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lundi 16 mars 2009

My personal culinary triumphs and disastrous flops in the kitchen juxtaposed.


My always scrumptious and impossibly moist carrot cakes. My attemps have been most satisfying and I have successfully modified the recipe to my liking with a few of my personal touches I am rather proud of. Although the last carrot cake I baked was more than two years ago for Lil Miss N's birthday carrot cake is still one of my favourite if not my favourite cake to bake and eat. I just have not been in the baking mood lately and I have a convection oven with limited capacity and function.

My very first but highly successful attempt at a 'tourte aux marrons' or 'chestnut cake'. It was moist, melt-in-your-mouth and wonderfully chestnutty.

My wontons which can be boiled and eaten in a soup/broth, deep-fried or oven-baked.

My chicken drumsticks- which I bake for a lower cholesterol version or deep-fry when I am hankering and craving oily goodness. It is a big hit with my kids.

My cream of carrot/velouté with a ginger and sweet potato twist. It is rather flavourful and with a touch of cream can do no wrong.

My version of Vietnamese pork paste (cha) which I pan fry using no oil and a Tefal anti-adhesive frying pan. The trick lies in the marinade.

My bo luc lac-shaking beef which I add just a hint of satay to.

My bun rieu- tomato based broth with crab.

My tiramisu sans œufs leaves people wanting more (mainly Petit Suisse, Lil Miss N, Baby Taz and Shrek of course)

My Vietnamese beef noodle soup is a real hit in my household. They always ask for more in my household.

My strawberry/mixed berries friands.

Any type of egg-drop soup with aparagus and crab, quail eggs, surimi/mock seafood sticks etc or any ingredients I fancy/have on hand.

My Vietnamese sandwich : banh mi with varying meats such as char siu, roast chicken, pâté, pickled condiments-carrots and daikons, coriander.

Now onto the flops
I have had quite a number of misadventures with egg whites. The first few times involved me having tainted the whisks with a tiny bit of yolk and the whites refused to rise and glisten like glossy peaks the way most recipes call for. Needless to say it frustrated me to no end. I had to abandon a few gâteau recettes because the egg whites failed to behave and cooperate.

I once made chocolate mousse and instead of sugar or what I thought was sugar added a teaspoon of MSG and subsequently salt. I will never live that one down. It was horrible.

I made the mistake of attempting to roll spring rolls while Petit Suisse was a wee baby- four months or thereabouts. He did not know I was in the middle of doing something important and as it was the year where heatwaves swept through Europe and left my mum mistaking Geneva for a typical Sydney summer it meant that the filling that was taken in and out of the fridge due to Petit Suisse's interruptions meant that I secured a sure way to poison Shrek's fragile stomach. I think that this experience traumatised me and I have not made more attempts since that disaster to make spring rolls and vow only to make them when the children are nowhere in sight. This is partly why there are lots of recipes that I am dying to try which I think will be part of my repertoire or signature dishes that I have to postpone and put off until I can have several uninterrupted and tranquil hours to kill without the fear of being hindered by demanding kids.

A few times I put too little baking powder/baking soda into a cake batter and the end result was miserable globs of barely edible baked good.

That is all I can remember for now. Only the outstandingly remarkable or unforgettable can make the list because it would be endless to include everything.

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