When I started this whole blogging thing, I had no idea what to expect. All I aimed for was a place to share the things I bake/cook and shoot. Now it feels like a little more than that. Aside from the newfound goal of teaching others and encouraging others to cook and bake too, now I get these crazy ideas and do these crazy things that I probably wouldn’t have had I not started this blog.
I wake up really early during Sunday mornings feeling invigorated and excited to run into the kitchen even though Sundays are all I have for “rest”. I forget my week’s worth of exhaustion during those precious moments in the kitchen. I also now actually go out of my way to find baking ingredients and equipment that would give me the best results even though the old me would’ve called them expensive rather than refer to them as investments. I bought myself this gorgeous Chicago Metallic Madeleine pan, and a couple of cookie-decorating bottles because I’ve always wanted to learn how to do it. I even began collecting pretty vintage plates and ceramic ovenware for the sake of food photography, something I used to think was unnecessary.
There are simply some things that you have to learn to want before you realize that they are the things you should have wanted from the very beginning.
One of the best parts about all this though is that I also acquired certain new attitudes that have benefited me in the real world. Patience for instance isn’t one of my strong suits. I have no shame in admitting it, but I really believe that all the baking I’ve been doing has helped me in this department; from waiting for my yeasted dough to rise properly, to standing in front of the oven door just to make sure a delicate dessert bakes into perfection. The old me would never stand still for a minute; would take out half-risen dough just because I thought it looked doubled enough; would probably have opened the oven door hastily regardless of instructions saying otherwise. Aside from that, I have also learned how to be more efficient, resourceful, and persevering. And here I had thought I understood what those qualities meant already.
Another new habit I adopted ever since I grew to love food blogging: TV cravings.
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Macarons are probably one of the easiest things a person can fall in love with. The endless possibilities in shell and filling combinations is mind-blowing, and whatever combination in colour and flavour one chooses, the results will almost always be a guaranteed winner. I mean just look at how adorable these things are! Making macarons has evolved from being intimidating to something really fun to do.
Now I know this is only my third time making macarons, but it has been an incredible learning process. I think this is one of the things I love most about making these babies: I learn something new every single time. The difference in my understanding from my preparation to make it the first time, to the second time, and now this third try is immense. I made these macarons using my old oven, which has been sent over for repairs. As with my previous macarons, I still got lopsided shells, but this time I managed to get more even ones as well.
See here is the reason why I keep sticking to the recipe from the Les Petits Macarons cookbook: when the feet come out right, they are perfect as can be.
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Well it’s not a secret, but it’s not something I get to discuss at length. I super love videogames. I love it so much I once made concept art for a game I had an idea for. (Also something you didn’t know about me, I love to draw!) When I was in high school, I played a ton of RPGs on the Playstation 2. Ahhh memories… The downside to RPGs is that it takes time and dedication to finish, and if you’re a perfectionist like me, you try to finish all the side-quests (eg. Finding all 101 Dalmatians in all the Kingdom Hearts games) and unlock all the bonuses, which takes more time of course. Time– it’s something I no longer have much of these days. The real world kind of sucks that way.
Anyway, I wouldn’t be a proper videogame nerd if I didn’t love Super Mario. It’s one of the most iconic games in the history of videogames. One of my favourite ways to play a Mario game is through the Wii. Ever since the Wii was invented, the Mario-verse hasn’t been the same. It’s become even better! As in make-a-cupcake-as-a-tribute-to-Super-Mario-awesomeness better!
Coming across this recipe was pure luck. I knew I wasn’t going to settle for a simple vanilla cupcake and top it with red frosting; it didn’t feel very Mario. So when I saw this Japanese cheesecake recipe, I knew it was “the one”.
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Last Sunday my family and I headed out for an early morning “obstacle course” run after about 6 months without any running training. Baaaad idea.
