Tag Archives: love

Of Birthdays, Celebrations and Sadness

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Hari Raya Haji is only a few days away. I am excited. I am thinking of preparing a Malay feast  with a variety of desserts. Only problem is that Joe doesn’t really care for Malay food. He tolerates it. I made a pot of Beef Rendang and Sambal Goreng many weeks ago and I found myself eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next four days. Not that I did not enjoy eating Malay food for four consecutive days. Bliss and orgasmic would be appropriate adjectives to describe the experience but I hate cooking food that only I alone enjoy. I almost feel a little better cooking food that he alone enjoys. Anyway it has been really busy at work. In the past years, September and October are typically slow months but they have been working us consistently. It leaves me no time to keep the kitchen well- stocked and clean. To make matters worse we have also been busy house hunting. We have placed two very fair offers the last couple months but without much luck. It is quite depressing. Between the messy, low inventory kitchen, work and depression of not being able to snag our dream home (not once but twice) I haven’t done much baking or cooking. I saw Gorton’s beer battered fish filets on sale and I figured the picture on the packaging looks good and i thought to myself that it probably would make a quick unhealthy snack on the many lazy days. Boy was I wrong. Frozen battered fish tasted nothing like the recollections I had of them as a kid. I thought fish sticks were one of the best things on earth. Fast forward to today, each time I try to eat one of those beer battered fish filet, I gag a little. It is that bad. As usual my mind wanders. I thought there was a point to this post but now I am not so sure anymore.

Eid! Hari Raya Haji!

I will make a feast. I was going to jot my thoughts on my upcoming one person Eid feast.

Contemplating between Ayam Masak Merah (Spicy Tomato Chicken), Beef Rendang ( Spicy Coconut Gravy Beef) or Ayam Masak Lemak Chili Padi (Green Chili Coconut Chicken Curry)….Hmmm….There is also the option of Chicken or Beef Beryani….Decisions! Decision! Decisions!

Dessert should be some kind of pie or layered cake I have never made before. Or wait…a Pandan Coconut Custard Cake. I saw that cake on a friends facebook posting last week and I have be fantasizing about it ever since. Pandan cake makes me reminisce my childhood in Singapore. It oozes of comfort that comes with familiarity. Sigh.

I turned 32, 5 days ago. It was uneventful and Joe threw a tantrum. 32 doesn’t feel much different from 31. It wasn’t as apocalyptic as turning 30. I think as you grow older you become more resigned. Your dreams and hopes fade away a little. It is like the day you were born a 100 candles were lit up for you and each day of your life the flame flickers a little and each year a flame extinguishes. Some years more than one candle dissipates with your dreams. Soon you are left with none and your zest and zeal for life diminishes with it and then I guess eventually you die. Growing up and aging. Some of us resist it. A few of us embrace it. And then there are people like me that just accept it.

I have yet to dye the rapidly multiplying greys on my head. I think I am at 30% grey now. I guess it is my way of accepting that I am growing old and when the hair on my head is all grey it will serve as a reminder to me that perhaps my time is almost up and death beckons. In my mind it is sobering.

I am not quite sure why each year when I reflect on growing a year older it tends be sombre and I weep a little.

Perhaps I should end this post with a thanks. Thank you to god for the health you have given me and a family that loves me unconditionally, a job that feeds me and clothes me and of course a Joe who keeps me human and reminds me that I am not only here on this planet earth existing but that I am also alive.

Amin.

The joy of baking

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I was in a mighty fine mood yesterday. Joe had pampered me with an in house spa day the day before. Unfortunately my hormones got the better of me and I got cranky after all the effort he went through to pamper me. I slept really well that night. I woke up really refreshed and happy. I felt bad for being mean to him the night before. Sometimes when he is not being annoying he really is a sweetheart and I am so blessed to have him.

Anyway, I figured today would be a good day to bake. Joe makes really good blueberry scones. We use the same recipe but some how his scones always turns out better than mine. He is more precise in his  measurements and techniques  where as I adopt a more laissez-faire  approach.

Joe had bought a bunch of blueberries a week ago with the good intentions of baking scones but his procrastination probably got the better of him and so the blueberries have been taking up prime refrigerator real estate and threatening to shrivel up into blue raisins if i did not use them today.

There were also kiwis and strawberries in there. I am just as guilty.

It is winter here in Chicage and the weather outside indeed is frightful but strangely we have a fridge full of summer fruits. Thank you Mexico?

So it was decided then, I would first make a tart dough and refrigerate it. Then I will proceed to make the scones. While baking the scones I will roll out the tart dough and place it into the tart pan and refrigerate again. Make the pastry cream. Delicious! I can just sit and eat spoonfuls of pastry cream every day and get even fatter.  Let the pastry cream cool. Scones come out. Let it cool. Place the tart shell into the oven. Coincidentally both have the same baking temperature of 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Perfect. Joe wakes up just in time. Make coffee for Joe.

Breakfast is served to my honey.

I said sorry for being crabby the other night. “You are getting your period! I love you” He said. I love him.

Tart shell is out and cooled. Time to put the fruit tart together. My favourite part. Yay!

And here it is.

I was really happy with all the baking I had done that day and I was in a mighty fine mood. Something about baking and the endorphines that it releases into my brain when all turns out well. Happiness.

I feel blessed to have a job in this economy and a very easy job that takes me to different places and puts me up in nice hotels, at least most of the time. But my true yearning is to bake. My worry is that what if I choose to bake full-time and it starts turning into a tremendous chore and the pituitary gland halts endorphin production during baking. Worst still, what if I am not good enough?

I digress.

Anyway we ended up sharing the tart with our neighbours. We had bumped into them while shopping at the supermarket and decided on an impromptu get together to watch the Golden Globes and have some cheap bubbly. Note to self when serving the tart make sure you take it out from the fridge a few minutes ahead of time so that guests do not have to struggle with their forks to cut into their tart or another solution sharper forks?

The tart was lovely. The crust was perfect once it had sat out for a few minutes.

Now with all those egg whites I have in the fridge….what next? Macarons? Genoise? Souffle?

Can’t wait.