Wow, ok, so as cliche as it may sound, it does only feel like a short while back that I started up this blog. Who knew a year would in fact, pass so quickly?
Looking back upon the whole blogging experience, there has been so much that I have learnt, so many people I have met and so much IT appreciation you wouldn’t believe it! It is almost a little overwhelming at times ;)
As it says in my ‘Where Did I Come From’ page, this blog started because I needed an outlet for my cooking, which was fast becoming an obsession. It was mum’s idea and I remember how apprehensive I was. Ma, can you remember how I worried I was?
“Will anyone read it?”
“What will I write about?”
“Why would anyone want to read about my baking, I am just a kid”
So many insecurities back then, and some of which still are visible every time I post. What if no one wants to read about it? Honestly, I can’t help but look at the preview at least 5 times before pressing publish! But one stepping stone at a time no?
Ma pushed, told me it would be good, a hobby and something I could express myself through. And that is so true. Whenever I need to push myself to bake something new, something fresh, having a blog inspires me to do it because I know an audience is waiting.
Whenever I need some outlet for my thoughts, memories, ideas, I can express them through this blog, interweaving them with the recipes and giving them just that push which is so necessary :)
In fact, here are some recipes which have really, I feel, boosted up this blog :D
- Lemon Meringue Pie
- Chocolate Caramel Snickers Cupcakes
- Brown Butter Super Nutella Brownie Tart w/ Microwave Hazelnut Ganache
- Mixed Berries & Coconut Layer Cake
- Easter Egg Nests
This blog has grown considerably and that makes me feel so proud, honestly if I was a pufferfish right now, I actually could explode :D :D :D
But there is no way I could have done it without you all. You all are the very core and crust which keep this blog going, the oxygen which keeps it alive! It is because of all of you, who go through tedious reading, scrolling and sore eyes because of the extremely long posts that anything is possible and each time, I am very, very thankful for it :)
- 636 followers
- 207 posts (make it 208 now!)
- 83,375 views at 7:23pm October 1st 2012 (which I hope to make 100,000 very soon!)
- A huge range of viewers from my home of all over Australia to India to the United States to Africa
- 184 Facebook followers (goal is 200 then 1000 ;))
- 12,060 comments (half used to be mine a long time ago :D)
- #6 in the Every Recipe Australia top blogs list
- A CONSIDERABLE improvement in photography and basic blogging/writing skills :D
And I only hope to improve from here, gaining more publicity, hopefully writing an e-book and much much more, which is only possible because you. all. believe. in. me. And I thank you all every single day and love you for it :)
In order to celebrate this one year which has gone by and been so important, and to say thank you to everyone, I have decided to host my very own giveaway for you. It is not much but I hope that the eventual winner will enjoy it :D
It will be a random selection to win a $40 giftcard for Amazon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I know, I know, I wish I could send you packets and packets of Tim Tams or more exciting things but I did not want to limit this giveaway just to Australia :D
In order to enter, there are two things you can do, each one counting as a separate entry :D
- Comment on this post
- Like me on Facebook (just post a separate comment saying that you have liked me)
Haha, nope I still haven’t gone Twittering and Pinteresting but hey, I am more than over my head right now ;)
I will give one week for all entries, closing them on the 7th of October 2012 :D
There are sooooo many wonderful things to buy at Amazon!
