Friday, December 28, 2012

Cookies for Christmas

I bought some nice cookie cutters for this Christmas. Time to take these cookie cutters out to bake some nice shortbread cookies for my friends as Christmas gifts. I've never baked shortbread cookies before. The nearest one to it is the cookie of the pineapple tarts that I bake every year. They are very similar in ingredients except that these shortbread cookies do not use eggs. They are pretty easy to make except that the dough needs some cold, tender loving care in order that the shapes come out nice and clean.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Yuletide season - Blackforest Log Cake

'Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la, la la la la. Christmas is here. Season of feasting and being merry in the company of loved ones and friends. But it is also a time to remember that our saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, came down to earth to give us light and hope. This Christmas, we are invited by Candy and her family to her home for dinner - Taiwanese braised pork rice (卤肉饭), her specialty. There are four families here and all our hubbies were army friends. We always look forward to meeting up with each other, together with all our kids. But as our kids grow up to become teenagers, I bet our future gathering will be just the adults. As the baker, it's always my pleasure to bake a log cake to add to the atmosphere.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Yuzu Chiffon Cake

Yuzu (柚子) or Japanese citron is a large orange-like fruit. It is related to its smaller cousin - the mandarin orange or tangerine (mikan). It is tart in taste, not sweet and is not peeled and eaten as it is. I was persuaded by the sales promoter at Isetan supermarket o buy a bottle of yuzucha (ingredients are yuzu, honey and sugar). You just need to add water to a teaspoon of it to make a drink to soothe your throat. I tried it out and I liked the taste. It's refreshing. You can even spread it directly onto your bread, just like jam. And I thought to myself - I can bake cakes or make desserts with it too.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Lemon Pistachio Cupcakes

8 Decemeber 2012 - cell group BBQ day. Checked my email after I got back from a short holiday in Hong Kong with my family on late 5 December. I'm assigned to get satay. That's an easy task; no need for me to marinate any items and I ordered the satay from City Satay. Job done. Then I started thinking what I should bake. I wanted something lighter and refreshing. No chocolates. Actually thought of a Christmas log cake, but that would be a little too heavy considering the amount of food we are going to have. After flipping through a cupcake magazine I bought recently, I settled on Lemon Pistachio Cupcakes.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Spaghetti with crayfish in Alfredo sauce

I was persuaded by my usual fishmonger to buy the remaining few pieces of crayfish left when I intended to buy just 3. I have not prepared and cooked crayfish before and just wanted to buy 3 pieces to try out. I have only eaten crayfish at restaurant and local 'zi char' stall. To tell you the truth, I have no clues in cleaning and preparing the crayfish, but the fishmonger told me it's easy. What's more, she suggested cooking the crayfish a la Italian style. I love Italian pasta. I'm sold and she sold me 1 kg of the crayfish at $18.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Petit Choc Gâteau

The year-end school holiday is here. Hooray! It's one of my favourite time of the year. Do not have to send the kids to school and no homework and exam stress. Time to relax, take it easy and enjoy the holidays. A group of parents from Ryan's class have organised a BBQ at Aloha Loyang Resort. The boys and their families and teachers will be there. It's gonna be fun. Hope the weather will brighten up. It's very dark, cloudy and thundery as I blog.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Traditional Baked Mooncake

The annual Mooncake festival is here again. Time really flies. I remembered my first attempt at making the traditional baked mooncake last year. It was not really successful. The skin was too hard. I wanted to try again this year but was hesitant, partly due to the fact that it was in the midst of the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE). Anyway, I made the mooncake golden syrup two weeks ago first. It was advised that the longer you keep the mooncake syrup, the more flavourful your mooncake skin will turn out. If I did not make the mooncake this time, I can always keep it for next year.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bacon & Ham Melt Sandwich

Maison Kayser (Paris) at Scotts Square. This bakery cafe located at the basement of Scotts Square has a nice collection of good artisan bread, pastries and sandwiches. I went there for lunch one weekday and ordered a bacon, cheese and rocket sandwich. A simple sandwich but exceptionally delicious. The ciabatta bread has a very nice chewy bite to it and very flavourful. I love it so much that I bought two small ciabatta bread home, with the intention of re-creating the sandwich.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Japanese Beef Rice Bowl

I've run out of ideas of what to cook for lunch and dinner. I want something simple to prepare and cook and yet delicious and appetising at the same time. I was at the library and chanced upon Harumi's Japanese Home Cooking cookbook. I looked through the recipes and they appealed to me. I have to try out some of the recipes in it and so I borrowed it. I have her other book - Everyday Harumi. The recipes in her cookbook are easy to follow and prepare and I've tried out a few recipes from this cookbook. Most important of all, they all turn out beautiful and scrumptious. Also, it has lots of cooking tips and ingredient substituition. What a great find!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Chocolate Banana Delight

Chocolate-themed birthday cake will never go wrong. This cake is specially baked for my son, Ryan's 12th birthday. Have to settle for a quiet birthday celebration as his birthday happened to be in the midst of preparing for the most important exam in his primary school years, the dreaded Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE). It's the most stressful exam not only for him, but for me too. I have to nag at him to study (believe me, no parents like to do this) and stop spending too much time on computer games. This year is a very busy and hectic time for him. Endless homework and practice papers.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies

It's a lazy Saturday afternoon and I was restless. The kids were in tuition classes; I was feeling lazy and wondering what to do. Should I bake something or think of what kind of dinner spread to prepare or should I do some housekeeping? Not in the mood for anything. That's bad. I have to get out of this mode. I have to do something. Help ..............

