Monday, February 23, 2009

One step at a time

Vanilla bean and strawberry gems

My macarons aren't perfected. Like their baker, they are temperamental and in need of more care and attention than usual. Because of the change in environment, little adjustments need to be made to encourage the occasional rise: a slight reduction of sugar, a different turn of the hand when folding, the change of baking paper brand.

For all the symbolism, I'm glad this batch turned out better than others. That's not to say the following ones are going to be successful but I guess the fun part really is trying.

Sentiments in the form of pink paper and ribbons

Packed these up for Steph before our afternoon tea at St. Regis but couldn't bring them with me cause of the rain. Now they're sitting in the fridge waiting patiently for willing adopters

Friday, February 20, 2009

Cheap dates

The bf is obsessed over M.Ward's new album claiming it's his next big love since me. And personally, I'm not one to talk because I too have a problem.
From a scale of 1 to 10, how psyched is a normal person allowed to be over a few baking recipes?

I'm at a 12++!

Since I stumbled upon one of the world's loveliest blogs, I've been jittery with excitement waiting for the weekend to come so I can throw on my awesome new apron (thanks SW!) and dip my hands in flour. Ahh. The joys of social network(bak)ing. You gotta love the 21st century.

Well, the little things you say and do make me want to be with you
Rave on
Rave on this crazy feeling
I know
I know it's got me reeling when you say "I love you," I say "rave on"

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hokkaido with the fam

Beautiful in all its snow white glory, Hokkaido was quite a retreat. What made it more special was that most of my family was there except poor Shu-Q. We missed you little one! Shin wouldn't stop talking about you, reminiscing times when "Cheh slept on my thighs throughout the whole trip making it sooo numb" or "I wish cheh were here. She used to yell at me whenever I did this (or that)."

Believe it or not. The last place I visited on a family vacation was the States. We stopped at Boston where I suffered
, again believe it or not, a slight bout of depression because of the wintry cold and high price tags on cereal. Obviously my degree from BU is proof that I don't learn. That, in addition to my constant need to kiss little dogs' faces till this day. See #34 for reference>

Since I left home for college, there have been many family vacations and I managed to miss all of them. Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, Australia, Spain, New Zealand and countless others. As a result, Hokkaido was a real treat for twenty-something me. Despite the major complaints regarding the lousy tour and daily countdowns, "5 more days till we see Lola," I can honestly say I enjoyed every bit of it.

No surprise - plastic food showcases in Japan are all the rage. What made this cool was that it was Chinese takeout! Awesome

Behold, the almighty Golden Spoon froyo. Ahh. How I miss this stuff

Sumi Masen. May I have some ramen please?

Mom and I all decked out in winter gear upon arrival. This was after a 6-hour layover and constant b*tching on the plane. At least I got to watch Woody Allen's Vicki, Christina, Barcelona

Some rubber-wrapped dessert shaped like Marimo balls. I'd know more about them if the tour guide weren't such a dimwit. Lol. Dimwit. I should use that word more often

This is apparently how Marimo balls look like. The green stuff. Not my sis

Making snow angels by the volcanoes

Ta-da! Behold the stepped-on angel

We wouldn't stop eating ice cream in the cold. You should know by now, the Chongs have a tendency to "show off." P/s: see dad's expression

Mom and dad looking dorky on their snow mobile

"Check me out, all decked out in snow mobile gear leather jacket and all"

While the kids played, the grown ups got to work

Speaking of work...

I helped make mochi by hammering rice into a sticky consistency as the supportive crowd cheered

Si fu and I

The ladies. This was the hotel where Viv, Shin and I trudged through the snow just to get ramen - which we cooked and forgot to eat (somewhat). Ahh... What an experience

Dad attempting a mochi bash

The Chongs (sans Shu-Q) ready for a tatami dinner spread

Mommy dearest and me

Sashimi and live crab dinner

(Questionably) traditional tatami dinner

When we weren't eating, we "hung out" in the cold for as long as our bodies could take it


Snowball fight

Ice sculptures were one of the many highlights of the trip

Love this pic cause it shows everyone in a diff mood at a diff moment

I'm 4 beers down and this is all I can manage (my Japanese friends taught me well).

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sugar and spice and everything nice

That's what Valentines are made of

...along with pink and red M&Ms.

The bf and I decided to skip the conventional celebration over candlelight dinner this year. Potentially bad service, overpriced menus and crowded dining areas -- not an experience we're ready to have. Last year, we spent Valentine's Day at a hospital. I guess we're just cool like that.

Being a sucker for all things romantic (I mean come on, haven't you seen my floral cupcakes and frilly dresses??!) I do have a soft spot for this holiday. Mock me all you want but I haven't been buying any heart-holding stuffed toys. Instead, let me present:

Brownie cookie lollipops

Mini cut-out heart cookies

Place heart here

Barrel of Monkeys with lots of love

The bf's present: a leather Siglo cigar case. Cedar-lined with a humidifier and his favorite Partagás to go with it

Sealed with a kiss

Now I'm listening to Sound Team's Movie Monster writing notes to faraway friends. It can't get more romantic than this.

I'm going for a run.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I woke up this morning and saw...

It seems Mr. Bunny can be pensive and serious too despite the previous unabashed kawaii(!) photo. My fault. Gosh. Twenty-something and still playing with dolls. I'd tsk myself if I cared.

More on Hokkaido later cause I'm still somewhat on hiatus.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Yukata is the new black

こんにちは from Hokkaido

When in Rome do as the Romans do. This was our 1st family vacation in 9 years. I'm taking a breather.