The Impish Tea-ramisu
Once again I find myself in the kitchen, despite my lead-ridden arms and legs from the slogging out at the shop front. My drive, the unused tub of creamy mascarpone cheese waiting to be reduced to a mass of white pungent curdle in a week. Did I want to make tiramisu again? Not really... Then, slowly letting a thought penetrate my iron-casted head; wait a minute, perhaps all the stodgy version needed was a revamp. How about an injection of elfvian spirit?
and it was thus born, a curious White Chocolate Green Tea-ramisu, encompassing the same contrasting bittersweet values as the conventional tiramisu with the natural colors of pale green and white. The green tea providing a neutral and yet a little grassy undertone to the otherwise sweet white chocolate infused mascarpone base. And to appease the little alcoholic in me; I mean, what's a tiramisu without the alcohol? I added a healthy dosage of sherry liquor. Then threw myself a hateful stare in the mirror for having slipped a bottle of white rum on the floor last time. That would have provided a whole different perspective. Pity...
Yet, as I watch my brother stand at his spot in the middle of the living room, barely moving an inch as he cried crocodile tears after diving skeptically into the dangerously green dessert. 'This is so good.' I was convinced that my mascarpone cheese had finally found itself in a worthy form.
The green tea macarons placed on the dessert; finally, homemade from the kitchen. A rather successful first attempt, I must say. You couldn't have slept thru the yell that composed out from the kitchen when I saw the little ones develop feet. Three words, 'over the moon'.
TWD: Cinnamon Honey Icecream
Meddling with recipes can be a precarious especially when its based one, sooo good such as Dorie Greenspan's recipe for Vanilla Icecream. Thank goodness, the story has a fairytale ending with my rendition of Cinnamon Honey icecream sweeping me off my feet on a handsome white horse. Served on the hot chocolate fondant cake (recipe from Global Baker by Dean Brettschneider) and a crisp honey florentine to match the sticky theme, this made for the perfect after dinner indulgence. With icecream that delicious, I'm seriously contemplating the purchase of a cuisinart icecream maker with inbuilt refrigeration in order to speed up the process till I get my salt-licked tongue on a spoonful of glorious cold and creamy cloud of fantasy. Should I?
Now then, why honey and cinnamon you may ask? Whilst turning the cabinets topsy turvey looking for a container sturdy enough to withstand the torrential blows of the beaters as I manually churned my icecream slush periodically out of the freezer. ah.. darn the sweet efforts in producing this heavenly pint of icecream I fished out a jar of cinnamon infused honey that I had purchased from the honey farm in Tasmania during my recent trip. Sited in the rural outskirts of Tasmania in small town Chudleigh, one would definitely not think of the farm as a tourist destination but in actual fact, the boyfriend and I made a special trip there after a restful night's sleep at Mole Creek.
With a guarantee that you'll find 'all things honey'; I was bewildered by the immense variety of honey the farm retail shop had the offer. From the health beneficial manuka honey to the more upscale bee pollen and royal jelly to the less conventional and peculiar spread of spice and fruit infused honey such as strawberry honey and pistachio honey. Honestly, the range was the cause of my dropped jaw and popped eyes most of the time during my stay. With puckered lips, I dipped, sampled, swooned; jar after jar after jar. Till I started to develop a minor
After working my way thru the interactive beehive and static displays in the in-house museum; Did you know that queen bees mate in the air? oops... that was unneccessary huh? I finally settled on the blue gum, hazelnut honey, vanilla infused honey and cinnamon infused honey which I proudly feature in my rendition of this week's TWD! With gentle hints of cinammon throughout the woody slush of a honey jar, I was sure it would be a perfect addition to the custard mixture, alongside a stick of cinnamon thrown in for goodluck and a dash of vanilla extract; it churned out to be almost perfect. So on a side note to all travelling to Tasmania, do make a stop over at the honey farm, definitely an entertaining and SWEET spot for everyone in the family! Did i mention that the homemade honey icecream there is gorgeous as well?
Thanks Lynne of Cafe LynnyLu for picking out the recipe. I'll be making many batches of this in the future for certain. Visit Tuesdays with Dorie to check out other renditions of this week's challenge!
