Category Archives: Baking Recipes: Macarons

My First Guest Chef Experience

[All photos in this post are courtesy of E at Heaven in a Wild Flower, who was the fabulous FOH at the supperclub the night I guest chef-ed (I would also like to add that she’s mightily talented in cooking, design, photography above everything else that she’s also good at)!]

Some of you may have read that I made my first ever guest chef appearance recently on 13 November 2011, at the Plusixfive supperclub no less, and I thought it would be nice to document my experience here. It was a real eye-opener for me to be changing gears on what I usually do, as I’m more of an amateur home cook who siphons off the excess things that come out of my kitchen to willing friends. To actually bake for something which I’ve been commissioned for, to offer my pastries to paying customers, now that is a different ball game. To sum it up, it was a daunting albeit rewarding experience for me, and I wouldn’t have embarked on it if Goz, head chef at Plusixfive, hadn’t bambi-eyed me into it (read this to see how a grown man manages to do this!).

Gula melaka salted caramel buttercream macarons

This was made even more challenging, when my oven decided to go kaput on my macarons the week before. I was getting cracked macarons left, right and center with the same recipe that have always worked for me, and I had no idea what went wrong.  I panicked quite a bit as I didn’t want to disappoint Goz and his guests, so I made batches after batches of macarons to test out every variable  (as I would have in my past life as a scientist before I made a career switch), and finally narrowed it down to an overheating oven. The odd thing was the oven didn’t have any effect on my other baked goods, and my conclusion was macarons are just extremely sensitive to heat. This was affirmed when I tried some new steps that I’ve now included on top of my usual recipe (not posted yet), which thankfully gave me beautiful macarons once again, just in time for the supperclub. I also spent a good amount of time tweaking my lychee chiffon cake recipe to perfection, and even had my husband mule some lychee essence back from Singapore to do this. A few hours before the supperclub on 13 November, I was absolutely relieved to get everything done in time for the guests.

Lychee chiffon cake

So after the nightmare that was the oven, you can imagine how anxious I was in having ’em desserts meet the customers, especially since Goz was serving up his famous (and very very very yummy, I can attest to this) gula melaka ice cream right before my macarons and chiffon cake were presented to the guests! But I am glad to report that they received positive reviews despite the oven drama that I went through, and despite the fact that Goz set really high standards with his gula melaka ice cream. Some supperclub guests asked how I made the macarons and chiffon, others asked if they could order baked goods from me in future, some were wowed by the macarons, others were bowled over by the chiffon cake. I was just buzzing with nerves and excitement, then flooded with relief when everyone went home feeling happy about the desserts (or at least, they pretended to, being very cordial people they are!). T, one of the guests, left a comment on my Facebook page on the chiffon cake, and Jen who writes at Hungry Tiger Thirsty Dragon gave  us some glowing reviews on the desserts.

Jen has  kindly given me permission to quote an excerpt from her review here:

Desserts were the highlight of the evening: the gula melaka ice-cream was divine, salty-sweet with gorgeous caramelised notes. Guest-chef desserts were courtesy of Rachel of The Pleasure Monger: gula melaka macarons and lychee chiffon cake. The macarons were so good I could forgive the double-dose of gula melaka, and the chiffon cake was wonderfully airy and fresh.

Did I learn anything from this? Yes, a hell lot! Did I gain some confidence, which I’ve been told I severely lack? Yes, a teeny bit. Would I do this again? Yes, why not! Did I have fun? Without a doubt!

There you go, my first guest chef experience, and hopefully more to come.

Before I go, I’d also like to say that Goz’s rendang is DA BOMB, and personally, I would die for it. M gushed, ‘Man, Goz CAN cook!!’ as he fought me off with his spoon when I tried to stake a claim on the rendang. So, I’m urging you to sign up for the Plusixfive supperclub – hop on over here to find out how. Read these reviews if you’re not convinced! And scroll on for some snapshots of what you missed at the supperclub!

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

Also check out my other food adventures.


The Pleasure Monger serving up at Plusixfive tonight!

Hello everyone! Just dropping by quickly to make an announcement, well…sort of anyway, because something’s big happening tonight at a mysterious location in London and I’m part of it!

