Monday, July 2, 2018

35th Wedding Anniversary


It has been an amazing journey all these 35 years being wedded to this annoying and yet wonderful man. He is my bible teacher, my mentor in photography and my pillar of strength when I fall.  My most trusted friend and the one person in this world who can accept my flaws and weaknesses.  The first thing we did this morning was to renew our vows to each other in the presence of God. And we asked God to continue to bless us many more happy years together.  And let us be the salt and light for HIM.

I made his favourite cake ( traditional rich butter cake ) to celebrate our being together for 35 years.  The flowers are from my lil space. Though the flowers are not edible but they are perfectly safe to have them as decoration on the cake.  I am amazed that I can be that creative...hahaha even he was surprised when he saw the cake...the first thing he said was  " oh my , you have put your garden on the cake "!  .  This is how straight forward he can be !  


Rich Butter Cake
- cake pan: 7" x7" x 3"
preheat oven to 180C 
greased baking pan with baking paper


 ingredients
 8oz multi purpose flour - sieve
1 tsp baking powder
8oz butter ( Butter Churn)
8oz sugar * I reduce to 5.5 oz -  taking into consideration of the sugar icing
5 Grade A eggs
6-7 tbsp of full cream milk
1 tsp of vanilla extract

 Method:
Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy.  Add eggs ,one at a time until till egg is well incorporated. Fold in flour in three batches , alternating with the milk till well combined. Spread mixture into prepared pan and bake for 50 mins or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Stand in pan for 10 mins . Turn out on a wire rack to cool.

Prepare Sugar Icing

225 gm of butter
3.5 cups of confectioners' sugar/powdered sugar
1/2 tbsp of lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream butter and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl, ( add  powdered sugar tablespoon by tablespoon into the butter) and cream mixture till you get the correct consistency - add in the lemon juice and vanilla extract last, give it a last whisk to make sure the lemon juice and vanilla extract are well combine.

Spread icing on the  butter cake and decorate with fresh flowers that is pesticide free.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Lemon Curd Bars


This is my first time making Lemon Curd Bars.  I remembered eight years ago , I did make lemon curd using Martha Stewart's recipe for frosting lemon yogurt cupcake .  My cousin gave me a bottle of prepared lemon curd last week .....wow, a step easier for me as using prepared lemon curd makes baking tangy lemon bars so easy that I can whip up a batch anytime. Dessicated coconut and almonds add extra richness and texture . Recipe is from Allrecipes.com.  Every bite is so yummy good with the lemon curd tanginess bursting in the mouth and I can snack on them while watching korean drama :)


ingredients used for making lemon curd bars
so easy to use prepared lemon curd

beat butter and sugar till fluffy, add flour mixture
and mix with this simple tool from Daiso


 mix till it resembles crumbs

 

 take out 1/4 of the crumbs mixture and mix 
in dessicated coconut and chopped almonds
keep aside


Pat 3/4 of mixture into bottom of ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. 
and bake till lightly brown, take out and cool

once the base crust has cooled down, spread lemon curd
over baked layer


spread curd evenly 


Add coconut and almonds to remaining crumb mixture
stir to mix. Sprinkle over curd.


Bake additional 25 minutes or until lightly brown. 
Remove from oven and cool slightly. 
Dust with powdered sugar and cut into squares. 


my first trial, slightly over baked but taste good!

Lemon Curd Bars - taken from Allrecipe

ingredients:

1 cup butter -softened
1 cup sugar 
2.5 cups All purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
10 oz lemon curd
1/2 cup almonds- chopped
3/4 cup dessicated coconut
1 tbsp powdered sugar

Method:
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl until creamy. Add flour, baking soda and salt. Mix until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Pat 3/4 of mixture into bottom of ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
  2. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Spread curd over baked layer. Add coconut and almonds to remaining crumb mixture; stir to mix. Sprinkle over curd.
  3. Bake additional 25 minutes or until lightly brown. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Dust with powdered sugar and cut into squares.  
Enjoy!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Hot Cross Bun - Because He Lives



Tomorrow is Easter Day and it the day the Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because HE lives, I can face tomorrow, and all my fears are gone. Happy Easter to all my Christian friends.

I have made some soft and delicious hot cross buns for celebrating Easter Day.  Woke up at 4.30am this morning and could not go back to sleep, so hot cross buns came to mind. Easy to prepare and had the buns ready by 7am for our breakfast . Recipe calls for the kneading but I too lazy, so using the non kneading technique (that is mixing all the ingredients together until the dough leaves the side of the bowl ) I  kept some for tomorrow Easter breakfast  :)  Recipe calls for the kneading but I too lazy, so using the no knead technique (that is mixing all the ingredients together until the dough leaves the side of the bowl ). 

