Monday, May 13, 2013

My Mother's Day Weekend (May 11-12, 2013)

This year, my Mother's Day was really special. What made my day, was when my 2 year and a half year old, hopped onto my lap, and blurted out, "I Wuv You, Mummy", without any of prompting.

Instantly, I turned to mush. This is what makes motherhood all worthwhile. 

2 days before Mother's Day, my dear sister came over, armed with glitter glue, coloured paper, stickers, and scrapbooking trinkets. She was going to teach little J, how to make Mother's Day cards for my Mum and I. 

Little J was thrilled, and spent an entire 2 and half hours, painstakingly attaching all the little trinkets, colouring, glueing glitter and stickers, onto these home made cards.

He was so cute and had also practiced how to hand them over, while wishing us, "Happy Mother's Day", with his bashful smile.

All done!
I really need to concentrate. Shh!

At lunch, presenting Mum and I, our Mother's Day cards

The day before Mother's Day, I had a little cake stand, at the Mother's Day Bazaar organised by the Baby Jumper Gym Publika. I brought along a few new cake designs and I also had some cupcakes to sell. It was fun to get out and do a little PR work for Miss Shortcakes. The afternoon was spent chatting to people about what I do, and how the cakes get transformed into something really special.

My new designs, which I created specially for this event.

Little J, holding on very tightly to my Miss Shortcakes balloon

A very special thank you goes out to my sister, who helped me the entire day at Publika, my Dad who helped me with the cupcake boxes, Izreen and Aunty Farida who lent me the decorative items, and my Mum, of course, for helping me with Little J! Oh, and not forgetting the ladies at BJG who organised the event for us, Mummies with small businesses!


Monday, May 6, 2013

The Elusive Turkish Birthday cake

Ok here it is. After weeks of trawling the internet for Turkish-themed cakes, I found nothing. The fact of the matter is, I've searched for Turkish birthday cakes, Turkish wedding cakes, Turkish cakes, Turkish cake design, Turkish this Turkish that, and got extremely frustrated.

All that came up were a bunch of nutty, syrupy, spiced cakes. And nada for custom designed cakes.

But, if you type in Moroccan cakes or Arabic cakes, bang! Dozens of photos of colourful and gold embellished cakes suddenly pop up.

So I decided, that since there weren't many Turkish-themed cakes out there on the internet, I, Miss Shortcakes will be the first one to post a proper Turkish-themed cake on the internet.

To get the ball rolling, I started with research on the fabrics and textiles of the Turkish culture to get ideas. And when I typed in Turkish tiles, most of the results showed me blue, white, and red geometric patterns with touches of floral motifs. The fabrics on the other hand, were generally Persian looking, with rich, deep colours and ornate scrollwork. Choosing the fabric as part of my design, could possibly end up in making my Turkish cake look Arabic.

I had to very careful to not do this, as the recepient of the cake was a very particular woman. She had travelled to Istanbul to purchase the decorative items for her birthday party. So under no circumstance, could I turn up with an Arabic or Moroccan cake!

Using the Turkish tiles as inspiration and the colours of blue, aqua, white, red, and gold, I knew I couldn't go wrong. I initially came up with a different design to this one, but with either one, I think I did the Turks proud :)

Mood board with various sketches and pictures
Gold minaret topper. I love how the gold lustre came up. I mixed Antique Gold, Radiant Gold and Light Gold to achieve this colour.

Ganached and ready to be iced

Once all the hard work was done (ganaching and icing), the fun part was putting it all together. I couldn't wait to start decorating!

The Hand of Fatima, a must for the cake, in orange.

The Evil Eye. It had to be done.

I love the blue diamonds on the minaret. A last minute decision, but a good one.
Once the cakes were baked, ganached, and iced, I must have spent a solid 7 hours, JUST on decorating alone.

Baking time : 2 and a half hours (5" x 2, 7" x 3, 9" x 2)
Ganaching and torting : 1 and a half hours
Icing time : 1 hour 
Decorating time : 7 hours, straight.
Miscellaneous prep time : 2 hours

That's 14 hours that I can account for, spread over a period of 3 days of actual production.

The time that I've spent doing research, designing and sketching, and communicating with the client, prior to production, that I can't account for.

So there you have it. If you're looking for inspiration for a Turkish-themed cake, I hope I have done just that. Not a jewel in sight, a red Persian carpet, or an Aladdin magic lamp :p

You can also follow me on Facebook for more updates on my latest cake adventures
Or, find me on Instagram under "missshortcakes".

