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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy 2014 to All

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!

MAY THE YEAR 2014 BRINGS MUCH JOY, GOOD HEALTH AND GOOD FORTUNE TO EVERYONE!




and... hope not too late to wish everyone of you a Merry Christmas (there's still another 5 days of Christmas to go, so I'm not that late ya!)..ho ho ho.. been too busy holidaying!  This time, holiday in Bali.

Since I don't have much time to prepare for Christmas this year, instead of making the gingerbread house from scratch, I decided to substitute by making my mini gingerbread village by using biscuits.. like it?




Monday, November 4, 2013

Sunny Lemon Cake

It's my daughter's 12th birthday.  Where did the time go?  It seems only not long ago that I held her in my arms, crying her heart out.  And now, she's twelve?  It seems that the older you get the world seems to turn faster and faster.  Don't you feel that way too?

I love my children to bits and each birthday, I'll bake something that they'd like and this year, my daughter chose a Lemon Cake with Lemon Frosting.  This cake is taken from the book 'Piece of Cake' by Camilla V Saulsbury.  In the write-up, Camilla wrote that if she is forced to choose a cake from this book, it would be this Lemon Cake as it's perfect flavor is a hit for adults and children alike.  After eating this cake, I totally agree with her.  A perfect cake for any occasion.  For the frosting, I piped melted chocolate although the recipe does not use chocolate.




 Happy Birthday, my sweet!  May Lord Buddha always protect you and shower you with wisdom, kindness, good health and happiness!  We love you very very much.

Sunny Lemon Cake

2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar (I used 1 1/4 cups)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup (125g) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (125g) vegetable shortening
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup (60ml) lemon juice
1/4 cup (60ml) lemon-lime soda
1 tsp vanilla extract

Pre heat oven to 180dC and grease and line two 9-inch baking pans.
1. In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
2. Add eggs, buttermilk, butter, shortening, lemon zest and juice to flour mixture.  Using electric mixer, at med-low speed, beat for 1 min until blended.  Scrape sides and bottom of bowl with spatula, beat on high speed for 2 mins. Add lemon-lime soda and vanilla, beat on low speed for 15 - 30 seconds until blended.
3. Spread batter evenly in prepared pans, dividing equally.
4. Bake in pre-heated oven for 25 - 30 mins until cake is done.  Let cool in pan on wire rack for 10mins and invert cakes onto rack and let cool completely.
5. Place once cake layer on cake tray, and assemble the cake as desired.  Keep in refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.

Fresh Lemon Frosting:
175g cream cheese
250g unsalted butter
4 cups icing sugar (I used half the amount as I don't like it too sweet)
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice (I used 1/4 cup)

1. Cream cheese and butter till light and fluffy.
2. Add icing sugar, beat on medium high.
3. On low speed, add zest and juice until combine.
Note: I added 2 tbsp of vegetable shortening at step 3 since I used less sugar and the lemon juice will make the icing a bit too soft for piping.

Keep frosting chilled until used.



Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

I bet by the time you landed in my blog, you'll go 'oh no! not another halloween post!'.  Well, yes, it's Halloween today and although this is a big celebration in the US and not so much in some countries, especially Malaysia, I do want to make something to celebrate this day.  I don't have a costume party to go to neither do I go for trick or treat but I'm not gonna miss the fun just because we don't celebrate this over here.

So here's a post on my much needed improvement Halloween Red Velvet Cupcakes but before that, let's get into the mood of Halloween.

For the past week there's been a lot of scary movies shown on Astro.  Tonight, on History Channel, there's this documentary on Zombie and the movie channel, Hallowscream is on.

I do enjoy scary movies and I love to watch paranormal activity kind of program or documentary on real life stories ie. The Haunting, Ghost Adventures, TAPS etc.  I've always been intrigued by stories of ghosts, spirits, supernatural etc.  When I was little, I remember watching this local Malay movie called 'Pontianak' which means Vampire.  I remember that it was the most scariest movie of all at that time but now looking back, it's actually quite hilarious to think how scared I was. After all, what do you expect from an 8 or a 9 year old kid.

Many stories of personal encounters were told by my late mom, her friends, our neighbors and as I was growing up, more stories from school friends.  It doesn't stop there.  I continue to collect more stories from my office mates.  With so many stories being told, I think I can start to write short stories on all of them for those who have the thirst for it...hahahaha

What I am about to share with you here is on my personal encounter with the unseen which was seen by me about more than a month ago.  This happened in my office and it happened in the morning.  So, who says ghosts only appear at night!

Here's how the story goes...

