2011年12月27日 星期二

Gingerbread treats

Yes. This year I made over 80 gingerbread cookies with each and everyone of them having a unique design.  It was a tough test of creativity but I really enjoyed the process although I spent more then 12 hours decorating them.. not to mention the baking time and preparation.

Yet, I was so glad that not only did the cookie taste well, the decoration were very impressive too. Everyone who got my cookie was delighted and amazed by the decoration, which gave me a lot of encouragement.

Thanks to all those who supported me and those who enjoyed the cookies. :)

The recipe is simple, same as my last post, I bought a gingerbread mix from City'super HK, (although I forgot the brand.. it was definitely not "gingerhaus" manufactured in USA - which tasted rather bad) and made the royal icing myself from the recipe here.

I got many themes for the cookies, and here it is:-

House theme

Christmas Charms theme

Christmas Tree theme

Christmas charms with santa!

Christmas tree with santa!

Gingerbread man 

Gingerbread men theme

Sheep theme

I am submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #14 Creative Christmas Bakes (December 2011) hosted by Hankerie.

I must try it again next year :)

Christmas Nativity Story

This year I decided to make a nativity story with gingerbread cookies.  Thanks to a friend who gifted me a set of nativity story cookie cutters on my baptism, I was able to use some imagination and complete the nativity story. It was indeed a test of decorating skills because the cookies were small and not easy to decorate at all, especially the facial expressions.

To save time, I used a gingerbread mix bought from City'super HK which required adding around 30g of water and 30 g of butter, and I made approximately 80 cookies. It tasted really good and I was quite satisfied with the outcome. I made the royal icing using the recipe from here. I liked the icing's consistency, but beware that if you use liquid food colouring, the royal icing cannot last for another day as it will turn more fluid and not good for drawing anymore.

Christmas is my favourite time of the year, because of all beautiful decorations, christmas trees, exchanging gifts and most important of all, it's the birth of Jesus.  I am so glad everyone enjoyed the cookies and I was able to spread message of "Love, Peace and Joy" in Christmas!

I am submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #14: Creative Christmas Bakes (December 2011) hosted by Hankerie.
Merry Christmas to everyone! 

2011年11月12日 星期六

Cupcake mania @ Double Chocolate Cupcake with buttercream icing

Here it is! I made another double chocolate cupcake with buttercream icing and chocolates for a friend's party and they were fantastic!  Loved the English plates that my friend provided, they made the cupcakes even more appetizing!

I followed the recipe of chocolate cupcake from Shirley @ 原味生活  but used my own buttercream icing recipe which is done by mixing 188g of butter with around 150g of icing sugar (to be adjusted to your own sweetness) and some food colouring (if desired).

Cupcakes are definitely an all time favourite!

I am submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #13: Enjoy Cupcakes! (November 2011)hosted by Min of Min' Blog. :)

Farewell - Lemon Cupcakes with cream cheese icing

Last Friday was my last day in my department and so, I was thinking of making farewell cakes instead of buying cakes.  I didn't actually realize it was indeed so tiring and difficult to make 80 portions of cakes until I started working on it two nights before my last day.  I had a total of around 7 hours to work on the cakes and in the end, I made it! :)

Out of all kinds of cakes I made, I received great comments on the Lemon Cupcake with cream cheese frosting.  Because of the shortage of time, I used a 250g pack of original flavour cake mix (adding 4 eggs and 30 g of water) and DIY the recipe a bit, by adding the zest of one whole lemon and 1tsp of lemon juice.  The cream cheese frosting was made by mixing 225g of cream cheese together with 55g of butter, adding then 200g of icing sugar and mixing finally with 2.5ml of vanilla essence.  The aroma of lemon filled my nose after the cupcake was baked and my colleagues loved it!

I am submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #13: Enjoy Cupcakes! (November 2011) hosted by Min of Min's Blog.

2011年10月26日 星期三

A business idea?

I was quite pleased with my first crafts of cake pops. Although the decorations were not perfect and there were many flaws due to the bad handling of chocolate and coating... my friends were still very amazed when they saw the cake pops.

I came up with the idea of making them when I was thinking what to bake for my colleague's birthday party.  Having known that other friends are going to buy cakes for them, I decided that I shouldn't bake any thing extra as there would be too much cake for everyone! Instead, I came up with the idea of making birthday pops.  I loved them!! Although I was a bit lazy and due to time constraint, I made the cake inside with cake mix, I still spent a lot of time shaping the cake and decorating the cake.

My efforts paid off as my colleagues were very very impressed and they loved it.  I was so blessed and happy that I could bring joy to them. Thank you God, for giving me a pair of hands that could bake and decorate.

And I do realize that in Hong Kong, cake pops are not that popular.  But this is such a cute and pretty sweet for parties!! Maybe I could specialize in that.. if I would ever open a shop in the future...!

Inspried by Bakerella.

2011年10月17日 星期一

Fruit Pastry Cake

Recently I was very attracted to making a fruit pastry cake, as it seemed sooo appetizing and delicious.