I really love the aroma of freshly baked buns.....do you?


 ingredients for making the hot cross buns


 I just use the spatula to stir and keep stirring
until it turns into a dough
till the dough leaves the side of the bowl
and it is ready for proofing


use a cling wrap to cover the dough
and leave it to rise for 1 hour

 

As bread dough ferments and proves,
 the yeast produces carbon dioxide gas that  
causes the gluten network to expand.


I love piping the cross on the buns
it's fun time for me  :)


 the buns turned out beautifully

 

 spread on homemade orange marmalade
so yummy good


 the buns turned out soft despite
using non-kneading technique



Hot Cross Buns
Ingredients:

3 cups plain flour (or organic plain flour )
2 tsp dried yeast
3/4 cups dried currants
4 Tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
pinch of salt
30g unsalted butter (cut into cubes)
220 ml milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Flour paste for drawing crosses:
4 Tbsp plain flour
2 to 2 1/2 Tbsp water

Glaze for brushing buns:  * I use homemade orange marmalade jam for glazing the buns

2 Tbsp caster sugar

1 tbsp of water

Method:-

1. In a large bowl, combine sifted flour, dried yeast, mixed spice, sugar , salt and currants.

2. Use a little saucepan, melt butter.  Add milk to cook for 1 minute until lukewarm.



3. Add warm milk mixture and egg to flour mixture.  Use the electric hand mixture with the dough 
hook and whisk the ingredients till thoroughly mixed and continue for another 5 minutes till the dough becomes a lump and leaves the side of the mixing bowl. 

4. Take out the soft dough and knead the dough for another 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface until it  is smooth. Place into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel on top.  Set aside in a warm place for 1 hour until dough doubles in size.

5. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Punch dough with your fist to release some gas and let dough return to its original size.

6. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Divide into 12 even portions and shape each portion into a ball.  Place balls onto lined tray, around 1 cm apart.  Cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 30 minutes until buns double in size.

7. Preheat oven to  190C (374F)

8. Mix flour with water together to make smooth flour paste. If it's too thick, add a little more water as you go. Transfer to a small snap-lock bag, snipping off a corner of the bag. Pipe flour paste over tops of buns to form crosses. 

9. Pop in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until buns are brown and cooked through.
While baking buns, mix sugar with water in a small saucepan. Warm over low heat, until sugar dissolves. Brush warm glaze over cooked hot cross buns. Serve warm.  

* Note:  Zap overnight buns in microwave for 20 seconds and they are as good as just out of the oven.


Have a wonderful Easter break !




Monday, March 19, 2018

Banana Chiffon Cake



It has been a long time since I last baked a chiffon cake. Reason being, it will either shrink or not fluffy and light enough. It may sound a very simple and easy to make cake but in fact it can be quite frightening the first time making them.  Yesterday, I had a sudden craving for light and easy cake and since I have banana at home, I decided to bake a chiffon cake for our tea break.  The recipe calls for a 7" tube pan but since I do not have one, I used my 8" tube pan instead, thinking that an inch would not matter.  Other then the cake turned out shorter, the taste and texture is good.  A light and tasty chiffon cake for our tea break.  Love it to bits and will use this  recipe again.  A healthy one as it uses vegetable oil instead of butter.  I used rice bran oil which is healthy and fragrance free too.  I used Sonia's recipe, which is foolproof , light and easy. Thank you Sonia for sharing such a wonderful chiffon cake recipe. Hope over to her blog, she has shared many foolproof recipes.

 

ingredients for
a very healthy, light and easy banana chiffon cake


folding in the meringue gently so as not to deflate
the batter
 

a beautifully baked banana chiffon cake
and has to be turned upside down while
cooling, once cooled it is ready
to unmould


Banana Chiffon Cake - adapted from Sonia
*for a 7" chiffon tube pan

ingredients:

3 egg yolks ( A size or large)
10g caster sugar
75 g cake flour (superfine flour )
35g vegetable oil * I use rice bran oil
90 g mashed banana  *  I use Pisang Emas

3 egg white (A size or large )
40g caster sugar
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Method:

1.  Immediately separate cold eggs after taking out from fridge as cold eggs are easier to separate them. Make sure the bowls are dry, clean and free from oil and water.  Set aside and allow them to return to room temperature.

2.  Add the 10g sugar into egg yolks and lightly whisk till light , add in oil and whisk till well incorporated. Add in mashed banana and stir well to combine, then fold  in flour till well incorporated into the egg mixture.

