Over my whirlwind of summer, I didn’t realize how much I was missing one thing especially–a routine.
It’s something this always-a-traveler never thought I would say, but when we moved into our lovely new flat and I started the school year, I was so happy to stop living out of a suitcase and to have a consistent schedule (seriously, who am I?).
Of course, my new routine looks a bit different than I expected, and I’m still establishing it. My teaching schedule, which at first glance looks like a dream with almost-free afternoons, is quite grueling. I don’t have oodles of free time to bake (although I did have time to make this week’s Bake Along challenge–see below!) and write and explore the city and plan trips and keep in touch with friends and hang out with new and old ones here in the city.
Well, at least I didn’t in the first week–but the first week in any new job is an adjustment, and I think the first week of school is always hectic. I haven’t spoken much about it on the blog, but I was miserable at my last job–especially in the first few months. So much so that I really wasn’t certain I wanted to stay in Budapest–or come back, after this summer.
Long story short, even though it wasn’t an easy decision to move jobs, so far I’m feeling much more positive than I ever felt at the last one. Exhausted, yes–but that’s not a surprise. Challenged, still a little anxious, but pleased, and often enjoying myself. And, overall, really happy to still be here in Budapest. I’m glad I didn’t give up on this city!
Anyway, back to routines. As I said, my first week was way too exhausting to take part in many of the activities I listed above, but I was able to squeeze in a bake for the Bake Off Bake Along with Amanda and Ala!
This week, the options were iced biscuits (cookies in American-speak), Viennese whirls, or gingerbread structures. Remembering several incidents where my creatively designed (aka Pinterest) iced cookies were destroyed by my lack of skills, I passed on the biscuits. Since my favorite gingerbread is the soft kind–not exactly conducive to structural integrity–that meant that the technical challenge won out.
Bring on the Viennese whirls!
I used Mary Berry’s recipe, partly because they had to use hers in the episode, and also because I’ve never had a chance to make any of her recipes and it seems like a rite of passage into this whole Bake Along thing.
Spoiler alert: mine looked nothing like Mary’s.
Before I continue, let me just say–I hope I never have to make these again. No one else to seems to complaining about this though–was it just my tools? The piping was soooo difficult and they did not end up looking pretty at. all. I might just need some serious gym time (which okay, I do) but I even had E give it a try and he struggled, too. This is the first technical challenge I’ve ever done–and I have so much more respect for the bakers and their knowledge now! I can’t imagine trying to bake something like this without the full instructions.
Oh, and also, I over-baked them. Not exactly burned but much too brown.
You can even see a few of the biscuits that I just made into little balls and flattened after my piping bag exploded due to the pressure from the batter (Hungary really needs to get on the sturdy-piping-bag train). By making them like this, I learned that the piping is definitely a necessary step–the piped ones just tasted better. Can someone explain that to me?? (Although I suppose why else would we be putting ourselves through piping hell just because they look pretty? We’re not that shallow of bakers, are we? ARE WE, MARY??)
I think I would be getting last place in this technical challenge.
One thing that could maybe convince me to bake these again–after plenty of time and distance–was that they were definitely delicious.
Which is half the battle, anyway.