Sunday, January 15, 2012

Making Pineapple Tarts

Yes, the never ending quest for the perfect pineapple tarts has brought me to this. I've blogged about my Melaka aunt's pineapple tarts several times and knowing she has stopped selling them altogether, I asked her to teach me last year. I targeted to learn it sometime in the middle of the year but it never materialized. I was to understand later why it never happened in the middle of the year.

You see, the tarts are usually made and consumed during the Chinese New Year season. And I doubt if she wanted to make a whole batch in the middle of the year. And when I say a whole batch, I'm talking a minimum of 30 pineapples and even this wouldn't have been worth the while of all the labour involved.

Last weekend, one of the cousins asked this aunty to make a small batch. Just for about 5 families. So she gathered some of the relatives over the weekend to do this batch. Consisting of 120 pineapples, a huge coconut shredder that easily shredded the prepared pineapples, a huge industrial mixer, endless numbers of cookie trays, giant pans to reduce the pineapples into jam, manpower of about 12 - 15 people over two days. Yup, this was a small batch. Now I know why it's important to have large families when one does business.

My arms and back are aching from standing, sitting, stirring, reducing the pineapples (which took 4 - 4.5 hours per 30 pineapples), rolling and glazing the cookie. I'm proud to say I was part of the cookie making process. And would I know how to make them all over again? Alone? I've gotta be kidding myself. I'll probably attempt this once before next year when we're slated to do a larger batch. Yup, we have already booked the Aunty for a larger batch next year :)

Here are some pictures from the weekend:

Mashed pineapples from the coconut shredder
Reducing the pineapples
Until they become a sticky golden jam
Industrial mixer for the dough
Many hands make light work. Factory line style.
Eggwashed tarts
Trays waiting their turn for the oven
Tarts being baked
Putting the pineapple tarts into jars
My personal batch is strictly mine... My presssssciousssss!! Each family will get just enough for personal consumption this time around. (I personally can finish 2-3 tubs of this on my own).

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Exciting Year Ahead

For the past couple of years, I have not really had any New Year’s Resolutions except for the vague “Let’s target to go [insert country name] this year” together with the mandatory “Start exercising and lose weight” and “Eat healthy”.

In the last quarter of last year, I came to a point whereby I had to make a few decisions on what I really wanted to do. And took action to it.

So far, I’m attending a basic internet marketing course to learn about SEO (which is still insufficient and I’m now considering attending the advanced class – the fee’s a bit high though) and I am also going to finally learn up how to do my aunt’s famous pineapple tarts.

I received a personalised Moleskine planner (my first!) for 2012 and it’s been a long while since I used a physical planner. Rather than leaving it to rot like most of my yearly gift diaries, I decided to simply use it and pen down (yes, I usually prefer to use pencil as I feel like I can rub it off if things change) my daily plans. My weekly calendar looks great, filled with so many activities, as though I need proof that I’m LIVING. Hahaha!

So, being a bit more sociable is so far in the works. Yay for the get-out-of-cybergames-damnit part of me! :)

It’s just thrilling to have a plan again and act on it, even though the outcome may not be as per what I expected. And having an activity penned down in my planner now spurs me to make it a compulsory on that planned day rather than procrastinating.

Instead of doing a whole year plan, I think I’ll reevaluate my goals every quarter to steer myself better. Plus, a 90-day challenge is much better than a 365-day challenge. The “exercise 2-3 times a week” part still needs work though…