Those residing in London may have heard of (if you haven’t, I wonder if you’ve been living under a rock…) PlusixfiveTHE supperclub that has been making waves in the dining scene with its kick-ass Singaporean food. Now, head chef gozgozgoz has kindly invited me to serve up some sweets tonight (some of you may have caught wind of this on Twitter, and boy, am I glad that gozgozgoz thinks I’m worthy of his supperclub)! It kinda came at a good and bad time. You see, I have been toying with the idea of doing the whole baking thing on a small-scale commercial basis after receiving some requests to do dessert tables for weddings in Singapore (I can’t do this ladies, because I’m not based in Singapore..unfortunately), but never had the guts/opportunity to do it, so this was the perfect thing to be commissioned for. The bad really showed up unannounced when I ran into some oven trouble last week and I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to deliver. After a whole week of troubleshooting, I’m happy (and relieved) to present my Gula Melaka Salted Caramel Buttercream Macarons, and a new-and-improved version of my Lychee Chiffon Cake for the supperclub tonight!

This may be nothing much for all you funky, cool, talented chefs out there, but for a nondescript home cook like me, this fares pretty high up on the list. Wish me luck, everyone! And to all who are attending the supperclub tonight, I hope you enjoy the dinner (and the sweets, hehe)!

*Updated: This post is featured on Tastespotting. Check out my profile on  Tastespotting to see my other featured posts!

My 7 Links

I’ve been tagged by the lovely Lady J on the 7 Links Blog Project, which was created by someone (please enlighten me if you know who it is!) to showcase the top posts from tagged bloggers in 7 categories. The tagged blogger then extends the invitation to do this meme to another 3 bloggers, so if you google this project, you will see that many before me have already done this!

It’s a mammoth task, I would say, to identify 7 of my top posts in these categories. I mean, every post that I’ve written here is a story that I’ve lived through, whether it’s about love, family, friends, and of course, food. So, whilst not many readers may agree with this, all my posts do mean a lot to me because they are part and parcel of my life!

For those who are new to my blog, I would of course ask you to start reading my blog from the very beginning, but that might overwhelm you, so I guess the 7 posts would do! If you’re a regular reader, perhaps some of these 7 posts would resonate with you, but do let me know if you think I have other posts that might better fit the bill!

1. My Most Beautiful Post

My husband, M, brings out the best in me, and all the most beautiful posts on my blog, be it words, photos, or our stories, are inspired by our times together…all our ups and downs, as a matter of fact. Here, I write about finding love, and finding beauty in imperfection in The Truth About Love.

2. My Most Popular Post

According to my site statistics, you guys are loving The Prettiest Cake I’ve Ever Made – Ispahan. This was an entremet that I made having been inspired by my favourite pastry chef, Pierre Hermé, who invented the incredibly seductive trio of flavours that are raspberries, lychees and rose. It was also the very first entremet that I crafted and in my humble opinion, one of prettiest pastries that I’ve put together. This was indeed a mean feat for me, because I’m not the most artistic, or that adept at making beautiful cakes! To my surprise, the editors at loved this cake, so much so that they featured this on Freshly Pressed. The good people at  Foodgawker and Tastespotting thought my Ispahan looked delicious enough to be featured as well, so do swing by and have a look!

3. My Most Controversial Post

So…I’ve ticked some people off on this one. I wrote about how we remained unimpressed by our visits to Paris. I was really misunderstood on this one – what I meant to say was how our visits were thwarted by a series of unfortunate incidents that seemed to happen to us and not anyone else. The less-than-pleasant experience we had in Paris had nothing to do with the jewels of Paris that so many have waxed lyrical on – but my words were misconstrued as a criticism for Paris. For the record, my husband and I are planning on another visit, because we know that treasures are waiting to be found in the City of Lights, and we hope and want to find them. Here’s how I Want To Love Paris.

4. My Most Helpful Post

I mean this in the most literal sense – it’s the most help I’ve tried to organise on my blog and it’s the Fundraising for Japan when the earthquake happened earlier this year. With your help, my dear readers, we raised £1510 for the disaster victims in Japan. I hoped our efforts gave rise to some good for them, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you again for your donations!

