Daring Bakers - Challenge THREE!

And the challenge for the month of July is Filbert Gateau!

Posting a bit late this month (well only 2 hours & 50 mins late since I'm writing this at 2:50 am in the morning the day after posting day and for this unfortunate incident ya'll can go thank my studies, and I'm gonna stop rambling now) but it's so good to be back posting something baking-related and I know you all missed me so very much.

Ok. Straight to business. This month's challenge is Filbert Gateau! Gateau = cake! Yay! My forte! I love cake! This month's joyful recipe is chock full of hazelnuts, chocolate, butter and cream. If you're not salivating already, please call a doctor and get yourself checked out. No, seriously.

Anyway, I had no idea what filbert's were (I thought it was the name of the guy who invented this cake) but then I realised like a few minutes ago that it's what some people call le old "hazelnut"! Maybe it's an American thing. Who knows! Back to the hazelnuts!

Firstly, we gots to have teh filberts before we can make teh filberts gateau! But nut skin is bad! So take it off! Roast them in the oven till they smell oh so toasty.

Note: I bought the hazelnuts based on weight rather then volume. BAD IDEA. 1 cup hazelnuts does not equal 250 grams. Major nut overload and major hole in my pocket. Damn they are expensive!!

Put them in a towel, rub rub rub and then voila! All the skin magically drops off! NOT. Open the towel and alas witness the tragedy that is the stubbornly half-skinned hazelnut. Well, the warm hazelnuts in the towel make for an awesome heater. Especially since it's so cold here in Sydney now. Anyway, keep rubbing till your hands turn RAW and then maybe, just MAYBE you might be blessed with a plate of pretty filberts sans skins.

Here's my happy bunch! Quite tasty to pop right in yer mouth ;)

Boil some sugar till it turns nice and golden and molten (add some water even though you're not supposed to. Shh! Our little secret. It really does help though. Just don't over-do it.) You might have caramelised it to the point of fugliness so drop a little in some cold water and taste it.

Yum? Pour it all over your nuts!

Let it cool. Then ... CRACK!! You just made hazelnut brittle!

Food processor simply was not up to the task of making a praline paste (or maybe I was just too damn impatient) and so all I got was a crumbly mess.

Hmm ... maybe the liquifier can do a better job!

Paste! Doesn't look quite so appetising though...

Onward to making the core, the GENOISE!

Ah! Genoise. I think probably my favourite type of cake to make. Never ever fails when I do it. Or was it French Sponge? Are they the same thing? Who knows!

It never ceases to be amaze me how every part of an egg can be fluffed up, aerated and increased in volume by so much. Maybe if you pulverise the chicken shell and whisk it with water you'd be able to make something fluffy with it.


Voila! Yolks and whites all fluffed up! It's so interesting how no matter how hard you whisk a whole egg, you will never ever achieve even close the volume of separating, then whisking the egg.

Then, using my handy IKEA spatula, we fold together the yolk, the whites the flour, the nut meal and some melted butter, careful not to lose any of the air bubbles. Bubbles = fluffy cake! You could always cheat and put some baking powder in there. Think of it as insurance, not cheating. Bake batter for a while...

And out comes my cake. Very nice, if I do say so myself.

As you can see here, I positioned my cake next to a container of dental floss. "WTF?" the uninitiated might say, but I assure you, pleasant reader, I read no less than 10 people on the DB forums swearing by cutting cakes by floss! And so I tried it.

DISASTER. Ok maybe not "disaster" but it sure didn't work.

I used a regular serrated knife and got excellent results.
Results excellent enough for ... a photoshoot...?

"Stars Without Make-up".


I am insane. Someone me on track or we're gonna be here ALL day. Haha! You have no idea how long this post is taking me! I'm SO TIRED. This is about the moment when I start spewing out nonsense.

Whipped up some meringue for buttercream...

...took a dump of butter...

...and whipped it to tasty perfection!

And so does construction begin. I seriously need a kitchen. So messy! It's driving me nuts. It's probably not very hygienic either. Ah well! As long as it looks pretty and tastes nice.

