When you live in the province away from dedicated arts supplies store.. you gotta improvise if the material you want is unavailable. In this case, it’s calligraphy ink. I have a coupla small jars of sumi ink but given their non-availability in my immediate vicinity, they seem far too precious to waste on practice and drills. But I need ink to practice anyway, so what do I use?
So I have been using a tiny generic planner for the last two years now. And even with the cramped space, I find that I still have quite a lot of gaping blank spaces all over the planner. Most entries are just the usual events like birthdays and holidays, and then book and movie releases, and then the occasional coffee date or two with friends. I live an utterly boring life, I know. So there’s really no sensible reason to upgrade to another kind of planner.
BUT. Starbucks Philippines released their 2017 planners and I fell in love with the Siren planner, uneventful life be damned. I mean, just look at this beauty. 😍
Okay, so this might not be the most appetizing photo of the infamous Swiss Meringue Buttercream. But I assure you, it is every bit as smooth and creamy and velvety as they come. 😉 Oh, and this is coffee-flavored, that’s why it is that color.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream, or SMBC for short, seems notoriously tricky to make. Especially since the usual process (adding cubes of softened butter to the meringue) undergoes a sort of curdling stage before evening out to the smooth and fluffy frosting you’re aiming to make. So you take the time to make the meringue all nice and fluffy and stiff peaky, only for it to deflate and look like curdled shit once you start adding the butter. It’s quite disheartening, really. Especially if you’re using a hand mixer like me (the ngalay is real). For a newbie (like yours truly), going through that stage can really freak you out. I mean, how is that soupy, curdled mess supposed to end up as SMBC? Okay, so being patient and whipping and/or beating the hell out of that mess will produce the heard-earned SMBC in the end. But still. Is there no other way?
Who doesn’t love the hazelnut-y chocolatey goodness that is Nutella? No one, I think, unless you have severe nut allergy or are just plain boring. 😛 Just kidding. Anywho. For all my waxing poetic about Nutella, I actually only like it in small doses. I mean, I can probably finish my fair share of a jar, but I’d do it with small licks and nibbles off the spoon rather than with mouthfuls of the stuff, you know?
That’s why I quite like Nutella-flavored stuff more than the actual thing itself, like these cookies above. Don’t they look lovely? They have a nice dose of chocolate and Nutella goodness, are soft and a bit chewy. Salivating yet? 😉 And best thing is, my daughter–who, sadly, is not too fond of baked goods–ate one out of her own volition. Ooookay, so I had to persuade her to take that first bite, but she ended up eating the cookie after so I’m chuffed about that. 😀
This only works if you live outside the US.
So much cream in the title, yeah? 😉 But that’s a good thing in this case. I mean, who really wants thin, melty, runny frosting, right?
I mean, look at this creamy and stable frosting on my blue velvet cupcakes (recipe and story to follow, promise). Yabang no? 😛 When in reality, this is just a small test batch for my daughter’s requested birthday cupcakes. But seriously, it’s good stuff. Like, lick-the-spatula-and-beaters kind of good. This is not one of those usual sickly sweet, too-much-powdered-sugar cream cheese frosting you usually find on red velvet crinkles. 😉 Wanna know how I did it?