Goodbye for a while...

Sorry folks, but I'm gonna take a break from updating this blog for a while.

I have a lot of things I want to do, develop new websites, new ideas, other creative outlets. This blog will probably suffer in quality and quantity in my current state of mind, so I thought i'd take a break. I haven't really made any new posts in a while, so I thought I might as well make it official.

Thanks for being loyal readers!




Exam time RAGE UPDATE!


I hate exam period so much. So much HATE!

I spent hours studying Lectures 1-10 for intermediate macroeconomics and LO AND BEHOLD the majority of the damn exam is on Lectures 11 and 12. Someone upstairs hates me.

So now I'm sitting here at my computer like a fatty trying to absorb a semester's worth of frikkin' econometrics cos I went to like 4 lectures in the whole semester. It's not my fault!! The lecturer sucked SO BAD. No seriously!!

First-differenced estimations and adjusted R-squared and weighted least-squares and Breush-Pagan ARGH my brain is going to explode.

And I'm getting cannulated tomorrow.


Daring Bakers - Challenge SIXTEEN!

The October 2009 challenge is ... Macarons!

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

Firstly, a quick, super important note for all my non-baking readers.


[...and a big frack you to MasterChef for calling them "macaroons".]

I knew inevitably one host of the monthly challenge was going to pick macarons; I'm really glad I am member when it happened! I've had really bad experiences with macarons in the past. My first time traumatised me so much I didn't try again for about 5 months.

The secret's all the precision of measuring ingredients, and the technique! Oh, the technique. So much pain. Anyway, in my experience, Duncan (from Syrup & Tang) has the best ingredient ratios for macarons, not to mention an awesome guide for macaron virgins like me.

Well, I am currently super busy (I'm in my exam period. FML.) and I've only made one batch, a little boring. I have so many ideas I want to try out, and I'll update this post periodically.

Bit bumpy and weird, but nice feet. Tasted good too.

This is one I made a while back. Much better I think....

Stay tuned folks for more macaron fun!!


My life now has meaning:

Teach English

So, I went to some guy's apartment I don't even know to teach him English so he can get a visa. Too random. At least they were nice. He gave me tea but I didn't finish it. I hope that's not an ultimate faux-pas in Egyptian culture.

Does anyone have any tips on how to teach a standard English accent?

Me Stressed.

Yes, you too.

The Movie Room

I haven't done a Movie Room post in forever! I think it's time...


Only thing I feel like saying is:


I'm so happy Disney/PIXAR finally made another amazing animated movie, like those they used to be so famous for. With all these recent flops, UP really stands out as one of those movies people will remember for a long time!

It's like up there with Finding Nemo! I loved it.

The storyline was really cute and all the characters are nicely fleshed out. It's not a dud! It's worth the ticket price I swear.

And Russell is the cutest fat kid ever haha!

Daring Bakers - Challenge FIFTEEN (and a half!)

NB: This post is a continuation of this one!

Ok, so I lied, it took a bit more than 2 hours, and I had to do a little bit more than just "touch up some photos" but I'm telling you it was really worth it! I'm really proud of the work I've done, and I'm satisfied with it, which is probably a first for all my DB challenges. I hope you like them!

Firstly, an evaluation of puffiness...

Great success!!

The layers are really thin and flaky and almost transluscent!

They puff up ridiculously high as well.

My vol-au-vents rised so beautifully and evenly.

I made about 6 of them.

My first filling was a chicken and potato curry.

It was so delicious. The pastry tasted so amazing. Store bought pastry just doesn't have that delicious buttery melty mouthfeel. Delicious!

Then I made slices with grilled peaches and cream.

A classic combination; I really couldn't have gone wrong.

I also made small jam and custard things.

They were small little flaky bites of goodness.

I made some pies with one of the sheets I had leftover. Damn this makes good quality pie. I should try making some awesome meat pies with this.

Now, what does any self-respecting amateur baker do with his leftover puff-pastry...?

Make palmiers!

I'm so proud to be able to say that I've made these palmiers completely from scratch! They taste so much nicer than when made with store bought puff-pastry.

Well, that's it folks. I hope you enjoyed the show! I'm really tired from baking for hours and hours and I still need to go clean up.

P.S. the chocolate puff-pastry didn't rise at all!
I'll look into that when I get time...

Daring Bakers - Challenge FIFTEEN!

The September 09 Challenge is ... Vols-au-Vents!

The September 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.

NB: I haven't quite finished yet, but I thought I'd post up a courtesy post so you guys have something to read before I finish processing my pics and put them up. Don't run away! ALSO, my photo quality is quite good, so do click on the photos and see them in big glorious sizes.

The main portion of this month's challenge was the making of puff pastry, or pâte feuilletée. I've made laminated dough before, but not with so many turns (a total of 6 turns! 724 layers!!) and so I was very excited to do this challenge.

The first part of making pâte feuilletée is to make the détrempe...

...which is simply water and flour cut together.

Roll out the dough 3 times as wide as tall...

...and place the beurrage (butter-block) in the middle.

Completely encase the beurrage and let it chill.

I rolled out my second ball of dough...

...and inserted my GANACHE BEURRAGE!!!

Sacrilege I know! Haha! I thought I'd be a little bit more daring this month, and shake things up a bit. I made a ganache beurrage of half chocolate and half butter. Maybe changing ancient recipes will work out for the better. Well, we'll find out won't we...

And encase it like before.

This is the first block rolled out for the first time, gently so as to not squeeze out the butter, rolled out 3 times as long as it is tall, so we can fold it into itself like a letter.

Everytime we fold it over itself, we make more layers, more and more, so that we when bake it, the steam creates air pressure that puffs up the layers, to get that beautiful flaky texture! Absolutely ingenious!

Fold the right side in, brushing off excess flour...

...the excess flour stops the layers sticking well...

...then fold the other side in. This process is called 'turning'.

This completes one turn.

This is after the second turn, indicated by my markings.

Always roll out the dough lengthwise.

This is after three.

And finally six.

Do not attempt this after coming back from an arm intensive work-out at the gym (like a back workout which I did omfg) you will just die like I died multiple times from cramps and pain. ARGH!! I do not know how people have the stamina to do this everyday!

Here you can see the choc beurrage slowly spreading!

Here's my alternate dough after three turns...

...and after six. It became quite evenly brown!

Cut out all your vol-au-vent shapes (I borrowed my mum's awesome ceramic knife since I lost my one *sob*) and assemble them...

...but save your cut-offs! PRECIOUS!!

Dock the bottoms... they don't fly away!

So beautifully organised. This makes life so enjoyable.

Egg-washed and ready to go!

See you in Part 2 when I finish editing everything!
It should be up withing 2 hours...