3.  Beat egg whites and lemon juice till foamy, gradually add in sugar in three batches and continue to beat till stiff peaks ( meringue stand straight up with a little curve at the tip ) This will take about 3-4 mins using speed 3 of electric hand mixer.

4. Take 1/3 of meringue and use a hand whisk to mix well and lighten the egg yolk batter ( Do not worry , you will deflate the batter at this stage.

5. Now change hand whisk to a silicone spatula, fold in 1/3 of meringue, gently fold with egg yolk batter till slightly combined.  Fold in the balance meringue and gently fold till well combined.

6. Pour cake batter into chiffon pan, wipe off the excess batter that stick on the tube or insert area.  Fill batter about 80% full , but not too full as the cake need space to rise while baking and resulted in cake shrinkage.  Tap pan on the counter top to remove air trapped inside the batter.

7. Bake at pre-heated oven at 180C for 30 mins at middle rack or until cooked.

8. Once done, turn the chiffon tin upside down and cool completely before remove from the tin.

9. Chiffon cake is ready to unmould.  You can use a plastic thin spatula to run the pan and unmould the chiffon .


Enjoy !


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

MIx Grains Sausage Bun With Sesame Seeds Topping


I will never get sick of making bread by hand.  To some it is a messy chore but I tell you it is truly therapeutic and not messy if you know how to do it right :)  I have been making buns for years now. I think I can make them with my eyes closed.  Nah, I am just kidding. But I do love making them and I can tell whether the dough will turn out great as I go about mixing them.  Hubby loves the mix grains sausage buns that I baked for him some time back and requested that I make them again for him.  So be it, his wish is my command.  And this time I added sesame seeds  as a topping to give texture to the bun.  I recently discovered that by just mixing the ingredients together and giving it a quick stir, and a light knead with the heel of the palm, the dough will turn out light too. And allowing the dough to rest and proof for an hour will give a better result.  I can never get bored making the same bun over and over again as it is really a keeper for sure.


 beautifully proofed dough


 love the feel of a well risen dough


 sesame seeds as topping


 my oven did not act up on me, the buns were
evenly browned and looks good
the aroma of freshly baked buns is to die for


 
Mix Grains Sausage Bun With Sesaame Seeds Topping
 
ingredients:
200g bread flour
60g plain flour
70g mix grains
125 ml full cream milk 
42g caster sugar
1/2 tsp of salt
3g instant yeast
1 egg  - grade C, beaten
85 g water dough
25 g unsalted butter

8 chicken sausages
Recipe for the water dough " water-roux"
Cook 125g water with 25 g bread flour at medium low heat, keep stirring until it become thicken and no lumps left. If you've a candy thermometer, measure it until the temperature turn to 65C and turn of the heat. Cook it until quite liquid consistency like the baby porri
 
dge. Transfer to a clean bowl to cool down. Use only amount required. The rest can be kept in the fridge for 2  to 3 days only. If there is grey mold, throw away.
Method:
1.Place all the ingredients for kneading except the butter until everything come together and become a smooth dough, then add in the butter a little at a time.
2. Let the dough slowly absorb the butter. Gently knead till dough is smooth and leave the side of bowl and not sticking to the hand.
3. Let it proof for 50-60 mins in a clean bowl cover with cling wrap.
4. Divide dough into even size of 8 portions or any size you like it to be then let it rest for 10 minutes.
5. Shape the dough into smooth round shape. Roll out  flat  into a triangle strip. Place the sausage at the broad end and roll towards the tapered end . ( like rolling a croissant ) Placed the rolled up bun on a greased baking tray. Repeat till all is done. 
6.  Leave the buns to proof for another 30-40 mins .
7. Brush milk over the surface of the rolled up buns and toss some black and white sesame seeds over the surface.  
 
8. Bake at a preheated oven @180-200C  middle shelf ( depends on your oven ) for 25-30 mins till golden brown.
 
 
Enjoy!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Celebrate Songkran 2018 With Traveloka

One of the many countries that Malaysians love visiting is the land of the delicious tomyams, beautiful beaches and not forgetting the affordable shopping heaven, Thailand.  Another reason why you should totally visit Thailand is for their Thai Buddhist New Year, also known as Songkran. Songkran is definitely the most festive celebration in Thailand on the 13-15th of April. While the official days last three days but in reality, the whole week is taken over by a mass celebration as the whole country shuts down for the world’s biggest water fights and street parties. As water is the symbol of cleanliness, the meaning behind drenching everyone with splashes is to symbolically was off all misfortunes in the past year and welcoming the new year with a fresh start.

Now, for the exciting part, which part of Thailand should I be in to celebrate Songkran?

