Saturday, October 31, 2009

Family Portrait II

This time is Caden's masterpieces:

So cute, huh? Without the teacher's caption, I don't think I can understand his drawing at all.
And this one:
Huh!? "The Mummy", "King Kong", "Hancock" ???
Uh-Oh! I think he watched too many movies on HBO. May be it's time to unsubcribe the Movie Package on Astro.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Family Portrait

Jaden's masterpiece :)

Not bad huh?

Monday, October 26, 2009

"Greenie Cake" / "Incredible Hulk Cake"

My last weekend baking project:

Huh!? What is that? Greed tea cake or pandan cake? No, no, no. Not so ordinary ya.

Fresh from oven:

without flash:

with flash :

When I first look at the cake, it does look odd. For those who tried it, none of them can tell what the green stuff is. This is a Spinach Cheese Cake. Who knows after you eat this cake, can get muscles like Popeye or Incredible Hulk. Haha. Spinach + cheddar cheese = odd combination. But taste great! Oh yes, I am an advanterous person, even in baking. Dare to try out odd recipes

Spinach (chopped) 100gm
Butter 150gm
Icing sugar 150gm
Eggs 4 nos
Flour 150gm
Corn flour 25gm
Baking powder 0.5 tsp
Cheddar cheese 50gm

  1. Whisk butter + icing sugar until light and fluffy, then slowly add in eggs one by one.
  2. Next add in sifted flour + corn flour + baking powder + spinach and mix well.
  3. Stir in grated cheddar cheese
  4. Pour into a oblong bread tin (lined & greased)
  5. Bake at 170c for 40 minutes

Friday, October 23, 2009

Tips That May Bring You A Beautiful Life!

Today my sis forward me a PowerPoint file with some meaningful messages below. Happy reading.
  • Take a 10-30 minutes walk everyday and while you walk, smile.
  • Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
  • When you wake up in the morning, complete the following statement, "My purpose is to .... today."
  • Live with the 3 E's - Energy, Enthusiasm, Empathy, and the 3 F's - Faith, Family, Friends.
  • Spend more time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6
  • Dream more while you are awake.
  • Try to make at least 3 people smile each day.
  • Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn, pass all your tests. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
  • Smile and laugh more. It will keep the energy vampires away.
  • Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
  • Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
  • Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
  • You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagreements.
  • Make peace with your past, so it won't mess up the present.
  • Don't compare your life with others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  • Burn the candles, use the nice sheets. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
  • No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
  • Forgive everyone for everything.
  • What other people think of you is none of your business.
  • Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.
  • However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  • Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will stay in touch.
  • Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
  • The best is yet to come.
  • No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  • Do the right thing!
  • Call your family often.
  • Each night before you go to bed, complete the following statements: "I am thankful for..." or "Today I accomplished ..."
  • Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.
  • Enjoy the ride. Remember that this is not Disney World and you certainly don't want a fast pass. Make the most of it and enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Homemade Char Sau 叉烧

Last Sat I had my second attempt on Homemade Char Sau using the Buffalo Smart Cooker. During the first attempt few months ago, the taste was ok but the Char Sau looked too MJ (not black enough) since the recipe did not mention putting in dark soy sauce and I followed strictly. But for this second attempt, I put in dark soy sauce and lots of it. And the results look more like Char Sau. Taste wise? I give myself two thumbs up!

Monday, October 19, 2009

What Is This ?

Take a good look of these pics. Can you tell what this object is?

Floral? Coral?

A ball?

A type of durian?

The answer is ....

This is a tropical fruit available in Sabah called Buah Tarap (or Talap?). This fruit is especially found in Sabah only. It cannot be found in Peninsular Malaysia, and some said not in Sarawak too. It has a strong scent and tastes sweet. I believe this fruit is part of the Jackruit family. I asked around my Sabahan friends for its English names or Chinese names, but no one can tell me the answers.

Pic below shows the fruit is opened.
The skin is covered by soft thorn-like spines and the flesh is whitish, somewhat similar to Jackfruit.

Pic below shows the core (on the left) and the seeds (on the right). The seeds are edible after boiling or roasting. I only know about this the next day from Ryn. I had already finished eating the whole Buah Tarap and throw away all the seeds. What a waste!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Tips for Marvelous Muffins

Found some helpful links in making muffins. If you are a novice baker or like to bake muffins, these tips given are very informative. Please read on :
  1. How to make muffins by Food 4 Tots
  2. Dome Secrets by The Prepared Pantry
  3. Making Muffins by All
  4. Cupcake vs Muffin by Pei Chyi

Raisins & Chocolate Chips Muffins

After I tried to bake muffin for the first time last week, I found that making muffins is a lot easier than baking cakes. Not only less ingredients to prepare, the methods are much simpler and small serving (usually 6 to 12 muffins) which is just nice for my family size. I think I should focus on baking muffins, instead of trying out fancy cakes since I am still a beginner in baking.

