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Friday, December 24, 2010

Daring Baker's Stollen Wreath

Merry Christmas, dear friends! I am on my way to the Northern part of Thailand with T and 11 of my family members. They are all excited about this trip as much as we are. Planned out the whole itinerary and hope that everything will proceed as what we desire. See you guys in New Year 2011. Happy Holiday and Happy New Year!

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book.........and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.

Monday, December 20, 2010


In the midst of properly planning for the upcoming trip of my visiting family, I had tonnes of things to do. While things in regards to itinerary were fully in control, I spent the entire weekend cleaning up the house, and making sure that it would be presentable to my special guests. Apparently this is the least that I can do to welcome my family members, especially those few who are visiting Thailand for the very first time.

The good news is I managed to juggle with a couple of baking chores, including the December’s Daring Bakers Challenge. Lucky me, I had finised baking the challenge item yesterday and photographing it this morning. So I guess I am good to go for the trip which will start the end of this week. My family will be visiting this Friday, big big deal!

Meanwhile, I was visiting bloggers’ sites and came across plagiarism. I was once being warned about plagiarism when stumbled into Fitri of Rumah Manis’s post. She was furious about the fact that some of her photos were stolen. It happened a couple of times and it was her friends who happened to see her photos elsewhere and quickly informed her about this disrespect and irresponsible act.

Of course ever since Fitri has taken a tough measure such as displaying a warning “don’t steal the images” at the end of her posts. That was just the right thing to do. However, the irresponsible party who are decisive about utilizing her images without her consent, most probably might still be stealing. But she has done her best in protecting her blog photos (of course including the photo watermark). And if plagiarism still persists, whoever that steals has consciously claimed himself or herself a THIEF!

This morning, plagiarism again came knocking. This time it happened to Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen. The same, a friend accidentally saw it in a publication and decided to let her know. She was of course mad about it and put herself into full confrontation. The media was contacted, the editor was spoken to, and the conclusion was that this supposingly property-right-aware entity admitted (believe it or not) that they took the photo and used it because it just came out on Google search engine. How ridiculous could that be!

Lucky for Aparna, after her persistent fight, she got what she fought for: the publication printed the retraction on the following issue and paid all the damages (inspite initially claimed they didn’t have any budget for it)! Bravo to Aparna and everyone of us, food bloggers who have taken the stand to fight for what is right. Cheers! Read all about it here!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


We are stuck in the middle of the Kasert flyover bridge. A few cars in front of our van have decided to turn back instead of waiting for the traffic jam to loosen up. It is just depressing since we don’t really know what is going on up front, is there an accident? Apparently there is this big uncertainty before us. Are we supposed to wait in patience or turn back and find another better way? We don’t know!

In life it is pretty much like that. Sometimes we are stuck and don’t know what to do. This traffic episode was preceded earlier by a confusion over unresolved ending of the movie “A Serious Man”, a movie about Larry Gopnik, a physics professor who was caught in problematic life tornedo, didn’t know how to get out of it and decided to get advice from his rabbies only to find disappointment of what he expected to know. He just couldn't manage to make sense of all that were happening.

Life in his case was all about problems and uncertainties and no matter how hard he was trying to deny facing some of them, they always come back to haunt him. The movie was ended with another disaster episode of the professor’s life when his doctor called requesting an immediate meeting to talk about his overlooked chest x-ray results, meanwhile his son and the entire group of classmates most probably will be hit by the approaching massive tornado.

And just like that, the screen was filled with the rolling credits suggesting the movie has ended, again it is like telling the audience to grab another idea of life uncertainty, go figure!

Meanwhile I like to thank Renata of Testado Provado e Aprovado for the One Lovely Blog Award and Nale of Coolinarija for the Me Encanta Tu Blog Award!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Daring Bakers' Crostata

The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a Crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

I would say this is the easiest Daring Baker Challenge ever! Crostata, an Italian baked dessert tart that happens to translate into nothing else but pie seems to be familiar to anyone who ever picks up baking. Well, for food bloggers this would be an easy task. And to some, this could be something that they have been baking or making more than once.

But despite all that, Crostata is definitely a beautiful name that generates flow of creativity. One could choose to play around with the crust (or what Simona mentioned as pasta frolla), the filling or the topping.

For the crust, they are many possible ingredients to use in order to create a certain texture and flavor. For filling, jam or marmalade is one of the options among pastry cream, lemon cream, custard, crème patissiere, or simply whipping cream. Some would even combine jam with cream or fresh fruits with cream. For topping there are many options such as chocolate, caramel, any family of nuts, or the most favorable fresh fruits.

For practical purposes, one could choose to just blind bake the crust, leave it to cool, keep it in an air-tight container and stuff with whatever desired filling just before serving. But others might like to actually bake the crust together with the filling, either just jam, jam with fresh fruit, jam with cream, or fresh fruit with cream. The possibility is just endless. And feel free to serve it warm or cold.