Bangkok

As the capital city of Thailand, Bangkok sees at least half its residents make their way back to their hometowns for family reunions. Taking their place are the tourists who fly into Bangkok to enjoy the most happening time of the year. Though most office buildings, banks and even family-run shops and restaurants shut down completely, Bangkok is the place to be for it is where the party happens. The biggest, brashest parties are found in two places in particular - Khao San Road and Silom Road. Get your water guns ready for the best, wettest time of your life. If you are planning to experience Songkran here, get your flight from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok exclusively from Traveloka for the lowest fares ever seen. 



Chiang Mai

Songkran in Chiang Mai is easily the wettest, the most fun compared to any of the nationwide celebrations. Though Bangkok’s parties may be the biggest and Pattaya’s are the longest, in Chiang Mai, its all different as water is thrown abundantly here, making it one of the most popular places in the whole of Southeast Asia. Do visit the Tha Pae Gate in the Old City to enjoy an exciting, full 4km of water fighting along the old moat that once protected the city and its people.






Phuket

Being Thailand’s most popular beach destination, Phuket houses some of the wildest celebrations during Songkran. Everyone will surely get involved in this spectacular water fight, even the police swaps their firearm with a toy water gun to join in the fun. Patong Beach is where Songkran happens full blown, though you might consider this place to be the center for bar hopping and the best nightlife. During Songkran, do indulge yourself in the intense water fight along Soi Bangla. 




Pattaya

When Pattaya is known as the party city of Thailand, it really does not come as shock that Songkran festivals here last longer than usuals. There will be water fights going on during the regular Songkran days (13th-15th April) but, uniquely, Pattaya celebrates into the following week too. Known in Thai as the Wan Lai Festival, this year the biggest day of revelry will be on April 19th so if you arrive in Thailand a little late this is your last chance to party. 

pic credit :expatkings.com

Now that you know where to spend your next holidays, time to book your tickets before it's all gone. Get cheap air tickets to the various parts of Thailand this year for the most rad and dope Songkran with Traveloka.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Lemon And Thyme Shortbread Cookies



I was searching a good shortbread cookies that is easy to make and taste good. When I came across this recipe from WriteOnRubee, I knew I had to make it. Lemon and thyme are a perfect match for this shortbread cookies. The recipe calls for 2 hours chilling in the fridge but I left it overnight as I wanted to bake them in the morning, reason being weather is cooler. 

I woke up at 5am , listen to a sermon on Youtube and spent 20 mins workout with my 1.5kg dumbbells. I had a great workout, bathe and within 15 mins, I had the shortbread cookies baking in the oven. Buttery, lemony thyme-y fragrance filled the whole kitchen . Even my furkids are excited.  They know they will be treated to a piece each :)  What to do, this mommy loves them so much.  Sharing is caring !  I made half a load which is about 25 pieces and just perfect for hubby and I .  For the next two days, we can have these delectable cookies for our tea or midnight snack :p  I love the beautiful texture , has a  light crunch, melts-in-mouth , bursting with lemon,thyme and buttery flavor.  It is truly addictive. I will surely make a full load on the next round.  Hubby is happy and I am happy.


you can see from the picture, I took a bite and gosh
it was so good that I almost forgot the photo session :p


 because I did a half load, I use the hand whisk I bought from Daiso
to cream the butter and sugar till creamy


I forgot to chop the thyme leaves :p

 because the weather is hot, I prefer to shape the
dough into a long log of 1" diameter ,using the cling wrap
to wrap the soft dough
Chilled the soft dough overnight before slicing
 into 1/4" thick slices


after a night in the fridge, it is easier to slice the dough


bake them for 17 mins @175C /350F till you see
the edges are slightly brown.

once the cookies has cooled down, use a spatula
to lift them onto a rack to further cool them
once harden, you can store them in air tight container


photoshoot time is my favourite time, 
I hate the washing up , I wish I have a maid to do it :p



Lemon And Thyme Shortbread Cookies - adapted from Write On Rubee

 * I halved the recipe when I make mine - 25 pieces

ingredients

250 g unsalted butter softened at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar *  I reduced sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 tsp of fresh thyme leaves  * I used 2 tsp
zest from 1 lemon
2 cups all purpose flour

Method:
1. Rub half the zest with your fingers into the sugar in a small bowl and set aside.

2. Using a hand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until it is smooth and creamy. Add both sugars and salt and continue to beat one minute more.

3. Reduce to low and beat in the egg yolks until blended.

4. Add flour, thyme, and the remainder of the zest and briefly pulse your mixer about 5 times at low speed . If you still see flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple of more times.  Mix just enough to incorporate the flour into the dough.  It should be a uniform, clumpy, soft dough.

