Baking Myth

The biggest myth I’ve found about baking is this:

That all quantities of ingredients used must be measured with agonising precision otherwise the whole thing will be (literally) a flop.

As I’ve experimented over the years, I’ve not only found this myth to be untrue but came to the realisation that it is a relatively new myth.

Consider with me that some of the best recipes come from generations past; and yet when referred to, one finds that these recipes are somewhat imprecise. They use phrases such as “a pinch of salt”, “a smidgen of flour” and “a drop of vanilla essence”. A new baker of my generation would be pulling their hair out at such ambiguous terms. Doesn’t it strike you as rather funny that it is only in this digital age that we’ve become such anal bakers?

This is to bring a word of comfort to you and dispel the aforementioned myth. I have found that the most important thing when it comes to baking is, in fact, the consistency of the mix.

There are several consistencies you need to become familiar with. The main three are the cakes, the cookies and the ‘sticky stuff’ like puddings and brownies. Within each category, you need to become familiar with how certain ingredients or procedures can affect the final mix. For example, creaming butter and sugar using a hand mixer will produce a drier and stiffer cake mix than creaming it by hand. They both still turn out fine and, in fact, it will probably not do for the former mix to be watered down to the latter consistency.

If you are a new baker, you should follow recipes as much as possible so you can familiarise yourself with the texture/consistency. This will also help you gauge in the future which ingredients are necessary for certain mixes as well as the relative quantities required. Once you are comfortable with baking, you will find that there is actually quite a large margin of error allowed before disaster strikes.

If you would like me to expound further on this topic, please do leave a comment or email and I will be most happy to put a more detailed post up.

If you are a more advanced baker, trust yourself and test out the ‘Consistency Theory’ using leftover buttercream. In my kitchen, they become all manners of delicious one-of-a-kind cookies (because they can’t be reproduced for lack of records).

One last word of advice is this: It is always better to underuse the sugar rather than overuse it because it is easier to ice/frost your goods to make it sweeter, than to compensate for a hyperactively sweet dessert.

Consistency matters. You heard it here first. 😉

– ant –

Disney goes Tollywood

I’m not just talking Bride and Prejudice. I mean a movie produced in South India by an Indian producer with Indian actors, aimed at the Indian population.

Is this a misprint? Shouldn’t it be Bollywood?

Well, no. Tollywood is the Telugu equivalent of Bollywood which is the Bombay (now Mumbai, but read: Hindi) equivalent of Hollywood. Bollywood is by far the more famous of the two terms but did you know that ‘Bollywood’ was in fact inspired by the ‘Tollywood’ term, which was coined about 40 years before? Actually the T from Tollywood came from Tollygunge, a place south of Calcutta and the centre of the Bengali film industry. Just to make it more confusing, there is another term ‘Kollywood’ which refers to the Tamil films made in Chennai!

I’m by no means an expert in this area and may have got this wrong so please feel free to correct me so I can edit it to make it correct. You can read more here.

Anyways, here is the trailer to the first ever Disney film produced in South India: ‘Anaganaga O Dheerudu’ or ‘Once Upon A Warrior’. Its coming out in January 2011.

Looks pretty good actually! 😛

Endota spa – Martin Place

I received a lovely Spa package gift at Endota spa from Ant, this included a 4 hour treatment for Ant, my mum and myself. Endota has locations all over Australia, but this particular one was located at Martin Place in Sydney in the old GPO. It is located with a hairdresser occupying one quadrant of a square space.

We were running slightly behind schedule so were a bit rushed, but the outside building is beautiful, a hint of a time gone by in one of the older buildings in Sydney. When we arrived we had to wait for a few minutes before we were attended to. Once we were seen to we were taken to a small waiting room, which I was hoping would really give me a sense of relaxation but it was fairly small and we were given clipboards and client cards to fill out. This was done fairly quickly and we had little time to sit and relax (mostly our fault). After we met our beauticians we were whisked around the building to a large room, since we had specified a shared room. This was probably a bad idea as the room looked a little cramped and was not particularly appealing visually. We had actually walked around in almost a full circle as the spa is situated as a square – this was rather detrimental to the actual relaxation since we would later be able to hear all the chatter and hair drying going on in the hairdresser next to us.

The package itself was good; I thoroughly enjoyed the body scrub and facial, but did find the foot bath and massage a little lacking. The foot bath was quite short, we didn’t get to relax the feet much and the scrub was done in about five to ten minutes. I also found it was a little long lying down for 4 hours and I could have done with some water or liquid during the treatment. I could have asked but thought this should have been catered for without request.

I enjoyed the day, but found some things could have been better. Particularly with the bad soundproofing, you could hear everything going on outside.

I would probably recommend shorter treatments and perhaps not doing the package with more than two people. It would have been better in a room that was further from the hairdressers, but I do have to ask the logic of having a hairdresser on the premises as it does break the serenity; the space would have better served as a larger waiting room.

Highlights

  • Customer service was excellent when we were attended. They allocated good time to rotate between treatments and were timely for each part of the package.
  • The body scrub was refreshing and hot bath was great, we were allowed try/use products to shower/wash our hair.
  • I enjoyed the luxury of being able to change robes and towels during the course of the package.

Overall rating

Ease of location – 5/5

Set up of room – 2/5 (due to the poor soundproofing)

Relaxation 3/5 – although I dozed off several times, it would have been nicer without the external sound, also if I had remembered to turn off my mobile phone.

Overall satisfaction with package 3.5/5

 

/~OwL~\

That’s what he said

“He charged the ranks of the goblins of Mount Gram in the Battle of the Green Fields, and knocked their king Golfimbul’s head clean off with a wooden club. It sailed a hundred yards through the air and went down a rabbit hole, and in this way the battle was won and the game of Golf invented at the same moment.”

The Hobbit :: JRR Tolkein

Lol.

– ant –

Lessons on Leadership from Watership Down

  1. Never assume respect, earn it.
  2. Be humble and modest.
  3. Find sensible and reliable team members with a variety of talents. Learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses, build trust with each other and delegate accordingly. This will be your inner council. Be open to one another and keep each other accountable.
  4. Be always transparent and honest. Have integrity and lead by example.
  5. Give credit where credit is due. As much as possible, choose positive reinforcement over punishment.
  6. Don’t feel guilty for unavoidable co-lateral damage but take care of it personally to make sure that recovery is imminent.
  7. Pay particular attention to those who require it but don’t hold it against them. This is not favouritism, it is support.
  8. Think before you speak – give compassion, grace and mercy opportunities to express itself in the things that you say and do.
  9. Learn from past great leaders and stories (think El-ahrairah).
  10. When you come to a crossroad, be patient and diligent in making the right decision. Think outside the box, be far-sighted, consult with your trusted few and don’t be afraid to take risks. Having said that, learn to discern when a quick decision needs to made and rely on your inner council to follow your lead.
  11. Take time to get to know members of your team and consult with them when making decisions which can radically affect them. In other words, be as democratic as you can. Give them a voice and always do what is best for them.
  12. Never miss an opportunity to make friends and allies. Go the hard yards to earn their respect and loyalty.
  13. Perform the hardest and riskiest tasks yourself, or at least participate in them. When a member of your inner council cannot perform his/her duty in any given instance, you are to be the person who stands in for them. You do not hold it against them because they have proven themselves to you innumerably.
  14. Treat even your enemies with respect. Do not discriminate. Uphold the harmony of the team. Learn to manage your fear, and the fears of your team.

– ant –