31 Dec 2012

cheers!

The clock hasn't quite struck midnight but I can already hear the fireworks cracking down my street. 2012 has been a year of self reflection, improvement, chances and decisions. I'm glad I've been able to complete one of my goals before the year end and I'll be showing you soon (hopefully).

Here's to 2013, another year of adventure and stories to tell. 

Thank you for visiting throughout the year and I wish you have a good one too!

---

This white-brown cow, amongst hundreds of other cows was spotted during a recent road trip to Wilsons Promontory. His friend looked like he was going to attack me...  

18 Dec 2012

cheesecake, round three

First cheesecake, disaster. Second cheesecake, can't say no to Bill Granger's. Third cheesecake, nailed it! 

Including a portion of tofu in the mixture made it light and smooth compared to the first no bake cheesecake I made. As a tofu lover I would say tofu is quite neutral in terms of flavour, so even if you do hate it, fear not, as the taste will be dominated by the other ingredients.

I can't say it's one hundred percent perfect yet, as the flavour resembled more like the Greek yoghurt I had mixed in, but nevertheless it was a refreshing dessert for the heat wave we had last week. As requested by my cousin, I'll be making this again when he flies back to at the end of the month. Let's see how I can take this base recipe up a notch.

***

Lemon Tofu Cheesecake adapted from cookingwithdog youtube video
makes 1 x 17cm x 4.5cm round; serves 12

100g crushed biscuit crumbs
50g unsalted butter, melted
250g cream cheese, at room temperature
250g silken tofu
170g Greek yogurt*
50g caster sugar
zest of 1 lemon
50ml lemon juice*
10g gold strength gelatin sheets, bloomed**
100ml thickened cream, warmed just below below boiling point

Place an (adjustable) cake ring on top of a plate. Mix biscuit crumbs and unsalted butter thoroughly. Press crumbs evenly, forming a base on the plate and refrigerate until required.

In a food processor, blend cream cheese, tofu, yogurt, sugar, zest and juice until smooth. Meanwhile, squeeze the excess water out of each gelatin leaf and stir to dissolve in the heated cream. Add to cream cheese mixture and blend until well combined.

Pour mixture into the cake ring, smooth the top and refrigerate until set (around 3 hours or so).

Moisten a silicon spatula and gently push down on the sides to release the cheesecake from the cake ring. Lift ring and cut cheesecake into individual portions using a warm, moist knife, cleaning with each cut.

*For a less tart taste, use plain / vanilla yogurt and reduce lemon juice by half.
**To bloom gelatin sheet, submerge in a small bowl of water and let it soften completely.

9 Dec 2012

crêperie


I didn't think to make crepes anytime soon, until I saw Evan's post the other night. I haven't made crêpes in a long time. The last time I remember making it was on two separate occasions. Both crêpe cakes. Once at an old friend's 18th, where it was declared orgasmic by a handful of (drunk?) teenagers and during the end of high school gathering at my place. Lots of oohs and aahs when it was being sliced.

The recipe that I continue to use today comes from Michel Roux's Only The Best. It's been good to me and I don't think I'll ever use a different recipe. The first crêpe will always be ugly, but it gets better after that. Thin, bubbly crêpes with flaky sides. A few tips, lightly grease the pan (even if you're using a non-stick) after each crêpe, be quick and don't be afraid of burning yourself. 

As for the sauce, throw in a chunk of butter after reducing orange juice, zest and rosemary syrup. Velvety and slightly bitter. Next time I think I'll strain my sauce for a smooth finish.

Here's another crêpe recipe by Michel Roux.

6 Dec 2012

infusing honey

December rolls around and I catch the flu bug. The days of tasting nothingness. My taste buds have returned but I still sound like an ugly toad. I remember making this lemon honey syrup for summer last year but the thought of adding in herbs came in from Sun's tweet

When diluted in water, it soothes the throat when your sick and provides a refreshing drink to beat the heat.

Re-reading J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye whilst listening to Dexys Midnight Runner's Come on Eileen and Imagine Dragons' It's Time. The Perks of Being a Wallflower's influence, I think so, very much, yes.

