Friday, November 22, 2013

Hello

Yes, for those of you who don't know. I love macarons, well kinda. I like making them and the process of making them. I was going through this whole phase of trying to perfect them. While my sister was yelling at me from the sidelines (because she said I was wasting resources). In my opinion it was worth every penny that I've spent. I learned not only how to bake macarons properly but the secrets behind them

Some people often think that you need to air dry them for a bit of time before you can pop them in the oven and some even said you can leave them over night so that the skin forms a harder shell. All of which works BUT the old man would bicker at me all the time. He says that there are eggs in the batter and therefore it should not be left out in room temperature incase of any bacteria.

Thus, after pipping them out on my silpat mat, I throw them straight in the oven at 200C to dry them out.  After 15 mins, I would raise the temperature to 350C and bake for another 9 minutes.

The results? Amazing. See below.

London Fog
Vanilla Buttercream

As you can see, there were feet all the time and most importantly consistency. These were just a sample of the macarons that I have baked. Of course, there are more but that will have to wait until I discover another breakthrough.

Now, now I know you missed me and I missed you guys too. I should really get posting on some of the amazing things that I have been doing in my kitchen. Frankly, this isn't even the right time to post this post since you are probably out partying.

Oh well, I just wanted to say hi.

Until next time. =)

Monday, September 23, 2013


Just wanted to share this you guys!

Enjoy!

Friday, August 23, 2013




I always wondered what I would be doing when I reach the age of twenty six. I realized that father time will always treat me right and most of the time, I won't know anything about anything if that makes any sense. I told my lovely grandma that I feel old but wise. She told me to get married soon and implied that I should start a family soon. She always had a hopeful mindset; I love her very much.

I ask myself, am I successful? The answer? Of course! Everything is happening perfectly and I wouldn't want to change anything about it. I am so happy about my twenty six birthday. Here are some highlights for your enjoyment.








I thank all my friends and family for this wonderful week. My birthday wouldn't be the same with all of them. Much love and respect.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hello!!! 





Holy moly, it's been too long. This was the longest break I have ever taken from blogging, actually thats a lie. I am pretty sure I took longer breaks. Through the time away from home (meaning here) I have been collecting a lot of memories with my new Panasonic GX1, equipped with a 20 mm "pancake" lens. Yes, getting very technical here. I don't even know what half the stuff means. I literally just got it two months ago or so and I love it!

It's has taken me quite some time to think about what to post because my summer has been filled with nothing but weddings. I know most of you must have been frustrated with the lack of posts from me. So here I am and what I want to post about is my latest macaron adventure.

I always get so many "likes" on Facebook and Instagram (if you haven't subscribed or followed, please do so by clicking on the link above) for the macarons that I bake. No matter who you are or where you are from, I find that these little baked goods are always enticing.


After baking over a thousand of these babies, I noticed some important kitchen essentials you need to bake the perfect macaon.

You will need:

  • A silpat baking mat
  • Industrial cookie sheet 
  • Patience

The Silpat and industrial cookie sheet really does make a huge difference. It allowed me to bake the cookies for fifteen minutes!


The end result is what you see above and here is what is in the Pistachio Macaron with Pistachio Ganache:

Shell:
115 g icing sugar
75 g grounded pistachio
2 large egg whites
50 g caster sugar
a pinch of cream of tar tar
a pinch of salt

Basically, you just replace the ground almonds with ground pistachio.

Ganache
150 g 35% whipped cream
150 g white chocolate
25 g pistachio paste

Use the double boiler technique to melt the white chocolate. Set a side once done.
Bring the cream to a boil and mix in the paste.
Pour the chocolate over the whip cream mix. Use a hand blender and blend for 10 minutes.
Set in the fridge until the ganache thickens, roughly around 1.5 hours.
When ready, pipe the shells and you are done!

There you have it, short and sweet. Until next time!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Final product. 

Alright, I'll admit it. I disappeared for quite a bit and you have every right to be mad at me right now for not posting anything. The Amy's Baking Company was a good filler though, you have to admit it. Most of you probably deleted my blog from your bookmark tabs but let's just be friends again, slowly.

So the reason for my disappearing act was because I had a huge macaron order to do. My sister and I baked over 570 macarons, yes, five hundred seventy macaroons for my friends wedding.The whole process took about 3 months. It started off with just an idea but turned into reality when I convinced them that it was well worth it and it was!

I am still pinching myself while carrying a big smile on my face, remembering the look on the groom's family's faces when they saw the final platters of macarons delivered. They were in disbelief that it came from my kitchen and frankly, I was in dismay myself too. I am going to try my best to just pack all these months of brainstorming and taste sampling into a short post, since we all had ADD here, well, at least I do.