I used to run 10k on a regular basis but stopped when I got too lazy to get up in the mornings. Hihi. Now I do TRX thrice a week but being in running condition is way different from being fit overall. My legs could feel the burn right after the first kilometer. I finished in approximately 15 minutes because I skipped the obstacle to the finish line which had you crawling through the mud. (Sorry but I couldn’t bear it, and neither could my favourite pair of running shoes!) In the end, with only one obstacle aside from the mud-crawl, the 3k was too short to even allow me to break into my second wind. I wanted to keep running to at least finish a 5k which until this race was my minimum distance, yet at the same time my legs felt tired already.
Instead we did the next best thing: We went to eat breakfast!
When I knew the race was going to be at Bonifacio Global City, I already honed in on the place I wanted to try come hell or high water: Wildflour Cafe + Bakery. I don’t get to come to this fine city as much as I’d like. It takes me 45 minutes via train and bus to get here from my house, but there are days when I just have to come here. This is where my favourite bookstore and some of the country’s best restaurants are now located!
Continue reading about Wildflour Cafe + Bakery
The Hyatt Hotel is one of Manila’s grandest and for me one of the more accessible five-star hotels in the metro. I live maybe 20 minutes away, and after this luncheon I had, I began wondering why we didn’t visit the restaurants here a little more. I was invited to an intimate lunch at Li Li’s Restaurant a few days ago to sample the restaurant’s lauded dimsum dishes alongside a couple of other cool kids (READ: really talented bloggers). It was my first time being formally invited to an event like this, so I was a mixture of nerves and excitement. Aside from the delicious food, the other great part was getting to meet other bloggers like myself. I’m actually a shy person but I somehow managed to be less awkward, and in the end I had a lot of fun and ate a lot of dimsum!
Speaking of dimsum, I am a huuuuge dimsum lover. If you’ve been following this blog, you’d know I made a promise to myself to cook every single recipe from my favourite dimsum cookbook. Apart from that, almost every month, my two best friends and I go out for a dimsum date where we always end up stuffing our faces full of har gao and radish cake. But if I thought what we did during those times already qualified as “stuffing” ourselves, boy was I wrong. Eating here at Li Li’s, now this is the real deal.
Hyatt’s Li Li Restaurant is inspired by the life and the home of Li Li. She was born and raised in Hong Kong, and because she belonged to an affluent Chinese family, she was able to study in La Sorbonne in Paris. Her love for both the Chinese culture and the Parisian lifestyle led her to make the decision of settling in Paris with a mission to introduce her rich Chinese cultural heritage to the Europeans. She then opened a gallery specializing in Asian fine arts. During one of her visits to Geneva to attend an Asian-themed art exhibit, she met and was swept off her feet by Vince, a French UN Ambassador for Culture.
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Once upon a time I had a craving.
I went down to the kitchen and opened the pantry doors, pushing aside bottles until I found the one I was looking for: strawberry jam. I picked it up and stared at it a long time. I don’t know why I like to make life harder for myself. I could have just toasted some bread and slathered on the jam, craving satisfied, but I pushed that idea aside. As I held on to the bottle, staring at but not really seeing the label on the jam, a flicker of a memory crossed my mind.
When I was little, my nanny would buy me these munchkin doughnuts from the local Dunkin’ Donuts. Apparently they were a prize for my being a good girl, though I’m pretty sure I persuaded her to buy me some even on my mischievous days. She would buy the light, airy, cakey little doughnut holes in different flavours. The chocolate and bavarian flavours are fantastic, but my favourites are always the strawberry-filled ones. I would always save them for last, savouring the way the powdered sugar melted in my mouth before giving way to the sweet explosion of gooey strawberry.
Flash forward to the present; to me standing there like an idiot with a jar of strawberry jam in hand with only one thing on my mind: I wanted a strawberry-filled doughnut, which was completely weird since doughnuts don’t even come close to the top of the list of things I like to eat. It’s not that I hate doughnuts either. I’m just uncomfortable with the way most of them are
drowned in oil fried. But I would be a liar if I said doughnuts taste bad, because they really really don’t. Not especially when they’re filled with glorious strawberry jelly yumminess. So the easy solution was to make a baked doughnut.
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