Friday, November 27, 2009

Making magic again...

Here's another go at the Alex Goh's magic bread :
A little glitch in this session - i acccidentally overdosed the salt - put in almost double the requried quantity!

Though I tried to compensate with a little more yeast, still the proofing took forever. 14 hours to be exact - 8 hours for the 1st proof, and 6 for the final.

A lesson for us is to make sure we pre-measure out all the ingredients carefully. I was lazy so I added everything into the mixing bowl. But luckily, the bread turn out good and well after all the anticipation!

This is the one with sardine and onion filling:

Presenting My First Cake Order...

This is a birthday cake for my dear brother in law. And technically this is an order. My sister paid for it :-)

She originally wanted the hazelnut mousse which I made for Sheen's 5th birthday but I have no more of the ingredients on hand... so she settled for a black forest cos her girls love it.
I do not want to have a black forest that looks exactly like a black forest... so I did mine with a light twist.
The star in the centre of the cake symbolise this role in the family!
These are the words she wanted on the cake - its her hubby's b'day on the 10th day of the 10th lunar month. I made them on a fondant which she places on the cake when ready:

Since my piping skill sucks, I relied on the letter press. It's just a pity that the letter press is not as easy to use as i wish. Putting the letters into the holder itself is a labourious task!

Looks like i should really work on my piping skills to save all the hard work.


I like to thank Anncoo for passing on the reward.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


This was a 30 sec job.

I saw an old pal's sms just as I was getting ready to leave home. I quickly grab the cupcake I have on my cake server, and slap on the hazelnut ganache and sprinkle the chocolate chips. That's it.

This is a scratchy cake for a good friend's birthday... but as the saying goes "it's the thoughts that counts!".

BTW, for the record, I did try to make something more decent for D. I piped "Happy Birthday, D-----" on the cake and was mms to him. But my handwriting is so horrible, I think I should not post this pix here to save the embarrassment :-)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Chef Alex's Magic Bread

I had such a tiring day at ICA on last Tuesday. I was there since 10am, and didn't get the papers done until past 6. A torturously long 8+ hours!

Well, just a day before I am due to leave for another work trip, I discovered to my horrors that my passport is just 1 week shy of the required 6 months validity. After making a few checks, I decided to get a Temporary Travel Document from ICA. The doc was supposed to be a couple hours job, but I brought my luggage along thinking it would give me plenty of time to get into the airport and any possible delays at the Immigration department.

The first to get the TTD was the pass the interview. For this, I waited 2 hours for my number to be flashed on the board. When I entered, I the office still talking to another elderly couple. So I back out and waited patiently outside the door.

During the 3omin wait outside the door, I saw several numbers behind me already went in and out of the door. I was quite frustrated that I am still waiting despite having a earlier number.

Finally when the couple left the room, I quickly entered, only to find that the office is not in the room. So again I back off and waited at the door. I peeped my head in and out checking if the officer is back. Finally I decided to do my feet a favour by waiting in the interview room.

Then another guy who walked past saw my sitting alone, and asked why I am in the room. I explained, then he walked away without a word.

15min later, another staff entered. Only then I learnt that the officer had gone off for break without logging off. Alamak, I was made to wait for nothing just becos of someone's silly negligence!!!

Then, the canteen was closed for renovation - so I have no means to get lunch/refreshment in the long hours there. Most people walked out to the nearby coffeeshop but it is difficult for me with the full pack luggage. Good detox day for me, I console myself.

To cut the long story short, the day at ICA must have been 1 of the more stressful one in my 30 plus years! At the end of the day, I just have to call up to make arrangements to cancel my flight and hotel reservations.

When I got home in the night, I head to the kitchen to make bread. I need my therapy!

Fortunately, this recipe didn't disappoint me.

Basic Sweet Bread dough
Recipe from Alex Goh "Magic Bread"
100g bread flour
70g boiling water
300g bread flour
100 plain flour
80g sugar
6g salt
20g milk powder
9g instant yeast (I used 23g fresh yeast)
175g cold water
60g cold egg (I replaced with cold water)

60g butter

1) Add boiling water from A into flour, mix until well blended to form a dough. Cover and set aside to cool. Keep it into fridge for at least 12 hrs. (I only left it in fridge for 1 hour)

2) Mix B until well blended. Add in C and knead to form rough dough. Add in A and knead till well-blended.

3) Add in D and knead to form elastic dough
4) Let it proof for 40mins. (mine took over 90min, thanks to the year end rains and cold nights. Just make sure the dough double in size, no matter how long it takes.)
5) Divide the dough into required weight and mould it round. Rest it for 10mins and ready to use.

