I think I’ve found my Holy Grail Macaron recipe

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your knowledge on Netspeak? I would probably be at a 5. Ironically, despite all the time I spend online, my Internet vocabulary is pretty poor. Until last year I had no idea what it meant to “ship”, and to think that is just one in the 9000+ new slang being spoken on the Interwebs on a daily basis. Am I THAT behind on pop culture now that I’m at my mid-20’s? Am I more old-fashioned than I thought? (I would like to think NOT!)

I’m not updated on the abbreviated Internet slang dictionary either, but that may be because I’m just not much of a fan of abbreviations. I do use “LOL” occasionally, but I just don’t see why you have to say “IMMD” instead of the more expressive “it made my day”; or why my more frequently used “OMG” has to spawn an “OMGD” (“Oh my gosh, dude”). But that’s just me. I never even use “gonna” or “wanna” because my public speaking training in uni has made it unnatural for me. However there is one abbreviation that I have come to use just lately in my life and that is “HG”.

No, not “Hot Girl”!!!

“Holy grail”. Something you believe is the ultimate version of a thing. It could be the best you’ve tried or your most favourite among favourites. I hear that abbreviation on a YouTube Make-Up reviews all the time (which I have to admit I spend quite a bit of time watching haha!) and since then I have come to associate that word with the declaration “THIS IS IT!” Because honestly that is how I felt after making these macarons.

I can’t promise you that this recipe is foolproof because again the success of the recipe still depends on the consistency of your macaron batter and whether you can tell if it’s ready, but I will try my best to help you out on that part. It’s just that I was so shocked at how non-finicky this recipe was compared to the others I’ve tried. I didn’t weigh my ingredients, didn’t age my eggs for long, and yet I came up with gorgeous macarons. All of them came out domed and with feet. Of course I did test this recipe again the second time just to make sure– the recipe of which I will share a little later– and it still worked! I’m still thinking about the third flavour to try out on my third attempt, but suffice it to say, this is the recipe I will be tweaking and perfecting and adapting into my own repertoire.

Why don’t I give you a little walk-through on how I made these Chilli Chocolate Macarons? :)
Get the recipe! >>

Say hello to my new obsession– baked eggs!

Actually I have another three new obsessions that are unrelated to baked eggs that I really want to talk about first, just to start this post off a little differently. 

Has anybody seen this new TV series called Agent Carter? The Agent Carter that was Captain America’s first love. The show stars the very beautiful Miss Hayley Atwell, plus a supporting role by Chad Michael-Murray of One Tree Hill fame. I discovered it just recently and shot through all the current episodes in one night. The Stark family butler Jarvis and Agent Carter both make for eye and ear candy with their action-packed antics and British accents. I also love how the show has a way of displaying girl power through Agent Carter despite her living in a time period where feminism was basically nonexistent. I’m quite enamoured by the fantastic dynamics and the retro feel of the show so far!

If any of you partake in Asian drama binge-ing, then sign me up for the the fan club of SBS’s Punch starring Kim Rae Won. I don’t watch TV regularly, but when I get hooked on a show then expect me to stay in and marathon the thing, which is exactly what I did because I got into Punch 10 episodes late. I must say I’m rather picky with Korean dramas because they tend to become illogical, outrageous, and/or repetitive in plot, but by jove is Punch freaking amazing. Everything just works perfectly! Script, acting, pacing… EVERYTHING, I tell you! But I admit if you’re not into legal dramas and serious dramas with nearly no romance then you probably will not like this. (Guess you can always do a marathon of Pinocchio, which based on the few episodes I’ve seen looks pretty good.)

This third one has nothing to do with TV, but I just wanted to share that I have this new-found appreciation for shooting out on the streets, whether I’m in the photo or not. I didn’t realize it before but as I was prepping for this post about my New Year’s break in Hong Kong on my personal blog, I couldn’t stop myself from looking at the photos of the street scenes. What I like about street photos in a bustling place is that they usually give this feeling that you’ll get somewhere if you just keep going. There’s so much life and energy. I love being outside and on the streets when I’m in countries nicer (and safer!!!) than the one I actually live in.

But an obsession of mine that’s been constant? Breakfast food. I have always loved eating a hearty leisurely breakfast and think that that’s one of the greatest things one can AND SHOULD enjoy during the weekend. But now I have discovered the charms of baked egg dishes for breakfast, and I am officially on a mission to collect as many recipes as possible! It’s the most weird and mundane thing to make an obsession out of, isn’t it? Sunny baked eggs.

Since it’s Friday today, I just thought this would be a great breakfast idea to brighten up your weekend morning! :)
Get the recipe! >>

My Birthday Lazybones Syndrome

You guys, it’s my birthday today! I wish I could be vacationing somewhere nice and cold for the day (Kyoto anyone?) but since this is real life– and it’s a Wednesday no less– I’m sitting in front of my computer at work. (Don’t worry, I’m not slacking off. This is a pre-written, pre-scheduled post haha!)

When January came around I was already playing around with cake ideas for this year. See, every time I make my birthday cake I like to make it a combination of my own favourite flavours with that of my co-celebrator, my brother younger by 5 years– Jason. Those of you who have followed my birthday cake blogging through the years probably already know he was born on the same month and day as I.

