Monday, August 30, 2010
10 adults + 3 kids, but the thing is, we totally forgotten to take the rare group photo. Only Karen managed to snap Shern's pic using her iPhone.
Although this photo is a bit blur, but I totally love it.
Small eyes. Wide smile. Cute.
Shern was smiling widely at the birthday cake - although it wasn't his birthday! :)
In this video, Shern is so happy, especially the last 10 secs - shaking his bon-bon to the max! :)
Friday, August 27, 2010
Dug out the popsicle mould that I bought from Ikea years ago. Washed them and put them into use.
Raspberry Yogurt Popsicles (inspired by Joy the Baker)
Next is the powerberry flavour. It is a mixture of the berries fruit juice. I just poured them straight into the popsicle moulds.
This is hubby holding both the popsicle flavours. One for him and one for me!
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
After cooling the dough in the fridge for more than an hour, it is time to cut the dough. It is easier to use the cookie cutter and cut out rounds of pastry and press it evenly into the mini muffin pan.
This pastry has a buttery sweet flavour and shortbread-like texture. I like the last part of this jam tart-making process best of all. I like to scoop small spoonfuls of jam into each mini tart shells before I bake them in the oven.
Although recipe says it makes 36 miniature tarts, mine yield only 34 tarts - short of 2 pcs, I ran out of tart dough to make the last 2 pcs.
It is delicious. I could taste the warm jam as I bite into my mini jam tarts.
Bought this high tea display thingy last year. Did not have a chance to use it 'til now. :)
Recipe: Jam Tarts (copied directly from Joy Of Baking)
10 tablespoons (140 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (260 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (120 ml) jam
Jam Tarts: In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until blended.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat just until incorporated. Do not over mix the dough.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, knead the dough a few times to bring it together, and then divide the dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (at least an hour).
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Have ready 36 miniature muffin tins.
Remove one portion of the dough from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out the dough until it is 1/8 inch (.5 cm) thick. Using a lightly floured 2 1/2 inch (6 cm) round cookie cutter, cut out the rounds and gently press them into the muffin tins. Fill each pastry about two-thirds full with your favorite jam. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10-14 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Can garnish with a dollop of whipped cream or clotted cream or sprinkle with finely chopped nuts.
Makes 36 miniature tarts.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Yes, it comes in a package. Love comes with tears and laughter.
People has their own understanding about true love. For me, love comes with responsibility and commitment. I do not believe in blinded love. I do not believe in one-sided love. However, I believe in eternal love.
I don't believe that people just fall in and out of love. Yes it happens, but is a gradual process. And it is the actions of both parties which determine it.
Marriage is a love commitment. The moment you say 'I do' is the moment which both parties have the responsibility to go through 'thick and think', 'in sickness or in health'. Alas, too many people forget this 'responsibility'. When you cheat on your partners, it means you are irresponsible.
I am lucky enough to marry my best friend. We dated for 5 years before we tied the knot. We have been married for almost 4 years. We are still in love as ever.
Yes, it is true that he is starting to grow wider in his tummy now. And I am no longer the 19 yo slim girl, but we will continue to hold hands 'til the end of days. We will continue to commit our love to each other.
I still remember my first bake. It was a Butter Cake which I got the recipe from my ex-colleagues TC Goon.
At that time, I hadn't much baking utensils. I had an oven of course, a housewarming present from my IDT colleagues. And all I had was a plastic measuring cup, a hand mixer and measuring spoons. And I managed to whip out a delicious butter cake. A very delicious butter cake for a first-timer I must say! ;)
After that, there was no stopping me. Even though I own no baking books, I sourced for recipes online. I baked muffins, cakes, tarts, pies, etc.
Now that I bake very regularly (I try to bake every week if possible), my baking utensils have increased. I still use the same 'ol portable oven, which still gives uneven temperature.
But it works fine. My bakes still turned out nice ;)
And now I have a drawer full of baking utensils like measuring spoons, wire whisks, measuring cups, strainer, egg white separator, spatulas, etc.
And I have a cupboard with the top tier full off baking stuff like flours (normal flour, corn flour) sugars of all kinds (fine granulated sugar, icing sugar, brown sugar, rock sugar) cocoa powder, pure vanilla extract, custard powder, baking powder, bicarbonate soda, aluminum foil, etc.
The bottom tier is full of baking pans, be it round or square, regular-sized muffin pan, mini muffin pan, tart pan, rolling pin, etc.