I like pies, and therefore I decided to bake 4 crusts in one go. In that way, I could just store them in air-tight container and fill whenever I like later on. That also triggers me to constantly think about interesting filling that I have never made before. As a consequence, I assume that I would be consuming lots of pie for the next 30 days. I do hope that T will help me on this...

Thanks to Simona for this wonderful challenge and the opportunity to try out new recipes that are different from the few that I had used before. The taste is wonderful and I just couldn’t stop eating these. Somebody has to stop me now…

For those of you who would like to find the complete Challenge recipe, click here. Happy Crostata!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Food is Powerful

Food is powerful! Generally people would say "You are what you eat!", but I say "You are what you want to eat!" That explains the state of my mind lately. You see, I was sick two weeks earlier and as I was recovering last week, everything seemed to come back to normal gradually, but one thing that could prove my getting completely well was my craving for food. Food, food, food!

Nothing seemed to be appealing to me the week I was sick, I couldn't bring myself to think about any food. In fact, the thought about food disgusted me. And dessert - the most profound food that would rise my heartbeat everything I look at them in the shop display couldn't seem to do any trick on me. Basically sickness was a total doom, nothing seemed to be desirable, everything was just pure gloominess and horror.

So what came as a remarkable sign that I was once healthy again? My thought about tomyum fried rice and spicy fried noodles! It was so intensely making its way to instant fulfilment. That lured me into taking a long stroll in my warm jacket, against the evening wind, heading to my favorite restaurant and found myself disappointed overseeing the unsupposingly closed premise. "Why on earth it is closed on a Wednesday night and where am I going to eat?".

The same disappointment recurred again on my second attempt two days later, pushing the restaurant door opened only to find staff cleaning up the floor. I almost screamed my head off as it was just 8:30 pm and they were supposed to stay open until 9:30. Hello!!!!!!!!!

Consequently, my recovering soul was looking for a quick replacement and insisting on the next most desirable pursuit. I had to settle on something else since I had turned into a big bubble of hunger and crave and was about to burst any moment then. I had abruptly turned greedy and desperate, two things that have been deprived from my vocabulary due to sickness and too much rests. So what was my next best thing?

Had to be a plate of salmon sashimi and a bowl of Tensaru Soba with tempura! I finally got what I wanted and they tasted just like how I expected them to be! True pleasure, nothing less! The munch into those slices of raw salmon brought back my memory of my most desirable tastebuds. My mind was exclamating "Boy, it tastes like heaven!", "Salmon sashimi is a blessing to the human race", "Life is worth living!". The recurring of these same old lines reminded me of my normal tasting experience........... "I am so back now!". And I couldn't help grin with my messy lips. "Thanks, Big Guy... for I am back!"

Meanwhile I like to thank Lynn of Cafe Lynnylu for hosting DMBLGIT October and giving the opportunity for me to take part once again and win the award. Thanks also to the judges: Asha, Denise, Nicole and Susan! Check out Lynn's DMBLGIT winner page.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Family Affair

Just got the most powerful jab of my life that sent me to a long sleep I haven’t had for a long long time. A sleep I thought I didn’t have to wake up anymore. This combination of Dexamethasone and Ceftriaxone was really that lethal. The reason was that I haven’t been sleeping enough and being exposed to stress due to many things that have been happening around me, and especially planning for an exciting trip for my visiting family of 11 in Christmas.

Gee, that is the biggest thing I have to deal with right now. The last time they visited was 6 years a go and based on their confession it was the best trip they had had in the past. They had reminisced about it everytime I visited them and kids, especially kids, were making clear gesture that they would definitely want another trip very soon since then. Only then, they realized they had to wait for 6 more years to make it happen. It was a big decision since it involved a few families which then involved their annual leave permission, kids’ school holiday, and not to forget the other essential part: the money!. Comparing to joining a tour, they would rather to have me organize a trip for them, they preferred the freedom and flexibility involved in traveling on our own, the opportunities to try out local delicacies and go to non-touristy areas, and budgetwise, it is also cheaper.

Considering how short time has left to Christmas, I have pushed myself to do the best within the time restriction. Visited the travel expo during the weekend and that helped me moderately in working out places to visit for the trip (by the way, I think I had been exposed to some virus from the expo crowd as I started coughing and having fever right then). Needed to work out a concrete itinerary in order to make things right including booking for train tickets, air tickets, touring vans and other transport, meals and budget.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Foggy Mountain

So excited that finally I will have opportunity to get away for a holiday on the mountain this weekend. Have been waiting to breathe in fresh mountain air and indulge in the glorious mountain scenery for a long time. Sometimes I feel very blessed staying in this country that owns so many exciting holiday destinations, either mountain or sea. We can just pick from a long list of beautiful destinations and go shortly on weekend. Or else if we fancy a longer stay we might need to wait until the next public holiday or take a few days off at work.