5. My Most Surprisingly Successful Post

I wrote this after coming back from the best holiday ever in San Sebastián. I was at my wits’ end as to how I should do the city justice with my mediocre command of the language, and I was dreading how I was going to let the city down. I decided to stop thinking and just feel my way through this post, so I let my senses take over on this one and what transpired was a purely sensual piece of writing that surprisingly, sat very well with my harshest critic (myself), and also the editors on who gave me a much coveted airtime on Freshly Pressed. I remember just diving into this and immersing myself completely in this post as I wrote it. I warn you, this post (pictures aren’t great, but it’s all about the words….) might make you sweat, so brace yourself…San Sebastián – The Land of Promiscuous Eating.

6. My Most Underrated Post

Regular readers would know that I’m obsessed with making macarons. Some of you think that I’m a macaron goddess, not that I am…but errrr…do you know that I once started out this way too? If I can go from a macaron noob to what I have achieved today on the macaron-making front…so can you! Without sounding rude, stop telling me that you’re afraid to make macarons!! Don’t believe it? Check out my macaron journey from the very first post to the latest and I hope you’re inspired to make your own. Now, get your whisk on and just do it!

7. Post I Am Most Proud Of

Not exactly that, but I wrote about one of the things that I am most proud of in this post – starting my blog, writing, and pursuing my hobbies on baking, cooking and food photography that solidly define The Pleasure Monger today. Here’s what I was thinking when The Pleasure Monger turned ONE!

So here they are, my 7 links! Thanks Lady J again for getting me on this one. It was a good way to review everything I’ve written and put some things into perspective! Now for the next 3 bloggers I’m tagging…

1. Sherie at Maameemoomoo.

2. Shulie at Foodwanderings.

3. Annapet at The Daily Palette.

Please feel free to take part in this project even if you’re not tagged, just link it back to this post so we can all enjoy your posts too! Happy reading, everyone!

Happy Birthday, My Little Red Dot

London. A city where M and I chase our dreams, and perhaps even living other people’s dreams. It is fun and exciting. There’s always something to do. The summers are so irresistible and pretty that they make up for all the crap weather that rain relentlessly on us during other seasons. One smells freedom in the air – there are barely any boundaries to what we can do and where we can go.

Sounds perfect, no? Here’s the newflash – nothing is and ever will be. Despite everything we’ve got going on over here, all the milestones that we’ve crossed, and everything that we’ve achieved, we miss home dearly. We miss Singapore.

Some have fondly christened Singapore ‘The Little Red Dot’, for its incredibly small size, so small that it only appears as a red dot at the tip of the Malaysia Peninsula on the world map. But small it might be next to giants in the neighbourhood, Singapore is a whole lot of everything for us.

Singapore is love. Our family and friends are there. Our parents in particular have supported us in all the tough choices we’ve made, even though it is not easy for them. This year, I lived out one of my worst fears when bad news hailed from home. I’m just thankful to the big man upstairs that everything has blown over, and that home will always be home, with my family smiling back at me whenever they pick me up from the airport. Those smiles, hugs and the tender strokes on my head when I am feeling down, they are so very precious.

Singapore is everything else and beyond. Stability, efficiency, safety, we’ve got it going as perfectly as any other country can even dream of.

Think about all the social unrest in other cities. Right now, I’m thinking of the London riots and I shudder at how a developed city could descend into such chaos. Then my thoughts wander back to Singapore and realise how fortunate we are. As M put it very succinctly in one of our conversations yesterday – in London, we have to look out for places that are safe; in Singapore, we have to look hard for places that aren’t.

Things work as efficiently as they can possibly be in Singapore. Public transport letting you down? Trains not coming on time? The city crippled because of strikes? Trains packed to the point where you have to wait ages to board another one? Try living here. Getting banks/organisations to do what you went there to do – try waiting and people even die here while waiting in hospitals. I was in a horseback riding accident once and guess what, the nurse-led unit said I had to be flown to another city in UK to get an X-ray done. Go figure. (Well come to think of it, at least I could be flown, in other undeveloped countries, people walk for a day to get a checkup and even to give birth.)

