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Coco&Me » 2010

September 19th, 2010

Black Forest Gâteaux

Coco&Me - Black Forest Gateaux with recipe - www.cocoandme.com - Coco and MeThis wednesday I made a Black Forest Gâteaux.
Coco&Me - Black Forest Gateaux with recipe - www.cocoandme.com - Coco and MeI arranged the cherries on top to spell number 3, because I baked it to take to a 3 year old’s birthday party.
Coco&Me - Black Forest Gateaux with recipe - www.cocoandme.com - Coco and MeThe cake was constructed with Kirsch-syrup soaked chocolate genoise sponge layers with alternately piped kirsch chantilly cream & whipped chocolate cream. There are also lots of de-stoned black cherries (Kirsch-syrup soaked) hidden inbetween the layers.
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Wh, what? Booze soaked cake for a children’s party?? – Don’t worry – it was for consumption by the mums only. (There was a separate cake for the children, baked by the mum.)
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Actually, I especially made it for the birthday girl’s mum ‘A’, who’d been handing down bags n’ bags full of girl clothes for my daughter S. Literally tonnes of it!! And good stuff too, from the likes of Petit Bateau & Polarn o. Pyret, as well as cute vintage finds. I hardly ever buy new clothes for my daughter other than a few key pieces & some underwear, & that’s all thanks to the generosity of ‘A’!
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Now, why Black Forest Gâteaux. – Well, here’s what it was. The one week prior to the party, my daughter S & myself were outside ‘A”s house, all dolled up, warm Tarte Tatins (there were two) tucked safely in the bottom netting of S’s pram. Just as I was going to ring the doorbell, ‘A’ opens her door. She welcomes us in with a slight puzzled look. Noticing how quiet her house was, I ask “Oh, am I the first to arrive?” – And just at that moment, it struck us both – Yes, I had gotten the dates wrong. The party was on the next week.
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Oh.my.gawd… shame on me. How-do-I-do-this? I’m a fool. ‘A’ insisted on inviting us in regardless. I decided to give the Tarte Tatin to ‘A’ anyway, & keep the other one for taking around to a different friend later. While our daughters played upstairs, we sat on her sofa with a mug of milky tea cupped in our hands. Our conversation was naturally (?) about sweet things (!) & about her new found admiration for M&S Black Forest Gâteaux (all butter, soft & chewy) dessert cookies. “They’re very good, Tamami…” ‘A’ wistfully expressed her review of it with a sigh of yearning. She also shared her realization of how we don’t ever come across a good Black Forest Gâteaux in London – … like, never! And she was so right!
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So, to cut the story short, I made another cake for the correct party date, but this time a Black Forest Gâteaux. Upon research on google images, I realized that the cake seriously suffers on the looks stakes, oooh so ugly & retro in a bad way! I boiled the culprit down to the chocolate flakes patted on to the sides together with all that cream with swirly piping. So I simply avoided that & just had fun with piping simple round blobs. I think it also ties in with everything-else (the sponge & the cherries) that are also round. The simplicity of the look (& flavour) needed the addition of whipped chocolate cream in to the equation, alternating it with the white chantilly cream to step it up.
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The cake went down well with the crowd at the party, & no slices were left after 10 minutes upon serving. But oh, I should also share with you a story of another clumsy slip-up. The birthday children (it was a joint birthday) were celebrating their FOURTH, not third birthday… Ooops…
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I really don’t know what is wrong with me lately. I’ve been making mistakes more than my usual fair. It’s all very minor incidents – like forgetting to take my cake knifes on Saturdays. One time I forgot to sift in the flour to THREE lemon drizzle cakes, & ended up with an oily souffle kind of thing which obviously didn’t make it’s appearance on the stall table. What a waste of ingredient, time & energy… Also, this week, my regular customers might perhaps have noticed that my ‘Luxury Brownies’ looks have changed. Yes, it was because I initially forgot to add the nuts in the batter. When I noticed this halfway through baking, I took the trays out to scatter the nuts on top instead. But guess what guys, it looks so much tastier now! And I realized that with this method, I now have control on the exact distribution of nuts per slice! A mistake turned to better results. Perhaps I shouldn’t feel so down about making mistakes afterall!
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On Friday, ‘A’ popped around with a packet of M&S Black Forest Gâteaux cookies as a thank you pressie to me for the cake. – Yes, the cookies are very good ‘A’… but with 120kcal PER cookie, I think it is e-v-i-l (says Tamami as she sadly reaches for the last cookie in the packet…) ^^

July 18th, 2010

What’s been going down lately.

