Archive | August, 2012

Breakfast Toast

30 Aug

Good morning! A quick hello and snapshot, what do you have for breakfast today?

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I am slowly nudged awake by the gentleness of this cream cheese toast drizzled with honey. Then, the aromatic guava with sharp balinese lime marmalade gave me a bang to get going. September is coming, fellas.

PS: I used left-over cream cheese for the toast and here’s the trick: scoop out the amount you need and in a small bowl, beat the heck out of it with the back of a spoon until you get a creamy, fluffy spreadable cream cheese.

Wishing you an astounding day,
Dee

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Mini Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

24 Aug

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Every time my best friend, M comes to my house and spends some time in my room, she leaves some evidence. Back in high school, she left her phone. Then her watch. Then her books, cosmetics and a handful of other stuff I can’t even remember anymore.

Recently, she left her earphone. I let it laid tangled exactly where she left it for a week. Then when she came by to get it, she took my phone instead of her own phone. Today, after hours of laughing and hanging out, she left me a paper plane.

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It was made out of a brochure from the supermarket we went earlier. And just like the rest of the stuff she left, I let that paper plane sit right where she put it. I know it was not something precious, not something she would call me later and made sure she left it on my place and did not lose it.

I left it there, even though knowing it is categorized as junk. I left it there, because it represent her presence in my room. That after a year not seeing her, she was here. Breathing and alive, kicking and laughing. There were some several tear drops too, but that didn’t matter.

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We met in high school and managed to stay close across the seas and across the years (she went to the US while I stayed home) Our relationship are based on texts, Facebook message and occasional skype.

I was terrified at first, not knowing whether this friendship will withstand the distance and time difference.

Will our world suddenly become so different that we cannot relate to each other anymore?

Then I remember how exactly I got to know her. Once we realized we have something in common, we hit it off and decided to bake together.

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The goal was simple. Baked a vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream and get it right. On the contrary of how classic and easy it may sound, it took us numerous amounts of frustration, sleepovers, sweats and hard work to get the perfect springy cake. We tried handful of recipes, tweaked, tried it again, and so on until we found the perfect version.

The whole high school students and teachers alike loved it that we decided to make little money out of it. I couldn’t remember in the end what we spend that money on, but what I do remember is that the cupcake gave me what money can’t ever, ever buy: friendship.

Every time I bake, devour and share this cupcake, it is a silent gratification for our friendship.

She’s flying back tonight to US and I have no idea when am I going to see her again, warm and vibrant in flesh. Safe travel, my friend. I”ll see you when I see you.

Mini Vanilla Cupcake with Vanilla Buttercream
Adapted from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

We weren’t so inclined on frosting that is tooth-achingly sweet, so this vanilla buttercream is sweet but on the stronger taste of butter and would melt in your mouth like one. We believed it pair very excellent with the cake, which both moist and springy.

Makes 48 Mini Cupcakes

Vanilla Cupcake
1 cup of softened butter
1 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup self rising flour
1/2 cup of low fat milk
1 Tsp of vanilla extract

Vanilla Buttercream
1 cup softened butter
2 cup of powdered sugar
1 tsp of vanilla extract
—————————————————————————-
To make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 F/180 C

In a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, medium speed, cream the butter until fluffy and pale. Add the sugar by spoonfuls, waiting until it dissolves into the butter.

Add eggs one at the time, beating well after each addition.

In a bowl, shift the flours and combine with a whisk or fork. Turning down the mixer speed to slow, add the flour in four part, alternating with milk and vanilla. Scrape the mixing bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is well combined. The batter would look thick and fluffy, like yellow clouds.

Line the muffin pan with paper liner and spoon the batter with teaspoons into the cups about three-quarters full. Bake until the top spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted comes out clean for about 20-22 minutes.

Move the cupcakes to wire rack and let cool completely before icing.

To make the buttercream:

In a mixing bowl fitted with paddled attachment, cream the butter until smooth and fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract.

Gradually beat in the sugar, scraping the bowl when necessary.

Ice your cupcakes.

Red Cherries

20 Aug

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My dad wants to get a six pack. Not a six pack of soda, not a six pack of beer, but abs. Like, movie star abs. Like Ryan Gosling in Crazy Stupid Love abs. (Remember when Emma Stone squealed, “Seriously? It’s like your photoshopped!” I can’t decide which one I like better, her attitude or his abs – If you haven’t watched the movie, go run now and rent it. It’s hilarious)

He watches countless of videos, does hundreds of sit ups, spends half of his waking hour in the gym, the list goes on and on. I dare not to laugh nor tease him since I still value the fact that my head is still attached to my neck.

