Sunday, March 29, 2009

All things gooey

Rainy weekends in Singapore usually mean a lot of baking. This weekend happens to be full of chocolatey goodness. There was a massive Dorie Greenspan triple layer Devil's Inside Out cake to celebrate Aunt Virgie's bday, some chocolate nests with speckled eggs for Easter and older chocolate French macaroon photos to appreciate. No macaron baking for me when it's humid and sticky. I'd rather sit back and enjoy another movie from the bf's library (this time it's Focus Feature's bio on Harvey Milk, which was fantastic).

Macarons forming skin

One word. Addictive. It only takes a favorite flavor to draw you back in

Dark chocolate nests with speckled eggs

And finally, the show stopper triple layer Devil's Inside Out Cake. Dorie's recipe called for 8" pans and because I only had a 9" one, I ended up doubling the recipe to make 3 layers!

Nothing like a tall glass of milk and cake before bed

Rainy days in SF used to mean staying in with homemade soups and browsing online stores. This was when the economy showed signs of promise. Here we are, miles away and months later, staring longingly at books we've always wanted but never did buy. The bf's and his bluesy music scores. Me and my cookbooks. As we haven't splurged on anything since the Big Move (my CC bills are surprisingly filled with nothing but supermarket and restaurant spendings) we thought, "What the heck!" Sure there's a recession, but people always need books. Right? Convinced, I am glad to announce that I will be the proud owner of the following amongst others (ahem) in 2 weeks:

Alinea by Grant Achatz
Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich for that NorCal feel I miss so much

Can't wait to devour these.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Looking back on Bumblebeegrad's result on Typealizer makes me wonder: Am I really The Doer? It's hard to believe that a simple online tool can make such personal determinants based on blog language alone. After all, words are just words, often subjective to verbal accounts. Think about it. "Why are you here?" isn't the same as "Why are you here?" Which reminds of the panda who eats, shoots and leaves. Lol. Does Typealizer read colon + parentheses smiley faces as they are? What if all this isn't really me?

I don't experience many epiphanies. Or at least, I don't recall having done so lately unless you count the not-so-accidental work related ones: "Why can't we just skip those 2 steps by using this model instead?" Ahhh....

"Efficiency's key people. Let's get this done (my way) already."

The bf, being a typical Libran, is the wiser of us two. Me? I'm well, The Doer. If there's anything I'm good at, it's seeing the task at hand and getting it done in the most efficient manner. The brain's like clockwork from 9-8, going from problem to solution, finally packaging results with a big blue bow. Inside joke. Can't help it.

While he's all about the journey and not the destination, I'm shamelessly all about the goal. Every time I reach an intended one, there's that brief moment of satisfaction before I aim for another. It's a neverending game and I play it alone.

There are those (mostly my innerself decked in white robes) who criticize this way of life in no less of a chiding tone, "Why don't you stop to smell the damn roses?"

God knows, I always do. I love beautiful things. Google Reader on my comp is feeding with pictures from photographers, designers and chefs throughout the globe. Every morning I wake up to sunny images of lemon sandwich cookies baked in Provence or someone's modern home office interior in Sweden. But then I'm reminded by a red-clad bugger that I need to go places and get things done on time. And sometimes when I get a moment, the halo bearing side of me goes, "You know, life isn't all about getting things done."

It's all very conflicting isn't it?

I better get going. There's a 3-layer birthday cake waiting to be frosted and it's on my to-do list.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Which type are you?

Typealyzer can determine which Myer's Briggs personality type you belong to based on your blog. Try it here> It's hard to tell if this nifty tool's accurate but it's 5 lasting seconds of fun. Bumblebeegrad's writer has been categorized as ESTP - The Doer:

The active and playful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities.

The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.

Hmm. Pretty generic isn't it? Well, Bill Marriott, CEO of Marriott International is a fellow Doer. Guess I can live with that. Here's a snippet from Rachael King for BusinessWeek that'll give you an idea of other bigwigs' personality-types:

Jonathan Schwartz, CEO of Sun Microsystems.
Blog personality type: The Scientist
The long-range thinking and individualistic type. They are especially good at looking at almost anything and figuring out a way of improving it – often with a highly creative and imaginative touch. They are intellectually curious and daring but might be physically hesitant to try new things. Since they tend to be so abstract and theoretical in their communication they often have a problem communicating their visions to other people and need to learn patience and use concrete examples.

Mike Critelli, Retired Executive Chairman of Pitney Bowes.
Blog personality type: The Duty Fulfiller
This type is responsible and hardworking. They are especially attuned to the details of life and are careful about getting the facts right. Conservative by nature, they are often reluctant to take any risks whatsoever.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Stuff I baked this past month:

European Spice wafers
Old-fashioned cheesecake
Raspberry cheesecake
Strawberry macarons
Lemon macarons
Vanilla bean macarons
Hazelnut chocolate macarons
Hazelnut coffee macarons
Green tea macarons
Hibiscus macarons
Chocolate macarons
Pistachio cardamom shortbread
Coconut lime macadamia cake
Chocolate vanilla cupcakes
Vanilla chocolate cupcakes
Breakfast fruit loaf
Ispahan pavlova cupcakes
White chocolate pavlova

Chocolate French macaroons made with love

Movies I watched this past month:

Marley and Me
Slumdog Millionare (x2)
The Visitor
Heartbreak Kid
No Country for Old Men
La Vie En Rose
Casino Royale
Quantam of Solace
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
Children of Men

It's no wonder.