My point is, every country has its trophies and skeletons. London offers many opportunities, both for carving out a livelihood and for leisure. It gives us freedom, the room to be creative and to think out of the box. But it is freckled. I’m sure there’s much to complain about Singapore too, seeing the debates that recent elections have sparked off. We don’t have that much freedom, we are controlled, some even say we’re puppeted, but I love The Little Red Dot nonetheless. After all, it is home. We have much to be proud of for a young, miniscule country with no natural resources whatsoever next to global giants. Our forefathers built our country with their very hands and little else. I hope we can go on and do the same for our children. Here’s to 46 years of independence and magnificent strides into the future, and more to come!

Happy Birthday, my Little Red Dot. We’ll be home soon.

[Photos: Palm Sugar and Coconut Salted Butter Caramel Macarons specially made for this occasion, from yours truly to you]

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.

*Updated: This post has been featured on Tastespotting. Check out my profile on Tastespotting to see my other featured posts!


Fundraising for Japan – A Success, And Yes, We Have A Winner!

Thanks to your generous donations, The Pleasure Monger’s fundraising event for Japan was a success! We may have fell short of the £2000 target, but we did raise a whopping £1510, which amounts to 76% of our target! To be honest, I wasn’t sure if anyone would donate when I organised this, but a number of you did; the funds that we’ve raised together are so much more than I could ever give on my own. I’m grateful for your support and I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The fundraising page that I’ve set up on JustGiving will run till 2016, so please continue to drop a pound or two to help the victims of the earthquake in Japan. I’m sure everyone knows that the people in Japan are still suffering from the aftermath. For people like us who can’t be there to deliver aid, we can help in other ways. Yesterday evening, I was just thinking how wonderful it would be if everyone who stops by this blog could give a pound or spare some change; we could very well raise £20000 in a month! And then we have other bloggers who are trying their best to raise funds (read the updates at the bottom of this post for more details on how you can get involved), bloggers who are way more popular, prolific and well-known than I am, and if every reader of theirs give a pound for every post they read, they could raise so much more. That £1 makes such little difference to us, but for the victims, every penny counts and the success of the fundraiser thus far proves that we can pool our resources together and make a HUGE difference. So please continue to give, within your means, to any of the avenues that are most accessible to you.

Now, let’s realise the promise I made. When I organised the fundraiser, I said that I would pledge a USD100 Amazon gift card to one lucky donor so long as he/she donates before 31 March 2011 (GMT2359h). So today, I used the random integer generator on to pick a winner and the gift card goes to…….


I’ll be in touch in the next few minutes with an Amazon email containing the gift card. Congratulations and thank you for your donation!



Fundraising for Japan

Dear readers,

In light of the recent events that hit Japan, I have started a fundraising page on JustGiving to raise some money for the disaster relief efforts. My nominated charity is ShelterBox, which is rallying resources to help the people in Japan. Temporary shelters are getting increasingly overcrowded right now, and if you’ve read the news, many have died in the bitter cold. The Japanese authorities are requesting ShelterBox to deliver emergency shelter and lifesaving supplies to the north of Japan. Thousands of boxes of such supplies are either in Japan or ready to be mobilised now, and we can help to deliver to the needs of the homeless in Japan. Please, let’s not leave them out in the freezing temperatures, and let’s work to give them a home and some warmth, literally and figuratively.

Anyone can donate, you only need a debit or credit card to do so. I can’t make a difference on my own, so instead of donating the money directly to charity, I am pledging a USD100 Amazon gift card to this fundraising event. I will randomly select the gift card recipient (using from the list of people who donate on my fundraising page before 31 March 2011 (2359h GMT). By giving a little incentive, I hope that this will boost numbers a little and make the event worthwhile.  The gift card can be used on and I will email it to you before 10 April 2011. I will also announce the winner on this blog.

Please note that whilst I am not allowed to publicise this gift card raffle on my JustGiving page (as I am bound by terms and conditions), anyone who donates on my page, with a valid email address, will be eligible for this raffle. In order for me to contact you, please make sure you make your email address available to me on the JustGiving fundraising page.

Thank you for your help. Please also spread the word around, the success of this fundraising event relies on our collective effort.

