Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Second Time's the Charm Clearly

I said I would try to post this several days ago… but clearly I failed. Many things have happened since then, keeping me quite busy. On Thursday, I passed my behind-the-wheels driving test!!! … Finally. Then Friday, I worked on an art project for a club and packed to go back to university. Saturday was the drive from home to my university (about 6 hours). I have no real excuse for Sunday… except as the last day before school started and me being lazy, which brings us yesterday, Monday. Oh Monday. School started Monday. And I've been "busy," as in busy with little, mundane, getting-my-stuff-together-and-classes-sorted tasks. But not truly busy in a my-midterm-is-tomorrow-so-screwed kind of way. No, that kind of "busy" will come later. However, today I will finally finish this post I started 5 days ago. On to the taro swiss roll!

So, I made this taro roll for Christmas Eve dessert. Quite honestly I got the idea because my mom absolutely adores taro (me too… but not as much as her). Loves it and will eat it in any dish. The roll turned out very good actually. The cake was soft and light and the taro filling was rich and 90% taro. The only issue is, unlike store bought taro cakes, my cake did not taste like taro. I believe this is because bakeries use taro powder, which I'm not inclined to buy and cannot find a way to make at home. But it is still a very good cake. So try and make it! Even if you've never had taro… It's quite tasty!

I got the following recipe from this website, who translated it from Carol's blog. I will repost the website because I find the translation could use a bit of clarification and I adjusted a few steps here and there. Also, there is a typo that affects an ingredient recipe in the translation.

Taro Swiss Roll

Taro filling:
500g taro
80g sugar
30g unsalted butter
20g heavy cream (I actually splashed in a bit more to help make the consistency of the filling smoother and more spreadable)
a pinch of salt

5 large yolks
30g sugar
40g liquid oil (I just used plain ol' vegetable oil)
100g mashed taro
90g cake flour (sifted, VERY IMPORTANT even if you're lazy like I am because this prevents lumps)
25g milk (doesn't matter non-fat or whole)
pinch of salt

5 large egg whites
5mL lemon juice (approximately 1 tsp.)
60g sugar

  1. Peel the taro and cut into 1 inch squares (600g total).
  2. Steam the taros for about 25 minutes or until cooked and easily break off (next time I'm trying something else… for some reason my taro had hard bits in it even though I steamed it until it easily broke off; maybe boiling or roasting the taro).
  3. Mash the cooked taro, setting aside 100g for the cake.
  4. Add the rest of the filling ingredients to the 500g portion of taro and mix well.
  5. Set both portions of taro aside and let cool.

  1. Beat egg yolks and sugar together with a whisk until pale yellow.
  2. Add the liquid oil in several additions until completely incorporated.
  3. Add the mashed taro and salt and mix well.
  4. Add half of cake flour and half of milk, mixing very lightly. Once incorporated, add the other half of flour and milk, and mix well.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until you see big bubbles, then add in lemon juice and half of the sugar.
  6. Continue to whisk for about a minute, then add the rest of sugar. Whisk until the whipped egg whites form stiff peaks.
  7. Take 1/3 of whisked egg white and mix well into the yolk mixture (this will lighten the yolk mixture first).
  8. Incorporate half of the remaining egg white into the main batter by gently folding the egg white in with a spatula to prevent loss of volume. Once fully incorporate, repeat with the last third of egg white.
  9. Line your jelly roll pan (I used a 40cm x 28.5cm roasting pan) with parchment paper and pour the batter on it (to help prevent air bubbles, gently bang the pan on a flat surface a few times after smoothing the surface evenly).
  10. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
  11. peel off the parchment paper on the side and let cool for about 3-5 minutes until it's touchable, but still warm.
  12. On the side with the filling, draw lines with a knife perpendicular to the way you are planning to roll, but don't go all the way as to cut off the cake.
  13. To further help prevent the cake from cracking when you roll it, let it cool the rest of the way pre-rolled. Do this by placing parchment paper on both flat sides of the cake and using a tea towel to roll the cake in place of filling.
  14. When the cake is fully cooled, unroll and spread an even layer of the taro filling.
  15. Roll up the cake up again and refrigerate it for 2-3 hours before serving.

This is my cake, all rolled up!

As you can see, my cake cracked when I rolled it since I didn't do the pre-rolling step… :(

And the inside view… Right before we ate all the cake! There's a nice thick layer of taro, and that's what really makes the cake.

So I will try to post the cake I did for New Year's Eve either tomorrow or the day after, depending on how busy I am.

Until then,

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year~

Cheers, everyone!

