Made this cake a few days ago for a best friend’s BIG 3-0 birthday! 🥳🥳 Had so much that evening at the bowling alley, and now I am enjoying the glorious sunshine ☀️ at Folkestone for Jubilee weekend. Really don’t want to go back to work on Monday… 😪😅
Happy birthday to my mum! 🎂🎂 And it’s the B-I-G 6-0!! Though I was a week late getting back home to celebrate due to work, but I finally managed to pick up the spatula and whisk again and start baking! 👨🍳 (Was worried I might have gotten rusty after quite a long time of not baking haha!)
We also visited Hibiki in Edinburgh for a Japanese birthday lunch! 😋😋 A bit pricey but we loved all the food there!
Another year flew by and so much had happened during these times… Went through months of lockdown; adapted to the new working environment; dazed through hundreds of online Team calls; forged new relationships with new people; rethought my careers path, enrolled to a new university course; felt the highs from the Tokyo Olympics and explored parts of this amazing world I have never encountered before… Going to a new year of my life, I feel like I am certainly turning over a new leaf. 🍀
There are many future plans I would like to share with you all, but I shall keep things under wrapped for the time being as the dusts settled. Meanwhile, I thought a new biscuit selfie profile pic is in order to celebrate the beginning of yet another chapter! 😉 The background is in light of my trip to Paris a few years ago – the stunningly bright Eiffel Tower under the midnight sky was a memory I would never forget!
Getting ready for the party! 😉😏 (Not!) 😂
Happy Friday, everyone! Just a short post today before I am heading into my week-long break from work. 👌👌 (Some plans for this week ahead so will keep you all posted! 😉) Not only did I manage to organise a mini celebration for a colleague’s (belated) birthday at work today 🥳🎉 , but also went out for a top dinner with friends in the central area. 😋 Life is doing good right now! 😆
What are you up to this weekend? 🙂
Happy birthday to my dear friend @wellnessbyyana! We were truly blessed with glorious weather ☀️ ☀️ this weekend in the U.K., which made it perfect for a birthday picnic in the park! 😉🙌🙌
At the request of my dear friend, this trifle is dairy-free, refined sugar-free and loaded with extra shots of rum ready for the party! 💃 💃 🎉🎉🎉🎊🎊🎊 The trifle consists of a rum and berries jelly at the bottom, layered with a banana sponge cake (soaked with more rum!), strawberries, blueberries and raspberries- all covered with a soya milk custard with a plant-based whipped cream. What a perfect day to celebrate the end of lockdown! 🥳🥳
Dairy-free refined sugar-free rum and berries trifle
For the jelly:
250g mixed berries (e.g. raspberries and blueberries)
2 tsp lemon juice
3 shots of rum
2 1/2 gelatine leaves
For the banana cake:
190g self-raising flour
1 1/2 bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
2 ripen bananas, mashed
20g honey, plus extra to drizzle on the sponge
90ml vegetable/sunflower oil
60ml plant-based milk (e.g. soya/almond)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 shots of rum
For the custard:
350ml plant-based milk (e.g. soya/almond)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp elderflower/lemon extract (optional)
4 egg yolks
15g plain flour
For the whipped cream:
Any dairy free double or whipping cream
For the fruits:
Mixed berries (e.g. raspberries and blueberries) to your likening
For the decorations:
Toasted almond flakes (optional)
Goji berries (optional)
1. Start with the jelly by making a fruit purée. Heat the berries, honey, water and lemon juice in a saucepan. Crush/blend the fruits as you are cooking.
2. Pass the purée through a sieve to get a smooth purée and place it back into a clean saucepan.
3. Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water.
3. Add the rum and heat the purée gently.
4. Squeeze the water out of the soaked gelatine and add it to the purée. Stir under heat until the gelatine is fully dissolved.
5. Pour the purée into a clean glass bowl. Let it cool before putting it in the fridge for several hours, or until the jelly is fully set.
6. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.
7. Make the banana sponge cake by passing the flour through a sieve. Mix in bicarbonate of soda, salt and cinnamon.
7. Mix the mashed bananas, honey, milk, oil and vanilla extract together until well-combined. Then fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture until well-combined.
8. Pour the mixture into a parchment-lined cake tray and bake in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
9. Remove the cake from the tray and cool on a wire rack.
10. For the custard, heat the milk and extracts gently in a saucepan without it boiling.
11. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg yolks by hand with the honey until pale. Sieve the flours in and mix until well-combined.
12. Slowly pour about half of the heated milk into the yolk mixture, whisking vigorously as you pour. Then, pour the mixture back into the remaining milk in the saucepan.
13. Cook the custard gently over heat, whisking continuously as it cooks until you have a smooth, thickened mixture. (If it doesn’t thicken, add about a tablespoon of cornflour.) Set aside and let the custard cool.
14. Slice the strawberries in halves to prepare for assembling.
15. Cut and layer the banana sponge over the set jelly in the bowl. Drizzle the sponge with more honey and soak with shots of rum.
16. Place the sliced strawberries over the sponge to surround the bowl. Add the remaining fruits in the centre. (You can add more rum at this stage if you want!)