I made them in my new pullman loaf pan (baking time 50min @180C). Based on the calculations, I should need 665g of dough which it didn't really filled up the pan. I think it's becos I didn't wait long enough for the 2nd proof. They should have raised to at least 80% of the pan before putting into the oven. I waited for over an hour, then decided to call it a night while keeping my fingers crossed.

When I sliced the bread, the centre part is a bit dense, without the airy holes like the sides. Luckily it is only the centre... The overall bread is still good.

On the way to the airport on Wednesday, I brought the whole loaf to my parents. My mum told me over dinner just now that my dad finished up the bread on the very same day. He said the bread is too good... he had to have bread for dinner.

Music to my ears!

It is a great combination - sweetness from bread + spiciness from the otah!

For the extra dough I made them into sausage roll for Sheen. You see, i am still practicing hard on the shaping. Thanks to blessedhomemaker's help, I am making some progress in the pleating.

It's a wonder how much happier one can get after a breadmaking session! Magic indeed!

Flaky Mooncake

I made these teochew flaky mooncake when clearing the fridge - badly needed more storage space in preparation for Sheen birthday party!

I used the recipe from Anncoo - do see her blog for the photo illustration to get the layering. Actually the colour won't show up if you are deep-frying them. But it's a lot easier for me to differentiate the oil and water dough.

I fried some, and baked some. I felt so guilty to say that the deep fried ones taste much better! Yum!

Monday, November 16, 2009

That day I runied a Butter Cake

Few months back I was chatting with some colleagues about butter cake. One of the guys mentioned the old fashion butter, you know the know that is utterly rich, arteries-blocking type. And the other said Golden Churn.

That rings a bell. I have bookmarked a recipe from Florence. I made a promise to the group that i will make one for them.

It was months later that I finally get down to bake the cake. And gave it to my colleague TC when we met up at the Cafe.

I made 2 mini loaf - gave 1 away and kept the another one for myself. It was much later in the night I tested it that I realised that it was too dry and too hard. It shouldn't have been given out in the first place!!!

From here I learn my lession - never serve anything before I have tested it!

Sheen's 5th Birthday

I'm wishing you another year

Of laughter, joy, and fun,

Surprises, love and happiness,

And when your birthday's done,

I hope you feel deep in your heart,

As your birthday's come and go,

How very much you mean to me,

More than you can know

Author: Joanna Fuchs

The original plan was to bake a 10" round cake with edible image, plus another 10 cupcakes with the 10 aliens as cake topper.

This fondant omnitrix was meant to go on top of the main cake. But as I go along, I found that's just ain't enough space to put those cookie-cutter-alphabets on the main cake, leave alone the omnitrix. That's not the only problem.

First, the image sheet I got has only 8 aliens. Ghost freak and Echo Echo is missing. Don't ask why. I also don't know.

Then, the fondant topper didn't dry after 2 days of sitting in the aircon bedroom.

On Friday night, I re-made all the topper, adding gum tragacanth to fondant to firm it up.

After I am over and done with the fondant, I tried practicing piping the writings with fresh cream. Had I been able to make the words any eligible, you would have seen them here. Bo Bian, take out all the fondant tools again, and the letter press set. My saviour:

Fortunately all went well after a night of airconditioning.

Go on baby, make a wish:

Sheen is elated to get a big birthday present:

Happy Birthday to you... and to my 5 fabulous years of motherhood:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sheen asked for a Hello Kitty Cake for...

Sheen requested that I made a Hello Kitty for his "girlfriend" cos she likes Hello Kitty too:

He said "when a boy likes a girl, he has to make her happy!"

Yes of course, my boy.

Mummy gladly obliged!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bubur Terigu (大麦)

It is interesting how 1 blog can inspire the 2nd, then the 3rd... Haha, I made this 大麦 after reading her post, which she did after reading it in 阿豐 .

It's good isn't it? I hope more people will take time to cook for their beloved family. I was a little sad when my hong kong colleagues told me the "normal" family do not cook at home. That explains why all the restaurants in HK are doing a roaring business!

Anyway I derailed.

I bought the wheat from NTUC. Had wanted to use her recipe but was too lazy to write it down or to connect my notebook to the printer. I started to thumb thru my collection of the recipe book.
I settled on this from late Mrs Leong Yee Soo's "The best of Singapore Cooking".
Bubur Terigu

115g sugar*
285g palm sugar
225ml water
8 pandan leaves

55g quick cooking oats**
285ml water

680g grated coconut ***
¼ tsp salt **
285ml water **
285g biji terigu
1.7L water
Thickening: 3 tablespoon flour to mix with 170ml water
  1. boil A for 10min and strain
  2. mix B and cook for 5-7 minutes.
  3. squeeze coconut for no. 1 milk. Add salt and set aside.
  4. add 285 ml water to coconut and squeeze for no. 2 milk.
  5. soak biji terigu in cold water for 10min, drain. Pound to break up the terigu. Bring it to boil with 1.7L water. Cook until terigu is tender and swelling. Reduce heat.
  6. pour (1), (2) and thickening into the pot. Add no. 2 milk and boil for 2min. remove from heat.
  7. serve in individual bowl with a topping of 2 tbsp No. 1 milk. Serve hot.
My notes:
* I didn't use white sugar. Only use palm sugar cos it has a better aroma. Also I do not like it too sweet.

