Friday, July 31, 2009

Stupid Blogger, the sequal

Bloody Blogger is on the fritz again, and hence I can't post. Grrr. Sequals [mostly] suck, so what's new

Friday, July 3, 2009

June Daring Baker's Challenge

**Through no thanks to Blogger, and because of a brilliant fellow blogger, I managed to post this. GET OFF YOUR ASS, BLOGGER, AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS.

Its the holidays, and my incredibly bored sister made all the pictures into montages, so you guys decide if its good or bad news.



I have no love for squiggy food, and the frangipane layer was as squiggy as squiggy comes, so I really can't say I enjoyed this challenge, though it does look rather pretty.



The June Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart... er... pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in England.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Stupid blogger

Something is majorly screwed up with blogger, so that tons of people have been unable to upload images, yours truly included. And since blogger MUST be busy with something more important, such as saving the world from monsters or defeating evil, so much so that no one bothered to respond to the flood of complains, there will be no post until blogger gets off its ass. I am truly sorry, because I have a reservoir of pictures and posts dying to get out =(

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Peach Squares

These are awesome. I tried it with blueberries, as per the original recipe, and they worked fantastic. It was so good, 2 weeks later I made them with canned peaches, and they were equally good. Just ignore the steps for preparing the blueberries and substitute with peaches.





Recipe here =)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Checkin' in

I'm back from Borneo in one piece, and I have been baking, just not bloggin about it, so, sorry about that =P I'm enjoying, very much, my standard 'slacking' phase of my holidays, where I spend 70% of my days in bed, sleeping/reading/listening to music. Will update when I get over this phase!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

May Daring Baker's Challenge

It would seems that, when it comes to strudels, Singaporeans have been living in an alternate universe. All my life, thanks to Ritz Apple Strudel, I've believed that strudels looked like this:
So imagine my surprise when May rolled around, the challenge was revealed, and everyone in the Daring Baker community [and beyond] told me that strudels actually looked like this:

Bear with me for a little while more, and imagine my disappointment when my own strudel turned out like this:
I find myself to be utterly hopeless at all manner of dough stretching/kneading/tossing, as proven by the bread, pizza, and lastly strudel challenge. I suspect this failure can be attributed to using baking paper instead of cloth, but I didn't have a big enough piece of cloth.


However, I [and my family] was extremely pleased with the filling. I filled the pastry with flambe-ed peach halves in rum and butter, and let me tell you, it was AWESOME, and so quick to whip up. Flambe-ing the peaches were a ton of fun too!
The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caf├ęs of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.


FLAMBE PEACH HALVES IN RUM AND BUTTER
Ingredients:
1 can peach halves, well drained.
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rum
**There's some debate on whether you can flambe on a non-stick pan, so just to be on the safe side, avoid doing that. I don't have a non-stick pan so I just used the most shallow pot I have. Worked great.
  1. Melt butter and add sugar to it. Cooked til dissolved and very bubbly.
  2. Add peaches to butter mixture and cooked til peaches take on a brown sheen and smells awesome.
  3. Remove from heat [****VERY IMPORTANT! DON'T ADD THE ALCOHOL OVER OPEN FIRE****] and add the rum. Stir well.
  4. Place back on fire and ignite either with a long matchstick or one of those stove lighter things.
  5. Sit back and enjoy the pyrotechnic. The fire will burn down once all the alcohol is burned off.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Vanilla Poached Pear Crumble

I am leaving with my sister for a 2 week backpacking trip in Borneo this coming Tuesday, and I decided it would be in bad form to leave my readers with my last post. I don't want to be [even more] responsible for spewing forth more anger and violence into an already crazy world. So I decided to leave you with this. Vanilla-y, crumbly, sweet, gooey pear crumble.


I forgot to put sugar into the crust, so I compensated by making a thick syrup out of the cooking juices of the pear and drizzling it over the crumble. Worked very nicely, and I'm keeping the left-overs for making vanilla lattes. However, this didn't turn out exactly as I expected, because despite adding a whole vanilla bean to poach with the pear [scrapped with pods thrown in], the vanilla scent was MINIMAL. I have no idea what went wrong, and if you do, please enlighten me.


