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Friday, October 30, 2009

Chocolate Lovers

Friday, October 30, 2009

For all chocolate lovers out there, here's a recipe that is worth trying.

This recipe has been tried and tested and it's simply superb! The best part of this recipe is that if you fall into the group of people where you want to try your hand at baking but don't want to go through all the hassle of beating the sugar and butter with a cake mixer because you are just simply too lazy to wash up, or if you don't have a cake mixer (go get one!)'s THE recipe which you might just want to try. No cake mixer is required or any whipping is needed. You just dump everything together and stir to combine. As easy as A, B, C. If this is not easy enough for you, then.....(gosh!)

I baked this cake last night and did some decoration to it too for my son's children party at school today. This Chocolate Mud Cake is not too heavy but rich enough and moist to have the 'muddy' texture. Even after a hearty meal, you will not be able to resist a second helping of this cake. Belief me! I have proof for that! Here's the recipe and for the decoration, you can view my video via youtube from the link which I've attached below. But I must warn you! You may get distracted by my daughter in the video cos' she's simply adorable!

Chocolate Mud Cake
1 1/3 cups self-raising flour
1/3 cup plain flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1 cup castor sugar
200 g butter
250 g dark chocolate, break into pieces
1/3 cup hot water
3 eggs

200 g dark chocolate
100 g unsalted buter
2 tbsp cream

1. Preheat oven to 160C. Brush a deep 23cm round or square cake tin with melted butter or oil. Line base with paper, grease.
2. Sift the flours and cocoa into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center.
3. Combine sugar, butter, chocolate and water in a medium pan. Stir over low heat until butter and chocolate have melted and sugar has dissolved; remove from heat.
4. Add butter mixture and eggs to dry ingredients. Stir with wooden spoon until ingredients are just combined; do not overbeat.
5. Pour mixture into prepared tin and bake for about 1 1/2 hrs or until cake is done.
6. Stand cake in tin for 20mins before turning onto wire rack to cool.
7. To make icing: combine chocolate, butter and cream in small pan. Stir over low heat until chocolate and butter have melted; remove from heat. Cool.
8. Spread the icing over cake.

And for the decoration part, here's the link. If this link doesn't work, just log-in to youtube from google, then search by typing 'straitsbakes'.......happy watching!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Get Creative

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A lazy Sunday afternoon and just had a hand at new recipe..'Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cheesecake'. No idea how it will taste like as it's now in the cooling process but the aroma is just fantastic! Will post the pic in my next blog ok..and yes, with the recipe too!

Ok..apart from food, there are other things in life in case you haven't notice! Haa..haa.. Arts & Crafts! Yes, you heard me right..nothing to do with food.

There are glass painting, embroidery, needlework, quilting, paper craft, sketching and the list goes on. Well, in this area, I do glass painting, some embroidery and sewing stuff. I'm not good at it but I'm not that bad either, if I may say so. Here are some of my 'collections' and tell me what you think.

Here's my son's Liverpool pillowcase which I painstakingly embroidered the Liverpool logo and sewed the pillowcase as well. Like this? There's more. When I did this for him, I've to consider my daughters as well..and hence, the birth of Snow White and Belle pillowcases as pictured below. These 2 princesses pillowcases is a mixture of embroidery and ribbon embroidery. Ribbon embroidery is new to me and where did I learn to do this? YouTube of course!

Before you do any embroidery, you will have to draw the image first and all these images are hand drawn by none other than yours truly..hee..hee..not bad eh!

From these small little projects of pillowcases, I thought to myself...Why not do a Comforter? That is a big project for someone who never sew one in her life at all. So, I gave myself a challenge and did it with lots of help from my 3rd sis who is a genius at needlecraft. She had done so many comforters, dresses, blankets, baby cot bumpers, kitchen stuff ie. coasters, kettle covers, fitted bedsheets, crochet, cross-stitch. You name it and she had done it all! My hats off to you, my dear Julie!

So, I had some sort of a 'crash course' from her on what needs to be done and then I went fabric searching etc. Everyone, this is my first ever Comforter (extra Queen Size) and I am proud of it!

There are over 200 motifs that I hand stitched using various designs in blocks of fabrics. This method is called Applique. Yes, I did this all, complete with batting and the backing as well. And the result is...SELF ACHIEVEMENT! If you think this is good, wait till you see the ones my 3rd sis did. Here are some of her projects..