Happy birthday to us!!!

It was very hard to decide because there were A LOT of cakes and flavours I wanted to do, as usual, but then one morning I woke up and said to myself, ‘You know what? You don’t have to make your cake this year. Just relax for once!’ It’s like I’m taking a birthday leave from baking my own cake this year haha! 

We’re probably going to just buy a cake from somewhere later in the day so Jason and I can sing and blow candles and make a wish. ;)

So with that decision made I thought I’d just make a little post about all my favourite birthday-worthy cakes and cupcakes I’ve made so far. I’ve made them for birthdays and given them as gifts so they’ve been tried and tested.


At first I was thinking about just including birthday cake recipes in this list, but then again I’ve had the pleasure of making cupcakes (and a cheesecake) that I feel could hold their own in any birthday party too!
Continue reading! >>

2015 Blog Resolutions + Spiked Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

We are past the midpoint of the first month of 2015 before I even realise I haven’t written any sort of blog resolution yet. Whoops. I always like to write these things down because it gives me kind of a vision for what I want to achieve this year. I don’t necessarily get to tick all the boxes but the important thing is to have chances to try. There’s something satisfactory about reading down a list and being pleasantly surprised by the efforts you have put into completing it.

2014 was a bit of a meh year for me. Chaotic at times. I was constantly behind on my blogging thanks to the poorest time management I have ever done in my life. Plus I was always trying to push myself to do too much. Thinking that Sunday was my only free day to try out recipes, I would cook and bake like a maniac. Like a MANIAC I tell you. Four recipes a day is just too draining. And by that I mean including the shoots and the clean-up. I barely have enough energy to even think about doing anything else afterwards, and a part of me knows that just isn’t healthy. Add to that my perfectionist tendencies and it was truly Burnout City for me.

Ironically, despite the fact that I made a lot of things last year, I haven’t exactly been blogging regularly. I procrastinated like the tomorrows were endless, and then I’d hate myself for skipping out on a post that was supposed to be scheduled on a particular day. I guess the blogging aspect of my 2014 wasn’t just physically draining, it was psychologically draining too. There was a point right before I made my Christmas series for last year that I didn’t want to get into the kitchen at all. Thankfully I recovered just in time to make some of my favourite Christmas treats yet.

The good news is I have indeed gathered quite a good number of recipes in my backlog just waiting to be posted, which only means I can actually take it a bit easier this year. I was planning to anyway, limiting myself to 2 recipes a week. Perhaps 3 if the other two are quick ones, and just 1 if I’m planning to make something tough. I think I need to carve out some time for my other hobbies as well so that I don’t feel like my world is revolving around this blog, because all I ever do on Sundays is mess up the kitchen for it. I’m terrified of “over-devoting” myself to things; scared that one day I’ll get sick of this whole thing and abandon it. They say too much of something isn’t good at all.

But not to worry. That day isn’t anywhere near as of yet.

I love this blog. Indubitably. It’s why I work soooo hard for it. Because it means a lot to me. I’m the type of person who works hard on everything– including things I don’t even like– because I don’t like to feel as though I’m wasting my time doing mediocre work, so perhaps you can imagine how much I pour into something I do actually love. Heart and soul. Blood, sweat, and tears. Quite literally, mind you. I have cried because of this blog, bled from cuts while cooking for this blog, sweated from all the running around… Oh the things I do! Still, I feel like there was so much I didn’t get to do last year. I think I accomplished very little of my 2014 goals. This year I want things to be different:

  • I’m going to be extra picky with recipes from now on just to make sure I am hustling for something special. I’ve been wanting to develop my own recipes but all I’ve done so far are tweak existing ones since I don’t have the luxury of time in terms of re-testing recipes. For now, knowing how my schedule is, I’m happy with switching recipes up since it is a good improvement from the old me who used to follow recipes word per word!
  • I’m DEFINITELY going to cook more and bake less.
  • I’m going to attempt making my own gnocchi, ramen, bibimbap, penang assam laksa, shakshuka, grilled cheese sandwich, Eggs Benedict… Just to name a few off the top of my head. I’m also excited to do hacks of food from famous restaurants and shows!
  • I’m going to invest in more props to bring my food photography to a whole new level.
  • I’m going to try to make more food videos too! This one is going to be a bit more challenging. It depends on whether or not I can get help from my brothers.

I’m feeling pretty confident about all the things I just said. :)

But let’s stop talking about the “new” stuff for a moment and focus on this little tradition I unknowingly formed through the years– sharing some sort of boozy dessert around the end or beginning of the year. I don’t engage in drinking alcoholic beverages very much, which is why it’s a little strange why I like to make some sort of spiked dessert near New Year’s Day to ring it in. Last year it was this absolutely delicious Bahamian Rum Cake. Before that it was Irish Cream Vanilla Ice Cream. And even before that it was this lovely Irish Cream Chocolate Cheesecake. Notice the recurring theme there?

I know I’m a bit late posting this one this year, but I still MUST tell you about one of my favourite cookies to date. This Irish Cream-Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies recipe will knock your socks off.
Get the recipe! >>