Vanilla Poached Pear Crumble

Filling:
3 large pears or whatever approximate you deem fit, peeled, sliced and cored
1 vanilla pod
3 tbs sugar
Crust and Crumble:
One recipe of short-crust pastry, made to the crumbly stage. Rubbed in, water added but not kneaded. [refer here]
Handful of walnuts/almonds/pecans/whatever
2 tbs sugar
1 tbs cinnamon
Syrup:
Cooking juices
1/2 cup sugar
  1. Poach pear, sugar, split vanilla beans and pod in just enough water to cover. Until tender.
  2. Drain pears and leave open to dry out as much as possible.
  3. Take 3/4 of short-crust pastry 'crumbs' and press into a pan/pie dish/whatever. Poke full of holes and bake at 180 degree celcius for 15 minutes or until cooked. You'll smell it when its cooked.
  4. Mix remaining 'crumbs' with other ingredients.
  5. Arrange pear slices over crust, spread crumble evenly over and bake until browned at 180 degree celcius.
  6. To make syrup, simply reduce juice with sugar until desired consistency. I find reducing to be best done in a flat pan like a non-stick pan. Water evaporates so much faster!
  7. Dig in! =)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Scroll down if you came here for cheesecake and baked goods.


How nice. That time of the semester again when I feel like murdering everyone in sight, especially those on my 'list'. That professor who never did return my grade. That other professor who set an exam paper completely differently from what she told us would come out. The noisy morons who think the library is their own personal cafe. Random assortment of other morons and idiots. Wait a minute, there's no list afterall, all who annoys me qualifies. Can't WAIT for next semester.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

April Daring Baker's Challenge

Today's your lucky day, dear readers, because I have 3 more papers snapping at my ass, and not enough time, so you get to see many delicious photos without having to sieve through [much of] my ramblings and rants.


I kept it simple, as my body demanded no nonsense delivery of fats and chocolate to my fried brain cells.


There's a walnut-digestive base, which is simply out-of-this-world, REALLY.

A vanilla cheesecake layer, which is really great, even if I didn't use to be a cheesecake fan.

And finally, the piece de resistance, a layer of caramel dark chocolate ganache. Can I say YUM?!


The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.


Thank you, Jenny! This is truly an outstanding recipe and challenge, which bowled over even a non-cheesecake lover!


Also, folks, I've got no time to type out the recipe, so please get it at Jenny's site. Trust me, if you want a cheesecake recipe, this is IT.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Waffles!


I love waffles, and my earliest memories of waffles were those from A&W. Till today, my mom still insists that no other taste better than A&W's, but since the chain no longer operates in Singapore, there's nothing to compare to.

I dislike eating waffles outside, because they almost never taste good. They are either soggy, or taste of baking powder, or too sweet, or just not good, not crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

My own attempts to make waffles have also frequently ended in disaster, but those days are over, because I found a great waffle recipe!

A few tips about waffle-making:
  • Pay close attention to the amount of steam coming out of your waffle maker to determine when to remove the waffle. Right at the beginning of the cooking time, loads of steam will be emited. When the steam slows down to a gentle stream, that's when to remove the waffle. It also depends on how brown you like your waffles to be
  • Mix with a whisk. Actually, this applies to all things. Whisks mix really well!
  • Don't fill the waffle maker to the edges. Drop the batter in the middle, close immediately and tip the waffle maker to spread the batter around instead.
  • If you want to try other recipes, always use one where the egg whites are beaten and folded in separately. It's just not the same without =)
My mom made a banana chutney to go with these waffles, but I think they are sooo good, its great to eat just with honey/syrup and butter/margarine!
Also, leftovers make such a great snack [toasted, with some chocolate chips thrown on, a drizzle of honey...], so don't worry if you can't finish one batch!

Recipe from Mr. Breakfast =D

BEST WAFFLE EVER

1 and 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 beaten egg yolks
1 and 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup vegtable oil

3 egg white, beaten stiffly

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients, set aside
  2. Combine all the wet ingredients, except for the egg whites. Add vanilla extract if you want, I think it makes the waffle so much better =)
  3. Combine dry and wet ingredients. Beat away, no need to be gentle
  4. GENTLY fold in the egg whites.
  5. Cook in the waffle maker. Done!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Girls Night Out

Exams are fast approaching, and I am currently holed up at home busy with revision. But, yesterday I took the night off for a well-deserved night out with the girls! You guys rock, by the way, but I'm sure you know that! Oh, and you guys are all barking mad too, and I mean that in the best possible way =)


First, we began the night with some fantastic mexican food at the fabulous Cuba Libre at Clark Quay. 1-for-1 mojitos, whole night on mondays! Look how pretty Singapore River looks at night =)

Then, because the band doesn't play at Cuba Libre on mondays, we headed for Timbre Art House for some chillin', some live music, some beer and some crazy good pizza



And then, after the final set from the band, craziness and too much good food set into the lovely, crazy heads of my girlfriends. We decided that what we needed right then, was some good old KTV!