Updated: I would also like to bring your attention to other avenues of donation. Some of my food blogger friends have set up an initiative called Bento4Japan, they have very generously put up some bento-related items up for auction on eBay. Please visit this site and start bidding! Or you can visit meemalee’s kitchen to have a look, she has written a nice summary of how you can help the people in Japan. Chika of the very beautiful blog, She Who Eats, is also giving away sakura ingredients to raise funds for Japan.

P/S: The fundraising page will be active till 2016, but only donors who contributed to this page before 31 March 2011 (2359h GMT) will be considered for the raffle. I am doing this because I am trying to encourage as many people to donate soon as the relief efforts are ongoing and urgently needed – WE HAVE A WINNER!


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.


Happy Chinese New Year

As Chinese New Year approaches, you’ll see a flurry of activities in every Chinese household. We spring clean to rid of ill-fortune and welcome good luck. We deck our homes in red and gold, both auspicious colours for the Chinese, to celebrate the most important traditional Chinese festival. We cook, we bake, we feast and we grow fat with our dear family and friends, all in the name of the new year. It is a time to gather with loved ones, particularly so on the eve of the Chinese New Year when we have reunion dinners with our families. It is a time when we say, out with the old, in with the new. This spring festival lasts for fifteen days, and is so important that even those away from home will endeavour to keep to the traditions of preparing ourselves for a blessed year ahead. Like us.

As we bid farewell to the Year of the Tiger and give a warm welcome to the Rabbit, we find ourselves somewhat wedged in no man’s land for Chinese New Year. This is the 4th year that we’re spending the festival overseas without our families. Nobody kicks up a big fuss over Chinese New Year in London, you don’t feel the excitement in the air, in fact, you wouldn’t even realise that the Chinese are celebrating it unless you set foot into Chinatown. That is where you will see families huddled into crowded supermarkets, peering into baskets and baskets of goodies, filling their trolleys up with groceries and cartons of mandarin oranges, and yes, you might even catch the occasional Chinese New Year song. But once outside of Chinatown, everyone is oblivious to the festival. The only way you’ll experience it is if you step into a Chinese home, such as ours.

Although our home severely lacks decorations, we are on our way to putting up three miserable couplets that we bought years ago. I haven’t managed to get a bunch of pussy willow, and doubt I will have the time to do it. I even contemplated putting up red packets (known as ang baos) on my Christmas tree, which I’ve only taken down last week. We haven’t bought any groceries appropriate for the new year. The only things that hint at the festival are a couple of red packets that we received from our parents, and a heap of oranges and clementines in our fruit basket. Traditionally, tangerines are a symbol of good luck and oranges are that of wealth. You will find that many food items we consume or exchange with family and friends are a symbol of either, or that of good health, happiness etc. These items are chosen as such because their names sound like the respective blesssings in Chinese. We couldn’t get tangerines, but all the same, clementines are a type of mandarin oranges, so that’s good enough for us.

During Chinese New Year, we visit our family and friends to wish them a blessed new year, and to catch up on our lives. No one shows up empty-handed and it’s important to bear gifts as a show of goodwill. These gifts are typically returned in other forms, depending on what the host family has purchased, really. Of these, the most important ones are oranges or tangerines. These are given in pairs, and for the more superstitious host families, never show up four oranges as four sounds like death in the Chinese language. The host families will return the oranges from their own stash to you, and this means that they give their blessings to you too. As you can see, oranges are a staple during the new year, and this, my dears, is the source of my inspiration for the Year of the Rabbit.

With this in mind, I thought it might be interesting to put a twist in the traditional Chinese New Year snacks. Instead of pineapple tarts, kueh bangkit, love letters and what-not, I decided to make some clementine macarons to welcome the new year. In a way, it is a perfect {fusion} representation of our circumstance as we are celebrating Chinese New Year in London. I put a dash of grated clementine zest in the macaron shells and made them a beautiful sunset shade of orange with the wonderful bottle of food colouring that Dad gave me in December last year. I also filled the shells with an orange buttercream that has been infused with orange zest and orange and lemon juice for the citrusy fragrance and tartness. The flavours worked beautifully (although they turned out a little sweet because my oranges were unusually sweet) and I think they make rather pretty gifts. So if you would like to present something different to your loved ones this year, why don’t you make a box of these clementine macarons instead? The possibilities are endless, really. You can make the buttercream however sweet or tart you want, and you could even make pineapple macarons in place of pineapple tarts.

