Sunday 15 November 2015

My Pavlova and I

Assalamualaikum everyone! Hallo and hi, i have been away far too long. I have been busy could be my excuse , but the truth is my blog is not in my priority list at the moment. 

But I feel that I should write as I have been showing my students how to make pavlova... And recently the weather had been so humid and the pavlovas that I have been making using my recipe has become moist and sticky!!! I have also added salt and cream of tartar on top of vinegar and cornflour and vanilla in my pavlova. My pavlova tasted the way i wanted them to taste, but they became sticky! So! I decided that I should experiment with new methods and omitting salt and cream of tartar and vinegar and cornflour....and I also roasted my sugar before adding them to the egg whites!

What did I get? A crisp pavlova with soft marshmallowy interior, baked in about an hour an a half for a pavlova and 50 minutes for mini pavlovas! And do you know that the Meringue Girls swear by the roasting the sugar technique!

What else did I do?? Once I got the technique right I decided to add back my "missing ingredients" ie salt , cream of tartar and vinegar and flour and vanilla... voila, it worked!

But really making a pavlova is all about how the ingredients react wt each other when beaten. Afterall egg whites consist of 75% water abd 25% protein. Beating the egg whites a bit in the beginning of making a meringue speeds up the process of the molecules to absorb sugar. However, if the molecules were overbeaten, they would "shy sway" from the sugar, and that would probably be the end of your pavliva making, fail...period! Unless you add some fresh egg whites to the meringue ( well I do that to salvage my meringue when I make my macarons when this accidents happen...they are real they happen ok!)

In the early days and when I was in Lindon I made BakedAlaska and I whipped my meringue using my hands. And I didn't add anything on top of egg whites and sugar, and my meringue was purrfecttt! Hence, if you used the Meringue Girls way, their meringue consisy of only sugar and egg whites. And their recipe is inbthe ratio of 1:2 egg whites:sugar. But the sugar needs to be roasted in the oven at a temperature of about 200 C, for about 5 minutes whilst you beat the egg whites to be like a shaving foam texture. By warming the sugar the meringue became more stabilised and absorbed the sugar faster. And you have to beat the meringue untill the sugar just dissolved. I was quite sceptical until I tried them myself. It worked! And my pavlova was not super sweet, in fact the act of roasting the sugar gave a caramelised effect to the sugar, when I added salt in my meringue I could comprehend how the Parisian could just eat their meringues just like that!

Would you add salt, cream of tartar, vinegar , cornflour and vanilla? I would not do without them...but adding them would make your pavlova more chewy. And I think best that you weigh your egg whites. Whilst using 4 egg whites and a cup of sugar worked forcme during the dry season, when the weathwr is hot and humid it is a whole lot of different story with my meringue. Hence, now I use the ratio of 1:2 egg whites:sugar with all the additions ir salt creamof tartar vanilla vinegar and cornflower and made my minis in 50 mins and pavlovas in an hour an a half at a temperature of 150C! And I only whisk the meringue until the sugars dissolve and the merigue do not have that gritty feel. 

Okay, enough said, you could give it a shot by using a general recipe such as 4 egg whites and a cup of sugar or you could use a ratio of 1:2 egg whites and sugar ratio. They should all work , the only thing is that having more sugars strengthen and stabilises the meringue. But foung them properly , I could assure you that you would enjoy snacking the pavlovas alone like I did! 

Good night peeps, hope this helps, go make a pavlova!

Monday 29 June 2015

Two Years and We Are Staying...

Assalamualaikum and good morning! I have not been updating my blog and i'm not ashamed to admit that. I believe that at this age, I will do what I had to do and updating my blog was not in my top priority list. But, I have many things planned , hence, closing down this blog was not in my to do list.

On 1.7.2015 would mark my two years leaving full time employment... 2 is just a small number....but, boy have I done and achieved and learnt so much! I remembered the few months before that  I decided to quit, the thought was very scary! When I counted my earnings then, I could only barely survive...and yup 6months after I left my paid job, I had only rm1k in my account!

I couldn't turn back, so I decided that things have to work out and I have to work (my butt out)...alhamdulillah, today I have some extras to give away...but that was not what I learnt...I was tested (a lot, but best wo!) last year...I was played out many times and used a lot of times ... errr sometimes I allowed them to use me, haha! And not to mention pictures of my bakes being used on the media! Anyway, I'm ok with all this, no feelings , numb now...

Being new in business (yeah this baking business is just a home based business), but whatever principles strategy costing planning all play their role...and I am the master planner of my small business. I'm beefing up myself in this areas, in fact measuring my cake batters to be divided into cake tins would also be measured...I'm a sanguine you see, we are happy with agak-agak jer...competition is stiff now and I'm competing with this young lanky pretty girls who bake, so, I couldn't make myself younger or prettier, having nicer and more delicious and pretty cakes are the way to go haha!

Our focus is still making cakes and bakes for the masses as we have decided that we will stay a bit in this industry and we also decided to grow, hehe, Happy Anniversary The Kitchen Guardian!

Monday 23 February 2015

Being True To Yourself, Let's Bake Congo Bars!

A 3 tier Victoria Sandwich Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream and fresh flowers
Assalamualaikum and hiya peeps...days after my last post I felt the pressure coming to me. Yeah, it is not easy to live up to your words. I have started embarking on the things that I wanted to do and the necessary preparations on the projects for 2015 and 2016.

