It sure doesn't feel like it, but I've been back in my birth country of Indonesia for a little over a year now. Friends still laugh at my tries at talking in colloquial "Bahasa Indonesia", call me a "tourist" when I get lost on the roads and are always super worried when I eat food from street vendors. Haha! But I think having spent most of my life overseas, has allowed me to appreciate this country a lot more. This is especially true with the kinds of ingredients that I get to experiment with on a daily basis. The common ingredients that are usually taken for granted, I still approach with a mind full of curiosity and questions. I didn't believe it when one of my role models Will Goldfarb (pastry chef of Mejekawi and Room for Dessert in Bali) said a year ago, that Indonesia is the best place to do pastry. But the more I explored the local ingredients, the more I agree with Will. I think he's truly onto something.

Yes, life in the metropolitan city of Jakarta has been pretty fast-paced and hectic. As fellow bloggers would attest to, writing and uploading blog posts can be quite a laborious feat that I sneakily keep putting off! But after receiving an email from the now-London-dwelling-cool-as-Kiwi-chick Natalie Smith about a collaboration between Talita's Kitchen and Baileys Irish Cream, I couldn't possibly turn it down! I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to combine local and Western ingredients into a cake that is truly new, unique and delicious. 

Well this is what I came up with:

Baileys Java Caramel Cake

This cake is comprised of arenga sugar and white chocolate sheets (inspired by pastry guru Goldfarb himself), caramel sponge cake, Baileys mascarpone cream, caramelized "sisir" mini bananas, and some oh-so-French caramel tuiles to top the confection off. Stacked and layered like a Mille-Feuille I feel like this cake is a delicious amalgamation of the east and west.

Watch me make this cake on Episode #11 of Junior Masterchef Indonesia that aired on June 15th 2014

x Tal


Coco Mango Lassi Entremet

Happy New Year valued readers! I hope you've all had a lovely holiday season with your loved ones. A new year usually means new resolutions to live healthier lives. Though I always try to balance my sweet toothed tendencies with a relatively active lifestyle, due to Jakarta's gridlocked traffic and being in the car for hours everyday this is not always easy. So when Rian from The Foodie Magazine asked me to come up with a guilt-free dessert, I jumped at the opportunity to do so. I thought it would be good for me to start to find ways to limit my use of sugar and flour and still make a visually appealing and tasty cake to satisfy my cravings.

I am pretty happy with the cake that I came up with. It's great to be able to use local mangoes and freshly grated coconut flesh in this cake for added nutritional value and fiber. To replace the sugar I used stevia, and used honey to lightly sweeten the mango mousse. My friends have commented that the resulting cake did not taste "healthy" at all, and that they couldn't believe that it was guilt-free. Well though the cake is certainly not "calorie-free" it is free of refined sugar and processed white flour. That alone for me, is a pretty cool achievement. So try this cake out for yourself at home, and let me know what you think!

x Tal