For this week baking experiment, I selected the Raisins & Chocolate Chips Muffins, recipe from Happy Home Baking.

My results:

Look ok!

Taste ok too!

(makes 8 muffins)

250g plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup raisins

1 egg, beaten
60g unsalted butter, melted
175ml milk

125g caster sugar

  1. Pre-heat oven to 220°C (I followed one of tips stated in Food 4 Tots, i.e. start off the oven hot at 220°C then turn it down to the right temperature (200°C). This is to achieve the nice looking crunchy top. And it works!)
  2. Melt butter in a saucepan, over low heat, set aside to cool.
  3. Sieve together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a mixing bowl.
  4. Add chocolate chips, raisins and mix with a spatula. Make a well in the centre.
  5. Place egg, melted butter, milk and sugar in another bowl. Mix until thoroughly combined. (To cut down on washing up, I mixed these ingredients into the saucepan which I used to melt the butter).
  6. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour. With the spatula, gently fold all the ingredients to form a wet batter. Just mix until the flour are incorporate into the batter. DO NOT Over mix.
  7. Spoon batter into paper muffin cups. Bake for 20mins until muffins turn golden brown or a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  8. Let cool on a wire rack.

Friday, October 16, 2009

DOM Raisin Cake

I saw this DOM Raisin Cake recipe from the one of the Buffalo cookware newsletters. Looks like an interesting cake. Since I have a big bottle of DOM liquor, why not give it a try?

My results?

I expected my cake to look similar to this photo shown in the recipe. The cake looks browny with lots of raisins topping.

Freshly baked cake, still in the cooker. Hmm... my cake looks pale. And where are the raisins?

After take the cake out from the cooker, my cake looks like this ...
Brown sugar & raisins, where are you?

Cut the cake and see most raisins "sink" to the bottom of the cake. Texture of the cake looks not fluffy enough. It looks like a steamed cake texture rather than a baked cake.
How wonderful that I can use the Smart Cooker to "bake" cake which comes with a "steamed cake" texture. Haiya...

Definately not 100% successful cake. Border pass only. I personally do not really like it because of the texture. But it does come with a strong DOM aroma and can taste the DOM while eat the cake too. Anyway, my colleagues still thought it was a nice cake. Some of them thought it was a steamed cake! I will try to bake this cake again (since the big bottle of DOM still sits in my kitchen cabinet). I will make sure I beat the mixture long enough to get fluffy & smooth texture.

Butter 250g
Brown sugar 100g
Self raising flour 250g
Eggs 5
Baking powder 1/2 tsp
DOM 150ml
Raisins 150g (soak overnight with DOM. I used 3 boxes of Ligo raisin.)

  1. Whisk the butter and brown sugar until mixture is even, light and fluffy.
  2. Slowly add in eggs, one by one.
  3. Add in baking powder and continue to beat until even.
  4. Pour the soaked raisin into the mixture. Stir evenly.
  5. Apply some butter on the inner pot of the Smart Cooker, pour in the cake mixture, select the "Cake" function (the cooker by default set the baking time as 45 minutes).

Healthy Tips:
Raisin is good for rectum's health improvement. It contains fiber and tartaric acid, which can accelerate human's excreta passing through the rectum. Meanwhile reduce contamination in the intestines.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Chocolate Walnut Muffins

I found some muffins recipes from other blogs and think that muffins should be simple to make and the small serving is just nice for my family size. After shortlisted few recipes, I chose the "Chocolate Walnut Muffins" from Grace Kitchen Corner as my first ever homemade muffins. Furthermore, I have a pack of walnuts came all the way from Ireland :D It was given by my sister-in-law who came back to KK for holidays recently.

During preparation, I was confident that my first ever muffins would be VERY OK and the kids would love them. Simple job. After I put in the baking powder, I noticed that the mixture became very thick. Then I realised that actually I put in the WRONG amount of baking powder. The recipe asks for 1 TEASPOON of baking powder and I put in 1 TABLESPOON instead. OMG!!! Straight away my confidence level dropped to zero. I was wondering whether I should continue on to send the mixture to oven or thrown to the rubbish bin. Then I decided to safe my stupid mistake by pu
tting in more milk. I did not even measure how much milk that I put it. I just poured and stopped when the mixtures became not so thick.

What is the used of baking powder? According to Wikipedia, "Baking powder is a dry chemical leavening agent used to increase the volume and lighten the texture of baked goods such as muffins, cakes, scones and North American biscuits."
Oh no! Increase the volume, huh!?