I have just bought a digital weighing scale to make my life easier.
And my fridge is always stocked with unsalted SCS butter, and full cream milk, lemons, etc.
This is so that I can always bake whenever I feel like baking. So that all the basic baking ingredients are on hand.
After all, baking is therapeutic to me!
Hey, anybody out there who wants to buy me the KitchenAid Artisan Mixer baby?
Friday, August 20, 2010
Another midnight bake again. What to do, I need to wait 'til Shern is asleep only I can bake. Although muffins are actually a quick fix, I took a longer time for this batch because I could not decide on what to bake.
My hands were itching to bake but I had no recipe on mind. Furthermore, I did not have any fruits or nuts with me at the moment, so I was searching for a recipe which calls for basic ingredients which I already have.
Saw this Mocha Muffins recipe on joyofbaking which I had always wanted to bake. I did not have any almonds so I omitted those. I replaced the white chocolate chips with normal chocolate chips because I do not like white chocolate. I also like the fact that this recipe calls for the use of whole wheat flour in half of the flour ingredient. The give the muffins more texture and also a 'lil more healthy.
This recipe yields 12 regular sized muffins. But as my silicone muffin pan yields smaller sized muffins, I had leftover batter. So I baked them using my mini muffin pan. They are really mini.
The muffins turned out delicious. Not too sweet and the coffee flavour is not overpowering. A little bitter taste combined with the sweet chocolate chip. Not sure if these muffins are suitable for toddlers though because of the coffee, but I am sure Shern will gulp a few down tomorrow ;)
Recipe: Mocha Muffins (from Joyofbaking)
3 large eggs
1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
3/4 cup (180 ml) safflower or canola oil (I used corn oil)
1/2 cup (120 ml) strong black coffee, at room temperature (2 sachets of Instant Nescafe Gold)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups (165 grams) whole wheat flour
1/3 cup (30 grams) Dutch processed cocoa powder, sifted (I used Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder)
1 cup (210 grams) light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (100 grams) pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped (I omitted these)
1 cup (170 grams) cappuccino, semisweet, and/or white chocolate chips (I used normal chocolate chips)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Position rack in center of oven. Butter or spray with a non stick cooking spray 12 - 2 3/4 x 1 1/2 inch muffin cups. Set aside.
In a large measuring cup or bowl whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, oil, coffee, and vanilla extract.
In another large bowl combine the flours, cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the chopped nuts and chocolate chips. With a rubber spatula fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are combined. Do not over mix the batter or tough muffins will result.
Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter, using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 - 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 5 minutes before removing from pan.
Makes about 12 regular sized muffins.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Hope you enjoyed your mini birthday celebration. I know Shern enjoyed eating your birthday cake. And sorry to disappoint you that no baby#2 was planted in my womb today. You scared me when you told me you wanted 5 kids! *hehe
I love you!
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Tomorrow is hubby's 30th birthday. He has always wanted to have RM1 M before his 30th birthday. Hmmm......
I read Anchee Min's Empress Orchid.
I read Adeline Yen Mah's Falling Leaves.
I read Jung C'hang's Wild Swans.
I read Lisa See's Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.
I read all of these books in less than a month's time. See, I told you I am addicted.
I'm currently reading Lisa See's Peony In Love.
And I have a few more books waiting. I'm so happy.
Monday, August 16, 2010
He will rather lie down with his cheek touching the floor while rolling his cars and his truck (in below photos).
He still wants to play, refusing to even let us carry him to sleep, let alone asking him to go to sleep on his bed!
This is how my son got his puffy panda eyes! Sigh!
Now is an hour past midnight and here I am typing away this post. Just about 2 hours ago, I suddenly felt like baking these Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting. So after putting Shern to sleep, I whipped out these beautiful yellow cupcakes in less than an hour.
This recipe from Joyofbaking is simple. Just dump all the dry ingredient into the mixer and then add in all the wet ingredient and then beat them together. Takes you only 15 minutes or less to do so. Then bake them in the oven and 30 mins later, you get these beautiful yellow cupcakes.
While the cupcakes were baking in the oven, I made the Chocolate Frosting. Being me, I tweaked the recipe a little. I did not have bittersweet chocolate, so I used semi-sweet. I reduced the icing sugar and I used less butter because I ran out of it.
End results? My Chocolate Frosting was too runny and not thick enough. Sigh.
Added in some colourful sprinkles to make them fun! Notice some of the Chocolate Frosting dripping down?
