My boxes are currently winging their way over to me in Cambodia. I am so excited about being reunited with them. It’s been two months! I keep clicking on the ‘track your shipment’ link, like an excited child counting down the days until Christmas. I’m looking forward to being able to hang up my artwork, rifle through my CELTA notes and of course, reacquaint myself with my cookery books.
But most of all, I’m excited about using my Microplane zester and dough scraper again.
Do you know, it’s weird reading facebook status updates of the first frost, gingerbread lattes and the Good Food Show – all of which I associate with Christmas – when it is 30°C and humid outside. I never really liked the run-up to Christmas with all the commercialisation and hype. Especially, when shops started selling Christmas decorations in October!!! Ask my family and friends – I was more Mrs. Bah-Humbug than Mrs Santa Claus. So, I like it that I’m kind of removed from it all in Cambodia; it still feels weird. A signal of how life and time is moving on for my friends in the UK, while I feel like I’m still in summer.
Anyway, back to zesters and dough scrapers – why all the excitement about them?
During my two month moniversary street food dinner, Simon asked me what I was most looking forward to having again from my boxes. Without a moment’s hesitation, I replied, ‘my Microplane zester.’ It takes zest off oranges, lemons, limes… so effortlessly. My previous zester had me almost reduced to tears because it would get so slippery with the moisture from the peel but without producing any zest! So, when my brother bought this zester for me for my 30th birthday present, I was thrilled. Every time I use it, I think of him and how much I love him for buying it for me.
You see, I’ve been wanting to make all sorts of things with pomelo since I first ate it in Cambodia. Cakes, curds, puddings… but I feel like I can’t until I have my Microplane zester. Pomelo is a citrus fruit, by the way, for those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about. I’d never seen, heard or tasted one until I moved out here. Now, I can’t go a week without eating one.
And then there’s bread. The marble work surfaces here cry out for some proper dough slapping, folding and kneading. But, I need my trusty red dough scraper for that task. I am also dying for some wholesome wholemeal loaves and can I find any in Phnom Penh?
There are other things that I am really looking forward to seeing and using again. While I was listing them in my mind, I realised that it was fast becoming a list of my baking equipment essentials.
And just so we’re clear – I don’t get commission from Microplane, nor is this a product placement ad.
- Microplane zester
- Dough scraper
- Piping bags and nozzles
- Rolling pin
- Pastry cutters for making shortbread and tarts
- An assortment of cake tins – but definitely a 23cm spring form tin and 2x 20cm cake tin
- Various Baking trays – definitely have a square deep baking tray (metal or stoneware) and a high sided baking tray in my collection for making roulades, swiss rolls, opera cakes…
- Large plastic bowl for making bread
- 12 hole tart pan
- 2x 6 hole muffin tin
- Pastry brushes
- Metal sieves
- Measuring jugs
- Loaf tin – 1.5lb-2lb size
- Flexible spatulas – small and large sizes
- Pampered chef measuring spoons
- Pyrex bowls – small, medium, large
- Electronic kitchen scales. I’d already packed them with me. I figured that my scales have always made baking a much happier experience and I’d have a more contented existence with them.
- Oven thermometer – my current oven has no temperature markings on it at all, so it’s currently all guess work.
Lastly, I’d include:
20. Electric hand mixer. My £6 Sainsbury’s basic mixer served me well for years before I left the UK. However, I foolishly gave it away before I left because I thought that it would be easy to source one in Cambodia. I haven’t spotted one yet.
And because it’s me. I guess, my final final baking essential is a stool: so that I can get things from cupboards without precariously clambering onto kitchen surfaces.