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(ps: no pics this time! Maybe I’ll add one when I get a chance…)
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I’m currently writing this sitting on my green couch, laptop on my lap, still rather merry from sipping red wine all afternoon/ evening.
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Right this moment my Mr.D & our son ‘I’ are at his school, camping on the school field for the night (!), & so I’m at home, a very quiet home, & loving it. – Although having said that, & having spent the most wicked time this afternoon/ evening with them at the school camping site, sitting on the grass in the sun, white puffy clouds passing by the bright blue sky, the children happily playing with their friends, us adults boozing & munching, I kind of regret not signing up myself for the whole over-night experience too – but our toddler S we think is too young to sleep outdoors yet, she is also currently potty-training, so here I am at home with her instead. But hang on, then again this brings great opportune for me to blog doesn’t it? So with firm warning from me to you that it’s all probably gonna sound disjointed & that I’m probably going to make grammatical mistakes, here’s my write-up on what’s been happening recently
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Craftacular:
Last week I took part at the Craftacular event I told you about in earlier posts! I made three special things for the event;
– homemade lemonade (honey + vanilla extract + lemon juice, topped with sparkling water) + ice cubes,
– banana & strawberry frozen yogurt smoothie,
– croissant sandwiches (with Bavaian ham, Jarlsberg cheese, Lamb lettuce, Japanese Cupie mayonnaise (the one & only!), & Dijon mustard).
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The lemonade was the greatest hit of all, Mrs A (my trusty helper for the day) & I were pouring it out to cups non-stop for the good first half of the fair. Many many visitors were gagging for something cold to drink – it was over 30 degrees that day, sooo hot – & as soon as the doors opened, the visitors who’d been queueing out in the sun decided to form a queue for the icy lemonade straight away. We ran out on it so quick that we made a second batch afterwards, which also sold out. – So yes, I’m very very happy about this one. ;)
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On the other hand, the frozen yogurt smoothie was a bad mistake. Oh…, never-again I say… Despite nice comments from customers, it soon proved to be a nightmare, as A: it was messy, B: the frozen yogurt took ages to slush in the Waring bar blender, C: because of the lengthy time to make it, there was a back order & customers waiting, which is not good is it?
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Croissant sandwiches, was tasty, I was proud of it, & was good value at three quid, but didn’t sell all 50 as I’d hoped. Again, not good is it?
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Lemon was definitely the choice flavour of the day it seems as both lemon drizzle cake slices & lemon cream tarts sold out very quickly. Actually, the chocolate cake & cheese cake slices also did very well, but y’know what, I have to admit that I totally misjudged on how many fruit tarts & plum cupcakes to make…!! I had quite a lot left, so at the end of the day I decided to go around the craft vendors to give them out for free…!
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Despite the misjudgment on quantity, it still was a good day, the first 2-3 hours was pure crazily busy! The organizers & other food vendors were so sweet to be around with, aswell as the crafters who were all so talented & inspirational. I just adore the type of craft that they were selling – when I walked around the hall later on in the day, I wanted sooo many things! I did buy two items in the end: a brooch that says “Super!” (because I jolly-well am!!! well, I like to tell myself…) & a emilythepemily raindrop t-shirt.
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Anyway, I don’t know if any regular customers have noticed that I was not at the market this Saturday? Sorry if you were looking for me…! A collection of little reasons (excuses) made me decide not to go… (like potty-training & camping.) But y’know, it felt really good having the one-week-rest. Physically, the recent 30 degree hot weather has been hell to work in – in the kitchen with the oven on all the time & then under the tarpaulin at the market. Mentally I was drained of energy too as sales figures are dramatically down when it is this hot (people generally don’t buy cakes in hot weather but instead buy salads or ice-cream), it’s rather depressing!
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And furthermore, it struck me even more than before that my one-week-rest also means that it is a one-week-rest for D & my parents too, who look after the children when I can’t, dealing with a kitchen that is out-of-bounds, D driving me to & fro. It may seem like a one-woman business, but if looked at like this, it so isn’t. Also, this Saturday morning, I was able to take my son to the Japanese Saturday School for once. Really, the boy was so happy. So happy. Holding my hand, showing me the ropes. I felt happy & awful. I feel bad.

