Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Girlish Cakes

This chocolate was done last weekend for a 6 year old girl. She wanted a barbie image on the cake. We got the idea from my daughter's colouring book & 'designer' drew it on.

Another chocolate cake for 4 year-old Genevieve who's having her party in school tomorrow morning. Initially she wanted a doll cake but it is not enough to feed 80 kids. So instead of the doll cake, I baked her a rectangle cake with a miniature doll on it, at least she gets her doll !

Another of my cream cake, this is a blueberry cake ordered for a birthday today. I've used Comstock brand from USA as the filling & topping. For some of you who may not know the different type (yes there is !) of blueberry filling we have here in KK, Comstock is the only brand I would recommend.
There is a type of blueberry filling that baking supplies shops is selling & it is from China. Well, it looks like blueberry but at a closer look, it's actually tiny bits of chopped apples in a flavoured sauce !

I'm setting off to Brunei tomorrow morning with my girls. This is our first trip there & we are going in a friend's car.
We will be staying in a friend's house during our 3-day trip there.
I'm prepared for the long journey, buns have been baked to fill the kids during the drive there.

To show my appreciation, I've baked my Brunei friend a box of cupcakes, all the way from KK.

My cooler bag is ready to go, hope to bring back some goodies from their supermarkets.......

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ice Cream Cake

This is a 6kg chocolate ice-cream cake, frosted with whipped dairy cream. The ice-cream is home-made from scratch. I've done ice-cream cake from fresh mangoes & strawberries as well. This ice cream cake is made up of chocolate ice-cream, sandwiched with of 2 thin layers of chocolate sponge cake.

The party was held this morning, when it was raining cats & dogs & it was a pool-side party. The kids had a good time in the pool while the mummies were taking refuge under the canopy that was built for the party !!
What a cool party on a raining day, at the poolside, with ice-cream cake.

Last year Sophia had a ice-cream cake too. It was 4kg & wasn't really enough to feed the ice-cream lovers ! This year her mum decided on a 6kg & it was gone within 30mins.

Her mum left the decoration to me so I thought a fairy on the cake might be a good idea for a girl's party.

Durians are everywhere now, this is the 3rd durian cake I've sold today.
The sizes seem to be in the running as I've got a 1kg, a 1.5kg & this one a 2kg for a 12 year old boy who's having a party this evening.

Again, the mummy left the decoration to me. I was thinking what would a 12 year old like ? I don't have a boy & my girl is only 8 so I ended up with a simple football theme. I hope the birthday boy will like it........

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Candied Chicken Breasts

My poor oven has been very hardworking lately. Besides baking, I'm into oven cooking too. If not, it'll be slow cooker for stewing meat.
It's always one dish meal for us, served with steamed vege.
The girls enjoyed this baked chicken breast dish, I think the sauce played a big part. They have been eating chicken breast since they started on solids years ago.
Each time we are invited to a Chinese banquet dinner when roast chicken is served, hubby & I do not have to fight for the drumstick with everyone else because we have the chicken breast all to ourselves !

This recipe serves 4 :

4 Chicken breast halves
1 Cup Breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp Oregano
2 Tbsp Flour
2 Tsp Salt
2 Tsp Black pepper

1 Onion, chopped
1 Tomato, chopped

Sauce Ingredients :

1/4 Cup Brown sugar
1/4 Cup Mustard
1/2 Cup Tomato ketchup
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp Soya sauce
3/4 Cup Water

Combine breadcrumbs, oregano, flour, salt & black pepper. Dredge chicken in breadcrumbs mixture. Heat pan with some olive oil, lightly brown chicken on both sides, remove from heat.

Line a deep baking dish with aluminium foil (for easier cleaning up) & arrange chicken in it.

Melt a knob of butter in a saucepan, cook onion till soft, add tomatoes, followed by sauce ingredients. Bring the mixture to boil, turn down heat & let simmer for about 10mins. Pour sauce over chicken, bake in preheated oven of 180C for 30mins.

