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!!

2011年9月6日 星期二

butterflies in stomach

I had always loved to make palmiers, because they are so easy yet so sweet and crispy. Everyone of my friends love it and it's definitely a lovely treat to make after a long, hard and busy day.

Those little butterflies delight me always and I loved the process of painting butter, vanilla essence and sugar on the pastry :)

Simple as it is, here are the ingredients:
1 piece of frozen ready-made puff pastry
approximately 20g melted butter
1 few drops of vanilla essence
60g of granulated sugar

1. roll sugar all around the pastry.
2. add a few drops of the vanilla essence to the melted butter
3. lightly roll butter onto the sugar filled pastry until evenly distributed.
4. do the same for the other side of the pastry.
5. divide the pastry into 4 rectangular portions and fold each side of the pastry for 1/4. fold again so that both sides meet at the center.
6. put some sugar and butter on the folded pastry again.
7. further fold the pastry (either left to right or right to left) so that one side overlaps the other side.
8. cut into small pieces of around 1.5" each.
9. refrigerate it a bit if it's too soft to handle.
10. until it's slightly hardened, bake it inside a preheated oven at 180c for around 15 minutes until one side turns golden brown. flip the palmiers to the other side until the other side also reaches golden brown. Set aside and ready to serve.

2011年9月2日 星期五


終於決定起個自己的blog,,原因很簡單,想開始為自己的夢想爭戰。這一刻竟覺得心情很複雜,因為知道距離夢想的終點路途還十分遙遠,但經過3 年來,焙烘已從一個活動成為一個嗜好,一個我下班後還會有動力去做的事。當我發現自己會捨得花很多很多時間研究這一門藝術,(我稱之為藝術因為當中包含了個人的創意、心思及技巧,集藝於術)我發現自己對此的興趣有增無減,我就開始明白.. 什麼是夢想了。那種對焙烘濃厚的興趣,是我在這麼多年的學業裡都沒有產生,但每當我完成一次的焙烘並看見親友吃得高興滿足時,那種喜悅及成功感實在不能在現有的事業上找得到。所以我說,這是夢想與現實的一場爭戰,因為我明白自己在不久的將來都沒有可能實現自己的夢想,然而,我每次焙烘都在努力,努力掌握更好的技術,為要實踐我的夢想。懂我事業的人,也許會認為我若為夢想放棄現有的事業是很笨的一回事,但我知道,活在現實裡依然可以堅持夢想!

從小到大,我都不曾知道自己的夢想是什麼... 也沒有很強烈的擁有過一個夢想,但當我決定開此blog的一刻,我知道,我找到夢想了。