One of the goals was to test ie to bake 27 best selected recipes in the next 12 months...I have embarked on that too, alhamdulillah, and I am gaining inches too haha! I am getting my mark registered soon...which means that I am working on my own logo as the name thekitchenguardian is too general to be registered...but Jane, please wait for me, I have yet to reply your email and those questionaires that you have sent me! So, we will see a new blog design etc etc etc after this, inshaallah.... 
A Hummingbird Cake
I have decided too that I will limit the number of classes this year. And to compensate I will take more orders...that have started! And the classes will not only focus on cakes and desserts this year. We will have a variety of classes, and I can't wait for that to happen! Think my outlook for what I wish to do this year is more structured. And planning is one very very important thing to do. With planning means knowing your customer base, their needs and your capabilities...this too will ensure that you stay ahead, inshaallah...

Macarons in Creme Brulee and Raspberry fillings for dulang hantaran
One of the things that I wanted to do this year was to spread kindness and influence people to do (more) good! The world should be a happy place to live, and I hate fighting and bitterness...which means that I have to forgive (a lot of) people....I also have to forgive myself for the mistakes that I have can't forgive people if you can't forgive yourself first. You have to be true to yourself.... 

A Red Velvet cake for dulang hantaran
Spiritually I will start my mengaji ie iqra classes soon. For this I realise that I have to go back to basics...and learning to recite the surahs correctly and knowing the meanings of the verses in my solats. I have started to be in muslimah compliant outfit, and will soon cover all my aurat including wearing socks....

Yes it was tough trying to do all this, but I must admit I felt better, calmer and more serene. For at the end of the day I realise that I am but Allah's creature.....whatever happened must be by His will....

Enough said, now....I wish to share the Congo Bars recipe that I now bake (I tweaked my recipes a few times ya!) for orders..

250g butter, I use President salted, soft
1 3/4 cups light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 large eggs, weighing about 60g each
a pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups of self raising flour
1 cup callebaut 54% cocoa choc buttons
1 cup bittersweet ghirardelli choc buttons
extra imported store bought choc buttons to spread on the batter

Using a wooden laddle mix butter with sugar and vanilla until all the butter disappears in the sugar. Add eggs one by one. Mix and please do not cream the eggs. Add the sifted flours in 3 additions, fold them in and not stir the batter. Mix the choc buttons and spread in 12x12 tin. I usually top with more chocolate chips and bake in a preheated oven at 160C for about 18 minutes.
I have never used a mixer to mix my congo bars, and I have never done 2 recipes in a go. And I love them made this way and using this butter as they stay fresh and soft at room temperature even after 5 days.

Till the next post, bye bye!

xoxo, Yani 


Wednesday 11 February 2015

About your passion .... and hello 2015 !

A picture of my second peonie that I learnt from Anissa, could not upload my pictures from my MacBook, lol...

Assalamualaikum and hello there everyone... sorry for the very long hiatus, I wouldn't promise that I will be here often, but, I hope I do not do another disappearing act. It is already February 2015, however, I think it is not too late to say hello 2015....for I haven't yet filled my goals and to do book for this year.

It has been almost 2 years since I worked on my own, selling cakes and desserts to be exact. But, boy, have I learnt a lot in those 2 years! And last year was the year that I was prosperous, from an almost zero RM in my account to supporting my children who went to private schools, alhamdulillah.

But, with this prosperity too, along came tests. I was new (well, I am still learning the tricks in this business), so I was tested. I was still naive, couldn't read between the lines, trusting people, lurus bendul.....but, you have to knock a wall first and get a hump on your head and you will learn ya! I thank god for that, can you see bruises everywhere on my head, hehe.

Anyway, it was a life too good for me that I forgot my vows to myself to prepare for the hereafter. I baked day and night. I didn't even have time for myself, or my family...then some things started to happen when I was in Paris. I held myself back a bit after my Paris trip...

Towards the end of the year, I was tested even more. I will not say what they were, but I guess I needed to be jolted by those shock waves! I was afraid, feeling like everyone wanting to get into me, and I have never felt that feeling before...I shied away from my myself....that was so sad..... I held back myself even more...

Lucky that there were several occasions that I had time all to myself...I started to ponder. I had to think hard...I asked myself, what was it that I really wanted from this business??? Money? Fame? More baking? New recipes? What ? What?

I realised that I didn't like the limelight...I am just a home baker and I wish to stay the same. I turned down many offers from the media, politely...

From December onwards I started to space out my clasess, I have to admit that I am not getting younger. There are more things apart from baking that I wished to do. We lost our dear friend Rahman recently after his brave battle with cancer....he died the way like he was invited by Allah...he said goodbye to his son and said that he wanted to sleep before he closed his eyes and breathed his last breath...looking at my ibadah....I have far more to achieve....

So...I have decided that things have to change this year....I baked because I loved baking, not for the fame not for the money (yeah maybe, but enough to support my family and pay my bills-kereta and card). I will bake for money, but it is also my dream to help the needy....

I will honour my obligations in terms of classes that have been set since 6 months ago. I will not do cakes for raya except for certain cakes...I will take Thursday and Friday off after Syawal to do more mengaji..

I have started my preliminary prep on my Telekong Raya project, pooling resources for another baju project and another project to do my mark, getting it registered and begin my other 24 months project...I am still brainstorming on the classes module for local students and overseas, too, Inshaallah...

I also realise that when I embark on certain of this projects my income will drop! But, tawakkal and I have faith in Him. If I didn't change and make this leap, I will never grow......

That aside, I feel that I have become more garang. And I also realise and am grateful for all the marketing, positioning, market segmentation, branding exposure that I got during my gruesome long hours presentation with my bosses in the board room with Dato Shaz.....they all make sense now even though I am just a home baker :p

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