The last few days have been absolutely Chockers! On Saturday, my daughter Paige had 8 of her giggling- and- screaming- all-at once girlfriends over for a movie marathon-sleepover Birthday Party to celebrate her turning 11. So, essentially, the day before was dedicated to party food preparation and the highlight: making 50 mini orange butter cupcakes and individually decorating them.
The next morning, I took advantage of the beautiful light coming in the dining area window and snapped something like 300 over photos of the cupcakes using my new Nikon DSLR. I have blisters on my elbows to show for it! I must admit that when the camera first arrived, I felt really intimidated with all the different settings and functions. I’m one of those people who ABHOR reading instruction manuals, so that wasn’t going to help. I secretly thought of putting the camera away and going back to using my Pentax Optio. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. I want to thank Greg Winning, Photographer Extraordinaire and Business Partner to my husband Ming at Brando for offering to ‘take me under his wing’, and our very wise and generous friend, Jeff Miles for presenting me with my very first Tripod! My elbows thank you gratefully, Jeff!
Although the cupcake photos were shamelessly taken on the ‘auto’ function, I was quite happy with them and will do a post on them when I return from my Vacation. Yes, foodies, I’m taking a long awaited Holiday to Singapore and Chiang Mai! YAY! This is my last post until I return on the 10th of September. This holiday is a little different from the ones I’ve had in the past because this time around, I’ll be meeting up with a couple of Food Bloggers. I will also be doing a baking class with Patissier Blogger Lynn Chen who has so kindly fit me in her busy schedule despite the fact that she’s shooting for a cookbook.
Over in Chiang Mai , I’ve booked Ming and myself for a 4 course Thai Cooking Class and Lunch at the Lush Kaohom Cooking School. Apart from this, we will of course be doing the glutton thing and will be eating non-stop. Mind you shopping , massages, spas and delicious foot reflexology is on the agenda too! I am SO looking forward to all this! I promise to document my eating and learning adventures and shall deliver when I return. Foodies’ Pledge! I leave you with a recipe for Strawberry Pavlova, a delectable yet simple dessert .
4 egg whites
2 cups caster sugar
2 tsp white vinegar
4 tbsp boiling water
4 tsp cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp vanilla essence
To save time, I used my favourite store-bought custard
FRESH WHIPPED CREAM TOPPING
1 600ml carton of thickened whipping cream
Icing sugar to taste
500g fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
1 tsp caster sugar sprinkled onto strawberries and lightly tossed
Preheat oven to 200C. Line a 30cm (12in) baking tray with baking paper and draw a 20cm circle on the paper. Place the caster sugar, boiling water, vinegar and egg whites into a large bowl. Beat until mixture is stiff enough to hold it’s own peaks. Sift the cornflour and baking powder into the bowl, then add the vanilla and fold in lightly.
Pile the meringue onto the baking tray within the circle, flatten the top and smooth the sides. Place into the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 150C for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat further to 100C for an hour longer. After that, turn off the oven and leave the pavlova in the oven overnight to dry out.
To serve, top the pavlova with some custard, then with the whipped cream and the strawberries.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Monday, August 6, 2007
First of all, I want to say thank you to those of you who take the time to go through my previous posts and leave comments. I don’t know about all you other food bloggers out there, but once I put up a new post,
the old one is hiistory, and I rarely go back there. So, please do not think that I’m ignoring your comments; I just am unaware that you’ve left me one. I found out about those new comments as I was looking up a recipe from a previous post.
About a week ago, I received an e-mail from Dr Joy Barredo, a Life Coach in the UK, inviting me to write in the ‘Kitchen Goddess’ page of her website. Joy's website is a ‘home’ for us women to share our dreams and fears, a place in which we can discuss issues concerning our everyday lives, may it be love, finances, personal development etc. I totally LOVE this website and recommend that you pay a visit. My posts and recipes will now be published in Joy’s website too.
The girls are home today, both slightly unwell, and quite happy that I’ve given them the ‘green light’ to stay home. I overheard them talking just then, something about the Antartica, and then the conversation went like this..
Paige: it’s (referring to the antartica) isolated!
Chloe: No it’s not!
Paige: Yes it is!
Chloe: Do you even know what “isolated” means?!
Paige: It means it’s covered in ice!
Today’s recipe for Gateau Surprise Chocolat Pistache is from JenJen's beautiful blog. I made these about a month ago and will definitely be making them again. This recipe originated from Clotilde'sblog, then Heidi made it, and then JenJen, and then me. And I’m pretty sure it won’t stop here.
GATEAU SUPRISE CHOCOLAT PISTACHE
270g plain all-purpose flour, divided in half
2 tsp baking powder, divided in half
1 tsp baking soda, divided in half
150g unsalted butter, room temperature, divided in half
250g caster sugar, divided in half
1½ cups plain yoghurt or sour cream, divided in half
1½ tsp vanilla extract, divided in half
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup shelled pistachio, chopped finely
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 25cm springform cake pan, or alternatively prepare 12 small paper cake cases.
Prepare the chocolate batter first. In a food processor mix together half of the sugar, butter until fluffy.
Add in two eggs one at a time, pulsing in between each addition.
Add in half of the yoghurt and the vanilla extract, pulse again.
In a medium bowl, combine half of the flour, baking powder, baking soda and all of the cocoa powder.
Add the flour mixture into the food processor and mix again until the flour is just incorporated.
Pour the batter into the cake pan, or if you are using the paper cake cases, then using an ice cream scoop, place one scoop of batter into each paper case.
Place the chocolate batter into the fridge.
Rinse the bowl of the food processor and prepare the pistachio batter.
Mix together the rest of the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add in the last two eggs one at a time, pulsing in between each addition.
Add the remaining yoghurt and pulse again.
In a medium bowl, combine the rest of the flour, baking powder, baking soda and all of the chopped pistachios.
Add this flour mixture into the batter and process again until the flour is just combined.
Remove the chocolate batter from the fridge and sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly and liberally over the surface of the batter.
Gently pour over the pistachio batter on top of the chocolate chips, or alternatively if you are using the paper cases, then use an ice scoop to place the pistachio batter on top.
Smooth out the surface using a spatula.
Bake in the oven for 50 minutes, or if you are making the individual cakes, then for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Allow to rest for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Friday, August 3, 2007
Hi Fellow Bloggers! I have currently exceeded our wireless internet quota for the month and am unable to load my blog page,much less publish a new post. I am able to do this bit now because it's 7am and it's not the peak internet usage time , not for another 20 minutes or so! Hopefully, I'll be able to post and look at yours on the 5th of Aug when our quota is reset for the month.
I would like to leave you with this poster to ponder a little bit.. I love sharing moments of my life and my recipes with you, but what I should really be sharing with you is why I have such a beautiful life, family etc. You are all so important to me, I have made so many wonderful friendships through this blog. I owe all the Joy, Peace, and comfort in my life to Jesus, and I hope you will do the best possible thing for your lives and seek him. If you have any questions about Christianity, I invite you to visit Daniel's blog. He is happy to try to answer any questions you may have. I know that the topic of Christianity can be very daunting, but the answer is simple really, if you just give yourself the chance.
Thanks for listening!