Fwends! ♥

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lemon Polenta Cake

So I finally had a chance to bake again! I haven't had time to bake since...Thanksgiving. Inconceivable huh?!

My dad's coworker made this Lemon Polenta Cake and brought it to work during the holidays last year. My dad was obsessed with it and pretty much hounded me to make it for him everyday lol. I guess whining runs in the family!

This Lemon Polenta Cake recipe is by the famous Nigella Lawson, who makes everything she does seem oddly sexual hahahaha.
The recipe is on the Food Network site.
This is a super quick and easy cake, if you are able to find the ingredients.

Ingredients
For Cake:
1 3/4 sticks (14 tablespoons) soft unsalted butter
1 cup superfine sugar
2 cups almond meal/flour  Almond meal can be hard to find. You can just grind up blanched slivered almonds in your food processor as an alternative. 
3/4 cup fine polenta/cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 eggs
Zest 2 lemons (save the juice for the syrup)  
For Syrup:
Juice from the 2 lemons
Heaping 1 cup confectioners' sugar 
Ok, important thing for me to point out...I didn't know what polenta actually looked like so I super failed & accidentally bought the precooked polenta at Trader Joe's. It's already seasoned & salted so I decided not to use it since it might ruin the cake.
I ended up just substituting with an extra 3/4 cup of almond meal. It still turned out ok!


Cut parchment paper to fit at the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.


Spray sides of pan with non-stick spray or use butter.


Cream the room temperature butter and sugar together in a large bowl.


In a separate bowl, combine the almond meal, baking powder, & polenta (if using).
Then add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients into the butter and mix.
When it is well mixed, add in 1 egg.
Continue to alternate dry ingredients and eggs, beating till well combined.


Zest the 2 lemons and add into batter.


Pour the batter into the pan. Spread evenly (duh).


Preheat the oven to 350F.
Bake cake for about 40 minutes.
Test the cake with a toothpick and if it doesn't come out clean, continue to bake for about 5-10 more minutes.


After the cake is baked, leave it in the pan to cool.
Now, time to make the syrup!

Juice the 2 lemons you just zested, remember to strain it to get rid of seeds & pulp.
Add the juice and 1 cup of powdered sugar into a small pot.


Turn stove to medium heat and heat up the syrup just until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Remember to whisk! Or it'll burn.


Poke holes over the top of the cake with a toothpick.
Pour the warm syrup (all of it) onto the cake.


Let the syrup soak into the cake and allow it to cool.
I let it sit overnight.


It looks kinda ugly but it tastes really refreshing and lemony. Just like lemon curd!
The texture is meant to be kinda soft & sticky. This doesn't mean it's undercooked.
Nigella didn't let me down! I would like to try it with polenta next time to see if it makes a difference in texture.

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Yayyyyy! The whole video got released today!! 
His new album is really good. Somebody Else is probably my favorite song on the album *_*
This is how you do legit kpop, not that annoying teeny bopper crap that's out these days. This is a very obvious sign that I'm getting old T___T


♥♥♥

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Taiwan Trip: Taipei 101

You can't possibly visit Taipei and not check out Taipei 101.


The tree is two different shades of green O.o


It's a rather touristy spot but I like going there to eat and shop.
Ok, mainly window shop since most of the shops, except Zara, are too klassy for me lol.



Forever the Asian favorite >.>
It's more crowded than a supermarket in there!


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We went to eat at the ever so popular Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) to see what the fuss is all about.
The restaurant is located on B1, where the food court is. This is supposed to be the biggest Din Tai Fung location in the world.
Yeah...it was packed. So many tourists! You had to get a ticket and wait for your number to be called. Cray cray!

  
The menu is very tourist friendly. It's in Chinese, English, Korean, and Japanese.


The restaurant is very well decorated. There's huge glass panels so you can see the Xialongbaos being made.


Din Tai Fung is famous around the world for their Xialongbaos.


The minions are constantly wrapping and steaming.


Below is what we ordered =]
Marinated bean curd thingy as appetizer.


Orginial Xiaolongbaos (of course)
These really are very good. The skin is paper thin & there's piping hot soup inside. Very flavorful!


These are a different flavor, shrimp and some sort of vegetable. Sorry, forgot the name D:
I prefer the original though.


Sauteed vegetables


Pork chop fried rice


Overall, the food was good but not amazing. Yes, the XLBs were delicious but I would not line up with the other crazies to eat here again.
I do think it was much better than the Din Tai Fung in LA though. More authentic, I suppose.
I think there are a ton of other places to eat in Taipei that are just as good, if not better.


The prices are high, since it's mainly for tourists.
I think it's overrated! Every Din Tai Fung location in Taiwan will have a line going out the door.
I really do not understand why so many people around the world are so obsessed with this place. To each his own I guess =\

Here is the information for the Taipei 101 location:
鼎泰豐 - Din Tai Fung 
B1F., No.45, Shifu Rd., Xinyi Dist., Taipei City 110,
Taiwan (R.O.C.)
TEL: 02-8101-7799
Business hours:
Sun~Thu:11:00-21:30
Fri,Sat&Before Holiday:11:00-22:00   

                                 
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The food court at Taipei 101 also has tons of great things to eat. On a completely different level than the crap food courts you find in US malls. 
I love the bubble tea drinks at Coco. So cheap too!



The cream puffs here are soooo good. I forget the name but it is right across from Coco.
I highly recommend the mango cream puff.



