What I Have Been Up To and…My First Guest Post!

I miss you guys, I really do. So here I am, clearing the cobwebs to say……I’m STILL alive and that I hope you haven’t forgotten about me. It’s been a while since I wrote anything here. I’ve got tonnes of comments and emails to reply to (I’m sorry, please give me some time). I have not baked or cooked anything recently. The last thing I made was tau yew bak  (braised pork belly), which took me 4 hours on Chinese New Year’s Eve and that was it. So it must have been a week? And that’s a ridiculous record in my books because it means that I’ve been feeling pent up from the lack of my favourite activities. Nothing remotely interesting happened over the last week. I’ve just been holed up in the study, poring over mountains of journals and books, with a pencil and my laptop fired up to get me to the finishing line. I shan’t say too much here, all shall be revealed by the end of this week. And yes, hopefully, you’ll see me resurrecting my annoying self on Facebook, Twitter and the blog when ‘things are revealed’.

It sounds like I had a sucky week, eh? That was pretty much the case, except for the one thing that I’ve been looking forward to for a month now. You see, I started putting my heart, soul and food (but of course..) out for the world to see on 14 February 2010. As the first birthday of my blog approaches (I’m thinking of making something to celebrate this, any ideas?), I marvel at the journey that I’ve been on for the past year, especially with regards to all the cooking and baking I’ve done. Personal growth as a humble home cook aside, I’ve also had the great fortune of meeting quite a few bloggers through all that writing. One of them is none other than Notabilia, who has invited me to pen my very first guest post. I can’t think of a better way to kick off the birthday celebrations for my blog, so thank you for this party, Notabilia.

For this month’s ‘Cooking With…’ instalment over at Notabilia’s, I created a fusion pastry of sorts, something that is inspired by my home country, Singapore, and my current time in London. Over the years in Europe, I’ve become acquainted with beautifully crafted pastries that have not seen the light of day in Singapore.

One of the pastries that has me eating out of its hand (or feet, you’ll see why) is the French macaron. I became enamoured with these delicate babies when my friend took me for birthday tea at Ladurée in Harrods slightly more than a year ago, and it is an understatement to say that my life was changed after that. A few months later, I took the first bite of Pierre Hermé’s ingenious creations, and I became obsessed, in the most psychotic of ways, with these almond cookies. I endeavoured to make them in my kitchen, the first time without incorporating almonds, and without using the proper method. They were delicious but were without feet. Then I tried making them again, this time using the proper method, and lo and behold, I got lucky. One macaron flavour then paved way for another in my kitchen. I was making them regularly in 2010, constantly thinking of new flavours to try out, and I am always excited to get my hands dirty.

So what are these feet that we’re talking about? You know the ruffle-y bit underneath that smooth surface, the bits that are getting cosy with the filling? That’s the feet. Getting them to appear is a bit of a terrifying, stressful venture that drives bakers nuts, and yes, all macaron aficionados should inspect these cookies for proper anatomy. So we’ve got the appearance sorted. How about the taste? Well, a macaron should have a crispy exterior that yields to a slightly chewy centre, and then the shell should cave to the most luscious cores, such as creams, ganache etc. The difficulties are apparent in making a macaron. We need to master the perfect balance between crisp and chewy textures, and we need a good filling. We also need feet. Such a massive amount of effort goes into making these babies that it’s no wonder bakeries hold these ransom for exorbitant amounts of cash. It is also for this reason, that I have gotten round to making macarons at home.

I’m happy to say that feet are aplenty since my first proper attempt, and I hope they continue to pitter-patter their way through my life or at the very least, take The Pleasure Monger to its second birthday (you see, the business of getting feet or no feet seems to be jinxed and I hope that I didn’t just do my luck in). Enough about macarons and getting all nostalgic on my side, let’s bring you over to my first guest post at Notabilia’s to have a look at the recipe! In the meantime, wait for my return!

If you love macarons, join me on my macaron journey.

Check out what I have been baking in my own kitchen.

Also check out my other food adventures.


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28 Responses to “What I Have Been Up To and…My First Guest Post!”

  1. 1 notabilia February 9, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Thank you for sharing your talents with me. I am glad we found each other on Twitter and connected in so many different ways. I am happy to have you–and your ingenious recipes and beautiful photography–in my life.

  2. 3 stardust February 9, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Oh nice!! >< Pierre Hermé is nice, I haven't tried Laduree yet.