The recipe, I am not going to post so just refer to my previous posts. First and foremost, I want to give credit to my good friend Calvin Lee for helping me take some pictures during the process. He is an awesome photographer and friend, please check him out. My sister deserves a shout too for helping me out in the biggest possible way, I couldn't have done it without her.

Challenges
I guess I'll first talk about the challenges during this whole process. One thing that I cannot defeat is my inner voice, it keeps telling me that I am going to fail and let the newly weds down. I felt very down and was stressing myself out. I couldn't do anything, all I thought about was macarons and the feeling was insane. I woke up, went to work and was looking forward to going home just to bake. So, number 1 rule from now on, drown out your inner voice that tells you, you are going to fail.

Second was the timing of all these baked goods. My trusty old man kept on telling me to stop making small batches and just devote a couple of days to bake the whole day. Having this mentally made it worst and it just freaked me out knowing that if I failed, the wedding would be ruined. But the old man was right in the end and it actually had a lot of beneficial factors to it. Colour's were consistent, saved energy and production was more effective.

Third was a lack of sleep. I went through a week of poor hours of sleep. My day would start off with work, gym, dinner and then macarons. I had to share the kitchen with my sister and we took turns, I always seem to get the grave yard shift but it didn't matter, I was driven and would do anything to be successful.

Pros
Ah fine, Ill admit it. This macaron journey has really been a special bonding experience. My sister and I spoke the same language for once and it was for the love of perfect macarons. We discussed many tips and even compared notes. It was beautiful and for sure, we will do it again. I asked.

Seeing the happy faces of friends and family was just priceless or maybe they were shocked for the fact that the macarons were made by me and my sister. Overall, the image of guests happy faces were amazing and of course how can I forget about the bride and groom. They were more then grateful. I was so happy that they loved it and for the fact that they believed in me.

After all the countless failed batches, I finally mastered the macaron and I can now make the macarons work all the time! Now I just got to figure out what am I going to do with the rest of the extra macarons I have. Do you guys want some?

Backup Plan
There was no back up plan.


I think that's all I have to share for now. Let's try to keep things short and simple for the both of us. Here's a mix of my journey. Take a look!



Waiting for the skin to form is the best part because you do nothing.


Quality control

Wasted and burnt macarons. 

Feet

I love the smell of a fresh batch

Two A.M. and still finishing up on a work day. 

So Pink. 

This was only 234 macarons. 

Calvin took a break from the assembly line.
Overall it was a crazy experience, filled with ups and downs. But in the end, it was well worth it. Macarons just give a big smile to everyone's faces, no matter what age group you are in, they are a dessert for anyone with a sweet tooth.

If you like what you see, leave a comment below and of course, feel free to place an order. See you soon! 

One last shot. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013



Hello!

The comments that you just read, was by a restaurant owner named Amy. She and her husband; Samy, has been operating Amy's Baking Company for quite some time now but they have been struggling due to some negative reviews on Yelp. So, who do they turn to? Gordon Ramsay of course. On last week's episode of Kitchen Nightmare, their restaurant was the main attraction. It was all fun and games till Amy's food hit rock bottom with Ramsay. Apparently, she can't criticism from anyone. Not even her Husband. Eventaully, Ramsay had to call it quits on the couple and things started to take to an unfortunate turn.

The couple decided to lash out on Facebook, it was one of the worst meltdown I have ever seen. They weren't only firing at the show; Kitchen Nightmares but also targeting the "online bullies." I do not understand how someone can be so stubborn and not take criticism, not even a little bit. When you fight fire with fire, things will only get worst.

They claim that all the foods are home made and even lied to Ramsay that their baked goods was home made. At first, I believed her but then I came across this from their Twitter account:


And then they claimed that all their social media accounts has been hacked and that they were going to take legal action. This has been just one big mess and there seems to be no way out. The only solution I can think of is a rebranding of the whole entire name. Change the name, attitude and treatment of your customers. I have never seen someone yelling back at the customer for not knowing what "good food" is.

That is my two cents about the whole ordeal. What do you think?

In case you missed the episode, here it is:


P.S. I have been working on a big project and is due very soon. I promise its not store bought and will blog about it.

Monday, April 15, 2013


Where is Spring 2013?

How would I know? Everyone seems to be asking this question but no matter how hard we look, spring is always hiding. It's almost like he's still in vacation mode or maybe theres just a flight delay. No one knows exactly but since spring is still missing. I decided to make good use of this time to spend it in the kitchen and also because I'm on a "broke diet."

