Monday, December 7, 2009

The kitchen grinch mindset

What better season is there for cooking and baking then the holidays? The weather is cold, houses are warm and filled with friends and family, guests keep you on your hosting toes...except all that is a bunch of crap. Right? Well not really but it feels like it lately and I swore to myself this year to take a break and not over-exert myself into the food frenzies. Last year I did two brunches back to back weekends, made homemade treats as gifts for everyone I knew (tied with a bow), had at least three different cookie doughs in the freezer "just in case", made my own mulled cider, and did Christmas day breakfast for family before heading out the door for at least two other meals that day. Not this year. Not me. I just don't have the mindset or energy.

But a gathering of old friends who are home for some holidays made me realize I don't have to settle on doing absolutely nothing. There is a happy medium ground between all that baking and cooking activity and being a kitchen grinch. I came to the realization when I tasted this friend's sticky toffee pudding. Now, I'm not from the UK nor do I have an emotional attachment to the stuff. But it was deadly! And it reminded me of a couple cooking shows and specials I've seen over the years where this sticky toffee pudding is featured every time. It's like the Brit's version of fruit cake - only amazingly better. Plus I've always wanted to try making it from scratch. I've even done the caramel sauce before but never the cake.

So I'm going to try my hand at it finally, Rachel Allen's recipe to be exact because it just looked so good in her Bake! cooking school segment. And hopefully, just maybe, it'll get me back into the baking spirit. Then I'll try really hard, I promise, to not get out of control. No biscotti, no sugar cookies, no blueberry jam done up with my own to/from tags and ribbons, no Guinness chocolate cake that takes a whole day to make...just sticky toffee pudding.

One step at a time.

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