flash of lightning

Wednesday, 30 January 2013 • 4 comments

Growing up, there was a very popular toffee in a purple wrapper called cadbury eclairs. It is a caramel toffee with a chocolate centre. I was not a huge fan simply because i don't have a sweet tooth but it must have been good because it was and still is very popular. It was only recently that i discovered the pastry called éclair. At first i was confused but after a little research i found they are two different things. Why are they called the same thing though? According to wikipedia, the word comes from French éclair 'flash of lightning'. The connection is quite unclear.




Éclair is made from choux pastry filled with whipped cream, topped with a chocolate icing. Choux pastry is such a fancy name and has alway sounded to me like something that would be hard to make but quite the opposite. The methods used to make choux pastry are very unique. Making pastry in a pot is something i've never done or thought about before. With basic ingredients; flour, water, butter and eggs, a smooth, light and glossy dough was cooked. This dough was piped out onto the baking sheets and when it was baked and cooled, without cutting it open, the whipped cream was piped into the hollow centre through one end of the éclair. I really enjoyed this new approach to pastry making and it does deserve the fancy name choux pastry.




fruit.dough.dairy

Thursday, 24 January 2013 • No comments

Lately, i've been trying to eat healthier so last week, i stocked up on lots of fruits like grapes, oranges, apples and have been enjoying them very much. Its actually not hard for me to eat healthy because i love fruits and vegetables but i have to make a bit of an effort to do it right. After a lovely homemade dinner tonight, i didn't feel like eating an apple and i thought i deserved some dessert so i decided to make apple crumble like i've never made it before. I've made crumble so many times but i kept having flashbacks of the apple pie i made a while ago. The method of  cooking rather than baking the apples beneath the crumble gave them a texture which i like. I baked the crumble alone then poured it over the cooked apples. Finally topped it all with two scoops of green&black's vanilla icecream. Apples minus the dough and dairy for me tomorrow.

dinner: sweet'n'spicy roast ribs, potatoes and carrots




tourbillon exclusive

Sunday, 20 January 2013 • 1 comment

I've decorated several cakes in the past but this is the first time i've had to replicate a design. It was my fiances birthday a couple of weeks ago and it was a big one so i had to do something special. He is in love with watches and i'm probably ahead of them in that department by just a few points. He also designs watches, this was one of his first designs and i think it is absolutely amazing. To be honest, it wasn't entirely my idea to make this cake. He gave me the challenge a little while before his birthday. After thinking through how i'd go about it for a while, a finally got started the day before his birthday. For a cake i made a couple of months ago, i had used some ready-to-roll fondant so i knew that was what i would use this time too. Shopping for this cake was actually fun as i got somethings that were new to me. I got silver edible glitter spray and gold dust along with some writing icing. I printed out the design, had no idea how it would turn out but just started and hoped for the best. I baked a chocolate cake sandwiched and topped with chocolate buttercream, rolled out grey coloured fondant and covered it. Using anything i could find like small bowls, covers of things, knives and forks, i create all the shapes of this very detailed time piece. It was quite time consuming. The writing gel however, was very disappointing. I had hoped to use it for the black parts of the design and also to write the message but it was quite disastrous. The final thing didn't quite do this watch design justice but i gave it my best shot. Better luck next time!




basic

Thursday, 17 January 2013 • 2 comments

This is probably the most overlooked yet most important baked good known to man. Bread is made all over the world in slightly different ways but the ingredients are more or less the same and so basic. Its no wonder why it has for years, been a big part of our diet and still will be in years to come. Last year i watched a reality show called 'Chef Academy' hosted by an amazing chef, Jean Christophe Novelli. In one episode, he taught the contestants(and me) how to make basic bread. I recorded that episode and watched it over and over again not just because he was really funny and a great entertaining teacher but also to learn to make my own bread. I searched everywhere but unfortunately could not find a link to that episode which i would have loved to share with you. My first attempt was good but the second which i made today was better. The cool part of making bread is kneading the dough. The other cool part is leaving it to rise till double in size. Its so warm and soft at this stage. Once you have the basic bread dough ready, you can put whatever you want in it and thats another cool thing about making bread. I think its quite clear now that making bread is cool. I have dried thyme but today when i went grocery shopping i got living thyme. All the chefs on tv have fresh herbs in their kitchen and i wanted to know what the fuss was all about. I also got some cherry tomatoes as they were the perfect size i needed and so cute. So i folded in the fresh thyme, tomatoes and cheddar, put some thyme and cheese on top and baked. I also made a loaf for breakfast tomorrow.





resolutions

Wednesday, 16 January 2013 • No comments

Its a new year and i'm back bursting with new ideas and a new perspective on things. I usually don't make new year's resolutions but i will now: Get out of the box! I learnt so much baking through the cookbook but to my surprise, that was just the tip of the iceberg! Making all i made, having to search for and discover so many new things put me so far out of my comfort zone and its been amazing. I surely can't stop there. I usually play it safe with a lot of things and stick to what i know but now my curiosity has been poked and i'm poking right back. The wall between me and all those 'too beautiful to eat and definitely too hard to make' pastries has come crumbling down. I am going to attempt to recreate everything i come across from the impossible looking to the basic things. Its exciting to be in complete control now and not have to follow a cookbook. I can do whatever i want, whenever i want. This should be interesting!
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