Saturday, June 23, 2012

I could conquer mount Everest!

 Two nights in a row, making two new things, first the chocolate eclair and now the cream puff.

with these 'achievement', I feel that i could conquer Mount Everest.!!! a little exaggeration here.....macam drama Queen pulak.

Cream puff? Chocolate eclairs? I  am pretty sure some would say, " Cream puff? BIG DEAL , Eesy peasy......the easiest to do, just make the choux pastry and custard cream and you get cream puffs, right? Wrong! Not to me, it ain't, the thought of making eclairs, or cream puff,  something which tasted so scrumptious must be difficult, you know, the pastry, I am still confused, sweet pastry, savoury pastry, choux pastry and when I go through Martha Stewart's book, all kinds of names appear, more confused.....

but those two nights, i had to do them. It's not something that I could say 'No' to. so, i googled, I looked thru my collection of cook books, recipes collection ( which were everywhere, mind you ) in this year's diary, last year's note book, in my small note book, in my black note book, in my old STF recipe book, practically everywhere but one place. Now I was wishing that i had done what I was supposed to do, compile everything in one place.

for cream puff, I knew how to make the choux pastry ( thanx to my success in making the chocolate eclair the previous night.. I just used the same recipe for cream puff. But what about the custard cream? There are many versions, which one should i make? my friend, who ordered these cream puff was a big help.With her advise and with one recipe found on the net , plus the recipe in my book, I started making the custard.....after stirring it for quite a while ( it takes a lot  of patience to do this, keep on stirring till you get the stiff consistency.
filled the custard inside a piping bag and piped it into the puff. My friend suggested to pipe it through the bottom and not on the side, to avoid messiness and she was right. With just a size slightly smaller than a ping pong ball, all you need is just pop the cream puff straight into your mouth and it just melts , the thick custard cream inside the soft puff just melts in your mouth,
I never knew cream puff tasted this good. i have tasted cream puff before but it didn't give the same effect s it did when i made it myself. the fact that i had successfully made both the chocolate eclairs and cream puff made it taste a lot more sweeter. Aaahhh.... the taste of success.....big smile, HUGE!!

now i feel more confident to try out more new recipes. speaking of which, i have a long list of new recipes to try, from tiramisu to trifle ( yup, another easy dessert, trifle ) but kept postponing to make them. I used to make them regularly before but not here, i have not made it yet. soon, i hope.

till then, ......errr, that Mount Everest has to wait......:-)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

my first chocolate eclairs

Being away from home, far far away from home, on a foreign soil, away from my Umi's cek mek molek or pisang sira or netbat sira, i discovered , besides the waxes at Madame tussaud ( Michael jackson lookalike or James bond ) or the pigeons at Trafalgar square, something new, something sinfully rich and sweet and sensational.. something i had never tasted before, not in a small kampung in Kelantan in the 70s, and so, when i did, i fell in love with them instantly, or shall I say, love at first bite! one bite into its soft  choux pastry, with  the cream inside and chocolate topping, perfect, just perfect combination. And so, when I bit into them yesterday,  I  was falling in love with them all over again!!! and again !

Chocolate eclairs, my favourite, among many others , trifle, chocolate mousse, cheesecake, biskut batik, all of these were discovered when I was studying.As usual, I had been wanting to make them for quite a while now, just like the trifle,( save the trifle story later ) my two most favourite dessert. , but don't have the courage to try them. I have the recipe, not just one, but a few, i have googled for more information, I had planned to attend one of the classes organised by my baker friend, how to make the eclairs but just can't find the time to go just yet until i received the call yesterday morning.
"zue, i want you to make three types of pastries for me, one, your usual blueberry cheesetarts, the other, fruit tartlets and also chocolate eclairs. and I want them this evening for a function to be held at my hotel tonight.
Haa? what? OMG!
Talk about procrastination. 
This calls for a loud wake up call
Zue, get organised! and get it done ASAP!
compile your recipes, don't keep them everywhere
keep your favourite in one place
don't wait!
don't make excuses
just do it!
and so i did it
they were supposed to reach the hotel latest by 6.30 pm for the function would start at 7.30pm.At 4.30 pm i was still struggling with the recipe.
Pour the water into a pan, with butter ( i definitely have never done this before, water and butter)
when they start to boil, add in flour, pour it all at once and stir over a steady heat until the mixture comes together into a coherent mass ( word for word ikut buku ), and leaves the sides of the saucepan.

transfer the mixture to a larger bowl, add in eggs,  bit by bit until the mixture reaches a smooth, stiff, dropping consistency.
My friend knew how to make this and she said, you will know that yo have done it correctly when the dough rises in the oven. 
oh oh, moment of truth
when I saw them rising inside the oven, i drew a big sigh of relief
when I cut it open in the middle,it is cooked!( was this how it was supposed to look like? How would i know? this was my first time, but when I had piped the fresh cream inside, poured the chocolate sauce on top and had my first longing bite into it, i knew it, I had to make some more!

that was the eclair story, and what about this fruit tartlets? almost similar story, never done it before but wanting to try making them.
oops! gotta go, Hello Kitty rainbow cake and pecan butterscotch cake is waiting.
to be continued.....

