Thursday, September 22, 2016

Black Forest Cupcakes

The sour cherry crop this year was not as plentiful as in previous years but I still had enough to make a few batches of cherry filling. With a more limited cherry supply, I decided to be ambitious and try my hand at making Black Forest cupcakes. I've never made stuffed cupcakes before so I wasn't sure if the filling was just going to sink to the bottom and end up being soggy. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my technique of layering cake batter, then filling and then batter again actually worked. I whipped up some cream and shaved a Lindor chocolate on top for decoration and then voila! Looked good and tasted good too! The only thing I think I'll change is that next time, I will add a bit more rum but otherwise, I count this experiment as a success. :)

We start with fresh picked cherries. It's a fair bit of work but incredibly satisfying to harvest your own fruit.

I pitted about 8 cups of cherries by hand. A pair of headphones and some pop music is recommended.

Flour, sugar and cornstarch made up the dry ingredients. Pretty simple.

Then you cook everything.
Lovely, bright red cherry filling - yum!
The tricky part about layering batter-filling-batter is trying not to make a mess.

I've learned over time how much to fill the cups so that my cupcakes are not overflowing.

I was quite proud of myself that the filling worked!
After that, the rest is just decoration. :)

Not bad for our 100th post, eh? Yep, that's right - it took three years but we've finally broken the 100 mark. Time for some (cup)cake to celebrate!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Conference Swag!

Conferences are great opportunities to learn and to network but I can’t deny that one of the things I like about them is also the variety of conference swag. Biomedical and biotechnology companies give out a lot of quality office supplies and other knick-knacks and I’ve found that with a few well-placed stickers, this stuff can look quite cute and pretty too. 


After! Of course, their original purpose of advertising for the company is lost but...oh well. ;)

This was one of my favorite notebooks. Doesn't it have a lululemon inspirational feel?

Really, this was the only word missing. :)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

For the Love of Carrot Cake...

I have noticed lately that all my posts currently involve some form of food. My papers and punches are collecting dust as I’m spending more of my time in the kitchen with friends. Food is something that brings people together and I find it interesting that during a recent conversation about my friends’ dream homes, every one of them wanted a large kitchen island as a hub for entertaining.

This rather interesting creation should have been posted a long time ago. My friend Casey’s birthday is on Valentine’s day and he once jokingly told us that in the past, it was difficult to find friends to celebrate with him because so often, they are out with their significant others. Well, our church fellowship group was planning on meeting up that weekend to watch sports anyway so Amy, Emily, Tim and I decided to bake a cake to celebrate him gaining another year on his dish. ;)

This carrot cake recipe has been described as “the best carrot cake I have ever had” by more than one person. It was also an excellent way to put more vegetables in the diets of the guys of our group.

Since the gathering was in the evening, our plan was to bake the cake in the afternoon and bring it out as a surprise. Unfortunately, we were off to a slow start and so had barely managed to finish the baking portion before Casey arrived. The assembly and decorating of the cake is a comedic story involving a cramped laundry room, a mess of icing and multiple attempts at breaking away from the group without being noticed.  Oh the things we do for our friends… J

We got this recipe from here. I'm sure this is not going to be the last time we make this!

Match Day! (Belated...)

Match Day. Two words that strike both extreme anxiety and excitement in the heart of any graduating medical student in Canada. After months of labouring over application forms and sweating at interviews, it’s the day that you find out what residency program you have been matched to.

This year, it was March 2nd and my friend Nissi, decided to congratulate all her friends who matched with this creative and cute little gift:

My match day was a long time ago but she decided to make me one too to thank me for giving her all the cardstock that she used for this project. (I saw it on sale at Michaels and just couldn’t resist!) Her calligraphy is beautiful and whenever I see her work, I want to take up lettering. Maybe one day, I will actually follow through…

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Deluxe Cake Pops

Mmm...four chocolate cake pops with caramel chocolate filling served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, drizzled with chocolate sauce, caramel sauce and topped with pecan nuts and a crispy wafer. It's a fancy restaurant dessert that didn't have a name but boy, did it taste good! :)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Panna Cotta

It's been a crazy busy week at work and when I came home on Friday, I had zero motivation to do anything medicine related. So I decided to make some desserts instead.

Panna Cotta is an Italian desert of sweetened cream thickened with gelatin. I made mine with a hint of coffee and a splash of Tia Maria. Nothing like sugar and dairy to make a person feel better. :)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

How Long Does It Take To Make A Chocolate Covered Pretzel?

