Monday, 15 April 2013

Can fears be conquered?

I have a fear of writing (no not to the extent of Graphophobia)! This is not a sudden realization, I kind of felt it for the past few months now.. I always postpone writing to do anything else, and by anything I mean I'd rather clean, do some gardening, clean some more or bake. I make at least 2 desert recipes per week not to mention I cook almost daily, hence I have plenty to share, but never seem to sit down and write.
I just couldn't pin point my problem with writing until I read "Can writing be taught?" by Monica on A Life of Spice.




So yes I have a fear of writing. And as much as I agree with Mona about the "urge" or "need" to write, for me the problem is how others  perceive what I write. Last May I took part in a workshop dedicated to photography, styling & writing (more here) and I never once read out loud what I drafted. I always think they are not good enough, not interesting enough and/or not impeccable enough.
And I nurture my fear by checking the traffic on my posts, the low numbers always hold me further back, they confirm that my doubts are real. I swear those numbers make more sense and carry more value than my age! I try to convince myself that my writing will improve with lots of readings and practice, same as how my photography will, but I don't have a lot of hope. As Monica said: "I used to think writing can be taught but now maybe it's a gift??" And maybe I don't have it. 

It seems that more bloggers out there face similar doubts, not only about writing but also about photography. Simone from Junglefrog cooking shares with us why you should enter photography challenges more often with this encouraging post "Photography Challenges: Why you should?"






But then I am not a quitter, not yet. I may have slowed down as a response to my fears, but I will keep on trying. It will help if I see that counter moving :)

To embrace my will-to-flourish I decided to make macarons. I know how challenging they are, read about all failures out there, with tips shared by other bakers, and decided to go for it: my first coffee macarons with nutella filling.


After reading several recipes, I decided on trying out Jamie's macarons from Life's a feast. She has more egg whites that what I read on other recipes, but I felt confident about the results, after all, never once have I tried Jamies' recipes and failed! I weighted everything precisely in hopes that my first attempt succeeds, so imagine my surprise while beating the egg whites to find out that my blender is leaking! I think I had lost about 20 gr from the egg whites, which put the recipe back to it's original 90 gr. Urghh, well too late to adjust, so I just kept moving and hoped for the best.

Another surprise was when I couldn't find a wide pastry tip... I just  used the pastry bag as is without any tips :)

The outcome is fabulous, one tray was cooked better than the other, but all in all it was a success. Now I feel more confident about trying out other macaron flavors as well as fillings.


Coffee macarons with nutella filling

recipe adapted from Life's a feast

Ingredients

200 gr powder sugar
115 gr almond meal
3 large egg whites (somewhere between 90 to 100 gr), room temperature
30 gr granulated white sugar
5 gr instant coffee powder (or more according to desire)
1 jar of nutella (no not the whole jar, just enough for the macarons)
1 pastry bag with a wide tip, such as Ateco # 807 or #809

Recipe
Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper. On two white papers of the same size, draw 1-inch circles spaced away enough. These will be your foundation for all next macaron experiences, a perfect circle size guide:). 
Or you can draw on the back of the used parchment paper, like I did, after all this is my first time.

Sift the powdered sugar, coffee and almond meal together in a big bowl. Next using your hand mixer or a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until foamy then gradually add the white sugar. Keep beating until you get a glossy meringue and all sugar has dissolved. It is ready when the meringue is very stiff.

Fold the whipped egg whites into the dry mixture completely. Put into pastry bag and pipe onto sheets. Sprinkle half the quantity with coffee or anything else desired, also can leave them as is. Let stand for about 30 min to one hour until their shell has hardened. If using the white papers as reference below the wax paper, remove it gently before putting into over or it will burn.

Preheat oven to 140 C (280 F). Put racks into oven for 15-20 min (I needed about 22 min), they are ready when they are firm and not wobbly. Turn the trays back to front half way through.

Once done, immediately remove the papers from the trays onto a cool surface, to stop them from cooking more with the residual heat of the trays. When completely cooled, using a metal spatula carefully remove the shells, be careful that the shells don't stick to the paper or they will come out hallow. 

To assemble, sandwich every two with 1 tsp of nutella. Indulge eating them with a hot cup of coffee and friends or family.  



2 comments:

  1. An exceptional post. And you said something about not being able to write? I guess practice is the best teacher and we all want to be a part of your stories. Keep moving forward Rim!

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  2. Great post, Rim ... and how I can relate (I am never out of recipes or photos but the writing part, oh my ...). Keep it up and don't let the "low" numbers in traffic or comments get you down.

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