I love “small-world” coincidences. Those moments of joy when you and an acquaintance discover something surprising in common. They speak to the statistician in me, as if to say, “what are the odds?”
Since I started my journey I’ve encountered so many coincidences that I’ve lost count. I’ve met someone who turned out to be a flatmate’s friend, I’ve met people who turned out to be (or work with) my future colleagues, and I’ve found myself accidentally competing against friends in a pub quiz. But this latest one is a real doozy.
Me and baking
I’m no stranger to baking. As a kid I’d often help out my mum with whatever cake or muffin recipe she was working on – usually by licking the spoon! At my first flat I was baking oat slice or muffins on a weekly basis for snacking.
Unfortunately, I moved to a flat with a dodgy oven. Let me tell you, no baking habit can survive a dodgy oven. Seriously, this thing was 50°C under temperature. Two undercooked batches of muffins later, I called it quits.
Fast-forward three years. I’m in a different flat with a better oven. In fact I’ve been here for most of that time. But the motivation wasn’t there. I needed a reason to get back into it. I needed… inspiration.
In recent months I’ve found myself surrounded by bakers – in my flat, at work, and in my social circles. It seems like everywhere I turn there’s a fresh batch of cookies looking back at me. This sowed the seed in my mind, but still didn’t persuade me to break out the muffin tray.
That is, until one of these bakers started a blog for her recipes – just as I was about to launch mine! (If you’re reading this, I promise I’m not just copying you!)
And to top it off, the perfect occasion popped up: my flatmate’s birthday party. An indoor picnic at our place – BYO food. She’s the sort of person who really appreciates a personal touch. So, after a quick google and shopping trip, here’s what I came up with for my comeback from baking retirement.
Banana & date muffins
For my first bake since forever, I picked the simplest thing I could find – with one catch. I have a rule that I don’t use added sugar. So no packet sugar, no golden syrup, and no cheating with sugar substitutes either! Fruit sugar is all good of course. (Chocolate and honey are a grey area). This was borne of the “I quit sugar” movement, and my general distaste for over-sweet foods.
I followed this recipe from Kidgredients – it has kid in the name, so it must be simple! The only change I made to the ingredients was to use (imitation) vanilla essence instead of vanilla paste. As you can see here I didn’t exactly splash out – I figured I should save the good stuff for later on when I get some skills.
I’ll let the pictures and captions tell the story from here.
Cue training montage music!
And the guests took care of the rest. A complete, and subtly sweet, success. Which means I’m just gonna have to bake more for myself!
It’s good to be back.
Had any great small-world moments lately? What’s your go-to simple baking recipe? Let me know!