But man, the cupcakes were delicious. Hubby and I each had a cupcake at midnight! *grin
And Shern will be having them for breakfast tomorrow.
Recipe: Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting (copied directly from Joy Of Baking)
1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature (cut into pieces)
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (120 ml) sour cream or whole plain yogurt, room temperature (I used low-fat natural yogurt)
Chocolate Fudge Frosting:
4 ounces (120 grams) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used semi-sweet chocolate)
2/3 cup (150 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups (160 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted (I reduced the sugar to 100g)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (I used 1 tsp)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and lightly butter or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat to combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter, egg, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and sour cream. Beat the wet and dry ingredients together at medium speed until the batter is smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. If necessary, stir the batter with a rubber spatula until the flour is fully incorporated.
Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until pale gold and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing. You can either spread the frosting on the cupcakes with a small spatula or, if piping, use a large Wilton 1M open or closed star tip to make lovely swirls. These cupcakes are best the day they are made, although they will keep for a few days at room temperature.
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until it is light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the chocolate and beat on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until frosting is smooth and glossy (about 2 -3 minutes).
Makes 12 cupcakes
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Yvonne is actually someone who stumbled upon my blog and became a frequent visitor to my blog. That was how I got to know her. That party was the first time I met her fact-to-face. Blogging is a great way to know more friends, huh?
We were one of the earlier ones to reach, therefore we were also the first few who grabbed the food from the buffet spread. The simple fried noodle, fried rice, sweet and sour fillet, fried pohpiah were delicious. It was definitely once of the few tasty catering spread I've tasted. (I have to ask Yvonne what is the caterer's name).
However, I wish there were food for toddlers. I would prefer if there were sandwiches or other food fit enough for Shern.
But being Shern, he did not mind. He gobbled down the fried rice I fed him. Haha. Look at his 'tham chiak' face.
Cake was delicious as well. My face lighted up as much as Shern's when I saw the birthday cake. It is because I know it is a chocolate cake! Haha
I would not want to miss taking photo with Yvonne and the birthday girl.
Yvonne was so nice to us that she invited us up to her apartment. Shern was delighted when he saw all the toys. He was busy wheeling the walker and playing with the ball.
However, he was such a bully to poor Audrey. First of all, the walker did not belong to him and when Audrey tried to touch the walker, he refused to let her touch and actually tried pushing her away! *embarrassed mummy!*
And there were times when Shern 'ran away' from Audrey. Sigh.
At last, I plopped him on the Jumperoo and he seemed happy in there.
Well, Shern definitely had a good time there. And Audrey was such a sweet kid who is definitely a more nicer kid to be with than Shern. She at least shares her toys.
Well, we had fun too. Yvonne even gave me a 'first meeting present'. She gave me a Lindt's Dark Chocolate with Premium Chili flavour. Wow...exotic. I can't wait to try it.
Thanks Yvonne and Audrey for such a wonderful time.
And lastly, Happy 1st Birthday Audrey!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Since having his Chicken Pox in the middle of July, we did not bring Shern down to the pool at all. I knew he missed his swimming fun but right after that, hubby and I went for our East Malaysia part-business trip and did not have the time to bring him to the pool.
When we came back, I brought him down swimming and boy, he must have missed swimming so much that he was all smiles at the pool!
Look at his happy face!
Shern really had fun splashing about and playing with his toys. Usually we would just spend 20 minutes or so each session. But he was so happy that I hadn't the heart to stop him. We ended up staying in the pool for half an hour 'til Shern's fingers were all wrinkled!
He looks so cheeky on the left photo huh?
And on the right photo, kong-kong was calling out to him from the above the apartment and Shern was there waving away and looking so happy.
I was surprised that Shern did not even make a fuss when I at last brought him out from the pool. He was still smiling away all wrapped up in his towel.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
So I decided to make my own Chocolate Fondue. I googled around and was surprised to know that you don't actually need the special fondue pot to keep the chocolate sauce melted. And you don't even have to put a candle below the makeshift pot. This site tells me that the chocolate sauce will stay melted for 20 minutes.
And I'm sure my chocolate lover family do not need 20 minutes to finish the whole pot!
This recipe from HHH is very simple. Only needed chocolate pieces and milk. I decided to try out her recipe but I used full-cream milk instead of low-fat fresh milk.
I decided to make it as a desert after dinner. And because usually all of us are full after dinner, I decided to make it a chocolate fruit fondue.
