Saccharine Irony

This site is a compilation of fluid thoughts, a collection of poetry, random glimpses of humor and tragedy, spontaneous notions of an extremely sensitive mind.

Who would have thought… October 9, 2010

Filed under: Food — Aimee @ 4:54 am
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that I could bake bread from scratch, dough kneading and all, and actually get decent, edible (LOL!) results? For the longest time, I wanted to serve fresh bread for breakfast, with jams or eggs or cheese, and more than anything, I also wanted to knead dough on my own. During my baking class last year, we had to do this sweet roll recipe by groups, so the effort had been more or less collective. And since then I’ve wanted to try the recipe again, except that I never got around to buying yeast and never got the time and the audacity to try baking bread on my own.

 

these rolls are made for eatin'

But I tried, and I baked, and now there are about two dozen fresh sweet rolls in the kitchen! They taste good, with the cheese and the butter, and the egg wash making them all nice and crisp and golden, but next time I plan on adding more milk, to add more moisture and softness to the dough. But this first, single-handed attempt at baking bread and serving them for breakfast the following day is already a feat for me. Yay. Today I wish I had a pizza oven so I can start making home-made gourmet pizzas. Daydreams! 🙂

 

Muffin Lurve October 5, 2010

Filed under: Food — Aimee @ 1:50 am
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So what is it about bananas that’s got me so hooked lately? Or more precisely what is it about bananas and chocolate that makes me want to camp out in the kitchen all day? Chocolate is best paired with almost anything – strawberries, pancakes, mallows, etc. But when paired with bananas, the taste and aroma are almost orgasmic.

Okay, okay. So last weekend I decided to try out a new recipe for banana chocolate chip muffins. There was a reunion due on Sunday and Mom was bugging me to make another loaf of soft and fragrant banana cake for some weekend grub, so how could I say no? Nowadays, almost anything will serve as an excuse for me to head out to the baking supplies store and shop for chocolate chips, butter, and some new flower-printed muffin liners.

I’ve never had a banana chocolate chip muffin before so I did not know how the muffins would turn out. Surprisingly they came out really good and tasted heavenly! I should have known; after all banana and chocolate had always been one of the most quintessential culinary pairings.

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these muffins are to die for, no exaggerating 🙂

 

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The lovely muffins got rave reviews at the reunion where I brought a dozen, and most of my lovely friends found themselves asking for seconds. Of course, this pastry chef wannabe is flattered, and has even made the foolish promise of bringing some chocolate cherry cupcakes for the next reunion, due on early November. Now banana is ubiquitous this side of the planet, but cherries? And the recipe calls for Morello cherry jam.

Time to hit the groceries and go hunting for the best substitute for Morello cherry jam. I now have a reputation to uphold you know. :-p

 

Going Bananas! September 27, 2010

Filed under: Food — Aimee @ 2:20 pm
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soft and moist and fragrant and delish!

Blame it on Under the Tuscan Sun and Frances Mayes’ knack at creating some of the best recipes from whatever is available in her Italian kitchen. Blame it too on one Facebook app that had me baking and selling pastries and desserts in my humble virtual cafe: Cupcake Corner.

For the past weeks I’ve been attacking the kitchen and giving in to my baking inclinations like I’ve never done before. First I got to baking two layers of beefy lasagna topped with dried thyme and rosemary for my brother’s birthday, and then I took out my loaf pans and muffin pans a week later for some carrot-pineapple loaf cake and carrot-pineapple muffins.

Last Sunday, I was restless and staring at the PC did not cheer me up as usual, so I headed to the kitchen again to try my hand at baking a banana loaf cake for the first time. Some 45 minutes later and a very messy sink, my banana cake came out from the oven looking and  smelling like heaven. The cake was moist but firm, fragrant, and absolutely delicious. I added about six to seven ripe lacatan bananas to the flour and oil mixture, so I guess that explains the aroma. Everyone at home loved it of course.

I have been wanting to bake bread for a long time, hence the planned fresh sweet rolls with cheese, but I haven’t been able to score some yeast, yet. And I’m actually leaning on the possibility of making moist chocolate cake with ganache frosting next. So it will be yeast, butter, loads of baking chocolate bars, and some milk on my next grocery shopping trip. And yeah, some super-ripe bananas and chocolate chips too, for my banana-chocolate chip muffins.

