Friday, December 24, 2010

A hasty Merry Christmas!

and I mean it.

I'm going mad not wrapping Christmas presents, but packing for my flight in a few hours!

I wish I could post all the photos I've prepared for Christmas here at AiClay, but my empty luggage keeps calling out to me.

So here are just some Christmas pastries for now - some tarts and a raspberry wreath cake. 

Merry Christmas to all of you lovely readers! :) Eat some turkey for me, while I get my fill of pho! (can you guess where I'm going yet? :))

Monday, December 20, 2010

An army of gingerbread men.

It's less than a week from Christmas Day itself! 

Being the pessimistic me, I feel a little down that the season of giving would be over pretty soon. But for the sake of keeping with the jolly Christmas spirit, I shall refrain from being Miss Half-Empty-Glass.

I must admit it was a real joy painting the faces on these gingerbread men, and giving them round little buttons and pastel stripes for sleeves. 

The tiny bit of feminist in me is screaming, "Gingerbread MEN, really! It's almost 2011, bring on the ladies in the gingy world!" I guess that prompted me to use softer colours for their piped on decorations.

So now they're, well soft-mannered gingerbread men. :)

I had my first (and only) gingerbread man on a cruise vacation when I was really young.

I remember seeing it on a cart stocked full of christmas goodies - striped candy canes, little red and green cakes, packs of chocolates. But I only had eyes for the gingerbread men, with their wide grins, colourful buttons, and long biscuit hands outstretched as if waving for attention.

It took some begging, crying, and probably a fair bit of sulking, before my mom bought me my very own gingerbread man. And what a surprise it was for this little girl, who had imagined the biscuit to be sweet and delicious, when she bit into a whole gingerbread arm mix of ginger and spice.

Now that I'm fairly grown up, I think it's time to give ginger biscuits and my tastebuds another chance. And even if I don't eat them, I've decided that I should at least wear them!

Paired with a bronze filigree hair pin, this is sure to bring a smile to anyone's faces! 

The hairclip measures at 5.5cm long, and Gingerbread Man measures at 1.1cm in length and 0.9cm at widest. 

Yikes it's almost 2am here, and there's no snow vacation for us living here in the tropics. :( 

I will be back with more gingerbread, stay away from the mistletoe in the mean time hohoho! :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Putting the red in christmas.

You will be seeing red in this entry - the festive type, not the angry kind (I hope). :) 

It's 2 weeks to the jolly season of the bearded old man, Rudolph and gingerbread. And trees strung with pretty lights of course. What can I say, I've been heavily influenced by the omnipresent commercialism of the season.

Elp! I've got weird red dots growing on my palm! 

Oh wait, it's just the miniature drupulets for the raspberries I'm sculpting. This was a lot funnier when I imagined blogging about it, in the dead of the night rolling those drupulets. Ahem.

Each raspberry is about 0.2cm in length.

 Cupcakes, naked without their papers.

Cupcakes are 0.8cm at top diameter, and 0.6cm at bottom diameter.
A basket of naked cupcakes. 

I think I've found my blogging style, it's 'stating the obvious'. I'm so boring when I blog after sleeping hours, it's not even funny. :(

I'm sparing you all the pain by ending it here. 

And in keeping in line with my blogging style, here is what I call - can of raspberries spilled with spoon at side.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Macarons in pastel shades.

To everyone who voted for the macaron design, thank you! Unfortunately my printer is out of ink (again!), so I can only show the finalised design when I manage to get it up and running.

I didn't want to leave the blog stagnant till then though, so here are some photos of the macarons, without the boxes.

Macarons in baby colours are awfully pretty, don't you think?

I imagine the flavors to be raspberry (light pink), rose (pink), vanilla (white), purple (lavender).

You know how pretty food items always turn out weird-tasting. And I used to think rose-flavored macarons would taste strange too, but after having the luxury of biting into a Pierre Hermé's rose macaron (courtesy of my good friend who brought back a box from Paris), I knew I was wrong.

Mmmmm, it was so good. That wafery crunch, and the sweet taste of floral goodness. mmmm.

Here is my favourite item to make - a bowl of melted chocolate. It's all I can do to not lick that tiny spoon.

 A fat glass jar of assorted macarons - there's green tea and chocolate in there too, can you spot them?

Each macaron is 0.4cm in diameter. :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

cursive, or straight?

My oh my, it's been a month since my last post. -frowns upon self.

I know there are still some of you (namely me and some very bored people :P ) who come back in here almost everyday, because I check my hits regularly. You're probably thinking that I should be devoting time to blogging instead of checking my page hits, and you're probably right. Enough of the self-chiding, just know I really appreciate all of you who bother to pop in AiClay once in a while alright? :)

Although I must say I was a good girl this weekend, and churned out lots of miniature macarons, and am itching to share them with you all!

