30 Sep 2009

not quite chocolate balls

Magster asked me if I knew of a recipe which doesn't require use of an oven (since she doesn't have one), using everyday ingredients and is easy to do. She wanted to make jelly but had no gelatine/ agar agar powder, so that did work out so well. I suggested making dorayaki and some other stuff but then I didn't think she'd like to "watch over"the pot of adzuki beans which takes up more than an hour. So my last suggestion was to make chocolate balls. Which is not quite "chocolate" since it doesn't even taste like chocolate or even contain any traces of chocolate!

Well the name of this recipe has been passed down from a long time ago. "Chocolate balls" in Grade 1 where we made these for a demo on instructions and methods, in which we made fruit punch as well. The name "chocolate balls" then changed to "chocolate truffles" in Year 7 where we made these for a prac. And I'm going to call them "not quite chocolate balls" since they are ball-shaped but not quite chocolate flavoured.

I told Magster the recipe on MSN, but it was all in jumbled order since we were chatting in between messages. So here it is :)

***
chocolate balls


ingredients:
makes around 30 balls

  • 1 packet Marie biscuits
    (250 grams of any type of sweet biscuit would do as well)
  • 1 cup of desiccated coconut
  • 1 tablespoon of cocoa, sifted
  • 1 can of sweetened condense milk

method:

1. Crush the biscuits until they resemble crumbs.

Note: You can do this in a food processor, or put it in a bag and smash it with a rolling pin (or any other tool you like) Or any other way which results in the biscuits resembling crumbs in the end :)


2. Add the coconut and cocoa powder. Stir until the mixture has an even brown colour.


3. Add the condense milk and stir until everything sticks together.

4. Roll tablespoons of mixture into balls. Roll them in extra coconut.

***

29 Sep 2009

friends from 1996 / 1998 - ?

Eira and Thangstahh playing "cai mui" @ Melbourne Central's Max Brenner, November issue of LaLa ($15.88) @ Kanga Kanga

Another outing which was planned way back from
last term's outing. Unfortunately, Heolin couldn't make it (again) due to the fact she was busy with something else. So only Eira, Thangstahh and myself bumming around the city streets.

First thing we normally do is go to our "usual shops" which include: Hobby Japan (which was closed again! - they should seriously consider changing the trading hours sign!!), Ozanimart (where I bumped into my cousin, Procabiak and his uni friend), Kanga Kanga, The Asian entertainment store with the yellow sign etc. (Yes, we are very Asian XD) However this time we went "exploring" around and came across a new arcade with another Asian entertainment store. We browsed for a long time checking out music CDs, dramas and anime, but we didn't buy anything since we all know that everything can be found on the world wide web (if you know where to look, that is) ;)

中国城 China Town Dumpling - ironic thing is that the shop is not located in China Town but rather on Swanston Street

Next stop was lunch! We were supposed to go to China Town Dumpling last time, but changed to Dessert House. The dumplings took a VERY LONG time to come, once we ordered. I reckon they were alright in flavour, they still can't beat Springvale's Shanghai Dumpling Restaurant, the Asian cafe in the Target Arcade and the one in the alley ways of China Town (I don't know if they changed flavour).

The reason why I gave minus points to this restaurant was that: a) service was slow and b) the pan fried dumplings weren't even crispy. To me, the most important part of the pan fried dumpling is the base of the dumpling. If it's not crunchy, it's not good. Dumplings Plus @ Swanston Street also lost points here. I'm a very picky eater :)

中国城 - 水饺 China Town Dumpling's dumpling menu (half of it anyway...)

牛肉饺子 (煎) Lamb dumplings (Fried [more like pan fried...])

东北水饺 (煮) Peking pork dumplings (boiled)

After lunch we headed to Photo World @ Bourke Street Mall, not to take sticker photos but rather the CLAW MACHINES XD (Thangstahh dai gaw wai sai) Spent a lot of $1 coins on various machines. Thangstahh got 4 plushies and Eira got 3 plushies (in which he gave Sakura to me because I got none). We also got ripped off with this new machine since we didn't know how to control the damn thing.