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Day 2 Abah and Umi in Alor Staq

Cake in jars, the craze, the in thing, after cupcakes, came the macaroons or macaron, followed by pavlova, and in between, the rainbow cake and red velvet, until recently, the baking world once again, is buzzed with this new sensation. Everything wants to be bottled, red velvet in jars, vanila cakes with buttercream, blueberry fillings , cream and chocolate ganache layered in jars, rainbow cake in jars, if possible anything and everything which is layered and looks nice want to be bottled, why? They look pretty! Aren;t they? Added with a decorative doile underneath the lid, tied with a simple ribbon, this jar of cakes is suitable and presentable enough to be given as gifts to your loved ones, to your friends and relatives, and not forgetting, as hantaran too. All you need is a little creativity, and you will receive  remarks like this:
"it's too cute and x sampai hati nak makan".

30 jars of vanila cake layered with swiss meringue buttercream, blueberry fillings, buttercream and chocolate ganache, for Farah's pot luck session with her colleagues. my first batch of cake in jars. I had been tempted to make them , bought a few jars, looked up the recipes but just couldn't find the time to make them, until Farah's request came in an email. I thank her for putting me up with this challenge, without which i would still be toying with the idea of whether I wanted to make them or not.Thank you Farah.

this hantaran cake looks kinda similar, isn't;s like a dejavu, you have a feeling that you have seen it before but where...... you are right, you have seen it before, only a couple of weeks earlier for this lady requested for an almost similar design to the one I made for my customer on the 16th may.

with red velvet inside, i covered with 'bakers rose' colour fondant and decorated the cake with pinkish store bought gumpaste flowers,and later on placed in a transparent hantaran box and decorated with just simple ribbons around the box , one of the earliest pick up for the day, for an engagement ceremony in tandop. she and her family came all the way from Perak and later on, when the 'majlis' is over, she would come and collect the MAG-D and MAG-A plus the red velvet birthday cake.Thank you kak Eda

yellow theme for the akad nikah hantaran cake, picked up just before the majlis, another red velvet cake.thank you Nawar

just a simple deco for this set, Mama came and collected this set at around 7 am, the earliest pick up on that day.Thank you Mama

100 pieces of brownies with walnut in a square casing and another 100 pieces of chocolate cupcakes in cups with dome cover for Nawar's wedding, as door gifts.Thank you Nawar.Thank you Tsara', ameer and Batriysia for helping Mama with the ribbons, and the packaging.

the other red velvet birthday cake to be brought back to Ipoh.Thank you Adik.

What's with these brownies, they were meant for the 100 sliced brownies door gift but it had already been written Pn,Noormala's name on them instead of nawar's,  they became hers. the former called me up in the morning asking me if I had any cakes available and of course I didn't because I did not normally make cakes in advance, I only make and bake them as and when requested, but this was one lucky lady for I had made these BWW and they would only be picked up the following day. since BWW was not difficult to make, she, being one of my most supportive customers and so, I offered her these two if she was interested and I could make more for the door gifts, and of course she agreed.Thank you Kak mala.

The two MAG-Daging and one MAG-ayam for kak Eda to bring back to Ipoh.Thank you Kak Eda

The cake: Brownies with walnut
The theme: purple and white
the requirement: place the BWW in a box with window and decorated with the purple and white theme


plus, she also brought two more boxes for me to deco with brown

and pink theme. Quite last minute , fortunately I had the ribbons and flowers.Thank you kak Min.
so, with all these cakes and brownies, door gifts, and cake in jars, where are my abah and Umi?They went visiting my MIL.At least they wouldn't be bored with their daughter busy making cakes.
to be continued....

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Day 1 of abah and Umi's visit

upon arriving at our house, the first thing that attracted my father was these three little chubby, hairy and gebus kitten, Lily's little kitties. They are less than a month old.  Abah has always been cat lovers ever since I can remember and my brother, sister and I used to have a cat each when we were small. we named them Chomel, TamTih, cheloreng, and many many more....

my version of mee sanggul goreng for a hungry husband at close to midnite.