** I used rolled oats instead of quick-cooking oats cos this is what I have at home. It just take a few more minutes to cook.
*** I used Kara ready to use coconut cream. I always keep a pack at home for cooking in a whim!
Adding the oat may seem a little strange initially, I was glad I didn't omit. It makes the bubur more creamy and gooey. There's no oat taste at all, if you are concern.
Although I only made 1/4 of the recipe, it is still relatively huge amount for me since I am the only person eating these. Had wanted to bring some to mum, but only after cooking I found out that she has gone travelling! Wow, she more happening than me.
The balance went to my colleagues; they confirmed this is better than those sold in the dessert stall.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sol Playground Cafe

Like to share this child-friendly restaurant with the fellow mummies - Sol Playground Cafe at Turf City.
I used to go the Globetrotter at United Square - they have a separated play area for kids. The best part is that they are being monitored by few staff who are called "play assistant".

Unfortunately the restarant has long gone.

I was quite glad to stumble on the another fun themed restaurant when least expected. It is tucked at one end of the building.

We ordered Sheen favourite pizza, and he gladly sat all by himself on the kids' furniture.

While we were there, we found out that there are face- and hand-painting and balloon-sculpting activities on Sundays. Sheen asked if we can take him there on Sunday again...
Sure, my baby!

Cost of the dinner (including drinks) for my family of 3 = $120.
Freedom to eat in peace = PRICELESS!
Sol Playground Café
#01-21 Turf City, 200 Turf Club Road
Telephone 6467 8681

Friday, November 6, 2009

Lemon Cupcake

I just ended my over 2-week long vacation on Monday. Even with a workless schedule I find my self very very busy. My usual day is wake up at 9.30am. Wash up, newspaper with breakfast in the next 2 hours. Then I start to bake like crazy, and get ready to deliver the cakes to whichever friends that I am going to meet in the afternoon.

You see I am happily feeding my friends! I wished I have the option to tell J that I am too busy to hold down a fulltime job... =p

This is one of those bakes which I think look better ones.

Lemon Cupcake
Adapted from Carol Durst's book: I know you were coming so I bake a cake.

Ingredients for the cake:
3 cups cake flour
225g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar (original qty)
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup (240ml) whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Filling (optional): Jam of your choice. I used this luscious marmalades bought during one of my working trips. It was sitting around for sometime so I need to use it up!


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degF (180C). Grease cake pans and coat the the pan with flour.

  2. Cream the butter, and incorporate sugar. Beat slowly for 2min until smooth. (I used my KW speed#3)
    Add the eggs and the vanilla extract and beat for 2 min more.

  3. (Turn my KW to the lowest when adding flour) Combine flour, cornstarch (if using), baking powder and salt in the mixing bowl. Add flour and milk alternatively: Flour -> milk -> Flour -> milk -> Flour, mix until the batter is smooth.

  4. Fill prepared cupcake cases with some batter. Make a dent in the batter with a small spoon. Scoop a small tsp of jam (if using) into the dent. Then fill up the case with more batter until 80% full. Bake about 30-35min, until golden on top and springy to touch: a toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean. Don’t overbake. Bake cupcakes about 20min.

  5. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting it.

  6. To make frosting: Melt 20g butter with 2 tsp lemon juice. Slowly add icing sugar (100g) until it is lightly flowy. I love this frosting - tangy and sweet!

According to the book, this recipe should yield two 8~9" cake or 24 cupcake or 9x13 sheet cake. My cupcake is probably too big... as I only had a baker's dozen!

saved the 13th cupcake for my baby.

My Notes:

  • I learnt that the final batter should be smooth and quite runny; to the extend that it readily drop from the paddle when lifted up. Else, add spme milk until the desire texture is reached. It also looked pale and soft like whipped cream.

  • In some recipe, I need to smooth out the top or else the baked cupcake will have an uneve top. Can skip this step in this recipe; the batter smoothen out itself in the oven.

