New home, new kitchen.
I’ve been officially living in Hong Kong for about three weeks now. Up until last week it has felt a little disconcerting without any bearings of a foreign kitchen. Although my previous home of three years in Manhattan was a cave, I could move fluidly within the kitchen because I had all that I needed and I knew where all my baking supplies were.
Familiarity is a great ally when it comes to baking.
It’s a comfort to know that even in loneliness, that I could still create something. There’s something very comforting about whipping butter and sugar together: you can expect it to start to create mounds of fluff. Despite all the unknowns in my life, there’s still a little cocoa, sugar, egg and vanilla that remains somewhat constant.
Without further ado, I decided to test out my new kitchen by baking Lemon Pound Cake that my host requested. There were a few setbacks due to my unfamiliarity with Hong Kong kitchens but all in all this counts as one of my rather successful conquests in Asia thus far. I’ve been really getting into lemony flavours thanks to having tasted Japanese Yuzu in Kyoto.
The recipe I used calls for lemon verbena, which I didn’t have, so I substituted it with more zest. I decided to try out the glaze they suggested but wanted to make it prettier by teaching myself how to candy lemon slices… which turned out to take a lot longer than I expected and came out more of a garnish than something candy-edible. Ah well, it was a try. The cake itself was slightly more moist than what I wanted it to be but all in all, it wasn’t a bad first test in the kitchen! Lemons work well with sugar: sour and sweet are a good combo.
I didn’t account for the time you need to candy lemons: douse them cold water, boil, repeat (x5) and on the last time you add sugar and simmer for 30-40 minutes. They’ll go from opaque to translucent when they begin to soften. I was baking till 1:15am and I had work the next morning. lol
Yeah but the bad thing about baking in Hong Kong are the prices for Western supplies. I used to take for granted the Whole Foods, Food Emporium and Trader Joes (not to mention the delis) that were three blocks away. Now the same butter that was sold at $4USD goes for $102 HKD. I’m going to cry.