Recently, some friends of mine asked me to bake some macarons for a special occasion and ordered a mountain of them. I was very excited and wanted to get right into it. The only thing holding me back is the fact that we still did not %100 figured out the sizing of the treats just yet.

It was still very good practice and if you want to learn how to get "feet" everytime you bake macarons, simply refer to my "Macarons Journey" post.



Something a little different this time. I want to post about the books I have read so far and introduce to you my top 5 bucket list so far. Looking at the picture below, you will notice that they are mostly self help books. I don't know why but I have been obsessed with them ever since my first one.


Lets get started:



7 habits of highly effective - Stephen R. Covey
  • I don't have it in my library at the moment but it was the first book that I have ever read in the self help section. My cousin lent it to me during a period of time where I was a bit confused on what I wanted to be. The book touches base on how to be the best you can be and introduces the idea of paradigm shifts and prepares you as the reader for a change in mindset.
The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle
  • This book was mind blowing. I know that is not the most helpful and convincing way of reviewing a book but Tolle's ideas about human transformation of human consciousness is very unique and engaging. I have never been so challenged by a book. Every chapter was refreshing in its own way and lifted me spiritually. 
The Happiness Project - Gretchen Rubin
  • When I first picked up this book, I was quite skeptical. I had the impression that it was written by someone who was battling depression and has found a way out. To my surprise, it was the opposite. It's about a married woman who has two kids and almost everything she ever dreamed of but something was missing in her life. This book was very inspirational and has made me a happier person. For example, one of the very things in the book teaches you to take things lightly so that you could be happier and it has worked wonders. 
How to Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie
  • Definitely a weird book to be holding during your subway rides but this book has it's own richness to it. The teaches of influencing people to "like" you is as easy as pie. I can't say that I reached it's full potential yet but it has improved my social skills greatly. 
Things I've Learned from Women Who've Dumped Me - Ben Karlin
  • Honestly, I have been dumped by women and I bet we all have. I thought it was a book that would give you the solution of how not to get dumped next time. When I first saw this cover and the title of the book, I had to buy it. It was one of those "I got to have this because it's so beautiful" kind of things. This book is filled with hilarious short stories about men who have been dumped by women. Some of them were kind of sad but others were very humorous. 

There you have it, my so called bucket list so far. I am still reading and hunting for new reads. If you have some in mind, please do share with me in the comment section. 

See ya! =D 

Monday, April 8, 2013




Hello hello!

Finally, a chance to share some news about food and my Saturday. It feels so good to just unwind on a Sunday afternoon and blog about the amazing time I had with my friends. This Saturday I had some friends over for dinner. I call it The Daniel Oliver Experience, I even hashtag it on Instagram and Twitter. Feel free to follow me on Twitter for the latest updates on my journey in life.

I always love company and especially having friends over for dinner. I tried to spice things up with fancy table decor and simple center pieces. I will be on the hunt this summer for awesome table ware for sure. I think what I look forward to the most is their reaction. I guess I don't really come off as a guy who knows how to cook and bake but it is what it is.

Here we go, three course meal.


This was the Apple and Swiss Cheese Salad and was inspired by a book that I have called Everyday Kitchen. Definitely one of my favourites, I can never get enough of Arugula lettuce. I always tell people that it's an acquired taste but to my surprise, the first timers always get hooked on it.

Heres what you need:
2 tsp honey
1 tsp dijon mustard
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 pink lady apples
2 endive leaves
1 small bunch arugula with stalks removed
85 g cheese of your choice

Combine the honey, mustard and olive oil in a bowl (this is going to be your dressing).

Slice the apple in thin slices and drench them in lemon juice so that they won't brown. Pour the remaining juices in the dressing. Place the endive leaves on the plate, stack it up with apple slices and garnish with the arugula leaves. Drizzle some dressing on top, add a splash of olive oil and garnish with lemon zest  (optional).

This was a very nice spring salad, filled with colours and flavour. The all natural dressing is one of my favourites out of all the dressings I have made.


This was the Pan Roasted Salmon with Rosemary Anchovy Sauce Paired with Asparagus. I blogged about this before during the initial stages of this blog. Search it up in the search bar above for full details!


Dessert, my must looked forward to part of the meal. This was the Black Berry Yogurt Cheesecake. Honestly, it was one of the creamiest I have ever baked. I was a little taken back on how creamy it was. Instead of using sour cream, I substituted it with strawberry yogurt. It was one of the most impulsive but rewarding things I have ever done. It was bang on. A post was dedicated to this before, please do a search.