One morning around 10+, I was looking for a colleague of mine in her office.  Let's call her Miss A.  Miss A wasn't in and so I walked past her office in search for her.  She could be in the pantry or maybe in another friends office I thought.  She was nowhere insight.  Then I thought she might be in a meeting.  I gave up looking for her and decided to go back to my office.

As I was passing by one of my other colleague's office (let's call her Miss B), I looked inside Miss B's office and I saw Miss B was on the phone.  She was seated behind her desk and there's a chair on the opposite side of  her desk.  At that splitting glance through her office while walking past, I saw this black figure sitting on that chair right opposite her.  I could not make out the outline of that figure and could not see the face although it's only about 5 - 6 feet away from where I was. What I can make out is a silhouette of a lady, all black and the outline was kind of shady.  That figure was seated uprightly rigid and was either looking at or past Miss B.  I felt it was quite strange and took a step back and looked again but that figure had disappeared.  The best part was, the swivel chair that the figure was sitting on, was not even facing Miss B.  It was actually facing the wall away from Miss B.  After Miss B was done with her phone call, I asked her if anyone was with her and she said no.

Okay.. so what did I saw a moment ago? I thought my mind was playing tricks on me. It was only 10 plus in the morning.  How can a ghost appear in a broad day light but I know what I saw.  I have seen the unseen which I was told of so many times by so many people who had an encounter or similar experience with the beings from the other world.  Knowing that my office is full of paranormal activities which some 'privileged' friends of mine have encountered, I was more than sure that what I had seen was true and not an imagination. This was further confirmed by Miss A when I finally saw her after lunch and she told me that she saw shadow passing by the ladies washroom while she was there.  There were no one else there at that time except for her.  There were no sound of footsteps but she saw a shadow passing by under the door.

Are you spooked?  You should be as it really spooked my friends when I relate this to them.
Let me spook you more by offering you blood red velvet eyeball and insects cupcake... Muahahahahahha!!!
Well, the eyeball cupcake doesn't look so much like an eyeball but who cares, it's Halloweennnnn...

Happy Halloween, Everyone! Trick or Treat??!!




Sunday, October 27, 2013

Spices & Saffron Rice with Goan Pork & Potatoes

If you are looking for a flavorful and delicious Indian food, look no further.  These recipes will just blow you away into spice heaven!

Since we are now facing the monsoon season, this sure satisfy the hungry tummy and warm up the spirit.

 Basmati Rice with Spices & Saffron
1 tsp saffron threads
2 tbsp warm milk (alternatively, I used hot water)
3 cups basmati rice or any long grain rice
pinch of salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
5 cardamon pods
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks

1. Dry roast the saffron threads in a frying pan and cool slightly then crumble into warm milk and leave to soak for 30 mins
2. Wash the rice, drain, add salt and soak in water for 30 mins. Drain.
3. Heat oil in frying pan, add cardamon and cinnamon sticks.  Fry for a minute, add the rice and stir for a couple of minutes.
4. Transfer rice to a rice cooker and cover with water as you normally would when cooking rice and add a pinch of salt.  Leave to cook.  Once done, use a fork to fluff the rice.  Keep warm until serving time.


Goan Pork with Potatoes
Handful of shallots
5 garlic cloves
1 in fresh ginger
2 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
2 tsp whole coriander seeds
3 whole cloves
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp red paprika
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
550 g boneless pork shoulder cut into cubes
vegetable oil
250 g red potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 tsp sugar

1. Peel and chop the onion, garlic and ginger.  Put half the mustard seeds and all the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and cloves in a coffee grinder and grind as finely as possible.  Put the spice mixture and the onion, garlic and ginger, vinegar, cayenne pepper, paprika and 3 tbsp of water into a blender.  Blend until smooth.
2. Rub 1 1/4 tsp sal, 1/2 tsp black pepper, tumeric and 2 tbsp of the spice paste all over the pork. Place in a plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 30 mins.
3. Pour vegetable oil in a heavy non-stick lidded pan and over med-high heat, add the remaining mustard seeds.  As soon as they pop, add the remaining spice paste, stir and fry for 5-6 mins or until paste is slightly browned.  Add the pork, together with its marinade.  Stir for a minute, cover ad reduce the heat to medium.  Let the meat cook for about 10 mins, lifting the lid now and then to stir.  Meat should get slightly browned.
4. Add 700 ml water, the potatoes, 1/2 tsp salt and sugar. Stir and bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook gently for 50-60 mins until  meat is tender.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Chicken Quesadilla

I love Mexican food.  My family love Mexican food.  Base case, we love food that has cheese and tomatoes. 