Too-ra-loo-ra, too-ra-loo-rye, aye
And you'll hum this tune forever

***

Lemon & herb honey

Arrange thinly sliced lemons and fresh herbs (a spring of rosemary & a few sprigs of thyme) in a small glass jar along with the any leftover lemon juice on the chopping board. Fill the jar to the brim with honey, screw on the lid and turn it upside down for a few minutes allowing contents to mix together. Turn upright and refrigerate. 

On the following day, the infused honey will become like a watery syrup. Dilute a few spoonfuls in a mug with hot or cold water.

28 Nov 2012

a chocolate tart

Now that summer holidays have begun, I can finally start making all those things I bookmarked throughout the year. 'Brown' is a recent addition, during one too many procrastination sessions. 

Who can resist the combination of caramel, chocolate and banana? (Except maybe Mrs. Roddick who hates real chocolate. Heh.) 

I rarely bake tarts as lining the pastry can be really frustrating. Especially, if using the fragile pate sucre. But since I bought crumpet make-shift tart rings for the chocolate delice, I thought why not. Lining them becomes easier with practice. Out of five tarts, my fifth tart was the best looking.

Although it took me a while to get this done, I took away many tips that I could use again. One of them is that dry caramelising in a thin shallow frying pan is so much better than the wet method in a saucepan. To get rid of the hardened caramel, just add water to the pan and let it sit for a while. 


I had to make a few amendments but, generally followed the recipe to the tee. If you want to give it a shot, the recipe is here in Japanese.

Components (composition order):
Chocolate pate sucre
Caramel sauce
Flourless chocolate sponge
Chocolate banana ganache
Caramelised banana agar
Whipped cream
Caramelised pecan & walnut pieces
Dutch cocoa powder & thyme (garnish)

Instagram photos 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

15 Nov 2012

quiet mornings


I've made a fair amount of pancakes and I don't follow a particular recipe anymore.

My rule of thumb, if the batter's too thick, add more milk.
Too thin? Some more flour.

Here's what I do nowadays - eyeballing measurements.

Whisk one egg, a spoon of castor sugar, a splash of oil/butter and more than half a cup of milk until well combined. Sift in half a teaspoon of baking powder and enough self-raising flour to form a batter that is neither too thick of thin. Cook on medium-low.

11 Nov 2012

baking away

Procrastibaking - A word I wished I invented myself as I seem to do it all the time as exam period rolls around. But alas, is a word coined from the brilliant Ayla Erdogan, in university magazine, FARRAGO (Edition 8 2012).

Enjoying the time-wasting process, baking for grandma made the whole reason to procrastibake albeit more legit (thick skinned statement haha). Another batch were these viennese whirls. To fill up the container, I made a chocolate batch with the following adjustments: 65g icing sugar, 2g instant coffee granules (finely ground), 20g dutch process cocoa, 113g plain flour and topped each with a chocolate chip. See instagram photo here

After baking the remnant biscuit dough from the chocolate delice episode, these biscuits have been a household favourite. Made crunchier with sliced almonds and brown sugar, I suspect these will taste better with some peach jam or half dipped in melted dark chocolate. 

***

Almond crunch biscuits
adapted from Eamon Sullivan's biscuit recipe
makes around 40-50 x 5cm rounds

200g plain flour
50g almond meal
150g cold unsalted butter, cubed
100g caster sugar
pinch of salt
1 large cold egg

1 large egg yolk
around 55g almond slices
brown sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

Process flour, almond meal, butter, sugar and salt in a food processor until it resembles large breadcrumbs. Add egg and process until mixture comes together. Empty contents on a lightly dusted bench top and gently knead into a smooth ball. Flatten into a disk, cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes*.

Preheat oven to 175°C and line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper.

Dust bench top again and roll the rolling pin over it. Roll the dough** into 2-3mm thick and cut with a floured cutter. When the dough has been cut, brush several pieces with egg yolk and top with almond slices. Make sure you press them gently in the dough to stick. Sprinkle with brown sugar if desired***. Repeat with remaining dough.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

*If the dough is still soft, refrigerate it a bit longer.
**I usually work with half the dough at a time to avoid it from becoming too soft.
***Brown sugar does not stick very well this way, so brush some egg yolk on top of the almonds before sprinkling

31 Oct 2012

road trip







Great Ocean Road, bombarded with tourists, photobombers and endless coastline views. With the summer weather coming our way, it's one of those must-see places if you ever visit Victoria.

