Baking Baking Baking

August 28, 2009 at 4:54 pm

Since we’d invested in a stand mixer, Daddy expects more frequent baking in the house, he was also hoping not to have to purchase another loaf of bread from the bakery, but have all bread baked at home. Over the 2 weeks, I’d baked hot cross bun twice; a loaf of bread, chocolate chip cookies and green tea butter cake once. The latter tasted rather awful, probably due to the macha powder which came from ‘aged’ leaves (which was very expensive but probably not suitable for baking) we used.

Here are some of the baking done in the last 2 weeks.

My 1st attempt on bread baking.
Hot Cross BunsForgot to ‘proof’ it and used a pan too small, it came out like a loaf. Tasty but rather dense.

Tried out a breadmix which cost RM12.9, just add water, oil, the yeast sachet, knead, bake and voila, the loaf turned out wonderful.
Premix BreadBut to me, this is cheating.

My 2nd attempt on the same recipe for hot cross buns.
Hot Cross Buns - Attempt 2
I followed the recipe closely (well, except it asked for sultanas and I used raisin), remember to ‘proof’ it and used 2 pans so the buns have room to expand.

Hot Cross buns servedThis time they turned out buns-like, but it’s still very dry and the crust hard. Any tip from anyone?
I think I’ll lower the oven temperature next time, and give it a milk wash right after I take them out from the oven. Not giving up yet. I’ll share the recipe once I get it right.

This is a recipe given to me by my best friend’s Father-In-Law. I’d tried it many times, and they are easy to make and extremely delicious.
Chocolate Chip Cookie

Chocolate Chip Cookies for neighbours and the girls' teachers

Recipe for this :
150g butter
1/4 cup soft brown sugar
1/3 cup castor sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 1/2 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup choc chip
1/2 cup pecan nut (you can replace it with white chocolate chip or any other nuts, but I prefer nuts as it’ll be sweeter if more choc chips are used)

Heat up oven to 190 degrees
Cream butter and sugar
Add yolk and vanilla essence and beat further
Mix chips and nuts with wooden spoon
Spoon batter onto baking sheet and bake for 10~15mins.

The cookies will come out very ‘soong’. Enjoy.

Homemade Soy Milk / Soya Bean

August 5, 2009 at 5:10 pm

I made soy milk or soya bean again on Monday. The amount of soy milk I’m consuming will probably give me nice skin even without using any expensive night cream, and so I hope.

I thought I’ll share the recipe, so that those who are interested, especially Malaika’s Mummy, can try it out.

Soak Soy Bean overnight.
Soaked Soy Beans

Put soaked beans into blender, and add water. Ratio : 1 cup soaked soy bean : 3.5 cup waters
Soy Bean milk making

Blend the bean and water mixture until smooth (~1 min high speed). Put the mixture into a sieve (I used a cloth one as it’s quicker to sieve, but you can also use the normal wire sieve), and squeeze out all the milky liquid into a pot.
Home Made Soy Bean

What is left behind on the sieve is Okara. Keep it for making homemade burger, or other dishes or just use it as fertiliser.
Home Made Soy Bean

Add screw pine or pandan leave for added flavour (I heard you can also add black sesame or vanila) and put on stove to boil, stirring occasionally. Add sugar (or you can also make sugar syrup separately). Turn off the fire immediately once the soy milk starts to boil, and it’s done!
Home Made Soy Bean

A bowl of hot soy milk. It looks a bit darkish yellow here because I used brown sugar instead of white.
Home Made Soy Bean

The girls prefer it chilled of course.

Btw, I tried it with black bean (and I skinned it so that the soy milk didn’t appear greyish), and I find it’s creamier and tastier compared to the normal soy bean (which I didn’t skin).

Notes (added 8th Aug) – Pei Sze left a comment to say the soy milk must be boiled for 25mins at least and have the beans skinned. I’m not sure about skinning the beans, I guess that’s your preference. However I googled boiling and this came back, “The cooking time is important, as raw soybeans contain a factor known as a tripsin inhibitor. Essentially, this means that the protein contained in the beans cannot be properly assimilated by the body unless the beans are well cooked. Soy milk should be cooked for at least 25 minutes from the first boiling time. “
So take note. And I’d been feeding the family something that they cannot digest.. baaah.

My New Toy

August 3, 2009 at 3:02 pm

Last year, my RM99 cake mixer broke down on me half way creaming icing for the cupcakes I made for Zara’s birthday celebration. Since then, I’d been asking myself the question, should I get another RM99 cake mixer? Or should I go for a good one?