Hope to see you there! xx

Sunday, May 5, 2013

If You Only Had One Night in Bangkok.

Seriously. One night in Bangkok is enough to change your life.
I'm not talking about anything dirty or illegal. And I'm certainly not talking about anything spiritual.

I'm talking about food, and finding THE best Thai seafood meal you will EVER have in your life. This is no joke. The very first bite I had was truly amazing.
She had lived up to all the reviews on various blogs I had read.

She is Jay Fai, a woman in her late 60's or early 70's, by the looks of it. She cooks every single dish, single handedly.

The restaurant was not easy to find, which is the only negative thing I have to say about it. My experience in Bangkok was that 90% of cab drivers did not know where they were going. And finding Raan Jay Fai, was a mission in itself - to get a cabbie to drive us there, cost triple of what it would have usually cost from Silom. 

I tried to prepare myself for the trek to get there by getting the address written down in Thai, and had also printed a map in Thai for the taxi driver. Still, to no avail. No one apparently knew how to get there. Finally, after getting a taxi driver to ring the restaurant, we got directions.

Then it was time to flag another taxi who was willing to drive us there.

After 48 hours of negotiating with taxis from all corners of Bangkok, my friends and I, had had, enough. We just wanted to get to Jay Fai's to eat. We paid the 200 baht and hauled ourselves into the next cab. 

Jay Fai is situated alongside a very busy road of local shops and restaurants. It took approximately 20 minutes to get there from Silom. One look at the shopfront, and immediately I saw Jay Fai, standing in front of her wok station, looking totally calm and collected, despite the roaring flames from the woks. 

Prep kitchen

Jay Fai in action

By the time we arrived there, it was pretty late - 10.30pm, I'd say, so we got a table fast. I heard that if you get there around 6-ish, you'd need to queue.

We ordered the "must-haves" which were the Crab Omelette and Drunken Noodles. The omelette on it's own was 800 baht. Yup, that's almost RM80 for an omelette. Not cheap, but if it lived up to it's reputation, we were in for a treat.

I've stolen a few pics from my mate's phone (he takes awesome pics),
I hope he doesn't mind :)
Look at those CHUNKS of crab meat in there, perfectly cooked.

So so SO good, especially with the chill dipping sauce.

Can't wait. Must. Dig in. Now.

Crispy skin on the outside, and juicy on the inside. This was a winner, and worth the 800 baht.
This omelette was packed with huge chunks of sweet crab. I mean, it was practically bursting with crab. I've never had an omelette like this in my life, and kudos to Jay Fai, for coming up with something so simple, and yet so damn special.

This was my star of the night.

My other mate, thought the Drunken Noodles was the killer dish. And, it was oh so good too! The noodles were silky and slippery, and the seafood in the dish was just supremely fresh and of restaurant quality. She must have the top providores for seafood in the country! 

Drunken Noodles

Drunken Noodles 2
I loved how the rice noodles weren't cut, and they were fried in sheets. It gave the dish a little bit of a difference that way. These noodles were cooked to perfection. The flavour was second to none from that wok. And the seafood selection - mutant sized prawns, squid, and huge chunks of that sweet, sweet crab, laced the entire plate. It was like eating seafood with a side of noodles.

Then we also ordered a seafood salad, and this was at market price. 

Oh, but who cares? It was so bloody good, I would have given a leg. 

Seafood Salad

Seafood salad 2

Here we were presented with a mountain of the freshest seafood, dressed in a beautifully balanced dressing of lime juice, fish sauce, and chilli. I love Thai Seafood Salad, and I always judge the quality of a Thai restaurant with this dish.

The seafood was perfectly blanched and it had just the right balance of sourness, sweetness, and spice. It was divine.

By this time, I was almost "seafooded" out. The huge portions and quality of the seafood in each dish, was almost making me drunk. I was happily delirious.

But wait, we ordered another noodle dish. Flat rice noodles with wait for it, more seafood.

The damage at the end of the night - 2600 Baht with beer, for 3 people.
It was definitely worth the price, and if you only had one night in Bangkok, I'd go here. 

Forget the tiger show.

Check out the prawns and squid, and of course there's crab too in this.

Raan Jay Fai
327 Thalon Mahachai, 

I would definitely get the taxi driver to ring the restaurant and get directions. That was much easier, then giving the address to the cabbie.