There is a house built out of stone
Wooden floors, walls and window sills…
Tables and chairs worn by all of the dust…
This is a place where I don’t feel alone
This is a place where I feel at home…
— To build a home, The Cinematic Orchestra.
Whoosh. The sound of choux pastry in the oven, rising from zero to hero.
Hsoohw. The sound of the shrinking number of posts on this blog. Is that a collective sigh of relief I can hear? No more peppering you each day with the silly little things I have been madly churning out from my little kitchen at home. No, I haven’t actually grown tired and bored of baking. On the contrary, I’m going to miss it. But unfortunately, all good things have to come to an end, or in this case, slow down considerably.
I can’t believe how much time has passed since I resigned and then eventually left my last job. At first, it was hard to submit myself to being on Holiday Mode. I quite liked keeping busy in that way, but eventually I got the hang of my hiatus from working life, and started pulling various baking books off the shelves and bookmarking things I’d always wanted to try. Of all the many things I’ve been making and tasting, one of the greatest and most memorable discoveries have actually been, believe it or not, these simple but incredibly moreish cookies by Claudia Fleming.
But like I said earlier, such things which I’m going to have less time for, do eventually have to come to an end. Next week, I start a new job at this restaurant, and I’m incredibly excited because it’s one of my favourite restaurants in Sydney. Realistically, it’s going to be a return to the long hours, double shifts and everything else that restaurant work entails, but I’m also looking forward to it being as big and as useful a learning experience as it was working with the amazing, wonderful and ultimately rather crazy Andy.
(Sorry Mir, it looks like I won’t be able to meet you in London afterall! :/ )
In the meantime, I still have a few more things that I made recently, that I’d like to share with you. Don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’ve ever met a gougere I didn’t like. These cheesy “puffs of air” as David Everitt-Matthias dubs them, are no different, and I’m contributing these gougeres to HHDD #20, hosted by Suzana of Home Gourmets.
(makes 30-40; from Essence, by David Everitt-Matthias)
50g unsalted butter, diced
125g plain flour
85g Gruyere cheese, finely grated
85g aged Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Put the milk, butter and water in a heavy-based saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Pull the pan to the side of the stove and tip in the flour, beating all the time with a wooden spoon. Place back on the stove over a medium heat and beat vigorously until the mixture is shiny and leaves the side of the pan. Continue to beat over a low heat for 1-2 minutes to dry out the mixture a little.
Transfer the mixture to a freestanding mixer, and using the K paddle, beat for 2 minutes to cool it down slightly.
Meanwhile, crack the eggs and whisk lightly to break them up. Add them to the dough a little at a time, fully incorporating them before the next lot is added. The mixture should be smooth, shiny and fairly firm; you might not need quite all the egg. Stir in the cheese and add some salt and pepper.
Transfer the mixture to a piping bag with a 1.5cm nozzle and pipe it in mounds of 3x3cm on a baking tray lined with baking parchment, allowing a 4cm gap between each one. Place in an oven preheated to 180’C and bake for 15-20 minutes, until well risen and a rich golden brown. Allow to cool slightly, then serve.