I’d been looking at the Kenwood models, wanting to get one which is made in Italy or England, but I found the RM2xxx ones are all Made in China. No way I’m going to pay so much for a China made machine.

I asked around those baking gurus, most of them are using KitchenAid, and if they were not, they planned to get one in future. Then I saw the KitchenAid Artisan mixer in Tropicana City, and that’s it, my search for a mixer is over. KitchenAid it is! Fully Made in USA (except the bowl which is from Korea), it’s beautiful, and comes in various colours.

We didn’t get it immediately because Singaore is selling almost RM700 cheaper, and we were wondering if we should make a trip down south to get the mixer.

We made about another 4 trips to the same shop in Tropicana City looking and touching the machine, waiting for a price reduction (and contemplating at the same time); even Zara started questioning, “Why do we keep coming back to this shop?” and she even learnt, “Not everything I want, I should get. You like the cake mixer so much, you also didn’t buy, right?” 🙂

Anyway, last weekend, I told Daddy, enough of waiting, I want to get it!! And we did! So happened there was some promo running, and we got another RM100 reduction on top of the promo price.

And here is my new toy…… (oh by the way, Zara insisted that I should get the pink one, but we didn’t listen to her, and chose a colour that matched our Oak-coloured kitchen).

KitchenAid Artisan

KitchenAid Artisan

What a beauty, don’t you think?

I tried it out yesterday, and baked a butter cake using a simple recipe from Donna Hay.

Put all ingredient into the bowl and mix it.
Mixing the ingredient

So easy, so quiet, so smooth…
Cake batter

Baked it for an hour +, and viola.
A slice of butter cake

Daddy is expecting some bread to be baked soon. o.O”
Tell me if you have a good and easy country bread recipe to share.

Homemade Soy Burger Anyone?

July 27, 2009 at 11:43 pm

Long long time ago in England, I had tasted Linda McCartney’s soy burger, and I absulutely loved it. They didn’t come cheap, and was more expensive than the meat burgers, but that was one of the few indulgence I allowed myself.

A week ago, Daddy used his credit card points to claim some voucher, and bought a high end Philip blender for me during the Harvey Norman sale,
Philip Blender

Since then, I’d made 10 cereal milk (十榖奶) and also soy bean milk (豆奶) a couple of times at home. The first time I made soy bean milk, we used the pulp which is called okara as fertiliser. On my 2nd attempt which was on Saturday, I kept the okara, with the intention of making soy burger with it.

For lunch today, that was what I did. Here is what I’d used (in estimation):
1) a cup of okara
2) one big onion diced
3) less than half a cup of corn kernels (freshly scraped out from a cob)
4) a stalk of spring onin diced
5) a stalk of coriander diced
6) a lightly beaten egg
7) some corn flour and flour to made the patty less runny

Mix them all up in a bowl. Add soya sauce, salt and pepper to taste.
Okara mixture

Add extra flour a little at a time so that the patties can be formed (but expect it to be a bit on the soft side).

Fry the patties in a pan. (The 1st one Jelly actually deep fried it like an Indian wadai, and after that I had to take over the frying)
Frying the Patties

Frying the Patties

And viola, our lunch.

Soy Burger

Soy Burger

It was quite good, probably as delicious as Linda McCartney’s. *ahem*

Lunch was served with a cup of home made soy milk.
Soy Burger

(The girls had left over pizzas instead, since they are not keen on any meat burgers, I didn’t think they will like the soy burger, what more, it was my first attempt. However, I will definitely feed them this the next round).

Btw, I have been getting contradicting information about soya bean. Is it good, is it bad? Does it give you health benefits, or actually harms you? I really don’t know. As I like the taste, I’ll continue to make them.

Weekend Projects

April 20, 2009 at 2:10 pm

5th April 2009
Back from Bangalore and after a nap (only caught like 2hrs of sleep on the plane), went to Malacca to visit my besty and her 8 month old daughter, Maya, who are back from New York for a holiday.

Look at Maya, I’m so envious of those big eyes!
Maya

I so like her skin tone. That’s the thing about mix marriages, you produce beautiful babies.
Maya

It’s no kidding trying to take photos of 3 kids together.
Zara, Zaria and Maya

Zara, Zaria and MayaHmmph.. I give up.

Normally, I would stay a night there, but this round, due to heavy work commitments, I had to leave the same day after dinner. Will try to catch them again before they leave for New York.

12th April 2009
Zara requested for some cheese puffs and sausage rolls, so I bought some ready made pastry and made some for the girls.