Hey sis, you Rock! Well done!

What is my current project?
Well, my office friends (the G-Force) and I, almost completing our first project together in making a quilt comforter all in the name of charity. We are all amateurs and every single stitch is hand stitched. No sewing machine what-so-ever! Good job, G-Force! my glass painting. If you have a flair for drawing, glass painting is easy. Be creative and explore your ideas..if it goes wrong, don't worry. Try another one! Here are my creations..

Guess who? Right! Michael Jackson..drawn by my hubby using marker pen on a whiteboard.

Now, before I pen-off, let me treat you to a bowl of Nyonya Laksa Lemak...sorry..can't give you the recipe. It's my family recipe and if I were to tell you the secret, my siblings gonna kill me! Let me treat you to my creation of a basket of flowers & fruits too! Haa..haa..

Happy Drooling!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Life Out of the Pot

Saturday, October 17, 2009

First of all, let me wish a very HAPPY DEEPAVALI to all my Hindu friends!
Celebrated Deepavali a day early yesterday with my girl-friends (the 'G-Force') to an outing in Klang.

Since it was a holiday yesterday for us, the six of us got together for a day of eating spree. It was planned months ago but unfortunately one of us didn't managed to join in the fun due to home 'crisis'. Sue, just too bad you had to miss this!

So, the five of us went ahead and it was just all fun throughout the day. No traffic jam (except for on the way home later that evening), no stress, no BOSS, no office's just eat, eat and eat.

Well, we started off at about 8am and headed for Bukit Tinggi, Klang. Had a relaxing breakfast at Mr. Kaya cafe...
The waiter, who is a foreigner, was kinda confused with our orders. Probably it was too early to have a bunch of girls coming in for breakfast! But we had a good laugh at him, though.
We ordered a typical local breakfast of half-boiled eggs, toasted bread with butter and kaya, and of course, coffee.

From left to right: The stress-free faces of Munirah, Lulu, Jenny and Yuin. Oh, I'm not in the pic cos someone has to be the camerawoman!

From Mr. Kaya, we proceeded to Bkt Tinggi Jusco which is the biggest Jusco in Asia. Spent time browsing through the shops until about 11.30am before we headed for Carey Island for a long waited seafood lunch...

Top left, is the Steam Crab. Very fresh! Top right, is called Ochien (fried oyster with flour and eggs. It looks more like an omelette. It's not very good...can't beat the one in Malacca! Above, is the Kam Heong Crab, cooked with dried curry and dried prawns.

Sweet & Sour Crab with Fried Mantou. Taste is so-so.

That is not all folks! We had fried bee-hoon with bamboo clams, stir-fry sweet potato leaf and fried squid. Looks like a lot of food for 5 girls, right? Right! It took us more than 2 hours to do justice to the chef!

Here are some photos to proof how we enjoyed ourselves!

Top left, a mother-to-be. So she has every reason to have good appetite! Top right, see their happy faces! It's not only about the good food. It's the company that they were with that makes these 2 faces glow with happiness! haahaa.. Above, yours truly as guilty as they!

Mmmmm...Now, this is what I call 'real enjoyment'! Live the moment and let the moment be lived!! Well done, Jenny.

I'm sure you can just imagine how we walked out of the restaurant after a hearty meal. Yep! With a deep breath and a sigh trying to cover the bulging tummy!

You think that's all? Of course, that's not all! It's not complete without DURIANS! Mmmm...durians! The thought of it makes me drool!

We had durians after that but only 2 fruits (which is kinda disappointing!) cos all of us were so stuffed with food. Just like stuffed turkeys...hee.hee..sorry girls, for calling you turkeys! No that any of you look like's just a figure of speech!
Kampung Durian is still the best! We had the durians at a road-side stall in Pandamaran. Wished we hadn't eaten so much at lunch! No worries, girls, there's always another time! And I shall make sure that we'll have more than just 2 fruits!!

Durian Hantus having a feast!!!

Eat with no reservations folks! Who cares if anyone's staring! Way to go G-Force!

See how big one seed of durian is. Almost as big as my palm.

After the Durian feast, we headed back to Jusco to buy back some Nyonya Delicacies. Since we wanted to beat the evening rush-hour, we had to be satisfied and headed home! Sigh! What a day!