T’s colleague takes care of the itinerary, and we will be going in a group of 6, an adequate number of people to interact and have fun with. Our destination is Khao Koh National Park which is famous for its beautiful scenery. It is going to be an enjoyable trip because it will involve camping on the cliff overseeing the biggest cabbage farm in Thailand. I imagine the air would be so cold and that vegetable scent will be all over in the air. I can’t remember the last time sleeping in the tent and admiring the sound and serenity of nature, or looking out to the night sky full of stars.

And our mind just go wild knowing that most of us are game to cook and prepare our own meals right outside our tents. We agree we should be cooking something simple of which ingredients could be easily retrieved from the nearby market or even Seven-Eleven.

And before I forget, I should definitely mention about the fog. It is anticipated that we will be seeing lots of fogs in the morning and even the daytime. The view is guaranteed to be extremely remarkable. 4 from 6 in the group have prepared to bring cameras, and guess what, we all are fans of Canon :-)

Want to see the pictures? Well, you just need until we are back…. And I promise to take many pictures for the next post, okay? Allright, I hope you have a great weekend too, like I and all of us will. Cheers and enjoy this fabulous Lemon Cheese Cake topped with Caramelized Cumquats!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Daring Bakers' Doughnuts

Doughnuts? Just fancy this challenge. Have imagined it as a straight-forward exercise or practice that opens to many decoration possibilities. Going through the posts in the forum, I have come across many variations of doughnuts in terms of filling, topping, shaping and finishing. Some would prefer a classic hollow-in-the-center creations, some enjoy just rounded shapes and chose to fiddle around with the topping instead, while others have come up with inordinary shapes like squares, flowers, or just about anything under the sunlight.

I was familiarized with doughnuts since my young age, just happened that my auntie picked up baking and occasionally fried doughnuts for everyone in the family. Then as I grew up besides liking doughnuts from the local markets, I patronized Dunkin Donuts. It was the brand that teenagers and office workers would go to spend their free time with friends. DD was and still is famous for its comfortable seating outlets and very delicious croissants and hot cocoa. Some of the outlets are in fact so comfy that youngsters spend long hours chatting with friends while spending minimum on a glass of carbonated drink.

Many brands have come and gone competing with DD and not many have succeeded in maintaining their existence. Can’t really remember any brand that could quickly relate to doughnuts in an instant second like Dunkin Donuts. In present time countable doughnut shops emerged slowly and established a wide range of of selections either in flavors, topping, and textures. In Thailand we have Mister Donut, Daddy Dough (my favorite), and the latest Krispy Kreme.

Just a few days ago, T was commenting about the long queue at the only recently opened Krispy Kreme outlet at Siam Paragon. And we both reminiscing our good time having very soft and delicious doughtnuts at J.Co during our last holiday in Jakarta.
Well, to Lori of Butter Me Up... thanks so much for this wonderful challenge. Love this comfort food and have developed a few varieties from this marvelous Bomboloni Recipe..

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious. For detailed challenge recipes please click here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

In the Neighborhood

Another bazaar just took place in my neighborhood last Saturday. Regardless of my fear of the rain and no one would be available to assist me, my positive thinking fuelled my determination to participate. I regarded it as a good opportunity to improve my baking skills, meet face-to-face with my previous bazaar costumers and get to know new ones.

The experience of meeting customers always amazed me. From the second they came into my sight until the second they left my booth, I had learnt so much about them. It was interesting to notice that some came decisive - they basically dropped by spontaneously and instantly pointed their fingers to their desired cakes without even addressing any single question about the flavor of the cakes they chose. These were my best customers! (wished that all my customers would have such confidence in my cakes but unfortunately it was not always the case)... To the opposite extreme, they were those who walked away empty-handed after a long session of questioning every single detail about the cakes.

Nevertheless, I loved selling cakes in the bazaar. Despite the lack of sleep a few nights before had induced drowsiness while I was standing at my booth, I forced myself to stay alert and communicate with my customers. Obviously my neighborhood consists of people from all walks of like. Some bought without asking about the price while others left after presenting startled faces when told about the price of my cakes.

And of course the rain did pour as I had worried about, and I and T had to carry our cake boxes under the rain, plus other discomfort happened such as T had to leave to his seminar soon after helping me settling up my booth, but still the whole selling experience was fulfilling and satisfactory. 75% of my 7 cakes were sold out!

And yes, before I forgot.... in case you are curious... the 7 cakes were 1 Sacher Torte, 1 Coconut Cheese Cake with Butterscoth topping, 1 Coconut Cheese Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Almond Decoration, 1 Capuccino Cheese Cake, 1 Blueberry and Strawberry Cheese Cake, 1 Fresh Fruit Chocolate Whipped Cream Cake, and 1 Fresh Fruit Blueberry Whipped Cream Cake.

I did hope my customers enjoy what they bought... And I would definitely take part in this bazaar again next time!