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I’ve been wanting to post about this for a while now, but I didn’t really have the mood to. This year hasn’t exactly been the best year for me. Not only did I have to deal with all the stress that I’ve been facing in school, I’ve also had some problems with a good friend of mine. So for the past week leading up to today, I’ve actually been dreading the moment that I officially turn 16.

The saddest part of having my birthday just three short weeks from one of the most important examinations that I’ll be taking in my life, is that I can’t bake my own birthday cake. As you know, my aunt gave me two vanilla beans earlier this year, and I had promised myself that I would definitely use them in my birthday cake.

Definitely. IMG_1667

Two weeks ago, I realized that baking my own cake would be very impractical as I would probably spend the whole day just decorating it. That’s not exactly the best idea when I still have to much to cover in the next two weeks. So I thought, let’s make a compromise. I’ll bake something REALLY simple and use my vanilla pods another time. I spent 15 minutes making a lovely and rich Lavender Chocolate Ganache last night, and I was already planning to make an awesome chocolate tart. Sadly, things did not go as well as planned as Mum told me I would be sending the wrong message to others if I baked my own birthday “cake” and brought it to school. Ah well, so there goes my awesome tart.

A few hours after dinner, Mum and Dad went out to buy my brother’s breakfast. While they were out, I spent my time figuring out Biology. When they came back half an hour later, Mom was carrying a cake in her hands.

Yes, she bought me a birthday cake. This was one of the very few times that I’ve been surprised by my family for my birthday as it’s just not our tradition to do so.

EDITED!

Ah, I was so distracted by the thought of turning 16 that I forgot to add that I loved the cake and my parents are awesome for having surprised me.

Love is where home is. Does that make sense to you? I hope it does!

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Anyway, gotta go now! Before I do, I would really like to thank Mr Chue for lending me the DSLR. Although I couldn’t take that many pictures, I had a awesome time playing around with the functions! I LOVE SMALL APERTURES. (: The pictures on this post were taken by a Canon 450D.

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reflections.

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those three monkeys are my cousins and my brother.IMG_2315a little time off to have a little funIMG_2275romantic, no?

Another essay that I wrote (:

Decisions.

Brenda and I were the best of friends. Ever since our Secondary One Orientation, we had become closer than sisters and literally joined at the hip.

In physics, we learnt that unlike poles attract. That was how the friendship between Brenda and I was like. I was an over-achiever; she loved enjoying every minute of life; I was the serious one; Brenda was the class clown; I was always buried under tons of textbooks; Brenda was constantly swimming in a sea of comic magazines. Through Secondary One to Three, we seldom fought, and even when we did, it was over issues that we would laugh about later.

That changed when we became Secondary Four students in January this year. As I had been studying consistently over the past three years, I easily coped with the increased workload that the teachers mercilessly issued. Brenda, on the other hand, was drowning in an ocean of homework. When we sat for our Mid-Year Examinations, I was able to achieve decent grades, but Brenda failed almost half of the subjects that she was taking. Determined to do well, Brenda pulled up her socks and began taking her academic results more seriously.

The day before my Preliminary Examinations, I was in my room, trying to fit the last shreds of information into my already saturated brain. I jumped when someone tapped me on my shoulder. Turing around, I saw Brenda standing behind me, with a strange expression on her face. It was a cross between a mischievous grin and a frown.

“You’ve really got to help me out this time round. If I do badly again, my parents are going kill me. Literally!” Brenda pleaded me desperately.

“What is it that you want me to do?” I asked.

“Cheat.”

I was stunned. I knew that Brenda’s parents had been hard on her lately. They constantly compared her results with mine, adding on to the pressure that the teachers were putting on her. However, the Brenda I knew would never have descended into cheating. Although I understood then, that the decision I made would definitely affect our friendship permanently, the line between white and black was clearly etched too in my mind. Slowly, I shook my head.

“You’ll regret this.” Brenda stormed out of my room, leaving behind the friendship we used to share.

The next day, as all of the Secondary Four students scribbled furiously on their blue-lined foolscap paper, I heard someone laughing softly behind me. Turning, I saw Brenda with a malicious grin on her face. I looked back to my Geography paper, feeling slightly uneasy.

“Teacher, there’s someone cheating!”