We explored the city streets of Melbourne straight after, discovering many new arcades and alleys we have not went through previously. It was pretty interesting really. Places I didn't know existed and I spotted a cosy cafe and a Japanese restaurant (run by Japanese people?) in an alley near Flinders. Stopped at a foreign bookstore in which Thangstahh was reading Japanese from a Lonely Planet Guide and where the 3 of us struggled to read from a Cantonese phrase book (the pinyin was so screwed up! Our MSN pinyin are WAY better!) After exploring we made use of Myer's passage way to get back to Melbourne Central, getting blasted by hot air at the entraces.

Here's what we found interesting in Myer ↓ Thee donation box was filled with all sorts of currencies rather than $AUD. Strange...goes to show how GENEROUS Melbournians are.

Donation box @ Myer

Naruto's Sakura plush keyring from Eira (thank you!), candy from The Original Lolly Store @ Melbourne Central

Stopped at Melbourne Central's Max Brenner for a refreshment and it seemed the waiter was avoiding us XD The guys played "cai mui" while I looked and read bits of my LaLa. Last stop was a visit to the lolly store and tram-ing it back to my workplace, whilst Eira and Thangstahh went off to play pool?

Overall a fun yet tiring day out (I ought to get new shoes, Chucks aren't made for walking!). The weather was unexpectedly fine so I guess that's good. Only I think I got struck with a heat wave. Back to tee shirts and pajama pants for me.

***

28 Sep 2009

crunchy honeycomb cookies

ABC pasta is oh so useful!

First day of the holidays in which I can stay at home doing whatever! YAY! Since work is done, this week will be focused on completing homework and studying for the upcoming year 12 exams I am going to undertake. A bit scary how time flies! Nearly time for the Chinese oral exam and I have not studied at all. Teacher hasn't contacted me about doing a prac and the SAC...so I'm not sure. But I don't want to do it after the actual exam, since it would be pointless. And even more pointless since I haven't done any pracs with the teacher.

I thought about finishing my Japanese and business homework, but since it's only a little bit, I decided to procrastinate and bake something instead. I flicked through my new cake recipe book and decided not to bake a cake but rather bake cookies. After all baking in the daylight is way better than baking in the evening; make use of the natural light for photos :D

A bit too early for the Christmas spirit...I bet Sars would be happy!
I'm not too much of a cookie fanatic, as I can't really bake them. But then my aunty asked me to bake a few varieties of cookies and wrap them (since she can't be bothered buying chocolates for her customers). I didn't really agree to this, but I guess I have no choice now but to practise.
I was going to bake chocolate chip cookies, but my supply of chocolate chips are low so I substituted them with Violet Crumble. My mum bought a family pack from Safeway yesterday so I decided to bash the hell out of it (which resulted in a huge hole).
I wasn't quite sure about using Violet Crumble but cooking is an experiment right? As long as it turns out good, then its OK :)
***
crunchy honeycomb cookies
oven:
150 degrees Celsius
fan forced
ingredients:
makes 21 cookies
  • 70 grams unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 Tb honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3/4 cup self-raising flour, sifted
  • 100 grams Violet Crumble (honeycomb like substance coated in chocolate)
    about 8 pieces from the family pack
method:
1. Cream the butter and sugars until light and creamy. Make sure sugar is dissolved into the butter.
2. Add an egg yolk, honey and vanilla essence and beat to combine.
3. Fold in the sifted flour into the creamed mixture. Stir well to combine.
4. Put the Violet Crumble pieces in a bag and using a rolling pin, roughly break the chocolate into small pieces.
5. Mix the crushed chocolate into the cookie mix and stir to form a dough.
Note: The dough is moist but crumbly.
6. Shape 1 Tb of mixture into small balls and flatten them on a tray lined with baking paper.

