I am often blessed by Aunties, Uncles and friends who gift me all sorts of ingredients from their travels abroad. They know that I bake and many will haul back bags of macadamia nuts, maple syrup, pecans, poppy seeds, tonka beans, coconut sugar… And the list goes on. Most ingredients can be found in Singapore too but often at a hefty price for a lower grade.
This time, I had a little tin of Noir Au Cafe – 60% Dark French Couverture & Coffee Nibs passed on to me. It came in a 40g tin, packaged so darlingly and because of its small amount, it felt all the more precious to use. It was definitely too small a quantity to melt and use in a brownie, and I didn’t want to fold it into anything chocolatey lest its flavours got lost in the jungle of chocolate and cocoa powder galore. Instead, I decided to make a Hazelnut Gâteau Breton and top it sparingly with some of the prized chocolate nibs.
But first, we eat with our eyes!!
Flo has been away in Germany since Friday and home has been quiet without him, especially more so over the weekend when I’m used to having him with me. Still, I managed to busy myself with cake orders, attending Grandpa P’s service, and spending time with Mum and Dad.
We had Sunday lunch together once again at my favourite dim sum restaurant – Imperial Treasure Nan Bei. Their menu never really changes but their food is spot on and consistent. I love how thin the dumpling skins are, yet so resilient in holding in the generous portions of fillings. Even their vegetarian dumplings are plump and their skins rolled so thin you can just about see the green of the fillings through them.
Since moving out, it’s not often that I have meals out with Mum and Dad so it’s always nice to be able to sit down with them and catch up properly. The presence of delicious food is an added bonus.
It’s also been a while since we had a little #wefie together so after lunch, I made sure that we got a picture of us three together. I love my parents!! They’re awesome!
To be honest, after the wefie we took, I couldn’t help but be self-critical towards myself. In the last 8 months, I’ve restored a lot of my weight and while I’m still a few kilos away from my healthy BMI, I couldn’t help but feel that I look so chubby now. It’s quite disconcerting knowing that even though I think I look perfectly healthy now, I still have to put on those few more pounds. But perhaps I’m scaring myself more than I need to and perhaps, when I restore my weight fully, it won’t be as bad as I anticipate it to be.
Ultimately, it’s health I should be embracing and self-acceptance is something I must exercise. It doesn’t mean I have to love everything about me but I need to accept myself as I am and pray that over time, I will be able to practice self love more and more.
When I attended Grandpa P’s goodbye service Saturday morning, one of the church aunties told Mum that I look a lot more at peace now than before. I guess it’s true, I am a lot happier now than I’ve ever been and while I still struggle with ED thoughts from time to time, I know that I am at a much more stable place now and am a whole lot stronger than I was earlier in the year – mentally, physically and emotionally.
I need to learn to love from the inside out, because I’ve been blessed so much by love from the outside in. For this aunty who brought over the chocolate nibs, I present to you this Hazelnut Gâteau Breton. The subtle nutty flavour from the hazelnut meal paired perfectly with the coffee chocolate droplets and whenever you get a bite with the chocolate, it’s almost like having a cheeky lick of Nutella.
Use high quality French Butter too because you’ll want that beautiful aroma of buttery fragrance to waft through this cake. It’s texturally more like a cross between a cake and a biscuit. Dense, indulgent, almost scone-like. A slice of this along with a hot cup of tea, that’s the life!
Hazelnut Gâteau Breton (Makes 1 6″ Round)
20g Hazelnut Meal
3 Egg Yolks
1/2 Vanilla Bean
113g Butter, Melted and Cooled
10 g Dark Chocolate Chips (Optional)
1 Egg Yolk
2 tsp Water
- Preheat oven to 170 deg C and line a 6″ baking tin.
- Whisk sugar with yolks until pale and voluminous.
- Whisk in hazelnut meal and vanilla bean.
- Slow whisk in melted butter.
- Mix in flour and salt until mixture just comes together.
- Pour batter into prepared tin and spread mixture out evenly.
- Whisk ingredients for glaze together and brush a thin layer over the top. Then use a fork to mark criss-crosses over the top. Sprinkle with dark chocolate chips (optional).
- Bake for 30-35min until golden brown. Allow to cool before removing from tin.
If you have time, I’d suggest browning the butter to further enhance the flavour of the hazelnuts. There’s something so deliciously addictive about browned butter in baked goods and I cannot imagine how I didn’t think of doing that from the beginning. Make sure it’s cool before you use it though! Also remember that an act of self love is also in allowing yourself room for digging into a lovely piece of homemade cake from time to time.
At the end of the day, life is all about balance and all things eaten in moderation is perfectly good! It’s not always easy and as a wise friend once said to me, it’s easy to go to extremes – to be too skinny, to be too fat, to be too serious, to be too flippant… But to find that balance and maintain it is truly hard work. Not impossible, definitely not impossible. And when you find that balance, you’ll find yourself in a much happier place!