Returning back to Melbourne a shade darker, we were fortunate to have had good weather the whole day. Albeit too hot, the views were definitely worth it. Of the stops we made, I reckon Gibson Steps was the best. Going down was easy, going back up looked daunting, but it was not too bad (to my surprise).

Stops along Great Ocean Road: Anglesea, Apollo Bay, Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge (Shipwreck's Coast), Gibson Steps

27 Oct 2012

the museum






















Me: Hey remember how we went to the museum and I got scared from that spider sound that I jumped and laughed like crazy afterwards?

Mrs Roddick: Priceless moment LOL! Glad I got to witness it!

Me: Whistling spider. Damn thing.

An account of of field trip to the museum way back in April. We'll be returning to the neighbouring building in a couple of weeks for our final examinations.

13 Oct 2012

turtle shells!

I finally did it - made my own turtles (they are called ang ku kuih but I called them turtles because their shape resembles a turtle's shell)! I usually have a couple for breakfast if my grandma and mum go to Pudu market in the morning. We have an old wooden mould which my grandma passed down to my mum, but I've never seen it in action, so I decided to put it into some good use.

The recipe I used was from Nasi Lemak Lover and Reese Kitchen.

They are simple to make but pretty time consuming. Of the filling made, I still have half left, so I will be making this again.

***

My adaptions:

Soaked mung beans for 1 1/2 hours and steamed it for 50 minutes (Although I think it was done at 30-35 minutes mark). Be wary to add more hot water as you are steaming!

Water for the glutinous rice dough was not measured. Did it the agak-agak (to estimate) way.

15g mung bean ball, 40g sweet potato glutinous rice ball.

Instead of greasing the wooden mould, I dusted it with glutinous rice flour and knocked the excess out.

Place unsteamed kuih on greased foil. Greasing baking paper does not work, the base will stick to the paper.

After steaming brush the kuih with some vegetable oil to prevent it from sticking/drying.

Made 15 turtles and 1 super mini one.

26 Sep 2012

on the house

Cheers to the fruit shop man who kind enough to give me a bagful of ripe monkey bananas (on the house!) so I could make this and other baked goods!

Banana bread french toast has been on my to-do list since seeing it in Esquire's How to eat like a man cookbook, but never got around to it until Mrs Roddick asked if I had a low fat banana bread recipe so she could bake it for our handbag collecting friend. Unfortunately for her I didn't and could only think of more ways to make it more calorific. 

The banana chip idea was taken from this revamped banana split I saw on a food blog recently. I didn't want to open the jar of cherries so in went strawberries and a tough decision between fake maple syrup or Hershey's chocolate syrup.

Recipe notes:
Adapted this banana loaf recipe and used my usual french toast recipe.

30 Aug 2012

chocolate delice

Finally had some time to make Eamon Sullivan's 10/10 chocolate delice (with salted caramel). It may seem like a lot of components but they were pretty straight forward. I didn't make the salted caramel but I thought the result was quite good without it.

I recommend halving the biscuit because you don't need that much. Or you can just re-rolled the dough and made biscuits like I did.

Before making it, just make sure to read the recipe thoroughly a couple of times. 

Check out Eamon Sullivan's blog post for step-by-step instructions and photos.


17 Jul 2012

cocoa power

I'm starting to think if the food tech teachers at high school adapted their nut & crunch brownies from Alice Medrich's best cocoa brownies recipe because the ingredients are almost the same. Only the school one is more cake like. Taste and texture wise these were more like the modified school recipe.

I found the recipe on Patricia's Baby Hedgehogswhich she adapted from Hannah's honey & jam.

***

My adaptions:

Roast two handfuls of nuts (mixture of walnuts, pecans & hazelnuts) at 150 degrees for 10 minutes, stirring half way. Cool and chop half of them into small pieces. Stir the chopped nuts & 40g of chopped dark chocolate into the mixture after you stir in the flour and cocoa powder.