My life is a tangled mass of sweets and fantasy.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Et voilĂ !

Just what I promised - the unveiling of a present from afar.

Are you ready?

Here it is! (Eeeeee!) Orla Kiely for Target's two-tier rack.
When I heard about Orla's little stint with Target, it didn't take me long to Google the news to death. AND when I saw this beauty, I immediately reached out to my shopaholic partner in crime from the States, dear SW, who did her magic and shipped it over within weeks

So beautiful with its retro fruit pattern and colors, I don't think I've ever been this excited over anything (not even if the word Chanel is written all over it)

SW even tossed in some matching kitchen towels for good measure. Thanks SO much darling! I can't wait to use these

Anyone up for tea?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Simple pleasures

A little present came in the mail today and I'm ECSTATIC with joy! So much so that I don't think I can sleep tonight. Alright I'm exaggerating.

Will reveal more this weekend :)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The weekend's almost over I'll leave you with this.

Rose tinted pavlova cupcake filled with raspberries, cream and lychee - inspired by Pierre Herme's Ispahan

adapted from Donna Hay’s Brown Sugar Cupcake Pavlovas

150ml eggwhite (approx 4 eggs)
1 cup (175g) brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch), sifted
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons rose water
Pink food coloring if desired

Preheat oven to 150 degrees C (300 F). Place the eggwhite in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, whisking well, until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Add the cornflour, vinegar, rose water, pink food coloring and whisk until just combined. Spoon into 12 x ½ cup capacity (125ml) muffin tins lined with cupcake papers. If you have an ice-cream scoop, use it to scoop the mixture into the cupcake papers to get a lovely round shape. Reduce oven to 120 degrees C (250F) and bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and allow the pavlovas to cool completely in the oven.

To assemble:

1 cup (250ml) double (thick) cream
1 pint fresh raspberries
½ cup canned lychees drained and patted dry

Carefully cut the pavlova tops off and set aside. Fill cupcakes with cream and layer with fresh raspberries and lychees. Top off with more cream if desired, then sandwich with tops.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Harvard grad uh ain't

A minor in psychology has taught me the 5 stages of grief and how they don't necessarily happen in the following order: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. What they don't teach you is how to deal with it.

Before I start, I want to reaffirm that I'm not trivializing those who have grieved in their lives. I'm really not. But I do know that my biggest fault, the same one I work really hard to overcome every day, is my sense of longing for everything "lost."

Sometimes the loss of something you didn't even have to begin with hits you the hardest. Like a romantic pursuit. Or a prize. In my case, ____________.

I'll leave that up to you.

May I sigh? ... This isn't a complaint as I've really nothing to complain about. In fact, I have no right. And because words can't describe how thankful I am for the experiences that led me to this life, to these sheets I'm laying on and the breadth needed of a twenty-something, I shan't attempt to use them. What I can do is admit to missing those jogs along the Charles and lazy afternoons where nothing mattered.

As they say, "It's jolly good."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

FB statuses best kept here

discovered why her work comp was acting up.. 512MB! You've got to be f'king kidding me - 8 hours ago

Danielle broke into a cold sweat after intermediate yoga today and almost passed out at the MRT station.. What the..??!
- 3 hours ago

Danielle had crackers and chocolate for dinner. Can't ask for more
- 2 hours ago

Danielle is recuperating from her near-death experience
- 15 minutes ago

Danielle feels like calling in sick
- 3 minutes ago

Danielle is hitting the sack after reviewing emails... F*****k
- 2 minutes ago

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Tea for two

Afternoon tea at Brasserie Les Saveurs

Lately, the days have been going by too fast. I can't tell if it's because most of them are dragging on with endless conference calls or if our lives are just brimming full of plans. That's why it's refreshing when you get a chance to sit down with a friend and chat over tea for hours at an end.

Cute Steph and our hot plates: salmon quiche and dim sum

We managed to taste a little more than half of what you see here. Quick review: the yellow macaroons were nice and tart. The little dome-like passion fruit desserts (bottom and center) were simply decadent. Anything chocolate with gold? Yum

I liked this picture, but it beats me why the hostess tilted the camera this way. When asked, she didn't even bat an eyelash. Maybe I'm just out of synch with today's trends. I am after all into traditional afternoon tea when the world's living on Pret A Manger and Au Bon Pain

We asked our server to pack the last two scones from the our and he tossed in a couple more before wrapping it up nicely in a box. What service!


I canceled my Citi credit card today, cutting the last established connection I have with the United States indefinitely.