I’m really happy with these macarons and wish I could box them up and give them to our families. But everyone’s 6000 miles away and besides, M and I might just finish the whole stash before our friends come over tomorrow night…..Oh well, there’s always next year, and the year after…..

For now, the plateful of clementine macarons do well to brighten up our currently un-festive home. That, and a bunch of oranges and a couple of red packets. Oh, and the couplets too. Happy Chinese New Year, everyone! I wish you prosperity, good health and happiness for years to come. Have a good one, and eat loads on our behalf!

Here’s the recipe:

Clementine Macarons with Orange Buttercream

For the macaron shells:
(adapted from heavenwildfleur)
Makes 34 shells

66g egg white, aged
2g egg white powder
60g caster sugar
90g almond flour
110g icing sugar
1/3 teaspoon grated clementine zest
A few drops of orange food colouring

1. Preheat oven at 170 degrees Celsius.

2. Blitz almond flour, icing sugar and grated orange zest to combine and make the meal as fine as possible. Sift blitzed ingredients together in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites and egg white powder till soft peaks are formed. Whisk in caster sugar until stiff peaks form.

4. To the egg white mixture, fold in dry ingredients from Step 2 in 1/3 portions to combine. Add colouring, then fold in the mixture more vigorously. Test the consistency from time to time by lifting a generous dollop of macaron paste and dropping it into the mixing bowl. If the macaron paste does not settle smoothly after 30 seconds, continue folding the paste. If the macaron paste smooths out too quickly, you’ve gone too far.

5. Pipe out the shells onto a baking sheet lined with parchment and leave them to rest for 25 minutes before baking.

6. When a crust is formed, turn temperature on oven down to 140 degrees Celsius and bake for 15 minutes, turning the tray halfway through baking.

7. Cool parchment of baked shells on cooling rack. Unmould when the shells are completely cool.

For the Orange Buttercream:

100g unsalted butter
250g icing sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice (adjust levels according depending on personal taste)
3 teaspoons orange juice (adjust levels according depending on personal taste)
2/3 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 tablespoons orange-infused milk (leave 1 tablespoon orange zest in 2 tablespoons of milk in fridge, overnight)

1. Beat butter and icing sugar together till creamy.

2. Add juices and zest and beat till smooth.

3. Add milk and beat till combined. If this is too runny, chill buttercream before piping onto shells.

4. Fill cooled macaron shells with buttercream and sandwich.


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.


Matcha & Adzuki Bean Macarons

Matcha & Adzuki Bean Macarons

When the Mactweets Challenge: MacAttack #13 came around, I knew it was time to get some egg whites out and age them a little. We were warned that this was the 13th challenge, you know, the unlucky number for some, and guess what, I had a bit of an unlucky start this time! I was all ready to whip my egg whites up for Fall-themed macarons, and as luck (or the lack thereof) would have it, I spilled the aged egg whites before I could even grow feet on the macs. My clumsy hands in an over-packed fridge were very much like bulls in a china shop, I knocked the whites over, mopped up the gooey spill and mourned the tragic loss of my aged egg whites. I was ready to throw in the towel and skip this challenge but macaron gurus, Jamie from Life’s a Feast and Eunice from Heaven in a Wild Flower assured me that fresh egg whites will whip up nicely anyway. Heeding their advice, I cracked some new eggs and separated the whites from yolks. There was no looking back and I was glad that I listened to them.

Matcha & Adzuki Bean Macarons

For this month’s challenge, we were asked to create macarons that spoke of what Fall meant to us. The first thing that I thought of was a piping hot cup of Japanese green tea in my cold, cold hands! I admit I did dream about sipping on a mug of hot chocolate about two seconds after I thought about green tea, but I felt that hot chocolate was a little too much for autumn, and better appreciated in the bitter cold of winter. I had wanted to make a matcha & white chocolate mascarpone filling (which I made last month and friends loved them), but I had a tin of adzuki bean paste in the pantry, just dying to be married to matcha already. I couldn’t deny a match made in heaven, could I?

