Therapeutic Baking

If you’re a med student, you’re expected to bake something for your team on the last week of every rotation. Some take this as a pressure (they don’t know how to bake), some think this is slavery, some think it’s bribery, some don’t bother and end up buying something from a shop. While some, like me, enjoy this quite a bit.

I find baking therapeutic. It’s almost the perfect way to finish any rotation. Spend a night reflecting on the last 6 weeks while melting butter, mixing sugar and flour, savour the smell of vanilla essence in the air as you create something new and beautiful from nothing. Poetic, no? It’s just therapeutic. The sugar smell in the air literally works like an awesome placebo effect. Plus, the boost to your self-esteem when what you bake turns out well, is priceless.

Of course, there’s the occasional mental breakdown and emotional damage when your cake fails to rise or your cookies crack. It’s heartbreaking really. But with practice, these become fewer… mostly.

Anyway! I am baking one week early because my house officer and one of my consultants are leaving this week, so I thought I would thank them early. And indulge in some therapeutic baking. Sounding familiar?

Hehe. My other favourite thing to do these days when baking, is have a narrative in my head in the voice of none other than the lovely Nigella Lawson.

I’m baking her brownies actually.

Nigella Brownie recipe

I chose to bake brownies because, as stated above, “However much people have eaten, there is always, I’ve noticed, room for a brownie”. And nothing holds more true.

She’s quite great with her flour-less recipes and egg-less cakes. Which works out great for me because I’m out of flour today. My goodness, just read that description. I love how every one of Nigella’s recipes have a description that makes me smile and really excited about going ahead with that recipe. That’s how baking, well, cooking should be. It’s an art! As she would say.

So! Let’s get started!

Brownie choc

Of course all great Nigella recipes calls for gorgeous, Gorgeous, Gorgeous Chocolate! The darker the better. Her recipe calls for atleast 70% cocoa.

Mixing things together yields the perfect brownie mix.

Brownie mix

Here, Nigella would say something like: You’ll know the mix is ready, when you can really feel the silky, velvety, gorgeous richness that chocolate brings. There’s something so satisfying about that beautiful gooey texture in your brownie mixture.

Then, in the pan:

Brownie pan

Isn’t it poifect? Nigella suggested walnuts/almonds, but I’ve learnt in hospital that you never offer someone something with nuts in it without checking if they might be allergic.

And then finally, after it’s done cooking and filling my house with that luscious chocololate-y smell, it comes out all pretty looking:


Nigella recommends a hot chocolate sauce, which I would love to make, but since these are for others, I chose icing sugar as decoration instead.

Brownie with icing

They are simply, gorgeous. Gorgeous and indulgent. 

That was a really fun evening. And they taste amazing. Why wouldn’t they? Hopefully there’s enough of them left for my team tomorrow.

Psychiatry may not be right for me, but these brownies definitely are!


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