When you put the mixture into the baking pan, top with remaining nuts & 40g of chopped chocolate.

I baked it for an addition 5-10 minutes at 120 degrees as the middle seemed to be too gooey for my liking. Cool at room temperature before chilling in the refrigerator for a few hours. 

16 Jul 2012

make me a sandwich

One of those silly things the boys said to the girls during my high school years. This would either lead to the girls retaliating by throwing a cuss remark back, boy bashing or the cold shoulder. True story.

I was asked to make coffee once but I "didn't know how to because I don't drink it". So he ended up "showing" me by making it himself. Heh, loser .

Actually, I was thinking about else as well. During junior and middle school we would have this health day activity which included some kind of a long walk. When we reached our destination we would have a Subway like station waiting for us. Each student would collect a plate, napkin and bread roll and proceed to the teachers where we would point and select what we wanted in them. I never picked beetroot because it looked so strange. Still don't bother with them.

We'd always call them salad rolls because each roll only had one thinly sliced deli meat overshadowed by vegetables. 

12 Jul 2012

第45話 よつばとパチシエ




Fastest time to decorate a sponge cake. It came out unexpectedly well too.
And yes, that is an egg on top.

Check out: Chapter 45 of Yotsuba&! (Yotsuba & The Patissier)

2 Jul 2012

unexpectedly delicious






















I actually wasn't sure if this was going to work out as I haven't combined chopped herbs into meat before. And coriander? That garnish that I pick off my plate every time! Skeptical really. But I had a small glimmer of hope that it would work since Dad always tops his Vietnamese dishes with a variety of mint and coriander. A little surprise as the taste reminded us of bo nuong vi (Vietnamese lemongrass grilled beef) without the lemongrass and (strong) garlic kick. We have a huge packet of blitzed lemongrass and garlic in the freezer so we'll be trying that in the future. It'll be much less work than making the actual thing and in meatball form - how fun! 

The Asian meatball awaits.

***

Herbed meatballs & cous cous
inspired by John Torode's Moroccan lamb meatballs with harissa & cous cous
serves 4 - 6

Herbed meatballs
500g beef mince
2 Spanish onions, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bunch of coriander, finely chopped (reserve 4 Tb)
1 bunch of mint, leaves picked and finely chopped (reserve 1 - 2 Tb)
1 large egg
freshly ground black pepper, to season
sea salt, to season

Roasted capsicum paste
1 red capsicum, deseeded, stem and white bits removed
1 Spanish onion, halved at cut into four pieces
2 cloves garlic
1 Tb vegetable oil

Cous cous* (per person)
1/2 cup (100g) cous cous
1/2 vegetable stock cube
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1 Tb chopped coriander
vegetable oil
small knob of unsalted butter

To serve (per person)
Greek yogurt
remainder of the chopped mint
roasted capsicum paste
lemon wedge

Meatballs - Combine all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Shape 1 heaped tablespoon of mince into a ball, place on a plate and repeat with the remaining mince. Leave to marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours. Take the meat out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking. 

Roasted capsicum paste - Quarter the prepped capsicum and roast in the oven at 220 degrees for about 20 minutes or until skin is wrinkled and charred. Remove to cool and lower the temperature to 200 degrees to roast the onion and garlic with a drizzle of oil for 10 - 15 minutes. During half time, give it a stir. Meanwhile, peel the skins off the capsicum which should come off easily. When they are ready, puree with oil in a food processor**.

Cous cous -  Place the stock cube, 125ml water and a drizzle of oil in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and remove from heat. Pour in the cous cous and give it a stir. Cover and allow to stand for 3 minutes. Add a small knob of unsalted butter, parsley and coriander and fluff up with a fork to separate the grains.

To cook the meatballs, heat a frying pan and drizzle with a couple of tablespoons of oil over a medium heat. Add a portion meatballs and cook turning until they are browned and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining meatballs.

To serve, place cous cous on a plate and top with meatballs. Stir mint into a couple of tablespoons of greek yogurt and spoon on top of the meatballs. Top with some roasted capsicum paste and any coriander you have left. Squeeze some lemon juice over. Bon appetit!   

