Friday, February 27, 2009

Chicken Pies

I spent the whole morning of Wednesday making chicken pies for M. She tried my pie at a friend's house & asked me to make a batch for her too. I made my shortcrust pastry from scratch, with butter of course. I know shortening make a crispier pastry but nope, I won't sell what I don't eat. My pies are frozen once made so you only bake it when you're having it.

These are bigger pies that another friend ordered last month. What M ordered was the smaller ones, will post the picture of the smaller ones once I have it.

The ingredients in the chicken pie are usually chopped poached chicken breast, onion, garlic, frozen peas (Wattie's, not those from china which are still rock hard even after boiling !), canned button mushroom. M wanted fresh ingredients for her pies so I omitted the canned mushroom & frozen peas, added some chopped leeks, carrots & potatoes.

Apple Buns - Improved Version

I made another batch of apple buns yesterday, with the same recipe that I posted earlier on.
The dough part is the same, only made some changes to the apple filling.

Filling :
400g Apples, cut into cubes
150g Sugar *
Pinch of salt
110ml Water
1Tbsp Lemon juice

40g Cornflour*
40ml Water

20g Butter

Cook (A) til boiling, add the premixed (B) & continue cooking till mixture thickens. Remove from heat, add (C) & mix till well blended, leave to cool.

This time I've added 75g of sugar & a teaspoon of cinnamon powder to the chopped apples. As for the cornflour, 20g of it with 2 Tbsp(30ml) of water is sufficient to thicken the liquid for cooking the apples. The consistency is just nice, not too thick & gooey like the first time I've done it.

I made 16 buns but only got to try one, the rest were all snapped up by hubby & the girls. Definitely worth the effort to make these buns, this recipe is a keeper !

I've egg washed the buns before baking, definely more atractive than the first batch !

First batch of the buns, without egg wash

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Arrival Of Little Ryan

I got myself another nephew yesterday evening.

The long-awaited Ryan was born yesterday. His due date was supposed to be on the 28th, mummy experienced contractions since weekend but there was no dilation so her gynae suggested a C-section. I was disappointed as I thought my sister could deliver Ryan via natural birth, but since she's rather stressed with the situation so C-section may be better for her.

I haven't receive any pictures of Ryan yet, still waiting eagerly for my sister to send me some.
I was cracking my mind what gifts to send to my sister yesterday. And I was thinking of something funny..... when we told my mum about Ryan's name, she kept calling him Lion, hahaha so Lion was on my mind since then. Finally I managed to find something that I want, through a Singapore flora website, placed the order online & the cutie plush & flowers were delivered to my sister this afternoon ! Here's what I found online :

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Birthday Cupcakes

These vanilla cupcakes were ordered by Mrs R for her children. And so coincidentally it's her birthday today, so I added some simple decorations on the cupcakes. I tinted the buttercream icing a little pastel purple to complement the silver dragees & the little flowers.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bo Lo Bao (波萝包)

The girls are on their half-term break so I'm rather idle this week. Besides baking, I had extra time for haircut, pedicure & bread making too !

I tried a new recipe for Bo Lo Bao yesterday. Found this recipe while surfing the net some time ago, printed it out & stuck it to my recipe collection book. I think I've tried making these buns before long time ago, couldn't remember the outcome.

The original recipe is in mandarin, I've translated it to English :

Dough :

330g High protein flour
4g Yeast
50g Sugar
33g Egg
50g Cream cheese
175g Milk
40g Butter

In a mixer bowl, combine all ingredients, except butter, mix till it comes to a ball. Add butter & continue mixing until the dough is smooth & elastic, let rise for an hour.

Prepare the topping while the bread dough is rising :

60g butter
60g Icing sugar
1g salt
42g Egg
5g Milk powder
110-120g High protein flour

Cream butter, icing sugar & salt till creamy, add egg gradually, followed by milk powder & high protein flour, until the mixture comes to a ball. Divide the mixture into 16x 16g balls & set aside.

When the dough has risen, punch down, divide into 16x40g balls & round up. Flatten each ball of topping & place it on top of a dough ball. Place on a baking tray, lined with greaseproof paper, let proof again for 30mins. Bake in a preheated oven of 190C for 18 mins.

* I chill the topping while waiting for the dough to rise as I find them sticky & difficult to work with in our hot climate. This is a plain bun recipe, I prefer to have the bun with a piece of butter , rather than with filling in it. I'm not good with shaping & wrapping the bun with the topping, that's why mine look far from those in bakery shops. Nevertheless, I'm sure they are healthier than store bought ones as they do not contain any bread softener nor preservatives. My girls love these buns......

