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… 😪😅
Strawberry Love 🍓❤️🍓❤️
I just love love strawberry! Especially when it is in season in the summer and nothing can get better than a classic British strawberry and cream dessert! 😋
When I visited the Silver Darling in Aberdeen earlier in the week, I was very inspired by its strawberry tasting platter, so I decided to do my take on it last night. This strawberry dessert platter was composed of a strawberry & mint sorbet, eggless meringue (made from aquafaba), strawberry shortbread (coloured and filled with dried strawberries), strawberry jelly cubes, fresh strawberry coulis, whipped cream, and last but not least, a strawberry-mint vodka cocktail shot! 🍸😉
We might have gotten a little carried away on the alcohol! 😂
Looking for Alaska
It’s obviously no secret that I love baking. One of the greatest joys I get from baking is allowing myself to being in the moment and feel accomplished in my finished product. Of course, sometimes things don’t always go to plan. (And that’s when my perfectionist self can get really disheartened and frustrated…) But I always remind myself that, ultimately like many things, it is a process of learning. ☺️
As my visit to family in Scotland is almost coming to an end (time really does fly), I thought I will make another ice cream dessert before returning to London! 😋🍨 Yesterday, I had my second attempt at making at a baked Alaska (after the big mess that was the first go. 😅) I made some adjustments this time including using a bowl and cling film to set and shape the ice cream beforehand, before covering it in an Italian meringue (not sure what I was thinking when I used the less stable French meringue last time… 🤦🏻♂️) The final result was a lot better than what I had last time! 😁
Hope everyone enjoy their final week of the holiday! 😉❤️
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! ❤️
Red is the New Colour
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! 👍
A Michelin Experience
As an avid foodie, I am always constantly looking for new places and new experiences wherever I go. A few days ago, I came across a website depicting Michelin restaurants and I discovered there are in fact currently four such restaurants here in Edinburgh: Number One, 21212, The Kitchin and Martin Wishart. (To be honest, I am a bit embarrassed that I never heard of any of them until now despite having spent years here lol. Apparently there are quite well known.😂😂) I had a few experiences dining in Michelin restaurants in Hong Kong and London years ago, but never elsewhere. (N.B. I just found out that Yauatcha in Soho which my friend and I visited a couple weeks ago also has a Michelin star! Link👉 https://tangosbaking.home.blog/2019/08/02/dim-sum-and-desserts/) So, my mum and I decided to pay one of those restaurants for a visit during lunch hours (which put Number One out of question since they don’t appear to do lunch hours.) I first phoned up the Kitchin, but was taken back in that they are fully booked for the whole of August and are placing people in waiting list for September!😱😱 So I was glad when I called Martin Wishart next, they have spaces available for the next day.😀
The restaurant is located by a river in Leith, and the beautiful interior certainly made a bold statement from the minute I stepped in. The service was absolutely outstanding as one may come to expect. (In fact, I felt I was slightly taken a back by how attentive they were. Awks. 😂😂) The minute we sat down (and before we were provided the menus), food already came rolling in the form of canapés and complementary appetisers.
Right out from the gate, the canapés already impressed, especially the savoury macarons (which my mum was still going on about afterwards! ❤️😂) This unique take on macarons had a very delicate texture that instantly melted in the mouth, and I loved how they presented the classic combo of basil and tomato in such an innovate way. Definitely very inspiring!👍 The crackers were also very delicious (and kind of reminded me of coronation chicken lol!) I also loved the croquettes and the pea soup (though my mum were slightly more impartial as she felt the croquettes were slightly too salty and the earthy taste of the soup a bit too strong😅). I was really intrigued by the condiments that were served with the sourdough, especially the seaweed butter, though we couldn’t really taste the seaweed in it. (My mum preferred the tomato sauce, though I was more of a fan of the savoury olives.)
We went for their three-courses lunch menu which we felt were very reasonable priced (£35) given the quality of the food and the service plus the complementary appetisers. Since there were only two choices in each course, we decided to simply order them all so we could both have a taste of everything. For starters, I absolutely loved the pigs’ trotters dish as the trotters were tender and rich combined with the flavourful mushroom vinaigrette. 🤤🤤 The crab and tuna tartare was also refreshing and appetising. (My mum loved the presentation.)
