Friday, December 10, 2010

A story of a woman and her oven (Charis bakes!)

Maybe it was lack of excitement. Maybe it was Julie and Julia. Or maybe it's just because I can! I really do not know what drove me to go on a baking spree this Nov/Dec now that I'm done with the baking. I first mentioned about it on my Facebook Page for my shop to draw a little bit of traffic. I completed my last recipe for the year yesterday two days ago (Update: this post took me two days to complete) and boy has it been a ride! Here are some snippets of the quest written in the form of a journal. If you love how it looks and would like to try it on your own, the links for the recipes are at the end of this post! Enjoy!

Nov 20 - A few days ago I just told everyone I was going "to attempt to try out some of the recipes I receive daily in my inbox: desserts, breads, cookies, cakes - I'm going to try them all!". I haven't started on anything yet - I really need to get the ingredients soon. What on earth is a water bath? Hubs just said he wanted to eat French toasts tomorrow but we just ran out of bread. Lightbulb moment: Why not bake my own bread from scratch?

Recipe - check. Ingredients - check. A mixer I barely know how to use - check.
I think part of the joy of baking is watching it change.
It still amazes me how it can rise to double its size.

Ahh... you can just smell it now :)

Note to self: Always remember to look at back at the recipe again and again.
The beaten eggs that were left forgotten on the side so we had a dry and crispy crust.
And voila! It tasted really good with butter :)
Nov 28 - More than a week has passed since my last baking and still no sign of baking the recipe I so boldly put up. Went out to get a 12-inch round baking tray for the "water bath" but came back with yet another 9-inch tray. I really should get my inches right! Meanwhile, I got a lovely choc chip cookie recipe on my inbox. Gotta try 'em!

Was thinking all my artsy fartsy shots only to realize (yet again!) I forgot to insert the memory card. So we fast forward to hubs helping out to stir in the chocolate chips. 
This is actually the 2nd batch of cookies. We got smarter the 2nd time round and put the cookie dough further apart. Who knew they would expand so much and stick to their neighbours?

We had 4 trays of cookies in all so hubs brought some to the office. There has been talk if I could join in as one of the 4pm tea ladies for their office. Hmm...

Probably the worst part about baking is the washing up until someone
invents a flour/dough-free spray. 
Dec 05 - I now have all the ingredients ready (thanks to a visit to Chinatown) but no occasion to bake it for. Who would've thought that besides a water bath it needs to be chilled overnight? So anw, we invited our friend Yumi for dinner again and this time she cooked and I played sous chef. So I thought, hey, let's bake an apple pie for dessert! 

I was going to make the pie crust from scratch and I thought I'd know how since I've done it before. But two tries later and still I wasn't getting the right result so some damage control was needed.

Because I couldn't get the crust right, it turned out flaky and not soft, almost
like eating an English scone. Nevertheless, the recipe for the filling was great
(minus the nutmeg) so it turned out OK anw. Oh, I didn't have a pie dish either :D

A close-up of how it looked like. I used green apples for this as
I didn't like it to be too sweet.
Here's how it looks like all prepped up for hubs. He likes it with his
ice cream and chocolate syrup. Certainly not something you can eat everyday.

Nov 07 - I bought a whole chicken last week thinking that I could try using the rotisserie rack on our oven. Nope, I don't even know if that thing still works but I'm gonna try it. It must be an easy recipe so I won't be overwhelmed the first time. Now, how do I get the chicken to stay in one place? 

The chicken had been marinated overnight with the spices called for
in the recipe using a ziplock bag. It really takes in the flavour that way.
The answer to my question above. An article online says to use a
lemon/onion in the hollow of the chicken so that  it would stay in one place.
Can't look a chicken in the same way ever again.
After almost an hour in the oven. I should get some of those strings to
tie the chicken's feet and wings. It was "flailing" inside as it was
turning and it was not a good sight.
There's the onion.
And here's the final result. It looked good on the outside until I
started to carve through. It wasn't fully cooked inside! I should invest in one of these.
Dec 07 - I must be crazy, going on the last recipe on the same day I just did the chicken. Maybe that's why I fell sick the next day, what with all the heat from the oven. So finally I come to the recipe that started it all off. And I had to try my best since I plan to share it with our Bible Study group. 

Presenting: the Triple Chocolate Truffle Cake. 

The starting wasn't too bad... until the gas ran out. Then I had to melt
the chocolate in the microwave which I think might have
caused those bubbles on the surface.

Preparing a "water bath" for the cake.
This is my first time doing something like this!
After baking for about 45 mins, you can see that it has set in nicely .
I couldn't wait to taste it the next day. Left to chill overnight in the fridge.
The next day, melted some milk choc chips with heavy cream to make the
ganache for the cake. Love how it just spreads so nicely and so shiny!
My last recipe for the year. Triple Chocolate Truffle Cake.
Dark chocolate for the bottom, milk chocolate for the ganache
and shredded white chocolate for the topping.
To conclude this long and hot journey, it was certainly no mean feat to go on a baking spree. Learnt a lot about baking in general. What I do know that this won't be the last you'll hear of the woman and her oven. So, watch this space for the next one ;)

All baking recipes above were done using recipes from