Saturday, November 29, 2008

On pause

Please forgive my absence lately as I am currently on pause for several reasons. Primarily, my poor left wrist is recovering from a workplace injury. It seems 10.5 kilograms (23 pounds) of mousse/cake do not belong all on one hand. Ironically, my left wrist was always my good wrist after years of chronic tendonitis predominantly in my right wrist from manic note-taking using a pen death grip unlike no other and knitting (nerd alert!). With the obligatory rest, ice, and ibuprofen, all should recover shortly.

This incident has given me more awareness of the occupational hazards and ergonomic conundrums which inhabit the professional pastry kitchen. Upon entering the industry, I was somewhat naive to the physical realities of working in pastry production, being more enthralled with the creative and technical challenges which I hoped to conquer. Depending on the size of the kitchen and volume of production, the ratio between your physical strength and potential weight of stuff you carry becomes a very important issue. Nowadays, I am equally concerned with protecting my musculoskeletal well-being and luckily, previous knowledge of human anatomy is a great advantage.

As a result, I have not been very active in my home kitchen, taking every possible opportunity to rest my wrist. Without this creative stimulus, there is little to blog about and nothing pretty to photograph. My blog has always served as a medium to document what inspires me in the kitchen rather than a reason to go and create in the kitchen. This is a fine distinction which explains why I can never post more than once a week. It reflects the sweet things I create in my regular daily life, either for personal consumption or for others, because I can never make something just to blog about it.

So meanwhile, you will find me relaxing with my flabby tabby, waiting for wrist recovery and for the creative juices to flow. With Christmas creeping up on me, edible gift production will soon start admist the busy working season. The tree will be up this weekend I hope and with luck, the cat will not eat the poinsettia. Have a wonderful week.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Between the ages of 8 and 13, I was obsessed with rainbows. Almost all my worldly possessions were in full rainbow colours, including pillow case, leg warmers, and hair accessories. My favourite sweater was a black cardigan with different rainbow coloured buttons. For Grade 4 art class, I made a mobile festooned with rainbows which hung in our family room for probably 6 years. I could go on listing my rainbow-mania childhood memories but I shan't.

Today, while my love of bright, some may say garish, colour is still alive but less visible in my everyday life, I have the opportunity to relive this rainbow fixation through my niece Caitlin who celebrated her 4th birthday on Sunday.

The rainbow cake was constructed from a 10" diameter round cake, which was divided into two halves, one for the rainbow arc, and the other further divided to make two clouds. Three layers of vanilla cake were filled with a vanilla-lemongrass mousseline and fresh strawberries, with Italian meringue creating the puffy cloud decor. (And yes, I purposely left out indigo.)

Having leftover rolled fondant, an impromptu turtle, reminiscent of last year's birthday cake, was added. I figured that it would be a nice keepsake for Caitlin to enjoy since she still loves turtles and rolled fondant seems to last forever. I was incorrect and thank God I was not at the party to witness such savage yet innocent consumption of my well-dressed turtle (party photos by Auntie Jennifer). Happy Birthday Caitlin!