In Memoriam: Baby Gino

Just over a month ago, I could hardly believe that it was happening to me… To us. My excitement was contained – I knew that it was still early days but thanks to advancements in science, there it was – “Pregnant” – in digital no less.

We nicknamed you “Gino”, after our favourite sleazy Italian TV chef. Symptoms-wise, I began losing my appetite, feeling bloated and the occasional waves of nausea. Nothing too serious and definitely nothing to complain about. I was growing a baby!

Everything seemed fine until I woke up one day and realised that I was simply feeling too “myself” to be truly pregnant.

That was when I knew.. But everyone simply said that there isn’t one textbook pregnancy and that perhaps, I was just different/lucky.. Same same but different. I checked and my hormone levels were still rising, so I could do nothing else but hope for the best, be positive and pray that I was just being a worry-wart.

Well, the weeks came and went – I got my wish to tell your grandparents at the same time that I was pregnant. In hindsight, it’s funny that everything had worked out as I had planned.. Everyone was so happy🙂 Telling them made it feel even more real and helped to push aside my fears and worries, even though my gut was telling me to be prepared. For anything. It was still early days remember?

The day of the first ultrasound came, Gino, and I still distinctly remember Daddy telling Pocket that we were on our way to see you. To catch that flutter of a heartbeat which I imagined we would hear faintly, only to realise after that we had not been able to record it down for posterity. And then, we would laugh about it but safe in the knowledge that you’re OK. But that heartbeat – we never heard. Instead, I was sent home to rest for a couple of weeks, with the hope that you’ll catch up in growth. Those were the longest two weeks of my life.. Not knowing for certain and having to be positive but yet knowing instinctively to prepare myself for the worst.

You never did grow. 5 weeks and 4 days into your conception, I think someone made the decision that they wanted to make you even better for us. I was crushed but not as much as your Daddy was. Tears were shed and angry words exchanged but we had to accept the facts.

So, Gino, we’ll see you soon. Not now, but later. I’m sorry you can’t come play with Pocket just yet but know that Mummy and Daddy loved you so, even before we caught your little heart beating.. For the time being, I’ve had to put everything away because a lot reminds me of you and the past couple of months. I also hope you don’t mind that I laugh and smile a lot – I want to be well enough for you when you’re ready once more.

In your memory, I lit a candle on 15 October – Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. See how things worked out?🙂 We were in time to honour you and all the angel babies other Mummies and Daddies have lost. I also treated myself to two Kimmi dolls – one is Rie who symbolises “Healing”, while the other is a surprise.. For the future🙂

Back… with a ban in tow!

a SHOPPING ban, that is!

Over Christmas, A. and I had a great break – our first proper break since the wedding. Yea, we’ve had the odd long weekend away but those just didn’t feel like BREAKS. This time round, we left Pocket with the in-laws and took off for a solid two weeks.

much MUCH needed. At the end of the holiday, A. said he had had such a good time – a FIRST! I was so happy that he was happy and had enjoyed himself. Nevermind we had one teensy little argument. I think we actually grew a lot closer during this break… I suppose it’s because we didn’t have wedding ANYTHING looming over our heads.

On this holiday, we were both also really good about not shopping. He had a few big expensive items on his list but because of the new build, he decided to be good and hold off on buying his things. We bought clothes here and there from brands like Uniqlo (since goddamit, we can’t get it in Perth) but nothing major, so we were very proud of ourselves😀 *patpatpat*

When we got home and unpacked, however, I realised that I couldn’t properly shut some of my drawers and that I had run out of hangers! Now, the thing is, I really don’t buy very much for myself. I have clothes that I still properly fit into from erm… 5 years ago? My principle has always been that if my clothes don’t have holes in them or aren’t falling apart at the seams, I’ll keep them. Never know when you might wear that dress/shirt/shorts/skirt/jumper again right?

WRONG.

In the last couple of hours, I have managed to put away three full bags of clothes that were given to me/are too tight/look too old/have holes in them or that I’m just not going to wear again (seeing as how I haven’t worn them in the last 2 years!). I am going to give all these clothes away with NO REGRETS. I simply hate clutter. Knowing too that I’ll be moving soon is one of the biggest spring cleaning push factors. 

