Sunday, 26 December 2010

Daring Bakers' Challenge - December 2010: Stollen

Christmas has just gone by, but I still have one Christmas-y thing to do - post my DB Christmas challenge.
I only used a quarter of the recipe given by our host, then made two small Stollens.

Blog-checking lines: 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.

Stollen shaped like a wreath using kitchen scissors to form the segments as written in the challenge recipe.

Stollen is a German Christmas bread that contains dried fruits, citrus peels, nuts, and sometimes marzipan, and heavily dusted with powdered sugar. It is similar to fruit cake except it's a fruit bread. This was my first encounter with the Christmas Stollen, so I was really happy I was able to participate this month's challenge despite the busy season. Once I got my dough done, that's when I got excited for the Stollen. The aroma alone of the dough makes you want to eat it. Unfortunately, I had to be patient proofing the dough; all the waiting was definitely worth it.

My version of making a wreath shaped Stollen; I made tiny balls then arranged them alongside each other to form a circle.

I quickly took a bite as soon as I finished snapping some photos. Honestly, I wasn't so impressed at first bite, so I thought maybe if I left it to cool down then eat it the next day instead. Alas, my hunch was right. Stollen is one of those desserts better eaten when it has time to cool down. It goes so well with a hot cup of coffee. It does have a similar taste with fruit cake, but in a bread-like texture.

A photo of the inside of my Stollen; I don't think the yeast worked it's magic as it should have been fluffier.

On a different note, I'm still on my Christmas / New Year getaway in the 'land down under'. I'm really having a blast here with my family. I have many things to share with you guys, so I will definitely be blogging about my trip once I get back.

So how did you spend your Christmas? I hope you all had a very merry one!

Bisou bisou,

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Mum-in-Law's Fruitcake

My H has been yearning for his mum's fruitcake this Christmas. I offered to make him my version of fruitcake, but he wants his mum's. So what else can I do, but ask my mum-in-law for the recipe.

When I got the recipe, I became excited to make it. Why? Mainly because it doesn't use butter; all the fruitcake recipes I encountered in the past so far has a butter cake base. Another reason is her recipe uses tea to soak the dried fruits. A completely different and new fruitcake recipe I was really looking forward to make.

Result: success! My H was so glad to have his mum's fruitcake again. Sometimes with food, regardless of how a dish was made or what kinds of ingredients or techniques were used, it's what you are used to from your childhood that would always do the trick.

The fruitcake was quite addictive I must say. The texture has a bit of a soft bite and is a little chewy. The cake has a distinct taste of nutmeg, and the fruits didn't overpower the flavour of the entire cake. As for using the tea for soaking, well I didn't really taste the tea on the actual cake, but I guess it contributed to the taste of the finished cake. I'm not a fan of fruitcakes at all, in fact I was once anti-fruitcake, but this is one that I can actually enjoy eating. So far, with all the fruitcakes I have tried in my existence, this is probably just the fourth one I liked. I'm really happy to have inherited my mum-in-law's fruitcake recipe.

Speaking of family, I will be spending my holidays in sunny Australia with my family. I'm really excited to see them, and I'm also thrilled to be experiencing Australian and Modern Australian cuisine!

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Bisou bisou,

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Almond Biscotti

I love sharing what I bake with people. So whenever there is a special occasion like Christmas, I definitely have the urge to make special treats to give away. This year I decided to make almond biscotti (recipe from Joy of Baking). Biscotti, which means twice baked, are classic Italian cookies that are dry and crunchy in texture, perfect to accompany a nice cup of coffee.

I gave these lovely cookies to my H's colleagues, and they were really delighted. There's nothing better than spending the Christmas season through sharing and giving!

Bisou bisou,

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Follow Me on Twitter

So I've decided to enter the world of twitter... I wanted to have a more casual extension of my blog; at times I often have spur-of-the-moment food related thoughts or encounters that I wouldn't necessarily blog about, so twitter is my outlet for those tidbits.

So to my dearest readers, follow me on twitter - See you there, tweet tweet tweet!

Bisou bisou,

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Spirit of Christmas

The sound of Christmas songs, bald trees encrusted with dazzling lights at night, shops packed with people buying Christmas presents, Christmas themed shop windows... it's this time of the year again! 

What is it that makes you feel the festivities? For me, there's five things: Christmas gifts shopping, setting up the Christmas tree, Christmas songs, Noche Buena (Christmas Eve feast) and baking something Christmasy. Last Christmas season, I made my first gingerbread house, and I also made some gingerbread bells to give away to my H's colleagues. I can't believe that was already a year ago! 

I'm done with my Christmas shopping, our Christmas tree has been set up and definitely been listening to Christmas songs. So there's two more things on my list to make my Christmas complete!

Bisou bisou,

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Louis Vuitton City Guide

Do you use travel guides when you visit a new city? Why not travel in style with the Louis Vuitton City Guide? LV has been publishing their own city guides since 1999. Their city guides covers numerous cities from Mumbai to New York to Tokyo to Thessaloniki; there are bountiful cities to explore with LV.
photo from Louis Vuitton website

I've been reading reviews about the Louis Vuitton City Guides, and so far all write-ups were fabulous! What got me sold for the LV City Guides is this mouth-watering clip:

English Version

French Version

"Je ne comprends pas le français, mais j'aime écouter c'est beau son!" (google translate) I don't understand French, but I love listening to it's beautiful sound!

Yes, Paris! I have loads of dream destinations, but Paris is at the top of my list. Not only is it very rich in culture, but oh... the pastries! I could spend all day nibbling in patisserie after patisserie, heaven!

photo from Louis Vuitton website

Though I have no plans on visiting Paris YET in the near future, I think I would be investing on a Louis Vuitton City Guide Paris 2011 edition. No harm in doing some advance research!

Bisou bisou,


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