Wednesday, October 29, 2008

October Daring Baker's Challenge

I'm not going to bother telling you guys about my busy month, I've finally realised that every month is a busy month. But I do have to apologise for the shoddy post and photos this month, because both my sister and I are exhausted from school work, and finishing the challenge was all I could manage.

As for the challenge proper, despite the wonderful feedbacks from other daring bakers, this is neither the easiest nor best tasting pizza dough I've tried. It takes 2 days to cold rise, is incredibly sticky and for some reason, browns reluctantly. The tossing method, however, is interesting. Not only did I never imaged that I would attempt such a thing [and it is arguable that what I did can hardly be called tossing], it did result in amazingly thin crust, thinner than I have ever gotten anything to be. Unfortunately, due to my horrendous tossing skills, some parts got too thin, and fared rather badly under my juicy seafood topping.

I did 3 flavors, seafood, hawaiian, and banana. Seafood because I've never had a good seafood pizza outside, Hawaiian because my mom asked for it, and banana because I wanted to try a sweet pizza.

I thought the seafood turned out divine, brine-ny, succulent and literally over-flowing with topping, far better than anything I've ever had outside. I used prawns, mussels, button mushrooms and cheese with a sauce of tomato and garlic.

The hawaiian was good too, especially because I didn't go as crazy with the topping, the crust had a chance to bake properly without being drowned in juice. I topped it with black pepper ham, pinapple chunks, mushrooms and cheese, with a plain tomato sauce.

As for the banana, my sister thought they were the best, and they were rather delicious, despite the horrendously burnt cinnamon. This one I brushed with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon then top with sliced bananas. Any idea how I can incorporate the cinnamon without burning them?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Stephen Moyer

I don't wax lyrical about anybody very often, but when I do, I mean it. I just really really want to say that Stephen Moyer is such an under-rated actor. He is SO SO SO SO good at acting, he sends chills down my spine with one look. Yes, he's hot too, but I am serious when I say I adore, more than anything, his acting skills. I don't know why, before True Blood, he has only been cast in two-bit B-grade shows. I think Starter Wife is great, but Moyer's character in it is just plain stupid, and doesn't showcase any of that great acting skills of his, portraying him as nothing more than a piece of meat. Seriously. So if you have some time to spare, and you like vampire/supernatural fiction, check out True Blood, its the best I've seen in a looooong time.
P.S. Its just a little R-rated...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Things that make me happy in the morning

Ok, I don't think I need to go into details on how to make these, its pretty basic, but I do have a tip that'll have breakfast on the table in 10 minutes. Ready for it? Here it is: cook everything in ONE pan! Fry the defrosted ham first [pour hot water over to defrost in 10 seconds], then the eggs, and finally, mopping up all the juices, 'toast' the bread in the pan as well. Its not that much faster than a toaster, actually, but it gives a better crust, and smells so much better.

I think breakfast is the meal I like to cook best. It always feels like the most cheerful meal of the day to me. I mean, you've just woken up, your stomach is growling, and NOTHING is better than a nice warm plate heaped with all your favorite breakfast stuff and a glass of juice. Muffins, eggs, harshbrowns, sausages, bread, jam, butter, scones, etc etc, everyone has at least one thing they will like. =)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Taiwan May 2008 Part 4

Last part of Taiwan! After Hualian, we returned to Taipei, which I had already introduced a little in the first part. We saw all the touristy stuff, did all the touristy things, but managed to fit in a few other things slightly off the beated path.

Scenery along the railway between Hualian and Taipei. Beautiful coastlines

Audrey enjoying a bowl of beef noodles from a stall we found in the local wet market. We had no idea when we went in, but a couple of chatty customers [who were surprised we could speak Chinese and wanted to find out more] told us that the stall was supposed to be really famous. Note the giant bowl of salted vegetables beside Audrey!

The famous, or infamous, Toilet Restaurant. As I suspected, food is definitely not a top priority in a theme restaurant.

Can you believe these things are dustbins?

JK harassing a pigeon in the Zhong Zheng Guang Chang/Zi You Guang Chang

A drink Audrey was absolutely obsessed over in Taiwan. And I mean OBSESSED. She drank like around 4 bottles a day, and then went around buying out every bottle she could find and brought back to Singapore around 15 bottles. Its essentially a plum flavoured drinkable-jelly drink.
Danshui, which we went with Claire and Sandy, 2 other Taiwanese we met through couchsurfing. Thank you for showing us such a great time! Danshui is basically the Taiwanese version of the Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, and I love that place!

We went there on a Sunday, and the place is packed, which I think is the best way to see the place, people milling around, band playing, atmosphere festive.

The street food selection is mind boggling, rivalling any night market. I'll show only a fraction of what we saw and maybe half of what we ate =P. This is grilled fresh squid, juicy and smoky, very very nice.

Passionfruit snow cups. There were like a zillion flavours available.

Chips on a stick.

And the next day, our last day in Taiwan, guess what we did? We met up with all our friends in Taiwan [minus Kimble], and we went to KTV!

All who know me knows how crazy I am for KTV, so it was a perfect end to the trip!

Back to the hotel for some last minute packing

While Pippin sat watched and laughed

All our Taiwanese friends sent us to the airport! Soooooo nice of them =)

Rice box we got from the train station on the way to the airport. BEST rice box EVER. It was soooo good, I devoured it in minutes. Doesn't look like much, but its divine, and deserves a whole photo and a glowing mention.

And thus we ended our trip, the last thing we saw of Taiwan not of some dingy airport, but of friends who made the trip what it was. So go to Taiwan, and make friends! Cause the people in Taiwan are truly the best thing Taiwan has to offer =D