July 7th, 2010

Don’t forget! It’s Craftacular this Saturday!

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Just a quick note to remind you that this Saturday I won’t be trading at Broadway, but instead will be at Craftacular in Bethnal Green (read more about this in my earlier post).
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As well as selling my usual heart tarts & cakes, I’ll be selling my new homemade lemonades (with honey, vanilla extract & sparkling water), banana strawberry frozen yogurt smoothies, & croissant sandwiches.
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Don’t miss out! Come & say hi!
xxx

June 24th, 2010

Stupendously easy homemade butter & fun buttermilk pancake

Coco&Me - Homemade butter in a shape of a bear (molded) - www.cocoandme.com(Bear cub – Homemade butter cut out with cookie cutter.)
Coco&Me - Buttermilk Pancake recipe with step-by-step pictures of the process - heart motif - www.cocoandme.com(Heart shape buttermilk pancake)
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About time for some recipes from yours truly. xx
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First, I would like to write about how easy it is to make butter in your very own home. Not just any butter, but a deliciously creamy one, quite unlike any that you’ve had before, I promise. And all from JUST one ingredient; double cream (& salt to taste), which you JUST over-whip until the liquid has separated & leaves you with the semi-solid, which is the butter (more precisely, butterfat). Stupendously easy right? Told you!! ^^
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And here’s the revelation. The left over liquid is, guess what? Buttermilk!!!! So don’t throw it away because we are using it for our pancakes later.

Coco&Me - Homemade butter & buttermilk pancake recipe - www.cocoandme.com(Buttermilk extracted from double cream!!)
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Here’s what you’ll need to make butter:

  • Double cream
  • Mixing bowl & hand-mixer (or Food processor)
  • Salt (try adding 0.5% of total butter to start with, & add more if you prefer)

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And to make it:

  • 1. Start whisking the double cream in a deep-walled mixing bowl. (… deep walled bowl is better as the liquid will spit like mad!)
  • 2. At first it will look like chantilly cream you’d use for cake decorating. Continue whisking.
  • 3. A while later it’ll start to curdle (looking like cottage cheese). Soon after, it will start oozing liquid.
  • 4. Whisk until it has broken in to two components, solid & liquid. The solid is very fresh butter & liquid, buttermilk.
  • 5. Collect the buttermilk for later use. Then whip the butter more to extract as much liquid.
  • 6. Weigh how heavy your lump of butter is, and calculate how much salt you’d like to incorporate.
  • 7. Vigorously work in the salt to the butter to ensure even distribution.

Coco&Me - Homemade butter & buttermilk pancake recipe - www.cocoandme.com
To store, you can just scoop it in a Tupperware & refrigerate, or, if you like, you can roll it to 1.5cm thickness or more in-between greaseproof paper like the picture below, then freeze it for a while (1-2 hours) to make it hard to cut shapes using cookie cutters!!! (… it is best to use simple shapes that don’t have intricate corners. Also, you might want to use a cooks’ blow torch to ease them out of the mold.)
Coco&Me - Homemade butter & buttermilk pancake recipe - www.cocoandme.com
Guide notes:

  • The double cream has to be fresh, not UHT or vegetable oil substitute.
  • Some recipes will say to ‘wash the butter’ at the end. It is done to wash out any residual buttermilk so that the butter keeps for longer. I have skipped this step because it’s an extra work that takes the fun away, but please feel free to do so.
  • Make sure to salt the butter AFTER you have collected the buttermilk. You wouldn’t want to flavour the buttermilk right?
  • Butter yield: From 600ml of double cream, I ended up with 324g of butter & 235ml of buttermilk.
  • This butter has a ‘cleaner’ note to the taste than shop-bought ones. And perhaps less yellow.
  • The science: Cream contains tiny globules of butterfat surrounded by membranes. By agitating the cream by whipping, the membranes of these globules break & the loosened butterfat chain together to form a solid mass = butter. For more information, please check out this website.

