Cooking in another person’s kitchen can be difficult.
Cooking in another person’s kitchen in a foreign country can be VERY difficult!
Today, during a blissfully free morning, I decided to take advantage of the free time and cook up a storm!
Austrian cuisine is, as far as I can tell, very delicious! Traditionally full of meat and starch, the food tends to be very heavy– good for winter, but not necessarily great for those of us who love veggies!
I try to get as many as I can where I can get them– at home in my own kitchen!
Today, I also tackled the seemingly-monstrous task of making muffins.
I had the house to myself, and thought that would be best for my first foray into baking in Austria. Little did I know that this would prove to be a challenging decision!
First, finding all the ingredients myself in the local grocery store was very hard! Here, vanilla extract does not exist, brown sugar is really just raw sugar, baking soda and powder come in little individual packets, and the muffin paper cups reside in the paper goods aisle.
I also realized early on that I had no idea where the measuring cups and spoons were in our home kitchen. After searching for ten minutes, I gave up and decided to eyeball all of the ingredients using a tea-spoon and a drinking cup.
Everything I have ever learned about baking was roaring in my head: “You must measure EXACTLY!” I guess this is another example of a time when I can give up some control.
The next daunting task, after creaming my butter and sugar by hand for the first time, was figuring out the oven.
In Austria, or at least in my kitchen, the oven has ten different settings, fans, lights, and heat levels. All degrees are in Celcius, of course. And, I had neglected to scan the back of my recipe card where the desired temperature was written.
Thank goodness for the internet! I looked up the manual for our oven model and got to work. Surprisingly, the muffins cooked much faster than at home!
Folks, the alligator above agrees with me: I can still cook!!
Next step: checking out the beautiful new Austrian Cuisine cook book I purchased (in English)!