Buttercream sides all fixed up and patched...

And GLAZED like a big fat doughnut! So shiny!

My first attempt at ganache didn't turn out so good. Choc seized up in revolt for being emasculated into liquid form (I have no idea what I'm trying to allude at. Honest.) and didn't want to play with old creamie. And so it made a sick mess. If you fail at first, cry and slit your wrists. Then try and try again.

I honestly believe that dark chocolate has one of the most amazing aromas of anything in the whole world. It is just simply stunning. Whenever I open the foil wrapping of a block I have to take a deep sniff of it and ah! So good.

Ganache 2.0 operational!

Not as smooth as I'd have wanted it, but we can't have everything in life can we? A normal kitchen would be nice though. At least my improvising skills are top notch!

And last but not least my finished cake! Nice? I suppose. Cake tasted not so nice. Pretty? I guess. Not my best work. What do you think? Please say "AWESOME!" or I'll go emo and quit The Daring Bakers. Haha. JOKE. NOT. BYE.

And so does semester 2 start...

Semester 2 started yesterday. And I want to kill myself already. Mondays this semester are gonna be hell. HELL ON EARTH I TELL YOU!! It's not tertiary education its TORTURE.

9 am till 6 pm! You gots to be joking! (Clearly I don't work full-time yet but thats like, err, besides the point.) And not to mention a huge 3 hour break in the middle of it. Where I can't be bothered talking to anyone.

And finally we come to the root of them problem. My emo-ness! Yay!

Anyway. I'm inclined to say, "none of my subjects interest me anymore! *sulk sulk*...", but I haven't had an actuarial lecture yet so I can't really say that and not be a liar. Maths is really boring again this semester. I asked some of the other scholarship kids what they got for Math1151 and they're like, "Ah gee! I JUST scraped a high distinction."


That kinda made me slightly depressed on the train ride home. So I pigged out on food and felt better. PRAISE THE LORD FOR GOOD METABOLISM. I'm like the retard out of the scholarship kids. Hehe.

Thank Gawd I don't have uni today. Phew.

*Looks for friends.... *


Someone, somewhere, somehow, tried to convince me to go to paintball. And so I, full knowing that I would not enjoy it, and that it would be super expensive, and that it would hurt, and that I would get shot, and that I would be covered in bruises, said no.

Not. I passively obliged. Again. For the third time. Silly humans. They never learn!

Let's go through the number 3 in all the languages I want to learn. That should make me feel a bit better about spending $100+ in paraphernalia to get shot at. Ok, here we go.

Tiga (Malay)
Thalatha (Arabic)
Trois (French)
San (Japanese)
Sahn (Mandarin)

Now all I have to do is figure out how to learn a language...

Fixing the Distiller: Part ONE!

My family happens to be one of those weird ones that doesn't happen to believe in drinking tap-water. Or in fluoridation of our water supplies. My teeth are pretty good (even though I'm the biggest lazy-ass with *ahem* erratic brushing habits) so it can't be all that important. Anyway, so in order to get clean water, we use a water distiller! Unlike boiling all the junk gets left behind (as you shall see later FUFUFU) but I can't be bothered propagandise-ing it to you so go Google it.

ANYWAY the distiller broke down. LOL! After all that explanation. Haha! And since we are as povo as it gets (read: poor and deprived of money), and since I am the resident family slave, I had to fix it. The distiller broke down (something to do with short-curcuit something) and the pipe popped and had to be replaced or some crap.

So today I will be telling to you the joyous story of how I replaced the pipe, and got a little white one to join with a fat green one and they lived happily ever after. Onward!

First, I replaced the rusty old tap-hose jointure thingy with a new brass one. Then I cut the fat green hose to size and shoved it in nice and tight.

"Hallo skinny white dude." Ok, I was gonna start a hole dialogue (LOL PUN) between the skinny white one and the fat green one but then I realised that I really really do not have the self control to prevent it from turning into very bad naughty smut (between hoses. Gawd!) and so I will stop here and simply continue with a nice and family friendly G-rated narration.

So I wondered to meselfs, how can I join two hoses of unequal size?

