Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Pumpkin Bread

I am not sure whether this is a pumpkin season but my kitchen is overloaded with pumpkins given by friends and neighbours. As none of my family member fancy steamed pumpkins ( which is the only thing my mum will do with pumpkins), so I am thinking of other ways to finish the fruit (or vegetable ??).

I remember i came across a recipe from Happy Home Baking of baking pumpkin bread using freshly cooked pumpkin puree. Using the same recipe, I am going to bake my very own pumpkin bread.

While I was eagerly preparing the ingredients for the bread, I realised i didnt have honey with me. Well, I think it is ok to omit it as only 1 tsp is needed (I halfed the recipe), haha, a lousy excuse resulted from my refusal to drag myself out to get it as it was raining. Instead, I added some sugar and milk powder as substitution of honey for it's contribution to the bread's sweetness and moisture.

The crust of the bread was a bit hard, I think i overbaked it as this is the first time I bake my bread at 190c (usually I use 170c). It was also too salty for my liking. The good things is, u can never smell or taste pumpkin from the bread. The only clues is from the beautifully arranged pumpkin seeds on the top of bread, so even Yap (who really don't like pumpkin) also had no problem of having it.

Monday, December 29, 2008

X'mas @ S'pore

Hi, finally I'm back from my x'mas holiday. A fun but tiring trip. A white x'mas? Nah..not for this year, but a sunny and 'sweet' xmas. (as the theme for this year). It took me 2 hours to plan for the 5 days from shopping, sightseeing, walking.. and walking and walking. :P Well who doesn't know that xmas in S'pore is all about shopping and walking? Took a lot of photos this time eventhough I had been to s'pore countless times before.(thanks to my partner that seemed enjoyed nothing but taking photos..never understand guys)

First and foremost...a must-go place for x'mas in s'pore - Orchard. People say u never been to Spore if u never been to Orchard. Nevertheless, not a favourite place for me but a bit exceptional this year. As the saying goes "the sun will set in Marina Bay and the countdown shall begins in Orchard" ... We reached 6 hour earlier to Orchard (where the 24th Dec countdown was held, as usual), there were already, say, ten million people gathering in this road!! Not to mention the overcrowded restaurants and super-packed shopping megamall. This year's theme was sweet x'mas, therefore, the whole street was filled with candies. (but nothing is free)

Xmas tree is a must for this celebration. I had spotted a few ....

The x'mas tree in Vivo City was awarded (by me) as the king of x'mas tree. I sure looked tiny in photos with this gigantic tree as background. Built from millions of small colourful bulbs soaring up to the sky. Can u spot me in the photos?

The "Most romantic x'mas tree" award goes to Clark Quay's X'mas tree due to its whitish and pinkish lighting. Although not as huge as the earlier in Vivo City, the tree does have its own charm. An eye-catching tree.

The suntec city's one was full with silver balls and reddish decoration (not sure whether they were flowers or simply ribbons). Warning.. u need to queue up to take photos with this tree...haha.

x'mas tree on the way to Raffles City shopping mall. Such an out-dated x'mas tree. Built from ordinary xmas tree decorated with ordinary light bulb with one ordinary couple taking photos with it. :p
Had enough of x'mas tree? Well final one. Not a 'real' tree afterall but it simply caught every passerby' attention.This won the "Most creative x'mas tree" award. It was located near to Lau Pa Sat. Built from man-shaped steel, it withstand the rain and sun. Ever wonder will they tear it down after xmas?

So... that's all for all the award winning xmas tree in Spore... do u have anything to share? post your home xmas tree to me.. and i rate it...haha

Monday, December 22, 2008

Hotdog bun 熱 狗 包

Dong zhi 冬 至

This is the 1st yr my nieces dominate the tang yuan making process. I only play my part when it comes to the boiling the tang yuan.

This is the proof how seriously they are shaping their tang yuan. This year, we only had those pre-mixed tang yuan eaten with ground peanut and gula melaka.

Twins happily present their products after paying so much effort. The tang yuan are displayed using their creativity

Asked how they get to know the tang yuan shaping technique, they said they learn from Ah Wang. I was wonder whether Ah Wang is their new little friend but later they notify me that it's the Ah Wang on hong kong series 阿 旺 新 傳 。 See, kids do learn things from tv, so keep an eye on tv show they are watching.

As usual, my mum prepares popiah using the way she used to cook this for decades. ;P. Yummy. I have eaten this food since... say, when I start eating solid food. After so many years..this is still my favorite festive food.

