Journey Ahead

So yesterday officially marked the beginning of my summer holiday!☀️ Without a doubt, the past few months in the pandemic have been tough for many of us in the country and at work, so I got to say I am very grateful to be able to take a break from it all for the moment.

It was an odd week for me especially to be finally reunited with all my colleagues at work. It does make me realise technology can never replace the valuable times one may have in the company of the people we love.❤️ A handshake and a hug can never be replaced easily. (And I was certainly happy that my colleagues didn’t say no to me bringing a cake in!😬 All rest assured that hygiene was maintained!) Farewells may be difficult to begin with, but one must journey on and remember all the good times.

Meanwhile, I am now packing to get ready for my 4-day road trip tomorrow. Obviously it’s been quite a while since I last travelled. While I am telling myself to be extra cautious in the journeys ahead, I am very excited to be out of the city again! Stay tune for the updates! 😉

Time to Chill

Sorry to not have posted in a while. Work has started to pick back up again, so I have been doing various things over the past weeks. 😅 My first week back to work just happened to coincide with also the hottest week in the UK. ☀️🔥🔥 (Literally right now can’t survive without a constant supply of ice cream haha!🍦🍦) Not sure if it was the weather or the lack of moving around in the past months, but the walk to work had been strangely exhausting. 😶 Having said that though, it was nice to be back in a familiar setting in some form and enjoying a change of scenery for the first time in months! 😁

The heatwave has obviously made more people going out to parks and beaches to enjoy the sunshine. Perhaps I am just a bit more wary, so meanwhile I am still trying to avoid crowded places and keep to social distancing. Doesn’t necessary help though that my apartment can get very steamed up during midday from the heat (even with all the windows wide open!) 🥵🔥🔥 So I took some time to make sure that there is something cool and chilled to enjoy at home. 😉

This Oreo and strawberry chilled, no-bake cheesecake is very easy to make. It is done by simply whipping up cream cheese and double cream using an electric whisk. Cookies and cream. 🍪 Strawberry and cream. 🍓 You have them all in one package! ❤️

One Day

A year ago exactly today, I started my first blog post here. It feels much longer than that though, given how so much have happened in between these times. I am certain that no-one a year ago would have predicted the circumstances we are currently in right now. I started this blog as a mean of an ‘escape’ from life (as I was feeling extremely demotivated at work). I wasn’t sure where this was going, but it gave me a sense of hope in the future, something that I feel we need ever more now. As easing of the lockdown starts to begin, I feel a mixture of uncertainty and anxiety (and also annoyance at the events over the past few days), but I remain ever so hopeful about the unknown. Goods are definitely on the horizon. ♥️

My first post on the blog was on an angel food cake that I made long ago, and I thought it would be so fitting to do that cake once again after all these times. 😊 An angel food cake is a light, fatless sponge made from primarily whisked egg whites. The lightness of this cake goes perfectly well with whipped cream and fruits (I chose mango in this case🥭)- which makes this one of my favourite cakes of all time. 😋 (As fate would have it, I also overwhipped my first batch of cream like last time, so had to start over. Funny how things are sometimes! 😂) Happy anniversary! 🥳🤣🎉

Don’t You Want to Be a Kid Again?

These times in quarantine had really allowed me to sit down and reflect on a lot of things in my life. I do believe sometimes we do take things too easily for granted. I am even thankful just being able to sit on my bed now and watch TV most days. 😂 Lately, I have been in touch with my inner child self again and started picking up things I enjoyed doing when I was a kid, whether games or animations. I do miss those times back then. Sometimes, it’s just easier to be young and worry-free, don’t you think? ❤️

When I was younger, one of the things I was absolutely obsessed with was dinosaurs. 🦖🦕🦖🦕 (I am sure many of you here might feel the same as me! 😂) Literally any TV/movies/documentaries/books about dinosaurs I will be on it! (Disney’s Dinosaur back in 2000 was one of my favourite movies back then! 🎥 Don’t know how many of you remember that film? 🤔) And for any dinosaur fans out there, here is my Jurassic volcano chocolate cake surrounded with shortbread biscuit dinosaurs! 🌋🌴 Also gave me a chance to do my favourite caramel sugar work. 😉

