Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Cookies




Merry Christmas!!!!!!!

Last night my family and I attended 2 Christmas eve parties. I thought it should be a good idea to bring some homemade cookies to the host. So a couple of days ago, I began thinking of what to bake. I loved those gingerbread man cookies that I baked earlier this month. However, since I do not have the gingerbread man cookie cutter, it will be very tedious to hand cut them again. So... I decided to use the same recipe but cut them into Christmas trees instead. The end result was pretty good. I used lime juice and green food coloring for frosting.


To complement the rich spice flavor of the gingerbread cookies, I searched for something light and refreshing. I remembered watching an episode of Martha Stewart where she baked some lime cookies that melts in the mouth. Then coincidentally, Ju of The Little Teochew wrote a post on it on the 23rd Dec. I was so delighted to see the post.... Thanks Ju... I need not search for the recipe now. After reading her post I immediately made up my mind to bake them. She takes very good pictures and gave a good review and tips on this recipe.

Lime Meltaways

I spent the whole afternoon baking these 2 cookies. Packed them up into 2 boxes tied with a pretty lavender colored ribbon for the hosts.

I am glad that the cookies were very well received and well complimented (too!!).
There were numerous requests for the recipes.
Here is the recipe as promised.
For the gingerbread Christmas Tree cookies...please refer to my previous post on Gingerbread Man

Lime Meltaways (original recipe from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients
  • 12 tbsp butter (1 1/2 stick or 6oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar (icing sugar)
  • Grated zest of 2 lime
  • 2 tbsp of freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Method
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream butter and 1/3 cup sugar until fluffy. Add lime zest, juice and vanilla; beat until fluffy.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch and salt. Add to butter mixture, and beat on low speed until combined.
  3. Between two 8-by12-inch pieces of parchment paper, roll dough into two 1 1/4 inch (~3cm) diameter logs. Chill at least 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (~190 degree C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the remaining 2/3 cup sugar in a resealable plastic bag. Remove the logs fro the parchment paper and slice the dough into 1/8" (~3mm) thick rounds.
  5. Place the rounds on the baking sheets, spaced 1" apart.
  6. Bake cookies until barely golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool slightly (8 -10 minutes). While still warm, place cookies in the sugar-filled bag; toss to coat.
  7. Store baked cookies in an airtight container ( can last up to 2 weeks).
Notes

I baked these cookies into cute little rounds of 2.5 - 3cm in diameter.
The thickness is about 3mm.
Like The Little Teochew, I found that baking at 190C for 15minutes will result in burnt cookies. So, I baked mine at 160C for 9 minutes.

Happy Baking ;p


Monday, December 21, 2009

Cognac-Flavoured Crostini

My eldest son had a pot-luck party with his High school friend last night. He was requested to bring some garlic bread for the occasion. Naturally, he had to turn to his mother for assistance.

After giving it some thoughts, I suggested to him that instead of the normal garlic bread, why don't he bring crostini instead. I came across an interesting yet simple recipe on crostini from a very talented food blogger, The Little Teochew not too long ago. I had bookmarked it but have yet to give it a try. So.. this is just the perfect timing. Following the recipe I prepared the garlic flavored oil and sliced the baguette for my son. He will bring the ingredients to the potluck party to grill them so that they get to eat them fresh! Of course, I guided him and made him practice how to do it the night before. It was a hit and according to my boy, the crostinis were snapped up as soon as they were out from the oven. I prepared 4 baguettes for them( there were 20 of them)!!!


Cognac Flavoured Crostini (thanks Little TeoChew)

Ingredients
  • 1 baguette
  • 4-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 knob of butter
  • 2 clove garlic (sliced/smashed)
  • 1 tbsp cognac (or vodka)
  • sea salt
  • ground black pepper
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 200C.
  2. Slice baguette into 1/2" thick pieces and lay out them on a tray.
  3. In a bowl, combine olive oil, butter, garlic and cognac, and microwave on high for about 2 minutes (so that the flavor of the garlic is infused into the oil). The butter should have melted by then, Stir well.
  4. Brush both sides of all the baguette slices generously with the flavored oil.
  5. Toast in the oven for slightly over 1 minute, or when tje start turning crusty and golden brown. Don't take your eyes off them! The bread should still be soft, chewy and pliable in the centre.
  6. Take the tray of crostini out of the oven, sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.
  7. Serve immediately.
It is so easy to make and the taste is heavenly. I can see myself making them again in the very near future!!!


