Merry Christmas!

Since this blog is dedicated to my love of food, here’s a preview of my Christmas, food style!

Cookie plates for friends (if I’m supposed to see you this week, you will probably get one!)

Mini frittatas for Christmas breakfast

And my really American Christmas dinner. I contributed a dish to our Christmas dinner and guess what? IT WASN’T DESSERT!

Full posts on everything and more when I have enough patience to sit through my slowly dying 5-year-old MacBook. I hope you all had a very joyful Christmas! It’s so easy to make Christmas about ourselves, food, presents we received or didn’t receive, and other such trivial things. I confess that I often focus on the wrong things, but really, Christmas should be about JESUS and celebrating who He is and what He’s done. REJOICE!


Bûche de Noël

When I first visited my sister in London during winter break of my sophomore year of high school (which was…more than 5 years ago. I’M GETTING OLDER), she would often take me grocery shopping with her. I LOVE going to grocery stores in foreign countries because you see local products, foods people enjoy, the different prices, the produce they have (or don’t have – Californians are so spoiled!), etc. It’s always an enjoyable experience for me (unless it’s freezing and you have to take two busses and the tube or something). I always make it a point to go to the dessert, pastry & bread sections of any grocery store because well…I love these products. The British love to make pre-packed, individual desserts of their local delicacies like trifles (which I bought out at Marks & Spencer), English pudding, other stuff I forgot, and YULE LOGS! My first encounter with yule logs was at Sainbury’s in England. It was a little log of rolled up cake with frosting covering it and little red decorations all over it. It was so adorable and it looked so good! But it was much too big for me to eat by myself because no one in my family enjoys cake as much as I do. So sadly, I bought my trifles and forgot about it.

Over the years, I have learned that a yule log is the same thing as a bûche de noël and that it’s kind of a European thing. I didn’t really bother reading much about its history. I’d rather browse pictures (which I did) and realized that it was meant to be an actual LOG…like a wood log with mushrooms growing on it and weird funky things. People really go crazy with their yule log decorations. Anyways, it was on my friend Michelle’s and my to-make list so we decided to make it together! With the help of, I found this recipe, which seemed first and foremost, EASY. Secondly, we had all the ingredients needed. It’s actually fairly easy to make! I think the highlight is the decoration, which we had totally forgotten about. So we made do with the few decorations we had and created our very own bûche de noël. I love saying the French names of baked goods. Bûche de noël. Bûche de noël. Bûche de noël. Okay I’m done.

Quick summary: Bûche de noël is usually made out of a genoise or sponge cake, baked in a large shallow pan so it comes out thin, frosted inside, rolled like a sushi, frosted outside and decorated however you want to.

My friend Michelle (the first human appearance in this blog!) holding up our medium stiff peaks of egg whites for our spongey cake.
This is what medium stiff peaks look like, folks!

Flat, thin chocolate spongey cake, cooled and frosted with whip cream.

Roll it like a sushi! Okay I understand this doesn’t make sense to people who have never made sushi. You basically roll it and remove the parchment paper as you go!

Our bare and rolled up bûche!

Frosted with a chocolate whipped cream. I personally dislike buttercream and prefer whipped cream frosting all the way.

Our finished product! The recipe had perfect quantities of everything. No leftover frosting at all! The cake is light, moist and is best served cold (keep whipped cream frosting in the fridge as much as possible). I’m so happy to have made (AND FINALLY EATEN) a yule log with a great friend. Note to selves: next time decorate it better!

Gingerbread Fellas

This weekend, I trekked to the 626 area to visit my good friend Michelle in Arcadia. We both share a genuine love of food and its creation and consumption so I knew that we would be doing a lot of both. To get some inspiration for what to do, we watched his slightly dumb and mildly funny video about the 626 (click at your own risk). Unfortunately we didn’t end up at any of the places mentioned in the video (except for a crappy Half & Half Tea House in San Gabriel Valley) and decided to get Pho instead. Read my Yelp review later!

Before we left for dinner, we decided what to bake that night and threw out ideas like French macarons (which is simple ingredients, all technique like leaving out egg whites for 24 hours), apple pie, bûche de noël (yule logs!), creme brulee, pot de creme, gingerbread cookies, and other things we had never made before. (Yes we both have never made apple pie or gingerbread cookies before). We decided to make gingerbread cookies and a chocolate bûche de noël! Two indecisive girls deciding what to make took an hour, and finding recipes for two things took another hour. Whenever I bake, I take my sweet time brainstorming for what I’m about to make and come up with a plan of attack. I browse various sites and read and compare each recipe I find for nuances and how those small differences affect the end product. Someone said this once but I agree that anyone can bake (I don’t know about cook) with the right recipe and a very basic knowledge of technique! Okay enough of my storytelling – if you’ve read this far, kudos to you! Anyways, Michelle and I found this gingerbread cookie recipe on foodgawker  and chose it because it was simple and had a reasonable combination of spices. The blogger also mentions that this cookie is of a gingersnap taste and sugar cookie softness which sounded perfect.

All of these spices + salt & pepper are in these gingerbread cookies!

This is one of those doughs that you have to refrigerate for an hour before rolling out, so plan accordingly. Also, be forewarned that this dough smells really funky and looks like a lump of poop upon refrigeration. But fear not for these cookies taste great!

Everything is much more adorable in miniature form!

Our different cookies before baking.

I made a royal icing for us to decorate the cookies with. Royal icing is just sifted powdered sugar, meringue powder (or egg whites) and a liquid (water, lemon juice, milk – depends on your taste).

DSC_0056 Gingerbread family hehe

This turned out to be a wonderful recipe!

And I shall end this post with my favorite gingerbread fella, lil’ French painter. He is French because I say so. Au revoir!