It was a lazy Saturday last week and I was feeling a bit under the weather.  Really wasn't up to cooking dinner but hey, I have three hungry mouths to feed.  Thought of eating out but lazy to drive. I tell you, I was feeling extremely lazy on that day!  All I wanted to do was sleep...well! 

Anyway, in the end, decided to make a simple dinner.  Since I have a pack of ready made wraps in my little pantry, I made the simplest dinner ever...Chicken Quesadilla.  I didn't really follow any recipe, just throw in some chicken, onion, capsicum, cheese and that's it.

It's light but yet filling.  Most importantly, I don't have to sweat it out over the stove!





Serves 4:
2 pieces chicken breast, cut into strips
1 large yellow onion, cut into rings
1 large capsicum, cut into small squares
a few sprigs cilantro, chopped
cheddar cheese
8 wraps

1. Marinate the chicken with salt, pepper and barbecue sauce.
2. Heat olive oil in a frying pan, fry the onion, add in chicken breast and stir for a few minutes.
3. Add in capsicum and cook until chicken is done.  Set aside.
4. In another non-stick frying pan, heat the wraps (without oil).  Spoon the chicken mixture onto the wraps (while it's being heated), sprinkle cheese on top and lastly cilantro.  Cover with another piece of wrap and carefully, turn it over until the wrap is crispy.
5. Take it off heat, cut into quarters and serve immediately.

You can serve this with guacamole or sour cream.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Onion Fritters and Cookies & Banana & Oreo Ice Cream Dessert

A colleague of mine had her retirement party last week.  The retirement age in Malaysia is 60.  I envy her for having reached the age where she will have all the time in the world to do whatever she wants.  On top of that, a final big fat check from the Company to cover her retirement years.  How I wish I'm her, er..minus the age, to enjoy the time and $$!!  Well, being envious is all I can do right now as I have a long way to go before I reach there.  Until then, I've to wake up early in the morning, see the kids to school, go to work, come home, go to sleep and the day repeats until the weekend.

When weekend comes, I'm like 'yeay, its the weekend! I can spend time with my family and feed them well!'.  I always look forward to spending time with my family even though the kids will fight and sometimes they irritate the hell out of you, but hey, I'm not complaining.  It'd rather have this than go to work.

Well, being a working mom, my kids always look forward to weekends where they get to eat food prepared by their mom.  I have 3 hungry tummies to feed.  Here, I'm sharing with you a great and easy tea-time snack that you can prepare in such a short time and they are delicious.




Onion Fritters
serves 4-5

1 1/5 cups self raising flour
2 medium sized big onions, chopped into squares
2 fresh red chillies, seeded and chopped
3 sprigs spring onion, chopped
salt to taste
3/4 cup water
100g shrimp, shelled (optional)
vegetable oil for deep frying

1. Mix all the ingredients together and add 1/2 cup water first.  Adjust the consistency of the batter.  If it's too think add more water.  Batter should not be runny.  Should be thicker than pancake batter.
2. Heat oil in wok and drop spoonful of batter into the hot oil.  Fry until they are golden brown.
Serve with chili sauce.

For dessert, here's Cookies & Banana & Oreo Ice Cream.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Buttermilk Pancakes with Mixed Berry Compote

I've been neglecting my blog lately due to hectic schedule.  Never a dull moment for me that's for sure.  Not only have I been 'inactive' in blogging but I'm guilty for not visiting your blogs as well.  Not that I don't want to but more of being caught in the rat race.

Today, I make a point to share with you another pancake recipe.  Made this for breakfast but if you have leftovers, you can have it as desserts by just topping it up with ice cream.

The mixed berry compote, is made from the berries that I grow in my garden - Mulberry and Acerola Cherry. I only have one plant each, so you can imagine it takes time to collect the berries and freeze them.  I have enough to make this compote for breakfast this morning.  The strawberries were bought during my last vacation at the Cameron Highlands in June which I froze.








Mulberry

Acerola Cherry
Pancake recipe:
4 servings
150g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 egg
250ml buttermilk
2tbsp butter, melted

1. Sift the dry ingredient into a bowl add sugar.
2. Whisk the eggs until frothy, add in buttermilk and melted butter.
3. Whisk the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and mix well.
4. Heat non stick pan, lightly coated with vegetable oil, drop big spoonful of batter and cook till both sides are done.
Serve with honey or with mixed berry compote.

Mixed Berry Compote:
Mulberry (1/3 cup)
Acerola Cherry (1/3 cup)
Strawberry (1/2 cup)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

Mix all ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over low-medium heat until sugar is dissolved and reduced.
Keep warm.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Chicken Rice Ball

My children love Chicken Rice Ball.  Each time we go back home in Malacca, this will be their choice for lunch.