Mos Burger! My fave XD




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I cannot wait till the whole video is released *\^o^/* 
Brillianttttt omg *spazz* 
Ok, aside from the creepy "JYP Se7en" whispering hahahha


♥♥♥

P.S. I have no internet and I'm dying!!!! Had to go to my cousin's place to use internet & write this post. How dedicated am I, huh?? xP

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Face Shop Strawberry Smoothie Mask Pack

While perusing The Face Shop in Taiwan, I decided to pick up the Strawberry Smoothie Mask Pack.
I was kinda brainwashed into buying it after the SA tried it on my hand. He just kept talking and I agreed to buy it just so he'd stop talking to me hahaha


This is supposed to be part of their Real Nature line I think. Therefore, I am assuming there are real strawberries in this mask...
The packaging is lovely, looks like a jar of jam!


The mask has a jelly texture. I am sure there are real strawberries in the pack since I can see the seeds.
This stuff smells soooo good. Quite intoxicating, really XD
It smells like artificial strawberries lol


The instructions say to wet your face after cleansing & apply the mask all over your face.
Leave on for 5-10 minutes then wash off.


The mask leaves your skin very smooth and supple. I recall the SA telling me that this mask helps moisturize the skin. But don't all masks kinda do that?
Regardless, I quite like it since it's quick and easy to use. I have seen it sold at The Face Shop location near me in the US.
There are also kiwi and apple versions of this mask. Think I may try the other flavors in the future!

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Used the Jill Stuart nail polish I got in Taiwan! I got 38 Planet Glaze which is a dark blue glitter with a jelly finish.
Isn't the bottle purrrrdy?!


Jill Stuart polishes have a very faint floral smell after the polish dries. The scent only lasts for about a day after, definitely not as strong as the rose scents in Anna Sui polishes. 


The formula is very nice, super easy to apply. It doesn't chip too easily on my nails either.


I got this for around $15 US at a department store in Taiwan. Not too pricey. 
But this shade was the only one that I liked out of all the other JS polishes. The others were just too pink and princessy for me -_-

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Like! 
Even if Brian's hair really bothers me >.> Why so fobby!? You grew up in LA for cryin out loud!


♥♥♥

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Taiwan Trip: Xi Men Ding (西門町)

Xi Men Ding (西門町) is one of my favorite places to shop when I go to Taipei.
It's located in the Wanhua District (萬華區) in Taipei. [Wikipedia entry]


Before I was let loose to shop like cray, we went to get dimsum first.
*cue obligatory food pictures*

Pan fried radish...cakes? No idea what they are called in English but in Chinese, it's Luo Bo Gao (蘿蔔糕).


BBQ pork puff pastry pies


Stewed chicken feet
Excuse my aunt trying to make the foot give me the finger...how mature XD


Sticky chicken rice wrapped in leaves


Shrimp dumplings


BBQ pork buns


Meatballs


Sesame glutinous rice balls with red bean filling


Steamed custard bun


Mango pudding
Slightly ruined by the gross minty cherry on top >.>


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After dimsum, it was time to shop!!
Xi Men Ding is a closed off area where cars are not allowed. Meaning you can shop in peace without worrying that a motorcycle was gonna run you over!
There are tons of shops and stalls that sell all types of bits and bobs for pretty cheap prices. 

If you are looking for a place that has Korean cosmetics stores, Xi Men Ding is the place to go. 
The Face Shop, Tony Moly, & Nature Republic are all next door to each other. So go cray!


The Face Shop was the most crowded & popular store out of the 3 brands. 
We spent almost an hour inside this store.
Those SAs just won't stop talking to you! It's like a vortex. They suck you in and you can't leave till you are tricked into buying a boatload of stuff.

Kim Hyun Joong's face was plastered all over the store.
Lucky for Nunu, I took pictures of the creepy posing for her viewing pleasure, bahahahahaha =P


Because I can't not take a fobby photo if I come across a cutout of a kpop star.
Look, we even match! (Am positive Nunu is giving me judgy face for this ^o^)


When I thought I had seen enough kpop stars being whored out by makeup brands, I walked over to Nature Republic.
This brand chose to whore out Jang Geun Suk. He looks like an elf creature lost in an enchanted forest.
Can you "FEEL THE NATURE"? ^o^


And yes, of course I took a photo next to this cutout but it came out too fob so I refuse to post it!
So this will just be of him, posing like a diva.


By the time I finished taking pictures of kpop celebrity cutouts it was already dark. -_-


And I was hungry...again.
We went to the super famous Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle (engrish much??)
There are apparently a lot of locations in Taiwan but this is the original one.


This place is always ridiculously crowded & there's no tables. Only a few dinky stools. 
They only sell one item. The "flour-rice noodle" lol. It's a thick soup with short rice noodle & cuttlefish balls. 


It comes out piping hot & they add cilantro, hot sauce, garlic & vinegar I think. Really really good! 
MUST EAT if you go to Xi Men Ding. Just ask anyone there where this place is & they will direct you.
It is located across the walkway from the Nike store.
Omg, this was so hard to eat while standing, but totally worth it!


Then I was thirsty so I went next door for a drank.
This is passion fruit with coconut jelly thingies & tapioca pearls. Only ~$1.50 USD :O


There are so many little shops that sell jewelry, lashes, accessories, clothes, shoes. If you want, Xi Men Ding probably sells it. 
Lots of young people hang out here. It's supposedly a "hip area." I'm not hip but I come here anyway, whatevs =P


Went to Mister Donut to buy the next day's breakfast!


The Pon De Strawberry is my fave!! I think that Mister Donut is better than donuts in the US. These look cuter and the texture is completely different. 
The Pon De Ring has a very chewy texture. Oh how I miss them!


Cute!! I couldn't help squealing like a loser in the store. People probably thought I was a tourist from some middle-of-nowhere place who'd never seen a donut before XD


I was too busy shopping so I didn't even remember to take pictures of the stores. And they probably would've given me stank eye if I tried to take pictures. Therefore, I mainly have pictures of food!

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What's the hottest time of day?
....2PM!
......yeah, I'm kool like that.


♥♥♥

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