Friday, December 18, 2009

Rainy Day

It is a wet, wet day today. Been raining almost the whole day. Despite the fact that this has resulted in a more favorable temperature (around 24 C), raining days always made me gloomy.

Perhaps...this is due to the fact that I am missing my little girl, who is away in Camp. It's the school holidays in Malaysia and my little girl is attending a 5-days camp organised by the Alumni of the Outward Bound School. Last week my second son just returned from a 10-days camp in the Outward Bound School and this week is my girl's turn. Now... looks like my children are growing up and starting to leave the nest. My eldest boy (who has just completed his Pre-University course) should be starting tertiary education soon.

I have not been very productive these few days. Not much baking or crafting. I must be missing my girl. She is my youngest and only daughter. We spend quite a substantial time together as we share the same interests.

Anyway,,, this afternoon, I changed the layout of my little girl's room (with the help of my 2nd son). Been thinking of doing this for a while....but could find the time. So... since she is not in....decided to grab this opportunity to get it done. It will be a surprise for the when she comes home on Sunday. I am quite sure she will like to change ;p.



Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gingerbread Man

Christmas is just around the corner. Despite the fact that I am not a Christian.....like most Malaysians......we still celebrate Christmas in one way or another. The other day, while I was tidying the children's bookshelves, I stumbled upon the book, "The Gingerbread Man". Now, my children have long outgrown the book...but I suddenly have this urge to bake some gingerbread man cookies. After all, it's a must have for Christmas, right?

I have never baked this cookie before. So, I started surfing the Net for help. Found this recipe online and was immediately attracted to it. It looks simple to make. The next day, I got all the required ingredients and was ready to roll out some gingerbread man. Unfortunately, I could not get hold of the gingerbread man cookie cutters as the bakery supply store has ran out of it. So... I drew the gingerbread man on a piece of paper and cut it out as a template. I had to hand cut the gingerbread man with the template using a some plastic knife. It's time-consuming but the end result was pretty satisfactory.

Gingerbread men with a scarf


Dancing Gingerbread man (or are they supposed to be running!)

Gingerbread couple!!!!

They are so cute and taste good too!. My gingerbread men are of a darker shade as I used organic black strap molasses. I do find it a bit too sweet, so the next time I will reduce the amount of sugar.

Gingerbread Man

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp (freshly) ground nutmeg
pinch ground black pepper (optional)
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup coffee or water 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method
  • Sift together flour, baking soda, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.
  • Cream butter and sugar until smooth in a mixer.
  • Beat in molasses, water and vanilla.
  • Gradually add in flour mixture until a smooth dough is formed.
  • Divide the dough into 2 portions (dough will be quite soft) and cover with plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate till firm (about 2 hours)
Preheat oven to 190C (375F)

For softer cookies :
  • Roll out the dough to just under 1/4" thick on a lightly floured surface.
  • Use cookie cutters of your choice 92-3" gingerbread man are ideal) to cut the dough.
  • Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 9-12mins (depending on the size of the cookie cutter)
  • Cookie should be slightly firm to touch at the edges.
  • Let cookie cool on the baking sheet for 5 mins before transferring on a wire rack to cool completely.