7. Bake for about 12 minutes or until cooked and golden.
Note: Cookies are very soft when out of the oven, but become firm upon cooling.
***
When the cookies first cooled, they were half crunchy and half chewy, but upon further cooling, it turned crunchy.Well Eira, Heolin and Thangstahh (names in alphabetical order!) get to taste test some tomorrow, since I will be seeing them tomorrow. Haha enough guinea pigs ;)

It took me four matches just to light this small candle. So noob XD

19 Sep 2009

all aboard! puffing billy @ belgrave

Spring Holidays Trip #1 - Destination: Puffing Billy @ Belgrave

Right now, I am too lazy, sick and tired to write anything about today, so I'll leave you with the photos first and type something hopefully by tomorrow afternoon. Sorry about the delay of things but I am now re-energized after a good nights sleep (I finally get to sleep early since I've been sleeping at 2 AM the past week ^^;;) and some good food XD

Like I have said before I am going to go to Puffing Billy on Saturday (meaning today). Went with my mum, sister, aunty, Ninja and Patrick. Caught the train from Melbourne Central to Belgrave which took about 70 minutes stopping a total of 27 stations. The train trip itself was very boring resulting me sleeping half way. There was a toddler and a Korean kid sitting near us. The toddler was quiet but during the trip, he started yelling and flicking rubber bands == The Korean kid on the other hand was playing his NDS with full volume. Talk about annoying!

Ninja should have brought his PSP so we could've watched South Park - Episode #311? Chinpokomon. XD haha it was funny; cheap rip of Pokemon; we gotta buy them all; bomb pearl harbour and some random Japanese person popping out of the TV screens. America...

We sat on the 12:30 PM train from Belgrave to Lakeside. Total ride was about 1 hour, stopping at Menzies Creek and Emerald.

I took a total of 190 photos, and after going through them I came down with about 50 photos not including the ones I took of family. And so here they are:

Click to enlarge photos!

L -> R: Puffing Billy sign which connects to Belgrave station, Back part of a steam train which is not in use, Front of the Puffing Billy steam train, Puffing Billy crossing the wooden bridge


L -> R: Clock indicating next train's departure, Belgrave station sign and seats


Belgrave station hands

I actually tried to take a photo of the conductor since he had the whole cap, bag and ticket puncher look. Unfortunately he didn't hear me say excuse me so I couldn't take a photo of him. Instead just took photos of the station hands wondering around. The passengers included: Italians and Caucasians, Chinese, Vietnamese, Koreans, Indians etc. There were A LOT of Koreans! And I saw a very cute Korean child sleeping on the train whilst his parents were eating Mrs. Mac's meat pies on the way back.

L -> R: Official ticket received upon payment, Souvenir ticket
The souvenir ticket looks kinda cute XD

L -> R: Station masters and conductor talking at Belgrave station prior departing, Children finding a comfortable position prior departing, Puffing Billy departing Belgrave station, Puffing Billy turning a corner, Puffing Billy approaching Menzies Creek Station, Another Puffing Billy leaving Menzies Creek Station

If you're a passenger on the Puffing Billy, you have two choices of where you want to sit. Either on the comfy green couches inside or on the ledges where you dangle your arms and legs. Ninja, Patrick, my sister I sat on the ledge. Unfortunately when we were heading to Lakeside, it was raining, so we got our shoes and pants wet!

Various sign posts along the bush land track

L -> R: Conductor and station hands at Menzies Creek station, Station Master at Menzies Creek station

Various scenery and knick knacks along the track

Wouldn't it be nice to have a picnic or have a house in the country side where fresh air is plentiful?

Various scenery and knick knacks along the track

Everyone waved to the passing cars and the drivers wove back at us. Ain't that nice?

L -> R: Model Railway and Miniature World at Lakeside station, Left side of the model railway, Close up on train tracks, Right side of the model railway, Young boy enjoying the view of the moving trains, View of the model railway when the lights are switched off

Our train's last stop was Lakeside. We had to stop for an hour so the four of us kids visited the Model Railway and Miniature World. Admission tickets were separate at $3.50 for a child which includes a stack of postcards.