Basic ingredients for Asam Pedas:
red chillies, small chillies( chili padi), galangal, ginger and tumeric. 
This step by step guide on how to make Asam Pedas ( umi's version) is a guide for me, for my future reference. I don't fancy asam pedas but my other half does and every time we go back to my home towmn, my Umi never fail to cook this for him. As for me, she would cook either sup tulang, or ikan kerisi goreng plus sotong ( yang ada telur ) rebus with shallots and lemongrass....yummmmm....

blend them all and mix with the already blended mixture of dried chillies, shallots, garlic and prawn paste ( belacan)

just pour it into a pan ( no need to fry or saute it ), and some water and leave it to boil, don't forget to add in the lemon grass, bunga kantan and daun kesum, plus kacang bendi and a few wedges of tomatoes

taste it with salt, sugar and some tamarind sauce, add in fish ( can use ikan keli, ikan pari, in this case, we use ikan.....err, I forgot the name of the fish, need to ask my Umi..)

done! it kinda look like singgang to me, Umi once did another versiion, drier and redder ( the colour is very red and looks very hot ) than this version.

our lunch for that day, Asam Pedas ikan dotdot..., jeruk maman which Umi brought from Kelantan, sup tulang rusuk, sayur bayam, ikan bawal emas goreng, 
Dessert for me, since they don't really like pisang nangka, i made this pisang sira using the balance of the pisang nangka which i freid the day before. 
very easy to make, just slice the banana into two, place them in a pot, pour some water, just enough to cover the bananas, threw in a couple table sppons of sugar and cook them till the sauce or sugar syrup is almost dry....yumm, my favourite since i was small....

batrisyia helping mama , making ribbons for the door gifts.thank you dear

MAG-D macaroni au gratin for Farah, she wanted to try this after seeing the photos so often in the blog

plus 30 jars of cakes, still in the process of layering be continued..

two three tiered in one day

Congratz dearies!

ivory roses on these three tiered cakes
three tiered ivory flowers wedding cake, red velvet, rainbow cake and choc and vanilla cake.
and three tiered red and white birthday cakes, vanila with blueberries filling, red velvet and chocolate moist cakes


fruit basket ( with cupcakes too ) for her VIP guests who were staying at one of the hotels in Perlis.

'persembahan' for HRH.



similar design to the one i made earlier, same cololur too, purple and white on chocolate cake with ganache

Thank you Ma'am

You made my day, beautiful ladies!

between 1.30 am and 6 am, I managed to make all these, plain bake cheesecake, blueberry cheesecake, oreo chocolate cheesecake, chocolate moist cakes, pecan butterscotch cake and marble cheese the next few hours, we would be driving to KL, for a short break. Why? It's the school holiday ! My kids had been asking me to take a break after seeing how hard I had been baking the last couple of weeks. 
so, where am i now? not very far from our place, it was only about five hour drive from our place but that nite it took us much longer, say three extra hours longer.! We reached Kota Damansara at 12 midnite, after leaving Alor Staq at around 4 pm. The worst jam ever ( actually there was an even more worse than this ) but this is as bad. 
However, if this will make the kids happy, then, be it. We spent some time at one of the shopping malls here, me, bought a few books, yup, cake decorating books of course, got a few things for the kids too,, ,

my second day here was even better, had breakfast with my fellow baker at the Loaf in Subang Jaya. Spent a few wonderful hours talking and chatting and exchanging stories from the general topic , about the decreasing moral in the youth today, to the school system, to the maid issue, which left us cringing, knowing what we had both been through, almost too similar cases , to the one thing ( among others, of course ) that we both have in common, baking and cake decorating.
three hours passed , so quickly and it was already time to say goodbye, thank you kak jun for taking the time off to see me, till we meet again in cyberspace after this.

I had a few hours to spare before my next meet-up with yet another wonderful and dear person. so I walked alone int that big Empire Shopping Gallery, looking and admiring the window displays, and me, being me, just couldn't resist the temptation of buying a new pair of shoes. One shop that really melts my heart  was the shop with the lovely lace dresses for cute young girls.Those dresses made me wish that my little girl, Batrisyia is still a little girl, a two year old toddler, so that she can wear those gorgeous little lacy, ribbony dresses.

My friend, or rather, more like a sister to me, came at around two and we headed to another location in Shah Alam, where we had our lunch at a cosy little cafe at the SACC Mall..Again, another few wonderful hours spent together, chatting while digging in the roast chicken with potatoes and broccoli, ( which the lady forgot to make in the first place), but since we were in no hurry to go elsewhere, we wouldn't mind waiting.Tasted the cheesecake there, as usual, it was typical of me, wanting to taste how other cakes or cheesecakes taasted like and mmmmm, it was okay, not quite to my liking, but it was alright, but the roast chicken was good. I finished the whole plate!Thank you Kak Jee for taking your day off to see me, appreciate it.

Meeting and spending a few hours with two wonderful friends/sisters in one day, what more could a lady ask for. I am blessed to having known them, one , of whom I had only known the past three years , only because we both love baking and the other, for more than three decades, because we went to the same school and had been keeping in touch ever since.Three years and thirty years are just numbers, it felt like we have known one another forever!

There's yet another lady that I would wish and hope to see, another wonderful lady, in fact , all these ladies that have crossed my path have all been wonderful, I wouldn't describe them any other way. Wishfully I would love to see them all but my visit is very brief and I only managed to see only a few.

Thank you beautiful ladies, you have made my day!

red velvet fever