Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tiramisu, with fetid socks

I made this a month ago for Climber Guy, my prince of a co-worker who was celebrating his birthday.

He admired the caramel topper and said he only sees these things on Iron Chef. Naturally, I was thrilled out of my socks.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Book of Sweets by Marina Schinz

Don't be misled by the frippery title - it's a documentation of the history of sweets, the lore surrounding them and the art of the confectioner.

Sweet and Sugarfree by Karen E. Barkie

I love this book's healthy concept. It keeps its promise - you won't see any sugar in the ingredients and even honey is singled out as a bad guy.

I have yet to try out the recipes though, since I don't have an oven. A pastry chef, which is where I feel the heartstrings tugging, without an oven is like an F1 racer without his car. If the recipes turn out well, I'm going to serve the pastries in the cafe I'm dreaming up.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Here's something I'm really proud of - the Pavlova I made in baking class for meringues day. It was one of the prettiest things I'd ever made. I gave it to my pal Elka, a ballerina and arts writer, who I'm sure would appreciate the connection between the cake and the famed danseuse.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Because chefs can do things their way...

Somewhere inside the hot kitchen:

Monday, April 5, 2010

Pumpkin shooters and cop-outs

Two days into my internship, I get a taste of my first big function - cocktails for about 600 guests. I was supposed to assemble pork wantons - spoon kung pao sauce onto the fried triangle of pork, then sprinkle crushed peanuts on top - but got assigned to the pumpkin shooters instead.

That task involved pouring pumpkin soup into a shot glass and decorating it with a drop of yogurt and a papadum sliver. Easy, you say? Fair enough, but the challenge lay in timing assembly and send-outs so that the soup would still be warm by the time it reached the guests. I made two miscues before getting it right. There were heating lamps to keep some of the food warm, but to me this was a cop-out. Sure, they kept the shooters warm, but if you kept soup out long enough, an unattractive film forms on top. The papadums too, which remind me of Indian cornflakes, would become soggy from sitting in the soup too long and would often sink to the bottom. They would have to be fished out and replaced with a new one.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Cutting is a dance...

I spent most of today at the garde manger station slicing things. I still feel unhappy about my knife skills. My cuts look like they were made by someone who'd never gone to cooking school. For someone who cares about doing things the proper way, this is quite a self-esteem deflater.

Anyway, we were talking about dancing, right? In spite of my lack of knife skills, I found the wherewithal to enjoy the groovy house music being piped about the dining area, and remarked to myself how vibrant and energetic the place is. It's nice slicing things with peppy music in the background.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Still kicking!

No, dear audience of three, I haven't died or evaporated. I've simply been incredibly busy with school and work. So while this blog has been in its death throes for a while, don't cart it off to the morgue just yet.

I'm now done with school, or the classroom part at least. I started officially as an intern on March 17 at this resto in one of Manila's financial which I like to call the Artsy Asian Outpost (AAO), and have been enjoying every minute of it, in spite of the leg-breaking (one has to stand up for nearly nine hours everyday without a break) work and the near-zombie like state I sometimes work myself into because of perpetual sleep deprivation.

Everyone was surprisingly nice and decent-behaving. Except for their unanimous disbelief when they hear my response to the standard "how old are you" conversation-opener, and a little irritation on my part when almost everyone kept asking about my marital/relationship status (I should be used to both reactions by now as a single 30-something, but I never am), there weren't too many horror stories of the kind Shuna Fish Lydon described in her blog. One major annoyance was the line cook who pretended to sneeze and spray me with his snot, and then threw bits of chocolate wrapper at me, but I'm taking it in stride. Into each ass a little pain must fall, no? Anyway, he made nice to me afterwards.

I just wish I didn't look so young, because people here (is it only in the Philippines, or everywhere else?) equate youth with being a pushover.