So I went to the local hardware store and they helped me out a little bit and I ended up buying some hose clamps and I had this old switch thing lying around. And yes. That is my foot in the photograph. Some people like feet. A lot. *Clearly trying to get more pageviews*.

So I connected skinny white tube to the switch thing (is there another word better than switch? Valve! I think. Valve for plumbing, switch for electronics? Who knows...) and tightened it nice and purty.

Hmmm. Me fat hose ain't got no thread. How to attach? I know! Like old Greek lady at the hardware store said! HOSE CLAMP!! WOW!

Before we engage in intertubal penetration, you must of course first get things all heated up. I soaked old greeny in hot water so that it would grab tighter. Onto the thread of the metal that is.

Hose clamp on. Isn't macro so pretty?

SHOCK HORROR. I joined them together but it was LEAKING. ARGH.

Clearly the two tubes were engaged in unsafe intertubal relationships. Time to introduce some rubber. To prevent leakage. And slipping. I think it's rubber anyway. Silicone tape? Daddy taught me all these joyful things before he disowned me!

See! All wrapped up and ready for action!

See! Tap is on and no leakage! Voila! SUCCESS!!

Strange improvisation. Nice set-up if I do say so myself.

And now for a preview of what's to come next time, on How We Fix Crap That Should Be Thrown Away! We can a sneak peak into what everyone else is drinking!! Yes! We get the see the crap that's left behind in the water distiller from a few months of distillation!!

Yes good citizen! This is inside of you! And not me!! Haha. Nah. Your kidney's probably got rid of all the junk. Aren't you lucky you have kidneys? Say Alhamdulillah!


A close family friend of mine got married recently and I got asked to make some cakes for them! I originally wanted to make the actual wedding cake but they said that the reception place was already providing a cake so alas! My first commisioned work of art is yet to materialise. Anyway, I made a few tasty cakes for them, as you shall soon see!

Act 1: Gastronomical Poetry...

First, there is Romance.
A dedication to the simple pureness of the first beautiful attraction.

Then comes Lust.
Tempestuous; wildly, uncontrollably enjoyable.

Lastly, there is Love.
Steady. But unbreakable.

Crossing Over: Anime wa Manga?!

I finally gave in. After years and years (literally!) of being part of the morally upright boat that refused to read the Naruto manga but instead watched it patiently as anime (even through all the shitty fillers) I have finally caved in.



!! XD XD XD !!


Weird World Youth Day '08 Dreaming...

I haven't posted in a while. Which means now it's time for obligatory mass-posting. All my happy fans cheer in delight. I hate mass posting. Mainly cos I hate mass reading. Like when I go to GoFugYourself and there's like a billion new posts and I can't be bothered reading them all so I read a few and get angry at the world for being so unfair then I cry and eat cupcakes.

I like cupcakes.

Anyway, World Youth Day (I typo-ed it as World Youth Dah about 5 times just then) is all the rage here in Sydney now. Everywhere you go you see happy pilgrims dancing around. They're so happy. I got excited that good old Baba was coming to town (even though I preferred his predecessor; ah wtf! I'm not even Catholic) so I went to the city with my friends to catch a glimpse of His Fancy Pants-ness.

But ah! It was not to be. Turns out I had to pay $400 just to get in to the pilgrim area (LIKE WTF I LIVE HERE!?!) and I really don't have that kinda money lying around so I was not a happy trooper. The big mass is tomorrow and I want some dramaz to happen just so my vengeful self can be satiated.

Then I had a dream that night that I could speak French (did I tell you that now I want to learn how to speak French!? Yeh I totally wiki-ed it and everything. I want to be able to go to France and be apprenticed under a pastry chef! *Dreams*. Yes, just add it to the list after Arabic, Malay, Mandarin, Urdu...)

Anyway, when I wrote WYD08/French/Pierre-Herme in my phone under "Pospiration" (I keep a little section in my phone about interesting things to blog about; post + inspiration = pospiration! Genius! See how much I care about you people??) I would have sworn the Pope, French, Pierre Herme and croissants were related. But I can't remember the dream anymore!!