Answer: Depends on who is making it.

And if it's Emily, Tim and me then the real answer is: a lot longer than it should.

After much debate about how to best melt the candy and some trial and error...we finally read the box. Things went much easier after that.

We eventually did get the knack of it though and produced thirteen beautifully festive pretzels.

Thanks to Emily for providing the ingredients and Tim for the photography. As for me, I just got sprinkles everywhere! :)

Happy New Year, everyone!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Cards: A Mass Production

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone is enjoying some blessed time with family and friends to celebrate our Lord's birth.

This post has been long overdue but today was when I finally found a little time to put it up. (Sorry for the delay, gals.)

There are some crafts that require many painstaking hours to produce a single final product and then there are others which you can churn out en mass. A few weekends ago, my sister and I went over to our friend Nissi's apartment for an afternoon of crafting. I have no idea how many cards we cranked out over the course of 4 hours but it certainly wasn't just one (as evidenced from the picture above).

Nissi has a love of calligraphy and an indifferent attitude towards card design. I enjoy designing cards but have weak lettering skills - really, it was a perfect match! :) We spent a happy afternoon gushing over paper and art supplies and bonding over our daydream of one day opening an Etsy store. (There's just the small matter of our day jobs which unfortunately, takes up a great deal of our time... :P)

Now for a closer look at some of our creations:

These two cards were designed and lettered by my friend, Wyanne. 

She lined the snowflake with tin foil which looked great in person but unfortunately, I wasn't able to do it justice in my photos.

This was my favorite design. Who knew that black would work so well as a Christmas card? I think it looks classy!

The great thing about punches is that you can use both the positive and the negative. Black snowflakes look surprisingly good.

This was designed and lettered by my sister. Do you recognize where the pieces of the tree come from? That's right, from the tinges of a green punched snowflake. Creative, no?

Will this be the start of a new Christmas crafting tradition? Who knows... but either way, I hope everyone has a very merry Christmas this year! See you in 2016!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Each season has its own charm and fall is probably the most fashionable of them all (I can finally break out my boots!). Autumn colours are warm and rich, making them very fun to work with.

I was invited to a Thanksgiving turkey dinner at the house of some friends this past weekend which gave me the perfect excuse to break out the punches and stamps. These cards were actually very easy to put together and that lovely array of colours is thanks to paint chips.

My personal stamp!

I can't wait until I have time to work on some Christmas cards!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Just Another Dim Sum Party... :)

Over the years, my friends have heard about the "dim sum parties" which my family holds around major holidays. Usually, my recounting of these family gatherings are met with incredulous looks and a request for left over dim sum. It never occurred to me to take pictures of what we did (mainly because I'm often too busy rolling out shrimp dumpling dough) but the last time my family got together, I decided to pull out a camera and prove to the world that these events actually happen.

Seven pairs of hands on the table and that's only half the kitchen. The other eight people were stationed at the stove, counter, sink and refrigerator - dim sum is a full operation. :)

The bamboo steamer and the deep fryer are all set up and ready to go!

Usually, me and 28 of my closest relatives get together around Christmas or during the summer holidays for a full afternoon and evening of food preparation and, of course, eating. Spearheaded by my 6th and 7th aunts, the rest of us just fall into the assembly line with our designated roles having been organically assigned over the years.  Mine, as mentioned before, is rolling out of the shrimp dumpling dough. A very specialized skill, I know, which has been honed after years of practice. :P I'm less adept at the actual wrapping of the shrimp dumplings but can do it if necessary. We usually churn out around 300 shrimp dumplings in an evening - and most of them are gone by the end of it. Some make it to the freezer for future enjoyment.

Usually, this platter would be only one of four.

Sometimes a little experimentation occurs to figure out the perfect steaming time.  

The dim sum menu changes from gathering to gathering depending on the mood of my aunts. The unalterable, staple dish though is the shrimp dumplings which are produced every time without fail. In addition to the dumplings though, our last party also consisted of spring rolls and steamed buns. The picture above with all the hands depicts at least five of us (it would have been six if I hadn't been the one taking the picture) working on the rolling.

The hands of one of my cousins mid-roll.

Again, this platter is usually one of two or three. 

We aim for a crispy golden brown. Mmm...smell the grease. ;)

I know my last post also had steamed buns but these ones look a bit more professional. These were savory buns containing meat and egg. Quite filling.

So there you have it! Proof that these mass gatherings for dim sum production actually happen. They are a lot of work from preparation to clean up but I like to think that they are unique to my family and always a whole lot of fun!