For crispier cookies :
  • Roll out the dough to just under 1/8" thick on a lightly floured surface.
  • Use cookie cutters of your choice (2-3" gingerbread man are ideal) to cut the dough.
  • Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 9-12mins (depending on the size of the cookie cutter)
  • Cookie should be slightly firm to touch at the edges and lightly browned.
  • Let cookie cool on the baking sheet for 5 mins before transferring on a wire rack to cool completely.
When cool, decorate with lemon icing (recipe below)

Lemon Icing

Ingredients
2 cups confectioners' sugar (icing sugar)
2-3 tbsp lemon juice

Method
  • In a small bowl icing sugar with lemon juice.
  • If you do not have fresh lemon juice, you can substitute with milk or cream plus 1 tsp lemon extract.
  • Add enough lemon juice to make the icing thick and pourable, but not runny.
  • Stir till very smooth
  • Scrape into piping bag with a fine tip or a ziploc bag with a corner cut off.
  • Pipe onto cooled cookies.
  • All to set for at least 30mins or until firm before storing cookies in an airtight container.



Monday, December 14, 2009

Feasting in Penang

I was away in Penang last Thursday till Saturday. My family (including my mother, brother, sisters and her family) drove up to Penang in 3 cars. It's been a while since we have been there. For those who know me, I hailed from Penang but have now been residing in Selangor for the past 2.5 decades. (about 380km apart). Took us approximately 4 hours to arrive our destination.

Upon arriving, we started our quest of savouring those delicious Penang food the we missed so much. Here is a snippet of some of the food we took.

Oh Chen (Oyster Omelette)



Fried Kueh Teow from Balik Pulau. Cost only RM2.50 per plate!!!


Muah Chee


Poh Piah


The famous Loh Bak from Kheng Pin Coffee Shop


Penang Prawn Mee



Braised Pork Mee (yummy)


Curry Mee (Penang Style)

I also managed to eat the famous Nasi Kandar in a stall called "Line Clear" located in an alley along Penang Road. It is very famous and you can see people queuing up just for it.

It is a pity that our trip was rather short... Could not eat all of the food that we wanted!!! Had to leave Penang early on Saturday morning as we need to pick up my second son who was in Outward Bound School, Lumut attending the a 10-day adventure camp. So, since he missed the trip to Penang, we managed to packed him some Fried Kuey Teow and Loh Bah to eat on the way home.




Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bunga Kantan (Torch Ginger)

Torch Ginger or Bunga Kantan (as it is known locally in Malaysia) is known botanically as Etlingera elatior. It is a member the ginger family.

Torch ginger is believed to be a native to Indonesia. However, now this plant is grown in many tropical countries. It is grown for its extravagant flower and for food. In Malaysia, Bunga Kantan is considered as the "soul" of many Nyonya dishes such as Assam Laksa, perut ikan and assam tumis.

The bud of the Bunga Kantan is commonly sold in fresh market here. The pinkish color bud has a great aroma. They are normally halved lengthwise and used in curries and stews. When cooked, it imparts a floral fragrance and exotic aroma into the dishes. I would even use it when I cook fried rice. It adds a new dimension to the culinary palate.

I have a number of Torch Ginger plant in my garden. The plants grow from rhizomes. A mature torch ginger plant can reach a towering height of about 3 meters (10 feet) . It looks rather stately and it grows in clamps. The strap-like leaves that line alternately on the leafy shoots can
grow up to the length of 80cm.


They have given me a constant supply of bunga kantan to satisfy my taste buds. Whenever I am in the mood to cook Nyonya dishes, I just need to go to my garden to harvest a couple of torch ginger buds.(convenient and economical) So, those torch ginger in my garden never did have chance to blossom. Out of curiosity, I have left one of the buds behind when I last harvested them (as I would like to see how the flower looks like). After about a week, this is what I get ;


Very pretty. Unfortunately, as this is the rainy season in Malaysia, the flower has started to rot.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sago Kueh




Sago Kueh (or Sago Cake) is a local traditional dessert. There are many ways of preparing it. Most recipes would call for boiling the sago in water. However, a friend of my taught me a very simple way of preparing this dessert (without the hassle of boiling the sago). It's just simply 4 steps :- soak, mix, steam & chill.

My Dad likes this dessert very much. Since I reduced the sugar in the recipe, Mommy likes it too. So, I made a tray and gave half to my parents and my children finished the rest.