For the mains, here came something that neither of us ate properly before and that was the rabbit. I was very intrigued by how it would taste (as I have heard that it tastes like chicken), and it turned out for me to be the best dish of the day!👍👍👍 The rabbit was almost like a very tender chicken, but also quite gamey and flavourful at the same time. The mushroom risotto was a perfect compliment!❤️❤️ As for the fish course, I found it overall to be nice (I must confess personally I am not a huge fan of steamed fish) but the star of the show for me were the delicious glazed vegetables, and the dish was absolutely stunning to look at.
And finally, of course, it was dessert time! 😋 The white chocolate mousse was absolutely a no-brainer choice for us given its classic combo of passion fruits and mango, and it tasted like just as we expected, tang and exotic. We weren’t sure how the white chocolate mousse would turned out to be like, but it was not overly sweet at all and its subtle sweetness paired very well with the other acidic components.👍 The millefeuille for me was good with its crispy puff pastry and delicious strawberry sorbet, but the flavour profile just wasn’t as exciting as the other dessert.
After a very satisfying meal, there was one final delight with the after dinner chocolates. For someone who is not a fan of fudge and salted caramel, I actually quite enjoyed these chocolates. Moreover, I loved how they served these chocolates over a salt mixture (I was not 100% sure what it is lol) to counteract the sweetness of these chocolates, which for me was ingenious.
What an experience ❤️❤️❤️, and it certainly opened my eyes. But, more importantly, the passion and the love of food were undeniable in these dishes.😊
Dim Sum and Desserts
It had been so nice this week to catch up with many of my closest friends.😊 But, before I leave London for a couple of weeks, I met up with my best friend for one delicious food date. We (or rather I lol) decided to visit Yauatcha in Soho, a Chinese restaurant that specialises in contemporary dim sum as well as high-end patisserie.😋 Got to say I felt right at home here! 😉
I really enjoyed the Cheung Fan and the black truffle dumplings (though my friend who didn’t like the flavours of black truffle preferred the lobster dumplings and the Cheung Fan.😂) Not only were the dishes really delicious, but they also filled me with many memories from my childhood growing up in Hong Kong. The Cheung Fan (steamed rice rolls) in particular was a common street food I used to eat regularly back then after school.
The desserts though were something that I was the most excited about coming into this place and they certainly did not disappoint. I had the Strawberry Zhu and the Matcha Lychee Pot. I was very impressed by the classic strawberry and cream combination in the former. The flavours worked very well and I particularly enjoyed the surprise of the strawberry-shaped chocolates which were also filled with a strawberry sauce.😋 (I didn’t realise they were not real strawberries until I bit into them.😂) The Matcha Lychee Pot was very light and refreshing, and almost remained me of a granola and yogurt pot but much more refined. The jelly component especially was very delightful to eat.
The only downside here was that this place was a bit expensive. Still, it didn’t stop us going for a frozen yogurt afterwards.😂
Hope you all have a fantastic weekend ahead of you! 😉
What Food Means to Me
Humans eat to survive. Is this why you eat though? For me, food is way more than a survival need. My most favourite things about food are the many memories and moments that come with each meal, and the love the cooks can bring to people’s hearts. The reason why I love baking is to be able to similarly share and bring this joy to other people.
Yesterday, my friends and I arranged a surprise dinner for a friend who would be soon moving to a different country. My two friends put together a beautiful album of our memories for her, whilst, being me (the token baker in our group lol), I decided to make a strawberry and cream cake for the occasion.
After a hefty steak dinner, my friends and I ended up munching this cake away whilst sitting by some corner seats inside the shopping mall. (LOL to the restaurant who tried to charge us for bringing our own cake in.) We laughed and talked as we tucked in. Such times like that are ones that are the most beautiful, simple moments in life. And more importantly, whenever I see and taste these foods again, I will always remember the joy and happiness that it was associated with on this very day.
What happy memories are you going to create with food today? 😊
Barbecue and Strawberries 🍓
One of my favourite things in the summer is no doubt a smoky barbecue party with friends. Yesterday, my work colleagues were cooking up a meaty feast in the back garden. Chicken, ribs, prawns, sausages, burgers and all could name! 🍗🍖🍤🌭🍔 What possibly can a meat lover like me says no to? 😋 (Even better with a cocktail in my hand haha!)