Finally, during the first week of October, I made it! It smelled sooo fruity and good when it was in the oven. And I was quite satisfied with the outcome and outlook of the cake. Everyone loved it and one of my colleagues even said she wouldn't mind eating tens of it. I felt so blessed I have the gift to make good cakes and share the enjoyable moments with my friends and family.

Yes. This cake is so addictive that I am going to make it again, again and again!

It actually reminded me of Maxim's pineapple cake.  But my colleague said they were way better than Maxim's cakes. :P and on second attempt, I made it with cake flour and brown sugar. It still tasted fantastic! Wow!

The only thing I was dissatisfied was that I shouldn't have added the raisins and cranberries on top. Cuz after baking, they went really hard and wasn't quite delicious anymore!

Little fruity cakes!

With peach and kiwi

Fruit Pastry cake in fisheye!

In my present boxes hehe

2011年10月5日 星期三

Cinnamon rolls

I have been reading a lot of baking blogs lately, especially excited about seeing the round ups of Aspiring Bakers #11 Mid-Autumn Treats for September, hosted by Happy Home Baker.  There were so many nicely decorated and baked/ iced festive treats and I was also happy to see my own submission in the blog.  This is indeed a very fun and meaningful activity for those who loves to bake.

In fact, in the past two weeks I have been baking sometime too. But I was too busy to update what I have baked.  Anyway, most of the times they were just easy stuff like cookies and muffins.  I have long awaited for this Chung Yeung Festival (which we get a day off from work) to bake something that is pretty time consuming.  And, I decided to do what I did with Marianne, my flatmate back in Copenhagen when I was off to exchange studies, Cinnamon Rolls, recipe following that of Happy Home Baker.  I read some reviews and thought it was quite easy to make.  But things didn't turn out exactly what I have hoped for, haha. The dough was much more moist than I thought it would be and I had a really hard time rolling it out and shaping the roll. I sprinkled a lot of flour already, and I really want to know what was the problem.  Also, I was stupid enough to buy cinnamon stick, thinking that it would be so easy to extract cinnamon afresh.. but I had a super tiring time scraping the cinnamon stick to the grater (which was the only thing I had to extract cinnamon)... then mom told me to use the electric mixer.. so we chopped the cinnamon sticks into little pieces and put it in the mixer.  Just when I thought it was successful, because I saw the sticks turned into power-like products, then I realized that I have broken the mixer because the plastic stub under the mixer was too hot and it kind of melt and broke...:(

Anyway, I was able to extract fresh cinnamon.. and the cinnamon rolls that I made were very small and cute. My sister ate two and she said it was really good.  I hope so.. but the bread became hard after a few hours.  I decided to put it into the freezer, and I think we could still eat it whenever we want by reheating it in the oven again.  It was a nice try though, I had great fun making the rolls :) And I really missed the times in Copenhagen when me and Marianne made like 4 dozens of cinnamon rolls in one go!!

I had a really hard time rolling out this dough.. it was very sticky :(

but the cinnamon were sooo fresh!! I added some raisins too

Just before baking. In fact, they are very small rolls only! hhehe. Less than the size of my palm.

And here is the completed cinnamon rolls :) Not too bad!

Crazy me and marianne 

And these were the cinnamon rolls I made with Marianne back in Copenhagen!

And now I am so looking forward to the weekend! I am going to try a fruit pound cake, hopefully!

2011年9月26日 星期一

Stay Hungry. Stay foolish. 求知若渴,虛心若愚

Today I read an article in the newspaper which gave me great insights. It was written by Steve Jobs when he gave a speech at the 2005 Graduation Ceremony of Stanford University.  In the article, he mentioned that he had three stories to share with the graduates, one about cconnecting the dots, the other about love and loss and the last one about death.

He dropped out of college adn went to a calligraphy class to learn about typography.  And he found great application of the skill when he designed the first Macintosh computer. 

"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.  So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.  You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever."

There are so many external factors and influence that pulled us back from pursuing something by gut feeling and by will.  A girl reads law and it was expected that she would become a lawyer.  Her parents have spent so much money in supporting her to go to law school, to pursue a career that seemed to have a glamourous and successful future.  It seemed to her that although she did not like law that much, it would be wasteful to pursue another dream, after so many years of study.  So she continued to become a lawyer... We have heard so many stories of these, and is it too sad to realize that this is the state we are in?

Steve Jobs metnioned that he got fired from Apple and he started his own comapny NeXT. Suprisingly, in a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT and so he returned to Apple again.  Yes, loosing a job was an awful tasting medicine, but the patient needs it, he said.

"Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick.  Don't lose faith... You have got to find what you love... Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.  And the only way to do great work is to love what you do."

When I read to this, there was only one thing that kept pondering in my mind. The thing that I loved to do... and sadly it was not my present job. I had a very perplexed feeling, as I felt that I was so stuck in my present job and I do not see that I would be able to pursue what I love to do at least in the next 5 years.  Is that why people say we should plan for a ten year goal? I suddenly realized what I wanted to be in 5 years and in 10 years could be so different.  10 years do appear to me.. truly as another stage of life. And as I wrote, deep in my heart I really hoped that when I look back to this post after 10 years, I would really be doing something I am dreaming of.