Sago Kuah (Steamed)

Ingredients

300gm pearl sago (I used green colored sago)
100gm sugar
1 pandan leaf
1 coconut (grated) mixed with 1/2 tsp salt

Method

  • Soak the sago in water for about 1 1/2 hours or till they are translucent.
  • Rinse the sago and drain away the water.
  • Slightly oil a tray (for steaming). Oiling the tray will ensure that the sago will not stick to the base of the tray once cooked.
  • Incorporate the sugar into the sago (you can increase the sugar if you prefer it sweeter)
  • Pour the mixture into the tray and place a pandan leaf on top.
  • Steam for 15 minutes or till the sago becomes transparent.
  • Cool and chill in the refrigerator(covered with cling wrap).
  • Once chilled, cut the sago cake into small pieces with a plastic knife.
  • Toss in grated coconut.
  • Serve.
This dessert is delicious and great to eat while sitting in front of the TV ;p
My daughter's favorite.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Chocolate Chips Cookies

My eldest son and his High School friends are planning to spend a night at Port Dickson ( a beach front along the coast of Peninsula Malaysia) for BBQ tomorrow. He is 18 years old and has just completed his Pre-University studies this month. I know his friends well as they used to frequent my home when they are in High School. They love to visit me as I always stuff from with my bakes. So, it was not a surprise that they requested that I bake them something to munch when they have their night out tomorrow. The consensus was "Chocolate Chip Cookies".


Chocolate Chip Cookies it shall be. Baked a batch (just the way they like them... gooey inside and crispy outside) so that the boys can fill their tummies tomorrow.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

230gm butter
200gm brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp cinnamon powder
360gm low protein flour (cake flour)
1 tsp sodium bicarbonate
1/2 tsp salt
200gm chocolate chips

Method

  1. Preheat oven at 170 degrees C.
  2. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
  3. Add in eggs (1 at a time) and continue creaming.
  4. Add in vanilla essence.
  5. Fold in flour, cinnamon powder, sodium bicarbonate and salt till well combined.
  6. Add in chocolate chips
  7. Scoop out the batter with an ice-cream scoop onto a baking tray and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanks Giving


It's Thanksgiving Day today in Malaysia. Despite the fact that it is not a National Holiday here, Thanksgiving is still celebrated especially amongst the American community here.

This year my Hubby and I were invited by his colleague (an American) to his Thanksgiving Dinner (this is a yearly affair for us). It is tonight and I have been requested by the host to bake a Cherry Pie. Everything was set and the ingredients were bought. However, early this week, Dearest Hubby was informed that he had to attend to an urgent
meeting in Beijing. Had to fly off to Beijing, China on Tuesday night and could only be home by Friday. That means... we have to miss the Thanksgiving Dinner. It was so last minute. Felt bad for disappointing the host (especially not being able to bring the Cherry Pie there). Sorry, Miriam and Bill. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving party.

Anyway, since the ingredients are prepared, I decide to go ahead and bake the Cherry Pie. This is my 1st attempt to bake a Cherry Pie (as Cherries are had to come by here). Found this wonderful and extremely easy recipe in Recipezaar called " Best Cherry Pie" This recipe has won a blue ribbon at the county fair in Vicksburg, MS. It turned out well and taste delicious.
Here's the recipe:

Best Cherry Pie (by Luby Luby Kuby, Recipezaar)

Ingredients :
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp butter, softened
2 (14 1/2 oz) cans pitted tart cherries, drained and reserving 1/2cup juice
1/4 tsp red food colouring (I omitted it)
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 tsp lemon juice
short crust pastry for a double crust 9 inch pie


Method
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degree C
  2. Drain cherries, reserving 1/2 cup juice
  3. In a bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt
  4. Mix together cherry juice, food colouring, almond extract and lemon juice in another bowl.
  5. Add to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  6. Add in cherries and mix well.
  7. Add in butter and let the mixture stand for 15 minutes.
  8. Pour the cherry mixture into the pie crust and finish top with lattice pie crush.
  9. Bake for 50 minutes or till crush is golden.
Gonna have this Cherry Pie with my children tonight for Thanksgiving.
To those celebrating... Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!




Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fatt Koh (Steamed Rice Cake)



Fatt Koh (Steamed Rice Cake) or Huat Kueh in Hokkien is a must for Chinese during prayers. Every 1st and 15th of each Lunar month, the Chinese will offer this cake at the altar for prayers. "Fatt " or "Huat" means prosperity while "Koh" or "Kueh" means cake. It is made from rice flour like muffins and normally pink in colour. A good Fatt Koh is one that cracks in the middle resembling a "smile". It is sold in abundance on the eve of the 1st or 15th of each Lunar month in shops or stalls as not many people make them by themselves. My children like them but I hardly buy them as I find store bought ones too sweet for my taste. Moreover, I do not like to consume the colouring that is used to made them sweet pink.


Thanks to my gym buddy, Fiona, I am now able to make my own Fatt Koh that is less sweet and no colouring added. This is a foul-proof recipe that her mother-in-law perfected after 3 years of experimenting!!!. She has been using this recipe every month and I have tried it many times too!. Result has always been PERFECT!!! My children will be smiling from ear to ear everytime I make them.


Huat Kueh

Ingredients :

1 bowl cooked rice

½ pc crushed wine yeast biscuit (chow paeng)

2 tbsp water

1 ½ cup sugar

4 ½ cup water

500gm rice flour (1 packet)

1 ½ tsp – 2 tsp ENO fruit salt

Method

1) Cool cooked rice in a container.

2) Add 2 tbsp water and sprinkle crushed wine yeast biscuit on the rice.

3) Stir until thoroughly mixed and leave to ferment for 3 days 2 nights (ie if mix on Monday it will be ready on Wednesday)

4) Blend fermented rice into blender with sugar and 1 cup water.

5) Add in rice flour and the rest of the water.

6) Be sure that there is no lumps in the mixture.

7) Keep in airtight container for 7 hours for fermentation.

8) Sprinkle ENO on batter.

9) Stir well and pour into moulds (with paper cups).

10) Steam for 15minutes.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Garbage Enzyme


I have always been an advocate when it comes to greening the earth. I would play my part (even though it is small) in minimizing my carbon foot prints on the earth. To me the 3R's (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) is most important when it comes to waste management. I keep a container by my kitchen to collect the water used for washing the rice, vegetable and fruits to be used to water my plants. I would also collect rain water for the same purpose. (since rainfall is abundant here in Malaysia). I also diligently segregate my garbage for recycling.

Apart from the many efforts I do, I have found that making garbage enzyme is a very beneficial and effective way to greening the earth. It involves fermenting fruit peels or vegetable with sugar and water to produce and enzyme so powerful yet safe for household use. I made my own garbage enzyme from citrus fruit peels (as I like the citrus scent) .
I have been using it since the beginning of this year. I am using it for mopping the floor, washing dishes and fertilizing my plants. Its many uses are :
  • as a household cleaning liquid - mix a small cupful of enzyme with a bucket of water when mopping the floor. The floor will be squeaky clean. No floor cleaner needed.
  • removing odour, mold and grime from kitchen and toilets
  • Insect repellent - spray small enzyme mixed with water onto your plants or around the house and you will see the insects running away.
  • Make the laundry cleaner without excessive use of detergent
  • Can be added to the shampoo
  • makes dish washing a breeze

Usage

Dilute with water

Enzyme for fertilizer1:100 or 1:500 or 1:1000
Enzyme for insecticide1:1000
Enzyme for pesticide1:100
For anti odour / air freshener1:200
As plant hormones to get more flowers and fruits1:500

When the enzyme is diluted with water, it becomes more effective.

Explanation: When diluting with water for the above ratio of 1:1000, it means
1cc of enzyme is added to 1000cc of water

To enhance the nutrients and reduce the side effects of the chemicals in shampoos, dish-washing liquids, detergents:
Add one teaspoon of enzyme to every 500cc of shampoos, dish-washing liquids, detergents.