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The good old days - homemade kaya & bread

Homemade kaya on homemade bread or cream crackers. Simple indulgence. Homemade kaya is without preservatives and not too sweet, exactly what I want. I don't like my cakes and desserts too sweet. I guess it has to do with age. As you age, you don't want food that is overly sweet or heavy. If I yearn to have kaya spread and I don't have a homemade one at home, I would buy Hans kaya. It's not too sweet and without preservatives too. The only downside is you have to finish the whole bottle within about 5 days to enjoy fresh wholesome kaya.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Hokkaido Milk Loaf

Nothing beats a loaf of bread fresh out from the oven, especially if it's painstakingly home-baked. The aroma of the fresh bread wafts through the entire kitchen into our noses. Sit down in the comfort of your home and family or friends, prepare freshly brewed tea or coffee; slice the freshly-baked bread and spread with butter, kaya, peanut butter, or anything you fancy or just eat it plain. Simple pleasures ...............

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Steam Minced Pork with Salted Yolk

It's been a long, long, ........... time since I last blogged. Have been busy watching over and coaching my twelve-old son for the all-important PSLE. That's just one excuse. Have lost the momentum, or would I say enthusiasm for setting up the food I have baked or cooked for photo-taking, uploading them into the computer and blog. Told myself I have to restart my blogging engine and here is the first blog entry after many months of absence.

Homemade Soy Sauce

This homemade soy sauce recipe is taken from A Taste of Home by Sam Leong. This homemade soy sauce is highly fragran due to the use of ginger, spring onion and corriander. You can make up a larger batch and keep it in a clean jar for use whenever you need it.

1/2 tbsp cooking oil
2 slices of ginger
1 spring onion, cut into short lengths
2 sprigs of corriander leaves
100 ml chicken stock
1 tbsp light soy sauce
A dash of dark soy sauce
10g rock sugar

1. Heat oil in a wok and stir fry ginger, spring onion and corriander until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
2. Strain and use as needed.

(Makes about 100 ml)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Chocolate Banana Fudge

This chocolate banana fudge cake is for my nephew, Sean's 14th birthday on 28 April. I know I'm very late in updating my blog. Partly been busy and partly procastination on my part. I needed time in uploading the photos and editing the post to include the recipe. That's why ...............

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pierre Herme's Carioca

My daughter's sweet 16th birthday is around the corner. She herself is a baker too, a very passionate one. What to bake? I wanted to try something different. Different techniques, different taste. Since she's such a fan of Pierre Herme, I decided to get inspiration from his Desserts by Pierre Herme book. Chocolate is everyone's favourite and is one ingredient I use a lot in my baking. Then I saw Carioca.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Freshly Baked Japanese Anpan

I've caught the bread making bug. Can't stop baking buns. I've even bought a few bread making books like Yvonne C.'s 65°C Tangzhong Bread, 孟老师100道面包, Alex Goh's Magic Bread and Rose Levy Beranbaum's Bread Bible. Have been analysing and experimenting the different methods of bread making and studying the ingredients' proportion to flour. I love the Tangzhong method because the bread can stay soft and fluffy longer.

Coffee Buns

The aroma of coffee is simply hard to resist, especially for coffee lovers like me. I love anything with coffee and chocolate. Remember the time when "Roti Boys" was in vogue. I remembered queuing at the China Square outlet for a bite of the aromatic bun. After "Roti Boys" came onto the scene, there's a lot of others baking the same type of coffee buns. In my opinion, "Roti Boys" was the best and the next best one would be "Roti Mum". Or is it "Papa Roti"? I cannot remember the exact name. The bun is sinfully delicious. Why sinful? Because it's loaded with butter. Eat first and think about excersising and eating healthier food later on. Go the whole hog and savour the delicious moments ........

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake

What type of cake shall I bake for my father's birthday? I wanted to create something different other than chocolate-based. I think I've baked enough of chocolate cakes. After browsing through my cookbooks and the internet, I settled on Strawberry-themed cake.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Baking again ...... Another Chocolate Fudge Cake

I'm back. I have not done any baking or updating my blog since my last baking of pineapple tarts and almond cookies for Chinese New Year in January. That's because I have to clean the house, cook for the family, chauffeur the kids and guide my son in his studies after I sent my domestic helper home. It has been a tiring one and a half months.

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