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What are you baking these days? April 2014 edition! [Through April 30, 2014]

Dayum, those are some tasty-looking canelés. It's gonna be a big challenge alright.

Apr 14, 2014
jacqve in Home Cooking
1

What are you baking these days? April 2014 edition! [Through April 30, 2014]

Thank you! French sweets and pastries are quite nightmarish for me so I'm very happy to know that they look decent enough!

Apr 14, 2014
jacqve in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? April 2014 edition! [Through April 30, 2014]

Haha to be honest, it was driven by envy as novice bakers around me could produce lovely macarons and I (some sort of pastry magician in my family's pastry business) couldn't! I had to know why!

That aside learning how to make French sweets have imparted a profound patience to my usual "quick results or nothing" stance. A very valuable life lesson. Thank you France.

Apr 13, 2014
jacqve in Home Cooking
2

What are you baking these days? April 2014 edition! [Through April 30, 2014]

Lately I'm messing around with macarons. My sister's friend is getting married and would like us to bake some sweets, and macarons are my nightmare. I tried one recipe which was extremely popular, highly rated, and was only successful twice out of like 7 times. Some time ago I bought Will Torrent's book, Patisserie at Home, and it's one of the best pastry recipe books I ever bought, so I decided to try his macaron recipe instead of the one I've been using (and failing).

The first time they had feet but I overmixed and overcooked it. The second time it was a little better. The third time was almost perfect (pictured above)! Will's recipe is really great, but because macarons are such finicky little things, in order to recreate it successfully in your own kitchen you just have to practice!

Also used Will Torrent's choux pastry recipe for a variety of desserts. Even my mother who was adamant in using her own choux recipe agreed that his is better! ILY Will Torrent!

Also I tried Laughing Lemon's Quick Puff Pastry recipe made with pure butter(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_tgP6...). I live in a really hot climate so I was so happy that it worked. Pictured is simply slices of puff pastry sprinkled with sugar and baked. Really tasty. If you're daunted by puff pastry I recommend that you try that recipe.

Apr 13, 2014
jacqve in Home Cooking
3

Food: Fortune Telling and Superstitions

Seriously? Honestly I'm not the superstitious sort but I -DO- think our moods have an effect on our cooking! Not really surprised that it's a universal belief but I was wondering if other foodies/cooks kept in mind the notion of moods affecting cooking. Thanks for the titles — that's two new non-recipe books about food for us to read :)

May 06, 2013
jacqve in Not About Food

Food: Fortune Telling and Superstitions

My grandparents, mum and uncles love to cook. They've got this superstition where you cannot say anything negative in the kitchen, be it about someone else, yourself, about the food etc while it is cooking or it will not turn out well (my heritage is Chinese, by the way). When my grandmother makes steamed cakes (I shall add in here that she uses Sprite or 7-up as a leavening and sweetening agent, and it works), she specifically told me NOT to say ANYTHING. Anyway, that one time I did and some of the steamed cakes didn't turn out very pretty and she said it's because I said something.

When my family set up a pastry business, my uncle reminded me to keep my speech and thoughts clean while the cakes/pastries are baking. Well, sometimes I didn't... though I doubt I could attribute that to some of the baked goodies for being less than perfect.

My sister recently told me an experiment about some guy who bought 3 packs of bean curd dessert and gave each pack different verbal treatment. (A) got positive remarks, (B) got negative, and (C) got a running down. The results are thus: (A) is more or less fine after a few days, (B) is a bad state and (C) has gone rotten. I don't know who's crazy enough to talk to bean curd, but — anyone care to try talking to food to see if it has an effect?

Apr 30, 2013
jacqve in Not About Food