What is Garbage Enzyme?

Garbage Enzyme is a complex organic substance of protein chains and mineral salts and juvenile hormones.

Functions of Garbage Enzyme is to
- resolve / decompose
- transform / change
- compose / make up / combine
- catalysis

As a result of catalysis, ozone is produced which can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and this in turn reduces global warming.

This enzyme can be produced easily with the organic waste from our kitchens.

During enzyme production, O3 + NO3 + CO3 are generated and these could help purify and whiten the clouds in the sky. Those clouds that trap lots of heavy metals appear dark. Those dark clouds cause more heat to be trapped on earth due to the greenhouse effect. O3 (ozone) from the garbage enzymes could reduce the heavy metals in the clouds and this would reduce global warming.

More NO3 (nitrite) in the air is useful as nutrients for the plants and soil.

Use Enzymes to Reduce Global Warming

If every household makes and uses enzymes, it would help tremendously in the reduction of global warming.




Here is how you can make your own garbage enzyme.


enzyme production ingredient 1

Black sugar is needed for making garbage enzyme.

Brown or any raw unprocessed sugar can also be used but never use white sugar.

enzyme production ingredient  2

Kitchen waste is another ingredient used for the production of garbage enzyme.

Leftover cooked food from meals like vegetables is usable too but rinse off any gravy or sauces from them first before using. Never use any kind of meat! Fruit skins should be taken from fruits like apple, orange, pineapple, pear, watermelon, grape, lemon, guava but don't use durians!

** I only use orange and lemon peels as I prefer the citrus scent***

enzyme production process
An example: Add 300g of sugar + 900g of fruit skins + 3000g of water and mix well in a 5000cc plastic bottle and cap tightly. Keep in a cool dry place at room temperature. Release the gases formed once a day for the first month. Make sure it is re-capped tightly each time after the gas release. For the 2nd and 3rd months, only release any gases if necessary. Sometimes, there is a white layer on the surface of the enzyme solution during fermentation. Should worms appear in your enzyme solution, don't panic. Add in a handful of sugar, mix well and cap the bottle tightly. They will disappear overnight!
enzyme production in bottles

These bottles contain kitchen waste with sugar and water.

Fermentation will take place in the bottles for 3 months. Then after filtration and removal of the residue, garbage enzyme is obtained. The residue can be used again for a new batch of production by adding fresh garbage. The residue can also be dried, then blended and buried in the ground as a fertilizer.

enzyme produced and ready for use

These bottles of garbage enzyme are ready for dilution with water to be used.



Give it a try!!! Garbage enzyme is now sold commercially. However, why pay for it when you can make your own!!!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Purple Rice Buns




Sometimes, I would make plain buns (without fillings). The buns can be eaten plain or with butter, jam or kaya.

Purple Rice Buns

Ingredients

500gm High Protein Flour (Bread Flour)
60 gm Low Protein Flour (Cake Flour)
10 gm instant yeast
40gm purple rice powder
30 gm Horlicks
60gm sugar
9gm salt
1 egg
250ml fresh milk
150ml whipping cream

Method :
  • Mix all ingredients in a mixer.
  • Knead till gluten is fully developed and dough is elastic, smooth, non sticky and does not stick to the sides of the mixing bowl.
  • Cover with a damp towel and allow the dough to prove till double in size (about 60 minutes)
  • Punch out the dough and divide it into balls of 50gm each.
  • Shape them into balls and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
  • Flatten each dough and roll to your desired shape. (at this point, you can add in fillings of your choice)
  • Place all dough in a baking tray (lined with parchment paper).
  • Prove for about 45minutes or till dough double in size.
  • Brush with egg wash and top with black and white sesame seeds.
  • Bake in a preheated oven of
  • 180C for 13-15minutes
  • Remove buns immediately from tin onto a cooling rack. Serve.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Colour coding

I am not Martha Stewart nor am I one in the making. Nevertheless, as a homemaker, I am always looking for ways to make my life easier. Call it home improvement.