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Next, let’s make some fun looking pancakes!
In the recipe below, I have used silicone egg rings to make shapely pancakes. And also had some fun drawing on them. Ofcourse, you can approach this the usual/ easier/ quicker way by just freehand scooping & pouring! – And as for the recipe itself, it produces very moist pancakes that is very (very) moreish, I can assure you it’ll disappear from your plate in nooooo time… Ever since I made this recipe, we always have buttermilk in our fridge for a quick fix up!
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Buttermilk pancake recipe:
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Ingredients:

  • Plain flour… 120g
  • Sugar… 40g
  • Baking powder… 5g
  • Baking soda… 3g
  • Egg… 1
  • Buttermilk… 200ml
  • Vanilla extract… a dash
  • Melted salted butter… 40g
  • Cocoa powder… roughly a teaspoon

You’ll need the following things:

  • Mixing bowl
  • Silicone egg rings
  • See-through lid that covers your frying pan
  • Optional: Maple syrup or icing sugar to serve

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Method:

  • 1. First we prepare two separate bowls of ingredients;
    – – a: sifted dry ingredients: flour, baking powder & baking soda.
    – – b: mixed wet ingredients: egg, buttermilk, vanilla extract, but minus the melted salted butter which we will incorporate in step 3.
  • 2. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients & GRADUALLY pour in the wet ingredients, whisking all the time.
  • 3. When you have whisked the batter until it is not clumpy, pour in the melted butter & whisk it in.
  • 4. Next, pour some of the mixture in another small bowl, then add cocoa powder to colour it brown.
  • 5. Put the cocoa batter in a piping bag.
  • 6. Heat the pan on low.
  • 7. Grease the pan thinly with melted salted butter. (…using folded kitchen paper to smear it across is my choice of method.)
  • 8. Place the silicone egg ring on the pan.
  • 9. Pipe a simple design quickly using your cocoa batter.
  • 10. When the cocoa design has dried, pour the pancake batter in the egg-ring (…here, make sure it is just under half the height of your mold, as anything higher, the batter will flood out when frying).
  • 11. Place the lid on (…a glass lid would be best so that you can keep an eye on how the pancakes are doing).
  • 12. Wait until you start to see bubbles appear on the surface & the edges slightly cooked.
  • 13. Flip the pancake with the egg-ring still attached (…I find that flipping together with the mold ‘spill-free’).
  • 14. Fry until it browns (about under a minute).

Coco&Me - Buttermilk Pancake recipe with step-by-step pictures of the process - www.cocoandme.com
Guide notes:

  • This recipe does not work with milk as substitute for buttermilk. I tried & it came out edible, but not nearly as tasty as the proper buttermilk version. – I also did a test-run with milk that has been soured with lemon. It was much better than the ‘milk-only’ version, but nothing beats the real thing.
  • If you are using the silicone mold straight again, just give it a quick wipe with the kitchen towel to get rid of any residue.
  • Use the batter straight away. Never rest it. The reason for this has to do with the two leavening agents in this recipe:
    – Baking powder reacts to moisture & enlarges the carbon dioxide (air) within the batter. It expands upwards.
    – As for the baking soda, which expands sideways, primarily reacts with acidic components (such as buttermilk) to give off carbon dioxide that expand under temperature. For both agents, the reaction is immediate after being incorporated, so please don’t rest the batter or the carbon dioxide will start to dissipate, & it won’t rise so well.
    – Another point worth mentioning about these leavening agents is that you should not use aged stuff that’s been lying around in your store cupboard, as it won’t be as reactive, it’ll have a bitter taste, & you’d get a disappointing result.
  • I like using salted butter for this recipe. Salt is known for enhancing the flavours of the other ingredients, especially sweetness. I also like to grease the pan with the salted butter.
  • Silicone molds are the best. I tried metallic shapes such as standard cookie cutters, greasing the sides with butter then flouring, but the pancake sticks now & again & it does not give you consistent results. Also, complicated shapes should be avoided as they are finickity.