*Adapted from San Remo's cous cous box
**With the small quantity, it may not be possible to puree it into a smooth paste, but it's ok

26 Jun 2012

cookies & milk

It was during my baking hiatus that I found out my sister preferred soft and chewy cookies rather than the crunchy ones I've been baking all along. It's better to make it to her liking since she's the one eating most of them.

Me? I like cake. 

I've been reading Simply Bill by Bill Granger lately and decided to try the chocolate chip and pecan cookies. They didn't look like the ones in the book, but they turned out how my sister fancied her cookies.

The very same recipe has been published in The Telegraph, so why not bake a batch or two.  

NB: I've substituted pecans for roasted & chopped hazelnuts and block chocolate for dark chocolate chips - just because I had some in the pantry. Chopped chocolate would be better though. And just a pinch of sea salt instead of the amount specified.

5 Jun 2012

burger time


There was one time last year, that I made beef burgers for dinner once a week. I think it went on for about a month or so before I stopped since Dad was rather sick of eating burgers again. I haven't made a beef burger since then. At home, we usually eat chicken patties with rice for dinner around once a fortnight, it's tasty, but I think we've been eating the same thing for far too long.

After seeing Mama-san's take on the teriyaki burger, I immediately thought of the first ever beef ramly burger I had earlier in the year. I still can't believe I've never tried it before until I read about it in Sherie's post. We're not allowed to consume beef at my grandma's, so I was pretty ecstatic to eat beef (even though I couldn't tell if it was beef or mystery meat). 

I liked how the awesome teppanyaki ramly burger guy toasted the buns and used that method instead of toasting them in the oven. And as usual I have to have a fried egg (with a runny yolk!) in the burger. Plus and minus some ingredients in the family patty recipe and it was good to go. Inspirations come a long way.


Teriyaki chicken burgers inspired by mama-san and ramly burger guy
adapted from my parent's legendary chicken patties; serves 6 - 8

Sauce
50ml mirin, sake & light soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 Tb yellow-box honey / sugar

Bring to the boil and simmer until thickened and reduced by one-third, stirring occasionally. Set aside and leave to cool.

Burger patties
500 - 600g chicken mince
half a bunch of spring onions, sliced thinly
1 onion, finely diced
1 egg
sea salt and white pepper, to season

Combine all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Leave to marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight. Take the meat out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking.

Shape meat into thick patties*. To cook, heat a frying pan and drizzle with a few tablespoons of oil, add the meat patty and cook until golden brown. Flip the patty, reduce to a low heat and cover, whilst you toast buns and fry eggs in another pan. 

When the bottom side is golden brown and the patty is firm, spoon a couple of teaspoons of sauce onto the patty and cook until shiny and well coated**. Flip and repeat for the other side.

Sprinkle patty with shichimi togarashi and drizzle mayonnaise over. Top with a fried egg and serve with shredded lettuce and tomato slices.

* If you want, but I just scoop meat into the pan and shape it while it's cooking
** You will want them to be slightly bigger than your burger bun because they will shrink when cooking
*** If you don't want to add the teriyaki sauce, then it's ok. Say hello to cheese and your favourite burger sauce!






















Well, maybe the runny egg yolk wasn't such a good idea after all....

1 Jun 2012

sweet things


The beginning of winter. Tippy-toeing into the kitchen to whisk some eggy batter for french toast (recipe), pouring a glassful of cold milk. Opening a jar of Bonne Maman and slicing a banana left on the bench top. 

Meanwhile, starting up the old record player. This week's playlist has been The Carpenters and ABBA.

No wonder waking up early seems to be much easier than getting up on a school day. 

Tomorrow's breakfast will consist of leftover brunch; pancakes and Kamran's amazing homemade chocolate sauce liquid gold

Finishing the end of a novel.

If only breakfasts could be like this every day.

***

Some amateur photography work over here.

20 May 2012

the nigh of fall

























It struck me the other day that autumn was nearing it's end and that I haven't baked a single apple pie or crumbles and I haven't collected any acorns either. While apples are available all year round, it just feels more special to use them during the autumn season. Pumpkins, sweet potatoes and mandarins are still on my list to-do! But I guess, I'll have to wait until winter rolls in.


