Knit, and Meditate, and Mindfulness

Just few days ago, I found this link hovering over my facebook news feed. Actually, I lied… it was more than few days ago, and it’s been there for a while. I was just not bothered until few days ago, and finally read it properly.

If you, just like me, can’t be bothered to read all articles popped in your way while doing your thing on the internet, I can save your time and tell you what that link was about. Basically it is about how baking for other people is actually good for our mental wellbeing.

Baking is good for your mental health. Especially when you are baking for people you care about…

Baking, just like knitting is actually good for our mental health because of its therapeutic effect. It is not only giving us a sense of achievement when finishing it the way we want it, it also keep us focus to the task, and keep us away from negative distractions. It is a kind of mindfulness training.

What is mindfulness? It is a new trendy buzzword. From what I understand it is basically meditation, but trying not to sound as serious as that. So, what they’re trying to say is that baking, or knitting gives the same kind of therapeutic effect just like meditating.

They just cannot say it like that, because it doesn’t sound scientific enough.

But this is my problem…

Imagine when you are meditating. People know you are meditating, and in the process you are healing yourself. NOBODY, would ever come to you and say: “Good morning… Do you want a cuppa?”

it definitely helps when people just leave you alone when you’re knitting… you make a proper progress when they do

Of course not.

But, why don’t they do the same when you are counting stitches? Why won’t they leave us alone when we were reading that bloody lace patterns (which row we were in again?)? I mean… we were practising mindfulness and in the process of healing ourselves too, weren’t we?

I think we knitters need to educate people of how knitting is related to mental wellbeing. By educating them, maybe… just maybe they will know why we go ballistic when they’re talking to us when we are in the middle of counting stitches….

x ❤ x

Relationship Goal

It was my wedding anniversary! Again! Just like last year…

It wasn’t how I imagined, or wanted it to be though. The food didn’t come out right. I was not feeling well… And, hubby was incredibly grumpy because of work related issues.

Not that I wanted a lavish celebration or something like that. We are not used to celebrating things anyway. But I was thinking of making something for us yesterday. DIdn’t happen. Oh well…

But at least one thing came out okay:

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Mickey and Minnie gingerbread biscuit…

PS. Do you know that Mickey and Minnie have been together since 1930’s? Well that’s your new relationship goal, isn’t it?

x ❤ x

Pancake Day!

Alright. I have been in the UK for over 2 years now, but yesterday was my first ever pancake day.

I always missed it in the past, but yesterday… I did it!

Pancake in the UK is different from American pancake. This pancake is thin, and the batter is quite runny, like crepes. It is very easy to make, with very simple ingredients… yet incredibly tasty.

Especially when you eat it the traditional way (my husband taught me how to do it “properly”): squeeze the lemon, and sprinkle some sugar on it. YUM!

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However yesterday evening my husband had his overtime, so he went home a little bit later than usual. That’s why I had time to make even more pancakes… so I made mille crepe.

I made one few years ago before we had this current oven hob. In fact, it was my first ever cake made for my husband’s birthday (I didn’t know how to bake back then). But the cake was too rich for him at that time, so I made less layer, and used different filling for it too…

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Ah anyway…

I still have some of them left… Guess what I am having for lunch?

x ❤ x

I Am Officially An Auntie :D

Well… I was an auntie before this, because my DH has a nephew, but you know what I mean…

My sister just gave birth to a beautiful little daughter — the first in my family. Both the mother and the baby are healthy, and in an excellent condition. My parents are over the moon for their first grandchild.

I am so overjoyed, but at the same time feel a bit sad that I am not the only one who are not there with my sister to give support. Seems like I am the only one missing the celebration in Indonesia 😦 Not happy about it 😦

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Anyway…

So, I decided to just celebrate it myself here with my husband, by baking a cake 🙂 Obviously we don’t need any reason to bake a cake, but it feels slightly more special when you attach story behind a bake…

And here you go…

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Whoopsie… Forgot to take photo before sliced it :p

 

Cocopandan Cake with Gula Melaka topping.

