Auf Wiedersehen

Ladies, Gents, and esteemed guests,

It is my utmost pleasure (and relief) to announce that I have moved.

There. I’ve said it.

I’ve officialy moved my posts and then some to The Hobby Horse‘s new home on Blogger.  There’s something about its simplicty with just the right amount of open-sourced bling that sets me at ease. Blogging about a craft or hobby should calm you, and help you devote more time to doing what you blog about. I mean, really, when you think about it…

In the meantime, I am putting this WordPress blog on hiatus, but nonetheless online –until I fuiugre out what to do with this space.

I do warmly invite you to come over to The Hobby Horse on Blogger, my new home. Until then, I bid you all bonne nuit, and adieu.


The First Tarte Tatin.

Hello everyone. I’d want to apologize for the long wait. Work can be quite demanding at times — specially when you feel the undeniable urge to scamper off and play every now and then. 😛

A couple of weeks ago, I set out to try my hand at my first pie. I had voices in my head duking it out for superiority: one side was saying, “Are you nuts? that’s a real pie, fer chrissakes! And you’ve got crusts and fillings to think of, and the presentation and all that stuff.” The other side was going, “Come on. That’s just Five. Frickin’. Ingredients. You just can’t go wrong.” A few hours later and a few grocery bags full, guess which side won.

So, by Friday that week, I’d ticked off my mental checklist:
Pie crust? Check.
Apples? Check.
Butter? Check.
Sugar? Check.
Pyrex pie dish? Err, check.
Enough hours of sleep?

Er, we’ll get back to that.

Saturday found me half tending to James, and half staying on my two feet for want of sleep. On Sunday morning, though, that’s when the real work began.

Here I am, slicing and peeling away at apples, enjoying the scent filling the kitchen, and learning first hand how I should have switched the peeling and the slicing over in the first place. the kitchen did smell really good, though. as soon as I’d finished the batch, I decided to make do without sprinkling lemon or kalamansi juice on them to keep them from browning. Rationale? They’ll bake and turn brown in the over later, so why bother? It certainly would save me some energy. hmm… Now that I think about it, I wonder if the pie would have turned out differently had I decided to give it the vitamin c treatment.

This one I liked calling “the lopsided beauty”. she does tend to look like an Indian mango, if you look at her from one side.

By the time I’d done caramelizing the sugar (that’s supposed to go on top of the pie), I laid out my apple slices as artfully as I could. When I made sure the top and sides were aesthetically pleasing enough, dumped everything else in the center. Yeh. XD. Much to my pleasant surprise, one tray of small Granny Smiths was more than enough to fill my pie. James and I munched on the leftovers while playing Raiden as we waited for the pie to bake. If that’s so, I guess I now have enough apples to bake two more pies. ^_^”

James commented on how diligent a person would have to be to actually bake Tarte Tatin: You add the necessary ingredients, bake it, take it out, add something, put it in, bake it again, take it out, do something, put it back in, and so on. On another point, I think this also teaches how to work quickly yet precisely — you must remember that while you’re laying the apple slices, cutting the butter, laying on the pie crust, you have your oven and gas running in between steps. You learn how to economize on certain resources, as well as how to make use of idle time. Prepping the apples in the morning proved to be a big help, as did rolling the pie crust out while waiting for the apples to bake.

The almost-done pie, cooling on the bamboo chopping board.

And at last, there she is. Isn’t she lovely? ^_^

Here’s James enjoying a slice of Tarte Tatin. There’s a little scoop of melty vanilla ice cream on his plate; he said the pie taste great, even without the ice cream. (And that is why, ladies and gents, I love this man so much. XD)

I’m happy to say it was a great learning experience, and that now I feel confident enough to make the pie for any occasion, provided that I have enough time to prep, I have all the ingredients and tools I need (that includes gas for the oven), and that I’ve had enough rest to get everything right.

