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March 30, 2014

Square Pound Cake

As I was reading Ms Jaworski's headnotes for this pound cake, I became curious as to how it would turn out. The recipe uses the 'quick method' in which the dry ingredients are dumped into the mixer first, followed by the butter and  liquid ingredients, then beaten until combined.  I am  familiar with the 'creaming method' in which the butter is beaten first before adding the rest of the ingredients. I have used it often  and I always liked the results. With the 'quick' method, the cake tasted just as good but the crumbs were softer and more tender. I'm glad I learned something helpful. I could do more at work if I follow the easy way. Ha!

March 27, 2014

A Vegetable Tray For Thai Cooking Class

Watermelon carving

How much skills and patience are needed to carve a fruit so intricately? I wonder. This watermelon carving was the center of a vegetable tray used during Thai cooking class at the resort. Another handiwork of the resort's sous chef. Since joining the team, the vast majority of the kitchen staff have taken some time to learn and even improve their carving skills. Some can now carve roses out of carrots and potatoes. It's a time- consuming activity but seeing the result is rewarding.

March 25, 2014

Koh Tao and Koh NangYuan Hopping

God is great! Just when I felt so bored of my routine, a good friend asked me to join the private trip to Koh Tao and Koh Nangyuan she had arranged for her Chinese guests. I was hesitant to go, knowing that we were going on a  speedboat. I was on a smaller motorboat to Koh Phi Phi four years back and it wasn't a good experience. Don't get me wrong. The captain of the boat did a good job but driving it in big waves scared the life out of me. (Truth is  I   have a dislike for anything that goes or runs so fast. Period.)

Fast forward to that day, I had finally agreed to go. The  tour operator picked  us all up. It was half past nine. Kind of late but it's a private charter tour so we were in no rush. I chose the back seat, facing the vast ocean. I wouldn't want to feel the strong jolt just in case we had a bumpy ride.

March 23, 2014

A Meal That Fell Short of My Expectations

I had the privilege to visit Koh Tao and Koh Nangyuan with a friend and some wealthy Chinese she was touring around. All expenses  were shouldered by her guests. What a blessing!  We didn't bring any sustenance as we were told there were a couple restaurants on the island. While my friend, a female guest and I enjoyed the first few hours partying on the boat, the others went into the water to do some snorkeling. Lunch time came we were all famished! The captain of the boat they rented was kind enough to give us 2 options. We could eat on the island or tour the next island first, then food later on the way back to Samui. We all agreed to have our lunch first. He drove us to a decent looking restaurant. I anticipated to eat something nice on that trip.  The restaurant only has set menu and with a fixed price. When I looked at the menu, I knew exactly what I would get.

March 21, 2014

Marshmallow Pops

Here's a better way to transform your plain, white marshmallows into colorful and attractive treats for your guests.  Marshmallow on a stick is easy to make. All you need to do is stick the skewer into marshmallow then dip it halfway into melted chocolate. Shake off excess coating and garnish top with cake sprinkles. Chill until the chocolate hardens. A few simple steps to a creative look.

March 19, 2014

Miniature Chocolate Fudge Cups

I gave chocolate fudge another shot and I was more satisfied with the result. I used the same recipe as the one I made many weeks back (see my old post). Getting the chocolate fudge bars out of the aluminum tray wasn't an easy task. That's one thing I remembered from last time. I wrestled with  the chocolate fudge for an ample amount of time before I could even take one out without ruining its shape. The delay set me back so  I ended up gathering the mixture into one  mass and rolled them into balls.  To avoid similar scenario, I put the chocolate fudge into mini muffin liners. No sweat.  To make it extra special, I garnished the top with mixed candied peel . They turned out the way I expected - cute and appealing!

March 17, 2014

Coco Pops Cups

Think of cornflakes cups. This dessert is quite similar. I opted to use coco pops  this time.  The solid brown cereal doesn't really make it  enticing  for anyone so I reduced the amount of coco pops by almost half and added golden raisins to break up the monotony of the color. I coated the cereals and raisins with honey-butter mixture. I skipped baking as  I wanted to stay away from the heat as much as possible. I chilled the cereal cups instead and the dessert was ready in just a few minutes. Good for busy baker like me.

March 14, 2014

How I Wish...

I have long been interested to learn fruit and vegetable carving. I learned the basics when I was doing a three-month training stint at a hotel in Bangkok. Towards the end of my training,  a colleague took me to a vocational school which offers short courses on carving. I was willing to invest money and time once again but I was told classes are conducted in Thai language. How disappointing!

Since I moved to a resort island in southern Thailand to work, I see more intricate form and shapes of  fruit and vegetable carvings every so often. Like this bird carved out of a carrot. It was used as the centerpiece at a wedding party at the resort. I wish I had the skills, patience and time to sculpt such stunning work of art.

March 12, 2014

Chocolate Wafers

Joy of baking is an excellent online source for cookie recipes. Once again, I took a quick peek into the webpage to get ideas for my turn down treats. Choosing a good recipe from a long list of cookie recipes was difficult. My instinct said to explore more and so I decided to go for chocolate wafer. I had not heard  nor seen  it before. I imagined how the cookie would taste as I whipped it up. I tasted a bit of the batter and was surprised with its chocolaty flavor. It's gotta be good.  I couldn't wait.

March 10, 2014

Fondant-Covered Chocolate Wedding Cake

Making cakes is a source of my fulfillment. No matter how long the procedures are, I take pleasure in creating and decorating  delicious and beautiful cakes. Here's another wedding cake creation I made right after my return from Bangkok. I was looking forward to making it even before I took my three days leave. I made a moist chocolate cake iced with chocolate butter cream frosting. I wrapped the cake with rolled white fondant for that perfectly smooth look.

March 8, 2014

A Very Simple Swimming Pool Cake

I was lying in bed half awake when a friend's son came and asked me if I could make him a cake on his birthday. I had just arrived that morning from the south of Thailand where I work. I was groggy and exhausted from the 12-hour bus ride I took the night before. I wasn't sure if I could pull it off. A part of me wanted to say no. I went home to see family and to relax. The last thing I wanted to do was make a cake. I felt bad because that was the first time the little boy requested something. I didn't turn him down. Instead I asked what kind of cake he wanted. He wanted swimming pool cake. His mom, my sister, my cousin , him and I browsed the web together to look for a cake which could serve as my guide.  My schedule for 3 days was jammed. I only had a night to plan it and few hours to bake and decorate the cake. My sister suggested to buy ready made cake to lessen my load. Good for me! So here's what we came up with Jan's birthday cake.

March 5, 2014

Raisin Cookies

I peeked into Stephanie Jaworski's Joy Of Baking webpage to look for another cookie recipe for the resort's nightly turn down treat and found this. These raisin-packed cookies are soft and chewy. They make a great snack so anyone can enjoy them with a cup of tea or coffee or even with milk before bedtime.

March 2, 2014

Coconut Pie

This young coconut pie used custard base. If you like coconut and egg custard combo, then this is for you. It was easy to whip up.The only process I didn't enjoy was scraping the flesh out of the shell which took ages to finish. Not to mention the time it took to scrape it open. So yeah it took a while. But once I got passed the scraping,  the next procedures were quick.

Some coconut had rock solid meat that I had to discard as I only wanted the smooth, jelly flesh.  I did a triple recipe so you could imagine the amount of coconut called for.