Tag Archives: family

Marshmallow Meringue Frosting

Filipino-style mocha cake with coffee buttercream and dark chocolate coffee bean candies and sprinkles

The cake I sent with Rhys for his birthday. Delicious and was devoured to rave reviews, despite its’ flaws.

So, I made a Filipino-style mocha cake for Rhys’ birthday, that he took to work. It was delicious; but because I kept getting interrupted (by external reasons, lots of phone calls, etc) it ended up a bit denser than normal. Apparently everyone got excited seeing the cake and thought it looked at tasted ‘absolutely amazing.’

However, both Rhys and I knew I could do better. So I made a devil’s food cake, (2 layers, 8 inches each) and decided that it should have a marshmallow meringue frosting, and dark chocolate drip ganache topping it, that he will take with him to work.

Devil's food cake with marshmallow meringue frosting and dark chocolate ganache

Better effort, with Rhys decorating it this time.

 

Rhys got keen on frosting the cake to be brought along, so he did the frosting on this one that I’ve taken a photo of up top. The chocolate ganache is pooled at the bottom ‘because yum.’ I love that man. ^_^

I had Vincent make a cake for practice a few days ago, to teach him the correct order in which one adds melted butter into a cake, versus accidentally cooking the egg added into a cake and it tastes awesome, but was very crumby (it’s also devil’s food cake). The leftover marshmallow meringue frosting is slathered on top like a fluffy sugar cloud. Kiddo’s learning a lot this school holidays; baking cakes, cooking dinner, assembling a whole workstation class computer from scratch with very minimal help (only putting on the liquid cooler and the thermal paste) – and it worked perfectly!

Devil's food cake with marshmallow meringue frosting

Son’s practice cake, now with frosting =9

But, as you can see, it makes a lot of frosting (that’s a 10 inch single layer cake) so it probably has enough for a 2 layer 9 inch cake.

I like using a little bit of cream of tartar to get the egg whites started on frothing before I put them in the double boiler, but other recipes don’t include it, so you may omit if you like.

Print Recipe
Marshmallow Meringue Frosting
Use as a frosting, or as a layer on top of a cake and then cover with ganache, use on top of a mousse or top and sear with a kitchen blowtorch, or pipe, or blop on for a casual, fluffy but engaging frosting style! Makes enough to frost 2 layers of a 9 inch cake, with enough to spare.
Course dessert, frosting
Servings
Ingredients
Course dessert, frosting
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Start by boiling water in a large saucepan, enough to heat the bottom of your bowl. Bring to a boil, then lower to simmer.
  2. Mix together the egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla, until lightly frothy, in a bowl, using a handheld electric mixer with the whisk attachments. For ease and sanity, I tend to use the same mixing bowl that my stand mixer uses. When slightly frothy, place bowl in the water.
  3. Moving the speed of your mixer to high, mixing all the while, add the sugar, either shaking it in gradually from your bowl or 1/8 cup at a time. Make sure it is dissolved.
  4. Mix for 7 minutes, on highest speed, moving your mixer's whisks around to make the marshmallow white and silky.
  5. Immediately move the bowl to your stand mixer, tapping out the leftover meringue from your whisks into the bowl. Beat on the highest speed your stand mixer can do for 10-12 minutes.
  6. Use as desired; on your cake, sear with a kitchen blowtorch on top of your pie or mousse, etc.
Share this Recipe

New Game Console

So, my son Vincent decided that he was tired of playing the XBox One, XBox 360, the PS2 and the Nintendo 64 and the DreamCast,  … and he had a Christmas gift card he hadn’t used yet. He decided on a new game console, suitable for 2018 gaming.

That’s what he came home with.

Continue reading

A Visit Back To The Mother Country

Wedding couple at the San Augustin Church

The wedding had all the ceremonies observed; we did our parts too!

 

The family all visited the Philippines for the first time in 6 years; for my youngest brother’s wedding. It was a short visit, hectic – but ultimately fun and wonderful. I sadly didn’t have time to interview my Mom for stories as I would have liked (so I can start writing those family stories), but she had fun being Lola to her (currently only) grandchildren, and ‘spoiling her baby daughter’ – so I have a load of daster dresses (yay!) and having Rhys and I eat with her at her new favourite food places. I went home with the intention of being able to eat some of the foods I seriously missed while overseas, and while that ambition was partly fulfilled, I feel rather sad that I didn’t get to sample more of the smorgasbord that is Filipino food and restaurant variety.

The Tombstone Hamburger Stack challenge

We didn’t have the time (it was late at night) to try this challenge, alas.