Chicken Rice Ball is really, the rice mix with some glutinous rice, cook in chicken stock.  When it's cooked and while it's pipping hot, make them into balls the size of slightly bigger than ping-pong balls.  Serve with soft smooth melt-in-the-mouth steamed or boiled chicken, dip in with hot & sour ginger-chillies.  This rice balls originated in Malacca.  The original coffee shop only serves this and the shop is always pack with customers, so much so that sometimes it's impossible to find a seat.  Most times, we have to takeaway. 

It's located at the bank of Malacca River.  I can just eat the rice with the chillies without the chicken..mm..yum yum.  When it became popular, other hawkers replicate the recipe but nothing beats the original.  Here's the photo of the original coffee shop which I found in google.  If you happen to be there, do try this.. it's along Jalan Hang Jebat or you may know it as Jonker Street.

By the way, you see the group of people surrounding the trycicle hawker outside the shop?  Well, that's the best popiah ever!  So, if you go to this shop, you'll get to sample the best Chicken Rice Balls and Popiah!  What more can you ask for.


I usually make the normal Hainanese chicken rice.  Today, I decided to give the rice balls a try since we've not been back home to Malacca for a while now. Hubby's been busy working on weekends and kids are missing this dish.  Not bad for first attempt, if I may say.. :)





The Chicken:
1 whole chicken with skin (without head and feet please) - wash and drain.  Rub with salt all over.
2 pandan leaves (screwpine leaves)
Boil 400ml water in a deep wok.
Once boil, add in the chicken, pandan leave and season with oyster sauce and sesame oil.  Let boil and turn the chicken half-way cooking time and cook until chicken is cooked.
When chicken is done, take the chicken out onto a serving plate and reserve the stock for boiling the rice later.
Cut the chicken into bite sizes and serve with cucumber and tomatoes if you like.

The Rice:
2 cups rice
1 cup glutinous rice
some chopped garlic
a few slices of crushed ginger
a few pandan leaves

1. Mix both rice and wash and drain the rice.
2. In a wok, heat some oil, add a dash of sesame oil, fry the garlic and ginger for 2 mins.
3. Add the rice and fry for 3 mins.
4. Transfer the rice to a rice cooker and add the chicken stock/broth.  Add salt if needed. Put in the pandan leaves and cook till done.
5. While rice is hot, wear plastic gloves, using the ice cream scoop to be consistent with the size, shape it into a ball.  Do this until the rice are all shaped and serve with the chicken and chili.

The Chili:
5-6 Red Chilies
2 inc ginger
10 limes
salt
sugar
sesame oil

Blend together the chili and ginger.  Squeeze lime juice, add the seasonings and a dash of sesame oil.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Cranberry & Orange Muffins

This is one moist and soft muffin that I want to share with you.  Baked these muffins last weekend for my daughter and her friend.

1 2/3 cups self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup superfine sugar
3/4 cup dried cranberries
juice and finely grated zest of 1 small orange
scant 2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup low fat plain yogurt
3/4 stick plus 1 tbsp butter, elted and cooled
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsbp confectioners sugar, sifted

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180dC.  Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda into a mixing bowl, add the superfine sugar, cranberries and orange zest, and stir well with a wooden spoon.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt and melted butter with an electric mixer or a whisk, add the eggs and whisk again.  Pour the liquid into the bowl of dry ingredients and fold in with a large metal spoon.  Do not overmix. Batter should be thick and slightly lumpy.  Spoon batter into the muffin cups.
3. Bake 15 to 20 mins until the muffins are done.
4. Just before the muffins are cooked, heat the orange juice with the confectioner's sugar in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolved, then boil 1 min to make a syrup. Remove the muffins from the overn. Drizzle the syrup over the muffins and leave to cool.
 All ready to bake..
 Baked and smelled wonderfull.

 Look at the moistness..

Let's dig in!!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Butterscotch Pecan Cheesecake

Who love cheesecake?? Me, me, me!! I'm a biggest fan of cheese.   Oh yeah, baby and here's a delicious, rich, silky smooth recipe that I'm going to share with you.  Fell in love with the picture of this cheesecake at first sight. He.hehe.hee! That's why I like cookbooks  with pictures of each single recipe.  I feast my eyes first before I satisfy my tummy tum tum.

This recipe is taken from The Hummingbird Bakery cookbook which I've recently purchased.  I am already loving this book.  I have another of Hummingbird Cupcakes cookbook which my SIL gave me and that too is one good book with reliable recipes.  For Hummingbird cookbook, you don't have to adjust the recipes, well, maybe except for the sugar.  Other than that, they are good.