Oh, the kitchen is making me go bananas and I’m so not complaining! 🙂

 

Coffee Shop Dreams September 15, 2010

Filed under: confessions,Food,Saccharine thoughts — Aimee @ 11:24 am
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One of my favorite places in the whole wide world is a coffee shop. Put me anywhere in this country and I will instantly feel at home in any of these three places: a bookstore, a church, and a coffee shop. The bookstore part is obvious. Books are one of the earliest collections I’ve ever owned. The church part is obvious too. It’s the one place I go to when everything else is crazy and chaotic, and the peace that I get from staring at the altar and humming my prayers is not one which I can easily get anywhere.

But a coffee shop is something else. It’s pretty obvious that I love coffee, but sometimes I take tea and just desserts at coffee shops too. They have become like sanctuaries to me, where I can read my favorite novel, flip on the latest issue of Wedding magazine without thinking, or people watch as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Coffee shops allow me to live inside my head, if only for a time.

So if I had a few millions, I’d probably open my own coffee shop. Since I’m for the homey, cozy feel as opposed to the sleek, dark ambiance some city coffee shops are known for, my future baby will probably look something like this:

Brick walls, wooden floors, wall lighting, comfy divans, lamps. Bookshelves should line some of the walls, very much like my favorite coffee shop in Malaybalay — Bukidnon Brew Cafe. Since I love paintings, I would also love my future coffee shop to have a few creations from my artist friends (if they’d be so kind to donate :p), and hopefully, to have some of my worthless doodles included in too, that is if the interior designer thinks it a smart idea.

And now that I’m crazy about gourmet cooking and adding fresh and dried herbs in and on almost everything, I also want my future cafe to have a balcony window for fresh herbs, so my fellow coffee-bookworms can sip their lattes and smell in the scent of fresh basil, thyme, and rosemary.

Pastries are my second love – well, more on making them than eating them. I have a special love reserved for baked sweets, cupcakes specifically, so if I had my way again I’d open a patisserie or a simple pastry shop (if I never get to learn baking French sweets). But before that, a full course on baking and pastries from some decent culinary school. I finally got my certificate on baking and pastries from the local government last year, but a diploma from some elite school won’t hurt. :p

Coffee should not be a solitary pleasure after all. A platter of pastries and a cup of coffee is one of the best marriages there is.

 

My Recent Trip to the Bookstore Got Me This: March 18, 2010

Filed under: books,Food,Women — Aimee @ 6:07 am
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The Little Black Apron: A Single Girl’s Guide to Cooking with Style & Grace.

The book’s title is a playful twist from the quintessential Little Black Dress or LBD, and this book is created for the single urbanite female who does not know anything about the kitchen, save for the fridge and the microwave. Well, I’m a far cry from the pampered princess who’s completely clueless about the kitchen, having been trained at an early age (say thirteen or fifteen) by my Mom (who’s an excellent cook, by the way) to prepare a decent meal for the entire family on days that she’s running late. Also, I’ve gotten a certificate course last year on baking and pastries, so that leaves me quite adept at the kitchen, compared to the completely clueless single urbanite. But this recipe book on the shelf was just too cute, too pretty to let pass. And with it being on sale, really, how can I walk away empty-handed?

The book’s  pink and black theme is just so feminine, and well, I fancy anything that’s pink and black – from my favorite Nike runners to my lace undies. This compilation has about 246 pages of healthy recipes (from pastas to meat to salads to cocktails and desserts), a quick course on culinary vocabulary, a list of all the essential herbs for cooking, some health and diet tips, party and dinner suggestions, and finally some funny one-liners sprinkled all over the pages like chopped cashews on chocolate ice cream. This book is perfect for every girl who wants to master some cookery skills and perhaps to entertain a few guests at her lovely apartment with real gourmet food, and not just beer and chips.

According to Ellie Krieger, TV chef and host of Healthy Appetite at Food Network, The Little Black Apron is a “spirited guide to making you feel as comfortable in your kitchen as you are in your ballet flats. Every savvy single should have one on her bookshelf.”

I’d always liked to think I’m savvy but what I’m most sure of now is that I’m single.

Hence, The Little Black Apron.

