Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Paris, Je t'aime

I love my new candy jar so much! It makes the macarons look even more elegant :)
I love meeting people who love Paris as much as I do at SoWa. It's so fun to see how excited they get when I offer them a macaron (click here for the recipe). So far all of my best-selling photos are Paris-related. I think I have a new excuse to go to Paris again...I need some new photos :)

Me and one of my favorite & top selling photo: Mr. Mustachio and his tourist friend

Monday, June 27, 2011

Luscious Frosting

I made a simple carrot cake for a birthday this weekend and the cream cheese frosting was so good! I was so tempted to slice the cake for a picture (and a taste!) but that wouldn't be nice, would it? I will have to bake this cake again soon :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Where is Disco Bob?

Can you guess where Disco Bob is? It's not hard but here's a hint: It's in the opening credit of a famous sitcom from the 90s. Click here for the answer :) Happy Friday!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Rainy day

Beautiful Iris from my mom's garden
Just enjoying a nice rainy day today. I love the sound of soothing :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Window Shopping

Wouldn't this be such a pretty photo background for a wedding?

I love walking around and coming upon pretty window displays like these. They're just so inspiring. I get so many fun party and artwork ideas from them. Where does some of your inspirations come from? :)

This dress is so fun. I love all the shades of pink. I want to wear it to a garden tea party :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Father's Day

Don't forget your dad this Sunday! It's Father's Day!

I love my dad so much. Growing up, I was always proud because I know I have the nicest dad in the whole world.  He worked so hard to take care of us and he just loves us so much.

My dad and I have 2 major things in common. I definitely got my sweet tooth from him :) I remember he always bought us his favorite "bao" or bun whenever he was in Chinatown. It's called gai mei bao and it's so good. It's filled with a delicious sweet coconut and butter mixture and it's still one of my favorite til this day. I also have to thank him for my love of photography. He loves cameras and taking pictures. My dad took the best candid pictures of us when we were growing up. I don't think I would have dabbled into photography if I didn't have access to his camera when I was younger.

I don't know what we're doing this Sunday yet. My dad is very low key. It'll probably be something casual but I think I have to make a trip to Chinatown and buy him those buns! Anyways, have a great weekend with your dads everyone!

By the way, this is one of my favorite picture with my dad. I was about 8 years old and we were at my aunt's engagement party :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Guilty Pleasure

I love made-from-scratch baked goods but I'm the first to admit that I'm definitely not too good for certain mass-produced sugary supermarket treats. Lately I've been hooked on these Ice Cream Shoppe Strawberry Milkshake Pop Tarts. They're so good! I love the pink frosting and filling and the SPRINKLES! They're just so fun. I feel like it's my birthday every time I eat one :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Afternoon Tea Celebration

I couldn't resist taking this little guy home with me. He's so cute! I call him Sir Langham :)
I had the most wonderful time this past Friday at the Langham Hotel in Boston. It was their 146th birthday and all of the Langhams around the world celebrated by clocking back to 1865 and offering a special Afternoon Tea at the original price of 1 schilling, 6 pence. That's only 15 cents! What was even better was that I got to go with a guest for free!

The Langham asked their fans on Facebook to submit a photo of "If you can have anything for afternoon tea, what would it be?" and I was one of the winners. It is the best 30 cents prize ever! I was also lucky enough to get reservations for my family to come with me too.

Our 1st course (from top right going clockwise): English Cucumber, Radish and Dill Sandwich; Egg Mimosa with House Smoked Salmon; Asparagus Tart with Maine Lobster Salad; Smoked Ham and Farmer's Cheese
The beautiful BOND Restaurant (left); Our 2nd Course (right): Scones with Strawberry Preserves, Devonshire Cream and Honeycomb and tea from Tea Forte with the cute signature green leaf peaking out of the teapot
Our 3rd course (from left to right): Blueberry Madeleine; Raspberry Macaron; Boston Cream Pie; Chocolate Dipped Strawberry
Everything was presented so beautifully in a modern way. I love all the little bites of food. There's just something so calming and enjoyable about sipping tea and eating little sweets. We didn't want it to end. 

For those who doesn't believe it, it was really only 15 cents a person! I want to thank the Langham Boston for our wonderful Afternoon Tea experience. Thanks for letting us celebrate your birthday with you! :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Oh Happy Day!

Ever want to go to Paris? One of my favorite blogger, Jordan Ferney, is offering an amazing giveaway to celebrate her 5th year of blogging. You and a guest (or hopefully me!) can win a 7-day trip to Paris! It's such a generous giveaway...besides the hotel, she footing the entire bill herself! What a lovely and grand way to thank her readers. So go here to enter and don't forget to browse around and be inspired by all her fun party ideas! Happy Friday!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Raspberry Macarons Recipe

My obsession with French macarons began when I visited Paris for the first time in 2007. These delicate cookies come in so many pretty colors and flavors. I love biting into the thin smooth crisp outer shell and the slightly chewy flavorful center. To me, it’s the perfect little piece of dessert.

I love to bake but macarons are just so intimidating. This year I finally set my fear aside and learned how to make these perfect little cookies. I did a lot of research and tested many recipes. I am so happy to share with you the recipe and tips that helped me make Parisian-worthy macarons! They’re not hard to make at all. It does require a little bit of practice but you get to eat tasty macarons along the way. Don’t be discouraged by the long recipe. I just included all the tips that were helpful to me. Good luck and let me know how it goes!