Monday, February 16, 2009

Eating Around Singapore Again !

I managed to snap some of the yummy food that we had at the last few days of your trip. Each time when we are in Singapore, we are sure to
visit East Ocean Teochew Restaurant for their dim sum. I love their 'po lor yao', which is only available on weekends. The bun is small with a thick slab of butter (real butter !) This trip we went on a weekday, as it was during the CNY period, the restaurant was so full we only managed to get a table at 2pm !

Fried rice with egg white & conpoy (dried scallop). This was really yummy, each rice grain seperated, so full of 'wok hei', couldn't remember how many bowls I had !

The 'siu mai' was nice too, filling of pork & prawn so succulent & the topping on it was ebiko, not coloured sago like some cheap joints use !

Smoked duck breast. The skin was crispy & dry yet the meat was so tender, I loved this ! I seem to have a fetish for duck breast recently.

These were actually prawn paste, shaped & decorated to look like a buzzing bee & deep fried. The girls orderded this for themselves. I had a bite, it was good, the paste was juicy & crunchy, very well done.

We also ordered broccoli with foie gras sauce, it was marked as one of their speciality. When the food arrived, it was with chunks of foir gras instead of sauce, so we thought it was a bonus. However, Hubby commented that the foie gras was a little overcooked.

Ember Restaurant is a must visit restaurant as well. It is located within Hotel 1929 at Keong Saik, along Chinatown. Hubby loves their pan seared foie gras with caramalised apples, clove port & raspberry glaze. This is an item he's sure to order each time we are there. Their beef tenderloin done medium rare is also very good.

Seared scallops with parma ham, served with mesclun tossed in a orange vinaigrette dressing.
Our all time favourite !

Seafood Linguine . Their version is very well done, the seafood fresh & succulent. My girls love this, so I always order a portion for them to share. I had the linguine too this time. I always order their duck confit & beef tenderloin but was craving for some pasta on that day we visited Ember. Hubby had his usual beef tenderlion, the picture was very badly taken by me, so blurred it didn't make it to this post !

Among their desserts, the warm banana tart with lavender ice-cream is good, so does the fig cake served with mascarpone cream. I think their apple tarte tartin is the best, the pastry so crispy & the apples very well caramelised, super yummy ! Once again, I was so fast to wallop the tartin that Hubby had no chance to take a picture of it.

Strawberry shortcake at Canele Pattiserie. I'll have my cakes everywhere I go, couldn't stand the temptation. I used to frequent Bakerzin but have stopped after finding their cakes too commercialised now, not as fresh as they used to be but the quality of the ingredients used are still good. I find cakes at Canele better then Bakerzin, the sponge soft & moist, quality dairy cream is used too.

Pastries at Caffe Cova. I've read about this famous chain & since it's so talked about, we paid this cafe a visit. Well, the ambience of the cafe was good, nice uniforms the staff wore, pretty cutleries & loads of magazines around, perfect place for an afternoon tea ! However, I don't find the pastries fantastic for the prices thet charged. Their cakes were mostly at S$9+/slice & tiny little tartlettes at S$2+/pc. The presentation was good, expensive looking berries as topping. But that was it, the cakes that we tried were rather dry, the only thing we liked were probably the cream patissiere. Check out some of the reviews of this cafe.

Sweet & juicty korean strawberries ! We love strawberries & those that we get in KK are dry & sourish. Korean strawberries are everywhere in Singapore now. We were feasting on these throughout the trip. And I bought a cooler bag, happily hand carried 10 packets of these back to KK. If I can get hold of a bigger cooler bag, I would have bring more back........

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Eating Around Singapore

I love food as much as I love cakes.

So each trip back home, I'll have a list of where to eat & when to go. My sister always comments that she put on weight each time I'm back !

Without fail, I'll have my favourite minced meat noodle with extra fish balls most mornings. I've been having this for years & never get bored of it.

This trip back home, I took my brother's car & was driving around with hubby & sometimes the girls tagged along, so we were able to go to restaurants/cafes that I've always wanted to go.

On our list were :

Jones The Grocer (Dempsey Hill)

Lots of nice groceries, meats, cheeses, wine, how I wish there's such a grocer in KK. Food wise, hubby didn't like the breakfast. It was the usual breakfast with sauteed mushroom ,greasy bacon, sausage, grilled tomato, sourdough bread. He didn't find anything special about the breakfast, just that the button mushrooms were fresh instead of canned, sausage home-made instead of frozen. The location of this grocer is great, just opposite the Botanic Gardens.