(To our amusement, the kids simply adored Jolibee, though Vincent found the burgers ‘too small’, and Rhys could eat three Filipino-sized servings of food by himself.) I didn’t get a chance to eat fishballs, or Goldilock’s Cathedral Windows, but I did manage to have some Red Ribbon (and introduced Vincent to the joys of mamon, that fluffy Filipino angel food-sponge.)

I did bring home lots of powdered juice mixes and Mom, upon finding out that Nescafe Berry Coffee was something Rhys – the consumate tea drinker – deeply enjoyed, made it a point to ensure that her only son-in-law had a package of single-serves to bring back to Australia. Note to self: next time, bring even LESS clothes, and bigger suitcases for the children, because while I sent home two balikbayan (return to homeland) boxes full of pasalubong (‘welcoming’ gifts) we got given so much there’s a huge plastic chest of stuff we couldn’t fit on our baggage allowance (30kg per person) that Mom says she’ll send in parcels – with more food things that we liked, but didn’t get a chance to bring home more of. (Waah, I realised just now I left behind my little cookies with the little drop of hard icing on top. I wanted to nibble on those while on the plane ride home!) The pasalubong will mostly go to folks my Mom knows; as they’re mostly ‘thank you for taking care of my Mom for me’ appreciation gifts.

I will have to learn to make taho myself though. =/

Continue reading

Geeky delights

Eldest son had his birthday recently, and of course, got presents. He’s older now, and it’s actually easier to buy him things, given his recent introduction to manga – he blew through the various ones I have that we parents deemed okay for him. He loves Card Captor Sakura – we pushed to get the 4 omnibus set; and is excited to learn that CCS: Clear Card is currently ongoing. His response when he found out that Skip Beat! isn’t over yet: “NOOOOOO!!! I have to wait!” Sometime recently he asked me if there were going to be any more books in Dave Freer’s Dragon Ring series (I don’t know.) and soon he’ll be old enough to be introduced to Monster Hunter International, and later, The Dresden Files.

Reading boy = happy parents.

He also loves video games, of course, but we don’t go out of the way to get the latest and the newest consoles (our house has a Sega Dreamcast, a Nintendo 64, Xbox 360/1, I thiiink we have a PS2, but that thing isn’t hooked up and is somewhere… maybe a PS3 now, inherited from my brother-in-law) because we tend to play on PC for the most part (insert PC Master Race joke here), but it’s the holidays.

Well, this was his big pressie – a full scale display model (ergo, it’s purely decorative and not sharp) of Frostmourne, the sword of Arthas the Lich King. Aff got him a small Arthas figure and some awesome tech swag – a desk-mat, a Genji themed mouse, and Heroes of the Storm Turtle Beach headsets – sort of a mix of birthday and Christmas pressies, really.

The sword replica is almost as big as he is too, and he had problems lifting it, remarking repeatedly that it was heavy and huge and he couldn’t imagine how Arthas would swing it around… then his father picked it up one handed, to his glee and delight.

We’ll have a ‘proper’ party for when some friends will be around (School holidays = kiddies go off to Grandparents to visit, usually.)

Continue reading

Small Amusements and Memories

 

I like cups with funny sayings on them – funny to me, mind. A source of very minor contention in my household is my tendency to accumulate mugs – lots of mugs, a lot of them with amusing little phrases (one has an old-fashioned poison logo on it). I also have some plain mugs, and a while back I saw on Pinterest that there was someone who took a sharpie to their plain mugs and wrote on them, then baked the mugs to make the writing permanent.

