Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Nature abhors a vacuum...and a vacuumed Black Forest Gateau

Life has a habit of getting in the way of the fun stuff, like updating this sliver of the www. I feel like I've been swallowed by a black hole the last couple of months. That somehow sounds omninous, but there's nothing omninous going on - far from, in fact. It's just that I feel like I've only surfaced very recently to air, and lo and behold - thank goodness - there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I've been preoccupied and distracted by more than my fair share of exciting projects - for which I am incredibly thankful - one of the most preoccupying and distracting of which is our impending move. At long long last, we have found a home to love, to live in, to make our own.

I am completely wigging out. I am utterly freaked. I so cannot wait. I am so looking forward. I can do this. I must do this.

Such is the churn of conflicting emotions, I am in a constant state of tizzy.

There's the monumental anxiety that comes with moving - a time equally of purging and renewal, of death and birth - as if by dint of physical displacement you wipe the slate clean and start anew, afresh.

Then there's the immense anticipation of finally inhabiting a space you had hitherto envisaged only in your mind's eye, in itself a possibly anxiety-inducing exercise.

But before any of that can enter the equation, it is boggling how much extraneous stuff can accrete over time, which you must then ruthlessly chip away like barnacles on an old boat. Nature abhors a vacuum, empty spaces are unnatural because they go against the laws of physics...hence the clutter. You only have to think about how you are going to responsibly divest yourself of all that you do not need (and suffer through the consequent headache) to see the ironic wisdom of Aristotle's aphorism.

On the other hand, you get to replace the fusty-dusty, fuddy-duddy with the shiny and new (again the Aristotelian axiom coming into play).

The first thing we made a beeline for, funnily enough, was a Dyson vacuum cleaner. It is a complete animal, I love it to pieces. It's easy breezy enough to decide what the most awesome vacuum cleaner is for your specific needs, not quite so piece-of-cake the other stuff. Decisions, decisions, but deliciously so. There is much pondering, pontificating and plain old procrastinating.
Even more funnily, the first thing that struck me about Heston Blumenthal's rendition of a Black Forest Gateau from this book was the image of what looked to be a DC32 aerating the bejesus out of a chocolate component layer.

I chickened out at the last moment, substituting a whipped ganache for the aerated chocolate layer specified in the recipe, perhaps babying and forming too much of a sentimental attachment to the little-but-mighty dust-busting machine already, prone as I am to anthropomorphizing, and reluctant to see the potentially untoward happen to it.

Regardless, the book's Black Forest Gateau is a terrific recipe, well worth the time you may have to spare to try it. I've followed it closely, in spirit, minus the vacuumed chocolate layer, the involved wood-effect-plus-paint-gunned finish, and the dehydrated vanilla pod-masquerading-as-cherry stalks.

Anyways, it's back to the burrowing for me, please wish me luck!

7 Comments:

Anonymous LimeCake said...

i have seen Heston Blumenthal's BFG recipe and cannot fathom attempting it. good luck with your endeavours! looking forward to your return!

8:45 pm, September 14, 2010  
Blogger Nithya said...

You sound deliriously happy :) I'm glad for you. I've been visiting several times these past few months hoping for a new post and finally today, got lucky.

10:28 pm, September 15, 2010  
Anonymous e.l. said...

dear j,am sure what ever stress and anxiety you have gone through will result in a gorgeous new home. i can only hope you will share when it's ready!

11:03 pm, September 15, 2010  
Blogger ParisBreakfasts said...

Bon chance on your new venture and home!!
If it is 1/4 as beautiful as your cakes it will be magnifique bien sur.
What are those pebble things inside this gateaux that look soo molecular...?
Mysterious cake!
It looks a tad radio-active which would fit into Hester's repetoir nicely...

1:07 am, September 20, 2010  
Anonymous Lea said...

Good luck,not that I think you will need it. I think everything will turn out perfect, you are such a perfectionist! Look at that cake

7:51 pm, September 22, 2010  
Anonymous keiko said...

Dear Joycelyn - so glad to read your new post, the gateaux looks absolutely beautiful as always. I hope your move goes well and stress-free, look forward to hearing about the new home (and new kitchen). Take care, kxx

7:47 am, September 30, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really want to attend your Holiday Treats 1 class, but I'll be away then! =(
Any chance of it repeating in December?

2:58 pm, October 24, 2010  

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