I started 2014 this morning similarly to how I said goodbye to 2013 last night, with a toast! … Of my favorite celebratory drink, Martinelli's Sparkling Apple Cider. It's soooo good~ And it looks like champagne, so it satisfies my need to feel like I'm celebrating while appeasing my dislike of most things alcoholic. And I'm still underage. That's a problem too.

In other news, I did promise yesterday that today would be about what I made for a Secret Santa gift exchange I did with my friends. Only four of us participated, so the Secret Santa was only secret until the day of the gift exchange. We didn't really bother keeping it a secret when we handed each other the gifts. But on to the gift!

So the price min/max was around $10. Basically, don't spend too much or too little. So with that kind of limit, I thought it would be much more worthwhile for the person receiving the gift if I made a gift basket with a bunch of homemade items!

And here is the basket right before I wrapped it up, with a little sheet of instructions (that says "Read Me") and everything labeled. Apologies for the bad lighting in all of these photos. I ended up doing this rather late at night since I wanted the food to be fresh. And also since I had to eat out with my family that night.

So included in the basket are:
  • candied orange peels (homemade, recipe here)
  • chocolate covered candied orange peels (homemade, same recipe except dipped in semi-sweet chocolate)
  • a singular candy cane
  • gingerbread cookies (homemade, from this post)
  • chocolate cake (homemade, 1/6th the amount created by this Brown Eyed Baker recipe without the icing)
  • Ghirardelli Chocolate Mocha Hot Cocoa Mix in a jar from Daiso (this one)
  • cup from Daiso that I sharpied and baked with a custom design (yes, her name is Christy)
It was, packaging included, probably around $10.

Here's a closeup of the cup! I'm super proud of it… Lemme tell you, drawing with sharpie on a cup allows so little room for mistakes. Super ugh.

And here is the final wrapped present! I did cover up the stuff in the basket with wrapping paper so that even though the basket can be seen, the actual contents would be a surprise. I also added a Christmas Card and a tag to identify the recipient. I was so proud of this gift basket!

And that's all for today!

Tomorrow is my behind-the-wheel driving test, but I will try to make another post about the dessert I made for Christmas Eve dinner, even if I fail my test (again, *knocksonwood*) and am super depressed. Wish me luck! And I wish for all of you that 2014 will be the best year yet.

Until then,

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Of Gingerbread and Men

Hey everyone! I haven't been on in forever, but I figured I should share some Christmas baking I did. Now that, you know, Christmas is long gone and all...

But anyhow, today is Gingerbread (Men)! I used the recipe I found on Smitten Kitchen. She says that it's really spicy and I don't know if it's because I cut the recipe in half, or some other reason, but I found it just fine. If anything, I might potentially enjoy a bit more spices... Otherwise, I really enjoy the consistency and taste of the gingerbread from this recipe!

I actually made these gingerbread men on December 19th and frosted them with buttercream frosting (I decided against royal icing because of the egg whites…) on the 20th.

Cutting out the various shapes.... Mostly gingerbread men.
Finished baking!
The next day, I decorated the cookies with this buttercream frosting recipe from Food Network. I really liked this recipe! But don't ignore the addition of the whipping cream. Those 1-2 tablespoons can really make or break the consistency of the frosting!
And here are the final iced cookies! I got bored of ordinary gingerbread men, so the gingerbread men got decidedly more and more… interesting.
There's one or two pop culture references thrown in… Can you guess what they are? Haha, but they really were very fun to decorate… If a bit time consuming. And I didn't use up all the frosting, which made me feel bad 'cause they just ended up being thrown away. :x Boohoo.

For easy reference, in case you missed the links at the top, here are the recipes I used!

Tomorrow (or maybe later today) I will post about a Secret Santa gift exchange I did with my friends. Or a end of the year post… Since today IS New Year's Eve.

Until then,

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Try, Try, And Try Again.

I keep promising that I will post every day. Yet I keep failing. This is a bad habit of mine. I promise things that I do not keep. I guess we will have to see how this round goes again. The important thing though is I don't completely give up. Better to try and fail than to not try at all.

In recent news, I'm happy yet not. My fitness stuff, while not as perfect as I would like, is going not badly. I am still not running, at all. Or even doing cardio every day. However, since I signed up for a yoga class at the UCLA Recreation Center, I do yoga twice a week. It makes me realize how much I've missed yoga since I took a break from it winter quarter. Also, my roommate, Karillith, and I are doing a 30 day squat challenge. As seen on the picture to the left. The butt is a bit disconcerting to look at. But I'm really getting great at squats! I'm not sure if it's doing any good... but we'll see.

Academically... it's been a bumpy road. I've already fallen behind, which hopefully means I'll catch up and stay up, having felt the failure of falling behind already this quarter. It's debatable. I have no illusions about myself and my ability to stay motivated.