Well, to satisfy my wanting more funny mugs, I decided to write on my plain mugs and not bake them, so that when the writing washes away, I can put a new funny saying. David was saying he needed a mug that had little lines on the side, measuring “Don’t talk to me… don’t talk to me…” and at the bottom, “You may now speak.” I retorted that he would probably never put the last bit on his mug, and he laughed and said I was probably right.

~~~

Mom told me today that she was unable to sleep because of memories triggered by a documentary about the Philippine Martial Law era. She remembered how my father came very close to being arrested along with one of his friends, who was also a student activist – like most of the students of the time. They were to meet at the University of Diliman campus, but Dad was a little late. By the time he got there, he saw his friend being hauled off by police. The friend, Vic Mendoza, was able to discreetly signal to my father to pretend that they didn’t know each other. So my father, heeding that, walked past him, looked past him, even though it likely hurt him deeply to pretend that he didn’t know his friend.

Vic Mendoza was detained for a long time. Just before my father and mother were married, he was finally released. One of the first people he visited after his release was my Dad. Previously a man with a mischievous sense of humour and intelligent wit, he and Dad were known as a pair of clowns. Afterward he was a rather changed man – quieter, my Mom remembers. When my father asked him how he was, and what happened, Vic said, “Let’s not talk about it.”

Mom says that he and my father were very popular with the girls back in their college years because of their love of bouncing repartee back and forth. They were popular because you spent a lot of time laughing at what they said and how they said it.

She says that Vic later became a doctor, and indications that he hadn’t completely lost his mischievous nature from what torments he suffered while imprisoned surfaced around then. He had an American classmate, and for one reason or another they needed photo IDs. Vic offered to obtain one for the fellow. When the friend agreed, Vic got him an ID… with Vic’s face on it!

Spaces

I’m not sure why this one’s been sticking in my head today, but it has. Perhaps it’s the wind, howling outside with the sun shining down through an unrelenting blue sky, that’s jogging my memory…

 

Some years ago, Rhys and I faced a dilemma – how to get his job to recognise that he had a family, and was supporting one, as opposed to being a single man with no financial responsibilities. After much research, Rhys found the answer: to be recognised as a de-facto relationship, a legal definition in Australia which is similar to ‘common-law spouse’, I guess. For this to happen, we had to live together, as a household, with shared finances and living arrangements, for more than six months. It just so happened that at the time, Rhys had been assigned a three-bedroom residence in Sydney. It took some time to decide on logistics, but the time period we finally worked out was bad for our eldest to come and stay with us as she was attending school (and she wouldn’t be able to attend school in Australia for that period of time.) So for a short while, I lived in Sydney with Rhys, and our then youngest, Vincent, who was three years old at the time.

Continue reading

Swiftness of the seasons

Lately I’ve been struck by how quickly time flies, mostly in relation to Rhys and I.

13 years together – it shocks me sometimes, when I look back. I have a photo of him and Vincent as a newborn, sleeping together. I see the photo and note how young and … light… Rhys looks in that photo. It brings tears of joy to my eyes. Tears of sorrow too, because I know why he aged, and it’s not just the passage of time. We’ve both aged, and the scars still bleed.

Still, somehow, we’ve survived and we’re somehow still going on.

So as part of getting myself back on the thing of drawing after a long hiatus due to health and RL concerns, I’ve been drawing. I’ve had some images stuck in my head inspired by various pieces of music. I’ve been drawing them as best as I can; the others are not finished yet, but this one I kind of didn’t want to continue touching up any more, because of the emotions it conveyed for me.

Thirteen years. Wow. It seems like such a long time but it sure flew by really fast. If I feel like this now, I wonder how it’ll be like when we’re both in our sixties, or older. Continue reading

Books Old and New

So, my son literally (hahahahaha see what I did there?) devoured every single Matthew Reilly book I have, except for The Tournament. He barely had put down The Four Legendary Kingdoms and was already looking for more. (He was VERY upset with what happened in Scarecrow.)

So I gave him what I had of Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series, scraped together the money for  Games Wizards Play and it arrived just as he got through The Wizard’s Dilemma. I read GWP first of course, but hesitated on giving it to my son initially because of the sexuality/relationships subthemes. Son has a puppy-love girlfriend, but he isn’t mature enough yet for the more complicated hormones-sexuality-etc soup; and since I’d told him to come to me and ask if he had any questions, the introduction of a couple of young openly gay characters wasn’t something I was sure I’d explain just yet. So I went to have a chat with my son about the book.

Turns out though, he already knew that ‘gay’ = people who date/fall in love with the same sex, so while he doesn’t know/care about the nuts and bolts of it, he knows about that. (How, he’s not really sure. Kids pick up stuff.) Since Games never goes into more detail than ‘he’s/I’m gay/have a boyfriend’, I changed my mind on that score. Since we were talking about it already, I explained, very simply, what asexuality was, since that crops up too. (Son knows basic biological scientific sex; e.g. what makes a baby.)

