Friday, January 06, 2006

2005 Food Blog Awards, and Another Sweet Surprise

I woke up this morning to an incredibly pleasant surprise - Kuidaore has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Best Food Photography category of the 2005 Food Blog Awards! I am immensely thankful to everyone who nominated me, not to mention very honoured to be in the company of the other blogs - and how very fabulous they all are! - named. If you have a moment to spare, check out all the wonderful categories and terrific blogs nominated in each at the 2005 Food Blog Awards or click here to cast your vote.

On a completely separate note, it must be my lucky day. My battered old candy thermometer finally died an untimely death - thanks to my inordinate clumsiness - whilst I was following the Honey Walnut Tart recipe in Alice Medrich's book, Chocolate Holidays (the recently revised edition of the title previously published as A Year in Chocolate). The honey and sugar syrup for the filling had to be brought to hard crack stage at 305˚F before the butter and cream are added to produce a toffee mixture which is cooked to firm ball stage at 246˚F. I had to guess at both stages via sight and smell - for a pedant like me, this is the stuff of kitchen nightmares. As the tart, essentially an Engadiner Nusstorte dressed up in gilded chocolate glaze, was a double-crusted affair, I was kept in gripping suspense about the state of the enclosed filling right up to the moment of truth, the slicing and serving. It was hard to tell what the chances were I had completely missed the critical 10 degree window of firm ball-dom (245 to 255˚F), that the tart would be a real dog's breakfast to serve, the filling either too soft from undercooking or too hard from overcooking - accurate temperature readings ensure the perfect chewy-yet-creamy texture. Very fortunately, the tart turned out as hoped - short, buttery pastry encasing a honey and cream enriched caramel filling that's delectably taffy-like, generously studded with toasted walnuts.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A well deserved nomination--congratulations! Let's have a piece of this tart to celebrate!

11:14 pm, January 06, 2006  
Blogger Nicholas said...

Good Job J!
It's about time anyways, you got that nomination, hey?

12:03 am, January 07, 2006  
Blogger Sam said...

please can you send me a slice too ;)

2:41 am, January 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

congratulations! so well deserved...just LOOK at that tart! talented baker AND photographer :)

2:53 am, January 07, 2006  
Blogger Nic said...

Congrats, J. Nice job on the tart, too.

3:32 am, January 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great looking tart! and congrats on the nomination!

5:07 am, January 07, 2006  
Blogger e d b m said...

J, how could your nomination be a surprise to you? Maybe you should log on to your own site and look at your own photos haha. Congratulations. You know who i'm voting for.... *wink*

6:50 am, January 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


actually double congrats ;)

8:07 am, January 07, 2006  
Blogger So said...

CONGRATULATIONS! You definitely deserve it! On a different note, you can test a softball and hard crack stage by dipping your fingers in a bowl of ice water, then taking a small amount of sugar, quickly dip it in the ice water, proceed to form a ball with the sugar. If it forms a softball (hence softball, or hardcrack for hardcrack...i hope i'm making sense) it sounds nuts but it works and it's fun.

8:26 am, January 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Joycelyn - happy new year and congratulations! You are well deserved as everyone knows, not just your gorgeous photos and food you make, but also love your beautiful and 'modest' writing ;)

9:58 am, January 07, 2006  
Blogger Shauna said...

Congratulations, my dear. This one was clear. Your photographs are always stunning. And I'm always inspired by your ideas. Yay!

2:45 pm, January 07, 2006  
Blogger Reid said...

Hi J,

CONGRATULATIONS on the nomination. It certainly is well deserved. Good luck to you with the awards!

BTW...that tart looks gorgeous. It's just what I needed to see right now. *sigh*

6:15 pm, January 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

engandin nusstorte, never ever had it covered with choc!!!
I have to beg a swiss lady here in Athens to do it for me to satisfy my cravings!!!
But when I was in Engandin I did nothing but hop from one kondetorei to another searching for the best.

One of the best I found was at Davos! Just opposite the ski lift!
Sprungli has good ones too!

If you a had a small accident I just burned my finger last night from testing different caramels. Am so bad at this but one should never give up!

8:00 pm, January 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, let's have some of your delicious-looking tarte to celebrate your well-deserved nomination. Congratulations! And I'm glad that your tart turned out well, despite losing your thermometer.