:>

 

Cupcake Afternoon January 9, 2008

Filed under: Events — Aimee @ 9:46 am
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images1.jpg Today was a warm day with friends. Ella and Mae came over at the house to bake cupcakes with me. I don’t know why I have this sudden fixation with cupcakes. Perhaps because of the fact that they’re easy to make and easy to consume. And putting the icing is just like playing with colored clay, only that there’s no teacher telling you how you’re not doing the right thing. We made just the basic variety so as to leave more room for us to experiment with frostings and toppings. Next week I’ll probably head to the supermarket for my baking experiment on chocolate cherry glaze cupcakes. They’re a bit on the expensive side I know, but no one’s gonna buy any of the ingredients for me, anyway. Plus I get to leave the house for a while, which is a good thing because I oftentimes catch myself talking to the computer out of sheer solitude. Creepy.

Len arrived much later, when the cupcakes were already set and pretty on the serving plate. Much to our flattery she didn’t believe how we could make such a lovely batch, thinking that we merely ordered the cupcakes for that afternoon’s rendezvous.

We chatted, ate, laughed, and conversed a bit about the absurdities of the world. We gave Ella our preliminary goodbyes, who’s leaving for Cebu on Friday. Brave, brave girl. But Nashy will be there and whatever the case may be, she’s bound to have the time of her life. Hopefully, she’d find her heart song across the seas.

When she comes back we’ll frost many more cupcakes, and laugh like she never left at all. In the meanwhile I’ll write, bake, and go out with girlfriends as much as I can. Sometimes I get the funny feeling that this paradise isn’t going to last much longer and that pretty soon I’ll be enticed to accept an eight-to-five-job because it’s the road more traveled by ordinary folks like myself. Why does work and happiness have to be at opposite ends of the pole? Guess I’m just talking about me.

If truth be told, I can bake cupcakes all my life, if my writing suffocates me. Anything but a predictable existence inside gray walls and half-brained asses. Anything but boredom, structure, and nausea. Hope I don’t need a golden compass to get to where I want to be.

But believe me on the cupcakes. They were a thing of beauty.

 

Kitchen Dreams December 9, 2007

Filed under: Faves,Food — Aimee @ 4:51 am
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Is it possible to dream of spices? To suddenly be attacked by a yearning to smell and taste all the things that make a kitchen a hallowed refuge? The scent of cinnamon, the perfume of vanilla, the pungency of black peppercorns, the aroma of oregano, the tanginess of roasted green bell peppers, the golden pool of melted butter, the dizzying fragrance of fried garlic, and even the simple joy of cutting up baby carrots into lovely juliennes.

Then there is the sweet-smelling raw dough of chocolate chip cookies, and the black elegance of a triple-chocolate brownie mixture, before the oven fires turn them into their succulent, glutinous, nutty goodness. And if a bowl of leafy greens and a generous sprinkling of ripe tomatoes, crispy cucumbers, yellow capsicum strips should remind us of anything, it would be of languorous summer mid-mornings, when you would want to jolt out of the bed covers, and gladly run off to bathe under a tropical waterfall.

Even the pale pink blush of fresh tuna is a stirring sight, and when you sprinkle black pepper and rock salt on them, squeeze some lemon juice (or even our local lemonsito) over, wrap them in foil with a bit of lemongrass, and grill them over hot coals, they turn into slightly browned, juicy fillets that go very well with a nice cup of steamed white rice.

My daydreams these past weeks are of a cozy yet spacious kitchen with beautiful cabinets and huge French windows, a well-stocked pantry that houses some of the rarest finds in any supermarkets, and a mini-library that keeps my favorite cookbooks and biographies of Nigella, Jamie Oliver, Anthony Bourdain, and David Rocco, and a compilation of all the lists of herbs and spices from around the globe. I hope to have my library of herbs and spices too, especially the ones that I do not have as yet, like the expensive saffron, the elusive rosemary, and everything else that I can smell and sprinkle for comfort on long, hideous days. To have a teeming supply of extra virgin olive oil, bittersweet chocolate bars, velvety red wine, and plump, blushing strawberries. I shall hope to have a kitchen with cookie jars and chopsticks, bread baskets and crystal wine glasses, wooden spoons and oil vessels, even an authentic pizza stone.

And if no one objects, I shall gladly push my sofa chairs and coffee tables to the kitchen, have some friends come over, then dance and cook and eat the warm night away…