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Some more designs:
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This one is an evolving message on a pancake as they eat! The surprise is right at the bottom!
Coco&Me - Buttermilk Pancake recipe with step-by-step pictures of the process - hidden message - www.cocoandme.comCoco&Me - Buttermilk Pancake recipe with step-by-step pictures of the process - hidden message - www.cocoandme.com(… With car-shaped butter!) You have to pipe the letters mirrored – which can get confusing!! (notice the ‘Y’ in ‘today’?)
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And there’s the three bears:Coco&Me - Buttermilk Pancake recipe with step-by-step pictures of the process - bear motif - www.cocoandme.com.
This one, I used my stencil to dust a bit of icing.Coco&Me - Buttermilk Pancake recipe with step-by-step pictures of the process - icing pattern - www.cocoandme.comCoco&Me - Buttermilk Pancake recipe with step-by-step pictures of the process - icing pattern - www.cocoandme.com.
More playing around…
Coco&Me - Buttermilk Pancake recipe with step-by-step pictures of the process - heart & star motif - www.cocoandme.com.
And finally, a picture of a squirrel butter, which ends my longest ever recipe post!!!!Coco&Me - Homemade butter in a shape of a squirrel (molded) - www.cocoandme.com

June 20th, 2010

I’ll be at Craftacular on 10th of July!!

(See you there hopefully?? xx)

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Hallo~!

I am very very excited to announce to you that on Saturday July the 10th I will NOT be at Broadway, but instead will be setting up my stall at the Craftacular event!

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Coco&Me - Craftacular 2010 London - www.cocoandme.com

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As the name kinda suggests, there’ll be spectacular handmade crafts, & it is sold by their designers/ makers. Think etsy, think folksy, that kind of wonderfully original/ cool/ indie stuff!!!!

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From looking at the flickr pictures from past years’ events & the video archive, it looks like it’s gonna be a blast! And, if you’re a reader who lives in London (or, if you are from abroad thinking of a trip to London), I so would love for you to come…!

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Many many crafters applied to be part of this, & the chosen sixty vendors had been carefully handpicked on the basis of quality & uniqueness of wares, so I’m sure it’s going to be top-notch.

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I’ve been looking through the list of vendors on the Bust site, & I already have my eyes (…with purse on the ready) on Bonbi Forest‘s earrings & bracelets, badges & corsage brooches from Peppermint Twist, more corsages from A Alicia, suede rabbit purse from Jill, raindrop T-shirt from emilythepemily & ofcourse I am very curious to see what Tatty Devine might be up to (& purchasing the bunting necklace if they have it)!
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So it seems like I’m there to shop! LOL! I’ll try not to spend too much of my day’s earnings… I promise/// (cough…)
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Aaaanyways, aswell as baking my usual suspects, I will be making a few things especially made for the fair! Hopefully something savory & something to drink (tbc – I’m still brainstorming).

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It’s all very exciting but I must admit, I’m a bit nervous. I’ve never ever done anywhere other than Broadway before (despite being asked several times in the past from other fairs), so this is a rather special ‘first’! (& hopefully not the last?!) I have no idea how many of what to bake, & I am worried as to how it’ll go down with the shoppers… My ex-(business)partner-in-crime Mrs.A will be helping me out all day, so atleast I’ve got good company to see me through…

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SATURDAY JULY 10

Shop. Craft. Dance! 

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12pm – 7pm York Hall, 5-15 Old Ford Road London E2 9PJ

1 minute from Bethnal Green Tube Station     

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An indie shopping mall in York Hall! With DJs, drinks, DIY and an alternative food court of sweet and savoury treats.

SHOP at over 60 stalls of the hippest in handmade.     

CRAFT a fascinator headpiece with The Make Lounge; screen-print a tote bag with Mr Wingate; colour-in jewellery with Tatty Devine.     

DANCE to DJs The A-Maisonettes, The Vinyl Vendettas, She Runs With Wolves (Ladyfest Ten); learn to Lindy Hop and Jitterbug with a special beginner’s class by Swing Patrol from 5.30pm to 7pm.      

Goodie bags for the first 100 through the door, raffle and more. Admission: £2. *Sign up for the fascinator-making workshops (1pm-2.30pm and 4pm-5.30pm) on the day, places limited.

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Eeek…

Wish me luck…

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