Those words rang out loud and clear in the examination hall. So, had Brenda been caught? Suddenly, Mr Lim appeared my by side. He reached into my pencil case and pulled out a piece of paper, crammed with writing. It took a while before everything clicked in my head. Brenda had not cheated during the examinations. She had chosen to cheat on me instead.

Everything that followed was in a blur. The only image that stood out in sharp contrast was her face, smiling evilly with glee.

Yes, I haven’t been blogging.

No, it’s not because I’ve given up on my lill’ blog:D Olevels are fast approaching, and I’ve decided to work hard and try my best to get 2 and go to Hwa Chong( yes, HC, I must be a slightly mad!).

Anyway, I won’t be entertaining you very much nowadays, but here’s something for you to enjoy. It’s a composition I wrote on Singapore, more specifically my neighbourhood!:D

Describe a day at a place which allowed you to appreciate the beauty of nature.

Last week, I felt as if I was about to explode from the stress of studying for my O Level examinations. So, with my digital camera in hand, I decided to take a short walk around my neighbourhood.

Out of boredom, I took a picture of the white bougainvilleas that my neighbour had planted. I did not expect the picture to turn out very well, as I did not do any careful positioning or planning. When I saw the image however, I was immediately blown away! The pristine white bougainvilleas looked so elegant! Free from any blemishes, they resembled the delicate white roses that are synonymous with grand weddings.

It was as if the dust that previously covered my eyes was removed. Suddenly, I noticed the petite yellow grass flowers that flooded the little patch of grass just a meter away from my house. Oh, they were absolutely adorable: minute yellow spots in an ocean of lush green. As I turned in a circle, I saw the countless wonderful creations of nature scattered all about me. I was shocked, as I never expected to see such wondrous nature in an urbanized area such as where I live in.

Looking towards the horizon, I saw a very special tree. It was shaped uncannily like a heart. As I walked closer towards it, I heard melodious chirping. Curious, I looked up and saw a lovely amber coloured bird. It was extremely small, no bigger than the size of my palm. It sang light, cheerful songs of happiness, and all the stress that I had just felt instantaneously melted away. I stood there for a while, admiring the bird as it hopped from branch to branch.

I continued walking down the road, trying to look for more of what nature had deprived me of for so long: beauty. Along the stretch of road, there were numerous potted plants. However all of them were a boring shade of green. Did nature once again decide to hide herself from me? Out of the blue – or maybe green – a cat ran out from inside a drain and towards me. It’s lithe body, covered with silky midnight black fur stood out from the dirty grey of the drain. It sprinted into an alley way and, although I knew curiosity may kill the cat, I decided to follow it.

In the small and cramp alley, more potted plants lined the narrow walls. Most of them had small and plain white flowers; not the vibrant colours that I was so eagerly searching for. With disappointment in my heart, I slowly walked away. A gust of wind blew, and a sweet fragrance greeted me. Slightly puzzled, I wondered who would spray eau de toilette out of their windows. I walked closer to one of the houses, and accidentally brushed against one of the potted plants. It was only then that I realized that the smell was not of The Body Shop’s latest perfume, but rather, it was nature’s bouquet. I took deep breaths, determined to savor the mesmerizing smell and etch it into my memory.

When I walked out of the alley, I realized that the afternoon had long gone. Looking at the space between the high rise buildings, I saw saw a multitude of colours: maroon nearest to the land, followed by deep orange, which led to a strip of the wonderful blue sky and ending with a finale of a shade of the most sensual dark violet. I tried taking a picture of the sunset, but my camera did the wonderful sight no justice.

As I walked home, I was not very sure whether I had been in Singapore the whole time, or whether I had just returned from a visit to Europe’s countryside. How could it be, that I have never been able to appreciate the ethereal beauty of nature that was right outside my doorstep?

Yes, it’s slightly exaggerated, but that’s how I’m supposed to write.

Bye!

My friend, G left 15 minutes ago and my kitchen seriously looked like a whirlwind just swept though it. A chocolate whirlwind actually.

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Okay, if you’ve ever read my blog, you would know that currently, I don’t post recipes. I know, food blogs are all about the recipes, but hey, my mental well-being (and my report card) is more important at the moment! I promise I’ll add all the recipes after Nov, okay?