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One good thing that comes out from his obsession is that my fridge is now full of juicy, robust fruits. From our local exotics of rambutan, jack fruit and dragon fruit to imported berries and all kind of cherries.

I am now proud to say that when the clock strikes midnight and my stomach demands a little snack, I no longer nibbling and sinking my teeth on the allure of velvety chocolate bars.

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I rip open the silky plastic wrapper instead and reveal the plump, proud cherries. It sit there on my palm with its glossy glory and when I bite into it, oh, the sweetness!

The cold from refrigerator hits my teeth with a bang while my tongue dance on the festivity of syrupy juice. My lips would turn red, like those red hot lipstick you wear to feel sexy.

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Then, I would slowly close the refrigerator door and tip-toed back to my room, ready to sleep with a content smile on my face.

Snapshots

16 Aug

Sometimes I do things without reasons.

I have always felt that it is important to simply do things just for the heck of it. So if you ask me, why Snapshots? I cannot give you a legitimate answer. Some of the pictures below may be related to food, some may not.

One thing I know for sure, looking at these pictures makes me happy and I want to share them with you.

“Snapshots” is a post consist of 3 pictures that inspire me, induce nostalgia or simply put a smile on my face.

There will be occasional day meal, travel pictures and eye catching dessert/candy/snacks I stumbled on.

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I can’t forget this sunset in Jimbaran, Bali. I Love the silhouette of the boats and how the dark tangerine from the sinking sun reflected on the sand.

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My first successful cupcake ever! (back in 2009) Lemon cupcake with cream cheese frosting, drizzled with honey.

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A cute strawberry shortcake bakery I passed by in Tokyo, Japan.

Blueberry Icebox Pie

14 Aug

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I imagine there is a cup of hot steaming coffee by my side. If it sits close enough to my keyboard, my pinky finger would briefly brush the warm glass when I press Enter. Maybe the earthy smell would slowly nudge my brain awake like the morning chaste kiss mothers give to their toddler.

But no, no coffee here. I don’t even know if I like coffee enough to have it everyday. I have always been a tea drinker.

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It’s just that I always have this romantic thinking that early morning writing would be accompanied by coffee. (Does this even make sense?)

I don’t usually write in this ungodly hour, (Hi! 5 AM here in Jakarta) but my classes would start in 2 weeks and I can’t afford the luxury of “Writing-at-midnight-until-early-morning-session” if I want to be completely awake for that itty bitty details of marketing plans or business research *arghh*

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The fact that the sun is slowly rising distract me. The shine creeps through my window and I imagine myself covering my eyes with blanket, wishing the night would last a little longer.

Since I can’t have any of that, I think coffee might be my next best friend for the next year of college.( Which my last year and most probably the worst)

I still don’t know what kind of coffee would be my favorite- but what I do know is that I do not mind having coffee with this blueberry icebox pie every morning.

I would say this pie is a pure kick-ass-blueberry-goodness. The ingredients are pretty much only blueberries and chocolate wafers.

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Yup. That’s it.

Simple flavors. Fresh. Best eaten cold. ( with coffee!)

Blueberry Icebox Pie
Inspired from At Home with Magnolia by Allysa Torey

First there’s the fruit itself, shiny blue little things, gleaming in light. Second, (and my favorite) is the jam-like filling. Deep blue, almost purple even.. It’s like seeing into a pool of sapphire. It is soft and a little bit chewy, with sharp tang that will wash away any sleepiness that hover your mind in the morning.

Serves one 9 inch pie

Crust
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs

Filling
5 cups of fresh blueberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping
1 cup of fresh blueberries
—————————————————————————-

To make the crust:
In a bowl, combine melted butter and the chocolate wafer crumbs. Butter lightly the 9 inch pie dish then dump the crust mixture on it. With the back of a spoon or your fingers, spread and firmly press the crust. Cover tightly in cling wrap and freeze for one hour.

To make the filling:
In a medium-size saucepan, combine the blueberries, sugar and cornstarch and stir constantly over medium heat until it reaches the consistency of jam, 10 to 15 minutes.