And now I am enjoying sugar like every other child! 🤣🤣

Painting on a Cake 🖼

Having not spent many days out the door, I really do dream of the times when one can go outside and wander aimlessly. The way I try to get pass this though is to use my imagination through writing and drawing. I always think that a creative mind allows endless possibilities – a new country, a forest or a cave deep under the sea? It’s so fun just to let your imagination take you there! ❤️

To be honest, I haven’t picked up a brush or a pencil to draw for years now (possibly not since I dropped Art after my GCSE lol! 😂) But I used to really enjoy doing sketches and painting, and it was definitely a big hobby of mine growing up. (My mum and I especially had a fondness for scenery paintings back then.) So today I thought why not do a painting cake? 😉

As you may be able to tell, I was reminiscing my time in Paris last summer when I made this. 😂 The cake is a vanilla sponge covered with a coconut buttercream. The painting was done on edible wafer paper with food colourings. (I used a combination of water-based food colourings and a black food colouring pen to draw the outlines.) Also, kudos to my mum, who pointed out that she didn’t like the initial “baldness” of the lady which is why I added hair to her after! 😂

(Oh, and I just noticed this is my 100th blog post after I posted this! Happy milestone lol! 😂)

Did You Just Say ‘Savoury Cake’? 😱🤣

A typical Sunday means a lazy day for me in bed and eating (so basically living like a pig haha!🐷 Quarantine life, eh? 😂) But having, for once, not stayed up late on a Saturday night, I woke up early this morning to cook myself a delicious Sunday brunch.😋

I really enjoy experimenting when it comes to baking and cooking. Once in a while, I will start browsing online looking for new recipes to try out. With the current coronavirus crisis and lockdown situation in the UK, it has become very difficult to find all the ingredients I want (eggs and flour are particular rare sights now!) But when I came across this recipe of a savoury cheesy mushroom cake last night (which I happened to have all the essential ingredients for), I knew it will be the perfect Sunday brunch to start my lazy day! 🍄🍄

I know some of you will SCREAM at the idea of a savoury cake 😱🤣 but I got to say I am really enjoying the rich mushroom flavour in it, especially when paired with some green chilli pesto.😋 You can see the original recipe here at this link👉 https://www.easycheesyvegetarian.com/cheesy-garlic-mushroom-cake/ . I did adapt the recipe slightly by substituting some of the mushrooms with grated carrots and also added a little less cheese, since I didn’t want it to be too heavy.

After all, life is about trying, right? 😉

A Ray of Sunshine

How is everyone doing this Monday? Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during these times. The days may seem gloomy and grey right now, and things seem difficult, but don’t forget that little ray of sunshine in your heart. ☀️☀️

Today was a weird one for me as I got up early to do some work but then ended up falling back asleep in the afternoon… Things at work got strangely stressed at one point, but then I reminded myself that there are many others out there working even harder than me to keep the world going and protect those we loved right now. ❤️ So really, my so-called stress is really no biggie and I should just focus looking after myself and my loved ones. Doing my part to stay at home to keep everyone safe. 😊

So for dessert today, I made a yogurt and lemon curd Swiss roll. The first ever thing I learnt to bake was a Swiss roll, so that really made me feel a sense of nostalgia. Plus, I love yogurt and anything citrus! 🍋🍋 So what a treat for myself! 😋 Bright and colourful! 💛❤️💛❤️

Yogurt and Lemon Curd Swiss Roll

Quantity: 1 cake

Ingredients:

For the vanilla sponge:

4 eggs, separated

113g caster sugar

50 ml warm water

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp salt

100g self-raising flour

1 tsp cornflour

1 tsp baking powder

For the lemon curd:

3 egg yolks

120g caster sugar

1 lemon, zest and juice

53g unsalted butter

For the yogurt filling:

200g natural set yogurt

Decorations:

Raspberries (optional)

Icing Sugar (optional)

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. For the vanilla sponge, whisk the egg whites in a large bowl with half of the sugar until stiff.

2. In a different bowl, mix the yolk, water, vanilla extract, salt and the remaining sugar together until smooth.

3. Mix the flour, cornflour and baking powder together in a separate bowl until well-combined. Sieve into the yolk mixture, and mix until well-combined.