Anyway, I told you about my plan for Teachers’ Day’s presents  awhile ago recently. So after much thought, I decided to make a Vanilla (yellow) and Chocolate Cake with Truffle Frosting. Nine Vanilla and Chocolate Cake-lettes with Truffle Frosting. We looked through 3 cook books fill we were finally able to decide what we were going to do.

Truthfully, I was rather apprehensive about baking with G. I very rarely bake with anyone, and I feel just like Elissa does about baking with a friend. After baking with her though, I was really thankful that she had agreed to bake with me. Without her, I probably wouldn’t have finished the nine cakes until 12 midnight. Which would be really bad, trust me.

We had A LOT of problems finishing them. Baking the cakes was easy. Really really easy. We decided that we were going to use White Chocolate Ganache as a filling. Actually, I have never heard of White Chocolate Ganache and I was just going to substitute the semisweet chocolate in Chocolate Ganche with White Chocolate. Lucky G reminded me that White Chocolate’s very sweet, and the cake would most probably make our teachers diabetic.

Yikes.

So we added both Semi sweet Chocolate and White chocolate, and we ended up with a very light brown ganache. Unique, I must say.

Anyway, frosting ONE cake is simple.

Nine?

I started frosting at 1; I finished at 6. The cake was also kind of crumbly so I had a extremely difficult time frosting them as they kept breaking up. After much cursing and screaming, I finally finished 8 of them.

Unexpectedly, the door bell rang at that moment and G’s parents came into the house. I’m not exactly your best hostesses when I’m covered in chocolate and in the process of frosting a cake. So when they came in, I was seriously at a loss of what to do. G’s an Indonesian scholar, and between her parents and I, there was a yawning communication gap. They watched me frost the cake with serious expressions and I nearly fainted from the stress – stressed because G’s mom used to be a caterer, and she had obviously made beautiful cakes before. Being an amateur cake decorator, I was seriously panicking at that moment.

Seriously.

Luckily she didn’t faint or frown at my efforts, so I took that as a good sign. (Hopefully!)

We actually wanted to make rectangular chocolate pieces to top off the cake, but it didn’t work out, so we decided that chocolate shards would actually make a rather elegant topping. So anyway, we put the finishing touches and G’s Mom even helped me clean the cake boards of the excess frosting! YAY! So  all in all, a very fun and interesting experience! Even though I feel as if I have just finished a marathon, which essentially, I did (cake making marathon), I ‘m feeling kinda happy and maybe, I’ll start asking others to help me in the kitchen.

Okay, who am I kidding? G’s probably going to be the only person I’ll ever bake with! 😀

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Random: Sport’s day collage!

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Okay I made a mistake about only wanting to bake with G. I was tired and not thinking straight that day! Sorry to C&S ):
I’ll get back to posting when I have the time. Right now, I have about 10000 maths papers to finish):

The funny thing about having a blog is that I can lie.

I could lie to you about how I’m the smartest, most well liked person in the whole of my school, and what are the chances that you would be able to find out the truth? I could lie to you about how I felt so happy after making these Milan Cookies

Could doesn’t mean would though. Truthfully, I was really looking forward to making these last night.IMG_2143

So today, I happily mixed all the ingredients together and filled up my brand new piping bag with it’s brand new tips.(:D) When the first batch was baked, I kind of felt all the “happy” air go out of me. They turned out looking nice, just that maybe, when I tried this recipe, I expected magic to happen. I mean, I’m trying a Daring Baker’s Recipe aren’t I?

I guess that I’ve always had this dream of being a Daring Baker, such that I thought that when I tried the first Daring Baker’s recipe, I would suddenly become A daring baker. You get what I mean? IMG_2145

I wasn’t sure exactly what the recipe meant. So i piped out one inch lines of batter. They turned out really tiny, so I piped circles instead. They’re actually really cute, the size of a teaspoon. Maybe slightly smaller even. Although they weren’t all circular and perfectly shaped, I liked them. Finding two that were almost the same size was really fun, and since none were identical, it made them look really unique. The chocolate filling was really rich and I also added some cornstarch to make it thicker. It was really nice, actually. The richness of the chocolate complemented the light and crisp/chewyish cookies. Even if they don’t make me feel as if magic had happened, I don’t mind making them again, actually.

By the way, I’ll upload the Sports Day pictures another time. I took a crazy 116 pictures. Even uploading half of them would take ages. Gonna go for my “crabflower club” (???????) play now, bye!IMG_2146

Daring Kitchen