My results?

Hey, not so bad looking, huh? Not only they look OK, they taste good also. I guess the Irish walnuts do make wonders. My boys finished 4 muffins and I gave away 2 for my part-time maid. What an experience and a lesson well learnt too. In future I MUST READ THE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY.

Recipes from Grace Kitchen Corner:
(to make 6 muffins)
Unsalted butter 50g
Caster Sugar 70g
Egg 1
Plain flour 85g (sieved plain flour, cocoa powder & baking powder)
Cocoa Powder 15g
Baking Powder 1 tsp
Pinch of Salt
Milk 60g
Walnut 60g (toasted and chopped)

  1. Beat the butter with sugar until light & pale in color.
  2. Add in egg then pinch of salt, beat until well combine.
  3. Add half of the milk and half of the flour. Using a hand whisk mix until well combine.
  4. Add in remaining milk and flour and mix well.
  5. Combine walnut with the mixture. Fill the muffins cups. Bake at 170c preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Clumsy Novice Bakar In Action

What happen when a clumsy novice learns how to bake?
  • She does not really know how to operate her new toy (a brand new oven).
  • She burnt her finger *ouch!* when tried to take the freshly baked cake out from the super hot oven. See the after effect:

  • She read the instructions wrongly. Supposed to put in 1 TEASPOON (tsp) of baking powder, she put in 1 TABLESPOON (tbsp) instead.
  • The cake was over baked and burnt!
  • Oh, and the worst part is - putting on weight!!!

I am sure the list will go on as I continue in the journey of baking :O

Chocolate Fondant

This is the cake similar to the Chocolate Moist Cake sells in Fish & Co. The cake should be served while freshly baked from oven, with slight crunchy top & once you cut cake, the choc inside not fully cook and melts. Best serve with a scoop of ice cream. Hot cake + cold ice cream = YUMMY!

However I did not get the crunchy top. My friend who gave me the recipe commented that next time I should try to put higher temperature in the oven. So next time I will try to put 220c instead of 200c in the oven. Also, I will try to look for better quality chocolate. This recipe is truly for chocoholics like me.

Ingredients: (to make 4 ramekins)
100g butter

100g dark chocolate

100g plain flour
3 eggs
75g caster sugar

A similar recipe is available in one of my recipe books with the title "Baking 1 Step At A Time". The book's recipe is sweeter.
I followed the earlier recipe instead of this one but I followed the methods stated in the book because it shows step-by-step instructions in photos, which is great for beginner like me.
125g butter
125g chocolate
50g self raising flour
4 eggs

125 sugar

Method (as stated in the book "Baking 1 Step At A Time")
  1. Melt butter and chocolate over low heat. Once the mixture is smooth, remove from heat.
  2. Beat eggs with castor sugar until fluffy.
  3. Pour melted butter+choc over the eggs and mix lightly using a ballon whisk.
  4. Add flour in 3 lots, mix with spatula between each addition.
  5. Fill up 4 ramekins.Bake at 220c for around 12 minutes or till the top layer of the cake is harden.
  • Shake 1 ramekin while still in oven, the centre should barely wobble. Cooking time will depend on size and thickness of dishes.
  • Can prepare this dessert in advance. Cover each filled ramekin in cling film and place in fridge until ready to cook. Remove cling film when ready to bake and can be baked straight from fridge.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ho Chiak Penang Food

Penang is a food paradise. You can find so many different types of hawker food there. Cheap and yet tasty. Let me show you some of the hawker food you can find in Penang.

Assam Laksa 叻沙

Hokkien Mee 福建面

Dry Hokkien Mee 干福建面

Yam Rice 芋头饭 + 猪杂咸菜汤

Kuey Teow Soup 粿条汤

Koay Chap 粿杂

Charcoal fried Char Koay Teow with duck egg 鸭蛋炒粿条

Mee Jawa爪哇面

Mee Rebus 印度面

Wantan mee 云吞面

Lo mee 卤面

Teo Chew Fried Noodles 潮洲炒面

Curry Mee 加哩面

Mee Sua Soup 面线

mi tai mak 米台目

Chu Cheong Fun 猪肠粉

Singapore Popiah 新加坡薄饼 

Popiah 薄饼

Fried Oyster 蠔煎

Cuttlefish with Convolvulus 鱿鱼雍菜

Octopus 八爪鱼


Chai Kueh 菜粿

Fried Chai Kueh 煎菜粿 


Putuh mayong

mua chee 蔴芝

Ice Kacang / ABC 红豆冰

Dessert 四果汤

Desser 清补凉