Weddings, festive occasions to celebrate the binding of two lovers in an eternal sacred bond. One that stands tall thru the persistant proddings of better or worst, riches or poor. On a personal note, I've never taken a liking to these less than spontaneous events that we Chinese, often take to exaggertaing heights. Piled up hair, blown up dresses with trailers that lend you tripping down the hallway with a wrong step, giant ballrooms that send the hundreds of guests home with an aching neck from having to strain to see the bride as she made her grand entrance. No, I've never enjoyed these events. But for me, the most prized moment is watching as the bride gives her charming groom a tiny smile, fatigue showing but still embracing the warmth of true love and the comforting assurance that 'everything is going to be alright'.
Just this weekend, I had the honour of attending my cousin's wedding tea ceremony. Held at my Da-yi-ma's place, the theme was a spectacle of gold, silver and the occasional crystal courtesy of the vintage gold guilded cutlery and trays that my aunt had collected over the years. The house was a flurry of activity, days before the event with final polishings being done and large pails of fresh flowers in a spread of adoring colors brought into the space.
I did my best and got the part that spelled 'A-s-s-i-s-t-a-n-t C-a-t-e-r-e-r'. Fortunately, with a wonderful cake recipe in tow just in time from the cake slice bakers, I happily recieved the task of baking the wedding cake. *screams*. Now I wonder what I was thinking. Coupled with that task, I made tiny dessert cups of tiramisu, the most adorable cheesecake lollipops (recipe courtesy of Jill O'Conner) and rich fudgey brownies (from Baked New Frontiers in Baking) all in a single night. I could have sworn that the 2 hours of sleep sort of drove me a little over the bend. But I pulled thru! Best of all, I couldn't help but smile thru my beady eyes when I heard the grateful acknowledgements from the happy couple. ahhh.
The Lemon Blueberry marbled cake which i altered to encompass a layer of homemade lemon curd and another of blueberry conserve was hopefully perfect for the occasion. Fashioned to match the vintage settings, I held my breath as the knife glided thru the top tier. Bursts of claps met my ear and the serenading and relentless chatter continued. My heart broke into song.
The afternoon was all about sweet nothings. Disturbed only by the monkey gestures and rowdy comments from the group of cousins. But seriously, we meant well. We really did. Blame it on the sugar rush from the golden array of sweet nibbles strewn across the surface of the grand piano. From berry custard tarts to royce champagne chocolates, durian crepe cakes and romantic long stemmed strawberries; my world was practically spinning from the sugar rush. Thank goodness for the cup of hot coffee served in gold guilded saucer nonetheless. All in all, the wedding high tea buffet was an enormous success, with an inbuilt air of poshness and tinge of humble romance floating thru the air. Everyone was enchanted.
With a simple yet elegant ceremony, her entrance was more than welcomed. And as Grace dearly put it, 'Thanks for coming.', in other words, thank you Gwen for entering into our lives and making Ben Kor Kor probably the happiest man ever.
From all of us:
(think sultry winter accompanied with warm spices..)
I still live in Australia... not physically of course, but it's a mental state of mind. Winter fruits? Who am I kidding? Though I must add that it was hard re-adjusting back to life in Spore. Fire breathing parents, with a boyfriend playing a never-ending game of heart attack with the armed forces and throw in a pinch of natural adulthood derieved stresses; and you're on your way to a major catastrophe.
At the very least, something had worked itself right. Landed myself with a job as with a baking supplies shop along Bukit Timah Road which I found nothing short of a miracle. Surrounded by the likes of laughter floating thru the air everyday, jovial greetings and flurried footsteps pattering around the shop premises; I've found a piece of mind. Service, I discovered, an aspect I had yet to dwelt in but so direly crucial to any business. I knew that God had sent me for a purpose... interaction perhaps?
oh yes.. TWD! Finally arranged another rare meet up with the brilliant Dorie Greenspan for a bakeoff. This week's choice, a Brioche Plum Tart which I decidedly converted into one other bursting with the warm tones of winter spices. Swopped the plum jam with an apricot jam and the plums for packham pears covered with a handsome amount of sugared walnuts in mixed spices. The Brioche that had once broke my heart in the previous episode with the brioche snails had magically transformed into a poofed beauty of utter romance and rich bread. My face glistened with the pride as the shivering dough reach a snuggly warmth in the moist surroundings only to rise to greater heights again at it's last blasting stage. This recipe is definitely a winner. Thanks to Denise from Chez Us for picking out this lovely recipe. Do head down to her blog for the recipe and scroll down the rest of the TWD bloggers for a look of the other versions installed!