Girls were guarding the oven waiting for their Puffies (That’s what Zara calls them, and Zaria followed).
Sausage rolls and cheese puffs

Girls having fresh from the oven Puffies for dinner, and they were very happy.
Zara having her sausage roll

Zaria having her puffy

For the adults, I tried my hands on mushroom soup. I was quite happy with the result. Daddy said it tasted like the ones you get from the restaurant minus the MSG.
Home made mushroom soup

And main course for us adult was tuna pie and salad (Jelly did the weaving of the pastry and she’s quite good at that).
Home made tuna pie and salad

18th & 19th April 2009
2 trips to Ikea, and many hours of work later, we managed to put up 4 of the girls’ poster size photos up on the wall. Another 4 more to go. *phew*
Girls' photos on the wall

Zaria was very happy this morning, kept saying, “Look at that. My photo(s).” “How many mei-mei’s photos there?”

Yam Rice – Recreated

August 27, 2008 at 1:18 pm

A little drama first…

Yesterday, I told Jelly I will cook yam rice for dinner and got her to prepare the ingredient, frying the yam, boiling the meat and slicing the mushroom.

When it was 6:15pm, I asked her to get the rice rinsed and I’ll do the cooking. She replied, “I’d already cooked the rice, mum”
WHAT????
“I said I’m cooking yam rice right? Why did you cook the rice first?”
“I thought you want, mum.”
“I was just upstairs, you could have asked me right?”
“I thought must cook rice, mum.”
“You don’t even have to call me on the phone, you just need to ask me, that also you can’t do?”
“I thought..”
*cutting her off*“What about the chicken stock?”
“I used to cook the rice, mum.”
WHAT THE ….??? Hate it when they don’t bother asking!!
….. Anyway, Yam rice I’m going to have. So whatever rice she cooked, I got her to store away, we can do a fry rice later.
GRRRR…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’d been cooking yam rice without following a recipe, yesterday I decided to follow this Yam Rice recipe from Delicious Asian Food.

I found what I’d been doing wrongly all this while cooking yam rice the way I did.
1) I fried the uncooked yam cubes with the rice – making the yam very mushy when served
2) I threw away the water that was used to soak the dried shrimp – wasted
3) I didn’t pre-cook the meat, sometimes causing the rice to have the ‘smelly chicken’ smell.

Here is the recipe (I replaced pork with chicken and used an estimated measurement to make cooking easier):

Ingredients
1 small yam dice (cut into small cubes and pre-fried till light brown)
1 piece of kampung chicken breast (the recipe used belly pork, since we don’t eat pork, I use chicken instead).
6 pieces Chinese dried mushroom (pre-soaked until soften. Retain the water used for soaking)
1 handful of dried shrimps (pre-soaked in water for about 5 minutes. Remove dried shrimps and retain the water used for soaking)
Water for boiling
2 cups of rice (rinsed)
4 tablespoons palm oil

Seasoning
1 tablespoons light soya sauce
1 tablespoon dark soya sauce
1/4 teaspoon of white pepper powder
1 teaspoon salt

Method
Bring a pot of water to boil and add chicken. Remove scum from water. When chicken is cooked removed from water and allow to cool. Slice the chicken into small pieces.

Heat up 2 tablespoons of shallot oil (we always have this ready at home). Add mushrooms and stir fry for 2 minutes then add dried prawns. Continue stir-frying for a while until fragrant.

Add chicken and rice and continue stirring and then add the seasoning. Once the rice is evenly coated with seasoning, add the chicken stock (whatever we have left after Jelly used it to cook the first batch of rice) and water previously used to soak mushrooms and dried prawns. Transfer this to rice cooker.

If need to, add more water to cover rice mixture (this call for your normal rice cooking intelligence to know how much water is enough). Switch on the rice cooker. Once rice starts to boil, add pre-fried yam and cover. Allow it to cook till done.

And this was what we had for dinner yesterday.

Yam Rice

The yams are in cubes not mashed up, the rice has the fragrant of dried shrimp (must be from the water that’s used to soak the dried prawns). I had another plate of left over just now for breakfast, and the dried shrimp fragrant was very profound. Yummy!

Go try out this recipe or any other recipes from Delicious Asian Food. And while doing so, stand a chance to win USD100. Click below for details.

Delicious Asian Food USD100 up for grabs

Japanese Style Meals

March 17, 2008 at 2:02 pm

After my Japan trip, I’d been attempting to try to prepare some dishes with Japanese flavour at home.