SWA Garden Restaurant

This is a Teochew restaurant along MacPherson Road. My Dad has been there before & he raved about the food, so we have to arrange for a day when our family of 17 (grown from 6) could make it for the dinner. This is a very old restaurant but air-conditioned though.
We ordered steamed pomfret, braised goose, roasted suckling pig, roast chicken, sharksfin soup, fired kailan withfried dried sole fish,fried kway teow & yam paste (or nee) for desserts.
To me the steamed pomfret was just ok, the braised goose was dry & tough, I didn't try the suckling pig (can't make myself tuck in to this little one, especially that restaurant always serve it with it's head). The best of all was their fried kway teow with chopped kailan, garlic & chye poh (preserved radish). The kway teow was fried till crispy & really dry, so aromatic (I've put my home-made kway teow aside at that moment) ! The yam paste was really good, so smooth but a little on the sweet side. I would probably visit this restaurant again just for the fried kway teow.

On our list too, the Crystal Jade restaurant, which always has a long queue at the entrance.

Another place that we will visit each time we are in Singapore is the Putien Restaurant at Kitchener Road, along Jalan Besar. I love their starters, the drunken cockles especially, they are almost raw, so fresh & yummy, with a soya sauce/wine/vinegar sauce, top with lots of garlic & chilli. Their braised salted duck, which is served cold, is good too & their century egg, which I think is deep-fried & coated in a sweet sourish sauce, is fantastic ! Their different type of noodles namely mee sua, hing hua beehoon & lor mee are all so good. Each time we go there, we'll stuff ourselves with so much noodles that our tummy could only take in maybe just a vegetable dish. Check out their website for more yummy food !

If you are into nice cosy cafes & restaurants, check out Chip Bee Gardens opposite Holland Village. Check out Bulanun for their range of organic produce, Pantry Magic for their kitchen appliances, utensils, books & magazines, Shermay's Cooking School for their quality Valrhona chocolate, Nielsen-Massey range of pure extracts, baking ingredients. After all that walking & browsing, hop over to Holland Village for a cup of coffee & breads at Provence Bakery & Cafe , a Japanese bakery.

It was at the end of the first week in Singapore that hubby asked me if I have taken pictures of all the yummy food we had. I have totally forgotten about it, so I'll have to leave this post without any pictures. I managed to remember to take pictures of more food & cakes we had in
the second week, coming up in the next post.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day, to all who are celebrating it !

A Cool Guitar Cake !

This cool guitar cake was baked for Kirk Adam's 11th birthday party yesterday.

He wanted a guitar on the cake, so I suggested to Mummy that a drawing be done on the cake.
Since 11 year old is between a kid & a teenager, sprinkle sparkle will be too childish & the traditional brown guitar will probably be too boring for a 11 year old. So D came up with a electric guitar lookalike with flame design on it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

CNY Break

I had a long break, a full 2 week break.

This time I really had a good one, not doing anything at all, yes nothing, not even washing the mug when I'm done with my coffee.
I was eating & drinking all the time throughout my trip back home. I didn't bring my trainers so no exercising just indulging, a friend commented that I've put on some weight !!!

On this trip, I saw my little 3 month old nephew Jovier for the first time, he's a little cutie, always smiling & revealing his dimples all the time. Also, for the first time, I didn't shop from morning till night, till my legs hurt. Well, of course I still shopped, but not in the same crazy manner like I used to ! Hubby & I spent some time visiting kitchen departments of stores, electrical shops, bathroom accessory shops, I must say these were really fruitful trips. After visiting so many stores, I really find prices of appliances & accessories here in KK really steep !

We spent our time driving around, visiting bookstores, cafes, tourist attractions (I feel bad that both my girls have not even been to the Merlion !!)
We brought the girls to the Singapore Flyer as well as the Duck Tours, which they enjoyed very much. I didn't quite enjoy the flight on the flyer because most of the time I was grabbing the seats, especially when we were at the highest point, I'm terrified of heights ! My sister brought the girls for a prawn fishing trip too. As the girls had a rod to share, they ended up fighting most of the time ! Nevertheless, they still went home with 7 fresh water prawns.

CJ & JF in the capsule of the Flyer

View of the Marina Bay

Ready to go on the Duck Tours

JF with Uncle George & her catch of the 1st prawn

My brother-in-law got a Nikon D90 & CJ had a good time playing around with his camera. She took quite a number of pics & I found this 2 rather good :


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