Malaysia, July 2007: I was walking around the night market in Chow Kit when I was lured by a brightly pink colored drink.  What is it?  I didn't care, all I knew was I had to have some... yes unlike most people who shy away from brightly colored food...I can't seem to get enough of them.  Excited, I walked up to the vendor, pointed to the drink and bought a glass.  It was delicious!  Refreshing and rich with notes of floral and citrus. I briefly mentioned it in my post about Malaysian street food and found out it was called Air Bandung.  A refreshing sweet milk drink flavored with rose water and tinted a rosy, pepto-bismol pink.  I played with a few recipes and discovered that addition of lemon zest will bring out the flavors of the drink more.  The trick is to not add too should be there but not be there...if that makes any sense.

-1 can evaporated milk
-1 can sugar (use milk can to measure, +/- depending on your taste)
-4 tbs rosewater
-pink food coloring
-zest of 1/4 of a lemon
-water, ice

What to Do:
Rub together the sugar and lemon zest, add milk and bring mixture to a boil, cool, and strain out the lemon zest.   Add pink coloring.  To serve, fill a class 1/3 full with the milk syrup, and water to fill the glass 2/3 full; finish the remaining 1/3 with crushed ice.  Give the drink a quick stir and enjoy!

A Toast to 2010,
May the new year be as Sweet, as Refreshing and as Rosy as Air Bandung.


Let's face it, all Buche de Noel is just a any other cake.  The only difference is that it's made during Christmas time and decorated to look like a log.  I got bored with the same old chocolate icing, scraped with a fork for the "bark" and meringue "button" mushrooms.

I've always believed that if you don't like something; change it. So I did.

Instead of making button mushroom with meringue, I made oyster mushrooms instead.

Yes, the powdered sugar was a bit of an overkill but hey....I was just Playing with My Food!

 I tempered some chocolate and brushed it onto a sheet of parchment...waited for it to set, then peeled it off...and made the cake bark. Arf! :D

If you're looking for the recipes they're here and here.  Have fun and Happy Holidays!

..............just in time for Christmas............

-200g milk
-20g yeast
-1 egg (50g)
-600g bread flour
-7g salt
-80g sugar
-1/2 tsp cardamom
-300g butter
-250g raisins
-50g ea: candied lemon, candied orange
-150g almonds
-50g rum
-400g marzipan (divided into 4 pieces, optional)

Scale the butter and cut it into small cubes, set aside.

Mix together raisins, candied fruit, almond and rum, set aside.

Mix together sugar, salt, flour and cardamom.

In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in milk, add egg. 

Add flour mixture and mix until all of the moisture is absorbed. 

Add the butter and mix until dough comes together. 

Lastly, add candied fruit/rum mixture and mix until incorporated.  The dough will be very sticky, cover with a towel or plastic wrap and rest for 1/2 hour.

After resting, liberally dust a work surface with flour. 

Dump the dough onto the table and dust with more flour.

Divide the dough into 4 pieces (approx 1lb each).

Shape the dough pieces into small logs.  Using a small rolling pin or the side for our hand; aim for the middle of the log, make a slight impression and slightly roll the dough dough out creating a small flap.  Add a piece of marzipan (optional) and fold the dough "flap" over to cover the marzipan.

Proof for another hour and bake at 350'F until golden.

Brush the cooled stollen with melted butter and dust/roll in powdered sugar. 

Allow the stollen to sit for a day or two for the flavors to mature before serving. 

What did I make for dessert on Thanksgiving?  Pumpkin cheese cake.... a cross between pumpkin pie and cheese cake paired with flavors of maple, chocolate and walnuts, what more can one ask for?

For the Crust:
-4 oz gingersnap cookies
-melted butter

*Crush the cookies, add butter and mix until mixture comes together.  Press mixture into a cheesecake pan to make the curst.

Cheese Cake:
-1lb cream cheese
-300g pumpkin puree
-200g sour cream
-2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
-4 eggs
-1 tsp cornstarch
-150g sugar

*Cream the cream cheese until smooth, add eggs one at a time, then add sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and cornstarch and beat until creamy.  Add pumpkin puree and sour cream.  Mix until combined.  Fill the prepared cheesecake pan with batter and bake in a water bath, covered with foil at 325'F until the center jiggles like jello.  Chill until sent (a few hours).

Maple Cream:
-2 egg yolks
-150g milk or cream
-30g maple syrup

*Heat milk in a pot.  Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and maple syrup.  Once the milk comes to a boil, gradually add the milk to the eggs (aka tempering the eggs).  Return the mixture to the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the cream thickens and coats the back of a spoon.  Strain and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tulie Leaves:
Weigh the egg whites (left over from making maple cream).  Scale butter, sugar and flour, each equaling the weight of the egg whites.

*Cream butter and sugar, add butter and flour.  Mix until smooth.  Use a stiff piece of paper to create a stencil of a leaf.  Place the stencil on top of a silpat, use a small spatula to spread a thin layer of the tulie batter over the stencil.  Lift the stencil off the silpat and volia!  You have a leaf.  Bake the leaves at 350'F until slightly golden brown, give them character by shaping them while still hot.

Burshed Chocolate:
Chop chocolate into uniform pieces.  Melt them in a bain-marie over barley simmering water, stirring constantly until the chocolate is melted but still contains a few small chunks.  Remove from heat and continue stirring until all of the chocolate has melted.  Using a pastry brush, brush the chocolate onto a piece of parchment paper.  Place chocolate in a cool place to set.  Once set, gently peel the parchment off the chocolate.  Use chocolate as a garnish.

Glazed Walnuts:
-toothpicks or bamboo skewers

*Skewer walnuts onto toothpicks or bamboo skewers.  Place sugar in a pot with a little water (just enough to wet the sugar).  Bring the mixture to a boil, and continue to cook until the sugar begins to turn amber in color. Remove from heat and allow the sugar to cool slightly.  Dip the walnut pieces into the sugar, pull the pieces stright up out of the sugar; the sugar should "thread" as it's being pulled from the pot.  If not, the sugar is too hot, wait a few minutes and try again.