Raspberry Macarons (makes about 30 macarons)

***Please keep in mind that the whole process of this recipe will take 3 days in order to achieve the best tasting macarons. You can do it all in one day like the Martha Stewart recipe but it won’t be as good. Trust me! It’ll be worth the wait.


1¼ cups (160 g) confectioners’ sugar
1½ cups (115 g) almond flour
3 large egg whites, aged and at room temperature
Pinch of salt
¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
Few drops of red food coloring
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup raspberry preserves

Day 1: Separate the egg whites and put them into a clean dry bowl. (It’s a lot easier to separate eggs that are cold.) Make sure there are no traces of yolk in the bowl. The egg whites will not whip up properly if there are. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and use a sharp knife to slit a few holes on top. Leave it out at room temperature for at least 24 hours. The egg whites will whip up nicely and easily after it has aged and is at room temperature. Pierre Herme actually recommends leaving the bowl of egg whites in the refrigerator to age for a whole week! I think it’s because they have access to very fresh eggs over there. So age your egg whites for a couple of extra days if you are using very fresh eggs. I never had to go more than 1-2 days with the eggs from the supermarket.

Day 2: Line two flat baking sheets with new parchment paper or non-stick baking mats. (You can usually re-use parchment papers when baking other cookies but the macarons will not hold their round shape and develop even “feet” from the crinkles of pre-used parchment papers.)

Put the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour into the food processor and pulse until they’re evenly combined. This creates a smoother-looking cookie. You can also whisk or sift the two together if you don’t have a food processor. Set aside.

Take the stand mixer bowl and make sure it is clean and dry. Put the egg whites into the bowl and fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy and add the salt. Increase the speed to medium-high and slowly add in the granulated sugar, about a teaspoon at a time, until it reaches stiff peaks. The egg whites should be thick and glossy and hold a straight peak (no curl at the tip) when you lift the whisk from the bowl.

Add a few drops of red food coloring to the egg whites and then sprinkle half of the sugar-almond mixture over the egg whites as well. Using a large rubber spatula, fold until just combined. Add the vanilla extract and the rest of the sugar-almond mixture and again fold until just combined. Be careful not to fold too much. The mixture should be smooth but still a little stiff. When you lift the spatula, the mixture to slowly fall back onto itself.

Spoon the mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a ½ inch plain tip. Pipe 1½ inch rounds about 1 inch apart onto prepared sheet pans. Keep your piping bag perpendicular to the sheet pan as you pipe and quickly flick your wrist as you finish each round to lessen the peak at the top. Lightly tap the sheet pan onto the table to even out the batter and to get rid of any air bubbles. You can flatten any peak that is left with a damp fingertip.

Leave them out at room temperature for 30 minutes to develop a crust. This will help create the nice domes and “feet” that we all love. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300oF with racks in the upper and lower thirds. After 30 minutes, check to see if the macarons are ready to go into the oven. The rounds should be dry to the touch.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. The macaron shells should feel firm and can be lifted off the parchment. Remove from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Gently loosen them from the parchment paper with your hands or a small offset spatula and transfer them to cool on the wire rack. Once cooled, pair them up by size first if your shells are slightly different sizes.

Stir your preserves to loosen it up a bit. Spoon about 1-1½ teaspoons of the preserves onto the center of one shell and top it with another. Continue until all macaron shells are filled. You might be tempted to eat them at this point but they will taste their best after they had the time to rest and develop their flavors. (Eat one now and compare it to the ones the next day. You’ll see what I mean.) Store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 24 hours.

Day 3: You finally get to eat the macarons today! Yay! They taste best at room temperature so test your patience a little bit more and let them sit out for 2-3 hours before eating them. Enjoy!

Extra tips
  1. I like measuring out the ingredients with a scale. It’s so much faster, easier, and more accurate.
  2. After folding the mixture, you can always spoon just a little bit of it into the piping bag and do a few “test pipes” to see if you have fold it to the right consistency. If you fold your mixture correctly, the rounds should spread out just a little bit and not have much of a peak. If the rounds have very stiff peaks and don’t spread, you can fold it a little further. If it spreads too fast, you have over-folded your mixture. Your macarons will be flat and won’t look as pretty but they will still taste good.
  3. Joanne Chang did an awesome video tutorial on how to make French macarons. Watch it here. It is very helpful to be able to see all the techniques.
  4. Keep on practicing. It’s okay if your first few tries doesn’t look as pretty. They will still taste wonderful!
  5. I will post recipes for other variations later on but you can also try to do it on your own. You can omit the food coloring or substitute it with other colors and fill them with different preserves, curds or your favorite homemade buttercream.

Monday, June 6, 2011


This picture stopped me on my tracks today. Sharing it with you to start a sweet week! Happy Monday!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Tiny Blooms

Just want to share these sweet little flowers with you today. I found them as I was walking in the park. I've had a very flower-filled week and I love it! :) Happy weekend everyone!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Rare Beauty

My sister came home with this beautiful rose the other night. I love the two tones of buttery yellow and dust of pink at the outer edge. It's so soft and romantic. The rose seems to glow on its own. There was something else that was extra special about this rose though.

Look at the size of it! It was nearly 7 inches in diameter! I have never seen a rose so big and perfect. I really thought it was fake when she showed it to me at first. That's my sis showing the scale of this glorious flower :)

I couldn't stop taking pictures of it. I was really mesmerized by it's beauty.  Have you ever seen a rose so beautiful and big?