At the end of December, I listened to a podcast by Gretchen Rubin, author of the Happiness Project. Her subject was about creating a #18for2018 and encouraging her audience to create a list of 18 things to do in 2018 to make them happy. Its not resolutions but simply tasks to make you happy, it could be finally ticking off something mundane but essential that you keep putting off, or trying something exciting and new. I created my list and this month have been mainly planning as many are summer based activities. Its not just been research as I have booked tickets to see Wicked in October for number 8, have dates for the kayaking course and have bought some new make up this month. For me, the list is not simply about doing something but getting the buzz and satisfaction of planning and looking forward.
I decided that I wanted to complete at least one item fully in January so took one of the easier tasks and chose to bake a soufflé. First of all it might seem quite a random task, but to me a soufflé is always one of those dishes spoken about in revered tones, something seemingly quite technical with the potential to go wrong (dramatically) I love being in the kitchen and experimenting with new dishes, I can do pies from scratch, mix delicate flavours, cook a risotto just so but the confidence to bake a soufflé had always eluded me.
I am one of those people who likes to be prepared, so I researched a number of different recipes to see the different ways in which to make a soufflé. I read some advice and got some handy hints to stop the disasters, I quickly learnt that the number 1 rule was not to open the oven during the cooking. I chose to make the soufflé as a Saturday evening meal, as the afternoons are normally pretty relaxed at home, giving me the time to potter in the kitchen, to listen to the radio and be relaxed. To me this is part of the project too, creating a happy place whilst you complete the task. The soufflé itself was pretty easy to prepare, I am all for dividing a recipe into little stages. The bit I was dreading most was whisking the egg whites to a perfect state and then combining with the remaining ingredients. Fortunately, this went smoothly and there was a real sensory delight in seeing the transformation from egg white to white soft peaks. I was exceptionally good at not opening the oven, despite the temptation and I was delighted with the result, the soufflé rose and stayed risen until served. It was delicious, a soft, light main with green vegetables, even my most hardened food critic and picky eater enjoyed it.
My soufflé did give me a happy vibe, I enjoyed browsing my cookbooks for a recipe, being in my kitchen and baking a meal which my family enjoyed. Some times the simplest tasks bring a simple happiness and joy.