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There is comfort in the kitchen

There is some comfort in the kitchen.

The kitchen is where I celebrate my happiness, wallow in self-pity, forget my sadness and work out my anger. It has been neglected, over-used, too dirty and too clean. It contains ingredients that make beef stew, cookies, abalone porridge and instant noodles. In all, the kitchen is where I can go for anything.

On a whim I decided to bake today. I am fearful of baking - there are too many variances. What the hell is "softened butter"? (Ok, I am resisting the urge to say something totally potty here, but you can think it) And what the heck is packed brown sugar? Do I put it in a carton box and get DHL to pick it up?

But I kid.

I've always identified more with cooking. To me it's easier - the facets of it is comforting and sometimes almost mindless. Chop the vegetables. Too large? Ok, cook it longer until it's soft (This is bad, resist the urge to say something naughty!). Too small (ahem), it's ok, it's how it tastes. (I see where this is going...) You can brown the damn meat then put it in the oven, or you can leave it on the cheapass grill pan for 10 minutes (a la Westin). You can even put it in the oven for a long time with a very low temperature and then leave it on the cheapass grill pan for 10 minutes. The taste may differ greatly but it would be edible.

I once made the mistake of using melted butter instead of softened butter for my cookies. Let's just say I think I figured out how Famous Amos came up with the idea of cookie cakes. Or how I am convinced that the Gods of Baking have randomly decided how shortbreads will never be successful at my house.

But I digress. As usual. You know, a friend of mine always says that I never finish what I start out to do so...


There is some comfort in the kitchen.

I particularly like 2 extremes. I love cooking alone, making freezer meals and just non-stop mechanical actions (cough cough). I also love cooking for my friends, 3 of us crammed in my tiny kitchen with not enough space for us to chop, saute, roast and bake. We plan our recipes according to resources: I can only use 2 large pans at one time, and if I am grilling then only 1 but I can still leave something simmering on the stove; if you want to roast some chicken, then perhaps I should use the slow cooker for beef stew; yours take longer to cook so you start first since the damned counter space is enough for only one.

Cooking with friends is awesome. I don't agree with Westin and Edmund a lot on cooking, we do have our arguments. But we have learnt to ask and not question, take a step back and then understand their point of view when we finally taste the end product. I still believe in a certain amount of control - something Edmund and I will never agree upon. I think sometimes things cannot be so... artistic. But experimentation is encouraged.

So I'm now sitting here working on my powerpoint slides and anxiously waiting for the Guinness Nutella Brownies to finish baking, if it ever does complete. My oven is tiny, and all recipes call for a sheet that is twice its length so I had to tweak a lot of the recipe. My mixer's faulty, and the attempt to use my handheld whisk attachment from the handheld immersion blender resulted in my kitchen floor being coated with brown sugar. I am now tempted to purchase a decent mixer. But as usual, it will languish in the corner for a while, even months before I may use it so I decide that I am more fond of using that dough to sign up for something useful... say Muay Thai class.

I just checked on the brownies... and I think it should be done quite soon! And I've been a good girl, I am documenting the process so I know where it works and where it fails and hence how to tweak it.

Let's hope... nomnomnom!

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