I once mentioned to one of my French learners about this pie, and he told me that Tarte Tatin was not your everyday treat. He said this kind of pie is usually offered on the menus of restaurants where “couples go to have dinner on their anniversary.” I’m not entirely sure if he was flattering me or pulling my leg, but I’d like to take it as a sincere compliment. 🙂

I’d like to thank Drew Kime for his generosity with putting out this recipe to be enjoyed by the whole world. For more manly, drool-worthy recipes, check out his blog, try the recipes, enjoy the results, and tell him I sent you. 😉

Of Granny Smiths and hitchhikers

Yesterday, I found this recipeI wanted to try for the weekend. It does seem like a lot of work considering I’ll have to take care of the crust and and peeled apples first, but I’m sure the pay-off will be great.

It also helps to know that the Shopwise branch nearest my workplace had a special on Granny Smith Apples.

I make a mad dash for it, pick up about three six-packs of apples (with two free grapefruits each pack), along with some bread, tomato sauce (for another dish) and lunch ramen. With four heavy and rather bulky bags in tow, I clocked into the office in time, and began settling down.

That’s when I noticed I had a hitchhiker.

A closer, semi-decent shot of the little fella:

Five hours of sleep, and loving the scent of apples in my workstation.

Amigurumi: Squidy

To be honest, I never imagined I’d ever return to crocheting. My memories of it in Grade School Home Economics comprised of vision fatigue, exhaustion and frustration. The vision fatigue and exhaustion are still there, true, but it’s not as frustrating anymore. 🙂 Now I’m a bit older, I find it rather calming and addicting. It also helps me pay listen better to my learners whenever we have a lesson.

It also helps when cute crochet critters are all the rage on the online crafting community these days. ^_^”

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Home things: Lacey Divider Curtains

Hello, everyone. I know it’s been ages since my last substantial post, but please do bear with me. My real-world teaching job has bee taking up a big portion of my time and energy these days. Nonetheless, it’s high time I shared with you another of my works. Time and creativity wait for no one, after all. (Yyyes, this is indeed an overdue post. ^_^”)

Teaching the French has its perks. The month of May gives you three reasons to love them even more: (1) Labor Day on May 1st, (2) V-day on May 8th, and (3) bridge leaves. (bridge leaves are applied for when a certain holiday skips a day before or after the weekend. In both cases, May 1 and May 8 fell on Thursdays. To make a bridge leave, you apply for an ordiany leave on the Fridays that follow after it, and voila! Instant 4-day weekend. Sweet. ^_^)

So, one one of those leaves, I decided to do something productive with the 2 yards of embroidered organza waiting in my stash. (Besides, when you keep your hands busy, it gives you less chances to tear out your hair in frustration over something like, say, a very very overdue broadband installation.) See? Crafting is therapeutic. 🙂 Continue reading

The conundrum of the disappearing pictures

or AAAAARRRRGHHH!!!!! for short.

It seems the most recent of my Photobucket pictures in some of of my posts have been spirited away for some strange reason. What makes it so strange is that the same photos are still right there in my photobucket account.   *rhubharbrhubharbrhubharb*

I’ll be switching over the pictures to Imageshack, and tweaking my affected posts very soon.

Holy Week Haul: Baked Eggplants with Tomato Sauce

Hello, everyone. I know that Holy Week came and went, but do indulge me. It was a week of intense cookery, and I feel it would be great to document the entrees I experimented on.

a Bowl of eggplant-tomatoThis particular baby I made on Easter Monday (Holidays! Horray for working for the French!), and I have an Italian-born Poppa of a co-worker to thank for. Paul Lazo is one hecuva comedian at work, and knows how to whip up a hearty, healthy meal for his family from scratch. (Believe you me, it takes a lot of talent to to raise and feed four growing daughters well.) Meet him once, and you won’t think twice why his family is a happy one. 😉

I was once looking for simple recipes that were quick and easy on the budget. Bitter melon (ampalaya) and okra were out of the question, since James had sworn off eating the stuff. So, what do we resort to? What’s left in the veggie crisper, of course: eggplants.

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