These are usually made with a frozen puff pastry base but, I thought the chilly weather was perfect for making pastry as it is easier to handle without creating a sticky mess. Either way would be great though (instructions at bottom)!

●●●

Sweet shortcrust pastry:
120g plain flour, sifted
35g almond meal
30g icing sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
50g cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 large egg, from the fridge

For the filling:
2 royal gala apples, washed, peeled and sliced thinly
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 Tb brown sugar
yellow-box honey, as required
sliced almonds, as required
beaten egg

For the pastry: Put flour, almond meal, sugar and salt into a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the cubed butter and process until dough resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg and process until dough begins to form. Remove dough from the processor and gently knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Roll dough into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap and refrigerate until firm (1 - 2 hours or overnight).

Meanwhile, prepare the apples and soak them in a mixture of lemon juice and water to prevent them from oxidising. 

Roll out dough to 3mm thick and place inside a lightly floured tart tin*. Drain the liquid from the apple slices. Sprinkle brown sugar on top of the pastry. Overlap the apple slices around the outside of the pastry, working your way inwards. Finish with a small row of apples slices in the middle. Squeeze honey in a circular motion around the tart. Fold over pastry hanging from the sides, overlapping where necessary. 

Brush pastry with beaten egg and sprinkle with almond slices. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes or until pastry is cooked and golden brown.

Cut and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

*If you don't have a tart tin, roll out pastry into a rectangular shape or if you are using frozen puff pastry, arrange the apple slices in overlapping rows instead.

●●●

I find that store bought muesli lacks the amount of seeds, nuts and dried fruit that I want so I prefer to make my own. Here I've combined these maple and brown sugar pecans into a new batch of autumn-inspired muesli which are adapted from here. No dried fruit this time, but chopped pieces of dried apple or pear would be perfect. This recipe makes one large jar.

2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped dried fruit
handful of sliced almonds 
handful of pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 Tb vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Spread out evenly on a baking tray. Bake at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes.

When cooled, stir in 1/2 - 1 cup of maple & brown sugar pecans. Be sure to refrigerate them in an airtight jar to retain their crisp.

22 Apr 2012

saturday's child


Of my friends, I would say M resembles me the most. I guess that is why we still remain good friends, despite refusing to join her in the Korean pop culture and facebook revolution. We aren't able to talk regularly online and see each other often but we always have  much to talk and laugh about when we get to see each other. My personality isn't as energetic and cheerful as hers but, I love how she has a big, cheerful smile every time I see her, without fail.   

Saturday reminds me of the crazy stuff when we used to do when we studied together a few years back. I wish her the best in the VCE studies and hope she attends the same university as me next year.  

Last photo taken by my friend M (thank you!) Post-editing inspired by the boys behind Backseat Ballads (check out their blog - inspirational adventures, nostalgic music and beautiful scenic photography).

P.S. I've been talking to Ting-Ting via flickr mail for some time now and I thank her for drawing me a picture for my birthday! She is a kind and creative artist whom I want to meet in the future. Do check out her blog,  nap-pan for more snippets of doodles, illustrations and photographs.

13 Apr 2012

on syrups























Maple syrup and pecans, another one of those golden combinations. For me, I feel it is perfect for a warm autumn morning. 

Recently, there has been much syrup business going on in the kitchen. Sticky, sweet and perhaps, an addiction. Nope, there definitely is one. Mrs. Roddick regrets the day she put maple flavoured syrup (that's right, the fake stuff) on my ice cream. But I thank her for rekindling my love for it. There is much debate on whether to use the real maple syrup or the artificial one. But I think both are equally delicious on pancakes. Just make sure to use the real thing when baking them with bacon or else, says she. 

It almost feels like a quiet weekend today, which will be sure to come tomorrow. Classes resumes on Monday marking the end of break.

It has been delightful to be able to slow down.

10 Apr 2012

old soul
























A seemingly cold morning. Frying a batch of lemon and poppy seed pancakes* whilst running to the record player to press the play button only to dash back to the stove to flip the pancakes.   