Yes it sounds foreign, I know. But I feel like I want to make this one because it reminds me so much of home. Cocopandan is basically coconut and pandan (fragrant leaves, very popular in Indonesian desserts and beverages), and gula melaka or gula merah is how we call palm sugar in that part of the world.

It tastes wonderful. A wonderful cake for a wonderful day 🙂

Pastry Week at The Great British Bake Off

Do you watch The Great British Bake Off? If you are in Britain you probably do, but if you’re not in Britain, Bake Off might sound not too familiar. You could google it, but basically it is a baking competition… clue is in the name.

However, Bake Off is a completely different cooking competition to ones I have seen before. It is not Top Chef, it is not Masterchef… it is not anything you’ve seen before. It is a very friendly, homely kind of show, with a bunch of lovely contestants, an unlikely pair of judges, and a pair of comedian as hosts. There are no hostility towards competitors, no bad mouthing, no sabotage etc — just a good old baking.

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I made croissant for bread week, not knowing that it is actually for pastry week… woops!!

So… I was flabbergasted when I heard BBC has to let GBBO go to Channel 4. Yes, ladies and gentlemen — it is a headline news in the UK.

I have been following the weekly themes and making my own stuff… A cake for cake week, biscuits on biscuit week… you got the picture. Only last week, when they released the news about GBBO move, I couldn’t make myself bake for batter week…

But I am back now… And although I am slightly disappointed that Val is going (just right after Kate! Two my favourites in a row!), I am ready to bake again.

So for this week theme: Pastry week… i present to you: Tarte Aux Pommes:

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Should have keep an eye for that slightly burnt edge 😦 And I forgot that I didn’t have apricot jam for glaze… oh well 😦

My neighbour has extra apples from her daughter’s apple tree at home, so she insisted I took it. I thought it would taste wonderful in a tart. Why not apple pie, you ask? Because… frangipane. Enough said…

Did my DH like it? Pssh! Sweet pastry with frangipane? He could scoff the lot in one sitting :0

x ❤ x

I Don’t Like Food Colouring But…

Maybe I have to start learning how to use it.

Growing up in Indonesia I have been taught that not all food colouring is safe. Especially where I came from, the trading standard and the food safety regulation is not as strict as it is in the UK or other developed country. Indonesia was quite third world when I grew up, you see?

Maybe I have to unlearn that knowledge because in the UK food colouring is safe. And it might make my cupcake looks nicer.

Like these ones, for example.

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I didn’t realise that blueberry’s natural colour in a cake doesn’t look appetising at all. Instead of looking purplish blue, it looks quite greyish — especially when the top gets slightly brown. Even my husband couldn’t help himself feeling the urge to laugh when I showed him how creepy looking it is. He mentioned “mold” but I decided I didn’t hear it at all.

And, one other thing… Maybe it is the way it reacts to different ingredients, but it didn’t turn either blue or grey when it is used in the butter cream. It was bright purple, almost pink even. Somehow it was pink-er than strawberry! Maybe someone could help me in this? This is pretty confusing.

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It looks nice with rose pipe thingy, but I thought it was going to be blue. I guess I was wrong.

So yeah. If… If I had used food colouring, the cupcakes might have turned up with a better solid colour. The more blueberry-ey colour maybe. Anyway… what’s the colour of blueberry anyway?

x ❤ x

Meanwhile in The Kitchen…

One of the things that keep me away from boredom stress is learning a new thing everyday. It is important for me to keep my brain working — being inquisitive, being adventurous. Or else, life is just… flat. And I don’t want it.

Not going to moan about how hard it is to get a job now. And not going to preach the importance of being positive either. I’d rather show you what I have been trying to do in the kitchen.

Two colours piping.

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bit stingy with the buttercream there…

Youtube is a great place to learn. It is full of people who are not only willing to teach and share their expertise, they are also willing to teach you for free. So, I’ve been wasting spending some time there and take notes and…

Voila.

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Since I don’t use food colouring, so the colour here is basically plain buttercream, and another one with chocolate or matcha  — for the green one above. Not too bad isn’t it — for a beginner?

x ❤ x