Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cooking Up Some Positive Energy

Contrary to what others may think of baking - a positively discomforting experience of someone slaving away in a hot kitchen over stoves and stoves of hot liquid and sticky gooey batter - I, on the other hand, find it fascinatingly wonderful to spend the entire day in my pastry lab, whisking egg whites into soft, frothy peaks, and watching summer berries and granny smith apples bubble away in a pot until it all turns into a sweet heavenly glaze. The feeling I get from it is almost... liberating.

And today was one such day. I woke up feeling peculiarly unsettled... almost bothered really, by a series of unfortunate events that have plagued since I returned home for the winter. Nothing much that I'd like to share on this entry - at least not for now. But I decided that a couple of hours in the pastry lab would do the trick. So I started channeling those (slightly) negative energy to brainstorming for creative ideas on what to concoct.

There's something fascinating about Indian food that compels me to it. I love the chewy, dense texture of naan bread - especially over a piping hot bowl of coconut curry and its medley of aromatic spices. So I decided on a banana and strawberry naan bread with a dark chocolate-Grand Marnier-orange sauce. And to my cocoa and fruit laden flat bread, I also spooned a couple of creamy, ivory-colored nuggets of cottage cheese specked with earthy crimson cinnamon dust... then baked them till everything just caramelizes and the bananas turn soft and deep golden.

Next on the list was a simple shot glass filled with a potpourri of textures and flavors... the crunchy graham cracker crumbs, dark and dense chocolate sauce, two mini mounds of macadamia and espresso ice cream, and topped with a tropical and summer-inspired fruit compote. This is what I call happiness in a shot glass.

Since I had quite a bit of the summer fruit compote left, I decided to roll out some puff pastry to make mini fruit compote tarts topped with a buttery crumble. I wished the puff pastry turned out crisper, but nonetheless, the bite-sized fruity nugget was certainly mouthful of bliss.

And I'm feeling better already..!


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