Where Is My Mind?

I do a lot of reading, and while I’m not even close to being an expert, I’ve begun to notice the chefs and cooks that I can really respect, the people I can really get on board with. It’s not about how they throw their weight around a kitchen, it’s about the base feelings. It’s not even about the level of knowledge, it’s about knowing that you will never stop learning, not ever, there is always something new, and if you think you do know everything, you are entirely fooling yourself. Then they should have dedication, to dedicate their life to bettering the skills they want to master. Lastly, and I  think the most importantly, is passion. It sounds incredibly cheesy I know, but it is important.

Your skill will never get better without persistence and practice, and it makes things so much more difficult to practice  if you don’t enjoy what you do. Passion is everything, without passion, you are direction-less. With it, you can do anything. You can learn a craft or skill that will carry you across the world and you will always be able to work. I always quite like to think about it in a Zombie Apocalypse kind of way. If we all get subjected to the wrath of an infectious, aggression-based disease that putrefies the body (that’s how I like to think it would happen), I’d like to be able to make something and not be that useless sack of crap that gets everybody killed. So I’m learning how to sew, how to knit, how to bake, how to butcher an animal, how to cook, how to make…stuff. I’m slowly working my way through survival skills at the moment. When I figure out how to make a tent of an animal skin I’ll let you guys know!

In the spirit of complete hypocrisy I’m going to share a recipe that has nothing to do simplicity and really getting back to nature . 

Do you love profiteroles? Who am I kidding, everyone loves profiteroles. What a silly question! BOOM!

The only recipe you will ever need for profiteroles – can also be used for éclairs, choux buns or various other deliciousness. Also, not my recipe, thank you very much James Martin.

I’m not really sure why people think making pastry is a hassle, choux pastry is ridiculously easy to make. You can turn these bad boys over in less than an hour and come on, they’re home-made choux buns. You guys can be all “Oh yeah, I totally made me some bitchin’ profiteroles this afternoon, wanna come over and fall into a cream-based coma?”. 

Choux Pastry
200ml Cold Water
4 tsp Caster Sugar
85g Unsalted Butter
115g Plain Flour
Pinch of Salt
3 Medium-sized Eggs

– Pre-heat the oven to 200C/180C (fan)/Gas mark 6. Put a small (clean!) roasting tin in the bottom of the oven to heat up and line a baking sheet with some greaseproof – always good to dot a little butter in each corner to keep it from sliding around everywhere.
– Put the water, sugar and butter in a medium sized saucepan and heat it gently until the butter melts. 
– Turn up the heat and drop the flour and salt in, all in one go and take it off the heat (Don’t leave it on!). 
– Beat the mixture really quickly until it’s a smooth paste. Once it starts to curl away from the sides, take it out the pan, pop it in a big bowl and set it aside to cool for 10-15 minutes. 
– Once it’s a little cooler, beat in the eggs (a little bit at a time) until it’s smooth and glossy – you might not need to use all of the eggs, it’s all dependent on the size of them. 
– You can pop your mixture in a big piping bag, or shape it with teaspoon. Either way, shape it into small balls. The trick to helping the buns to crisp in the oven is the dip your finger in some water and dabbing it on top of each bun, it also smooths out the bits that can catch and burn in the oven.
– Put the baking sheet in the oven, and chuck a cup of water into the roasting tin that’s been heating up at the bottom of the oven. Shut the door really quick and it’ll create lots of steam which helps them to rise to beautiful, billowing heights. 
– Bake them for 25-30 minutes. I will give you a bit of a heads up, if they aren’t golden brown, they won’t keep their shape, and they’ll probably tear when you pipe the cream inside. So be patient! Watch the buns on the corner edges of the tray because they will brown the quickest. If you keep an eye on those you’ll be able to tell when the middle ones will be done. 
– Once they’re all cooked and beautiful, turn them upside down and poke a little hole (with a knife or whatever you have to hand) and place them hole-side-up in the oven for another 5 minutes to help dry out the centre. Once they’re done, take them out and leave them to cool. 
– This is the fun bit. While you’re waiting for the buns to dry out you can make whatever filling you like. I like classic chantilly cream (whipped cream with a bit of sugar and vanilla), but you can do whatever you like. cocoa cream, whipped cream with jam folded into it, mint cream, orange cream, rose cream. Honestly, go nuts. The world is your oyster. 
– I top mine with a little melted dark chocolate and you’re good to go! 

That recipe makes a 20 or so decent-sized profiteroles so it’s good for 8 people – or I suppose, one portion if you’re feeling lonely and sad

**disclaimer – please don’t really eat all of them – you will probably be sick. And although the sick would probably still be nice on the way back up, it’s a waste of good chocolate…and effort! ** 

Anyway, ugliness aside, they are incredibly nice, and really very easy to make. It’s always good to have this in your binder, you could even chop them in half completely and fill them with ice cream and chopped strawberries in the summer, lil’ bit of chocolate on top and job’s a good ‘un.

Enjoy the last part of your evening my lovelies! I’m off to go listen to an obscene amount of Pixies and pretend I’m Kim Deal.