Thursday, October 29, 2009

Grandpa's 88th Birthday

I was not suppose to bake on the eve before leaving for my vacation, but at the eleventh hour I couldn't resist making something for my grandpa who was to celebrate his 88th birthday on the coming weekend.

Like the old saying, it's the thought that counts.

It was meant to be the white and dark chocolate mousse cake. As I was working thru the ingredients, no surprise to see that the white chocolate has just passed the expiry. Heartache.

It ended up being dark chocolate mousse cake. You know, it's the thought that counts... (keke)

Black and White Chocolate Mousse Cake
Adapted from Alex Goh’s Baking Code

Bake a 18cm round cake using this recipe or your favourite recipe.

Black Chocolate Mousse:
Milk 50g
Kahlua 1 tbsp
Choc Dark – 60g
Gelatine powder 2 tsp (see notes 1)
Water 30g
Non-dairy Whipping cream 140g

1. Heat milk with instant coffee (if any).
2. add chopped chocolate, stir until it is melted.
3. separately add gelatine powder to water, microware at 10sec interval until gelatine dissolves.
4. Add gelatine to chocolate milk mixture
5. whip cream until soft peaks. Fold into (4).

White Chocolate Mousse:
Milk 50g
White chocolate – 60g
Gelatine powder - 2 tsp
Water 30g
Non-dairy Whipping cream 140g

1. Heat milk with instant coffee (if any).
2. add chopped chocolate, stir until it is melted.
3. separately add gelatine powder to water, microware at 10sec interval until gelatine dissolves. 4. Add gelatine to chocolate milk mixture
5. whip cream until soft peaks. Fold into (4).

To assemble:
  1. Slice the round cake into 2 pieces.
  2. Place the first piece cake in a mousse ring.
  3. Add dark choc mousse. Keep cake in fridge until the mousse set (about 1 hour depending on fridge)
  4. Place the 2nd piece of cake over the dark mousse.
  5. Add white choc mousse.
  6. Refrigerate again until the mousse set.
I save time by putting the cake in the freezer.

My family will be away for the vacation but I couldn't resist making

My mum comes from a humougous family... and I never keen to bake anything for anyone in her clan. On the positive note, I decline to bake for them citing the huge family; I do not want to set a precedent or an expectation.

Secretly, I believe my unwillingness has more to do with my unpleasant childhood memories of these relatives. I still recalled as a primary scholler, one of them blatantly said that I must be so happy over his son's poor results so that I can be the king in kingdom of blind. Another one told me no need for me to work hard cos my poor parents won't be able to afford my education. The 3rd concluded that discussion that I will be better off learning to do some houseworks so that I can at least get a job as chambermaid or dishwasher.

School holidays are always stressful; I got asked about my results 1001 times by different aunties and uncles. Despite being the top quartile in my studies, I still kena "suan" mercilessly for any subject that is less than sterling.

They could be just joking but it left a permanent negative impact on me... always wanting to do better, always eager to please.

Only grandpa is different. He is probably one of

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Holiday - final instalment

In all my routine travels, I am so used to the lavish buffet line at breakfast. So this is a nice break from the tradition. Some items on the buffet table: but mostly are ala carte; you order from the menu and it will be served fresh to you. They have really wonderful fruit juice menu!

We eat on a pavillion like this:
However, lunch and dinner gets a little boring when you have just 2 restaurants to chose from. Thai or Italian.
Room service is not really an option cos the room get pretty hot in the afternoon. The single aircon unit is simply not sufficient to beat the topical heat.
Two, there's no phone for you to dial and place order.
Third, the ants attack any remnant food fairly quickly. We were so so careful when snacking in the room.

The one here is the award winning Tamarind Restaurant. Sheen knows fine dining who he sees one:

the hut behind Sheen is a jetty cum italian restaurant. In the day, this is where the angmoh sunbaths on the deck. At night, it turns into a very romantic dining spot. Imagine eating under the stars with sea breeze and the lapping waves from the surging tide:
I took and cropped this pix. I think it has the professional look:

All things come to an end... time comes when we have to go back to civilisation!
Sheen's face says he's not quite ready to go home:

Bye Bye Tioman:
Back to SG - this is Seletar Golf Course:

Much ado about Nothing (Holiday - Part 2)

During our 5-day hideout in this amazing resort, walking along the beach was the order of the day. We walked in the morning after breakfast, we walked in the evening before dining.