6:10 am, January 08, 2006  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Congrats! You totally deserve the nomination. I will definitely vote for you! Stand up for Singapore ... run to the hawker store. Eat up for your fellow man ... as you can tell, I have waaaaay too much time on my hands. Can I also have a slice?

6:54 pm, January 08, 2006  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Another thing for the Singapore-based cooks. Where do you get your Valrhona choccies? And vanilla pods?

9:17 pm, January 08, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations J! Your site is so beautiful!

9:10 pm, January 09, 2006  
Blogger Ruth Daniels said...

Congratulations - and most deservedly so!!! Your site is always my favorite to visit. Your photos are awesome - and this time is no different. That tart is a work of art.

Thanks for sharing.

10:43 pm, January 09, 2006  
Blogger tara said...

Well done, J, I can only add my voice to the already booming chorus of support.

12:45 am, January 11, 2006  
Blogger tara said...

Well done, J, I can only add my voice to the already booming chorus of support.

12:45 am, January 11, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You may have been surprised but the rest of the blogging world was not ... your photos are brilliant!


12:24 pm, January 11, 2006  
Blogger Veruca Salt said...

Congrats on your noms.

I have been silently drooling over your photos for some time now.

Keep up the yummy work!

2:40 pm, January 12, 2006  
Blogger the baker said...

congrats! you have my vote of course. it goes without saying! you're already a clear winner to me :) good on you J... what a talent.

1:19 am, January 13, 2006  
Blogger debbs said...

i cast my vote for you!
you'll be so proud to know that i've been tinkering in the kitchen and trying out all sorts of recipes.. no where near your level, but when i'm back in singapore, can i please hang out in your kitchen and learn??

2:02 pm, January 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I voted for you!! Amazing and inspirational photos. You blo wmy mind with yoru creativity.

6:31 am, January 14, 2006  
Blogger Joycelyn said...

hi jeanne, thanks! congratulations to you too for the gourmet thingy -you really deserved to win!

hi nicholas, thanks!

hi sam, i'll do better than that, i'll send you two ;)

hi sarah, thanks *blush*

hi nic, thanks!

hi tiptup, thank you very much for visiting and your kind words!

hi dylan, thank you, you are always so very generous with your encouragement!

hi pc, sure, and thanks!

hi clare, thanks! and thanks!

hi robs, thanks! i was so panicked by the lack of thermometer it didn't even occur to me to perform the water test!

hi keiko, thanks! however, i already have a very strong feeling who's going to win this award hands-down...hint: it has something to do with that ethereal northern light ;)

hi melissa, thanks! from what i've read, nusstorte keeps and travels really well, so sure ;)

hi shauna, thanks! and congratulations to you too for your well-deserved nominations!

hi reid, thanks! in a sticky sweet sort of way, the tart is very comforting...

hi sha, thanks so much for the heads-up - i didn't know sprungli had nusstorte; will be sure to tell w to get one the next time he vists

hi glutton rabbit, thanks!

hi paz, thanks! i felt nothing but tremendous relief that the tart turned out fine - it would have been a great waste of walnuts, honey and chocolate otherwise!

hi mm, thanks! valrhona is available at the counter in the takashimaya food hall (in the basement, next to cold storage)and thos sb in raffles hotel, and the large 1kg slabs as well as the tablets at sun lik on seah street. for vanilla pods, try culina or cellar door deli. good luck!

hi gemma, thanks! really appreciate you dropping by

hi ruth, thank you, you are being very kind. decorating the tart with gold leaf certainly felt a bit like being at art class ;)

hi tara, coming from you, i'm immensely flattered - thanks!

hi ivonne, thanks so much for your wonderful words of encouragement

hi veruca salt, thanks for visiting and your lovely words - this blogging business is turning out to be even more enjoyable than i expected when i first started...

hi the baker, thanks, it's very sweet of you to say - being even nominated, quite frankly, is award enough for me!

hi debs, cool! re:hanging; absolutely :)

hi cin, thanks! you are being awfully kind, as always

hi sara, thank you so very much - really appreciate it! btw, lovely lovely blog you have there...

5:29 pm, January 16, 2006  
Blogger herryp said...


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10:58 am, April 24, 2007  

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