First Day of School 2020o

6am. The girl woke up. Reckon she’s excited on the first day of school. The boy slowly peeled his body off the bed at 6.30am. Stretched his lazy bones and started his day.

There weren’t much changes to their waking up time. It’s been like this since the beginning of time but today instead of getting out of the house at 8ish, we had to leave slightly past 7.

The boy scooted as we walked the girl to school. As she entered the school compound, the boy turned towards me and complained, “Why can’t I go to Jie Jie’s school?”

Soon, my dear boy, soon. Yet, in my heart, I hope that day won’t come so soon. I realised I miss being with my kids. Six hours away from them seems terrible. We know initially they would be six hours away from us and then gradually the hours will only keep increasing.

Irony. For years, I’ve been yearning for ME time but today when I had that two hours of no-kids moment, I actually felt sad. There’s a certain sense of loss which I can’t explain.

The kids and I had a very full and fulfilling school hols during the past six weeks. We were kept busy with playdates, exploring of places, sports activities, workshops and various kinds of meetups. Though at times, they drove me nuts, 90% of the time, I actually enjoyed being with them and listening to their conversations (which can be hilarious).

Okay, I need to stop being so emotional and get on with life. 2019, you’ve been awesome. 2020, will you be equally great?

P.S. I ought to do a summary post on 2019. Tsk

Sibling <3 and a Chocolate Tartlet Recipe

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It’s amazing how kids can gel a family together.

Growing up, my siblings and I weren’t very close. Each of us is very different in character and we valued the space that we gave to one another. That also translates to little communication among us. However, that changed when we have kids.

Perhaps, it’s because we are living apart. Bro is in Shanghai and my sis is in Jogjakarta and the distance does make the hearts grow fonder. We want to be updated on one another’s progress and how the kids are doing. Thankfully, apps like WeChat helps to connect us virtually.

So, while each of us is unique in our own ways, we are ultimately a family who cares for one another.

These chocolate tarts seem to resemble us. While on the outside, we may be different – each with his or her own character and personality – we are similar on several notes, sharing bittersweet memories of growing up and the “never-give-up” spirit from mom.

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The tarts are simple to make and it’s important to choose the best and freshest ingredients (i.e. butter, chocolate, eggs) and allow them to shine! Once you have baked the tarts, all you have to do is to pipe or spoon the chocolate ganache (chocolate + heavy cream) onto the tarts. You can eat the tarts as they are or if you want a little variation, decorate the tarts with fruits (like strawberries or pears or top them with chocolate shavings or cocoa nibs. I think it’s all up to your creativity.

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Chocolate Tart Recipe
Pate Sucree Shells*
150g bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped ( I used 72% Valhorna covertures)
1/3 cup heavy cream (whipping cream)

The chocolate ganache can yield about 5 3 1/2 inch tartlets.

*Pate Scree Tart Shell
(makes two 7-inch tart or ten 3 1/2 inch tartlets)
Adapted from Miette Cookbook

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour20130925-213628.jpg
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
226g cold unsalted butter, cubed (1 whole block)
2 large egg yolks
4 to 8 tbsp heavy cream

1. In the bowl of a standmixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter and beat until the mixture is the consistency of cornmeal.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 2 tbsp of the cream. Add to the flour mixture and mix until just combined. If the dough does not come together into large chunks, slowly add the remaining cream, a little bit at a time, until it does. I took about 5 tbsp. Gather the dough into a ball, pat it into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and unwrap. Divide the dough to make the portions you need. I used the pressing in method to press the dough into the tart pans. Prick all over the bottom with the tines of a fork and place in the freezer to firm up for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 180C.

5. Fully pre-bake for about 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Every oven is different. For me, I tend to put to bake for a tad longer, sometimes up to 20 minutes. I will always look at the colour to determine if the tarts are baked to my liking.

6. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before filling with the chocolate ganache.

7. While the shells cool, make the ganache. Bring heavy cream to a boil over medium-high heat. As soon as it begins to boil remove from heat and add in the chopped chocolate. Whisk until smooth.

8. With the tartlet shells now cool, pipe or spoon the chocolate ganache onto the tarts.

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Have fun baking!