Saturday, December 16, 2006

Happy holiday season!

We are leaving tomorrow for a beach vacation, so these are my Happy Holiday photos for you.
These 2 gingerbread houses were made, again, from Tania's book. (I am so flattered that 12 out of 12 amazon customers have clicked on behalf of my review.)
It basically took a whole day to make 2 batches of dough (just in case any of the pieces cracked, but none did), chill it in the refrigerator, cut out the pattern, cut the dough according to the pattern, chilling the dough again, baking the dough, making the icing, assembling the house, then decorating it with candy. Whew! It was a lot of work, but we had fun and the house smells wonderful. Thanks to my mom who helped with the assembling and decorating. The decorating was designed by Cutie: he decided which candies to put where. The left one turned out excellent, but the right one wasn't cold enough when I cut the dough and transferred it on to the baking sheet, so it was a little lopsided and needed some biscuits at the top of the roof. Cooking is an art, but baking is science, and it's all about precision!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Rowan striped baby hat with pom pom

Meet baby H, 7 months old. I started knitting this hat when I visited him, and knit while I had a delicious pasta lunch and caught up with his mom, my girlfriend from college. H had lunch, a short nap, and was a good quiet baby the whole time, thanks to his Grandma. I got a lot of knitting done on the way home on the train, and finished it that same night!
Yarn: Rowan Handknit Cotton. Needles: Clover size 10 Takumi bamboos. Pattern: modified from the Yarn Harlot's watermelon hat.
It was a nice, quick break from Hubbo's socks, and fits the baby perfectly!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Bread Baking class #2: dinner rolls

I baked 6 of these in my second class. The kneading went well. They tasted very good, but I rolled them too tight, and some of them cracked a little bit. So, I learned that it's important to roll them up very loosely, and not to brush on too much eggwash, or it will drip down and you end up with baked egg pieces.

At home, I made this. We Japanese LOVE purin. Otherwise known as custard pudding, creme caramel, caramel custard, or flan. I tried the Gatten recipe. It is one of Cutie's favorite shows on NHK. Because I used a caramel tablet before pouring in the egg mixture, when I flipped it out on a plate it came out like this. It looks like the moon! But the recipe is great since all I did was put in a dishtowel then my metal otoshibuta in my biggest Le Creuset, put in the purin covered with aluminum foil, and fill it up with boiling hot water so that it goes up halfway of the height of the ramekin. Heat it on high for 5-6 minutes, then turn off the heat, close the lid, and wait 25 minutes. It came out very nice and silky smooth.