Matcha & Adzuki Bean Macarons


Matcha & Adzuki Bean Macarons

Whilst I am not a big fan of winter in London, I quite like autumn. Yes, most of the trees are bald in the blink of an eye, but the occasional tree is decked out in warm gold leaves that turn a seductive shade of mahogany. To me, it is the rarity of this sight that makes London very beautiful despite the cold and the ubiquitous bare trees. Regrettably so, it can get too cold to wander along the streets, and when that happens, what I love most is to curl up in my couch, with a duvet draped round my legs and a cup of hot Japanese green tea to sip on. With every cup of green tea, I also insist on having something sweet to nibble on. This is the ‘way of life’ that M and my sister-in-law, M have instilled in me. Both Ms are true connoisseurs of teatime accompaniments and I am glad that I have been well-taught.

Matcha & Adzuki Bean Macarons



Matcha & Adzuki Bean Macarons

For about two months now, I’ve been a bit obsessed with matcha, and have made cupcakes, polvorons, macarons and more cupcakes with matcha (posts to follow soon). There’s nothing I like more than having matcha-based pastries with hot green tea. The flavours are strong, yet subtle and so very alluring. Here, the sweet earthiness of adzuki beans are perfectly balanced with the bittersweet matcha & white chocolate buttercream. If you love matcha as much as I do, you might want to get cracking on these macarons in your own kitchen.

Here’s the recipe:

For the macaron shells (makes 22 shells):
(adapted from heavenwildfleur)

55g egg white (these are not aged, and will turn out a little more chewy)
3g egg white powder
45g caster sugar
70g almond flour
80g icing sugar
1 teaspoon green food colouring
Black sesame seeds

1. Preheat oven at 170 degrees Celsius.

2. Sift almond flour and icing sugar together in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites and egg white powder till soft peaks are formed. Whisk in caster sugar until stiff peaks form.

4. To the egg white mixture, fold in dry ingredients from Step 2 in 1/3 portions to combine. Add colouring, then fold in the mixture more vigorously. Test the consistency from time to time by lifting a generous dollop of macaron paste and dropping it into the mixing bowl. If the macaron paste does not settle smoothly after 30 seconds, continue folding the paste. If the macaron paste smooths out too quickly, you’ve gone too far.

5. Pipe out the shells onto a baking sheet lined with parchment and leave them to rest for 25 minutes before baking. Sprinkle some black sesame seeds on the shell.

6. When a crust is formed, turn temperature on oven down to 140 degrees Celsius and bake for 15 minutes, turning the tray halfway through baking.

7. Cool parchment of baked shells on cooling rack. Unmould when the shells are completely cool. (I also dusted the shells with a little bit of edible gold lustre, they do give a nice sheen but they didn’t show up well on the pictures..)

For the Matcha & White Chocolate Buttercream:

55g white chocolate
40g unsalted butter
50g icing sugar
5g matcha powder (you can add more if you like a stronger flavour, as the sweetness of ready-made adzuki bean paste can differ – See ‘Assembling’ section below)

1. Melt white chocolate and butter and leave to cool.

2. Beat in icing sugar and matcha powder until well-combined and creamy.

Assembling macarons:

1. Spoon matcha cream onto one shell.

2. Add one small dollop of adzuki bean paste on top of the cream.

3. Sandwich, and you’re done!

Matcha & Adzuki Bean Macarons

Hope you enjoy making these and let me know what you think of the recipe!

If you love macarons, join me on my macaron journey. And if you can’t get enough of matcha, you might like my Lychee Chiffon Cake with Matcha Whipped Cream Frosting.

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

Also check out my other food adventures.

*Updated: This post has been featured on Foodgawker and Tastespotting. Check out my profiles on Foodgawker and Tastespotting to see my other featured posts!


Vanilla Bean Macarons with Bailey’s & Coffee Buttercream

Morning world! I was up pretty early today, with my mind constantly whirring about my coughawfulcough thesis writing and some exciting macaron ideas. I haven’t gotten round to making any macs lately owing to a month-long trip back to Singapore and keeping up with the mundane things-we-have-to-do sice we returned. I have been dying to put some action into egg whites. Not sure if I can get round to making some today (new flavours coming up!), but I shall quieten my overactive mind with a little post on some macarons that I made back in July this year.