It's been ages since I've written a decent post. And when I say decent, meaning an entry with proper content, not entirely doused in overwhelmed emotions of wretched feelings. But what if I'm nothing more than that? A barrel bursting of liquid fuel just waiting to be ignited? Perhaps mum's right, I should enroll myself in some sort of EQ class (if that even exists?), can't seem to churn out answers the way people want to hear them. Again, I take on the villainous role. Not that it was intentional or anything, but I do agree that my non-chalent attitude can be a little over bearing sometimes. oh gosh, ramblings again. So sorry, where was I? ahh.. decent entry.
So moving on to more important things, I meant to write a little short entry on the recent happenings of the past weekend. To my blessed fortune, I was given the opportunity to prepare a 'high tea' spread (or in modest terms, 'cha dien' as we would normally call it) for the young adult fellowship and our parents who had been cordially invited to grace the occasion. Essentially a program aimed at resolving the differences between parents and their children, guest speakers included ling kang and his family shared their experiences and attempt to answer the nagging queries both from parents and the 'angsty' children alike.
The tea spread consisted of 7 simple items, 3 savouries and 4 sweets. All of which, after an entire day of slaving away, I managed to churn out from the depths of my kitchen sans my usual helper. Thanks goodness for the mummy-to-the-rescue at the point of meltdown and the occasional dishwasher brother who was more of a dirt and grime fanatic with endless complaints at the tip of his tongue. The Mini sesame crusted crab cakes with wasabi mayo, a classic; parmesan crusted baked chicken with apricot mustard dipping sauce and lastly the mini burgers (yes, the burger buns and beef patties all made from scratch! *wink*) were the first to make a showstopping entrance from the plates upon curtain call before the other sweets made their exit. Seems like more people have a penchant for salty than sweet don't you think?
Sweet butterfly cupcakes with strawberry swirl mascarpone filling whisked across the table followed by hearty 'flat' cream scones with jam, an enormous chocolate malt cheesecake and dainty blueberry turnovers; many of which had burst and yield under the high heat of the oven, the purple juices runeth over. All good, but still, the mini burgers were the star of the show. And being the hostess with the mostest, here's sharing with you the recipe for the buns! do shout out if you guys are interested in the recipe for the burger patties though.Mini Burger Buns
makes 22 small (2 inch diameter) buns
3/4 to 1 cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoons butter
1 large egg
3 1/2 cups All purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1) Mix and knead all of the dough ingredients—by hand, mixer, or bread machine—
to make a soft, smooth dough.
2) Cover the dough, and let it rise for 1 hour, or until it's doubled in bulk.
3) Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a round
1" thick (more or less); flatten to about 2" across. Place the buns on a lightly greased
baking sheet, cover, and let rise for about an hour, until very puffy.
4) If desired, brush buns with melted butter. Or brush lightly with egg wash (1 egg beaten
with 1 tablespoon water), and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
5) Bake the buns in a preheated 375°F oven for 12 to 15 minutes, till golden. Cool on a rack.
Thanks to everyone for their kind compliments. It was definitely an experience making all this food for you guys. Therapeutic for the heart yet not so much for the poor feet. Landed up with aching arch the next 2 days. Still, God provides in all his miraculous ways.
Now I pray that he sorts out the rest of the wreckage for me. Plans? What certainty can I have in life? How else can I ensure a life pure and sanctified unless I sow my seeds in the ground with his steadfast presence as my final marker? too many questions...
Itchiness creeps up my throat. Got to hit the sack folks. Goodnight babe.