BIG NEWS! If you follow me on instagram, this will be old news to you, but to everyone else - I quit! I quit my job as a pastry cook. Maybe forever, maybe not forever, I don't really know at this point. But for the foreseeable future, I'm going on a different path. What that path is, I'm not so sure, but it sure won't be in a kitchen.
There's a lot of reasons behind me quitting the industry and a lot of those reasons are because I've changed immensely over the past year. I look back and I'm astounded at myself. I threw myself completely into work (and the blog) and I had nothing else outside of that. I barely ever saw my friends, I didn't go out, I didn't have any hobbies outside of the kitchen. I was just a working machine. Things slowly started to change - I left a 4 1/2 year long relationship in March that wasn't going anywhere, and I started looking at what I wanted out of the long term and more importantly, who I want to be. There were so many aspects of myself that I had ignored for years because of work and the relationship.
The biggest one is that I love the outdoors, I always have, but I put it aside because I was so busy with work and my ex was definitely not an outdoorsy person. I basically forgot that I enjoyed being outside. When I went on an overnight hike in the alpine with my dad in the summer, which I've done a few times, that reawakened that love and passion again. It was incredible - the silence, the challenge, the view, the feeling of being so small in such a big and beautiful place. Everything fades away and it's just you and nature and you feel so alive. Ever since then, I've been making an effort to get outside a lot more (and if you follow my instagram, you'll notice that it's gone to more of a nature account than a dessert account!) and I am absolutely loving it. And now that I have all the free time in the world, I can get outside all the time! I've been exploring the local mountains and wilderness and I can't believe that this was always here and I never took advantage of it. There is so much to see and do and experience... I feel like I've wasted so much time by not experiencing it sooner! I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world and yet I haven't experienced most of it! This summer, I'm planning on seeing more of our national parks like Banff, Jasper, and Yoho because I've barely experienced them at all.
I'm hella proud of how far I've come in the pastry industry, though, so don't get me wrong on that. In just two and a half years after graduating pastry school, I started working at one of the best restaurants in the country. I don't want to sound cocky, but I'm good at what I do. I still love pastry, I still love creating and working with my hands. I wish I could keep doing it. But I don't want to work 12+ hour days anymore, I don't want to work 6 days week, with no breaks, no overtime pay, no vacations. I don't want to give everything I have into my job. I want to have a life outside of my job. And with pastry and kitchens, that's not really going to happen.
I'm still keeping the blog going, though, so don't worry! It'll just be a hobby, as it's always been, but I might not update it as often as I used to. Instead of a post every week, it might be a post every three or four weeks. Then again, this is the first post in a month and a half and no one has complained so I think I'm good!
And if you guys are interested, here are some of my favourite shots from my outdoor adventures in the past few months!
Honey Lemon Loaves
Candied Lemon Slices
100 g granulated sugar
200 g water
Honey Lemon Cake
Recipe adapted from Dahlia Bakery Cookbook
85 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
100 g honey
1 lemon, zested
50 g egg
20 g egg yolk
160 g all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
100 g buttermilk
Honey Lemon Glaze
30 g freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 lemon, zested
15 g honey
150 g icing sugar
For the candied lemon slices, make sure to use a large and very sharp knife. Cut off the end and slice the lemon into slices about 1mm thick, making sure to have even and whole slices. Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low. Add the lemon slices and gently simmer for about 10 minutes, until the slices are translucent. Turn off the heat and let the slices sit in the syrup until you are ready to use them.
For the cakes, generously spray 4 individual loaf tins with non stick spray. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Sift the dry ingredients and set aside.
Combine the butter and honey in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream on medium high speed until pale, light, and fluffy, about 5 minutes. The mixture may look separated in the beginning, but keep beating it to bring it to an emulsified and glossy mixture. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and keep beating for another minute.
Add the egg while beating on medium speed, then turn the mixer to medium-high and beat for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat for 15 seconds. Add the egg yolk and beat on medium-high speed for 20 seconds. The batter should be shiny and glossy. Scrape down the sides and bottom again.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and, folding by hand using a rubber spatula, add the dry ingredients in 4 additions alternately with the buttermilk in 3 additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Work quickly to fold everything together.
Transfer the batter to a piping bag and fill the tins about 2/3 with batter. Place two candied lemon slices on the top on the batter. Place the loaf tins on a baking sheet and put in the oven. Bake the loaves for about 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of your loaf tins. The tops should be a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then unmold the loaves onto the wire rack.
While the loaves are cooling, making the glaze. Combine all the ingredients and stir to create a smooth glaze. Once the loaves are cool, spoon the glaze over the cakes.