I know there are some folks out there who will scream ‘censorship’ but, quite honestly, sod off. My son might be more emotionally mature than most kids his age (the death of two siblings will do that to a child who’s old enough), or perhaps a bit smarter (reading will do that) but I am pacing what he reads based on what I observe he’s ready to handle, or understand properly, or understands so he can properly enjoy or react to the work.This is a kid whose level of relationship is that ‘you’re boyfriend and girlfriend if you like each other and kiss and hold hands.’

In much the same way I wouldn’t hand him any of Anne Bishop’s books, and I love her writing, and am waiting until he’s a bit more mature before I give him any of Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter series, and going by current development, the boyo might not read the Monster Hunter Memoirs books until he’s 14 or 15.

Toward that end I’m trying to get my hands on hardcover David Eddings books; and trying to find the first trilogy of Dragonlance.

It’s rather interesting that most of my book purchases of late haven’t been new release books, but trying to hunt down older ones. I prefer hardcovers now because they’re more durable and stand up to re-re-re-re-reading. I got lucky and found a Domes of Fire volume that has Larry Elmore’s art on it.

This is the reason why ultimately, my Dragon Awards nominations are rather sparse.

Best Science Fiction Novel : Star Realms: Rescue Run by Jon Del Arroz

Best Fantasy: Monster Hunter Memoirs: Sinners by John Ringo & Larry Correia (I know Larry recused himself from further Dragon Award noms, but John Ringo’s still game for it)

Best YA novel: Would have voted for: Games Wizards Play – Diane Duane (released too early to qualify; first half of 2016)

Best Horror Novel : Etched in Bone – Anne Bishop

Best Graphic Novel: Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files: Wild Card

Best Movie: Dr. Strange

Best video game: Would have voted for: Nier: Automata (released too early to qualify; first half of 2016)

Best Mobile Game: Would have nominated : Shadowverse by Cygames or Sword Art Online: Memory Defrag

Continue reading

Devouring Books

Earlier this week I noticed that my eldest son was almost done reading Matthew Reilly’s The Six Sacred Stones, mostly because he was asking if there were any more books in the series. I proceeded to dig out my hardcovers of the next two volumes, The Five Greatest Warriors and The Four Legendary Kingdoms, and handed them to him. He happily puts them in his room, and I figure he’ll be entertained by that for a while.

Two days later, the boyo suddenly starts talking about something that happened in The Four Legendary Kingdoms over dinner, and I interrupt, saying, “Hang on, didn’t I just give you those books practically yesterday?” Continue reading

Welcome to the Philippines

This story is one I keep thinking I’ve told, for some reason. Yet, I check my logs and there isn’t a record of it, nor a post draft.

This story is one of an experience my husband Rhys had during his first time visiting me in the Philippines when we were newly in a relationship. I had visited him in Australia first; it was his gift to me after I graduated from college; and he decided to visit during his university holidays – which, being December, was our Christmas holidays. We were looking forward to having him experience the fun that was a Filipino New Year.

As Rhys’ flight arrived late in the afternoon, my mother decided that to save on space, it would be she and our driver who would pick him up from the airport. Our car – rather, my brother Al’s car – was a small Kia Pride, which was the butt of many jokes as it frequently required repairs. “Al’s Pride is broken again” We didn’t want to chance it breaking down.

Night had fallen by the time they had reached the subdivision where we lived; and it was also raining, which probably added to the delay in getting back. Continue reading

Second Year

Today my baby Brandon would’ve been two years old. I think he would have been having a fun time today; though perhaps his birthday would’ve been much quieter than Vincent’s party a few days ago.

We gave him his presents – a toy tank and a toy helicopter, and his Grammy and Grampy sent a hand made card.

It’s the one with the little dinosaur on it. Brandon’s urn is the one with the birds. His brother Damien is in the smaller round urn next to it.

Rhys and I spent a little time reminiscing fondly about his birth, and a few delightful memories. I wonder about how he and Damien would’ve been like now, but that happens a lot. Perhaps his hair would have been gently curling, like his eldest brother’s was. We still can’t imagine him smiling, however, as he was a baby with a rather impressive scowl. I think Damien would have been the plague to him at the same time being a favourite playmate.

What could have been…

Continue reading

The Next Generation of Awesome

So, waiting the 30 minutes before New Year ticked over, we saw a short advert for Silver K Gallery’s current exhibition: Star Wars and Superheroes. So of course, being the huge fans of science fiction and fantasy art that we are, we had to go. Rhys and I took our kids with us, since they enjoy Star Wars and figured that they’d enjoy having a look at the art prints on display. After impressing on the children that they had to behave and not be wriggly energetic things, we paid the entrance fee and went in.

