Sunday, July 17, 2011

Blueberry and ginger layer cake.

Tomorrow is my youngest brother's birthday. Since the poor fella is working over the weekend, and he is doing some exhibition nearby my neighbourhood, so I thought of baking something for him today.

I am not an avid baker. The baking part can be therapeutic. But the washing and cleaning up is soooo stressful. But once in a while, in moment of insanity and yo-yoing hormones, I will contradict myself and suddenly find baking therapeutic. So today is one of those days.

I started blog hopping looking for nice cake. Then I stumbled on the blueberry and ginger layer cake by Emma of Poires Au Chocolat. I fall in love with the cake right away. Coz it looks so cute with all the blueberries. I like simple, natural, elegant cake. Sans the artifical colouring. Sans the elaborate frosting and whatever decorations coz my patience threshold is very little. Plus the few nagging sous chefs who are always curiously excitedly tagging along, it is so NOT for me. But I have never imagine a ginger + blueberry cake. The more I think of it, the more interesting and exciting it feels, to the point of orgasmic....hahahahha...ooopppsss...sorry...OK back to the cake.

So this morning, in between laundry and Emily's homework, I went out to buy the ingredients. Went to 3 places to buy the stuffs, with my car on empty tank. Completely forgotten about it until I finished my shopping. I am so lucky that my car didn't get stranded in the middle of the road. Insane. Woman. SIGHHH.

Anyway, the cake turned out quite well. I followed Emma's recipe. The only changes I made is the amount of sugar. Cut down the sugar in the cake, the ginger syrup and the frosting. I didn't have enough blueberries for the side. This is one of those days where I wish I live somewhere where berries are fresh and cheap and grow in my backyard. It is so unbelievably expensive here. But at least I have enough for the top. And since blueberries is such a precious commodity, I didn't do the compote. Just used the readymade blueberry filling from the bakery to layer the cake. So tadaaaaa ;)

 I am pretty happy with how it turns out.
The ginger taste is too subtle for me. Maybe I will infuse the ginger longer next time.
 The satisfied customer, whose birthday is not today. 
Nevertheless, she's more excited than the birthday dude ;)

My youngest brother is dyslexic. Diagnosed by me. After I discovered Emily is dyslexic. He has all the hallmark symptoms of dyslexia. But of course, when he was growing up we never knew it was dyslexia. We thought he is just a slow learner. But he is a perfect example how a dyslexic can still survive with the current education system. At least to the outsiders.

To the outsiders, he is normal. Did well in his exams, went to a boarding school, got a degree, got a job. The normal cycle. Perfectly successful by the generic standard. I would say he adjusted himself and beat the system. At the price of very low self esteem. You can still look normal and successful but  feel very stupid and inferior. Struggling with stuffs like reading and arithmetics that are easy peasy for other people can make you feel stupid. And that feeling stays with you forever. And it's worse when you keep it bottling inside you coz nobody arounds u understand the predicament.

But he is lucky. By the time he was ready for college, dad has mellowed down so much. During my time, it is unthinkable for my dad to let us do "fancy schmancy" course like art & design. It has to be something "reputable" like medicine or law or engineering. My brother got a scholarship to do a design course in Lim Kok Wing University. And dad relented reluctantly. It was during his university years he discovered his talent in art & design. And he was quite good, though interestingly he need people to tell him that. I think that's what happened to many dyslexics. They don't realize how good they are because that stupid feeling that they have acquired during their growing up years is so overwhelming.
My brother in his element. Doing what he loves best. 
Us in 2008. We were the 1st runner up for Piala Sri Endon Batik Competition (Soft Furnishing) 2008. I did the thinking part, he did the design part. The win really boosts his self confidence tremendously. And of course his resume.

I always find it amusing one of the most common comments when people found out Emily is dyslexic is "Aren't Tom Cruise and Einstein dyslexic too?? So she should be OK right?? Maybe she's a genius too??" Yeahhh, right. Pfffftttt...!!!! :(

What people don't realize is dyslexia is very common. It affect up to 20% of the population. So for every Tom Cruise or Einstein that excel despite their learning differences, there are many2 more who drop out of school and end up on the street. Not even knowing why they screwed up.

One of the book that I read and reread to keep things in perspective is The Gift of Dyslexia by Ron Davis.

This is an excerpt from the first chapter:

Usually when people hear the word dyslexia they think only of reading, writing, spelling, and math problems a child is having in school. Some associate it only with word and letter reversals, some only with slow learners. Almost everyone considers it some form of a learning disability, but the learning disability is only one face of dyslexia. Once as a guest on a television show, I was asked about the "positive" side of dyslexia. As part of my answer, I listed a dozen or so famous dyslexics. The hostess of the show then commented, "Isn't it amazing that all those people could be geniuses IN SPITE of having dyslexia." She missed the point. Their genius didn't occur in spite of their dyslexia, but BECAUSE of it! 

And having dyslexia won't make every dyslexic a genius. But I am hoping and praying really hard that if you intervene early and nurture them well (at least the best u can do) they will be one. After all, everybody is born a genius, in their own unique way right? At least that's what Einstein says ;)

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."--Albert Einstein.