Even with these three bags going to the Salvation Army bins, I still have plenty of clothes – I’m definitely good for this coming year! Which thus led me to placing myself on a shopping ban for the next six months. You heard it here first – I will not be buying any new clothes from 10 January to 11 June 2014. Upon successfully completing these six months, I will assess my wardrobe situation and may extend the ban for another six months.

Now, the thing is, I am allowed costume jewellery/accessories because if you know me, I do not wear, much less own, any accessories save for earrings. That, my dear friends, will be the only things I can buy. And shoes but only IF NECESSARY. Trust me – my self-restraint is pretty damn good and I have my tight-arse-ness to thank😛

As I’ve just returned to work, I’m still getting back into the swing of things. Once I’m all full steam ahead, I’ll do my first bake of the year! Stay tuned! Until then, send me lots of love and support – and I’ll reciprocate with regular updates on my self-imposed shopping ban🙂 xx

On The Menu :: Macarons and an Orange Chiffon Cake

Hi everyone! Missed me much?😛

My excuse is that I’ve been busy the last couple of weeks, experimenting with new macaron recipes and techniques, while at the same time, working and doing all other chores!

Although I’m still battling with hollow-ish macarons, I have to say they’re looking pretty damn good😀 They also taste pretty awesome! I mean, who doesn’t like meringue??!! I’d attribute my macaron success to the Italian Meringue method which really does produce a much more stable batter for amateur bakers to work with. It does take a little more effort, what with having to whip up the egg whites as you’re preparing the sugar syrup but it’s not impossible since you should be using a stand mixer.

After two batches of macarons using the Italian Meringue method, I think I’ve got it down pat and would be pretty comfortable using this very recipe for the future. There’s nothing that I need to tweak really; it’s more my technique that needs to be worked on:

1. I’d like to increase the amount of egg whites I’m currently using because it’s such a small quantity that my stand mixer takes forever to whip it up and that results in a broken meringue and thus, hollow shells.

2. I’ll also pipe my macarons and allow them to rest, one batch at a time. The first time I used the Italian Meringue recipe, I remember piping a lot of macarons out at the same time and the feet turned out fine. The second time, however, some of my macarons had uneven feet which apparently is because of OVER-resting. For my third attempt, I’ll definitely pipe my macarons out one baking sheet at a time and see if it makes a difference.

3. I’ll be checking in on my macarons at the 12 minute mark — 15 minutes produced much too over-cooked macarons, ie some were slightly browned.

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| Raspberry Jam Macarons (above) and Pandan Kaya Macarons (below) |

After a very long time too, I finally baked a chiffon cake, my kryptonite. I think I’ve found THE recipe and will be using this as the foundation for different flavours in the near future because my cake was tall, light, fluffy AND spongey – MMM YUMYUM! Alton noted though that it was SALTY so I may have to go easy on the salt in the future. I reckon instead of 1/4 teaspoon, I should simply eyeball “a pinch”.

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I know I’m no baking extraodinaire but I’ve been toying with the idea of selling some of my bakes. Any one out there with any experience selling to cafes or even to friends and family? I’d love some advice on how else to get started… For now, close friends, family and colleagues have been my guinea pigs/taste testers😛 I mean, word-of-mouth IS the best form of advertising🙂

Bon appetit, mes amies et la prochaine fois  :) xx

Macarons :: The Beginnings

For months now I’d toyed with the idea of baking macarons but had always put it off because the task just seemed too daunting, what with the thousands of horror stories I’ve come across.

Then one day, a couple of weeks ago, I woke up and thought “Today’s the day – I’m gonna make me some macarons!” And made some macarons I did indeed.

The very first recipe and method I used for that virgin attempt was BraveTart’s French Macaron recipe which can be found here and boy, did the results surprise me because I think my macarons turned out pretty decent!