Much to my sister's dismay, Michael Bolton's "The Hunger" (both sides), was on constant repeat for half the day. And what I thought was a record from Laura Branigan, turned out to be 60s mix of American love songs which I thought sounded strangely familiar. Judging by the ripped plastic sleeve, I most likely man-handled the record in my childhood.

Seeded out the box of full of records ranging from the 60s to the 80s. Putting several back into their sleeves before dusting some off to listen to. It's amazing how small and how many songs a CD can fit compared to a record. But I think it's pretty neat how records are flipped for a different set of songs. 

*Use your regular pancake recipe. Mix in rind of and juice (top up with milk and stir) of one small lemon and 1 tsp of poppy seeds. For syrup, simmer 1 Tb of honey and caster sugar with juice of one small lemon until sugar melts and is thickened.

31 Mar 2012

today's breakfast























It is already the end of the month. It's been a fairly busy, but I have got to say I have been enjoying it. Unlike last year, there are no days off, however this has made me become more productive. I look forward to what has become a pancake weekend. Each batch makes around nine pancakes and it is enough for a party of three. A sliced banana and some syrup too. Today was a combination of golden syrup and a knob of butter.

6 Mar 2012

goodbye summer






















The summer once gone, becomes something to remember. I have always welcomed March wholeheartedly. The cooler climate, crinkled brown leaves and a month of consecutive birthdays. Scones with lemon curd* are a must too! Think of it as an ode to the summer days.

*Making lemon curd is like making a custard (without the milk and starches) in a double boiler. I have reduced the sugar down to 100g and used 100ml of lemon and lime juice. The result is just the way I like it, tangy and tart. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream to balance out flavours. 

21 Feb 2012

hello breakfast
























It seems I have made a rather flat looking smoothie. It's okay, I've already been told they look more like milk than a smoothie. Thrice, in fact. If there were bubbles, it would probably look like I blew them in my milk. Very much like a child if they were given a straw or two at breakfast. Here's another smoothie recipe, just in case banana doesn't rock your boat. I have yet to try combine the two together! Perhaps in the near future. 

18 Feb 2012

this one's a keeper!























Lalarhs* requested to come over to study the properties of a cake in the making (and most importantly taste the experiment!). I selected a simple butter cake; a recipe given to me by one of my grandma's good friends that has been used for many years. The piece of lined paper ripped out from an old exercise book is gradually becoming more yellow each year, but the black ink is ever so strong.

It is certainly not a sophisticated cake and I am sure every household has their own version of butter cake. But perhaps adding a little something and a light dusting of icing sugar can make it a wee bit special. The one we made had the rind and juice of a lemon, lime and orange. And just because I had some poppy seeds, in went one heaped tablespoon. 

Another tried an tested variation is to finely ground one tablespoon of your favourite loose leaf tea (Assam for me) into powder and fold in with the sifted flour and powder. Mrs. Roddick and I took turns grinding the leaves in a pestle and mortar late last year. It took us a while, but it was well worth it. Serve with ice cream!

*P.S. If you are reading, thanks for stopping to eat to be my free hand model! (・ω・)

9 Feb 2012

did you make a wish?


Earlier in the week, a little celebratory lunch with Leia. It was supposed to be for her graduating and admission into university, but we were busy year end and I was overseas during January. A simple full course lunch was postponed until her birthday week.

I was actually kind of worried when she told me she was not really into eating sweet food. But what is a birthday without a cake? In the end we still wanted cake. I made a basic strawberry shortcake with honey whipped cream. I tried to make it like the ones we were used to seeing in manga and anime but my frosting still needs a lot more improvement! I asked her to bring her beloved Fiddy earlier and after she gave him a bath, we completed it with a generic "happy birthday" sign and a blue candle.

A series of dialogue before we lit and cut the cake. 

Leia: Are you going to light the candle because I'm scared of lighting matches.
Grub: Hahaha, I was going to ask you to do it!

Leia: *blows candle out*
Grub: Did you make a wish?
Leia: Umm...no? (´・ω・`)
Grub: *lights candle again* DO IT AGAIN!! (`Д´)9

I'm glad she was able to eat it and even asked more more!
I hope you have a great birthday my friend! ( ´ ▽ ` )ノ