4. Fold this mixture into the whipped egg whites gently until well-combined.

5. Line a baking tray with baking parchment and pour the cake batter onto it. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. When ready, turn the sponge over a new sheet of baking paper. Peel off the baking sheet on the bottom of sponge. Leave the sponge to cool on a wire rack.

6. While the sponge is baking, make the lemon curd by mixing the yolks, sugar, lemon juice and zest in large pan. Cook over a low heat, stirring frequently. Continue to cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until the mixture can coat the back of a spoon.

7. Remove the pan from heat, and stir in the butter.

8. Pass the lemon curd through a sieve and let it cool before using.

9. When the sponge and lemon curd are cooled, spread the yogurt evenly over the sponge cake, followed by the lemon curd. Take care not to overfill. (Any leftovers can be used to make little dessert yogurt pots! 😋)

10. Roll the sponge tightly into a roulade shape.

11. To finish, place raspberries on top of the Swiss roll. Dust with icing sugar and drizzle lemon curd over it.

Also, shout out to my mum who is having her birthday tomorrow! 🎉🎊 Sadly, I cant celebrate with her this year due to the ongoing situation. But here is a flashback to the birthday cake I made her 4 years ago! May all your wishes come true, mum!

Finding My Inner Peace

As the current situation of coronavirus gets progressively unsettling as the days goes by, I find myself often overthinking and getting too caught up worrying about what will happen in the future. Work-wise I feel I am placed in a difficult situation that makes me rethink and question about many things around me.😕 However, after some thought, I think I just need to remind myself that I have to take it a day at a time, and that there are so much brightness ahead no matter how bleak a situation may initially looks.❤️

Times like these call for some therapy baking. I love baking at the late night.🌃 It’s so quiet and I feel I am finding my inner peace again working away as I mix the cake batter.😌 Plus, the end product is delicious, since nothing really beats a banana cake (especially while it’s still warm!) 😋😋 No extravagant decorations, just a simple sponge and that’s the best thing about it.😊

Wishing all of you the best weekend, and don’t forget the hopes that rest within us!✨✨

Day 3 in Vienna: Climb Every Mountain ⛰

For the penultimate day of our stay in Vienna, we decided to head to the neighbouring city of Salzburg – the location of ‘The Sound of Music’! 🎵🎶🎶 (Already can’t stop humming the tune! 😂) In order for us to get to Salzburg, we were up early and ready to aim for our train at 9:42. 🌅 (But not before I made my own waffle for breakfast first! ❤️)

Waffle for Breakfast! 😋
First time I made my own waffle too, believe it or not! 😂

The return train ticket from Vienna to Salzburg costed just under €60 – a very reasonable price! And after we grabbed some snacks and drinks from the shop, it was all aboard and off we go! 🚈 The train journey to Salzburg lasted around 2 hours and 20 minutes – which gives me more than enough time to play games on my phone 📱 and nap 😴 in between haha! 😂

Catching the train
Glimpses of the Alps as we are approaching Salzburg

Upon arrival in Salzburg, we went immediately to the information centre to get a Salzburg card (costed €26) which allowed entry to all the major attractions here and also covering costs of buses – honestly if you want to spend a day sightseeing here you should definitely get one! 👍 👍

The Salzburg Card

Our first stop of the day was the Untersberg cable car that travels to the top of the Alps. 🚠 Despite the rainy weather, the mountain views were still breathtaking to behold! ❤️❤️ (Rather than let me waffle in words, I will let the pictures and videos do the talking haha! 😉)

The Alps
Breathtaking! ❤️
Starting the cable car… 🚠
View from above
Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow! ❄️❄️
Complete whiteness at the top! 😮

The poor weather today meant that the top of the Alps was covered by a raging blizzard. 🌨🌨 (Such bad luck! 😫 I only noticed on Instagram after that, on a normal day, the view is really spectacular. Such a shame…😕) The lady in the information office informed us that one can spend up to three hours there, but we didn’t even last more than 3 minutes outside! 😂

Blizzard attack! ❄️❄️
Let’s hurry back! 😂🏃‍♂️

After briefly trying to brave the storm, we went back inside and sat down in the restaurant to warm ourselves back up.🔥🔥 I thought the cold weather was perfect for a bowl of hot soup 🥣, and ordered Leberknödelsuppe – a beef broth served with a liver dumpling (which reminded me a bit of haggis!)