They said kids has no patience for repetitive activities but certainly not the case for Sheen.

he adores the sun and sand:

and the rocks. He's favourite game on beach is throwing "lychee" (sand) on the rocks:
Far down the beach, we watched the family of monkeys strutting their stuff. These are the wild monkey which we can equally see in some parts of Singapore... strangely I do not know why we took such a long walk to watch them here!!!

While you are on holiday, you hurry less, and take time to enjoy the beauty of nature:

will it have bud into a tree next time we come back?

We also managed to catch a few squirrels scurried across the path from our room. They are too fast for our camera!

that's me basking in the glorious sun set into south china sea from the cliff:

Sheen strike a pose with his transformer, Dirt Boss. Interestingly, he who does not like decepticons (they are the bad robots in Transformer) says that Dirt Boss is now converted to an Autobat (aka "good guys"):

Though the resort has no mobile phone coverage, there's internet connectivity. Only a pity that it is pretty unstable... and half the time not working. Signal also on holiday?!

Sheen reading the morning news at breakfast. btw, the resort also has no newspaper. This is the setting for our breakfast... will post more next entry.

On top, we also had a snorkelling trip to Ringgis Island (cost RM280 per couple), 1 hour trip to the town. Though Tioman is a duty free zone, don't count shopping as an activity. We managed to crawl in and out of the duty free shop in 20min flat!

The resort provides lots of dvds which the guest can bring back to the room to watch... haha, I have already watched all the latest movies in-flight! Thanks.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I'm in Heaven... (part 1)

well, almost.

This is certainly our best holiday so far. At least this is what Sheen thinks.

There are probably no more than 12 rooms (or villa) in the Japamala Resort @Tioman, but have about 30 staff! So you can imagine the attention and pampering.

Their servise is so personalised that 1 of the evening, we decided to skip dinner, and just munch on our loadful snacks (a kiasu singaporean traits, haha). A staff came knocking on our door to inform that the kitchen is about to close, and if we need dinner.

Having said, they are actually quite discreet about their service. They will only show up to tidy the room/ turn down, etc when you are out of the villa. So you can imagine, each time you reappear into the room, something magical appear like the candles lited, the aroma burner replenished, chocolates on your bed, ice water refilled in your flask.

I had a hard time trying to organise the pix in a single post so I will be breaking them up into several shorter ones....

This is our spacious villa. The "wall" behind the bed is actually a screen covering steps to the bathroom and walk in wardrobe. The beauty of the resort that it stays so true to the original landscape. It is built accordingly to the terrain, so it means that the villa may not be constructed on level ground.

there are private sun bath decks in our patio. The bamboo screen behind the deck chairs conceals the open plunge pool/shower area:

with lush jungle behind the pool, I was wondering what happens if the monkey snatches my towel away... hahaha:

view from our door step:

Large wash up area, with another bath tub!

I like what they have done to blend into the environment. Look that the big rock forming a backdrop in the toilet!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

65°C TangZhong Sesame Bun

Sesame seed is such a common sight here. And we often take them for granted. Before I bake, all I know about sesame seed is "that thing" on the kueh and chee cheong fun!

Only when I picked up baking that I start to make a point to understand what each ingredients do. Like this one...

Benefits of Eating Sesame Seeds includes:
  • renders a reduction in swelling and pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis, proving beneficial in relation to inflammatory systems.

  • supports blood vessels and bone health.

  • Offers relief to those suffering from asthma attacks

  • Reduces migraine - yeah, this will do me good!

  • Lowers blood pressure

  • Can reduce bone loss
In addition, sesame could possibly reduce cholesterol, at the same time protects the liver from oxidative damage.

(source: Arthritic Association, and holistic-nutrition.suite )


65°C TangZhong Sesame Bun

Step 1: Prepare 65°C TangZhong
80g water
15g flour
Combine flour and water in a small (preferably heavy bottom) saucepan. Stir until the mixture smooth. Place it over low heat. Due to the small qty, it will burnt easily so you have to watch carefully and keep stiring with a heat-proof spatula or whisk.
Use the thermometer to check when the mixture reaches 65°C. Alternatively, try writing a number "8" with the whisk - it should stay visible.
You will have ~90g of tangzhong now.