This is the first time I make the ribbon rose. So easy:

Hello Kitty never fail to excite the young-at-hearts:

The box I used does not come with the cupcake insert. So just before I leave home, decide to make one myself:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

the post-holiday itch and pancake mix

After a week's holidaying, it is now pay back time - all of us at home are nursing a terrible mossie bites since the day we came back. Strangely we didn't get a single itch while we were there. Given the encounter with these blood-sucking creatures at Avillion and Bayan Tree, I was actually quite amazed how they have managed to ward them off.

My happiness was short lived. On the first day we came back, a couple of sites started to itch. Then more spots came to light... these bite are quite usual. Even after 1 week, the swell has not subsided, and they sure itch like hell.

Before you say "whimp", let me say that are quite used to the local mossie bites that we still get from zoo visits etc. We usually do one of these which really work to relieve the itch (in the following order)

  • circle the bite site with ball point pen. I know this barely sound logical solution but I swear it works. anyway, it cost and hurt you nothing for a potential immediate relieve.
  • Handiplast Anti-itch gel - in some rare cases when (1) don't work.
  • prescribed Hydrocortisone cream - you need to get this from your family doctor.

I googled out of desparation and found this easy trick. Though I share it here as we bakers are all certain to have this simple ingredient in our kitchen:

When I first applied to the spot, it sting quite abit (maybe skin broken from the frantic scratching). But it kindda deter me from scratching so I get some relieve after a while. I can't use it on Sheen as he complained the sting hurts.

Verdict - it may work depending on the type of bite if the skin is not broken. Good if you do not stock the other ointment or medication at home.

Strangely the more I write about the itch, the more itchy it is getting to me! Think I better stop.

I made these pancakes out of pancake mix. It is a convenient choice for me cos only Sheen and I eats pancake. We only need a total of 3, or max 5 piece to call it a morning!

It is difficult for me to whip up such small quantities! The ready-to-use mix allow me to make as little as 3 pieces of pancakes. I simply pour 60g of mix into a mug, then stir in 60g of water until smooth.

I tried to add some sliced banano to the pancake but the sugar in banana burns and when that happens, it leaves the ugly burnt marks on the pancake. This mar pannies' good look!

So I caramelised the banana instead. Very sweet, soft and sticky. Lovely.

I wonder how Macdonalds achieve the evenly brown pancake. This is the closest I can get but yet to perfect :-(

Sunday, November 1, 2009

SSB - (Eggless) White Chocolate & Orange Cookies

I just realised that it is almost 2 months since my last post on cookies. Well, I have been refilling the cookie jar, but it has been the same old recipe that hardly justify the need for a post entry.

Glad to see this recipe shared by Sweet and Simple Bakes... orange and white chocolate do look like an exciting pair that I had to check it out!

White Chocolate & Orange Cookies
Recipe is from here
Makes 2 dozen
115g unsalted butter, softened
200g caster sugar - I used 75g brown sugar + 75g white castor sugar
1 egg - I replace with 40g milk + 20g of Cointreau
Grated zest of 1 orange (2 to 3 tsp)
1 tsp vanilla extract - I replace with Orange emulco (a concentrate)
200g plain flour -
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ baking powder
¼ tsp salt
225g white chocolate chips (milk or dark chocolate)
  1. Preheat the oven to 190C.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar. Add the egg (or milk+cointreau), orange zest and vanilla extract (or orange emulco).
  3. Sift together the dry ingredients. Stir the dry ingredients and chocolate chips into the butter mixture and combine.
  4. Roll into balls. Use your fingers to flatten onto a non-stick baking sheet 5cm/2in apart.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool for five minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.
    When cool, store in an airtight container for up to four to five days.

My Notes:

  • sugar: I used a combination of brown and white; brown sugar has better aroma, and also makes the cookie chewy soft. Since the white chocolate is also sweet, next round I will try to reduce sugar to 100~120g.

  • Egg: I omited the egg; replaced with 40g of full cream milk. Also added 20g of cointreau for the orangey flavour. But on the hind sight, it could be too much liquid. Next time I will try to reduce milk to 20g.

  • Emulco: I added orange emulco as I find that the natural fruit is usually muted after baking, hence the need to add the artificial to accentuate the flavour. It works!

  • Flour: Perhaps due to the egg replacement, I get pretty wet dough which spread too much in the oven. When that happens, the cookie become crisp rather than chewy. I work in another 40g of flour to address this.

  • I saved some extra chocolate chip... half way thru the bake I sprinkle some on the cookies to make it even more scrumptious.

I get 2 tubs of cookies with this recipe. Sheen loves it and asks that I save a jar for him.

I gave the other jar to my retired boss who stay in my neighbourhood. He loves all things sweet; he couldn't thank me enough for the cookies!

I just glad I have fed another happy soul :-)

Thanks Maria for hosting this SSB - pls keep the great recipe coming!

Rosie, hope to see you bounce back to action soon! Do rest well for now!