Dome Bread (小巨蛋面包)

I'm not sure why this bread is called dome bread ? This is the translation I got from Google.

When I was much younger, I used to buy this bread from bakeries in Singapore, known as 巨蛋面包.
The size of this bread sold in bakeries are much bigger, I've made them into smaller buns & I've not brush my buns with egg wash, that's why they looked 'dull' but I like my bread & buns this way !

This recipe yields 10 buns of 55g each :

250g High protein flour
50g Flour
40g Egg
40g Egg yolk
5g Yeast
3g Salt
20g Condensed milk
65g Sugar
40g Whipping cream
55g Milk
45g Butter

Mix all ingredients except butter, in a mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook until combined. Add butter & continue mixing until dough is smooth & elastic, about 15mins. Let rise in a warm place for an hour.
Punch dough down & divide them into 10 portions of 55g each. Round each dough & place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Let rise again for 30 mins.
Bake in preheated oven of 200C for 8mins.

This is the link to the original recipe, in Mandarin.

* These buns are a keeper !! So soft & aromatic, enriched with the goodness of eggs, cream & butter, so so yummy...........

Monday, October 20, 2008

Baked Fish Fillet With Cherry tomatoes & Potatoes

I have some potatoes in my pantry & I've got to cook it before they start sprouting & there's few fish fillets in the freezer. Hubby, the girls & I love fish like anyone else, but when it comes to cooking, I do not like it as I always end up smelling like a fish after cooking. I know hubby likes his fish pan-fried, so it's crispy on the outside & juicy in the flesh.

But I wanted a easy baked fish fillet recipe, so I turned to my favourite site, http://www.taste.com.au/ for ideas.
Found a very simple recipe with all the ingredients I have on hand,
Baked Fish Fillet With Cherry Tomatoes & Potatoes.
The fish fillets that I got from the fishmongers were hei li (黑鲤), I don't know what's it called in English, what I know is that it's a white firm fish.

I've made some changes to the recipe. Instead of lemon thyme, I've used dried thyme & lemon pepper over the potatoes & cherry tomatoes & I've turned up the oven to 220C, I like my potatoes crispy.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

It's Spiderman For Sean !

Sean wanted a Spiderman on his birthday cake for his party this afternoon.

However he didn't want the usual red/blue Spiderman but the 'bad' Spiderman in Spiderman 3 !

This is a vanilla cake filled & frosted with vanilla whipped cream, with cream cheese blended into it. The white chocolate wouldn't mix with my black colouring this time so I had to draw the outline with melted dark chocolate. The face & neck are filled with the cream tinted different shades of grey.

Today is also Amelia's 11th birthday.

I got an email from her mum few days back, asking me to bake a chocolate cake for her birthday.
She wanted something dainty, with pink & yellow flowers on the cake. To make it even sweeter for Amelia, I've finished with a yellow polka dot ribbon around the cake.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Mee Siam

Mee Siam is a common noodle dish found everywhere in Singapore. This is not my favourite but hubby's ( I'm a huge fan of fishball noodle).
So to satisfy hubby's cravings of local Singapore hawker food, I buy packets of Prima Taste ready-to-cook paste to keep.

Mee Siam is cooked with mee hoon, I don't know why it is called mee ??
I've used the Dong Guan rice stick (东莞米粉) from China, the tecture of the mee hoon is so chewy, this is one thing I stuffed my luggage with each time I go back to Singapore as you can't find this mee hoon there !

The paste worked well for me, very easy & convenient. Well, I know it's a instant noodle kind of thing but hubby & I only eat this like twice a year, so it's fine ! I'm a meat & seafood kind of person & this dish do not contains any meat/seafood, that's the reason why I don't fancy it. I added prawns to the dish & instead of chives, I've used spring onions. As for the egg, I don't like my egg really hard-boiled, it's so dry. When a dish calls for hard-boiled egg, I'll usually cook mine for 7 mins & plunge it into cold water to stop it from cooking & I'll get the perfect almost hard-boiled egg when the yolk is till soft ! I've used size AAA egg.

