Monday, August 23, 2010

When life gives you apricots...

Apricot & strawberry pate de fruit - cubes

On a recent trip to Kelowna, my main focus was not on wine, but rather on the bountiful fruit which the Okanagan Valley offers. We brought home almost 20 pounds of cherries and more importantly, 10 pounds of apricots. They were the most perfect apricots, found at Gatzke Farm Market in Oyama, on a 34 degree Celsius Sunday afternoon on our way to lunch at Gray Monk Winery.

Apricot & strawberry pate de fruit - sugaring

Unfortunately, I was so dazzled by the beauty of these perfectly ripe apricots that I failed to consider the heat and 36 additional hours which the apricots would be enduring before arriving back home in Vancouver. These blushing orbs of apricot perfection became dented weeping lumps over the next few days, still delicious to eat, dripping down my elbow over the kitchen sink, but too unsightly to photograph for your viewing pleasure.

Apricot & strawberry pate de fruit - cutting

Not surprisingly, we could not eat them fast enough and so I cooked them down to a puree and made apricot pâte de fruit and apricot ice cream. The pâte de fruit was slightly thinner than I had wanted so I added a second layer of strawberry pâte de fruit. On my first trip to Pierre Hermé, I remember marveling at the bejeweled two-toned pâtes de fruits. In retrospect, adding a second layer and thus flavour is so easy and elementary. In fact, if you have made Rainbow Jell-O before, the concept is identical!

Apricot & strawberry pate de fruit - unframed

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I have only had one haircut in my life when I went home and cried. It was in high school, during my short-hair perming years, when the nape of my neck was shaved into the shape of a V. Being much too edgy for my taste, I immediately got my mom to buzz off the point and make a nice straight line instead. Oh, what I rebel I am.

Aside from growing out my bangs and vowing never to get a perm again at age 20, my hair has simply been varying lengths of the same style. It has been as long as my waist and as short as my chin. I had a version of the Rachel at one point and it took so much work to hot-roller every day but I did it anyways. Wearing a ponytail is always a challenge because it is too thick for the average hair elastic and the weight gives me a headache. These days, the increasing prevalence of white hairs is my biggest concern.

And so, this cake really does speak for itself. Akemi loves pandas, is a hairstylist, and is delighted by the comic nature of screaming monkeys. It took extensive brainstorming to marry these three personal elements into one coherent design, but I think it worked. The hairstylist panda is made from Rice Krispies internally and everything else is fondant with royal icing details. An 8" square chocolate cake with mango mousseline is hiding underneath. You could say it is Act 2 to Akemi's previous cake in 2008!