Vincent soon found himself upstairs, with his sister trailing behind, while we parents took a more leisurely look around. There was a delightful little print featuring Kermit the Frog and Yoda sitting side by side, which had me appreciating the meta joke, and several utterly breathtaking pieces that made me wish I had the money to buy the prints and room to display them on. I’m not a huge Star Wars fan, but I can appreciate the art. The pieces on display were limited signed print runs, most of them on canvas, and they’d also be framed for the purchaser.

Contrary to the limitation of Superheroes and Star Wars art, there were some pieces on display that weren’t from those franchises – there was a lone Firefly piece that would have been delightful on any fan’s wall, and a couple of Star Trek items that had my heart going doki doki doki – An Alex Ross signed artist proof’s print run, that had William Shatner’s signature as well. The Star Trek pieces were on the stairway wall, while the Firefly piece would surprise you on the way back out of the gallery.

Finally catching up to the kids, I approached Vincent and started to show him the flyer with the print prices on all of the displayed artworks, saying that people could buy them if they wanted to. He immediately turned to a piece and pointed. “How much is that one, Mum? I like it a lot.”

I looked it up and saw that there were two versions available: the canvas print version, which was on display, and the paper print version, which was much cheaper (more than half), and showed it to him. He was shocked at first, and taking my parental cue, I told him that’s why he has to be VERY careful and not touch or bump into the displayed artwork.

I went to look at a piece that Rhys called me over to see and admire. After a few minutes, Vincent came over and asked, “Can’t we get it? I really, really like it. Even if I gave up my allowance for it?”

I said, “We’ll see.”

Long story short and a lay-by plan set by the delighted curator, Colin, we were given permission to take a photo of a determined soon to be 9 year old who wanted to invest in artwork by Japanese Artist Mimi Yoon, next to the print on display. He is going to get the paper print though, because there was no way he could afford the canvas print.

Rhys and I were able to work out arrangements for prints we fell in love with and were able to talk ourselves into setting down payments for. I simply could not pass up this artist’s proof print of Alex Ross’ The Final Frontier, signed by the artist and William Shatner. (Numbered 14/15!)

Now, prints aren’t really a big thing of mine; but I do understand the value and why people would collect them. My reason for not collecting them has to do with considerations of space and expenses; which is why I prefer to collect figures and art books. That said, I’m very happy to find a place for this breathtaking print. Colin said he was able to request William Shatner to sign the artist proof prints at a convention here in Australia, which is why they’re double-signature prints. Fangirl mode engaged!

Rhys got himself a signed canvas print of Jerry VanderStelt’s Black Heart. Rhys isn’t a very big Star Wars fan, but he really liked this piece and felt that he’d not regret having it up on his wall. (I don’t think he really knows the character either!) But as a work of art it’s well worth having and I was being the bad influence and encouraging him to get it. Colin was very happy to work with us on that as well. I think though, in the long run, I think Colin’s a fan who is happy to work with people in getting an addition to their collection that they will truly enjoy. The impression I got of him was that he really enjoys what he does, and gets pleasure from seeing other people enjoy what he enjoys too.

With the day’s outing though, my greatest joy wasn’t in the obtaining of artwork, but in seeing Vincent carefully think about buying the print he wanted very much. I talked to him for quite a while about it, saying that he’d be without allowance for months helping pay for the print, and that he’d not have money for things like books and other nice things that he might want later on. He would go quiet for a bit every time, and think, then say “I’m okay with not having allowance for a long time,” or “they look really, really cool though,” and repeat that he really wanted the Bad Girls print, instead of say, the various awesome Iron Man ones there (which he is a BIG fan of.) It wasn’t something I expected him to do, and be so decisive about. In fact, both Rhys and I are very proud that he wasn’t bored at the gallery (there’s lots of cool pictures here!) but he lingered the most at the superheroes section of the gallery, and chattered away with the fine lady who was minding the door for entrance fees, who was also quite impressed that Vincent was so determined to own a piece of art. “You’re raising them right,” she said. Well, we are raising the next generation of people who will enjoy science fiction and fantasy; though we’re also pretty pleased with how this one’s turning out so far! (Big thank you for being patient with their chatty friendly selves!)

The prints we will eventually own will also be framed, and since it’s likely we’ll be back here by the time we finish paying it off, we’ll probably pick them up then too.

If I’d been rolling in pots of money though, I would not have minded picking up this,this, this and this, simply because having them up on the same wall would make for a striking and awesome display.

I plan to save up for this piece at some point though, because the juxtaposition of the classic Japanese themes and style, plus R2D2 shouldn’t work, but it totally does and tickles my brain in good ways.

The Silver K exhibit, at 1092 High Street, Armadale, Victoria, Australia, runs until March 13, 2016. They also have various prints of other popular art pieces, as well as a number of certified original animation cels from Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures. They are open Wednesday to Friday, and on Saturday and Sunday. Check out their site for times (for most accurate and recent updates!)