Took a long time to finish this. First was the sketch, which always needs fixing (anatomically, gesturally), then I had to do the black-and-white values, and then the colour and detailing. I used so many layers that my file corrupted, but luckily I always save a .png file just in case. Focused on details, lighting, and maintaining both sharp and soft edges.

127 Hartle

Making a Meal Magical

Hi guys~ Just a short post today…

One of the key things about making a great meal is the spectacle. Let’s face it: hardly anyone knows what real good food tastes like. As long as it’s above a certain level (let’s say, a soggy, fast food burger) your friends will accept anything you feed them.

You just have to make it look good.

So here’s a little example of what we can do with this knowledge.

Put some butter in a pan – just plain, unsalted butter is fine. Don’t bother weighing it; this is art, not science. Light the stove, let the butter melt.

What we want is something they can’t photograph – the hype will make sure you sound good to the friends who aren’t there, even though your meal may look ugly. If you have some sort of teapot warmer, that’s great. Do this at the table.

To impress them even more, carry on melting your butter until you get to the browning stage.

In the meanwhile, so you look busy, grab some of the old, shrivelled herbs from the back of the cupboard, and heat up your serving vessel in the microwave. You don’t want it to shatter from the hot butter! Make sure you decorate with a dangerous-looking kitchen utensil. You want your friends to know that you’ve had to do some hard work cooking for them. And that if they don’t like the food, you won’t like them. Very violently.

Now your brown butter is done, pour extravagantly but carefully over the herbs in the vessel – they should fizzle. This is the time for photos: make sure your friends know it.

Finish off with a sprinkle of salt (the big crystals are prettier). Tell your friends to drink it all in one gulp. You don’t want them lingering over the taste for too long, and if they burn their throats, then they won’t have voices to complain to you.

For dessert, make some sugar water with peppermint essence. Freeze it until only the surface is frozen. Serve sprinkled with sugar crystals and micro herbs.

Oh, and by the way, HAPPY APRIL FOOLS😀😀😀

Saturday Morning Pancake

Guys! By some amazing fluke, I’ve figured out the perfect pancake recipe (for me, at least)😀


I use a non-stick pan for the pancakes, and they work every single time, with no sticking.


No more horrible messes, no more wondering when to flip.


I have it done to a fine art.

You put the flame down low so the non-stick surface doesn’t die,


wait until the pancake surface is all bubbly,


and flip with a broad, flat implement.


Beautiful! You don’t even need oil in the pan, or the pancake mix, because it’s a non-stick pan ^_^


The pancake is ready when it begins to steam around the edges (almost imperceptibly).

They’re quick and easy to make on a Saturday morning when you haven’t prepped anything, but want to celebrate the weekend. I use a bread starter I have in my fridge of 50:50 flour to water, but that’s the only thing that’s prepared earlier. The pancakes only take about a minute each side, so a stack is really quick to make.

Saturday Morning Pancakes

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 255g starter (50:50 flour:water*)
  • 3 eggs
  • 75 mL milk
  • 1.5 Tbs brown sugar
  • splash of vanilla, to taste
  • 1.5 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder

*I don’t know whether this recipe works if the flour and water are added separately, rather than as a starter, but you could always try🙂

  1. Mix all ingredients until homogeneous (sift the bicarb soda and baking powder in, because they taste terrible if they clump).
  2. Use a non-stick pan on a low flame to cook the pancakes.
  3. When the pancake surface is all bubbly, flip the pancake gently.
  4. When the pancake starts to steam slightly, the pancake is ready.
  5. Eat the pancakes.

My Portrait Process – part 1

Wooh! A hundred followers! It’s a small number compared to the stats of more famous people, but for me it’s massive. It’s weird to think that so many people are looking at what I’m doing… Nice, but weird.

Anyway, in thanks to y’all, I’ll give you a little insight into how I make my portraits (you already know how I make food…😛 )

I don’t have a tablet, so I have to draw everything traditionally before scanning and doing touch-ups on Photoshop. I use a pacer (a.k.a. mechanical/ propelling pencil) with 0.5mm lead that’s either HB or softer, depending on what I can find lying around. (I started drawing in primary school when pacers became a Thing, and my first obsession was with anime/manga, so a pacer was good for neat lines. I never really got ’round to working with anything else, and I can’t be bothered carrying several pencils or having to sharpen lead constantly.)

I draw on whatever paper I can find, whatever size/ texture; then I make everything nice and big in Photoshop. If my drawn image is small, I have to make more changes in Photoshop to make the image sharp.

Regarding shadows, Stan Prokopenko does a pretty good demonstration on the basic theories behind shading.

Anyway, here goes:



The bitten lip was quite difficult to do; I hope I pulled it off and it doesn’t look like she’s just got a mangled lip😛

Also, is anyone interested in a tutorial on my art process?



Bitter Black Forest Cake

I’ve been a little remiss… Scratch that, I’ve been very remiss. This year has been a deceptively unstable year, in which I’ve been pushing the boundaries in the socialising game.

I made this cake for my grandmother, who is a fan of both black forest cakes and tiramisu. It may sound a bit chaotic, but the coffee really goes well with the cherries and the chocolate.

The cake consists of layers of chocolate cake soaked in cherry-jelly (I don’t have kirsch, and I didn’t want a syrup because I thought the cake would leak…), with vanilla Italian buttercream studded with Morello cherries in the middle, topped with coffee-caramel French buttercream.


Y’all know how much I love burning sugar... In this case, I took it to the brink of bitterness because the cherries were very sweet. The burnt sugar taste really accented the coffee.

I’ve also said this before, but when making buttercream, if it looks curdled, JUST KEEP MIXING. I’ve actually got some photos this time:

For slicing the cake layers, I’ve got a cool implement from Ikea (no, they are not sponsoring me… though I wish!). It came in a cake decorating set and while the pastry bag is pretty useless (it leaks horrendously), the piping tips and slicer-thing were worth it.

Now, I’m gonna try a new thing. There’s little point in me typing up the complete recipe, when I’ve taken bits of it from other places. When I do new, original recipes, I’ll post them with ingredients and method, but otherwise, I’ll just post the links.

  1. Chocolate Cake (the buttermilk can be substituted by 25mL vinegar and 350mL normal milk, left at room temperature for 10 minutes, and stirred until homogeneous)
  2. Vanilla Italian buttercream (I multiplied the recipe by 3/5 so I had enough yolks for the French buttercream)
  3. French buttercream, with coffee-caramel flavour (I halved the buttercream recipe, and added the flavoured syrup according to taste)
  4. The cherries: I used Morella cherries from a jar; I dried the cherries with paper towels so they wouldn’t leak and stain the buttercream, and I reserved the syrup to make jelly, in which I soaked the cake (use the instructions on the gelatine packet to make the jelly, using the cherry syrup instead of water).
  5. And finally, I did some decorations with melted chocolate.