I don't have any pecan and since my kids don't fancy nuts in any dessert, I omitted that.  Although the butterscotch recipe was leftovers from my earlier bakes which I created on my own, but I will give you the actual recipe from the book.


 For the biscuit base:
200g digestive biscuits
100g unsalted butter, melted

For the Cheesecake Topping:
700g full fat cream cheese (if this is too much, you can use 500g)
120g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 large eggs
80g pecans, finely chopped plus 1-\0-12 pecan halves, to decorate

For the Butterscotch Glaze:
60g unsalted butter
45g soft light brown sugar
2 tbsp whole milk
120g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence

 1. Line the base of cake tin with parchment paper then, in a food processor, whiz the biscuits into fine crumbs. Or, if prefer, pop the biscuits into a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin.
2. Place the biscuit crumbs in a bow, add the melted butter and mix together.  Pour it into the baking pan and pressing them into the base of the tin.  Keep it in the fridge for 2-30 mins to cool and set.
3. Pre heat the oven to 160d Cand prepare the cheesecake topping.
4. Using an electric mixer, mix the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla on medium speed until smooth.  Add eggs one at a time and mix thoroughly after each addition. Stir in the chopped pecan by hand and pour into the chilled biscuit base.
5. Wrap the cake tin in foil and place in a rosting pan filled with water to about 1/4inch from the top of the cake tin, creating a water bath for the cheesecake to bake in, to prevent it from cracking.  Place in the oven and bake for 35-45 mins or until a light golden color especially around the edges, firm to the touch and with only a slight wobble in the middle.
6.Allow the cheesecake to cool down at room temperature while still in the tin and then place in the fridge to set for a few hours.
7. When the cheesecake is fully chilled, make the butterscotch glaze.  Put the butter, sugar and milk in a small saucepan and bring to boil.  Remove from heat, stir in the icing sugar and vanilla essence, then whisk until the glaze is smooth.
8. Pour the glaze on top of the cake and decorate the top with pecan halves. Place in the fridge to set for a few hours or overnight if possible.  Remove from the cake tin before serving.



Oh and not forgetting, today is my sis's birthday.. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, dear sis!  May Lord Buddha bless you with good health, loving kindness and keep you safe always!  Love you very much! Muack!!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tiramisu

Early of the year I made a challenge with myself, to make The Tiramisu before the year is up.  Finally, I did it yesterday.  It's so super duper delicious, if I may say so...  .

I thought it's going to be so complicated but actually it's so easy to make.  Well, at least this recipe that I found from my Good Housekeeping cookbook, is very easy.  My son's feedback, 'mom, this tastes like the professionals made it'. Thank you, son.  Looks like mom can make this again.  heehhee..

Since we have homemade pizza for dinner (well, half homemade - I bought the pizza bread), decided to go Italian all the way...hence the Tiramisu.  This is a very rich dessert.  It's creamy with mascarpone cheese and whipping cream.  That's why its so good...hmm..gotta to take a break now to have a piece of the Tiramisu..simply irresistible.  Will be right back! 



Okay, I'm back.  Happy and satisfied.
Here's the recipe.
1/4 cup hot espresso or very strong brewed coffee
3 tbsp brandy
2 tbsp plus 1/2 cup sugar
18 crisp Italian ladyfingers
1/3 cup milk
1 container (500g) mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup heavy or whipping cream
unsweetened cocoa powder

1. In a plate, stir coffee, brandy and 2 tbsp sugar until sugar dissolved; cool to room temperature. Dip both sides of 9 lady fingers into coffee mixture, one at a time, to soak and arrange in single layer in 8 inch square baking dish.
2. In large bowl, stir milk and remaining 1/2 cup sugar until sugar has dissolved. Stir in mascarpone until blended.
3. In small bowl, with electric mixer at high speed, beat cream until soft peaks form.  With rubber spatula, gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture until blended. Spread half of mixture over ladyfingers in baking dish.
4. Dip remaining ladyfingers into coffee mixture and arrange on top of mascarpone mixture. Spread with remaining mascarpone mixture.  Refrigerate 3 hours or up to overnight.
5. Just before serving, dust with cocoa powder.




Here's the pizza, Pizza Margherita.  Not gonna post the recipe since I had done so in one of my very early posts.


Black Pepper Pizza...

Enjoyed by my beloveds...

Err.. wheather is freaking hot in KL..here's homemade Vanilla Ice Cream to tempt you a little further..