In order to commemorate this event, I decided to make a very special treat which shows a milestone in both baking ability and is a very classy dessert-gone-breakfast :D
It is so flaky and delicious and melts in your mouth so it was the perfect recipe to toast to each other in celebration! I can remember that the first time that I saw that you could make homemade puff pastry and just thought “pffft as if I will ever do that” :D
Homemade Croissants w/ Homemade Leavened Puff Pastry
Source: Mastering The Art Of Baking
Leavened Puff Pastry
- 60ml warm water
- 9g dried yeast
- 250ml warm full cream milk
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 500g plain flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 310g butter, soft but pliable (room temperature)
- Put the warm water in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the yeast and set aside for 6-7 minutes or until foamy
- Mix in the milk and sugar
- Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. With your palms facing upwards, use your fingertips to rub in 60g of the butter, lifting the flour mixture up as you rub to aerate until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs
- Make a well in the centre, add the milk mixture and stir, gradually incorporating the dry ingredients until a soft and sticky dough forms
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic
- Place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning over to coat in the oil. Cover bowl in plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size
- Knock back the dough in one punch to expel the air. Set aside in a warm draught-free area for another hour to rise
- Knock back the dough again and shape into a thick rectangle, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to chill
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured, cool surface and use a rolling pin to roll out, always rolling away from you, to a 16x32cm rectangle about 8mm thick (I was quite casual about this) – try to keep the edges straight and use a palette knife to straighten if necessary
- Dot the remaining butter over 2/3 of the pastry and then use a palatte knife to spread, leaving a 2cm border and 1/3 of the pastry uncovered
- Fold over the unbuttered pastry third. Fold the remaining buttered pastry over the top to form a parcel shape. Use your fingertips to seal the edges. Turn the parcel 90 degrees and carefully roll out on a lightly floured surface (always rolling away from you) until it forms a neat rectangle, about 16x32cm
- Repeat the folding to make a parcel shape again and wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes
- Repeat this process once more: Place pastry on a floured surface with the folded edge on your left and roll, fold and turn, then roll and fold again (bringing you to a total of 4 folds and rolls). Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm before using
Makes: 10 (I managed 12 since mine were smaller)
- 1 quantity leavened puff pastry (you can use store bought)
- 2 egg yolks whisked with 1 1/2 tbs water
- Use a rolling pin to roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to 35x53cm rectangle, keeping the sides as straight as possible and rotating the pastry often so you are rolling away from yourself
- Use a sharp knife to trim the edges so they are straight(getting a 32x48cm rectangle) – Do not discard the offcuts, I just baked their little squares which tasted like little delicious puffy buttery treats!
- Cut the pastry lengthways, making the cut as straight as possible (I used a ruler) – do not separate the two strips
- Measure and mark the 16cm intervals along the either side of the cut down the centre of the pastry. On the two outside edges, measure and mark the first 8cm then mark 16cm intervals the rest of the way along. Make straight, diagonal cuts into the pastry to join the marks on each strip and form a triangle – I did not measure and just cut (worked well for me :D)
- Separate each pastry triangle then elongate each one slightly by giving it a brief roll lengthways with a rolling pin
- Working with one triangle at a time, place the shortest side nearest you and gently stretch the two ends to lengthen slightly
- Make a 5mm cut into the base of each triangle at the centre
- Roll the croissant up by rolling the base towards the tip. Turn the roll so the tip is facing you then bend to form a crescent shape (I stuffed the shaping up a little, hence my ridiculously pointed tops on some croissants so I fixed it up in my second batch no hassle :D)
- Place on a lined baking tray, cover with tea towels and let puff (not double) in size in a warm, draught-free area for 1-1 1/2 hours
- Preheat oven to 220 degrees . Brush the croissants all over with the egg wash. Bake for 2 minutes then reduce the heat to 180 degrees C.
- Bake for further 15-20 minutes or until puffed and golden.
- Transfer to a wire rack and serve warm (or cold but please ;))
Notes & Tips:
- People will tell you this is a very sticky pastry to work with etc. etc. but I used minimal flour and it was absolutely fine, easy to roll out and no butter oozing out :D – just make your conditions are not freezing cold or very very humid :)
- I do have a chocolate or ham & cheese or almond filling variation to this croissant but let me know personally by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like me to send it to you :D
- THESE ARE EASY DO NOT BE DAUNTED! I made full croissants in a single day – if I can do it, anyone can I promise you and you will not regret the heavenly scent which transforms your kitchen into a bakery :D
Once again my friends, thank you for making this such an important day. I wish you were all here, sharing these croissants with me literally instead of virtually :)
Best of luck for the giveaway too and tell your friends to tell their friends to tell their friends – everyone deserves a chance!