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| I spy with my little eye… feet! |

What I took away from this attempt was how absolutely tedious making macarons truly are. I was beyond tired by the time I was done baking. It didn’t help too that I started baking after dinner – not the best decision I ever made but my impulses, they do get the best of me.

I wasn’t happy too that my macarons didn’t have nice flat bases. I only later realised that my macarons were actually slightly undercooked! OOPS. Regardless, my macarons were still super yummo and it gave me the confidence to attempt a second batch.

Since BraveTart’s recipe worked for me the first time round, I decided to use it again. This time, however, I did a few things differently:

1. I used non-stick baking paper, instead of my silicon baking macaron mat.

2. I made my own almond meal and used the food processor to mix the almond meal and icing sugar together.

3. I allowed the macarons to “rest” before being baked.

Once again, my macarons were edible – I mean, who doesn’t like sweet baked meringues? But this batch was definitely over-baked because I popped them back into the oven for an extra 5 minutes when they didn’t just slide off the baking paper. Also, I thought I’d “freehand” the piping – BIG MISTAKE because I got BIG MACARONS. OMG, they were massive. Not in the least bit dainty. And euuuww… I got frills! Not feet!

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So, I’ve decided that for my third attempt, I’d like to try my hand at the Italian Meringue method which is supposed to produce a very stable meringue that apparently is almost impossible to over-mix.

Gah! Wish me luck! And if you have ANY tips/advice on baking macarons, send them my way!🙂 Have a great week ahead, y’all! xx

What’s in a baby person?

I’ll be honest – I’m one of those annoying people who coos over babies, puppies and kittens. I’ll gladly pick up a baby, ANY BABY, and sing to them, cradle and rock them in my arms and pepper them with lots of kisses. 

I suppose that makes me a “baby person”? 

I get that a lot – the whole, “Oh you’re wonderful with children!” I usually just put it down to me currently being a childcare worker but when I think about it, I have ALWAYS loved babies/toddlers/children. I don’t know what it is but I suppose I do have a way with them? And no, I don’t think it’s because of my wide repertoire of nursery rhymes :P 

So I got to thinking – are you only a baby person because the baby isn’t yours? What if I’m horrible at bringing up my own child when the time comes? What if for some strange obscure reason my baby hates the sound of my voice and my bony arms? Why do I feel as if I have expectations to meet before I even have a child of my own?

Should I start being less of a baby person in public and just coo at baby pictures in private?

I’ve come to the conclusion that just as I’ve learnt to NOT ask married couples why they aren’t popping babies out and to NOT ask when they’re planning on doing so, I reckon we should, similarly, go easy on comments ranging from “WOW! You’re great with babies!” to “You’ll be so good when you have your own children.”

You’re welcome, however, to tell me that I’d be perfect as the next token Asian on Play School and The Wiggles. To that I’d say, hell yea! Call me, ABC🙂 Let’s talk.

xx

On The Menu :: Pandan Chiffon Cupcakes

So, of course it’d happen to me that the day I decide I need and like to bake, my digital weighing scale goes KAPUT.

JUST AS I BEGAN BAKING.

FML.

I had to resort to using cup measurements which IMHO, just aren’t as accurate. I mean, I’m no MasterPatissier but I like the specificity provided when measuring out ingredients by weight. 

All things considered, my cupcakes turned out pretty well. I reckon they could have come out of the oven after 15-18 minutes, so I’ll keep that in mind for Round Two! They also feel a little dense but that’s probably because I didn’t re-measure my homemade cake flour, after all the sifting etc… I blame my silly weighing scale for my callous and careless behaviour.

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Anyhoo, the house is smelling DIVINE – I love that subtle smell of pandan wafting through the air🙂 Whets my appetite and makes me want to bake MORE. NAO!😛

Many thanks to Kitchen Tigress for her recipe which can be found HERE

Bon appetit, mes amis! I hope you give this recipe a go!🙂 xx

Pocket Rocket :: Our boy turns TWO!

My spring baby is now a ripe young age of 24 months🙂

He will forever be our furry bundle of joy and our first love.

Happy Birthday, Pocket! Our lives changed when you came along and we have never been happier. We hope you know how loved you are🙂

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