Leberknödelsuppe – doesn’t look that appetising, but it actually tasted great! 😋

After coming back down from the mountains, the awful weather continued 🌧🌧. However, we made the most of our day in Salzburg, visiting the Hohensalzburg Fortress, Salzburg Cathedral, Mozart’s Birthplace and Mirabell Gardens.

Hohensalzburg Fortress
View of Salzburg from the fortress ❤️❤️ (Yes, it looks brighter than it should because I edited it! 😂)
It’s snowing! ⛄️❄️
Exploring the inside of the fortress 🔍
The outside of Salzburg Cathedral
Inside Salzburg Cathedral 🤫🤫
The beautiful ceiling in cathedral
Mozart’s Birthplace (no photography or videoing allowed inside unfortunately)
The entrance of Mirabell Gardens
Mirabell Gardens
The beautiful view by the river 🌊🌊

The teatime treat though was the thing I was looking forward to the most today. We visited Sacher Hotels (not the original one in Vienna but its branch) and tasted their world-famous Sachertorte. 😋😋 The 34-steps recipe of the Sachertorte is apparently a top guarded secret and kept in a safe for security! 😬 And the cake certainly did not disappoint as it was perfectly moist with a rich chocolate taste balanced with a slight tartness from the apricot jam. ❤️❤️ We also ordered two other desserts, including the classic Viennese apple strudel which was wonderfully flaky, which paired well with the light custard sauce. But the highlight for me was the pear mousse 🍐. It was light and slightly tangy with the sharpness of the pear coming through. Plus, I love the beautiful pear crisp it was served with on top. 😍💚

The signature Sachertorte
Viennese apple strudel served with cream sauce
Pear Mousse Cup with a beautiful pear crisp! 💚💚

After a rather long train journey back to Vienna, we headed straight back to the hotel for a quick break before finally going out for our last dinner in Vienna to conclude a jam-packed day… but the journey is not over! 😉

Beef roulade with polenta and Brussels sprouts

A Singleton’s Valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day! ❤️❤️ I don’t think there is any other festival that I can feel anymore disconnected from, so here is a shout out to all the singletons like me out there! 😂 Plus, I am finally getting my week off work next week, so plenty of fun to be coming around!

However, one can’t deny that the best thing about this festival is the chocolate, and lots and lots of them at that! 🍫🍫🍫 While today may be a celebration for some, I am saying goodbye to a dear work colleague who is moving away from London and I definitely use the opportunity to make a chocolate cake that satisfied everyone during lunchtime! (It just so happened that her favourite cake is also chocolate lol.)

‘You’re always welcome home’ – and I am as ‘exasperated’ (as pointed out by somebody) as this bird on my cake 😂😂

For those of you interested, I used the same chocolate sponge recipe that I posted a while back last year. (See link here 👉 https://tangosbaking.home.blog/2019/05/27/life-is-like-a-box-of-chocolates/) But instead of making chocolate ganache, I did a ‘freestyle’ chocolate frosting that I whipped up using some melted butter, cocoa powder, milk and plenty of icing sugar! (Didn’t even bother with measurements! 😂 I was entirely going by eye for consistency.) I then topped the cake with a chocolate nest filled with mini eggs and a white fondant bird. 🐦 Nothing can beat a well-baked chocolate cake really! 😝😋

After spending some time drinking in the pub, I also took myself out for a dinner for one at my favourite Italian comfort food spot. (The mixed fish grill was so delicious! 🤤 Crispy exterior with the perfectly cooked centre 🐟🦐) Who said that single life isn’t fun? 😉

Mixed fish grill (salmon, lemon sole, sea bass and king prawn) served with a mixed salad

And also clearly I haven’t had enough cake earlier…😅

Apple cake served with a warm mango cream sauce and vanilla ice cream

And with a full stomach, it’s time to go home and lie back in my bed! 😂 🛏

(P.S. Big trip next week, so watch this space! 😉)