17. Pour the cooled custard over the fruits and use a knife to spread it out evenly. Place back into the fridge to set.
18. Use an electric whisk to whip the cream until stiff.
19. Layer the cream over the set custard and again use a knife to spread it out evenly, filling to the top of the bowl.
20. Spread almond flakes and goji berries over the top to decorate the trifle before serving.
Time certainly flies, and before I knew it, it is already the end of the month. The past month has been marked by an intense work schedule which kept me away from blogging and posting stuff on social media 😅, though it actually feels quite fulfilling to be back at work at the same time and getting into a routine again. 💪👌
The end of the month also marks my birthday, but both of my celebration plans with friends and a weekend abroad have both been cancelled due to rising cases in London and travel restrictions in Europe. It’s a shame, but I definitely do feel it was the right thing to do. Nothing feels quite the same at the moment as it was back in the summer. And seemingly with a possible local/national lockdown looming over us, everything seems very uncertain for the future. Right now, I am just taking a day (if not an hour) at a time and trying to live in the moment as I always told myself. Sometimes it seems that life passes us by. An article I read a few days ago reminded me that at times we spent so much time mulling over things that had happened or worrying what will happen in the future, instead we should let go and experience the moments we have – immersing ourselves in the very now.
Happiness sometimes really lies around the corner. I was greeted with an unexpected surprise today when my colleagues signed and wrote messages on a birthday card for me! ❤️ Totally made my day at work! 😊 (Plus the café owners who kindly gave me a free feta cheese roll with my lunch! 😁)
After a long day at work and despite being by myself today (plus the miserable rainy British weather ☔️), I was determined to celebrate with a birthday meal to mark my 27th year. I decided to visit a Mexican restaurant called Mestizo when a conversation with a friend last week brought up about mole sauce. I heard of mole sauce before and was aware of what it is, but I never tasted one in any Mexican places in the UK before. So I was curious as to where I could find it here in London, and this place came up in my internet search.
Tamales, cuitlacoche (or huitlacoche) and tres leches cake are all things I have come across when I was binge-watching MasterChef US at a time, but never experienced before today, so this really was an eye opener in a way! 😋❤️ I absolutely loved the tamales (texture and flavour-wise it really reminds me of the Chinese zongzi we used to have during Dragon Boat Festival!) The quesadillas with the cuitlacoche tasted good and flavourful, but I was surprised how much the cuitlacoche tasted like ordinary mushrooms. I was most looking to trying the Mole Poblano, but I don’t think I am completely sold on mole sauce. 😂 (It’s unlike anything I tasted before- it’s sort of tasted like a sweet gravy with a hint of chocolate and chilli…) Finally, to conclude my birthday meal, I really enjoyed the richness of the tres leches cake. It wasn’t too sweet and the sponge was also moist and delicious! 💛 (Though personally I can do without all the sauce around it! 😂)
After dinner, I strolled through the Mexican store next door (also owned by the restaurant) and bought some sweets to take home with me! 🍬
What else will I be up to during my birthday week? Watch this space! 😉
A belated happy Chinese New Year from me! 🎉🎉🎉🎊🎊 Work has been very busy since the new year (leading to me neglecting the blog 😅😅) and time really flew in the past weeks. Today though, unlike most of my Asian family that were celebrating Chinese New Year, I was instead away at a friend’s birthday party and playing mini golf.🏌️♂️ Well, it turns out I definitely suck at playing golf but at least I got free complimentary drinks! 😂🍷🍸
It won’t be me without baking a birthday cake for my friend 🎂 and the cake of the choice today was a strawberry red velvet cake covered with the classic cream cheese frosting and desiccated coconut (and a pair of white chocolate wings dusted with edible gold glitters. 😉) It was my first time making red velvet cake, so I guess it wasn’t a bad first attempt (though I did wing the recipe a bit so I guess it may not be totally traditional lol! 😂)
The place didn’t allow us to eat brought in food, though we still ended up sneakily tucking it away underneath the table… 🤫 (‘What’s the worst they could do? Throw us out?’ 🤣🤣 Blame one’s poor judgement after a few drinks haha!) Hence, the awful quality of the pic below! 😛 I swear the waitresses did see us but said nothing, or maybe it was the lucky red colour? 🔴😉
Hope you all have a fantastic weekend! 👍
Another year, another chapter of my life begins. They said that ‘the older you get, the wiser you are.’ Though I don’t think this phrase applies entirely to me, life can only go upwards and onwards! 👍👍 It was so much fun celebrating with some of my closest friends. And for the other special people in my life that weren’t able to make it today, I am always grateful for your constant presence around me. Sometimes, I do feel like I am not thankfully enough for what I have right now and just constantly want more. But, truly simplicity is the best, and what I have right now is really enough for me.
As for the birthday cake, I was very inspired to make a Devil’s food cake after stumbling across a video by Nigella Lawson one night. (You can see the link here👉 https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tcZSTF4L0bw) Gooey, moist and rich. It is definitely one for any chocolate lovers. (And even better when served with a glass of Sangria! 🍷 You must excuse me as I was still quite tipsy whilst typing this post… 😂😂)
I added some wafer paper feathers, desiccated coconut and white chocolate stars to play along the light and dark theme of the cake, but you can have it just as simple as Nigella would and it would taste just as ‘heavenly’ as she described. ❤️❤️
Here is to another year! 😊💪