In case anyone is interested in whipping up this noodle dish from scratch, I found a recipe from Lily's blog. Her Mee Siam looks delicious !

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Braised Pork Rice (卤肉饭)

This is a Taiwanese rice dish I love so much. I could eat this every day & not get bored of it !

As hubby & I are conscious of what we eat, I've got to find ways to cook a healthy version of this rice dish. The original Taiwanese version uses very fatty meat, which I think is belly pork. I've tried using lean meat but it was dry after cooking. So during my marketing trip last Saturday, I came across some pork shin/muscle which was very rare accordingly to the butcher.
Assuming that it will taste as great as beef shin, I bought the whole lot.

This is my version :

1kg Pork shin/muscle, cut into cubes
1 Tsp five spice powder
300g Shallots, sliced
1 Bulb garlic, crushed
1/2 Cup Rice wine
1/2 Cup Dark soya sauce
1 Large chunk rock sugar
6 hard-boiled eggs, shelled

Marinate the pork cubes with five spice powder & set aside.
Heat a large pan with 3 Tbsp oil, add the shallots & garlic & cook till lightly browned. Add the pork cubes to the pan, continue cooking till the pork changes colour, add the rice wine & dark soya sauce, with the rock sugar & enough water to cover the meat. Bring it to boil, add the hard-boiled eggs, turn down the heat & let simmer for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

*I find the texture of the shin very good, so tender & moist. Best of all, it's not oily at all. This portion is enough to serve 6 people. I did not add any seasoning to the braised pork, it's flavourful enough with the rice wine, dark soya sauce & rock sugar.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Alqualyn's 1st Birthday !

Yes, Alqualyn is Alcelyn's little sister, a year difference in age & their birthdays are so close to each other !

These girls are so fortunate, they have 2 cakes for their birthday. Another doll cake was baked for this little girl but this time it's a yam cake & I've got the request for purple colour, something different from her sister's pink doll cake.

The other cake that Alqualyn had is a 3kg mango cake, with a butterfly drawn & piped on top of the cake.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Theme Party

MM Clubhouse Cake

The party hats were painstakingly made by Y

MM Clubhouse goodies bag

MM balloon

It was Justin's 5th birthday party yesterday & he had a MM clubhouse theme party. His mum asked me if I could bake him a clubhouse cake & the moment I looked at the picture, I was like thinking how am I going to tackle this ?

Since it was only end of September, I thought there's still plenty of time. After the Raya holiday, his mum Y said he wanted sponge cake, so sugar paste is out. Considering the lightness of the sponge cake, every thing on the cake must not be heavy. So Y & I were running round town on seperate trips looking for stuff to make the MM head & the hand. No luck after looking through all the big craft shops in town, so we have to turn to toys that our kids have.

The cake was a chocolate cake filled with chocolate fudge & frosted with buttercream. Besides the MM head & the hand (created by my 'designer'), everything on the top of the cake was edible & the colour was of course food colouring, including the black colour. The dome & the leg part were chocolate sponge cakes & I didn't fill it as I was worried it might be too heavy for the bottom cake to take it. A dowel was inserted into the leg part to support it.

It was a fun party, the kids had fun, the mums had fun too !

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Party Favours

Aren't these cookies gorgeous ?

All thanks to Elyn that I'm able to bake these cookies as favours for Justin's party tomorrow. I got the cookie cutters just in time for his MM theme party.

To be revealed tomorrow, a Mickey Clubhouse cake.....

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pumpkin & Honey Buns

These buns are sugar free !!!!!

I've trying to recall the original link of this recipe but I failed. The only thing I could remember is that this recipe is from a Taiwanese blog.
These buns are so soft & fluffy, they're sweetened with honey instead of the usual caster sugar. Even though pumpkin has no flavour, I love it's natural orange hue & the sweetness in it. The aroma of honey filled the kitchen while these buns are baking !

