My Top 3 cakes of 2014

So uh… happy new year?

I can’t believe how fast the year was gone. I intended to blog more, but seems this is going to be an annual occurrence!

But I’m still baking when I can, and for special occasions.

First up, and I still can’t believe I did that was this:

YingWedCake2 Yup, it was a humungous cake… for Sugamama’s garden wedding. It was a chocolate cake with vanilla swiss meringue buttercream icing, decorated with some of the flowers that were for displays at the wedding table hahaha!

YingWedCakeHere’s the piece on the final display. Sugamama’s husband just took up a chainsaw and cut a piece of log to go with the rustic back garden wedding look!

Thanks to a bunch of people who lent a help in making this cake in less than 24 hours (yeah last minute decision to make a wedding cake), especially Serena who stayed up till 3am with me to make this cake. I’d say a pretty crazy but good job given that we didn’t have much tools to use and we started at about 4 pm eve of the wedding.

The wedding was awesome. On a lovely Canada summer’s day… but bad for the cake as it started to melt a little by the time it was served hehe.

Second cake I loved was this birthday cake I made for Papa Salvatore:
PaCakeA red wine chocolate cake with mascarpone cream and greek yoghurt icing, topped with sour cherries… almost a (boozy) take of a black forest, someone said.

I love the taste and I think Papa Salvatore does too.

Third cake that really made my 2014:

ShaCakeA birthday cake for a very close friend. This was my first chocolate and orange (and heck a lot of grand marnier) cake. I used cadbury’s chocolate fingers as part of the deco too and upped the chocolate dose haha! Icing a a lovely orange swiss meringue buttercream.

That’s all for now. Hope 2015 I’ll have more cakes to come. For now, I’m all caked out especially after that 3 tier wedding cake.

-M

Yee sang for the year of the dragon

It’s the second day of Chinese New Year. How has the Dragon year been so far?

It’s becoming a custom now in Malaysia and Singapore to “Lo Sang” for the new year. Having been so many years abroad, I realised that this Yee Sang business is quite unique to these two countries. Yep, we kinda invented this tradition… or rather, re-invented it.

The ingredients of a yee sang is basically that of a colourful salad. Each ingredient signifies something. For example, the pepper is put into the red packets and sprinkled onto the salad, to attract luck and wealth. Green for youth, carrot for (more) luck.

Here’s the yee sang ready to be tossed. Raw fish added to signify abundance in the new year. The fried crackers signify gold.

Then, we toss. The higher, the better. It was a noisy occasion as each of us would say out the wishes that we want for the new year. Us nerdy ones would go “lolololol” as in lo sang (toss), but really we just wanted to make a pun.

Lo sang aftermath. Yes, so messy, but so yums.

Wishing everyone a happy Chinese new year. May you get to spend it with your loved ones. Have a good year ahead.

-M.

Oktoberfest, Kitchener-Waterloo

I know I know, it is December already. I would like to mention about the Oktoberfest I experienced while I was in Waterloo/Kitchener since it was my first ever going to an Oktoberfest. Man, why didn’t I go to Germany when I was in the UK? I could have gone to the Oktoberfest there.

Anyway, in the former town of Berlin (that’s the old name for Kitchener-Waterloo I was told), the first wave of immigrants were from Germany, hence the name of the town. The name of the place was changed, but some of the culture was retained, hence the Oktoberfest.

I was told the Oktoberfest here is the second biggest in the world, and so we could not miss the opportunity to go. Unfortunately, the night that we went was a STUDENT’S NIGHT.

The festhallen were full of young people (many drunks came in later). The music was so loud I wondered if this makeshift tent hall was a night club. There was one or two “traditional” Oktoberfest songs played, but after that the clubbing music started.

Here’s Sugamama pouring beer into our complimentary plastic mug for a more Oktoberfest feel. Looks like an advert for Bingeman’s. For the record, Canadian ale is more like an IPA than the typical British ale. The lager type beer is ok, but I prefer German beer still. Too bad didn’t have any here.

After witnessing police arresting a few drunks, girls waving mugs of beer around (and then drenching themselves with it) and had one of the worst sauerkraut in history, we quit the festival early. So glad too as we left the tent, Back Street Boys was being played inside. Oh dear.

Maybe if we had gone on another night (like for seniors…?) we would have enjoyed this festival season. But I think we out grew the teenage/early 20’s drunk party mayhem of our time. So next time, Kitchener-Waterloo. I’ll be back again to experience the real Oktoberfest…

…or maybe I should just go to Munich.

-M.

Soupalicious fare in Toronto

OK, so I’m like a month behind in posting this. Sorry, but perhaps this may help you decide to come next year’s event…

So after arriving in Toronto from the UK, one friend’s mum had planned for us to go to this soup fare called Soupalicious.

“You will get to try 10 different types of soups from this ticket. So, hope you like soup.” She said (well, something like that). So off we went to this soupy place (Sugamama obviously came too).

From an Oxfordshire village, we came to…

… a view such as this, everything suddenly seemed so large, spacious, and modern.

Ontario Lake front, near where the Soupalicious fare was taking place.

The event was at this convention hall. Inside, there were little stalls set up by various restaurants around Toronto to showcase their soups. There was also soup cooking class/demonstration going on.

Some of the soups we tried…  Also, since it’s an autumn harvest thing, most of the soups were pumpkin/squash based. If you really have an affinity of soup and pumpkin, this fare is really made for you! The noodle soup at the top right is supposed to be something else apparently by some TV personality on this program called Manhunter (I’m told it’s some tracking people in the wild kind of thing). Of all things, that particular stall FORGOT to bring their soup… so they made do with this noodles thingy, which was bland.

Eh, I don’t know why they were making soups. What’s that gotta do with man-hunting?

Anyway, the winner of soups that day was the beetroot (a.k.a. beet) soup, known as the Red Velvet soup (bottom left of the picture).

By the end of the seventh soup I was ready to call it a day. There is only so much soup I can take. Sugamama came across some ladies who also couldn’t finish all ten sampling tickets for soup and gave her theirs. Whoopie.

All in all, it was a good fare of soup slurping and perhaps ideas for making our next batch of (pumpkin/squash) soup… but I’m all souped out. >_<.

-M.