21 January 2014

Some things you just can't live without

One of the biggest things that has stuck in my mind from my favourite teacher, Janet aka The Cupcake Lady, was to not rely on gadgets.

She would always tell us, sure you can buy a mould that will create that perfect shape for you, or a device that will cut your cakes evenly for you (oh, how I love these!), or a cutter for every shape possible in the world - but what happens if you're in a situation where you don't have these? You can improve your skills, and save money by creating things by hand or using what you've got.

When I first started out I'd look for a tool online that would help me get what I want. Now, after Janets 'brainwashing', I sit down and think 'What sort of shape do I need? What do I already have that could create it? What part of my hand can I use to make that shape?'. I could be constantly spending a fortune on gadgets but since I don't have a fortune, Janets advice has really come in handy.

Saying this however... every cake decorator has certain things they would struggle without. I've never made a cake without fondant smoothers before, or a ganache scraper, and I desperately love my prep boards.

So what is the one thing I absolutely would not want to live without?

Well I'd planned on introducing Rosie (see The Jetsons). Rosie is my Thermomix. Well, technically she's not mine - ah, the benefits of living at home with the parents! Rosie does everything - she can chop, beat, mix, emulsify, mill, knead, blend, cook, stir, steam, weigh and melt!

'Rosie' our Thermomix, named after Rosie the Robot from The Jetsons.

There are two types of people in this world. Those without a Thermomix who raise an eyebrow and turn back to their food processor thinking it's the same thing... and then there are those with a Thermomix who act in a cult-like manner to convince you that it's the best invention ever! And trust me - it really, really is.

However, since originally planning this blog post something huge happened in my house.

Over Christmas, when we were hosting two days of family Christmas meals.
Over Christmas, when I had two weddings with 4 cakes and 6 dozen cupcakes just days later.
Over Christmas, the busiest time of year...

... our dishwasher stopped working. DISASTER!

We've always had a dishwasher and as a result I've always taken it for granted. We still hand wash certain items such as my huge collection of cake tins - but for most part, everything we use goes into the dishwasher. I never realised just how much time this saved!

We got through Christmas. We survived the two weddings. The other Sunday I spent 2 hours just washing dishes I'd used during the days caking. I thought my hands were destined to be wrinkled forever!

Until last week when we got a new dishwasher installed - YIPPEEEE!

My new love - our replacement dishwasher! 

Life is back to normal, my cake schedule is finally back into routine without delays from having to spend hours washing up. My attitude towards the dishwasher has changed dramatically. I can't live without it. Well maybe I can, but I just don't want to. Ever.

Does that sound lazy? Yes. However, if we're thinking in terms of cake... that's an extra 2 hours I need to spend per cake washing dishes, instead of perfecting some details on the cake! I know where I'd rather spend my time.

To those without dishwashers, especially those in the cake industry, I have so much respect for you! I don't know how you manage!

For now, I'm just going to gaze lovingly at our new dishwasher and enjoy the fact that my hands no longer look like my grandmothers!  (Whoops! They might read this! No offence Grandma / Mimma!).

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