Hot Polka Dot
14Feb/13

My Mind Lets Go A Thousand Things.

Chocolate Raspberry Forbidden Love Cake via @hotpolkadot

Chocolate Raspberry Forbidden Love Cake via @hotpolkadotChocolate Raspberry Forbidden Love Cake via @hotpolkadot

I've always been fascinated by the things our mind chooses to remember and the things it chooses to forget.

I can't remember learning to whistle, but I can vividly remember that time in fifth grade when Justin Kennedy flashed one of his perfect smiles at me. That terrible haircut I got to impress him thankfully didn't last for long and my whistling skills have only improved.

I can't remember the moment I met my best friend, but I can clearly recall my recurring childhood nightmares about ET. He hid in my closet mostly and creeped up on me with his weird glowing finger. I'm still terrified of ET, but at least my best friend understands me.

I can't recollect the details of that amazing Radiohead concert, but I can remember every excruciating hour that my cat was lost by the airline. My cat is subsequently terrible at travelling, but my souvenir Radiohead t-shirt is still my favourite despite the holes and faded patches.

Sometimes it even feels like the space between our ears is finite. You learn a new friend's name and suddenly you forget your PIN number. You finally memorize your favourite pizza dough recipe and you forget who your eighth grade math teacher was. You cram for your written driving test and instantly forget which key fits in the back door deadbolt.

Here to illustrate my point is Thomas Bailey Aldrich with one of my favourite poems, both beautiful and aptly named, Memory.

My mind lets go a thousand things,
Like dates of wars and deaths of kings,
And yet recalls the very hour -
'Twas noon by yonder village tower,
And on the last blue moon in May -
The wind came briskly up this way,
Crisping the brook beside the road;
Then pausing here, set down its load
Of pine scents, and shook listlessly
Two petals from that wild-rose tree.

I remember seeing my sweetie for the first time. He was framed in my basement apartment peephole nervously shifting his weight to one foot while clutching a bouquet of flowers. I remember hearing his voice for the first time and being startled by how deep and warm it was. I remember how much his whiskers tickled when I kissed him. I look forward to capturing little mental snapshots like these in the years to come.

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope it's one to remember!

Chocolate Raspberry Forbidden Love Cake via @hotpolkadot

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4Aug/12

Pink Lemonade.

I know, it's hot outside. I should be making ice cream, or popsicles, or lemonade. The last thing I should be doing is turning on the oven. But what if I made the doughnut version of lemonade? And what if I told you they only take five minutes to bake?

You'd forgive me right?

I thought so.

Not just any lemonade either. Cherry Lemonade. You'll find no boring old lemonade in this house. Actually you'll find no lemonade. Because I drank and/or ate it all.

I'm not sure what it is about lemonade that's just so undeniably refreshing. Maybe it's because it's best to drink it super cold with loads of ice cubes. Maybe it's because of that satisfying crack noise the ice makes when you drop each inside. Maybe it's because of those beads of condensation that form on the outside of the glass that make it all so inviting. Maybe it's because of the bendy straw you just have to drink it from so you don't get ice in your face every time you take a sip or because it's lemonade and it's wrong not to. Maybe it's because of that instinct you get to drink it on the porch since it's the closest you can get to lounging on a sunny beach somewhere with a floppy hat and oversized sunglasses.

Maybe it's a combination.

I always enjoy taking an classic recipe and mixing it up a bit. What could be more classic than lemonade? It's the new and improved pink lemonade! This version is just as refreshing, twice addictive and thrice adorable. Being that they're bite-sized they tend to disappear quickly. Get some before they're gone!

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26Sep/10

Project Food Blog #2: The Classics.

“Ready to tackle a classic dish from another culture? Pick an ethnic classic that is outside your comfort zone or are not as familiar with. You should include how you arrived at this decision in your post. Do your research then try to pull off successfully creating this challenge. Try to keep the dish as authentic as the real deal, and document your experience through a compelling post.”

I represent a diverse combination of cultures from around the world. On my dad's side there's Irish, Scottish and possibly a little Native Canadian mixed in there somewhere, but we're not too sure. On my mom's side there's Dutch and Indonesian.

