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I'm experimenting with Wunderlist for keeping track of tasks and lists and so forth, and of course it's been bought out by Microsoft and they're previewing the Microsoft version of the new software just as I start to use it. Grr.

Frustratingly, the Microsoft version includes the ability to schedule things for weekdays only (for example), which is something I really value, but not the ability to put subtasks in a task.

And Wunderlist can only manage weekly or daily repetitions, but it does have subtasks.

Argh.

So I may be using both side-by-side for a while, as I figure out what I need. I like the subtasks because it makes shopping lists and tracking my Hugo reads much easier. Having shopping lists I can tick off is something I really want, but none of the apps that are specifically for shopping work the way I want them to. So I'm trying out Wunderlist and I do like the idea of only having one app for all the different kinds of lists I need to track.

But I don't want to be reminded to close the windows before I go to work on weekends, which makes the Microsoft app useful. At least Wunderlist is going to keep running for a long time yet, probably while they port all that useful functionality over into the MS thing.

If anyone has a suggestion for an app that can do all the stuff I need in one app, and can be shared between web/iPhone/iPad, PLEASE let me know.

In other stuff...

Last night, I had a craving for scones and jam. So I made scones! I love being a competent baker. Although note to self: use the larger cutter, because these scones are very very small. The recipe is for eight. I have fifteen bite-size babies. Whoops.

I have spent most of my life thinking I don't like raspberry jam. Mum always reminds me I don't like it every time I contemplate trying it and I believed her.

Readers, I tried it and guess what? I like raspberry jam!

I will never believe Mum about these things without testing for myself again.
selenay: (Default)
Today I got told that I'm in the wrong field and I should go and open a cheesecake shop. Or maybe just a bakery with a lot of cheesecake.

That's possibly the nicest compliment anyone has given me :-D

I made myself a chocolate cheesecake as a birthday treat (it may be the best one I've ever made) and I brought in a slice for a coworker on the Great Upgrade Project who has been having a bad week. A little while later, I got a hug and the outraged declaration that I'm in the wrong field and need to go pro with my baking, because it's the best cheesecake he's ever tasted.

:-DDDD

You see, cheesecake is one of those things that most people I know seem to find intimidating--it's a thing they buy, not make--and on the surface, I can't understand why. The base is easy. Crushed biscuits and butter are so easy, children can do it! The batter is pretty damn easy, too. It's hard to go wrong with eggs, sugar, cream cheese and other flavourings, unless you try to use low-fat cream cheese and that shit is evil for cheesecake making purposes. The only total fail I've ever had was the time I tried to go low-fat. The batter turned ridiculously thin and refused to set no matter what I did to it. Low-fat cream cheese is an abomination unto cheesecake.

So, if the base and batter are easy, why is it so intimidating? Why am I so damn pleased with this one?

It's the baking. You have to get it just right. You have to have the courage of your conviction to take it out of the oven and trust that it's done and it will set properly, even though it feels terrifyingly soft in the middle. This is particularly true with chocolate, because you can't see that the edges have hit the perfect level of slightly gold the way you can with vanilla. I have no objection to a cheesecake ending up slightly cracked on top, although it's more aesthetically pleasing if it isn't, as long as it's not over-baked. Finding the perfect degree of bakedness? That's probably what makes it so intimidating.

Then there's the whole to bain-marie or not to bain-marie question. I'm pretty sure some cheesecakes really need it, and it's probably easier to get it evenly baked. I've done my chocolate one in a bain-marie and without, and I can honestly say it hasn't made much difference. I didn't use one this time, and it's perfect: no cracking, just set in the centre, not overbaked on the edges. If it was a less familiar recipe, I'd probably use one, as a security blanket if nothing else.

So, yeah, I can see why cheesecake intimidates and why my coworker was so impressed. I have to admit, it felt really good to be complimented like that on something that felt properly skillful. I mean, I'm good at my job and it's not easy to write code and manage a massive data warehouse, but baking feels different somehow. It's something that's partially following directions, and partially following instincts from much practice.

Maybe if I ever won the lottery, I could think about opening that bakery/bookshop I've dreamed of.

For now, I'll just bake for fun and maybe write that comfort food romance with lesbians I talked about on Twitter yesterday :-D

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