BUT, I have a problem.

You see, I went a little wild making macarons, and decided to make a little baking-macarons scene, along with macaron boxes as well. And then I got stuck while designing my macaron packaging.

I can't decide on the font for the macaron box packaging- cursive, or straight! 30 minutes into looking at all the different font samples for 'macaron' (try it at dafont), the word ceased to look like itself, if you get what I mean.

You know. How words look all weird and foreign when you've looked at them for too long? Or is it just me?

Anyway, so I really need you all to comment and tell me if you prefer the cursive or the straight font (left and right respectively in photo above) on the macaron packaging. Pretty please? :) 

In the meantime, pardon me for keeping all my macarons in hiding for now. Oh wait, some frilly feet (of the macarons) escaped in the first photo, oh well. :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Holes can be beautiful - miniature doilies.

When I help my mom pack her cookies into a bottle, she'll instruct me to place these laced papers - one on the top, one at the base. And it's amazing how much prettier the cookies look with them.

And because the doily papers often come in thick stacks and are often priced so cheaply, I've never really thought much about them. That is, until I tried making some miniature ones myself.

A little behind the scenes, though I believe a lot of steps could be eliminated with the right instruments. I didn't have that luxury, and had to settle for making the most of everyday items around me, like bottle caps and the good ol' pencil and ruler.

After hand-sketching the little curves, I had to cut around the edges - all 20 odd of them for one single doily!

Find me a miniature serrated edge scissors, pretty please!

I know the design is awfully simple compared to the real life doilies, but I'm satisfied for now. :)

Pretty doilies ought to be packaged in pretty colours like a soft pink, don't you think? (I'm such a girly at heart!)

Here you can get your own pack of a pair of doilies, sealed with a matching rose ribbon.

Each doily measures at 2cm, or 8/10th of an inch in diameter, and they're for sale - packaged in a set of 2 doilies per envelope. :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mid-autumn festival and its cakes.

Edit: I can't believe I forgot to mention, that the chinese character you see on the mooncake is "艾", which is the Ai in Aiclay if you write it in Chinese. :)

The Mid-autumn festival (or some call it the Moon festival, or Lantern festival, or Mooncake festival. Let's not bother with technicalities shall we?) was always one I remember fondly from my childhood.

Durian snowskin mooncake with durian mousse filling.

There is a hill beside my house, which my mom would bring me and my brother to when the sun went down on the day of the festival. It was a really pretty sight from far, with colourful, brightly-lit lanterns dotting the hill.

There was a certain air of excitement, especially when it was a particularly dark evening, and everyone's faces were hidden behind their lanterns. I would hold out my animal-shaped lantern (I believe rabbit was my favourite) happily as I joined the parade, with my little brother in tow.

Yam snowskin mooncake filled with sweet bean paste, and a white chocolate truffle centre.

When we got tired of showing off our lanterns, we would sit on the ground and play with candles and fire. I remember that was when I first learnt how to use wax to make a candle stand upright.

Strawberry snowskin mooncake with lotus paste filling and a salted yolk centre.

Burning your fingers with the hot wax was a necessary risk, and we would write words and draw cartoons with the dripping wax. It was the one day that mom actually approved of us handling naked flames, and me and my brother made sure to take full advantage of it.

Snowskin mooncakes measuring at 0.8cm or 0.3inches across.

Now that I think back, I feel sorry for whoever had to scrap off all the dried (but colourful) wax from the ground the morning after.

In the present day, the festival is celebrated mostly the same way. Of course you've got much more sophisticated animal lanterns, with electronically-powered moving paws and music blaring out from their battery-stuffed tummies.

Call me traditional, but I very much prefer the paper lanterns with the soft flame flickering through. Knowing that your lantern could be burnt to papery ashes by a toppled candle just added to the fun of it all!

As I grew up, I started to remember and celebrate festivals mainly with the food it is associated with, more than anything else. :(

Baked mooncake with sweet bean paste and yolk centre.

 Now, Mooncake festival is a lot less about lantern-carrying or drawing wax cartoons, and a lot more about heading down to the city's Mooncake Bazaar and sampling all the mooncakes they have, from the wacky (caramelised cheese, peanut butter, roasted pork) to the traditional (lotus paste, bean paste).

Now that can't be good for the Chinese culture (or my tummy).

Baked mooncakes measuring at 0.8cm or 0.3inches across.

Next year, I will abandon all worries of looking like an overgrown lantern-carrying kid and burnt fingers, and rediscover the childhood joys of the festival.

For now, I should really finish up the mooncakes which are still sitting in my fridge. :)