    Your spoon is so cute! Where did you buy it? :D I like to collect interesting cutlery :)

  3. 5 The Daily Palette February 9, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    These are lovely, as usual! I cannot wait for the big “reveal” (all ears)!

    Wishing you a great week, besides. I should make some macarons today. Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. 7 Lacey @ dishfolio.com February 9, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Great photos! Plus the recipe looks divine. We’d love for you to share your recipe at dishfolio.com!

  5. 9 CAROLINE February 9, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    I found you via Notabilia and really love your food photography! It’s so tricky getting the lighting right, especially with London’s dreadful weather. I’m not a fan of chendol, but sure love macarons (:

  6. 11 sonia February 10, 2011 at 3:13 am

    EXCELLENT MACAROONS…Wud luv to try it.very nice presentation…great post !

  7. 13 Simin February 11, 2011 at 8:56 am

    I was just thinking, maybe if you made the jelly green, and sandwiched a few red beans in, it will really look like a chendol in a cookie! :)

    • 14 The Pleasure Monger February 13, 2011 at 10:57 am

      Simin: Yes I wanted to make them like that, but I’m rather picky about chendol and didn’t have the large red beans, and didn’t want to compromise on the small ones which I really dislike, so omitted them and went for cream theme instead

  8. 15 yixiao February 11, 2011 at 10:57 am

    i normally don’t like chendol but chendol macarons sound divine =)

  9. 17 Joy February 12, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    OMG, so envious…my second attempt at making them was a failure…AGAIN! This time round, the batter was too stiff and didn’t flow.

  10. 19 rsmacaalay February 21, 2011 at 8:29 am

    Wow the composition on your photos are amazing! Excellent shots as well as the recipe!

  11. 21 bookjunkie February 22, 2011 at 12:19 am

    it’s so cool that you’re food pressed :)

  12. 23 Jeanne February 28, 2011 at 5:12 am

    Hello! I really enjoyed your macaron posts. My favourite ones are those with tea infused buttercream filling as I’m not a fan of jam. In Singapore, I love the ones at Gobi Desserts, the Gryphon Earl Grey and Chammomile flavoured ones. Hope to see you try out a tea infused filling soon and let us know the recipe! Good luck on your new job!

  13. 25 Zach April 7, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Congrats on the PHD, also love the recipes, thanks for the post.


    p.s. The black dress looks nice.

  14. 26 lanigbo June 22, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    wow I am so happy to find this!! the photography is so great and the food is out of this world!

  1. 1 Learning about Macarons — Singapore Actually Trackback on September 29, 2011 at 8:24 pm

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About The Author
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Read about my food-gasmic adventures in San Sebastian here! Also please come by and check out the prettiest cake I've made over here!
Macarons: Be Inspired
Dark Chocolate & Coconut Cookies
Rose & Lychee Chiffon Cake
Pan-seared scallops, jamon iberico chip, pomme puree, jamon iberico foam and chestnut
Red Velvet Cake
An English-themed Dessert Table
Chocolate & Hazelnut Salted Caramel Cake
Gula Melaka Salted Caramel Buttercream Macarons
The Ispahan Cake
The Ispahan
Sunflower Seed Macarons with Black Truffle Salted White Chocolate Ganache
Lemon Cupcakes with Lime & Ginger Whipped Cream
Portuguese Egg Tarts
Ba Zhang - Glutinous Rice Dumplings with Braised Pork Belly
The Fat Duck
Strawberry and Cream Pancakes
Pandan Souffle Roll with Toasted Coconut Whipped Cream
Red Velvet Cake
Lychee and Emperor's Seven Treasures tea-infused macarons
M's Spanish Paella
M's birthday cake - Japanese Cheesecake with Rose Whipped Cream
Lor Bak Gou - Fried Radish Cake
Pandan Chiffon Cake
Homemade Scones
Marmite & Coffee Pork Chops
Quick and Easy fried rice recipe!
Matcha & Adzuki Bean Macarons
Pumpkin & Chocolate Brownies with Cream Cheese Swirls
Matcha, Milo and Plain Polvorons
Kampar Chicken Biscuits - A popular Malaysian snack
White Chocolate & Cranberry Cookies
Hustling the Xiao Long Bao in my kitchen
Bailey's & Coffee Macarons

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© Rachel Tan and The Pleasure Monger, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material on this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rachel Tan and The Pleasure Monger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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