I still have more than 1000ml of Nielsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract when I made this. I knew the homemade version will take quite a while before it can be used, so I made it 1 year ahead. But I decided to give them away this year for Christmas as they were ready by now, dark and fragrant. I’ll make more later when I’m halfway through my big bottle.
For those who don't know that there is real and fake vanilla.... Yes, those that you buy off the supermarket shelves are fake stuff. Even in bakery supply stores, all are fake unless it is stated as "Vanilla Extract" and not vanilla essence. Vanilla Essence is fake, tiruan, imitation, not real.
There's no autumn here. It's summer whole year long, 365 days a year, oh next year will be 366.
Over the northern hemisphere, cranberries, pecans, pears and apples are in season few weeks back (some still are), and as usual, they land on our shores pretty much later. It may be Christmas soon, and it's usually associated with winter (but that's not the real thing anyway) so, it might be weird to serve an autumn salad with cranberries, pecans, apples and pears for Christmas, but then again, it's not really important because seasons don't play a major role here, except with the availability if imported fruits and vegetables. We just eat anything, anytime of the year.
I wanted to do a Brocolli Xmas Tree, but has been contemplating between Chinese style or Western style.
Not until Mike's relatives came back for the weekend, and I'm hosting them a dinner did I finally decided on how to do it.
Montebello is a pistachio and red berries combination created by the great Pierre Herme. I've seen some that goes with strawberries, some goes with raspberries. The combination is different for different things, for example, macarons are with raspberries and, confitures and entremets are with strawberries. Read more here.
Initially I wanted to do a tube shaped sponge then top with strawberries and kiwi fruit to form a wreath. But then come to think of it, it sounded too "cincai"(simply done). It's not about making up the quantity, because I intended a candy cane, a wreath and a Xmas tree. It's not about winning the giveaway, it's about winning over myself. I have to make something I feel excited about.
Angku is Hokkien for Red Tortoise. Tortoises in Chinese culture symbolizes long life. And red is always the colour for celebration. Full moon is always an important milestone for an infant. Back in those days, mortality rate is high, and to pass thieir first month is something worth celebrating about and of course, we wish the child to live long, like a tortoise. LOL