Four years ago Team Pretty Bake was conceived; a collaboration of kitchen shenanigans between friends and what for me personally was a means of distraction from a rather unbearable situation. Much has changed since those humble beginnings, and while Miss Rose has moved off to focus on other things, I have tipped the seesaw from those early days of weakness to finding strength and positivity in life moving forward.
It’s been a great opportunity to pursue my passions and engage with friends both old and new, but lately TPB’s had me worried. Although it’s been ticking along nicely it is not the TPB I used to know. It’s lost it’s spark, has become subdued, and that sense of adventure has been measured and found wanting. Hilarious kitchen calamities are naturally less frequent when there’s only one baker involved and finding the right balance amongst it all has, at times, been difficult. My favourite things to bake are also the things I eat least, and while my colleagues at work will more than happily receive the occasional treat there are only so many morning teas they’ll entertain before requesting that the temptations perhaps be a little less frequent.
So there are, of course, a number of valid explanations, but whichever the reason that’s no excuse. Life is a challenge of which we’re in charge, and if it’s not feeling right then we’re the one’s responsible. So it’s time for a change. What was once a means of keeping my mind from other things now needs to be repurposed. In the coming months I’m going to trial a new blog format that I hope will not only provide direction and challenges for me personally, but that will also be of more interest to you, the reader, and a departure from the scrappy postings that have been gracing the site of late. As before, I’ll aim to post at least twice a month, but each topic will now fall into one of the following categories:
While some girls can’t resist shoes my weakness is cookbooks, and I have a beautiful collection that I don’t use nearly enough. Book club will have me once again heading for the shelves where I’ll be cooking a new recipe or two from that week’s chosen title.
Making the most of the beautiful produce on offer from family and my local farmer’s markets, seasonal regional will focus on a key ingredient or producer, treating things simply when they’re at their best or, if I’m lucky, road-tripping out of town to feature some of the wonderful people and places that work tirelessly to keep us city folk fed.
A big thing behind starting TPB was to get me out of my comfort zone and working to become the ultimate hausfrau. In what should likely be prefaced with “I can’t believe you’ve never…” the technical challenge will be a perpetual virgin territory. Be it a new technique, an ingredient I’ve never worked with or a recipe I’ve never before made, these have to be tasks previously unattempted because they seemed difficult, intimidating or down-right frightening.
Here we throw caution to the wind - it’s time for big, bold and spectacular! Cakes, pastries and all manner of doughy delights, everything is fair game, no matter what the sugar content. Be it a scheduled cheat day or simply the occasional luxury the most important thing is not taking life too seriously. We all deserve a small treat from time to time so forget about the should’s and should not’s, dust off the dessert spoons and prepare to enjoy a little sweet indulgence.
If you’re anything like me, weekdays can be either a win or a fail. On a good night you’ll enjoy a healthy home-cooked meal in an awesome display of efficiency as you juggle work and whatever it is you do after. A bad one and it’s at best an uninteresting omelette, having returned home late to an empty fridge. With midweek mayhem I hope to share some of my favourite or newly discovered go-to meals that are quick and simple to prepare, and which leave you feeling virtuous should your ‘something after’ be of a sporting inclination.
I intend to work though each in turn. No doubt real life will sometimes intervene so I may have to mix it up from time to time, but I’m excited, it’s going to be fun, and I hope you’ll join me for whatever lies ahead. All I need to do now is decide where to start…