July 05, 2011

The Big Four and Pie Party

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I know perhaps many of you in the Western world avoid talking about age. But I don't. I am honest, I am 40 on the 4th of July. The-start-of-life-kind-of age, some say. For me 40 is 40, older than 20, but younger than 60. Fair life, isn't it.

When you are 40, what would you wish on your birthday? I have had a long wish list, some are crossed, some are clean. Some are achieved, some are dreamed. It takes time, but when the time is right, I am hoping they'll be all crossed, one by one. If some are not crossed, perhaps someone will cross them for me.

40 is 40,
it is older than 20, younger than 60...

There is no party of a kind, with champagne and a chocolate cake, or a girlish group of good friends. Only a moment of deep concern about my father's health who had to receive 4 bottles of blood transfused and is now on further cancer treatment in Jakarta, which distracts my whole conscience about what's happening in my life at the moment. I have been thinking about him the whole time and been so regretful that I cannot be with him. I am just hoping he will be well again.

A news that brightens my life at 40 is that our book Food Photography Made Easy is on the print and will be released some time on either the 6th or 13th this month. This book was written by me, Dita, Riana, and Irra as our editor. It's been at least 14 months since we started, planned, drafted, proof-reading, and printed at last.

This is, perhaps, the only food photography book in the world which is written by full-time mothers with children, who has passions in food photography as well as being food bloggers. Although I am one of those photographers working for a stock photo agency, I consider myself a professional full-time mother. At least, I don't underestimate my own role of being a stay-at-home Mum.

We are just hoping this book will inspire other full-time mothers in Indonesia (and maybe you?) to know their functions of their camera much more, either pocket camera (as we also have featured photos taken with digital point-and-shoot cameras) or digital SLR, to explore, to express, and to be creative. There is nothing can stop you, unless you are dispassionate about what you are doing. Not even a cheap camera you own. Let me tell you, I am still using my entry-level camera for the book, although I have upgraded my lenses and using more equipment than I had 5 years ago.

...this book is to mark my journey
at 40...

To me personally, the book has made a mark on my journey. It is either an achievement, or rather an exclamation of a personal work that got printed in a book. I am happy. I have crossed one of the wishlist items, on my own goodwill and timeless efforts in between house chores, homeschooling, and nursing. I am hoping that our book will be found an easy handbook to read and, later on, perhaps to inspire.

When you are 40, perhaps you won't expect a euphoria like of being a 17. We are maturing, like Cheddar cheese; hardened and umami. However, my little family had started this euphoria since the night before 4th of July. They made an excuse for me to go to bed early, so they could wrap the presents up. Cheeky babies I have. 

to give you a peek of my new kitchen, made from NZ Rimu. the big hole is for the dishwasher.

And I was surprised, indeed! Apart from the kitchen that we've been renovating for ages (which is sloooooooowly in progress), I was thrilled to find out that I am going to use my new oven (and of course, new stove top) in my new kitchen. 

IMG_9368-early birthday present IMG_9373-prince charming

I also have received a box of Schoc frog chocolates and truffles, and New Zealand made Saint Clair Cookware's 30cm carbon steel skillet pan from a gourmet shop, Sabato and a few more stuffs which I chose myself. I will treasure these quality gifts (and make use of them, for sure!). My children also chose good presents for me: new pasta machine, new pie and tart tins. Now we are expected to make fresh pasta and pies, like a daily chore perhaps. I just had a lovely, lovely morning, and a wonderful,wonderful 4th of July.

Beef and Mushroom Pies

And, now let's have a Pie Party!!

Beef and Mushroom Pies-2

Talking about pies, it is another euphoria of Pie Party talks across the internet, which is held on 5th July. Shauna's idea. There is a talk over the Facebook and Twitter about it too, and I am joining in. We've been having pie days every now and then in Winter. Although it does not feel too cold for us up here in the North Island, pastry is reasonably easy to make in wintertime. We have to work it with gluten-free flour. The use of guar gum really helps to make gluten-free flour pliable for rolling out. Just like wheat flour. 

Black Bottom Pie

Black Bottom Pie-2

We have Beef and Mushroom Pies for lunch, and then Black Bottom Pie for desserts. Both are gluten-free. I use homemade gluten-free biscuits for Black Bottom Pie crusts. I was not too happy with the cream topping. The texture is not as smooth as I would like it would be, and there are specks of gelatine in it. I confess, this is my weakness. I am not too good with gelatine.

Anyway, the taste is nice. I like the chocolate layer part, though. Next time, I'm going to make the chocolate custard thicker than the cream topping. That'll be MY PIE! We also had had slices of chocolate bites made from 72% dark chocolate and sour cream, swirled with white chocolate for an extra special celebration.

Have a wonderful Pie Party!


Alessandra said...

New book, new kitchen, new decade... Congrats to all and I hope that you had a very happy happy birthday!

Love and XXXX

Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul said...

Happy Birthday Arfi! You should be proud of all your achievements. All the best!

greentealover said...

happy bday ya mba... n congratz for the book.... aku pasti ngacir duluan deh ke gramed hehe....*hugs*

Arfi Binsted said...

Thank you all for the greetings and wishes. All the best to you too!

Jescel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jescel said...

Happy birthday!

You and I were in the same situation. The day I turned 40 was the day my father had an operation due to his colon cancer. But God is good. He survived the operation and is doing good now. That was the best birthday present I could ever have asked.

Anyhow, congrats on your book as well. Would that be in English?

Arfi Binsted said...

@Jescel: My father is too old to be gone under surgery, so he had chemo instead, but the first 5 chemo were failed. About the book, it is written in Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian) only and it is only for Indonesia market.

Mom's the little one said...

Happy Birthday Arfi, semoga selalu dalam keberkahan dan selalu dalam lindungan Allah SWT, pun begitu juga dengan bapak. Insya Allah selalu dalam 'penjagaan' NYA.

Mairi said...

Hi Arfi, Kitchen looks amazing :) And I very much look forward to reading your book :)

my darling lemon thyme said...

Happy belated birthday, book-finishing day and pie day! Love the look of that black bottom pie :-)

Couscous & Consciousness said...

Arfi, belated happy birthday for your 40th - you know that all the best years are yet to come :-)

Congratulations on your book - I'm sure it will be a great inspiration.

I would so love a piece of that black bottom pie :-)

Sue xo

my darling lemon thyme said...

P.S ... as I drifted off to sleep last night I kept thinking about your gelatine issues, as ya do ;-)
Do you use powdered or leaf gelatine? And how do you incorporate it? Powdered needs to be added to a little warm water and whisked into hot liquid, whereas leaf gelatine needs to be soaked (adding one at a time) in cold water for 5 minutes to soften, squeezed out well and then whisked into hot liquid. Maybe pass your mixture through a strainer too, once it's thick, to remove any lumps that may have formed?
Just a thought :-)