The Joy of Baking

Baking.

Baking astounds me.  Surprisingly, it’s like nursing: it has the precision and chemistry of science, whilst having the creativity and freedom of art.  I love how a handful of ingredients can make something so deliciously rewarding and pleasing to body, mind and those you love.  Maybe I’m over-analysing it but that’s how baking feels to me.  There’s a sense of calm and control as I gently sift, and stir, and combine the ingredients that I have concisely weighed out.  Then there’s the anticipation as I wait whilst the humble ingredients bake in the oven.  Then there’s the excitement as I rush to try what I have created (or recreated); burning my tongue in foolish haste.  Finally, with child-like glee I call to Tom to try what I have baked; shoving a generous piece of cupcake, muffin or sponge into his hand, watching him and anxiously waiting for his verdict.

I wouldn’t want to bake for a living though.  Baking is my escape from living yet, paradoxically, through baking I feel alive.  It’s my time to myself, my time to forget about all that’s going on around me and in my life.

Before I became vegan, I rarely baked.  My focus was on cooking up gluten-free meals.  Yet since being vegan, and consequently escaping many symptoms that haunted me, I have baked more than I ever had previously.  When I started eating a gluten-free diet I hoped that I had finally found freedom from the ailments that I thought were just part of being averagely healthy (whatever that is!).  Now, eating both a gluten-free and vegan diet, I have learnt what it is to truly answer “I’m well, thanks” when people ask how I am.    I have found escape from the niggling worry of whether my body is going to “randomly” react to what I was eating and thereby clouding my mind, trapping me in this turmoil.  Don’t get me wrong; I still suffer from IBS but it has melted into the background of my life.

I have learnt what it is to have hobbies and other interests again.  It is as though I have resumed some of that innocent and overwhelming excitement,often associated with being young, for all that there is to experience, and practice, and learn.  My thoughts are free to wander, to reflect on matters that don’t concern my diet and my body.  My life has become full of people, many of whom I have never met but value a great deal, who share similar passions and interests.  My faith has deepened and taken on a new reality in my life.  Is this all from eating and trying to live more compassionately?  I don’t know, but it sure does taste and feel good.

Humble Choco-Nana Muffins (adapted from VWAV)

Ingredients

6 oz gluten-free plain flour blend
5 oz golden caster sugar
1 oz + 1 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
2 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
250 ml soya milk
120 ml rapeseed oil
half one large, ripe banana, mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 oz chocolate chips

Method

Preheat the oven to 190C (fan) and line or lightly grease a muffin/cupcake tin.

Sift the dry ingredients (minus the chocolate chips) together in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl whisk together the soya milk, oil, mashed banana, and vanilla extract.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until well-combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips and decant the mixture into the cupcake tin.  Bake for 20 mins.  Leave to cool at least a little before devouring so as not to burn your tongue 🙂

You could frost/ice these but I ran out of time and think they’re awesome on their own.  I even enjoyed mine for breakfast (oh yeah).

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9 thoughts on “The Joy of Baking

  1. Those muffins look amazing! I use baking as a hobby but would never want to do it or cooking as a career as well.

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  2. love these muffins, sarah! and before i was 100% vegan or GF, i never baked. hell, dinner was nachos with grey goose vodka for many years 🙂 as a true “adult woman” though, i love to spend time in the kitch, science + art, you are so right! love this post not just for the amazing recipe 🙂

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  3. Baking is true joy! There is a certainty in baking that you don’t necessarily get in life. The knowledge that certain ingredients will come together in certain ways.

    As a vegan baker myself I am definitely going to try this recipe

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  4. Awww Sarah, I love the way you describe baking! It is SO true, it is such a magical thing, isn’t it? Just a few ingredients can transform into something beautiful enough to brighten any day. I started a small vegan bakery, but I don’t enjoy baking for money nearly as much as I enjoy baking for my family.

    But as much as I love baking I love cooking even more. Baking is so precise that I can rarely fix my mistakes, and sometimes things fail or fall apart and I have no idea why. My impromptu, off the top of my head style fits more with cooking. But maybe that mystery is what makes baking so special, after all.

    Those muffins look SO good, what a delicious idea!Thank you for the recipe, I can’t wait to give them a try.

    GREAT POST!

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  5. Thanks Tasha 🙂

    I have to say, I do have my moments when I’m tempted to start baking for some cash on the side. I’d love to have the know how and confidence in the kitchen to chuck meals together like you can though.

    xxx

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  6. ok. these look insanely tasty. and sound tasty too…i’ve never even heard of rapeseed oil?!? what does it taste like?

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  7. Hello there! Thanks 🙂 it’s pretty tasteless to be honest; i think it’s the same as canola oil?

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