This recipe yields 24 buns :

480g High protein flour
120g Plain flour
36g Milk powder
120g Honey
5g Salt
8g Yeast
300g Pumpkin paste *
135g Water
84g Butter
80g Sultanas

In a mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook, mix all ingredients, except butter & sultanas until well combined. Add butter, mix till smooth & elastic, about 15 mins, knead sultanas into the dough. Let rise in a warm place for 1hr or until dough doubles in bulk.
Punch dough down, divide dough into 56g balls, round up & place into muffin pan that has been lined with muffin cup. bake at preheated 180C oven for 14 mins.

* Pumpkin paste can be obtained by steaming & mashing peeled pumpkin. I usually buy 1/2 a pumpkin & after steaming/mashing, I'll weigh & portion them, thereafter freeze them for breads or muffins.

2 Cakes For Alcelyn

Little Alcelyn has 2 cakes for her 2nd birthday. I remembered last year she had a green tea cake for her 1st birthday, with train set decoration. Why greeen tea for 1 year old ? Well she's too young to maybe eat the cake, it was made for the adults actually !

This year, both of her cakes are chocolate cakes. The doll cake is filled with my light chocolate fudge & frosted with buttercream that has been tinted different shades of pink. After a few attempts of making doll cake, I'm wiser now. I used to bake in pans & bowls of various sizes & stacked them to make the skirt. Finally I picked up the courage to bake the sponge in my KA bowl !! Before I try it, I've been thinking whether my precious bowl will turn yellow after being in the oven for such a long time. Well, it didn't turn yellow but the baking time was much longer as the bowl is very deep. My girls were amazed at the cake after I unmoulded it from the bowl, they were going ohs & ahs & asked if I'm making doll cake again.

The second cake is also filled with chocolate fudge & frosted with whipped cream that has been flavoured with orange juice & rind. As for the teddy bear, the outline is piped with melted dark chocolate & whipped cream is piped to fill the body.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Mini Dark Cherry Tarts

I thought I said I'm not baking myself a cake today ?? Hey, this is not a cake !
I just have to bake something for myself.

I spent 2 hours making pastry, moulding them, cooking the pastry cream & garnishing them with fruits. Everything was done at 3pm, thereafter I took a 1 1/2 hrs nap. At 5pm, I was having my coffee with the mini fruit tarts.

The pastry cream recipe is adapted from Kevin Chai's A Touch Of Classic Baking.

Ingredients :
500ml Milk
5 Egg yolks
10g Cornflour
40g Plain flour
120g Caster sugar
2 Tbsp Rum

To cook the pastry cream, combine milk, egg yolks, cornflour, flour & sugar in a saucepan. Stir continuously over low heat until thickened, stir in rum. Cover the pastry cream to prevent a skin forming, let cool.

I did not add any rum to the cream, just a dash of pure vanilla , didn't bother to strain the cream, find that a waste of time. What I usually do is to place the pastry cream into my food processor & whizz it, you'll get smooth & lump free pastry cream in seconds.

As for the pastry, use your favourite short crust. I've used my mini 12-hole muffin pan, with 20g of pastry for each tart. Bake the tart cases at preheated 180C for 15 mins & let cool.

After the tart cases have cooled down, fill a piping bag with the cooled pastry cream, pipe the cream into the tart cases & top them with dark cherries. I've used canned pitted dark cherries, cut into halves.

I've made 28 tarts & still left with some pastry cream. I think it should be sufficient to fill 36 tarts (3 mini pans).

It's My Birthday Today !

It's my birthday today.
No, I'm not 40 yet I turn 34 today !!!
I didn't want to bake myself a cake today, so will have to make do with an image from the web.

I'm not going to sit back & do nothing today. There's a whole pile of clothes accumulated from last Saturday waiting to be ironed.........