Semester 1 Results!

Student ID: *******
Program: 3521 (Commerce/Economics)

UNSW Assessment Results for Semester 1 2008
Issued at Thu Jul 10 22:00:25 2008

Session Course Title Result
T1 ACCT1501 Accounting & Financial Mgt 1A....76 DN
T1 ECON1101 Microeconomics 1.................84 DN
T1 FINS1612 Capital Markets & Institution....69 CR
T1 MATH1151 Maths - Actuarial & Finance 1A...65 CR

Term WAM: 73.500
Overall WAM: 73.500 (Undergraduate)

Provisional Academic Standing : Good Standing


Bad oral health...

GOSH. My mouth is just so painful these days! I have a bloody ulcer that's like my own frakkin' personal Mariana's Trench on my inner bottom lip AND my bloody tonsillitis is back. YES. The EFFING tonsillitis!

First things first. The ulcer that sunk the Titanic. JAYSUS. It is SO big. Normally ulcers in people's mouths (in my personal experience anyway) are pretty small. Like a dot. This one is a big momma. Like the Matriach of Ulcers. I accidentaly bit my lip in the same spot about 3 times and my body said STUFF YOU BITCH and made a massive ulcer. God it hurts so much. Putting Bonjela on it is so insanely painful (much more than normal; the stinging before the numb is like GAH) but is the only relief I have. Kenalog sucks balls.

I was considering not posting up a picture of the ulcer, since I'm still slightly grossed out by the last time I posted up some nasty bodily "malfunction", but gross is good so here's a picture:




Secondly, the tonsils. Ahhh the tonsils. Deary deary me. Anyone who knows me will tell you that my tonsils are not really lumps of tissue but actually demon minions from Hell. If your tonsils get infected/flare up as often as mine, I tell you good person, EFFING RIP THEM OUT.

But no. I'm a good son. I listen to my anti-western-medicine father. So I went to the doctor again (a new doctor actually, he's a nice one) for another round of "Woah! Your tonsils look terrible. Have some antibiotics." But this time I was like STUFF this I take too much antibiotics already it's not healthy and so he said, "Ok. I'll do one last big nasty long-course of antibiotics, and if nothing happens come back and we'll consider surgery."


Except now I'm on ultimate antibiotics for 2 months. FAR OUT. That's so long! My digestive system is gonna get killed. No! I need good bacteria!! Don't kill them!!

Ah too late. Tonsils suck.

DAMN GAMES!! Reviews and my long absence.

If you've noticed my long absence (which you clearly have) and were missing me dearly (as you sorely were) then I suggest you let out all your pain at my not posting on the satan that is video games. Maybe my parents were slightly, ummm (DARE I SAY IT??) intelligent (GAH!) in not allowing us to buy a console for so many years.

We have way too many games now. It's NOT HEALTHY.

Here's a close-up of all the games we have.

It's just WAY too easy to turn on the devil box, stick in a CD and off you go, without having to worry about drivers and video settings and all those sorts of PC things. Consoles are SO amazing. I saw some of the hi-def graphics on my friend's Sony Bravia TV and it was TEH COOLEST. It's nice that we're all legit now and now buying pirated games and whatever. That always made me feel a bit meh.



(Middle one btw. FUFUFU.)

We've had this thing in our family where gaming consoles used to be COMPLETELY UTTERLY forbidden (the gaming "covenant") and how we didn't need one cos we have millions of computers. Anytime it was brought up someone would just pipe out, "A computer can do everything a [insert console] can do, and MORE!"


Who would have thought I'd but up at 3 am playing DOA-4 killing ppls with Ayane like the good old days at my uncle's house. Except now we own the console. HAHA. It's so weird! We bought a few million games, so expensive, thought of flashing the xbox but thought nah and then played for another 5 hours.

Big W's all over NSW had this weird toy clearance sale and cut the prices of everything like crazy so the cheapos bargain vultures we are dived in and bought 4 controllers (wireless controllers are so amazing!) billion games and a 20gb hard drive.

Fun times!

On another note, I really need to update my sidebar. Hmmm...