Well, we really had a fun-time! We should do this more often...thanks G-Force, for a lovely lovely day! Burp!! Ooops!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Food & Such

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thank God, it's now Thursday already! It's been a very hectic week in the office and I'm glad I have the weekend to recuperate. But then again, maybe not cos my children exams are just round the corner. It's a very stressful time for the parents whenever the children are facing exams. Believe me. Ask any parents and they will tell you the same story.

Well, we can only nurture and give the best education as we possibly can. Every child is gifted in their own way. Some may be book smart, some may be musically incline, some are good at public speaking, some are creative and good in arts, some are athletically strong and the list goes on and on. My point is, every single child is unique and has their own specialty and strength. With this in mind, we can try very hard to guide our children with the right values and assist them by providing the right tools to maximize their strength and be successful in the areas that they choose to be.

Having said that, I can definitely tell you that (if you are a parent, you will know that this is true) parents are BAD TEACHERS. We have no patience, no teaching skills and we YELL too! Sounds terrible, isn't it? Most of the time, we'll try to keep our cool but unfortunately we expect our poor children to understand math or science or a language subject in such a short time. Why are we so impatient? Is it because we are afraid that they will be a failure? And what is failure?

Parents always, always want their children to do better than they in whatever they strive to do in life. Hence, the yelling because we want them to strive. And that is not the right way. Well, sometimes it is and sometimes it's not. We tend to forget that we were children once and we took some time in grasping what was taught! Sigh! Yes, I admit that I'm guilty and should have been more patient. Children tend to lose interest and 'close-out' when the yelling starts. That's why Tuition Teachers are in demand and they demand good money from parents too. If you ask me what is the toughest job in the world? It is being a PARENT!

Stress level is increasing as the exam is just 10 days away! Ok..must keep cool and help them along with revisions..must not scold! Must not scold! Must not scold! But again, sometimes we do need to scold them (for a good reason!). Sigh! There's no right parenting or wrong's just parenting! For all parents out there, we know we are doing our best to be good parents and for those who are going to be a parent, well, good luck!

Ok. Away from the heavy stuff and now, let's talk about food.....where people connect no matter what age, gender or race. Food brings people together..and togetherness we did.... Last Saturday, Mid-Autumn Festival.

We were not expecting any guests as we did not intend to celebrate but it was a good thing that my sis with her family and my bro-in-law came over for dinner. The best part was, I don't have to cook. My dear husband took over the kitchen. He's a good cook especially with western food. He baked turkey legs and here's how it looked like. Yes, it tasted as good as it looked. Not only that. He even cooked spaghetti.

This is his very own recipe for the baked turkey. No copying from any cook book mind you. Very, very original.

Daddy's Baked Turkey Legs

6 turkey legs
Potatoes - half or quartered
Big Onion - quartered
1 lemon
Garlic - crushed
Olive Oil

1. Marinate turkey legs with honey, salt, worchestershire sauce and black pepper.
2. Line the baking tray with aluminum foil and pour over generous amount of olive oi.
3. Arrange the turkey, potatoes, garlic and onion on the tray.
4. Squeeze the lime over the ingredients and bake at moderately high oven until the meat is cooked approx. 1 - 1 1/2 hrs.

While my husband busied himself at preparing dinner, I got the change to try on a new recipe for my cupcakes...Ginger Cupcake...looks good eh! Wanna have some!

This Ginger Cupcake has a very light and gooey texture with a tinge of spice. Adults will like this but as for children, probably the spicy taste of it is a little bit overwhelming for them. So, I do not recommend this to children.

As promised in my earlier posts, here's the recipe for the strawberry ice cream. This is very my family's favorite.

Strawberry Ice-Cream

Place the bowl of ice-cream maker in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer overnight. The colder the better but be careful that you do not touch the metal wall of the ice-cream bowl as your finger may get stuck and will cause an injury to your skin. That's the purpose of plastic bag. Read the safety instructions manual of the ice-cream maker before use.

1 cup fresh strawberries
3/4 cup icing sugar (sweetness is really up to your liking)
1 1/2 cup Whipping Cream

1. Puree the strawberries and icing sugar together. Keep this puree in the fridge overnight.
2. Turn the ice-cream maker on and let it churn then only pour in the pureed strawberry. Then add 1 1/2 cup of Whipping Cream.
3. Let it churn until it turns creamy approx. 25 - 35 mins. The more you churn, the creamier it gets. Once done, transfer to a freezer container and freeze.

Bon Appetite! Till next time..StraitsBakes signing off!