Timing, temperature and patience.
No, I am not just telling you words. Actually yes, you’re right, I am just telling you words. But said together, these words form a very important triumvirate. Very important for me anyway, student of patisserie that I am. Timing, temperature and patience are all essential ingredients in any patissier’s kitchen. When I told the guys in the kitchen at work that I was probably going to study patisserie, they were very impressed that I was going to commit to something that required so much painstaking patience. I think, actually, they shuddered and said they could never be a pastry chef, good luck to you sport.
And today, in our lesson on chocolate mousse and piping skills… well, we were poster children for this triumvirate today. Our lecturer, Ernst Shulft- guess what his heritage is?- was a wonderful teacher: calm, reassuring, funny and engaging. Knowledgeable, and all about timing, temperature and patience. Have the patience to weigh your ingredients correctly and make sure they are combined correctly before moving on to the next step. Have the patience to pipe a million of the same chocolate shapes until you can do it with your eyes closed and your hands tied behind your back and they still all come out the exact same size. (For real though, it’s intense). Make sure your ingredients are all the required temperature before adding them, mixing them, folding them into your mixture… because temperature is reeeeaaaaaallllllyyyyyy important in a lot of those sweet patissiered goods. Unless you like a little scrambled egg in your mousse. Each to their own I suppose. And yes, patissiered is a word. (Now.) Each to their own. And timing! Oh timing. It’s a skill certainly- organisation and calm are paramount. This is not a discipline where throwing in a little extra salt, lemon juice or chilli will fix everything (pay attention, I’ve just given you my secret ‘fix all’ for when dinner isn’t totally en pointe).
But these- what do we call these? Qualities…? Or more lazily: things. These things are also important in other aspects of life. I believe. They are in gardening, certainly- which is basically the ‘other’ in my life right now.
It is more important than you may think that the temperature of the ground is right before you bury certain seeds. Some like it cold (spinach). Some like it warm (most other things). Timing is important. Most seeds have been around for a while- they know what they like and they will not sprout until they are ready. Until the seasons are right and the conditions align. And patience. Do I really need to say anything about patience in gardening? I’m sure everyone can remember growing strawberries or radishes or carrots when they were younger. The other day I discovered some silverbeet sprouting- I planted it over a month ago and had long given up on it. My mistake. Patience, my friends.
Who’d a thunk it? You can reuse gardening skills in patisserie. There is a Friday lesson for you. And, if you are also one of those gardeners who is incredibly meticulous and careful in their veggie patch- well, there is a fourth double skill for you! If you aren’t meticulous whilst creating delicate French sweets, you may as well just go home and eat a hamburger. It’s a skill I am forcing myself to cultivate well (the meticulousness, not the hamburger eating). Unfortunately I am not one of those gardeners who are meticulous. I prefer a garden exploding with colour craziness and where edible things pop up surprisingly and randomly- but I have come around to the importance of planting in rows… thankyou, German heritage- slight OCD aside, it really helps with the weeding.
So anyway, today there are some pictures of our garden in spring and some thoughts for other budding gardeners or patissiers to mull over. And I also come to you today with an idea… We are in the process of thinking about an idea- yes, that is what we are doing- for a business… Who thinks bespoke vegetable gardens that are designed, planted and maintained (i.e. weeded) for you, so that all that is left for you to do is the most exciting part- the harvest- is a good idea? Please let me know below, this is a real thing we are thinking about!
Cheers friends, happy Friday.
P.S. There is also a picture of our brand new, completely re- and up-cycled and almost completely finished green house! It is working already, nurturing our baby summer crops, and I am very proud of the efforts of Will and his dad in making this idea of mine tangible. And also I am excited about chillies and basil in winter next year.