Passionfruit Green Tea Custard

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That’s green tea? It looks a little like…

Don’t say it. Don’tsayit. 

If you google image ‘green tea’ or ‘matcha’ desserts, you’re welcomed with a vibrant shade of green that can only be described as a matcha shade of green. You just know it when you see it. I don’t know why, but today, that shade of green has just eluded my custard completely. Instead it’s more of a… kale-smoothie green. A pea-puree green. Even Adobe Lightroom couldn’t save me.

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Truthfully, green tea has always been low on my radar of flavours. I’m an earl gray fan. Chai. Flavours that can’t be ignored. Green tea just fades into the background all too often, and I fail to appreciate its subtleness. Actually, half the time I think I’m tasting vanilla– I was utterly confused the first time I tasted a green tea frap.  Continue reading →

black sesame cake (a story)

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Repetitiveness and discipline are the secrets of cake decorating. The art comes from the meticulous technique, the way it does for a dancer.
Ron Ben-Israel

I laughed the entire time I was making this cake. Laughed at myself.

So I had this vision in my head that I wanted to execute– a small, mini, tall cake with clean layers, and naked frosting. Because for the longest time, I’ve just been in love with the many naked cakes of the world. There’s less frosting (usually overly sweet, and just a nuisance), you have more layers in between your cake layers and show those off, plus it lends itself better to floral decorations, or just minimal decorating.

And I wanted to do it with black sesame, black tahini, and banana, with as little sugar/fat as I can get away with. For a higher flavour and nutritional payoff.

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Stir, stir, stir. Oh, the batter seems a bit too wet. That’s okay, I’ll just bake it a little longer. (Note: I have an irrational fear of over mixing, and over baking). Take it out of the oven– first thing I notice, the 2 cakes are of uneven height. That’s okay, I’ll just trim the taller one once they’re cooled.

I busy myself for a few hours, and now it’s slightly past midnight. I prefer to bake at night, and shoot the next morning. This can only happen on non-busy weekends. I usually don’t get a chance to shoot with natural light on a weekday– I’m up before it’s bright, and back as the sky is dimming.

The cakes have cooled, and I whip out my KitchenAid mixer to beat together my mascarpone frosting. Dad: “you know, if we lived in an apartment, you wouldn’t be able to do this”.

Yes, Dad. I’m lucky we have cool neighbours. I mean, they tolerated twelve years of my piano practicing. Who can be cooler than that? Continue reading →

Almond Mascarpone Loaf

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If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.
– Bruce Lee
I feel as though I’m overly aware of the (slow) pace and the mundane everyday-“going-ons” in my life, to the point where I scrutinize and analyze and think about where I want to be and where I should be (and why aren’t I there already?!). It may have to do with being in the social media age, and seeing people’s highlight reels flash in front of us daily. Actually, it probably has a lot to do with it– I scroll through, looking at snapshots of people’s lives and wonder how they got there, what steps they took, how they felt, and wonder if I have it in me to get to the same place. A double-edged sword. It’s motivating, but discouraging at the same time.
But also, I feel like I’m not really taking advantage of the gift that is “the present” (that was bad), carpe-ing those diems, doing hugely transformative things every day. And I think that’s also it– it’s like I expect myself to be able to reinvent and shape my life instantly into what I envision it to be, when it might be happening already (albeit slowly), or I might need to invest some more time in certain areas of my life.

Continue reading →

Steam-baked Black Sesame Milk Rolls

I’m a total carbivore. When my family goes out for dim sum, our must order items are the usual ones– har gow, sew mai, beef cheung fun, egg tarts. We’ve had our fair share of super soft, melt-in-your mouth baked (not steamed) BBQ buns. Soft enough for me to examine its texture and wonder how it was achieved. These rolls were made in pursuit of that melt-in-your mouth quality.
I started off with the hokkaido milk recipe buns, but made a few notable changes to both the ingredients and method. And guys. The results were brilliant.

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Chocolate PB Raspberry Chia Loaf

Happy First-Week-into-New-Years, everyone! How’s everyone holding up? How’s that gym membership going for ya?

I’m very excited for 2015, but that’s only because I love odd numbers and I love the way 2015 looks, compared to 2014. I liked 2013 too, but 2015 looks nicer. Okay. My weirdness is showing.

Although I’m sort of wary of all the gimmicky things you’ll see around New Years– ads selling things with the promise of a better, new you; vitamins and supplements all shifted to the front of stores– I do appreciate this time of year, because it gives us a chance to breathe and reflect. New Years = a big stop sign in our lives. We stop, and realize another year has passed. We stop, and think about what we’d do differently. And yes, most of the time you may not carry through with your resolutions, but honestly, they don’t need to be impossible goals. Start simple, and go slow. Continue reading →