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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Did I really just write that title? I’m sorry.
So I finally managed to track down some matcha powder some weeks ago, and unfortunately it’s not the sort I’m looking for. It seems like a really mild type of matcha. From what I’ve been seeing in photos, the concentrated one has a greener hue; and from what I’ve been reading, it has a stronger taste. I can barely taste my matcha in this bread. No, scratch that– I can only taste the matcha if I concentrate really really hard. If I close my eyes and really try to unlock my tastebuds, I can taste the wonderful green tea notes with a hint of sweetness at the end. Unfortunately it lasts only a few seconds, not to mention I look kind of odd doing that at the table.
And yes I’m pretty sure it’s not just my imagination.
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How goes the first couple of weeks of the new year for you all? Mine has been one heck of a roller coaster ride. Sometimes when I lay down to sleep at night, I feel shocked at how much has happened in the last 11 days since the year began. Work has been absolutely draining and stressful and overwhelming. Sometimes all I want to do is lie down and stop thinking about everything. The weather has been nice over here too, contributing to my desires to take it slow. Maybe I need a change of careers. Or something.
I know I told myself that 2013 is going to be an awesome year– my year. I felt good about its approach, and I felt good as I welcomed it with open arms. I had this sensation in me that this is the year when things will begin falling into place. That I’ve been feeling the blues these past few days has been discouraging me though. I feel insecure. I feel terrified that things seem to still be muddled until now. I know it’s grossly premature to have this fear that I am going to be disappointed at the end of the year just because I’m having off days right now, but it’s an odd feeling. I feel like there’s something else out there I should be doing to get to where I want to be. And yet I have no idea how or where to get started.
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I think one of the best things in life is breakfast. I can’t seem to survive the day without it. Mornings composed of coffee and some form of bread are perfectly blissful in my book. Oh, and silence. I like to take my breakfast with a side of that. When I think about it, my being a morning person has its perks. I get to have mornings to myself. The rest of the day tend to be filled with people and noise, endlessly ringing telephones, paperwork scattered all over the place. The evenings are filled with family stories and laughter, which of course is always a pleasure. Then again, I still love my tranquil mornings the most.
Last year, an uncle of mine gave us this giant loaf of panettone about a week before Christmas, and it was the best panettone I’ve had so far. It had just the right hint of citrus, and the perfect amount of nuts and dried fruit. I ate it every single morning toasted and with a piping hot mug of coffee. I remember this nice sense of contentment settling over me during those days. I don’t know how else to explain it. Usually my peace of mind comes to me during breakfast-time, maybe because my brain hasn’t turned on all the way yet; the spinning of the gears haven’t gone full speed ahead. Or maybe those quiet moments simply are my tiny pieces of paradise.
Breakfast is undoubtedly my favourite meal of the day, but there are times when even your favourite moments get elevated into something else entirely, you know? Somewhere between savouring the panettone and thinking about nothing at all, I had promised myself I’d attempt to recreate a panettone as delicious the following year. Continue reading for the recipe
If you’re wondering where I’ve been this past week, I’ve been in the hospital. I got sick with the dengue fever and had to be confined for seven unfortunate days in the hospital, four of which were spent fighting off recurring high fevers. It was my first time being hospitalised and I hope I never have to go back for many many many years to come. I find it ironic how I never get seriously sick ever and the one time that I do it lands me in the hospital. It wasn’t the most pleasant experience, but I’m thankful to be home now.
Today I’m going to share with you what I feel is one of the best things that ever came out of my oven: the ensaymada. I’ve made a handful of bread since I started blogging, and most of them have been good bread. However none of them have made me feel this particular way. The moment I saw how perfect these ensaymadas looked fresh out of the oven, I began gushing over them like I have never gushed over bread before. I was excited, giddy, but most of all, I was proud. I was proud of myself because this felt like an accomplishment. I was proud of myself for choosing and succeeding in making something truly close to home. For all the foreign breads I’ve made and loved, this one definitely takes a special spot in my heart. Continue reading for the recipe
I’ve always wondered why there aren’t more pumpkin-based pastries here in Manila (or maybe I haven’t found them yet?). My exposure to them has been close to nothing before I began blogging. I mean sure, we have some fabulous pumpkin dishes here (with coconut milk!), but the pumpkin pies and breads? Not so much, if at all. Only the best-stocked Supermarkets even have canned pumpkin here. Aren’t people the least bit curious about all these pumpkin-y things? Quite frankly, I only learned about canned pumpkin since I started following food blogs, and I only tasted pastries made with said canned pumpkins since I started baking and blogging myself.
See this is why I love this whole blogging experience. I feel like I have a window to the world.
These days, I don’t really need any excuse to prepare anything with pumpkin in it, but around autumn-time elsewhere in the world is when I feel most comfortable buying more cans of pumpkin than I need. My Mother always looks at me strangely when I do and I just tell her I’m compensating for this country’s lack of autumn by baking autumn-y pastries. Quite frankly she likes autumn too, so I just give her a smile and ask her, ‘Interested in some Cinnamon-Swirl Pumpkin Rolls?’
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