And so off we headed to KTV!


Dear friends, I eagerly await our Cashmere Mafia days, and those after it! Gotta love crazy nights out on the town with girlfriends =)


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Vietnam and Cambodia 2007, part 2

Yes, I know its been ages, and I also know that I'm a lazy ass. Now that we have the self-flagellation out of the way, this post will be about Hue in Vietnam!

Once I tell you what Hue is known for, you'll immediately know why I love that place. Hue is the 'historical' city of Vietnam, because it was the capital of Imperial Vietnam way back in the days. The Imperial palace and tombs are still there, and those are the main tourist attractions which we visited.




The interesting thing is you can find incredibly old gates all around Hue, remnents of an imperial past, and they are still standing strong and in use, as you can see below



First, we went to the Palace. Its nice and 'historical', even if it has been completely 'tourist-fied'. Back in the days, when China's tributary system reigned supreme, Vietnam was China's most valued vassel state in Southeast Asia, and the palace reflects the importance Vietnam placed on Chinese influence as well. See the Chinese-style architecture?




The girls and I having a little fun in the palace =) Can you see us as cheeky princesses running around the palace? Ok, maybe not princesses =P



Isn't it fascinating to see traffic and everyday life just running along their business right beside a centuries old palace? Not simply a building, but a piece of history that is hardly remembered today. Who knew that Vietnam had an imperial past, had Emperors and dynasties?



Next, even more interestingly, because of the [slightly] morbid nature of the attractions, we visited the imperial tombs of past emperors. As these tombs are located right on the fringe of the city, its much simpler and cheaper to join a day trip instead of trying to DIY.



While I was really interested in the tombs, I found, to my surprise, that these are not really tombs.



Yes, the Emperor commissioned it for himself, and designated it a 'tomb', but they function more like Summer palaces than tombs. They are huge, with lavish water features and pavilions and gardens. The royal family, when bored with city life, will come here for a little R&R, kind of like the ton do with their country manors.




And, the tour guide tells us, the Emperor isn't even buried there! This is for fear of grave robbers and such. So, in Imperial Vietnam, 'tomb' is actually lingo for 'holiday chalet'. And each Emperor had one. If I remembered correctly, there's 10+ of these around Hue, all beautiful, all lavish, all empty.




And after a hard day of sight-seeing, nothing more welcomed than a steaming bowl of soupy noodles, cooked lovingly with a special recipe, filled to the brim with ingredients.

Friday, March 27, 2009

March Daring Baker's Challenge

The March 2009 challenge is hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge.


This recipe did not work out for me. Everything felt wrong. There seemed to be wayyy too much spinach, so much so that the pasta felt a little stringy from all the fibre. The recipe asked for way too little eggs, I had to add twice the stipulated amount to get the dough to look like dough. But I must have added too much, because the dough became really wet. So I added more flour to try and correct the dough, and that didn't work at all.

And then, despite kneading the dough for close to an hour, it still stuck like a fiend, to EVERYTHING. Rolling it thin was no problem, the problem was getting it off the surface in one piece. And so in the end, I cut the dough into little balls, drowned it in flour, and rolled it out little by little, making patchwork lasagne layers.

Also, following the instructions for a thin layer each of bechamel and regu [I used canned pasta sauce. Busy month =(], the lasagne came out extremely dry. I felt like I was eating a solid block of carbohydrates.


But, during a very busy month, it was still fun to potter around the kitchen for a day, as it always had been and hopefully always will be =)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Suntec City, 'Just Acia'


Where, you might ask, does one find such gorgeous teriyaki salmon at a very reasonable price? My very smart buddy, Lindy, took a card, for which I'm sure many people will be thankful for because now they know exactly how to track down these fabulous slices of savory sweet salmon
Just Acia

Just Noodles Suntec Pte Ltd
3 Temasek Boulevard #B1-57
Suntec City Fountain Terrace (Tower 3)
Singapore 238826
Website: www.justacia.com
These are truly the best-tasting, most value-for-money teriyaki salmon I've ever tasted. There's THREE fairly thick slices. THREE. For the price of around S$12, with free flow soft drinks and ice cream! Not only is there a lot of the fish, all of it taste fantastic. It's fresh, its tasty, its cooked just right so its soft and flaky, not hard and chunky. Seriously, need I go on? If u are in Suntec, HEAD THERE!
Thanks buddy, for bringing me there! =D

Monday, March 9, 2009

The 2009 birthday post

Behold, the best birthday cake, EVER.



