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Monday, September 27, 2010

Daring Bakers' Decorated Sugar Cookies

This is not really my first decorated sugar cookie project (refer to my Croquembouche and Ginger Bread House). But I could say this is the first attempt of doing it correctly based on a proper recipe and sort of dedicating the entire time and attention to make it right. For some reasons, I took this meticulous decoration challenge rather seriously.

As we all have seen how beautiful and elaborate some of the decorated sugar cookies done by many of our dedicated expert food bloggers. Name a few, Sue Sparks of Munchkin Munchies whose creativity and style are the reflection of her warm personality and love for her family and Katie Yoon of Something Sweet who regularly blows my mind with her sense of beauty and high fashion, and of course many many more whom I haven't discovered. Having seen so many beautiful decorated cookies intrigued me into attempting to do the crafting on my own.

So thanks to Mandy of What the Fruitcake?! for picking up the perfect recipe for everyone to play and have decorating fun! The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?!” Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking.

I was supposed to come up with a September theme for my decorated cookies. And my first thought was the person who was behind the drawing skill that has embarked me into a life of design and arts...... My father! The one man in this world who nourished my passion for drawing when I was young, bought me my first set of coloring pencils, introduced me to the beautiful world of Chinese water color art, and showed me the wonders of the art of Picasso.

My father passed away many years ago but he is always a part of me. He has instilled his passion for drawing into me, a passion that he had when he was young and just didn’t get developed due to his responsibility as the eldest son to support his parents and 10 siblings.

My flower decorations are taken from the book my dad once bought for me. A treasure that lasts forever. Flower was an important object in my years of drawing on paper, just as important as now ..... on cookies. “Dad, these are for you!”

Sunday, September 19, 2010


This morning I met the luckiest person in Bangkok. As usual, my morning ritual includes taking a taxi to office, and as I was sitting in the cab, I couldn’t help but notice that the vehicle is truly brand new with that very particular out-of-car-assembly smell. So with my curiosity in tact, I started a conversation with the driver - a guy in his thirties, crew-cut, masculine with a fierce look that would normally stop other passengers to kick start a conversation. But I was just in my talkative mood, and that didn’t hold me back.

Basically I was asking him when he got this seemingly new cab. He answered with almost no-expression kind of face. “Just about two weeks ago, a first prize from a beer lucky draw!”. And from there he elaborated. Apparently one of the well-known Thai beer conducted an annual lucky draw and the first prize was a car. And this guy struck it out of his unforeseen luck.

I asked further how he felt upon the announcement. He said he was totally stunned and didn’t manage to compose correct sentences in that particular moment. Like there was a sudden mental jam. An overwhelming joy. An appreciation of goodness life has brought for him. An ecstacy!

That just reminded me of a special baking moment I encountered. The lucky moment applied to me and most probably many other food bloggers - yes that includes you there! It is that particular “There are feet! There are feet! My macaron is perfect!” moment. I experienced such a high level of joy whilst my first ever macaron baking came out with perfect feet or skirts. Although I didn’t have anyone around to share that particular moment, I was feeling extremely overwhelmed. I was a lucky man for once!

So when next time I am sad or down, this guy or my macaron baking episode will remind me that this moment will pass, better things are on their way.
For some of you who have been experiencing misfortune or feeling down for a while now, this taxi driver is the proof that life could not be bad all the time. In fact there are always ups and downs. And if you are currently in the lowest point in that life circle, that means things will quickly turn for the best in the future, soon or later.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Yolks... Yolks..

In times of having too many egg yolks in storage, one has to think of a way out. Especially when egg yolks have been sitting in the air-tight container inside the fridge for more than 2 days. I have to do something about them or else they will be wasted... and I won't let it happen!

Well, many food bloggers have come out with an ice cream solution. That means after producing lots of cute macarons or an appealing pavlova or whatever that uses up the egg whites and abandons the egg yolks, one should quickly think of the ice cream to accompany his first baking. What if one refuses to do so, let's say he is bored of ice cream or in worse case, he doesn't have an ice cream maker to process the ice cream itself? What is he going to do?

There should be a recipe to run to.... quickly!

After churning out a lot of meringue in my last session of Pavlova, I was in the middle of this exact situation and I told myself I had to find a solution. Anything but not ice cream, I just had too much ice cream lately and I could see the grin in T's face everytime I offered him ice cream.

After flipping through baking books and browse the internet, I found my super duper recipe. It simply consumes my entire bowl of yolks in one go. Call it a miracle for someone who is in need!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Take in Paris??

I like to use this special moment to launch Take in Paris, a twin blog of Bake in Paris but with slightly different content. After crafting within Bake in Paris for 20 months - that is baking and taking food photographs, I realized there has been a need for an expression outside the food box and into more general still-life photography. Apparently there are many beautiful objects around me that are patiently waiting to be captured which happened to be non food.

Fruits and flowers are two major objects that have been part of my desire which have not been presented as much as I wanted. Posting flower or fruit photographs solely without any accompanying recipe seems incomplete for Bake in Paris as I believe readers are expecting to view something that they can cook or bake. There is where Take in Paris comes into picture.

Feel free to cross over and view my first post. Hope you enjoy it!

Happy Moment...

I'd like to share my happy moment with you, my dear readers.... Just this morning I got an email telling me that my Mini Strawberry Financier photo has won the third prize of Leite's Culinaria Photo Contest! Wow!

It is really my honor to win such prestigious contest. Oh boy, my little dream of having my photo viewed by Aran of Canelle et Vanille came true with a prize. That is so cool!

Thanks to all of you who have voted People's Choice for my photo! My gratitudes to David Leite of Leite's Culinaria and the whole panel of judges: Aran Goyoaga of Cannelle et Vanille, Ben Fink, Erika Oliveira, former art director of Gourmet, and Karen Mordechai of Sunday Suppers.