Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Stepping out of my comfort zone

Our manager at the office thinks that, to be motivated and successful, you should - every now and then - step out of your comfort zone. I agree, to a certain point ... but not all of the time. Doing something new, can be exciting. But it can also provoke unwelcome and often unproductive stress.

But OK, this year I've decided to give it a try. Professionally, I've accepted three new projects. Basically, the work and the procedures remain the same, but the topics/products are completely different from what I used to know, and so are the contacts I have to work with. I also have to develop some sales supports I'm not really familiar with. So it is a real challenge. But, so far so good.

Last weekend, I thought it was time to transport this approach to my personal interests. As you now, I love cooking, but desserts and pastry in particular, are not exactly my piece of cake! I therefore decided to take a 'soft' start ... especially as the batteries of my kitchen scales are down. And although I'm not a pastry chef, I know that baking requires precise measurements.

The finished product.

Moreover, as it was some kind of spur-of-moment decision I didn't have the required ingredients to make a 'Swiss jam roll' ... my first idea. Slightly disappointed, I rummaged through my kitchen cupboards, and found ... a ready-to-use Dr.Oetker muffin mix. It only required some extra staple ingredients: milk, oil and eggs. I wondered where it came from, as I can't even imagine buying this myself. And then I remembered that my mother had bought it by accident almost a year ago, thinking she was getting the finished product. Being an even worse pastry chef, she had passed it on to me, hoping that one day I would come up with some awesome muffins. And I did!

The carton of ready-to-use mix 

and the muffins before they went into the oven.

The result was stunning, although the vanilla taste was somewhat overwhelming. And ... to be honest ... I didn't stick to the instructions on the carton. But the muffins came out just fine, golden brown, with a slightly crunchy top and perfectly melted chocolate chips! 

Maybe this is a sign that I should step outside my comfort zone more often ...


The Broad said...

Congratulations on your success outside of your comfort zone! I am sure it is a good thing in every way -- but especially for confidence! And the muffins look and sound scrumptious!

Nadege said...

There is always a beginning and you passed the test.

Louise said...

I so agree that stepping out of one's comfort zone is a positive thing...challenging but usually ultimately rewarding. And like you, my personal comfort zone does not include pastry or sweet cooking...I seem to collect receipes to try, but procrastinate continually. Thanks for your inspiration, Martine!

Jean said...

Well done!
Much easier than a swiss roll, which is definitely very challenging.
Muffins are dead easy to make from scratch so it would be worth investing in a new battery for your scales if you're planning on stepping outside of your comfort zone again!

Niall & Antoinette said...

congratulations :-) They look yummy!

VirginiaC said...

Nothing beats a failure but a try...
The muffins look delicious....aren't you glad you stepped out of your comfort zone??

Autolycus said...

Yes, you should step out of this comfort zone (if you like cake, that is).

A couple of other easy wins:

and the almond and ginger cakes in this article:

ladybird said...

Kathie, The muffins were great and a big success with all those who tasted them. And it did give me some extra confidence.

Nadege, One small step for man ... or should that be 'woman' when it come to pastry? ;)

Louise, Maybe you should try your hand at pastry. It's fun, especially when the result isn't a complete failure. Good luck!

Jean, I did make a Swiss roll ages ago. It tasted great, but it looked awful. The kind of cake one should eat in the dark :)

N&A, Thanks and they were! Are you into baking?

Virginia, I'm glad they weren't a failure. Maybe I should take Jean's advice and try to make some from scratch.

Patrick, I'm not really a cake eater, but I do appreciate a well-made slice every now and then. Thanks for the links. Love the almond and ginger's. They look delicious and dead-easy to make.