Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Letting Go... Moving Forward...

H and I are leaving Korea pretty soon, so I have been busy this past couple of weeks doing a little bit here and there in preparation for our big move. One of the things I have to do is find my baking soldiers a new home. It is certainly not easy to let go of the things you are used to working with, but life goes on. I will miss the baking things that I have invested here, but at the same time, I will be looking forward to start building a new army of baking utensils in my new kitchen.
Saying goodbye is not easy; people react differently towards farewells. Some people would make the most out of the time that's left and enjoy every minute, while some people would act tough and give a cold shoulder to what's about to come. I have had a fair share of goodbye experiences, and I can say I am one that would act tough, to the point that I look like I don't care. In a way, I try to hide away from reality, and let what's about to happen fade away with less fuss as possible. With that being said, I do have many desserts I want to bake, but because I know I'm going to leave soon and let go of my baking things, I don't feel like using my baking stuffs anymore. It's like I feel distant and disengaged from them. Procrastination has been my defense mechanism towards spending quality time with my baking things.
It's been a pleasure baking with you
I have yet to find new owners for my beloved baking soldiers, but hopefully I would find one soon that would have as much fun as I did with them. I feel like I'm in a Toy Story 3-esque movie with this drama... No joke though, I already went through all my baking things, and chosen which ones I would be bringing with me and which ones I'll be giving away. It was a difficult and emotional moment.. haha!

With goodbyes there are hellos; I will be visiting UK this coming July, and one thing I am really excited for is my Kitchen Aid mixer. I miss my Kitchen Aid so much, two years of not seeing and using it is extremely strenuous. There are tons of occasions where I reminisce about my mixer in the middle of whipping up something; most of the time is when I am making an Italian meringue wherein using a stand mixer would be a lot more convenient than a hand-held mixer. Mmm, can't wait to see my mixer!

Bisou bisou,

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Recipe Clutter

Having a recipe with very descriptive and detailed instructions is not my thing when I’m actually in the process of baking (it confuses me). What I would normally do when I’m going to bake is read different recipes that are somehow related to what I want to make; then, I would get a sheet of paper and write down my own recipe. My recipes are not the most baker friendly recipe that exist because my recipes just normally consist of a list of ingredients with random brackets and lines plus a word or two.  Thus, if you notice my recipes page is not the most updated; I have a bit of difficulty expressing my instructions into sentences that I think would be clear and understandable for readers. Forgive me if I have neglected my recipes page, but I swear I have intentions of giving my extension blog, recipepieces, a massive update. Massive… yes!

Since I have been writing my recipes on random sheets of papers (A4 papers, tissue papers, back of receipts, post it notes, last month’s calendar, etc.), I have managed to build up a pile of unsorted recipes. These recipes are starting to become such a clutter on my table, so I promised myself to sort them out by the end of this month – nicely compiled at my recipepieces blog. I always tell myself to be more productive and efficient with my recipe compilation; hopefully, this time around I would stick with my plan.

Bisou bisou,

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Mystery Fruit... Help!

Ok, same story with the mulberries; I was on my way to yoga when I saw these lovely red fruits. I've never seen fresh red gooseberries or red currants before, so I assumed those fruits would most definitely be one of my guesses. I was wrong. The fruits I bought have pits, and it tasted very similar to grapes. In fact, if you have your eyes closed, you would think they were grapes.
Currants.. Gooseberries.. No? What are they?

Inside the Mystery Fruit

 I took the fruits to my H's workplace to ask his colleagues what they were. Yes, my H has very helpful colleagues, but none of them could tell me what they were. The only answer they could give me was wild grapes. So did I buy a bag of wild grapes? I'm not so convinced. I've been also doing some research over the internet as well as books, but no answer. Can anyone tell me what these fruits are?

Update: Thank you to all my readers who were trying to help me figure out this mystery fruit. I got different responses as what this mystery fruit might be (red choke berry, goji berry, jujube, aratilis, dwarf burford holly, etc.), but in the end my Korean friend confirmed that this fruit is simply a Korean type cherry. Mystery solved!

Bisou bisou,

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Mulberry Project - Layers of Vanilla Mousse, Pastry Cream, Fresh Mulberries, Toasted Walnuts, Homemade Mulberry Jam and Banana Cake

I was walking my way up to the yoga studio as I saw a street vendor selling what seemed to be blackberries. My heart was beating really fast, "OMG this is the inspiration I need - fresh lovely ingredients to work with!" I swiftly bought a bag from the vendor, and as I was paying I noticed that the berries were oblong shaped. "What the heck did I buy?" No way those were blackberries. I was already getting changed for my class, but I was so curious of what I bought, so I opened the bag and got a berry out to taste. One of my classmates saw me, and asked what was in the bag. I told her I have no clue. She peeked into the bag and said, "ah, 오디 (odi)!" Alright, I have a bag of odi on my hands, but still got no clue on what it was. I got my phone out; thank goodness for kor-eng dictionary, so that's when I figured I had a bag of mulberries.
 Oh, forgive me for my ignorance, but I honestly didn't know a berry called mulberry existed. All along I thought Mulberry was just a made-up berry to name a British high end luxury brand like Burberry! haha! Umm, or is there a berry called burberry? Please enlighten me if there really is a burberry berry.
The mulberries tasted similar to grapes, a subtle version of grapes in my opinion. I was searching cyberspace to find what people normally do with mulberries. Disappointed with the information available, I just decided to follow my instinct with my mulberry project.

Berries are often times turned into tarts or jam. Grape jelly is perfect with peanut butter; PB&J with bananas are yummy. A simple cake sandwiched with jam goes a long way; it is also one of the key components of an English trifle. Am I making any sense? Probably not, but those are the things rambling in my mind when I was thinking of what dessert to make out of my mulberries. So with those mash of things in my mind, my mulberry project is a dessert carrying layers of vanilla mousse, pastry cream, fresh mulberries, toasted walnuts, homemade mulberry jam and banana cake.
How I assembled the cake using a loaf pan. Top left corner: Pastry cream layer embedded with mulberries and walnuts; top right corner: banana cake covered with mulberry jam; bottom left corner: last layer of banana cake; bottom right corner: the cake inverted out from the loaf pan (I used a torch to slightly warm up the pan to loosen up the mousse, so the cake would slide out easily).
The verdict: it's an ok dessert. Since the mulberry has a very subtle flavour, the two layers of banana cake were overpowering. I tried eating it with just one layer of banana cake, and it tasted better. Although I think a more lighter flavoured cake would work better, something like a lemon sponge cake would be a really nice alternative to the banana cake. Nevertheless, I'm happy with what I came up with.
Thanks to these mulberries, my chemistry with baking is back; it's sizzling and sparks are flying. Until my next baking affair!

Components used for this dessert treat:
Bisou bisou,

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Baking Spirit... Lost?

My urge to bake has been running dry lately... I don't know why I'm giving baking a cold shoulder. My mind is constantly reminding me to whip up some sweets, but there is a sheer dominance of sluggishness towards the idea. Where's my drive gone? I really wonder. I am going through food blogs, recipes, books, pictures, pretty much everything and anything with the mission of finding my baking spirit. I do want it back; I know it will come back. 

Bisou bisou,


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