Now, it's my turn to give. I have did something unrelated to dong zhi. Dala... a pandan chiffon cake which my mum asked for almost every week. This time i used different recipe as the last pandan chiffon cake was not so satisfying. This recipe by Baking Mum using larger amount of coconut milk compare to the previous one. With the superb mixture of coconut milk and fresh pandan extract, the cake turned out to have very irresistable fragrance. The cake also quite moist and fluffy. Unfortunately, i underbake it, but to my surprise, none of my family member realise and complain about it :)

Its a joyful dong zhi

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Trio Wholemeal Loaf

It all started with an idea of doing something healthy for breakfast, lunch and dinner..And what more healthier than a wholemeal, less sugar, 'oil'less and not to mention low calories but high in protein bread (I never even care actually). It took a little bit of sweat, a little bit of time and a little bit of patience...and 'ting..!!!' my 'masterpiece' was ready. It wasn't that hard actually, in fact, the hardest part is giving the right name to it. Any suggestion? An wholemeal loaf with walnut, raisin and chocolate chips. So I decided to just give 'trio wholemeal loaf' a try.

So far, this is the loaf i like the most as i like the chewy and nutty texture of the loaf. Basically u get all the mouth tastes combined in one chew. I always feel like eating some tidbits when having the bread. The raisin and chocolate chips add some sweetness to the loaf and that is what make the whole bread unique. Final result, the wholemeal loaf less 'dull' than what you normally get from commercial wholemeal loaf.

This recipe use up to 1:1 ratio of bread flour to wholemeal flour. (Don't ask me why because I never understand what the chemical reactions that happen inside.) The proportion of wholemeal may be too high to some people as this mean the resulting loaf will be harder than normal loaf but i really like the texture.

Finally, what I really proud of is that I can keep this bread more than 24 hour... haha, before it turn hard..I mean real hard. In fact, my 'masterpiece' never survive till the third day...with all end up in my stomach...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Hong Kong Egg Tarts 港 式 蛋 撻

This was my 3rd attempts on making egg tarts. For the first two times, i simply employed the muffin method for my crust where i creamed the butter and sugar till fluffy, then added in egg and flour to form a dough. I'm quite ok with this kind of crust but it's not my mum's cup of tea so she called for a more pastry-like crust.

Egg tarts in my first attempt

Therefore, this time i was using the standard method for the crust where the butter was mixed into the flour-sugar mixture with folks until the mixture resembles course crumbs with pea sizes of butter. Then the egg was mixed in bit by bit to form a dough.

As for the filling, fresh milk was used this time as I ran out of evaporated milk. Subsequently i increased the amount of sugar because fresh milk is less sweet than evaporated milk.

This was the result

The tarts were not well shaped as they were baked in muffin pan. The resulting crust was really a pastry-like crust and the filling was also surprisingly nice. However, there were comments that the filling tasted a bit bitter but i didn't really feel it. This might be due to the sugar which was not completely melted as the water i used was not really hot enough. I think making more egg tarts can make me figure out a solution for this.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Outing 郊游

This is a hot and shinny day. A perfect day for outing. We are having a 'picnic' day without food
such a windy day, even kids can play kite very well

babies turtle crawling on the beach

Japanese Black Pearl Cake 日 本 黑 珍 珠 蛋 糕

I was still hesitating whether to make tis cake tis morning while i was mopping the floor.Get this recipe from aunty yochana, however, it seems like all the followers fail to make this cake, and even aunty yochana herself make tis cake without egg yolks. will it be sucessful?or should i juz play safe and make a cheedar cheese cake?After much consideration, i'm still decided to be adventurous, be it sucess or fail cuz tis is a golden opportunity for me to make such a chocolate rich cake as yap and twins all around, otherwise, it is very hard for me to find 'victim' to finish tis cake as none of my family members are choco-lover, includes me.

I used 6 egg yolks and 6 egg white regardless of the weight from the recipe cuz i didn't want to waste my ingredient. The cake was grow too high and nearly touch the heating element, so i covered the top with aluminium foil. The baking temperature was change to 160c to suit my small oven. The cake was well baked at 30 mins.

The result was so satisfying. I tot the outcome will be a brownies-like cake, something moist and dense. But the cake turned out so soft, light and fluffy, but still very moist, have a very chololatey taste as described. The cake's colour was very dark as the name implies. Yap rate it as 10/10. Twins like it too. Yeah, what a success! Think it will be a cake for all choco-lover.