Reduce the heat to low and cook just a slight more until the mixture thicken. Remove from the heat and whisk in vanilla extract. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Take the pie crust out from the freezer and spread the now cool filling evenly onto it. Dot with fresh blueberries, cover with plastic wrap again and chill the pie in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 8 hours.

Pots & Pans

9 Aug

Say hello to the newest additions of my family. Rrr… My kitchen family, that is.

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Mr Loaf Pan, readers.

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Readers, Mr Loaf Pan.

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Here are Mr and Mrs Springform 9 inch pan. Mr SP (Lets just make up some fun nicknames, shall we?) has been a member of my kitchen family for years and has been quite lonely.

“I need a (girl)friend so you can make layer cakes, Dee!”

I hear ya, big guy.

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They are so happy together now.

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Last but not no mean the least, Miss 4 quart Sauce Pan. Look how glamorous she is. All shiny and gleaming.

She makes a huge difference in my life already. No more overflowing custards on-too-small-saucepan! I can make stocks now! Stews! Oh, the possibilities!

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I’m gonna go to the kitchen and introduce them to Mr Stove and Mrs Oven now.

See ya around,

Dee

Deconstructed Lemon-Blackberry Trifle

5 Aug

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I’m trying to come up with a good first liner in this paragraph to draw you in. Nothing interesting comes up, so I decide to write about being confused instead. I stare at the blank page as seconds tick by, wondering what I should say…

The words are stuck on the tip of my tongue, a little shy from my fingers that are dancing on the keyboard. It is there, somewhere, hidden like the ingredient in a cake that you can’t place, but somehow you know it is something that makes the cake so different, so unique.

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I try harder. I believe in trying, I believe that behind every greatness there are hundreds of hours of bawling, melt-downs or just plain banging-your-head-to-the-wall kind of activity.

Which is what I feel like doing right now, hitting the same buttons over and over again, putting words with words, only to press backspace with such force my finger feels bruised.

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If you’re still here, listening, thank you. I hope I do not turn you away from this ranting and rambling, because what comes next is good. Really good.

This deconstructed lemon-blackberry trifle to me, feels like a rainbow after a storm. It feels like a rush of words coming beautifully, dancing and laced by a delicate pink ribbon, after hours of punching the keyboards madly.

It is so easy, a no brainer and it is both alluring and comforting. It might as well be called assembling rather than baking.

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You cut a lemon loaf in half and slice it thinly. Arrange the slices in a platter, soak them with a mixture of sweet and dashing apricot marmalade that has been swimming in orange juice.

Get the heavy cream, chilled as the first breath of winter. Whip it and once the pure white liquid turn into fluffy cloud of goodness, Spoon carefully on top of the soaked loaf then bring out the blackberries.

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I like the way sometimes the little black pearl would puff out and smear my fingers purple. Funny how it looks like midnight, named black, but leaves a soft, violet hue.

Arrange the proud, bouncy berries on top of the cream. Sprinkle with little speckle of orange zest. Cut it, eat it, share it and be merry.

Deconstructed Lemon-Blackberry Trifle
Inspired by Nigella Kitchen

This trifle taste like a light, fluffy sweet pudding. I made it for my cousin baby shower. I’ve been told by my Aunt ( who has been who complaining she couldn’t find the trifle in the morning) that the lovely couple and their friends inhaled it in one serving.

This is more of a guide then a recipe. It all depends on your choice of the platter. I chose a circle platter with a 9 inch diameter, so if your presentation vehicle is either bigger or smaller than this, feel free to adapt accordingly.

A half of Lemon Loaf ( Baked in 9×5 inch loaf pan)
1 cup of fresh orange juice
Two heaping teaspoons of apricot marmalade
2 cups of heavy cream
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
170 Gr/ 6 0z of Blackberries
Orange zest (Optional)
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Slice the loaf with a serrated knife about 1 inch thick. Arrange it on your choice of platter. If it is round like mine, put one slice in the middle and circle the rest of the slices around it so the center will not be hollow.

In a small bowl, combine the apricot marmalade with the juice from the orange. Whisk slightly, breaking the pulps.

Spoon the juice over the slices, making sure each of them is soak through.
With electric mixer or with hand, pour the cream and powdered sugar in a bowl and whipped until it thicken and forms loose peaks when the whisk is lifted

Drop the whipped cream on top of the slices, covering it.
Take out the blackberries and dotted them on top of the fluffy cream.

If you want to, make the trifle more festive by zesting an orange and sprinkle the little dots of
orange skin over the trifle.

Serves 10