There was no official reflections on the end of 2010 and the start of 2011, and I do have a lot to say, so I thought I'll let my new year start with Chinese New Year. So as the chinese welcome the new year in the traditional "HUAT AH!" cheers, I shall do a little reflection to remind myself throughout this year of this year's aim.

Last year's word was Happy, I wanted to stay happy and be happy at the end of it. The first part didn't come true, but I did learn how to be happy finally. So as awful as 2010 was, it changed me and I'm having a really exciting time discovering the different ways in which I've changed. In fact, 2010 left me with a lot of gaps, and I spent half a year filling those gaps. I feel balanced now, and whole within.

So this year's word is Forgive. I'll take this year to learn to forgive. Forgive those who hurt me intentionally or unintentionally. Forgive the things that brought me tears, forgive all that was left uncompleted, forgive myself. I need to understand that I'm not perfect, that flaws exist, and I should embrace these flaws because they're a part of me.

I've grown to love my family a lot more, and to see how they are such a vital part of me. Barriers that were created in 2010 are coming down, though I believe that some new barriers are still being created. The cynic in me is coming out, I no longer believe in fairytales and as much as I want to see the goodness of everyone, I am no longer blinded to flaws. Perhaps it's the influence of some, or perhaps it's with the coming of age, but I'm beginning to think that love is...induced.

But that doesn't mean I don't believe in love. It's the perfect ingredient in life's recipe. 2011 is going to be complicated, exciting and uncertain. For someone adverse to uncertainty, I do feel a certain amount of stress. Nonetheless, let this year pass by slowly, I'm enjoying it as of yet and honestly, I DO NOT MISS STUDYING AT ALL! Wow, so glad the days of Alevels are over.

Let's pray the 4th of March will be a happy day. Let's pray I stay sane in this whirlwind of 2011. Thank goodness I am still a teen this year, though it's the last. Youth is to be envied, enjoy it while it lasts and make the most out of it. After all, "when we're young, we don't have anything except time and energy!"

Baking Class 4,5,6... - Bread Making

For the month of January, I devoted every Saturday to learning bread making and 2 wednesdays to learning danish pastries and croissants. Each session lasted for about 6 hours, and I learnt to make many different types of bread, getting a lot more confident towards the last 2 lessons. Previous attempts to blog consistently failed, so have attempts to take pictures of all my bread. So these are a few that have made it to the camera lens and I shall attempt to wrap up this crazy month of bread making.

French Walnut Bread:
Bread Bowl:
This was interesting because I witnessed the use of a steam oven. In order to get that crusty texture, steam was released from the oven just before the bread was taken out. If you don't have such a cool oven, just spray some water on the bread 5 minutes before removing it from the oven.

Multigrain loaf bread:

A type of Italian bread with stuffing. It's basically an inverted pizza.

Rye bread:


To learn bread making is easy, but to master bread making requires years of devotion and practice. I'm glad I had the chance to be exposed to this field of baking, to venture out of my comfort zone of cakes and cookies and to enter pastry. Somewhere along the way I tried to do croissants but to my horror and disappointment, croissants are really really difficult and impossible without an air-conditioned kitchen.

I did sweet buns as well, the type of bread that Asians live on. Hotdog buns, Chicken floss buns etc. There are really so many definitions of bread it's impossible to pinpoint what is a good bread. Europeans like it hard and chewy, with the flavour of the wheat preserved. Asians like theirs soft and fluffy, with the taste of bread masked by all types of fillings. But the one thing that everyone can agree upon - a good bread is a bread made with passion and love.
Trust me, there is a difference between food made with passion and one without. It's not imagination. For example, handmade bread always tastes better because of the inconsistency of the kneading and the warmth of the hand. And nothing can replace the satisfaction of watching others enjoy your food. Eventually I'll attempt to make bread again, in my own kitchen, but for now all I need is a month of rest!

End of Pineapple Tarts Sale 2011

This year's sales has finally ended! Given that this is already my third year, wow I'm really not getting any younger, I think my pineapple tarts has reached a certain consistency. Plus I've probably figured out why my tarts are so crumbly, or you could say "melt-in-your-mouth". Ah, but this is a trade secret and I'm not going to divulge it!

So as I continue to strive to find that perfect balance of sweet yet sour, buttery yet bearable, crumbly yet crusty, I feel that this year's tarts were well-received. It would be such a pity if I can't continue this next year. Though I accepted wayyyyy too much orders this year resulting is super late nights, the familiar breaking down stress and (gasp!) weight gain from the lack of exercise, I must say, it's been fun in a sadistic sort of way. I do love to over-exert myself, and lose myself in baking like an overly-enthusiastic maniac.

Oh and this year I tried to do the open flowery tarts. Took me a while to get used to the mould and to find the right thickness for the pastry but I eventully got it.

I sold 25 containers this year, and made many more to give away. Overall, I probably made more than a thousand tarts, grated and cooked 20 pineapples and carried pineapple tarts with me all over the island. It became so much a part of me that a container of pineapple tarts is officially the must-have accessory for this season's latest trend!

As always, a big thank you to all my friends, some of whom have supported me since 3 years back and have returned each year for more tarts:
shujian; fenghui; cheryl; limei; shinyi; juanjuan; chingsien; mingjie; lennie; olivia; perry; john; weemeng; candice; deborah; justine; my cousins.

And a very special thank you to my mother and xieshern for helping me with the pineapples. Thank you for making this a lot easier for me!

And to everyone who gave me emotional support, including my SPRING friends, my boss and of course my biggest fans - my family.

Let's hope the wind takes me to someplace where I can continue my pineapple tarts sale next year. Till then, adios!