I could have chosen to make any classic dish from any culture, but that wouldn't be as meaningful. Sure it would probably be delicious and I'd learn a lot about it, but I'd prefer to learn a bit about my own culture and, in turn, learn something about myself.

I'm pretty familiar with Scottish, Irish and Dutch food so I opted for something a little outside my comfort zone and also very challenging. Though I am part Indonesian I've never tried any Indonesian desserts like this Kue Lapis Legit (Indonesian) a.k.a. Spekkoek (Dutch) a.k.a. Thousand Layer Cake.

Through my research I found out that this cake was born out of the colonial period in Indonesia when Dutch settlers were melding with the native people. Both cultures influenced each other and out of the diverse sharing of traditions came this cake. Dutch baking methods collided with Indonesian spices.

The symbolism of the layers is poetic. Two cultures, both unique and beautiful, both contributing equally to make something sweet. Everyone has their layers and we would be lucky if they were made of sugar and spice and everything nice.

I like to picture my beautiful Indonesian great great grandmother baking this cake with her loving Dutch husband. It's a sweltering morning on the island of Sumatra and the lazy breeze sends the scent of this new cake whirling through the settlement past banana trees and around mischievous monkeys. She hums a curious tune to herself as she adds the final layer to the cake while he puts another log in the oven.

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7Aug/10

Honey for My Honey.

Just bear with me here and allow me to put my serious hat on for a few minutes. If you don't want to read on about a gooey love story and how ridiculously giddy it makes me then I'd suggest you stop now or skip ahead to the cake part. I won't tell. Promise.

A year ago today I had bangs and actually pulled it off nicely. A year ago today I lived three provinces away in a basement apartment where I hid my cat from my landlords. A year ago today I spent more of my free time on the phone than other people spend breathing or blinking. A year ago today I was a bundle of nerves waiting patiently for the love of my life to walk through my door.

We hadn't even met in person and I loved him more than life itself. Naive? Of course. True. Certainly.

Today I've grown out my hair and it doesn't even annoy me. Today I'm sure I have more laugh lines and I don't even care because of how they were gained. Today I woke up next to the man that is my match in every way. Today is our one year anniversary and I couldn't be happier.

Because he holds the truck door for me every time. Because of how safe I feel in his arms. Because of his amazing daughter. Because of how we finish each others sentences. Because of the way he laughs when we do the fist bump explosion. Because of the way his hand fits into mine. I made this Honey Lemon Pound Cake for my Lee, my honey. I love you.

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29Jun/10

Mousse and Other Nonesuch Things.

I have a few pet peeves. Ok maybe more than a few, but I won't make you labour through reading all that, so here are just a few:

Dried toothpaste in the sink. A sticky nightmare to clean off and you just know it's been in someone's mouth.

The word flimsy. It sounds too much like my own name. Call me crazy, but I don't like it.

When people mispronounce or misspell words we use everyday like supposebly for supposedly, presentating for presenting and know for no. That's no way to communicate people.

A sink filled with dirty dishes next to an empty dishwasher. No further explanation is necessary.

Soap scum. So getting clean somehow makes the shower dirty. Really? How fair is that?

Bugs. Just get your creepiness out of my house! Nobody likes you!

Fingerprints on my glasses. Call me obsessive compulsive, but I prefer to see out of those things.

When you peel the lid off an open tub of cream cheese and the last person to use it has left the metal seal on it.

That sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when you experiment with a completely new recipe for the first time and you're sure something horrible is going to go wrong.

The best part is when that bad feeling is replaced by a good feeling that causes you to pump your fists in the air and jump up and down. Yeah, I love me some good feelings.

The whole afternoon I was worried about how the mousse layer would turn out in my Lemon Blackberry Mousse Sponge Cake. I'd never made a mousse layer in a cake before. It would surely be a catastrophe. I nervously opened the fridge dozens of times to check on it and I fretted over it when I gingerly poked the parchment paper with my finger. I was sure that when I peeled back that parchment paper that all heck would break loose and my mousse would come pouring out like some unstoppable force. Then I'd have to cry in a puddle of my own purple failure.

Luckily that was all in my imagination. I mean, look at it! I don't like to brag, but come on really, It's perfect! You know how much I like to make things pretty and I'm proud to say this is one of the prettiest things I've ever created. Pretty and pretty tasty to boot.

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