Infinite times a day, I pick up a phone, a laptop, or even one of my brother’s pencils and a spare piece of paper. And I sit there, trying to thread words into sentences, facts into rhythm and events into stories. While I write, while it is as short as a few monotonous lines or something that laps over several pieces of paper, I feel a light burning inside me. I do not have to will my fingers to write, and when they start typing or writing away, they work even if the task takes fifteen minutes or several hours. And it is with a sense of self-satisfaction and purity that I discontinue this process, stack my papers and cease my seat.
Alas though, that satisfaction is momentary. When I go ahead and read over what I wrote a few hours prior, trying to type it into a blog post or share it with someone, I feel a voice inside my head saying, ‘this sucks, this sucks a lot’. And then I go through an imaginary motion of crumpling all those pieces of horrible writing into a ball, and throwing them into a basket, except I find that the basket is already full of such crumpled balls, useless ideas, one after one another. And my spirits deflate like the way a balloon loses it's air when pricked.
I’m not sure if this is something every writer has to go through, or if I even have the abilities to be a writer. And what do I end up with, a disgruntled face and silent parched lips.
Few weeks ago, I happened upon a piece by Elizabeth Gilbert where she remarks that
‘I didn’t promise the universe I’d write great.
I just promised it that I’d write’
Incidentally now, this phrase reels through my head, consoling me every time I’m about to give up. I preserve this in my mind and a few days or even hours later, I’m at it again. Leaning on a pillow, biting my lips, and staring at the scripted parchment while my feet rest upon a surface. And this is where I feel I belong. I have already resorted myself to the fact that I’ll probably never have more than a few readers, and my work would never be important enough to be critiqued upon in a newspaper, but all that really matters is to keep trying. And maybe, one day I’ll be satisfied.
In baking, I have had similar phases. That gnawing jealousy glancing over the beautiful photography and high traffic of other blogs, and batch after batch of burnt cookies. But I don’t exactly know when, it stopped mattering to me. I do not receive thousands of views a day (except for once in September’12), and nor do I have product reviews at my feet. But I have you all, my friends, who bare with me and who I am. Thank you.
British Pasties with Potatoes & Chicken-
This is an original recipe.
100g Butter (55g+45g)
14.5 tbsp Flour (All Purpose)
2-3 tbsp Water (very cold)
Pinch of Salt
1/2 small Onion (diced)
1 medium Potato (cubed)
1 Bell pepper (diced)
1 chicken breast (diced)
Salt & Pepper
- Preheat oven to 220 C.
- Place 55g butter, salt and flour in a large bowl. Rub the butter into the flour and salt mixture with your fingers until incorporated fully.
- Add the water into the bowl and slash it around with a cold knife until the dough comes together. Knead. Add more water if dough is too dry, teaspoon by teaspoon.
- Form the dough into a ball and wrap it with cling film. Chill for half an hour.
- Season the diced chicken with lots of salt and pepper and fry with the rest of the butter. When halfway cooked, add the rest of the vegetables. If the mixture burns, add some water to help cooking. Don't wait for the potatoes to cook fully, they will finish cooking in the oven.
- Season the mixture well. I added a pinch of red pepper and tandoori masala. Take off the heat.
- Flour your kitchen surface. Roll the dough and cut out circles with an overturned bowl or glass of a wide circumference. Place about a tbsp of mixture in the middle of the circle of dough. Bring one edge of the circle to meet the other. Crimp the two edges together with a fork. Repeat till you have no dough left.
- Whisk the egg lightly. Brush the unbaked pasties well with the egg. Bake for 30-40 minutes.
- Garnish with mint or cilantro and serve hot.