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Aeroplane Cake

Justin's mum ordered his favourite mango cake for his birthday celebration with her family members who are in KK today. It was an early celebration, his actual birthday falls on next week & he's going to have a party. My girls are invited & they're so excited about it !

I've coloured some whipped cream blue to make it resemble sky. The aeroplane's outline was piped with dark chocolate & filled with whipped cream which was coloured with different shade of green.

The Weekend Break

CJ, JF & Hayley, waiting for their ride on the beach buggy

JF ready to go for the flying squirrel

The 3 girls at the UMS Aquarium

A giant grouper at the aquarium

My sister's birthday cake

My sister Ivy & her hubby XM, with another sister, Hazel & my niece, Hayley were in KK over the last weekend for a 4D3N visit. The last trip they came to KK was 5 years ago, took me quite a while to persuade them to come over.
Frankly, the price they paid for the tickets were not cheap, for the same price or even less, they could go to Hong Kong or Bangkok, where they can shop till they drop. I guess seafood is the only excuse I could think off. The last time they were here, they had a bad snorkelling trip, the water at manukan Island was so murky they couldn't see anything. So this time I didn't even think of the island, moreover the toilets on the island is so horrible. The last time I went with JF on her school trip, the toilet was damp & dark & smelly !

I ended up bringing them to KK Adventure Park at Kinarut. I was a little disappointed when we arrived at the park. It wasn't really what I've expected, from their website, the place looked so fun & exciting. It was a very hot day when we went on Monday, even though we arrived at 3pm. I packed a cooler bag filled with drinks, fruits & my durian swissroll, the only thing missing was a cup of coffee !! The kids had fun with the beach buggy. As Hayley was too small to try the other activities, both CJ & JF had all the time to themselves, the activities were based on 15 mins each. They tried the bungee trampoline, low ropes & flying squirrel. JF was so brave she went onto to try the flying squirrel even though she had to climb up the steps leading to almost the top of a tree ! It was tiring for both the adults & kids but I could tell the kids had a great time !

On Tuesday, I brought them to the Aquarium situated within the UMS campus. I was really happy that I managed to find places to bring them to since they didn't want to go to the island & Kinabalu Park is out as besides the cool weather, there's really nothing we can do up there, not a proper cafe where we can have a nice meal.
This is a very small aquarium but there's lots of corals & groupers. The tour of the aquarium was finished within 30mins. I was attracted by the mangrove walk when I looked at the brochure, there was a sign sticking on a glass door with direction to the walk. Happily, we went on the mangrove walk. It was just a flight of stairs leading up to the exterior of the aquarium, what they meant by mangrove walk was just viewing at a small patch of mangrove, that's all !
Oh dear, it was only 12 pm when we came out of the aquarium, not knowing where to go, I could only think of 1Borneo. I was right, everyone was comfortable in a shopping mall.
The mall was quiet & very cold. Some of the shops were giving good discounts so we ended up with few bags of clothing for everyone !
Lunch was at Penang Village, a restaurant which I heard is good. Some items that we ordered were not available & I think the price they charged for a tiny fragrant coconut was ridiculous. I ordered the Penang Prawn Mee which is highly recommended to try, there was no taste & aroma of prawn stock at all, just very gingery !
We left the mall at 5.30pm, dropped them back to the hotel for a shower before we go for dinner again. It was Ivy's birthday so we went to Ferdinands for dinner at night. My usual dinner time is at 6pm, it was already 8pm when we reached the restaurant & by the time we finished it was 11pm. I felt so bloated after such a late dinner but I was so tired that I had to sleep right after I got home.
The food portion at Ferdinands was big but my duck breast was a failure, I had the server send it back to the kitchen. The cook ( yes cook, there was no chef that night !) cooked me another portion but I didn't want it.
I was with them the whole day so I have to get up early in the morning to bake my sister a cake, it was a surprise for her. I baked a chocolate cake & drew a not-so-pretty picture of her favourite cartoon on it. Even though it was late but we did enjoy ourselves, finishing the meal with the cake & coffee.


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