Last but not least, Settlers of Catan. A game that involves trading, yelling, laughing and begging. Not so the begging part but it does involve a lot of convincing.

So there we have it, my Saturday night in a post. I hope you all enjoyed it and stay tuned for further baking and cooking.

Friday, March 29, 2013





Hello Friends

Happy Easter! I am so excited for this weekend, it's going to be so nice with the weather and events coming up. When the days get cold, people tend to hide and just slip away from the earth but when the sun comes up, everyone comes out to play; I love company.

I don't know if you know this but I am a Starbucks kind of person. If I could choose between coffee shops to just sit with a book and a coffee; I would choose Starbucks. Every time I go, I always order a banana loaf with pike roast. But then, it started to get expensive and what better way to save money than to make it yourself?

So here we are, Banana loaf by M.S. Milliken & S. Feniger. I had no idea how to bake banana bread and frankly it was my first time. But with my head held up high and my confidence going way off the roof. I headed into this adventure head first not knowing what the outcome may be.




Here's what you need:
1 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
3 ripe bananas
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. 

Butter a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. 

Cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. 

In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Mix in the milk and cinnamon. 

In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 

Add the banana mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until combined. Add dry ingredients, mixing just until flour disappears. 

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan, invert onto rack and cool completely before slicing.



Pretty easy to follow and now I am itching to create my own version. I gave some to the old man and he said that I should try to introduce some poppy seeds, nutmeg and more baking soda to it. Of course, there are always room for improvement and I am open to whatever suggestions people give me.

The bread itself was soft but maybe I should add another egg and a bit more baking powder to make it more fluffy. But definitely I will try this again.

Overall I am super happy with the result, I can't wait till I share this with friends and family! Till next time.

Cheers!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013



Hello!

Did you miss me? I have been living life up to the fullest during my little break away from the blogging community. Don't get me wrong, I still have been baking and cooking but I just haven't been able to post as much as I want to. You know what they say, "You have to live life first, everything else is secondary."

Anyways, here is the "welcome back" post for you guys. It was my cousin's 20th birthday and I wanted to show some love by giving him a birthday cake of his choice.  He wanted strawberry shortcake. The only problem was that I never baked strawberry shortcake before.

Not knowing what to expect, I dove into this recipe I found online. It was by Mary Nolan and it was super simple. The only thing I had trouble understanding was the cake part. There were no eggs or oil involved and I was wondering how the cake part is going to be soft.

And to no surprise the cake was pretty hard but everything else made up for it very nicely. I actually didn't mind the cake, it reminded me of chinese egg tarts. The ones I oh so loved when I was a kid. Next time when I do strawberry shortcake, I am going to use my own sponge cake recipe and let you know how it goes.

Cheers. =D

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Happy Snow Day??

Yes!!! Let it snow, let it snow! Outside is looking pretty ugly right now with all the snow and freezing rain. I do not know if I will be at work but by the time I post this, it wouldn't matter. Which ever it is, it's going to be a beautiful day and no matter what happens I am glad.

I had such a wonderful weekend, I need to share this joy and positive energy with you. I had a little retreat with some buddies of mine and we ventured to Blue Mountain Ski Resort. We had such a blast boarding down the great hills and spending some quality time over fast food. Yuck, I know.

We did manage to share some favourite desserts we like and that inspired me to bake a batch of these babies. The original recipe is from the one and only Jamie Oliver. And of course, these are safe and I tweaked them a bit.

Here's how it goes:
1 cup unsalted butter 
7 oz Cadbury's Dark Chocolate (broken up)
1/2 cup nuts of your choice 
3/4 up cocoa powder
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 large eggs
1/4 Baileys Irish Cream
1 3/4 cup sugar

Pre heat at 350F

Using the double boiler technique, melt the chocolate and butter together until smooth. Add the nuts. Set a side to cool and add the Bailey's.

In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and sugar.

Then add the dry mixture to the chocolate. Using the paddle attachment, stir together well. Beat in eggs one at a time and mix until you have a silky consistency.

Pour your batter onto a 12 inch lined baking pan and bake for 30 minutes. You want to aim for a bit of a hard crust but still gooey on the inside.

Allow it to cool in the pan and transfer for it to a chopping board. Cut into chunky squares and enjoy.




I shared these goods with my coworkers and they all loved it except one. She said she wanted to puke. Probably because of the alcohol or maybe she hates me or hates brownies. The possibilities are endless but the most important thing is, I got my chocolate craving satisfied.

For the rest of this post, enjoy some pictures from my trip to Blue Mountain.

Cheers!