I was very generous on the fruit portion. I wanted to make sure everyone has enough, not like every time we needed to scrimp on the portion in Haagen-Dazs.
Look at the mountain pile of strawberries, kiwis, bananas, grapes, cherries and mango cubes. And guess what? It didn't even costs me RM70 and there are even leftovers!
Besides the chocolate sauce, I also prepared some almond nibs to dip together with the sauce.
I also tried making small scoops of ice-cream (to imitate the Haagen-Dazs' ice cream balls) but failed. It just could not stay frozen enough to be dipped.
Of all the fruits, I like dipping banana chunks best!
But never the less, everyone is really happy. Shu-Min literally licked the bowl of chocolate sauce!
This is definitely something I will make again. Maybe I would add some marshmallows, cake chunks and chocolate cookies/wafers the next time. Heard that they go well with the chocolate sauce.
I think I will make it for my parent's 30th Wedding Anniversary next week!
Recipe: Homemade Chocolate Fondue (copied directly from Happy Home Baking's blog)
Monday, August 9, 2010
First, let me just tell you what we ate in Kuching and Kota Kinabalu (KK).
We took Air Asia all the way and hubby could not stop raving about the Nasi Lemak served by Air Asia. He got a pre-booked meal and he absolutely loves the Nasi Lemak. It actually tasted really good. Much better than the Nasi Briyani I ordered.
Upon reaching Kuching, Peter & I tried to eat the local food there or at least things that we don't usually find back home.
We had this vege cooked with egg, something that I don't often see. Is quite nice. And when I saw Tomato Mee in the menu, we ordered it because we definitely don't see this in Penang.
However, I don't like the tomato mee because the noodle is fried noodles and I don't fancy fried noodles. It makes me have indigestion sometimes if I finish the whole plate. And I find the tomato sauce a weird combination. Not my cuppa.
One dish I like is one of the wild jungle vegetable called Milin (some calls it Midin). This wild jungle fern are plucked by the natives in the jungle and not planted mass by local farmers. Heard that it is only available in Borneo. We had it in one of the chu-char place. Served stir fry style and I loved it.
Besides having the stir-fry Milin at the chu-char place, we also had Crispy Pork served with Salted Fish and also Mantis Shrimp with Dried Chillies and Onions. Both dishes were also tasty with plain white rice or porridge.
And of course we did not leave Kuching without trying the Sarawak Laksa. Our host brought us to one of the more famous stall near the Public Mutual Kuching branch. I must say that I fell in love with the Sarawak Laksa. It is something like the Penang curry mee but is served with chicken and prawns and also lime juice.
And in that coffee shop, hubby & I shared this gigantic glass of 3-layered tea which was also delicious. It has a very creamy taste which I think is like drinking ice-cream tea. Hehe.
That was our last meal in Kuching. We then flew to KK.
KK is famous for their fresh seafood. Of course our hostess brought us to a seafood restaurant to try the fresh seafood there. No photos for those as the food was normal and taste-wise also normal for me. The price was pricey though. Tourists area so is normal I guess.
What fascinated me was the seafood at Central Night Market. Hubby & I walked by ourselves there and we indulged in the Malay-style panggang seafood being displayed on almost all the stalls there. It was real cheap. We had 3 sticks of big prawns, half of a medium-sized stingray and a stick of 5 small prawns plus rice costs us less than rm30. Amazing I tell you!
Sabah is also famous for their chicken wings. We saw stalls after stalls selling chicken wings. We ordered one or two from each stall to see which tasted good. Settled for one of the stalls and we had a few wings each.
After that we walked along the promenade where the night life is. Saw a reasonably-priced Malaysian restaurant and sat down. Ate their satays and it was good. Succulent and juice meat. Loved the lamb satay and we came back for more the following night.
We also tried the local fruits there.
Had this fruit called Bambangan at Kundasang (on our way to Mt. Kinabalu Park). It is another species of mango but is in the size of a honey-dew. Taste wise is more like a mango with a hinge of chempedak. Didn't quite enjoy this exotic taste.
On the other hand, I liked the Talap (some calls it Tarap) fruit. It looks like a durian but the thorns are soft. When opened, it looks like a chempedak. The texture is soft and is sweet. Very unique taste. Brought one small fruit back for RM1 and ate it all by myself. Hubby didn't like it.
Ok, I think these are all the unique food we ate in East Malaysia.
And of course I did not mention the boring breakfast buffet food served in the hotels :P