I was thinking. Dangerous I know. Especially for a woman ha.
But after a frustrating time at work, a pep talk from my Dad and discovering the best YouTube channel ever (search Anna Akana), I felt like I had a lot of thoughts that needed to be caught and tied down somewhere.
When I grow up I want to be like Nigella. I want to be able to share the wonders of cooking and baking with the world via a form of modern media. I would love to be paid to write about food. I would also love to put my degree to use at some point and try my hand as a food scientist and invent some excellent ice cream flavours.
I work in food ingredient sales. Due to people leaving and not being immediately replaced in recent weeks, my role has begun to morph to accommodate a customer services type role. While I love working with people it can get a little hard to keep spirits high some days. I used to get out of the office multiple times a day. Now I am lucky to get out once a week. This job that my wide eyed and enthusiastic self had signed up for six months ago is not turning out like I had hoped. It’s a good job, don’t get me wrong, I have learnt so much, but its just not quite in the direction I want to be heading in. I have only come to realise this during my time working in this field.
I feel like every other Sunday article and every other clever podcast I get sent is on how my generation is spoilt. How we expect quick fixes. How entitled and experienced we think we are just moments after we hatch from university.
I am well aware of this stereotype and I am very conscious trying to avoid falling into that particular bear trap. I’m a hard worker, I understand that sometimes you have to scrape soggy food scraps out of a dish wash drain with your bare hands as a starting point. What I don’t like is how fear of being perceived as one of these self entitled yuppies, forces us into staying in unhappy situations out of obligation and guilt. All so that our CV doesn’t make us look like indecisive and unreliable brats.
I feel guilty thinking I am above what I do. However, I cannot deny the feeling that it is a bit of a waste of a Food Science honours degree to spend 40 hours a week formatting excel spreadsheets.
I am also scared that I am not learning. Sure I am gaining some practical skills in my current role like invoicing and filing, but its not higher-level thinking. I am not challenged to think for myself. New connections in my brain are not being made. In all honesty I don’t feel like I am making a difference in this world. I don’t go home at the end of the day and process the events of the day and share its wonders with the flat. I go home and peer into the fridge. I spent the last 17 years of my life learning, challenging myself and growing. To think I am not learning now is truly frightening. The brain is like a muscle and I feel like mine is getting flabby.
I know I have to remember the positives. I have to remember the subtle skills that I am acquiring. They all add up to this thing we call life experience I guess. One day an employer may look at what I’ve done and be like yeah, we want this woman, she isn’t afraid to scrape the crap out of sink drains.
So what do I do? Stay out of obligation? Be miserable and feel like I’m not contributing my brain to society but keep my CV looking reliable and not flaky? Or do I find something else, something that I enjoy and something that challenges me and throw caution and the opinions of middle management everywhere to the wind?
On a totally different note, I made some lemon coconut cakes. They were delicious. I should probably write about these too so you can enjoy their glory as well.
I used the Little and Friday recipe by Kim Evans. It actually made way too many small cakes. I underestimated the quantity of batter I was producing. I would say halve the recipe but only if you could really accurately sort out the seven egg situation. Maybe use four size 6 eggs?
It is a pretty pricey recipe to make once you beat together your body weight in butter, eggs and coconut but well worth it if you are wanting to impress the crowds.
I used ¾ cup of milk mixed with the juice of one lemon instead of the sour cream (could not be bothered driving to the supermarket for that one) but they still turned out marvellous.
Ok now brace yourself for the ingredient list . . .
Lemon Coconut Cakes
Adapted from Treats from Little and Friday by Kim Evans
Makes 20 or so little cakes
For the cakes:
300g butter, softened
Zest of 2 lemons
2 ½ cups castor sugar
7 size 7 eggs
2 ½ cups flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
5 cups threaded coconut
¾ sour cream (or ¾ cup milk and the juice of one lemon)
For the lemon syrup:
1 cup sugar
zest and juice of three lemons
1 cup water
For the lemon curd:
Zest and juice of two lemons
1 cup sugar
For the cream cheese icing:
200g cream cheese, softened
200g butter, softened
5 or so cups of icing sugar, softened
Squeeze of lemon
Couple of splashes of milk (to loosen and make it more spreadable if need be)
I like to make my lemon curd at least the night before so it is fully cooled and thick when I go to use it in cakes like these.
In a bowl over a pan of simmering water, heat together the sugar, butter and lemon zest and juice for the curd. Once the sugar has dissolved remove temporarily from the heat. In a small jug, whisk together the two eggs. While you swiftly whisk the butter and sugar mixture, slowly pour the egg into the whisking zone and whisk until the egg has been fully incorporated. Return the bowl to the heat and continue to stir the mixture until it thickens to the consistency of a somewhat runny custard. Leave to cool and store in the fridge for up to two weeks (if it lasts that long!).
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees on bake and line two muffin trays with large muffin cases.
Cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy. It is a lot of sugar to dissolve so this will take slightly longer than normal. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Beat until the mixture is very light and voluminous, don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Sieve in the flour and baking powder and mix until just combined. Then fold through the coconut and sour cream.
Scoop the batter (I used an ice cream scoop) into the muffin cakes until they are two thirds full. Bake for 25-35 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
While the cakes are baking, make the lemon syrup. Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer until all the sugar as dissolved and a slightly viscous syrup forms. This takes around five minutes of simmering.
Pour a good tablespoon or more of hot syrup onto each cake as soon as they come out of the oven. Leave them to soak up the syrup while they cool.
When cool, use a sharp knife to hollow out a small amount in the centre of the cake. Fill this cavity with lemon curd.
To make the icing, start beating the butter until it lightens in colour. Add in the cream cheese and mix until a light and smooth mixture forms. Add in the icing sugar one cup at a time, adding the lemon juice first to loosen the mixture up then the milk if needed. Beat until the icing is fluffy and spreadable.
Dollop a good amount of icing on the cakes and with a hot pallet knife spread the icing over the top. Decorate the cakes with another small dollop of lemon curd, some freeze dried raspberry pieces and a few threads of lemon zest.