In the past, I add them directly into the mixing bowl which I am going to use for preparing bread dough later. But recently I read from a book that keeping the tangzhong at below 24C for at least 12 hours will improve the flavour of the bread. So I am going to do just that.

Step 2:Prepare the main dough.

You will need:
250g bread flour
20g grounded black sesame seed
1 tbsp skim milk powder
~90g TangZhong (I use all I get in step 1)
105ml warm water
4g salt
25g sugar
12g fresh yeast (or 5g dry yeast)
25g sunflower oil


  1. Mix all the ingredients with a spatula.
  2. grease (or flour) your hand lightly and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Form a ball, then leave it to rest in a cover bowl until it doubles in size. Timing will depend on the ambient temperature.
  3. Remove dough and lightly deflate the dough. Divide the dough into 50g portion, shape round and leave to rest for 10 min.
  4. Roll out the dough, and wrap some filling before sealing the dough. Careful not to let the filling touch the edge; if it does, the dough will not seal properly.
  5. Place dough pieces into baking tray and let it prove till about almost double in size.
    Bake at 175 - 180°C for about 20 minutes.


This will be the last post for the month. I will be off for a week-long holiday... I have been looking forward to this trip; the picture you see below is the one and only kind of room in this resort. Count my lucky stars to get it :-)

this is where I can have a real break... I mean a real holiday cos there's no mobile coverage on the island. No emails, no sms, no phone calls....

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

eat your Black Forest Cake!

Dot thought the cake in previous post was hers. Mui Mui, this one then yours lah... isn't it much prettier?

I certainly think they are.

This time, I am trying out another recipe; this is from Jo.

It is essentially a chiffon cake recipe, and certainly works as fine as the one from Florence. The big plus is that the steps in Jo's recipe is slightly simpler than what I was used to. Less steps for same results, why not huh?

Below here is with my modifications:

Chocolate Chiffon Cake

3 small egg yolks
110g cake flour
½ tsp baking soda
20g natural cocoa powder
40g castor sugar
70g oil
110g chocolate milk, warmed
1 tsp chocolate emulco

3 small egg whites
¼ tsp cream of tartar
40g castor sugar

350-400g non-dairy whipping cream
120g dark pitted cherries
fresh fruits: blueberries and strawberries

To bake the Chocolate chiffon cake:
  1. Preheat oven at 180 degC.

  2. Sift flour, baking soda and cocoa powder into a mixing bowl. Add egg yolks, castor sugar, oil and milk to the dry ingredients. Use a hand whisk to mix until just combined. Add more milk if the batter is too thick.

  3. In a separately mixing bowl, whisk egg whites with cream of tartar at medium speed until formy. Add sugar and continue to whisk on high speed until soft peaks form. Turn to medium speed now and stop whisking when reach stiff peak.

  4. Use a large spatula to fold 1/3 of egg whites into egg yolk mixture. Fold gently to not deflate the egg whites.

  5. Transfer mixture in (4) to the remaining 2/3 of egg whites. Fold gently.

  6. Pour batter into a 8 inch round cake pan. DO NOT grease your pan.
    Bake at preheated oven for 40-50 minutes or until skewer inserted into centre of cake comes out clean.

  7. Remove cake from oven. Invert cake pan immediately on a wire rack and let cake cools completely before turning it out of the pan.

Pls refer to Jo's website for decorating instructions.

Not matter how I try to squeeze in the berries, I end up throwing away the last bits; I do not want to live with another black forest for the next few weeks!!!

Here's your slice, Dot.

I swear I divided the cake evenly this time. Look, the bottom is significantly shorter than the top. I bet it is the weight of the berries and cream weighing it down!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Black Forest Cake

This is yet another item that needs to be cleared from my fridge - the leftover cherries from dearie dot's birthday cake.

Don't ask me how it taste, I never get to see and smell the cake after I left it with my colleague!

She only called me a few days later to tell me how scrumptious the cake are... heehee, call me skeptics but I only take her words had I tasted it :-)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fondant Cupcake

Looks familar?

Yeah, these flowers were the extras that I made for my sister's birthday cake. Sheen asks for 1 fondant flower each time his eye lands on the transparent container where they are kept.

So I decided to make some cupcakes with these flowers for him to bring to school.

Erm, btw, How long fo you reckon we can store these fondant? Anyone?