Saturday, 15 September 2012

Back to Basics with Brownies and Muffins

For the last three years, I have felt like a nomad, finding a home from country to country. As unsettling as it may sound, it had its perks. Aside from the obvious of learning cultures and growing as an individual, my baking skills had immensely improved. Each country I temporarily called home gave me some sort of nudge to elevate my skills as a pastry chef wannabe.
I was blown away by the abundance of fresh produce back in Britain. Ingredients I used to just read about or see on cooking shows were easily available in any local grocery. My palate was in total bliss with all the berries and dairies I was able to savour for the very first time; they were absolutely inspiring.  
Though British weather has got its bitter-cold, gloomy reputation, it was a complete perfection when it came down to baking. The same recipe I used in Philippines to make pie crust was magically easier to work with and came out very nice and flaky. Hand-whipping a bowl of cream was a breeze. It was definitely there in Britain where I realize the relevance of weather in baking.
My change of residence to South Korea was probably the turning point to my home-baking episodes. While the culture and lifestyle of Korea was enjoyably rich and refreshingly different, I needed to find an outlet to retreat myself to somewhere I am more familiar with once in a while. That was when I started to bake on a regular basis. I got very focused on practicing and making French desserts, entremets and pastries. It was also in Korea when this blog was born. My skills as a home-baker were really developed and until now I still can't believe what I was able to create with my half-pint oven and hand-held mixer.
China was a challenge. For some reason, my love and thirst for good food and baking went to an all time low. I was also not enthusiastic with blogging anymore because of all the blocked sites in China with blogger being one of them. I had to use a VPN to access my blog; it became such a big job, most of the time I couldn't be bothered anymore. I wasn't prepared to let it just be like that. I created a website under the name Sugar Bowl which I intended to sell home-baked desserts with the aim to push myself to bake. It didn't have much direction until someone placed an order for a fondant cake. I gave it a go even with minute knowledge and experience with fondant cakes. I surprised myself with what I was able to make, and to top it all off, the client was very delighted with it. That was the start, and through word of mouth, I was constantly receiving fondant cake orders. Then it was obvious what direction Sugar Bowl was at.
Just a few weeks ago, H and I relocated again. The place we call home now is in the vibrant Hong Kong. I am curious to see how things will unfold here. It seems like every time I move to a new place, there's also something new and exciting that's going to happen. I also took down Sugar Bowl with me here, and as for its future, only time will tell.
Hong Kong has so far been one big pot of inspiration. I have only been here for a couple of weeks meaning I am so busy getting our flat furnished and all that, but I am itching to bake properly already! I already found shops that sell a wide range of baking ingredients and tools that I see myself frequenting at. Aside from the bountiful Hong Kong style bakeries, there are loads of restaurants for good eats and patisseries for sweet fix. Afternoon tea is also very popular here. Hong Kong definitely has all the reasons for me to get my mojo for food and baking back!
For a very humble start, I squeezed in some baking in the midst of chaos in the house. One of my dearest friends, B, had a house party recently so I decided to tote a box of brownies with me. Then on my recent trip to the groceries, I saw loads of lovely gems of blueberries so I made some cute blueberry lemon muffins for breakfast. Hope these two classics is a sign of a more fruitful baking and blogging by yours truly.
Bisou bisou,


  1. Hey Charlotte! I'm so happy to see you back at blogging and baking wonderful treats! Wishing you a great stay in Hong Kong :)

  2. Hi Renata! I can't believe you still visit my blog even though I wasn't religiously updating it.. Thank you so much! :) I really hope I'll be baking and blogging regularly again. :) I do miss it :)


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