Every weekend, we’ve been having salad with Japanese style dressing.
Japanese Style SaladSauce : 1 tbs teriyaki sauce, 1 tbs soya sauce, 1 tbs sesame oil, 1 tbs Udo’s oil blend, 1 tbs lime juice, 1 tbs toasted sesame

Yakitori – grilled chicken or Japanese Satay as Zara calls them.
Yaki ToriSeasoning : salt, pepper and Mirin; or teriyaki sauce

Zucchini with miso paste
Zucinni with Miso & Sesame pasteSauce : Miso paste and ground toasted sesame.

When we have these, the girls will be happily having their Mac and Cheese.

Partying Days Are Over

January 7, 2008 at 3:22 pm

During the year end, there’s normally a lot of partying to do within the family. There are lots of birthdays to celebrate, and then Christmas and New Year celebration etc etc.

Here are some photos of 2007 year end parties (oh well, if you could call the eat-and-talk, eat-and-more-talk sessions parties).

Tasha’s birthday was celebrated in a Chinese Restaurant, it was also my dad’s early Christmas treat to the family.
Tasha's birthday

Tasha’s cuting her cake. The girls checking out the Elmo Jelly cake

We had a Nasi Lemak pot luck at King’s Wife’s place on Christmas Eve.
Christmas Even entertainment

My father entertaining Zaria; The older kids played charade while we adults do the guessing

We also celebrated Zaria’s 1st birthday together with my brother’s XXth birthday. Since Lilian from a Piece of Cake could not bake Zaria’s cake, I made it myself. Banana cake with Mascarpone frosting.
Zaria's and my brother's cake

Applying the frosting and drizzling toffee just before it was served (kids have fun helping and licking the spatula). Not too bad looking for a first time effort (in frosting a cake).

Before 12am, kids were getting restless and eager to open up the presents.
Presents opening time

All happily checking out the presents while Zaria was more keen on tearing the wrapper than the present itself.

Turkey was too expensive this year, so instead of paying for a RM200 bird, I roasted a RM14 chicken at home on Christmas Day.
Christmas Dinner

Preparing the potato casserole; the chicken all roasted; the chicken ready to be served; the mix fruit and nuts stuffing

Last week, I was still working half days on certain days. Now that the holidays are over, it’s back to the grind! Baaaa!

De-stressing with Cooking and Baking

December 18, 2007 at 11:21 pm

(Thanks to all who’d commented with advice and encouring words in my last post, really appreciate it) 

There’s the office work to complete before the Christmas shutdown.
There’s the paid post to do to make some extra cash.
There’s time to spend with the two girls who now require as much attention.
My way of de-stressing besides going for retail therapy and having a really good meal which can only happen during the weekends is to get myself busy the kitchen.

Besides whipping out the Christmas pudding; I attempted to bake a banana cake with toffee banana filling and mascarpone icing; since A Piece Of Cake will not be around to bake Zaria’s upcoming birthday cake, I thought maybe I’ll attempt the feat this year. The icing needs to be worked on as it was melting real quick. I hope Zaria’s cake will turn out better.

I kept myself busy cooking for the 2 fussy girls (the ‘wai-sek’ or greedy Zaria is becoming real fussy with her food now, sigh, so I had added fish to her diet to give her food more flavour); and also made a real good Hokkien Mee or Har Mee. The latter, I just bought the spice, taught Tuyam how to make it and supervise her cooking.

Last week’s creation.

Banana Cake with toffee banana and mascorpone icing

Banana cake with toffee banana filling and runny mascarpone icing

Penang Hokkien Mee/Har Mee

This home-made Penang Har Mee or prawn noodle is so delicious I tell you.

Hearty Fish Slice Noodle for the girls

The girls’ fish slice mee suah (Chinese : Wheat noodle)

And for those who have asked, Christmas pudding really is a type of cake which is either steamed or boiled, and not the same as the jelly like Chinese dessert that we are more aware of. For those of you who are interested in getting the recipe, it can be found here.

Homemade Christmas Puddings (WordlessFew Words Wednesday)

December 12, 2007 at 5:05 pm

Daddy wanted some home made Christmas Puddings. The wife got busy one weekend….

Ingredients for Christmas Pudding

Mixing the dough

Forming the doub balls before wrapping

The dough ball

Tying the ball

Boiling the dough

Drying the pudding

Yummy Christmas pudding

Daddy and the few neighbours I gave this to claimed it’s really nice.
Home made Christmas puddings anyone?

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