feel the fear and cook it anyway – how to become fearless in the kitchen

souffle-8

Have you ever eaten something breathtaking and wished you could go home and make it yourself?

Have you known in your heart that you’d be too scared to try?

Fear. It’s something that’s a part of life. It can stop is from achieving our dreams. It can stop us from even having a go. It can stop us from creating amazing things in the kitchen.

Even someone like me, who has attempted a Turducken, suffers from occasional kitchen fear. It’s normal. So this week I thought I’d share with you a few tricks that help me overcome my culinary fears.

egg whites ready for whisking

How to become fearless in the kitchen.*

i. acknowledge your fear.
The first step to solving any problem is to admit that there is a problem in the first place. Same goes for fears. Its amazing how something simple as telling it like it is can make our fears seem less scary and overwhelming.

ii. feel your fear
Take a little time to get to know your fear. Facing up to the fear can bring it back into perspective – at the very least it means you know exactly what you’re dealing with.

iii. ask yourself ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’
What’s the worst thing that can happen if you completely burn dinner? It will be a waste but you can always dial a pizza or have some cheese and crackers handy.

And if your souffle doesn’t rise? It will still taste sweet and lovely – maybe call them berry puddings to manage expectations.

iv. then cook it anyway
Show your fear who is boss. Invite some mates over, get into the kitchen, and give it a go.

We all learn best by doing. So why not try out these kitchen-fear-busting berry souffles. With only 4 ingredients and a whisk required, you’ll be doing Julia Child proud in no time [or Margaret Foulton for us Aussies].

I’d love to hear about your kitchen phobias and any tips you have to help overcome them.

souffle-9

4 ingredient berry souffles

serves 3

If you’re like me and store your excess egg whites in the freezer without knowing how many are in the bag, I picked up a great tip from Stephanie Alexander. An average egg has about 2 tablespoons of whites.

You don’t need one of those fancy stand mixers to make a souffle – a simple whisk, a clean bowl and some good arm muscles will suffice. It actually surprised my how quickly it happens.

If this is your first time separating eggs, it might be a good idea to allow a few spares for practice. But don’t let fear put you off. If all else fails use your fingers a la Nigella.

To prepare ahead, you can pre-whisk your whites and sugar and leave aside at room temperature for a few hours. Just give it another whisk before you fold through the jam.

If you’re cooking for more than 3 it’s probably better to make the recipe twice rather than doing one larger batch. Makes for easier whisking.

1T butter or vegetable oil
4 egg whites
1/3C caster sugar
1/3C – 1/2C berry jam
semi whipped cream, to serve.

Preheat your oven to 200C (400F). Grease 3 x 1 cup ramekins or teacups with the butter or oil and place to one side.

In a clean dry bowl place the egg whites and a pinch of salt. Whisk using your muscles or a stand mixer until the mixture looks like soft marshmallow [see picture below]. Gradually whisk in sugar a little at a time until it is all incorporated and the mixture is smooth and glossy.

Fold through 1/3C jam then taste. Adding more jam if you think it needs a more sweetness and/or colour. Divide mixture between the prepared dishes then use a knife to level them off. You’ll have some left over but better to have each dish full than have stingy souffles.

Prepare your guests for dessert. Bake souffles for 8 minutes then reduce the heat and bake for another 5 minutes until souffles are risen and lightly golden on top.

Serve immediately with cream passed separately.

* Inspired by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits and mnmlist.com.

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