Many of you will be shocked to hear that I enjoy ironing clothes. (a chore that many prefer to put aside if given a choice). I find it therapeutic. The joy of seeing how a creased shirt magically turn smooth and crisp when the iron glides over it always bring a smile to my face. With a family of 5, I do have quite a lot of ironing to do. I would iron clothes almost everyday. To ensure that the clothes that have been ironed are sorted and ease for the owners to claim them is maximized, I resort to colour coding the hangers. I assign a specific colour for each member of the family. I use blue hangers for my eldest son, green for my second boy, pink for my girl, black for my hubby and purple for myself. Just like the picture below.


So, clothes are hung according to the colour of the hangers. I will make it a point to arrange them according to the colours during my ironing routine. In this way, once ironing is completed, all that is needed to be done is for the owner of the clothing to come and scoop up their clothes and keep into their own wardrobe. No more running through the line of clothing looking for their belongings and have each others clothing in their wardrobe by mistake. On top of that, their wardrobe looks good too (with one a single colour range in each wardrobe). If there is an odd one out, it can be easily identified and returned to the rightly owner.

Simple yet effective.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

You Are My Sunshine


Some time back, Mommy Dearest gave me 5 seedling of sunflower. Planted them in the planter in front of my house. Initially they were striving well in their new home until one day a neighbour's cat came and stepped on 2 of my seedlings... killing them instantly.
Left with 3 seedlings, I was pretty skeptical if they could survive another invasion by the nasty cat. Luckily, they did and grow into 3 lovely sunflower plants with many blooms. Each one of them had a flower blooming since last week. They were so cheerful and bright that I have decided to take pictures of them daily to record their majestic display of vibrant yellow.

Day 2 - after bloom

Day 3
Day 4
Day 6
Now that they are a week old, they are starting to dry up. Soon it would be time to harvest these wonderful flower. Can't wait to feast on the home grown sunflower seeds!!!
Reckon I will be able to have plenty of sunflower seeds to feast on as there are still many blooms on those 3 plants that I have!!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Marbled Green Tea Chiffon Cake



Today I had the urge to bake something different. Instead of the normal green tea chiffon cake that I would bake once in a while, I decided to tweak it a little. (trying to be adventurous).

So.... I considered baking a green tea vanilla chiffon cake. Since I only had an 18" chiffon cake tin, I will have to use the same amount of ingredients and then divide it into half for green tea and the other for vanilla.

The end result was pretty good. See the lovely pattern on the cake.





Marbled Green Tea Chiffon Cake (18cm chiffon cake tin)

Ingredients :
  1. 4 nos. egg yolk (size : grade A)
  2. 40ml corn oil
  3. 100gm superfine flour
  4. 1 tbsp green tea powder
  5. 1 tsp vanilla essence
  6. 70ml milk
  7. 5 nos egg white (size : grade A)
  8. 45gm sugar (add more if you prefer)
  9. 0.5 tsp lemon juice

Method :
  1. Preheat oven at 170 C.
  2. Combine egg yolks, oil, flour and milk. Mix till well blended and divide into 2 different bowls.
  3. In one bowl add in the green tea powder and blend well. Set aside.
  4. Add vanilla essence to the other bowl, blend well and set aside.
  5. Whisk egg whites till frothy.
  6. Gradually add in sugar and lemon juice. Continue whisking till stiff peak is formed.
  7. Divide the mixture into half.
  8. Mix 1/3 of the egg whites (from one half) into the egg yolk batter with the vanilla essence with a whisk.
  9. Fold in the remaining egg yolk batter. Set aside.
  10. Repeat steps 8 & 9 for the green tea batter.
  11. Pour batter (alternating the green tea and vanilla essence ) into a chiffon cake tin and bang the tin a couple of times to release the trapped bubbles.
  12. Bake in the oven at 170C for 30- 35 mins or till cooked.
  13. Remove cake from oven and invert it immediately to cool for 30 mins before slicing.