Julie and Julia. I don’t know why it took me so long to watch that film. I love cooking and baking so it figures that I would like it. So I got round to watching it on Netflix a couple of weeks ago. If you haven’t seen it, it tells the story of Julia Child’s start in the cooking profession intertwined with Julie Powell’s blog challenge to cook all of the recipes in ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’, Child’s first book, in one year. 500 and something recipes in 365 days. To be honest, until the film, I didn’t know who Julia Child was. That is how ignorant I am. Maybe it is because I’m British and she was an American cook. The equivalent cooking figurehead in Britain would be Mary Berry or Delia Smith.
It got me thinking. Maybe I could set myself a challenge to cook my way through an entire cook book. Hmm, which one? I read somewhere that on average most people use three recipes out of each recipe book they own. I think I may average a bit more than that. Maybe my entire collection of Nigella Lawson books. I could start with How to be a Domestic Goddess. I decided quite quickly that would be a bad idea. We would end up bankrupt and fat.
So putting that idea aside, the film inspired me to write more. It’s free and non-fattening. This is what I’ve decided, ‘a blog every day in May’. Bad rhyme, I know, but it’ll force me to write something, anything, each day for a month. Hopefully, something worth reading. Tim, my husband, says I’m putting myself under law, but NO this is a discipline! A joy!
I haven’t abandoned the baking though. Today I made Nigella’s Boston Cream Pie from the Domestic Goddess book. I attempted it about 7 years ago and it wasn’t a success – tasted lovely, but the filling and the chocolate ganache oozed out of the cake into a big splodgy mess. There are notes scrawled in the margin, like, ‘really, really thick not just a little’ (about the filling) and ‘Don’t boil it curdles’ (about the ganache).
Having watched many contestants over the last few years in the Great British Bake Off feverishly stirring their saucepans of creme patissiere, and imagining Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood assessing my attempt, I felt qualified to try again. I baked the sponge before work, the creme pat (the right thickness) when I got home, left that to cool while I had a cup of tea with my friend next door and then came home to make the chocolate ganache (I didn’t boil it). This relaxed approach worked. Well, kind of relaxed as I’ve missed out the fact that the kitchen was a bomb site as the children were home from school today and I was trying to make pizza dough at the same time as making the filling. Still it was so nice to bake something that isn’t a chocolate chip cookie.
I hope you’ll choose to stay with me as I write every day, all the way through May.