Thank you for the amazing 8 years here at A Baked Creation, we can't thank you enough for the memories! But we've decided to move over to a new site - Sincerely, Syl. Please join us there for future posts on all the things you loved here!


Thursday, September 29, 2011

New York City, 2011

I noticed a pattern. In the past couple of years, Howard and I would go on vacation around August or September. Then around the end of September or the beginning of October, I would fall terribly ill.

Knowing this, I attempted to start working out and being healthy. I needed to build my immune system for whatever germs October threw at me. I started jogging. I joined a gym (but have yet to go - I was hoping to this week). I went to New York City and bought athletic wear. Seriously! Work-out clothes in New York. Didn't pick up the latest fashion, but I got some pretty comfortable dry-fit outfits.

So you must know how disappointed I am now. It started yesterday, an uncomfortable feeling in my throat. Today, coughs and a runny nose. No!! How can this happen? Well, my guesses are:
  1. During my commute, the bus and subway offers no fresh air.
  2. Also during my commute, I am crammed with other people coughing and blowing their nose.
  3. My workplace is still blasting the air conditioning.
  4. Germs get stronger each year.
These are all valid points which I presented to my family when they sighed and said, "you're sick, again?" Well, let them shake their head and roll their eyes. I can only get better from this point on.

I wanted to share some of our trip photos before blogging about all the wonderful food and desserts we had. I would have done this earlier, but getting back to regular life took over, and now, as you know. I'm sick.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Joanna and Julian's Wedding Photos

Remember back in August when we made those book cupcakes for Joanna and Julian's wedding? I had promised to post photos of their cupcake tower/table and ... the wait is over! The following photos were taken by Adrian Tamas at Black Sea Creative:

The light and airy venue.

I love the details for this, Joanna and Julian used their favourite books for the seating chart! Instead of having book covers or the title, they used simple black and white symbols. You do know which table this is right?

I like how V is smiling behind the napkin in this one.

Na na na na na na na Batman!

The pretty cupcake table! Who needs cake stands or towers when you can build it from books?

A nice balance of scattered cupcakes around the main book tower.

The topper is so adorable, their two pet cats are even included.

I also love the paper flowers they made!

This makes me happy. =)

Venue: Whistler's (995 Broadview Avenue, Toronto, ON M4K 2S1)
Photographer: Adrian Tamas, Black Sea Creative (more blog photos)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bacon Bit Pancakes

Good afternoon! I hope you all had a great breakfast/brunch today. I just wanted to do a quick post to share our sweet and salty breakfast.

Last month, we went over to our friend's house for brunch. We were in charge of making all the pancakes. I had brought over pancake fillings such as milk chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips. Our hostess also gave me sliced bananas and bacon bits to work with - one of the line cooks at her restaurant had recommended the bacon bits. So, I made pancakes with bacon bits in them, some with bacon bits and chocolate chips, banana slices with chocolate chips - the combinations were endless.

Today, I woke up thinking about those bacon bit pancakes and decided to remake them for our breakfast. I took out four bacon strips and popped them in the oven for 15 minutes (flipped them at the half-way mark). My knife skills aren't very good, so I used kitchen shears to cut three of the bacon strips into little bits. What happened to the fourth bacon strip? Howard nommed it.

I used this pancake recipe again, which has been my go-to recipe because it's quick and easy to make. After blotting up the grease from the bacon bits, I tossed them into the batter, gave it a quick stir, and started dropping them into the pan.

I didn't even have to use oil or butter to make the pancakes, the bacon bits provided enough grease still!

My brother once said, "bacon and maple syrup taste really good together." Yes. Yes they do.

Gosh, I love "action" shots. I was clicking away while Howard helped pour the maple syrup on. I kept telling him to pour near the center, but the photos turned out fine. =P

Look, you can see one of the bacon bits on the side.

I also asked Howard to tear open one of his pancakes so that we could show you the bacon bits embedded inside. =)

Enjoy and have a nice weekend!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cooking Class with Chef David Adjey

Have you ever gone to a cooking class before? Howard and I haven't. I'll tell you why. They're expensive. But nowadays, there are all these wonderful group deals and offers online that help lower the costs. So when we saw that there was a cooking class offering in Toronto, we jumped right on it.

Last Saturday night, Howard and I made our way to Dish Cooking Studio - where the cooking class was being held. These classes were actually being run by Chef David Adjey's group, so Dish was kindly lending them the space. If you're not familiar with Chef David Adjey, he's more recently known as being the Food Network's The Opener.

The space was quite nice and could accommodate 25 students. There were seats right up front and higher bar seating behind. You were able to get a good view wherever you sat, but as it was based on first come, first serve - we arrived early to get seats up front.

The first rounds of prep work was already completed and ready for us when we arrived. Chef Adjey told us that everything was bought from the St. Lawrence Market over at Front Street. It was fun as more students arrived and we all tried to guess what we would be making. The above image shows items from our flank steak entrée. From left to right: heavy cream, corn starch, buttermilk, green onions, lima beans, corn nibblets, white onion, sweet potato, bacon, collard greens, and flank steak.

All this heat was for the second entrée dish, featuring chicken. From left to right: red pepper, yellow pepper, orange pepper, white corn homeny, ancho chilli, and jalapeño.

What was more entertaining, Chef Adjey popped one of those in this mouth and we watched as he stood through the pain of having what felt like a hot sparkler jabbed into his cheek. Milk? Didn't work. Water and pop? Didn't work. He just had to wait it out.

Our last lesson of the day was with salmon, so all of those vegetables up there were used to accompany it. From left to right: lime, Tandoori paste, cauliflower, green bean, carrot, cilantro, and ginger.

Chef Adjey, working hard at cutting slices of steak. Look like he's left handed!

Image above: Chili Chopped Flank Steak

The class was centred around good food, company, and conversation. We were told by the Chef that we failed for the last part. We were a pretty shy bunch and was deemed the most quiet group he's had so far. The cooking parts were hands-on, so if you wanted to work on a certain part of the dish, you just had to volunteer for it. And if Chef Adjey saw no brave soul come up, he would pick one.

Image above: Achiote Chicken Breast

Howard got his turn when working on the chicken dish. Originally, he was supposed to work on the tortilla fries, but Chef Adjey's knife skills were beyond his. So he got transferred to cook, watch over, and plate the spicy vegetables. ;)

Image above: Tandoori Roasted Salmon

Don't let that chickpea tortilla fool you, it packed quite a punch. All three dishes were pretty good. We learned to crank up the temperature for everything we made. If we asked what to set the burner or oven to, Chef Adjey would always say 11 out of 10. To our surprise, not one was dry - in fact, the steak was medium rare even though it looked burnt, the chicken was ridiculous juicy, and the salmon was cooked to the right texture.

If you get squeamish from having other people touch and prepare you food, then this class is probably not for you. There is a lot of food handling from different people and everyone is talking, but we can't deny that it was a memorable experience. You'll be able to pick up tips and learn a few techniques. Chef Adjey was frank, candid, and unreserved in giving us lessons.

I think my favourite part was during each plating because you get to see the dish come together. Plus, at home, we would never get to line-up twenty five plates and methodically arrange all the food - so that part was fun. And I was telling Howard how I really liked the layout of this kitchen. I don't think I need a dining room anymore. Just turn my kitchen into a studio - it would be so much more fun to host dinner parties like this!