The Friday Newsletter | a pantry-friendly recipe & chamomile strawberry cakes
Had some big microbakery thinks this week. A lovely reader (Hi Polly!), reached out mentioning the kitchen she works at had space for another business. I got the best tour of the space & learned more than I have in the past year (business wise). In almost all ways it's perfect & I feel a bit like a turd passing it up, but I think it's just this: it's built for people whose lives are their businesses, are dreaming big(ger than I am) & are further down that journey than I am. As unconventional (and potentially nonsensical as it is) I want to start small, to let my mind and confidence catch up. I want to boogie at a community level for a bit & find my feet before making any big (to me) businessy moves.
So it's been a case of learning what my aims are with this, what I value and how I want to go about it. All very necessary things to think through. Sadly, I've been ghosted by the (ideal) place I visited, since asking about pricing. A really fun feeling. So I'm once again blank on the 'finding a premise' question - next week I'll investigate with cafe/restaurants/existing businesses.
I won't lie, the initial sprint of microbakery action/excited-energy has worn off this week & I'm struggling a little to wear all the hats while actually having faith in my goods. I think my main hesitation is presentation. Vegan/GF things often just look a little different & I so far my main concern has been the base recipe, not the 'finishing process'. But I'm sure that will come with time.
I attemped to make my two favourite gluten-free loaf recipes using sourdough this week (instead of traditional yeast). The raisin toast worked the best (yes I let my raisin's sink, tutt-tutt), recipe coming soon.
Made my own chilli oil, curtesy of Marion Grasby's recipe. It's divine. Hella morish.
Some Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes (left) for an engagement party (not my best icing effort), and Strawberry Chamomile Fairy Cakes (right) which are my new favourite thing I've ever made. Inspired by Eric Kim's NY Times recipe, the flavour combination is perfection.
I think I've settled on my prefered flour blend. I think I even prefer it over Bob's 1:1 blend. It's almond meal, brown rice flour & buckwheat flour. When paired with aquafaba (which provides the starch) the rise and crumb is essentially incomparable to anything else I've tried.
Lil' cake box I made while making a (kinda dodgy) trailer for the bakery. Let's just say it's more story-focused than quality-focused. It was a bit hard to execute without a camera buddy, while trying to feature my grandmother. Follow @biscuittinbakery_ to watch it next week.
In winter, I need a comfort watch. After finishing all of Friends and then watching a few too many Irwin-clips on YouTube (we've all been there) - a friend (in perfect timing), mentioned that all four seasons of Crikey, it's the Irwins exists on Binge (an Australian streaming service). Having avidly watched The Crocadile Hunter as a kid & being the same age(-ish) as Bindi, this is so nostalgic. You cry (like sob) every second episode, but in an 'part of the cycle of life' kind of way - so it's ok. It's so stupidly wholesome & you effortlessly learn 20 random animal facts each installment to annoy your housemates with!
I get Australia Zoo is still a zoo and a few reading this might feel uncomfy at that. But zoo's really exist on a spectrum & Australia Zoo is so at the conservation/education/preservation end of it. When you learn of all the different work they do, it's pretty mind-bogglingly impressive.
I have a pipeline of recipes ready for you (woo!) - the first being this 'hug-in-a-bowl' dish eaten across Malaysia, Singapore & the Middle East, known as Kacang Pool, Kacang Phool or Malaysian Foul Medammas. It's a generously spiced bean (although traditionally broad bean) puree, paired with vegan eggs (or regular, your call), onion, chilli, coridander, coconut yoghurt, lime juice & buttered toast. Really this is two recipes in one - the vegan eggs working in most applications.
I first read about Kacang Pool from Pamela Chia on @sgpnoodles, in the early months of the pandemic. It's the most comforting, physiologically-soothing dish that's so easy to prepare: only needing a couple of shelf-stable ingredients to get started. Find full recipe here.
Have a drop-dead delicious weekend sweet peas! 💛
Phoebe & Merlin