Since I did not contribute to the grill, I paid my dues by whipping up (quite literally) a dessert for everyone there. To keep up with the finger food theme, I decided on some chocolate profiteroles topped with freeze-dried raspberries. To top it off, I also did some chocolate-dipped strawberries. The strawberries at this time are the best around this time in the year. One of the biggest joy I get from baking and cooking is to see the joy you bring to others with the food you’ve made. So, very happy that my colleagues enjoyed it! 😊
Chocolate Profiteroles with Freeze-dried Raspberries and Chocolate-dipped Strawberries
Quantity: 15-20 profiteroles
For the choux pastry:
50g unsalted butter
65g strong white flour
30g caster sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
For the pastry cream:
4 egg yolks
65g caster sugar
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp vanilla extract
300g dark chocolate
50g white chocolate
1. Start the choux pastry by placing the butter in water in a saucepan. Heat until the butter has fully melted, bringing the water to boil.
2. Keeping the saucepan over heat, tip all the flour into it in one go. Beat vigorously until it forms a smooth dough. Remove it from heat afterwards.
3. Add the beaten eggs a bit at a time to the dough, stirring vigorously after each addition, to achieve a soft, smooth batter. Take care at this stage as you may not need all your eggs. The batter must not be too runny or too stiff. To check that you have the right consistency, lift a bit of the batter up with a spoon. It should just hang off the spoon, holding a V-shape.
4. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6.
5. Line the baking tray with baking parchment. Sprinkle droplets of water over it. (This creates steam to give a crisp crust on your profiteroles.) Pipe your choux batter in small circles, leaving enough gap between them as the choux will rise considerably.
6. Bake the profiteroles for about 25-30 minutes, or until they are golden and fully cooked inside. As soon as they are taken out to cool, use a skewer to pierce the bottoms of each profiteroles to create an air hole to let out steam, and place them on a wire rack.
7. While the profiteroles are baking, make the pastry cream by whisking the egg yolks together with the sugar until a pale yellow is achieved. Sieve the flour and mix it into the yolk mixture until well-combined.
8. Heat the milk with the vanilla in a saucepan over a low heat until there is a gentle simmer.
9. Slowly pour about half of the hot milk to the yolk mixture, whisking as you are adding. Then return the mixture to the remaining milk in the saucepan.
10. Bring the mixture back to boil by heating, whisking continuously as it is cooking, until a smooth custard is formed.
11. Line a tray with cling film, and pour the pastry cream on it to cool and set in the fridge. You may dust some icing sugar over to prevent a skin forming.
12. When the profiteroles are cooled and the pastry cream is set, pipe the pastry cream into the profiteroles through the air hole at the bottom. Take care to ensure the profiteroles are well-filled.
13. Melt the chocolates over a double boiler or using a microwave. (Take care with the white chocolate as it is easy to get overheated and turn lumpy.)
14. Dip the filled profiteroles and strawberries in the melted dark chocolate. Allow it to cool and set slightly before drizzling the melted white chocolate over with a spoon. Dust the profiteroles with freeze-dried raspberries.
Create Your Sweet Moments Every Day
After a really long day at work today, I was exhausted beyond belief by the time I got home. Now, I must confess that I am probably not the tidiest person in the entire world. So having put off doing laundry for two weeks now, I finally decided to turn on the washing machine at last. 😅 After stuffing it full, I collapsed on my bed and fell sound asleep with the noises of the washing machine and the TV running in the background.
Just when I thought my evening was going to smoothly run its course, I snored awake when I noticed everything in my apartment was silent and switched off. Thinking it was just another tripped fuse, I wandered half-awakened to the fuse box. That was when I discovered that not just the entire building, but the street I lived on had suddenly experienced a power outage!
Before I had time to even worry about how long it would take for the power to come back on, I realised my phone (the only one thing unaffected) was low on battery and most of my clothes now stuck in the washing machine. And yet, I found the first thing I was actually concerned about was my alarm not coming on tomorrow morning if all my appliances were dead. Thoughts and stress started racing in my head. What if I get in trouble if I wake up late for work tomorrow? Why did I always seem to value my job above everything else? Why couldn’t I stop worrying about things I wasn’t able to control?
Finally, I came to a realisation I should stop stressing myself out and savoured the peace I was finally allowed. I decide to watch MasterChef on my phone, then fell asleep again before I was awakened by the washing machine and lights coming back on two hours later. Since my laundry still needed some time to finish, I decided to go outside meanwhile for a cheeky strawberry sundae in the middle of night. (Excuse the drop of sauce dripped onto the table 😂)
Turn out tonight wasn’t so bad after all. Why don’t we all stop and just make the most of every moments we have in our lives? Sometimes even the bad moments can still turn out to be sweet in the end.
(Clearly jinxed myself with this post ’cause the power is gone yet again 😓 when I was showering…)