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May 30, 2012

Di San Xian (Earth Three Fresh)

Di San Xian,  transliterated in English as Earth Three Fresh,  is a popular dish from Dongbei China  (North-East Region). It comprises mainly of three fresh ingredients: eggplant, potato and green bell pepper, thus the name. I came across this dish while living in Heilongjiang Province, the northernmost end of China. After my first encounter with this dish, it became an instant favorite. Like I said before, I love anything with eggplant.

It may sound simple enough,  but do not underestimate the combination of the three elements and the flavor of this dish.Once you try it, you will ask for more.No joke. I had it several times during the entire 3 weeks, while holidaying in some Eastern Chinese city.

May 28, 2012

Funfair is an opportune time to make some extra cash

My big sister's job is such a blessing. Through her I was able to establish connections with a whole lot of people at her school. I use those connections to advance my career as a pastry chef and to earn extra income.

Like this weekend, Niva International School held it's annual funfair. I know for a fact that events like school funfair is not complete without food.  A close friend, Irene who is the Head of the Kindergarten suggested I sell bakery products at the fair. It's my chance to advertise my baked goodies and make some extra cash.

Brownies made with dark chocolate. A favorite of the attendees.

May 24, 2012

A Welcome Dinner to Our New Balinese Friends

It is a tradition among my friends to hold a welcome dinner for our guests visiting the country. On Saturday night, we finally got to meet the adoptive daughters of  Dr. Roxy  who flew in from Bali, Indonesia. We all gathered in his house for the occasion. 

Boiled corn, salad and grilled salmon for dinner.

May 22, 2012

Vegetarian Makizushi (Vegetarian Classic Rolled Sushi)

Friday night is bonding time with my sister in the kitchen.We are both busy in our respective careers but this once-a-week activity gives us chance to cook together and share updates on the goings-on in our lives. Don't get me wrong. Although my sister and I share apartment, she's not much of a talker like me. In fact, I learn most happenings at her school from our close friend who happens to be the head of the Kindergarten where she works. Funny, I know but that is how she is.

May 16, 2012

Chocolate Cake for Lily as she turns 4

Lily, one of my favorite kids in church turns 4. Her mom surprised her with a cake I made. I was not able to attend her birthday get-together after church. When I met her mom days after, she told me how Lily loved her cake. I pictured her in Sabbath dress, smiling while holding her cake. I felt good.

The mother specifically asked for a chocolate cake because that is what her daughter likes. I thought pink would really look cute but there's no way I could turn the chocolate's brown color to pink. I had ganache in the fridge. The ganache was already in the  right spreading consistency so I used that as a filling then I masked the cake with it. I applied the second coating using pink vanilla butter cream.

May 11, 2012

Mission Hospital's 76th Anniversary

Mission Hospital celebrated its' 76 years of providing health care to the people of Thailand. On this auspicious occasion, I was commissioned to make one hundred and fifty chocolate cupcakes and a three- pound chocolate celebration cheesecake.

May 1, 2012

Spending the rest of the day at Central World's Candy Factory

Long before I learned the science of sugar work at the culinary school, I was already fascinated to know how sugar candies were made. As a young child I was really not into sweets because Mom would only allow me and my sis to have them once in a blue moon but candy canes intrigued me. Probably the shape, color and pattern had something to do with it. Or perhaps because it was often seen as a Christmas symbol (Christmas is my favorite holiday).  During the holiday season Mom would hang the striped candy canes in our Christmas tree and  the sight of it made me excited.

The memories of my holiday treats had gone with time but my pastry arts training had rekindled my interest anew. I had never expected that sugar work  was part of the program I was enrolled in. I learned the basics from casting sugar to a more advanced lesson like pulled and blown sugar. At first, I disliked dealing with heat and humidity for hours but as I got to do it more often I had come to enjoy the sugar work experience. On the first of the many series of our sugar work practicals, I made my very own candy cane. That first experience took me back many years ago when I was a child contemplating in front of a Christmas tree. I felt fulfilled and rewarded.