Emerald Lake Model Railway
Emerald, Victoria

Largest working HO scale model (1:87) in the Southern Hemisphere, open to the public and undercover. Over 2000 metres of track. 150 electric points, 270 houses and buildings, 370 engines and rolling stock, 300 street and platform lights, 450 cars and trucks, 1110 trees and 1500 people. Viewing area 30 metres x 6 metres...larger than the average house!

Extracted from: Emerald Lake Model Railway's complimentary postcard

L -> R: Menzies Creek station seat, Lakeside station sign

Each station had a bench and a sign with the stations name.

L -> R: A photographer capturing the moving train on his SLR camera, Locals having a picnic along the track, Locals waving at passengers on the Puffing Billy, Young children waving at passengers on the Puffing Billy, Locals walking their dog along the track, Young boy at a station looking at the Puffing Billy

Throughout the track there were a variety of people. The photographer followed us from Belgrave to Lakeside in his Ford trying to capture the train. He was always faster than us! It is also customary for on lookers and by passers to wave at us as well! Those people who past the track every day must have fun waving to tourists and Australians with their gleaming faces.

Overall I reckon the whole trip was alright. The time sitting on the public train was VERY boring however the experience on the Puffing Billy is unforgettable. All the views and scenery you could see was amazing! I also think everyone captured different photos with no two of the same photo. I had fun dangling out of the train ledge and trying to touch the leaves and trees near the track.

For more information check out www.puffingbilly.com.au

Happy holidays!

Grub

7 Sep 2009

reminiscent memories

Photos for Sars of red bean agar agar :)

My mum made these last night while I just watched (trying to 'tou see' hehehe). Making these is kinda similar to making jelly with gelatine. However the texture is way different to gelatine. Agar agar is more firmer and smooth whilst gelatine is more of an aeroplane jelly texture (OK...what I said just didn't make sense).

Eating these do bring back memories! (for me anyway) Grew up on rice, which explains why I am a 饭桶 (rice barrel - literal meaning) and I guess I have always liked the taste of red beans. Had it after dinner all the time when I was a kid. ALWAYS preferred the red bean version of everything :) Either in potong (Malaysian style block ice), ice cream, mantou fillings, agar agar, 红豆雪糕冰 (red bean ice cream drink), ANYTHING! Just LOVE it to bits. Hehehe I guess my addiction was also passed on to Sars!! Last we went to Ishikai, we ordered it and she can't get enough! But I reckon the drink was crap in Ishikai because they used soy milk, the one in Dessert House is more original with the ice cream floating on top! Have a feeling the milky substance is condensed milk mixed with water. Will definitely try to recreate it next time!
Hrm through observing I kinda got the recipe in my mind. This is not an official recipe as I was just watching and remembering what I can. But do give it a shot!

***
Red bean agar agarrecipe taken through observation, so not sure if it's 100% correct

ingredients:
makes a fair amount for a few days
  • 5 bowls of water
    ( - bowls as in those asian rice bowls)
  • 3 bowls of sweet red bean soup without coconut milk (红豆沙)
    (ours had red beans and black glutinous rice)
  • 1 packet agar agar powder
  • sugar to taste
  • 2 bowls coconut milk
method:
  1. Combine water and sweet red bean soup in a pot. Stir to combine.
  2. When warm, add the agar agar powder. Keep stirring the liquid.
  3. Add the sugar and continue to stir until the liquid boils.
  4. When the mixture comes to boiling point, stir in the coconut cream and stir to combine.
  5. Pour mixture into individual moulds or small bowls.
  6. Leave to set at room temperature and transfer to refrigerater to cool.
Cross section. The goodness of red beans!
Haha and just to match the theme of "reminiscent memories" I took a photo which reminded me of something in the past. Only these are my sister's shoes and not mine xD

Original photo before going through saturation in Photoshop.
"Memories are something you will never leave behind"
P.S to Heolin and Thangstahh - Hope you guys have a good time and a safe trip! Bus-ing is gonna be one of the highlights xD