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Coco&Me » 2013

April 23rd, 2013

Link to Chocolate & Zucchini!

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Hello! I’ve had the pleasure of answering to a Q&A at lovely Clotilde’s Chocolate & Zucchini blog! Check it out! ^^
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This is a bit of a happy moment for me actually, because it was encountering her blog all those years ago (like over 10 years ago??) that inspired me to do my own eventually. And so to think that there’s something about me on HER blog makes me feel proud. :-)
(Actually, she’s also mentioned me before on her post about brownies back in 2009.)
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I still remember the time when I first got ‘in’ to her blog: I was a graphic designer back then, feeling bored stiff with having to design uncreative stuff for cooperate clients, which, after graduating an uber-creative college, was a ‘real-life-ain’t so-fun’ dumbing-down moment.
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Back then, I was often browsing her image gallery & using her pictures as a wallpaper for my office computer screen!
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Several years later when I did start blogging, you know what I did immediately? I wrote in her comments section to tell her about my blog! And she then wrote a comment in my first ever post! :-) Sweet!
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Anyway, the Q&A is about how I cook at home for (& with) the kids. Hope you enjoy it!
T xx

April 10th, 2013

Sunshine?

(pic taken end of March)
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Hello~! How’s things?
We’re now in April, & I write this on, believe it or not, a sunny day!
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And it is so unbelievably quiet in the house, it is just me & the humming of my laptop. The kids are out for the day to their friends’. And I thought I’ll steal a moment to write to you here. Despite the sun, outside is still a bit nippy, & it feels similarly cold in the house too, as the Edwardian house of ours never gets really warm. My father says we ought to change to those double-glazed type windows, but we love our old sash windows, & we can’t bear the thought of stripping away the original features, so I suppose there’s no point in complaining?
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Instead, I have a hot mug of tea by my side as I write. I’m recently playing with the way I make tea, after reading about how Joël Robuchon makes his, I had to try it – milk (preferably room temperature) in the (pre-warmed) cup first, then pour brewed tea on top. Although I see that there seems to be a bit of a debate to which goes first, at the end of the day, I think there is no right or wrong answer (do as you please, I say!). I think ‘milk-in-first’ (MIF as some call this),  seem to make the milk & tea become ‘one’ better, & that the milk smells less dairy-like. This probably has to do with how MIF version doesn’t break the proteins in the milk as opposed to MIA (Milk-in-after). I’ll try the MIF method for a while I think! ^^
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Things at the market for me is good, good, then bad, good, super-good, good, bad, super-bad, good. (Lol!) The weather has been truly atrocious. So cold & so windy. It’s been snowing a fair amount too. On one of the Saturdays there, I have possibly & probably done the worst-ever too. And that’s something of a record after seven years of trading…!
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At times like that, I wished to be not doing this anymore.
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But, there are customers of whom I am blessed to have, especially the dearest ‘regulars’ & locals who visit my stall & drop their money my way. I think some of them are doing so out of a support-consciousness, to keep me & this cake stall going. I feel so, & that’s why I feel blessed. (And actually I know so, as one of them actually told me! ^^) When customers come & tell me that they make a point of purchasing cakes from me every-time/ every year there is a celebration or a cake-need, & when literally dozens of people come up & say they have been missing my cakes in the beginning of the year (I took the whole of January off), I think to myself, maybe…, maybe I can carry on pushing the boat out a little longer… So thank you Broadway Market goers…!
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(Pic from last month. My daughter S’s birthday cake. Every year it is the same – Japanese strawberry shortcake!)
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www.cocoandme.com - Coco&Me - Coco and Me - cookie cutters from Weitz, Hamburg
(Newly purchased cookie cutters from Hamburg trip last week. I can’t wait to try them all! Perhaps I can use the carrot cookie on top of my carrot cake? It’ll be a great alternative to those marzipan carrot shapes that I absolutely detest!)
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I’ve recently been playing around with apple-desserts, so next time I write to you, it will hopefully be a recipe! ;) Stay tuned! ;)
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HAPPY DAYS TO YOU ALL, T xx

January 8th, 2013

Galette des Rois 2013

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Hi!!! Happy New Year~!!!!!!

How was your winter holiday? Did you get a good rest? Hopefully all charged up, ready for the new year? ;-) And how did your first week of 2013 pan out? Back to school or work already?
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For me, soon as entering the year, all I think about is the Galette des Rois for Epithany (which was the 6th January).
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But this year, I missed the date. The 6th landed on a Sunday this year & I just couldn’t find the time. It proved to be too much of a challenge to fit a task such as classic-puff-pastry-making when the kids are around…
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I mean, how can I work on a pastry that requires so much attention when interruptions aplenty!
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The kitchen is a highway of coming ins & outs, “S” to show me a drawing or “I” to ask me to solve a quiz. Sometimes it could be a “come upstairs & look at my lego model”, or it might be the little one forever pulling the hem of my skirt as I move around in the kitchen. Running around the central kitchen-island playing chase might be an option for them too… It’s simply impossible to do anything that remotely needs concentration…! So, at times like that, I put my hand up & resign, I let go of any baking desires & join in with running around playing chase too. Might as well, hey.
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Anyway, so here’s my Galette des Rois, that was not made on Epithany day, but on the following day.
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This year I made three.
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(The swirly pattern!!)
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Shame about the unsightly middle, but atleast it came out circle & relatively flat! To etch the swirls, I used the edge of a round cake card to depress an impression, & then use that as the guideline to score with a scalpel knife. When scoring, I always apply same pressure & “try” to cut less then 1mm deep. (… notice “try”. It’s su~per difficult!!!) Lastly I brushed cooled down sugar syrup on just-baked hot galette to make the surface shiny & appetizing. The momentary sizzling sound as the syrup initially hits the hot pastry is one of my favourite sounds in the kitchen.
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(The ladder pattern!) 
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Grr, there’s a crack in the design…! Humph. But I think the colour is the best out of the three. I dissolved coffee granules in the egg wash to make it dark – this technique is the same as when egg-washing the Gateau Basque. Also, have you noticed that the edges are scalloped? Well, instead of cutting around the pastry with a knife like usual, I used the tart tin edges like a cutter!!! There’s a couple of advantage point to my technique other than aesthetics – as you press the tin down to cut off the excess pastry, it seals the two sheets of pastry tighter together. You can also use the scallop shape as a guide for when crimping the sides.
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Coco&Me - Coco & Me - Galette des Rois 2013 - girl face design pattern scored/ drawn on to - homemade classic puff pastry - Pate Feuilletee Clasique - www.cocoandme.com
(My original design! My daughter S with a flower cheek!) 
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Out of pure luck, the etching came out in a painterly brush-strokey feel, which worked quite well with the design I think. I’m happy with this one, but how I wish I didn’t brush the sugar-syrup on the surface at the end…! The face looks too shiny, as if you slathered sun-oil on a sunny holiday…! Lol! Definitely not a winter look! (…unless the girl was lucky & went somewhere hot for the winter hols I guess…!)
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Anyway, hope all is well with you guys! Chao for now! 
T xx

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