We all fear death.  But it as so true, as played in Midnight Paris, the movie, that if you fear death, you could never be a great writer.  I believe this is so even if we are not writers.  We fear death and that's why we try to avoid thinking about death.  But death can be so close to us. And although I have heard it many times, Steve Jobs reminded again that. remembering you will be dead soon is the most important tool you can encounter to help you make the big choices in life, because almost everything, all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure, they all fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.

"Remebering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.  You are already naked.  There is no reason not to follow your heart."

This actually echoes his first story and second story about finding what you truly want to do and love what you do and simply just do it.  Because they will all happen if you truly follow your heart and intuition.  He reminded me not to be trapped by dogma, living with the results of other people's thinking, and drowning out your own inner voices by noises of others' opinion.  I guess inside our hearts, we do really know what we want to become, it's just that we are afraid to achieve it, or couldn't care less about our dreams because of all sorts of reasons.. e.g. we can't make a living of it, we are not talented enough, we do not have the necessary capital to achieve.. etc. Yes, these may be the factors hindering the achievement of dreams.  But isn't there a saying "When there is a will, there is a way?"
Set our souls free, and oh yes, I feel lighter.  And I know, one day, soon, I will see my dream come true.  

The full script of Steve Job's script can be found here.

2011年9月22日 星期四

100% home-made

I got this little stamp for making cookies from my boss last Christmas as a Christmas present.  I absolutely loved the gift and never thought he was so observant and got me a gift that I really liked!

At last, I used the stamp to make butter cookies today.  I haven't been making butter cookies for a very long time, because it was not too healthy, and it uses up a lot of my time to stamp good-looking cookies.  I realized that it wasn't as easy as I thought, and it turned out that my rolling of the dough was quite uneven such that the cookie surface was not very level-ed. Anyway, it was still a good attempt and I loved the stamped effect with the words "home bake".  Yes! It's real 100% HOME-BAKED full of love and sweetness and the smell of very well mixed butter.  My mom loved it!

Recipe: 印模牛油曲奇@ Shirley@原味生活

2011年9月13日 星期二

Belated Happy Moon Festival

Happy Moon Festival!

This year I just spent the night with my family and we played mj!! It was a fun night and we tried all sorts of mooncake.

In fact, I did make some mooncakes, most of them being pink in colour, with a flaky texture.  It's chiu chow style, following the recipe of Happy Home Baker and Carol 自在生活, and I would call them pink swirl flaky mooncake (can't really think of a rather more professional term for it...LOL). It turned out quite nice and I was quite satisfied with the appearance of them, although some of my family and friends thought it looked a bit weird. :) I made the moon cakes with three kinds of fillings - lotus seed, taro and sweet potato. The mooncake was not too sweet, they were just perfect after a heavy festive dinner !!

Love the arrangement!

I really enjoyed the time baking these little things. I had great fun searching for the boxes, making my own labels of "Happy Mid Autumn" and packing them nicely :)

I am submitting this post to  Aspiring Bakers #11: Mid-Autumn Treats (September 2011) hosted by Happy Home Baking.  I started reading her blog a while ago and tried a few of her recipes. They are great and it was her very edible pictures of these cute little mooncakes that encouraged me to bake my own mooncakes for the festival!  This is the first time I am making public of my blog. Although I am not sure if anyone really does read my blog, but the attempt of participating in Aspiring Bakers is certainly boosting my confidence of what I can achieve and an encouragement to myself by sharing my joy of baking with others who feel the same.

2011年9月10日 星期六

Curly treats*

Last week I spent some quality time baking brownies. They were so amazing and delicious that my family and friends could not help but eat non-stop. Although it was a bit over-baked, I am still so glad I found another great recipe from Tony Wong.

Today, when I thought about it again, I realized how much I enjoyed baking. Yes, it takes up a lot of my time and effort, and sweats, but they are all worth it when I see satisfaction in people who bite on it. I could bake a whole afternoon and not realize it was time for dinner!! I would give up answering calls from boyfriend and focus on making my delicious treats. This is dedication, and this is what I truly want to be dedicated to.  Baking just makes me feel... so refreshed and satisfied and most important of all, happy!!

As I have just opened my own blog a while ago, I would like to share some pictures of my treats I did in the past which I loved and enjoyed most. Thanks to all the friends who gave support by eating my treats, giving me very positive encouragements, I was most delighted when I saw smiles and yummy looks on your faces :)

chocolate cupcakes with buttercream icing :)


banana muffin

fudge brownies!!

chocolate lamington

strawberry mousse cake!

first attempt of swiss roll..

my favourite chocolate pudding! its melting inside warms the winter!

blueberry tarts!

mini strawberry chocolate cakes!

strawberry and blueberry tartlets

chocolate truffles
Last of all, I loved the presentation using English style plates!!