bag of Maryland cookies, redeem my faith in classic ol' home baking. For one thing, why bother splurging extravagant amounts of money on the biscuits, cakes and entire treats section at the supermarket when more delicious - and pocket-friendly - equivalents can be baked at home? Any factory-made products are not only filled with junk whose titles you cannot understand nor know anything about, but as well eat away into your bank balance. Look at the numerous baking shops scattered all over the country; regardless of how much it costs them to produce their goods, the selling price will rocket beyond the moon for the consumer! 

Saying that, however, I haven't issued an outright ban on shop-bought biscuits and treats (typically in the form of a chocolate bar). Life would be too agonizing without an occasional teacake or chocolate-coated digestive to send my taste buds into overdrive, otherwise travelling all the way to the nearest Aldi or Lidi would be pointless. So, in case anyone is wondering, Aldi and Lidl are to blame for my ever-increasing reliance on their biscuits - and persistent spots! 

Cakes, on the other hand, are literally a no-go area if purchased from a shop. An Arctic roll - which is basically a cross between a swiss roll and ice cream - is the only exception, although I would much rather make one myself instead of relying on the frozen section at the supermarket. Personally, I believe that the greatest product in the land of baking is a cake which, thanks to the oh-so-addictive (like the cakes themselves) The Great British Bake-Off, is the most exciting and pleasant treat to produce in the kitchen. 

Although prayers are said each night in the hope of baking a beautifully decorated cake, I get my kicks from baking an ordinary, yet delicious one every now and then. To my delight, a task given in Food Tech at school several weeks ago was to bake a themed cake, which was literally a dream come true; within moments, I knew exactly what I wanted to bake. The final result was the chocolatiest, biggest and tastiest Victoria Sponge ever seen on this planet - even gazing at it caused rapid weight gain, let alone tucking into a slice! 

The lessons in which I baked and iced the two sponges were among my favourite moments at school and in my personal baking life, as I prefer to call it. My family's faces - including the kittens' - lit up like the birthday candles I had decorated on the cake (as it was birthday-themed) once I brought it home! The moment that I took my first bite with my family filled me with a joy which, in my opinion, only baking can create. The joy was a mixture of pride for being successful with baking and icing it (along with not burning the kitchen down, as many bakers fear) and happiness for gaining confidence in my abilities! 

Despite having been fairly confident in the kitchen beforehand, showcasing my skills to the teacher thrilled me beyond words who, having had a rich background in patisseries, was over the moon with my work. Unfortunately, my teacher has since left the school, but I'm looking forward to who will be teaching me in September. Unlike the majority of my year, I'm one of a handful who intends to take a GCSE in Food Tech!

In the meantime, I have the whole summer to make the most of using the kitchen at home and, if permission is granted, borrow my mum's precious Kitchenaid from time to time. As strange as it might sound to some people, I deem a Kitchenaid to be more valuable and important than a pair of painful Louboutins. Although keeping up-to-date with the latest trends is of massive importance, a pair of stilettos - especially ones renowned for their painfulness - only have a shelf life of so long until they fall out of fashion the following season, whereas a Kitchenaid has a life-long guarantee and is a constant presence in the cookery industry. Therefore, I know where my priorities lie, though a designer handbag would never go amiss!

After a temporary hiatus, I returned to my definite love - one of whom will be occupying me until The One is found - yesterday morning, which resulted in sixteen sticky n' sweet flapjacks being made. As my fingers type the food-related descriptions, a hunger previously satisfied by my breakfast is resurrected, desperate to be quashed by a single bite of sugary goodness - otherwise known as homemade wholesomeness. Until now, I've avoided factory-produced flapjacks like the plague, returning to blurred memories of making them at a primary school if the urge to eat a shop-bought poison ever threatened to take hold. Yet my urges were finally put to rest and all restraints were waved away when I indulged on the many crumbs and oaty goodness yesterday - all before lunchtime! 

And, to make things better, I've got even more ideas up my sleeve which, provided that the necessary ingredients are on hand, can be made into show-stopping masterpieces whenever I wish. From apricot-and-marzipan sponge cakes to chocolate loafs, the joy of baking - and delightful pleasure each bite brings - is endless. 

Now, as images of cakes and biscuits swirl in my mind, I have a new dilemma to contend with: how do I stop feeling so hungry all the time?

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