Its like I have 8 birthday cakes! From the 6 O'clock cake, clock-wise, I present: Tiramisu cake, Coffee cake, Chocolate Banana cake, Raspberry Chocolate cake, Walnut Cheesecake, Brownie Cheesecake, Chocolate Gateaux, and Black Forest cake. All cakes are from Hans, and I highly recommend the raspberry choc and the choc gateaux. To die for =D


A closer look at the Chocolate Banana...


And the Brownie Cheesecake.

And, as if the perfect birthday cake wasn't enough, my parents got me the perfect birthday present. May I present, my spanking new Tefal Activys!!

Its big [ger], its brand new, it comes with that rotating thing for baking chicken, and I love it.
Now, let's give a hooyah! for my late oven. Though it was small, it was wonderful, and must be credited with everything I made on this blog. Dear friend, thank you for serving me so well for the past 7 years. If ovens get reincarnated too, may you be my oven again in your next life.




And, a big THANK YOU must go out to my dear parents and my sister, and also to all my friends, for putting up with the crabbiest girl in the world and sum up the enthusiasm to celebrate the day I was born =D

Special birthday broadcast: Amelia's quote[s] of the day

  1. Use your brain
  2. Move your ass

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Almond Sticky Chocolate Buns


Q: What is the worst thing that can happen to a baker with sticky buns on her mind?

A: Realizing that her yeast is dead [way before expiry date] after all the ingredients have been prepared.

And that was exactly what happened to me today, but unfortunately, that wasn't the end of it.



I don't know if its my oven finally throwing in the towel after 7 years of loyal service, or if I did something wrong, but the middle part of my sticky buns got completely burnt. The wonderful, perfectly golden brown sides taunting me with what-my-sticky-buns-could've-been.

Still, making these buns were a perfect way, for me, to end the midterm breaks, and to help me face school tomorrow. I particularly liked how the buns were lightly perfumed with the scent of the spices without overwhelming the taste buds. And, chocolate ALWAYS helps.

STICKY BUNS: ALMONDS CHOCOLATE STYLE.
Buns:
310g plain flour
1 large egg
160g butter, softened
125ml milk [Warmed. Just til comfortable to the touch. Any warmer and you'll kill the yeast]
1 sachet instant yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp each of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Adjust as desired.
1 tbsp softened butter

5 tbsp sugar

1 cup chocolate chips

Topping:
1 cup brown sugar
25g butter
3 tbsp honey/golden syrup
1 cup almonds, roughly chopped [substitute with any nuts u like]
  1. Combine sugar, 1 tbsp of flour, yeast and milk. Set in a warm place for around 10 mins until it is frothy. Very important to see froth, otherwise your yeast is dead and you need to make a trip to the supermarket.
  2. Combine flour and spices, set aside. Important to note: amount of flour given in any bread recipe is always an approximation. Stop adding flour when dough looks dry, and add more if it looks too wet.
  3. Beat together yeast mixture, egg and butter.
  4. Beat in the flour.
  5. Once flour is combined, either start kneading with hands or use the dough hook of the mixer. I don't like kneading, so dough hook for me. Knead until everything comes together into a bowl and pulls cleanly away from the sides of the bowl.
  6. Cover and let rise for an hour while preparing the topping.
  7. Combine brown sugar, butter and honey in a pot, and cook until everything comes together. Pour into a baking pan lined with foil.
  8. Sprinkle nuts evenly over the caramel mixture and set aside.
  9. Once dough is rised, punch down and knead until smooth.
  10. Turn out and roll out into a rectangle shape, roughly 1/3 of an inch thick. Anything will do, no need to stress out over this.
  11. Lightly spread butter over the dough, then sprinkle with sugar, then the chocolate chips.
  12. Roll it up, length wise.
  13. Cut into individual rolls, of desired size, and pack closely, seams inwards, onto the baking pan with the topping. Let rise for around 1/2 hour.
  14. Bake in a hot 210 degree celsius pre-heated oven for around 30 minutes, or until browned.
  15. Once removed from the oven, turn the buns out immediately, or the caramel will harden and you'll never get it out.
  16. Ta-da, sticky buns, ready to be feasted upon =)