I'll post tomorrow about more stuff I guess (or so I say). Be forewarned, tomorrow might be deep murky thoughts.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Bad Mishya!

But can you really blame me? Finals week as here and the weeks leading up to it were just as hectic if not more so. Essays, projects, grades.... Ugh!

However, I've been feeling really lousy about myself lately. I've keep telling myself, "I'll eat less tomorrow" or "I'll work out tomorrow" and I've finally realized that won't work at all! It definitely helps (me at least) to read other people's fitness progress. The one I stumbled on today through Pinterest even though I should be studying... is really motivating! I feel like these stories of personal triumph are so much more motivating because you know they have gone through what you have. She's gone through the same pitfalls as I have and she picked herself up (whereas I'm still stuck...). But meh! One thing for sure I plan to do is calorie counting. I do like her way of eating and exercising. Start small and work up! And don't put off to tomorrow what you can do today. I guess I should do a tumblr... but I think I'll just post on here. After all, this is my personal blog.

In other news, I found a lip stain thing (not sure if it's stain, gloss, balm... too many types!) that I adore. It's by Pixi, which can be found at Target, and it's called Magic Tink Tint. It's a pink color that supposedly reacts to the pH of your lips and becomes a personalized pink. It applies clear and gradually changes. So cool! I like the way it just glides on... and the chubby stick format is rather adorable! It has Tinkerbell and vines decorating it. Makes me feel so girly~

I'll post again later. Probably about if I ate better and if I exercised at all. :P Meh.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Oopsie Daisies

I really do suck at keeping up with posting. But hey, I'm posting more frequently than I ever did with my old blog.

First up, a picture of Monsieur Jean Claude Pierre Dumoulin the Third. He's a stuffed animal (a teddy dog?) that I sent Ti to comfort her after she got dumped by her asshole, not judging, of a boyfriend. My roommate and I still owe her a collar for Jean Claude Pierre. I'll endeavor to make her a dog-tag from some leftover silver nickel I have at home... Karillith will probably take care of the collar part.

Anyhow, besides Ti's troubles, I've been having a few hectic weeks. Trouble focusing, catching up with schoolwork... I think the cause has finally come to light! My period showed up 2 days ago. Or was it yesterday? Anyhow, it was particularly bad this time. Usually I only have crippling backache. This time, cramps came to play and I had both! Oh the joys of being a woman (can you tell I'm sarcastic?). I've been feeling a bit better since yesterday, so hopefully today will go well.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Road of Life Goes Ever On and On

Life's been hectic lately. My best friend, Ti, after a series of 'we broke up... jk' incidents, finally broke it off entirely with her asshole (I'm so not judging) boyfriend. After more and more moments of increasingly unfeeling indifference from him, the straw that broke the camel's back (or rather Ti's heart) was when he made no effort to do anything for Valentine's day and finally told her that he had only promised to write a note to her, which would've taken all of a minute, in an effort to shut her whining. He dumped her (broke up is too mild for what he did) during that phone call in the last few hours of Valentine's Day. I say good riddance and I'm glad he's gone, but he leaves behind the pieces of Ti's first relationship and her heart for her other friends and me to put back together again. I had sent her a care package, initially for what I thought was a break up but turned out to be false alarm (how I wish now it was true!), just a few days before Valentine's Day. The package arrived on the day of Valentine's and in my letter inside I told her how it was for the rough bump that she was going through, with parents and school, because she had supposedly made up with her boyfriend already. However, since her asshole (still not judging) boyfriend dumped her that night, I had to send the second, for breaking up, part of my gift sooner than I anticipated (I did expect to send it though...). I sent it on the 15th and I will have a picture of it up when she gets it.

The photo's grainy since Ti took it with her phone. It shows the homemade fudge I made with Karillith in our dorm room (in the pink bag), the white bag with the cookies from Diddy Riese (a must have if anyone ever come to UCLA), Yan Yan, and an blue angry face thing that I thought would be great for throwing.

 In other, more cheerful news! I had my first Cake Pops ever, courtesy of a nursing friend as part of the Nursing School's fundraiser. They were quite tasty. And you can see my manicure in here! It's Sally Hansen's Red My Lips. The red was perfect for both Chinese New Years on February 10th and Valentine's Day!
This was my first fondue ever, chocolate or otherwise. It came courtesy of a residential hall activity for Valentine's day. There were strawberries, pound cake pieces, marshmallows, and banana slices (which I did not get). Everything was delicious (how could it not be, coated in chocolate?) and the strawberries were especially divine.

The next time I post, it will (hopefully) be more focused on my own problems, which I have had a few of lately and need to get off my chest.