Vanilla Macarons with Bailey's & Coffee Buttercream

So, I’m not a big coffee drinker. In fact, I can’t take any beverages that have coffee in it. Shame, isn’t it? I could never understand how it feels when people say ‘Oh gosh, this coffee is soooooo good’, or when they quip, ‘I could do with a coffee right now’. I can’t fathom what it feels like to be addicted to coffee, to be reliant on and appreciative of it, and quite frankly, I feel…..left out.

BUT nature has its ways. It’s all about balance, homeostasis (sorry couldn’t help but bring this biological term up, been repeating it a couple of times in my now 120-page strong thesis). And I have been made to love coffee-ish desserts even though I can’t drink coffee.

Drinking coffee makes me want to lie down. For those of you who have witnessed a rather red-faced me (no I wasn’t angry, I just lack alchohol dehydrogenase) feeling faint after a teeny tiny bit of alchohol, drinking coffee kills me. Quite embarrassingly so, it messes with my head far worse than alcohol, it gives me such a nauseating headache, that once after a coffee initiation by my aunt in the form of Starbucks mocha, I quickly apologised to her and said ‘Sorry aunt, I really have to go home right now’. I never took another sip of coffee since. But it’s really okay, because I still am able to enjoy tiramisu, coffee ice-cream, coffee cake, coffee bread, coffee ribs. I suppose I may be regrettably aversive to only liquid coffee.

Vanilla Macarons with Bailey's & Coffee Buttercream

One day in July, I was craving for coffee something. I wanted to be surrounded by the nutty aroma that we can only get with coffee. Tiramisu seemed much too heavy, and I would just end up making too much for the two of us. I didn’t think I wanted to have a slice of coffee cake every day for the rest of the week.  And so, I decided to make something that was manageable in small numbers, something that I have been addicted to making and eating for the last couple of months. Vanilla Bean Macaron with Bailey’s & Coffee Buttercream was it. Let’s just say they were yum, atrociously good with liquid coffee (or so the husband says). I was inspired by salted butter caramel and added a tiny bit of salt to the buttercream filling so it cuts the sweetness and brings out the flavour of Bailey’s. So…yay! Coffee for me!

Vanilla Macarons with Bailey's & Coffee Buttercream

Here’s the recipe:

For the Vanilla Bean Macaron Shells
(adapted from heavenwildfleur)

100g egg whites, aged
3g egg white powder
90g vanilla sugar
140g almond flour
160g icing sugar
Some cocoa powder

1. Preheat oven at 170 degrees Celsius

2. Sift almond flour and icing sugar together in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites and egg white powder till soft peaks are formed. Whisk in caster sugar until stiff peaks form.

4. To the egg white mixture, fold in dry ingredients from Step 2 in 1/3 portions to combine. Then fold in the mixture more vigorously. Test the consistency from time to time by lifting a generous dollop of macaron paste and dropping it into the mixing bowl. If the macaron paste does not settle smoothly after 30 seconds, continue folding the paste. If the macaron paste smooths out too quickly, you’ve gone too far.

5. Pipe out the shells onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Sprinkle a little cocoa powder on the shells and leave them to rest for 25 minutes before baking.

6. When a crust is formed, turn temperature on oven down to 140 degrees Celsius and bake for 15 minutes, turning the tray halfway through baking.

7. Cool parchment of baked shells on cooling rack. Unmould when the shells are completely cool.

Question: I wanted white shells, but somehow my oven coloured them. Anyone knows how to get whiter shells?

For the Bailey’s & Coffee Buttercream

125g unsalted butter
1 cup icing sugar
3 tablespoons cooled coffee (strength depends on your preference and type of coffee, I filtered 3 tablespoons of Nescafe in 6 tablespoons of water)
2 tablespoons Bailey’s
3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt

1. Beat butter and icing sugar together.

2. Add coffee, Bailey’s and salt, and beat till well combined.

3. Pipe on cooled shells and sandwich them into macarons.

These make 60 shells, so that’s 30 macarons.

Hope you enjoy making them! Let me know how they turn out.

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.

*Updated: This post is featured on Photograzing. Check out my Photograzing profile to see my other featured posts!