After what I would call and particularly challenging day, both physically and mentally, I felt the need to center myself, to chill out and to calm down. Some people stress eat, others drink. Myself? If I can’t get out of the house to play some sort of sport, I feel myself being drawn to the kitchen, not to cook, but to bake. I love to bake. That inherent need to create something beautiful and comforting at the same time.
Tonight I NEEDED to bake, but not for myself, but for those that I love, to love them with my baking, if you will. My version of Chicken Soup for the Soul.
So, with the plan in place, I cleared a space on the bench, fixed myself a bucket of red wine, set the tunes to Thievery Corporation, shut the door to the outside world and poured myself into the task at hand.
I wanted to make the favorites, Peanut Brownies for Mum, Ginger Crunch for Dad, and for my husband, a childhood favorite that his Grandma has lovingly made for him every chance that she gets, playfully named, Jeremy Coney.
I’ve never made Ginger Crunch before, I’m not sure why, it’s remarkable easy. My Nan has. Making it and smelling the ground ginger, it evoked memories of standing in her kitchen as young girl, “helping” her bake, the smell of the hot ginger icing wafting through her kitchen. My Nan was a fantastic baker, I think I gained a lot of inspiration from being in her kitchen as a child. I was very fortunate being able to live next-door, especially how they gave so freely of their time to hang out with us. Done. Base in the oven, icing made and poured on top. Yum! Since the little people were already in bed and I didn’t have to share, I couldn’t resist licking the spoon afterwards. Calmer.
I started on the Peanut brownies and poured another bucket of wine. When I looked at the recipe I noticed that it called for roasted husked peanuts. We had some peanuts in the cupboard that had been roasted in their shells, I figured they were going to taste better than nuts that have been sitting around shelled for goodness how long, so I set about shelling the peanuts. I needed a cup, 30 minutes later I had enough, I wasn’t in a hurry, so that was all good, duly noted for next time.
I’m not sure if it was the smell of the ginger, the wine, or the shelling of the peanuts that started to have a calming effect, finally I’m finding my happy place. I mixed the brownie mixture till combined, balled them up and chucked them in the oven. Done.
Onto the Jeremy Coney. My Husband loves this stuff. There is an amusing story that his Gran tells about this. To paraphrase, and it does loose something in this… there was a magazine when he was a kid that used to feature celebrity’s favorite bakes, there was one every week … eventually they got to this published a column on this slice, no one can remember it’s actual name, it was Jeremy Coney’s favorite. I don’t think Tim got it as a small boy and for some reason ended up calling the slice Jeremy Coney instead, since then that is what it has always been. It’s beautiful and chewy with nuts and fruit. Often when Gran comes to stay or we go to stay with her, she has a fresh batch that she has especially made for her first grandchild. I adore the way that she shows love, a woman after my own heart.
Feeling the calm I am now in a position to rest, take a load off and sit, feeling more at peace. How is it that the act of baking, and baking with love, makes you feel a world of difference?
I am looking forward to delivering a surprise parcel of fresh baking to my parents tomorrow. You never know, the boys at my husband’s work may even get to feel the love tomorrow, if hubby leaves any left to take to town that is.