5. Scrape it out onto a piece of cling wrap, pat it into a ball, and divide in half.  Gently flatten each piece into a oblong shape about an inch thick and chill for at least 2 hours.  ( or overnight )

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees when ready to bake and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

7. Remove dough from the refrigerator about 7-10 minutes before rolling, just so the dough softens enough to be slightly pliable.  Roll out to 1/4-inch thick and cut out shapes with a biscuit or cookie cutter.

8 .Place one inch apart on the prepared sheet and bake for about 15-17 minutes, rotating halfway through.  They should be pale on top and golden brown around the edges.

9.  Cool cookies for 1-2 minutes before transferring with a spatula to a cooling rack.

Tips:
1.  Butter with a higher butterfat percentage (which also means less water) = better cookies
2.  Grate the zest over the bowl of sugar to capture the spray of the citrus oils.
3.  Remember to allow time for the egg yolks and butter to come to room temperature.
4.  If the cookies soften too much after cutting, put them on the prepared pan and chill for 5 minutes before going into the oven.  You want them to be cold when they go in the oven or they can spread.
5. You can also roll the dough into two logs and chill (or freeze).  Before slicing, brush with beaten egg yolk and roll in coarse or sanding sugar. These were rolled in demerara/turbinado sugar.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Mix Grains Sausage Bun


Nothing beats kneading a piece of dough gently...it is so therapeutic . I have learned to add mix grains into my dough to increase our fibre intake.  Cannot just depend on the edibles from the garden :) Hubby loves it and that is most important. And he being a meat eater,  I add sausages for him.  With the same recipe, I made another load without sausages for a friend.  I remembered those days I used to bake for my kids when they were schooling.  They loved the buns that I baked for them.  Sweet memories indeed. Now I bake mostly for hubby.  He loves homebaked buns and I took the opportunity to bake ....killing two birds with one stone as the saying goes. He gets to eat and I get to enjoy playing with the dough :)  This recipe is a keeper no doubt. I used the same recipe for making burger buns and just add mix grains and brings the bun to a healthier level.


I add butter to the sausage bun before wrapping
for extra oomps


not just kneading is fun but to braid the dough is fun too


 brush a coat of milk and a toss of mix grains
before sending them to the oven


love the scent of freshly baked buns
it is a natural aromatherapy for the home

I enjoy the soft fluffy texture of the bun


I made another load with dried cranberries and mix grains
this is more healthy without the sausages



dried cranberries  added for extra oomps



before mixing into the dough, cut the dried cranberries to 
smaller bits
 


gently knead till dough is light and dough leaves the side
of the mixing bowl and divide equally and shaped
into balls



Mix Grains Sausage Buns
  
ingredients:

200g bread flour
60g plain flour
70g mix grains
 *add 70g dried cranberries if you want to make the Mix grains cranberry bun
125 ml full cream milk 
42g caster sugar
1/2 tsp of salt
3g instant yeast
1 egg  - grade C, beaten
85 g water dough
25 g unsalted butter

8 chicken sausages

Recipe for the water dough " water-roux"

Cook 125g water with 25 g bread flour at medium low heat, keep stirring until it become thicken and no lumps left. If you've a candy thermometer, measure it until the temperature turn to 65C and turn of the heat. Cook it until quite liquid consistency like the baby porridge. Transfer to a clean bowl to cool down. Use only amount required. The rest can be kept in the fridge for 2  to 3 days only. If there is grey mold, throw away.

Method:

1.Place all the ingredients for kneading except the butter until everything come together and become a smooth dough, then add in the butter a little at a time.

2. Let the dough slowly absorb the butter. Gently knead till dough is smooth and leave the side of bowl and not sticking to the hand.

3. Let it proof for 50-60 mins in a clean bowl cover with cling wrap.

4. Divide dough into even size of 8 portions or any size you like it to be then let it rest for 10 minutes.

5. Shape the dough into smooth round shape. Roll out flat into a oblong shape. Cut slant slit on both side. Place the sausage in the middle and braid them ,covering the sausage. You can butter the sausage first before braiding. Place the braided bun on a greased baking tray. Repeat till all is done. 

* For making the mix grains with dried cranberries buns, shaped into round balls 

6.  Leave the buns to proof for another 30-40 mins .

7. Brush milk over the surface of the braided buns and toss some mix grains over the surface.  Bake at a preheated oven @180-200C  middle shelf ( depends on your oven ) for 25-30 mins till golden brown.

* For making the mix grains with dried cranberries buns, shaped into round balls