Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas To All



Christmas is a time to reflect
On all that God has done
It's not a matter of what we get,
But the birth of the Holy one
It's not about gifts
With ribbons and bows,
Or Christmas trees,
Tinsel and mistletoe
The Christmas gift given to us,
Is Jesus Christ's
Gift of love.

- M.S.Lowndes


MERRY CHRISTMAS 
and
A HAPPY NEW YEAR !







Friday, December 20, 2013

Banana Blueberry Lemon Muffins




Some months back, I discovered this wonderful blog - Dragon's Kitchen and since then it has become my secret online recipe book :) I love every insanely delicious looking bakes and food that Paula posted up on her blog.


As I was browsing thru' her blog , I came across this mouth watering muffin she posted up - Banana Blueberry Lemon Muffins and after reading the post, I knew I have to bake it.....it is one fantastic muffin...it has a crunchy top and has a soft and moist texture and the combination of blueberries, banana and lemon was indeed great.  As it was baking in the oven, the lemony aroma filled in the air. It smelled and tasted good  that WB devoured two while it was still cooling down on the cake rack !  I am surprised that he ate them because he doesn't eat muffins except those buns that I baked during weekend. I guessed the lemon rind mixed with the sugar sprinkled on top gave the muffins the crunch and the aroma of baked lemon rind really whet one's appetite :) 

















Banana Blueberry Lemon Muffins ( taken from Dragon's Kitchen)

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
2/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup blueberries
2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
3 tablespoons sugar

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly grease muffin tin.

2. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of the lemon rind.

3. Beat together bananas, eggs, brown sugar, butter, lemon juice and vanilla until blended.

4. Stir in dry ingredients until blended. Stir in blueberries just until combined. Spoon into prepared muffin cups, dividing batter equally.

5. For the topping, combine sugar and remaining lemon rind in small dish. Sprinkle evenly over the muffins.

6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden.



Enjoy!




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Why Choose AMS?

WB was sharing with me during dinner about Marx, his friend from the States, wanting to get the right product fulfillment company to run his company for him. It is important for him to get the right company because this fulfillment company will play a major role in its success or bring about challenges that Marx rather not face.  He told WB that he had chosen AMS Fulfillment Services for his one time promotional distribution project.

I asked WB why Marx chose AMS?  AMS stands for Advantage Media Services, Inc., is a third party resource for Warehouse Management, Order Management and Fulfillment Services. It seems Marx told WB that AMS  has a team of professionals who are experienced in the industry and they have managed billions of dollars in distribution and they ensure that the programs are well managed while budgets are maintained or proactively reduced. AMS use sophisticated systems technology, proven methodologies and for Inventory Control to ensure inventories are properly maintained, accounted for and reported upon. Well, hearing this from WB, I guess Marx has chosen the right and proper fulfillment company and I am sure he does not need to worry much about his project since he as found a reliable and professionals to do it for him.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Walnut Spice Cookies


I made these cookies last Christmas and will be making this again this weekend as my Piggies will be back for Christmas.  I will be making more this time as my Piggy Jo will be taking some back to Uni. Just like the old days when she just entered college :)  Homemade cookies are tastier and healthier coz you know what you have in the cookies :)  The texture is crispy and crunchy and the subtle smell of the tangy lemon rind and the cinnamon flavor plus the crunch from the walnuts makes these wonderful cookies to be served to guests this coming festive season…I think I don’t need to elaborate more on how good these cookies are.   Another cookie recipe for Christmas for all.

















Walnut Spice Cookies -  ( adapted from Flavour Mag Nov-Dec '09 issue)


Ingredients:




250g all purpose flour
5g ground cinnamon
3 g fine salt
230 g unsalted butter, softened
150 caster sugar
1 large egg yolk
150 g walnuts, chopped
1 egg white, beaten, for egg wash
* white sesame seeds – sprinkle (optional)

Preparation:

Sift the flour and cinnamon powder into a mixing bowl; mix in the salt.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy – about 3 minutes. Add in egg yolk and mix to combine.
Reduce speed to low, add in flour mixture and walnuts, and mix until combined.
Divide dough into 4 and roll into 3 cm diameter logs. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes, or until firm.

To bake : Preheat the oven to 180º C. Line the baking tray. Cut chilled dough into 1 cm- thick discs and place, 3 cm apart, on lined baking tray. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown.

Cool for a few minutes on the baking tray and transfer to a wire rack for further cooling. The cookies will keep for 2 weeks in an air-tight jar.




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Mike's Place - Green Deal Scheme

There is a new place in town , a cafe serving chapatis and delicious dhal and chicken curries and many mouth watering delectable dishes.  WB and I were invited to dinner to try out this new place last Tuesday.  The food served is really delicious and I will definitely take my Piggies there when they are back.  While we were there, we met Ben from UK. He came back for a short break from work and this Mike's Place is owned by his brother Mike. No wonder the cafe is named Mike's Place :)

Had a great chat with Ben and one of the topics that pop out was that the UK government is giving Green Deal Scheme to all house owners and business owners in UK.  He had signed up for the Green Deal Scheme and he is happy that through this scheme , he is able to save money on energy and help the environment. The government grants for solar makes it easy and affordable to improve the energy efficiency on one's home and business premise. And because the Green Deal stays with the property, rather than the owner, the owner will only pay back the cost of improvements while he is enjoying the benefits of reduced energy costs.  If he moves, the new owners will take on the payments. I think this is a great Green Deal the UK government is giving. This Green Deal covers improvements like home insulation, heating, double glazing, and even solar panels and wind turbines.

After hearing this from Ben, I would like to share this piece of news with my friends and readers who are staying in UK and have not heard of this Green Deal Scheme. You can check it out and see if this scheme will benefits you :)



Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Internet Marketing For Small Businesses

Businessmen are busy people.  My brother runs a small business and he has to do everything himself. He deals with import and export of dried food stuff. Business is slow and he is not happy at the way things are going.  He has to think of new ways of reaching out to the international market. His business is listed in the yellow pages but it does not seem to increase his business at all.  After consulting a few business friends, they told him that the yellow pages are things of the past.  In a high tech world, people go to their PC or smart phone to search for products they want.  They don't dig into yellow pages anymore.  They recommended that he log in to http://www.RevLocal.com and see what they have to offer him.  


RevLocal.com  helps small businesses achieve better visiblity in internet marketing. Their methods of local search marketing provides a better penetration and search results on Google Plus Local, Bing Local, Yelp, and many, many other directories.  They cooperate the listing data to reach hundreds of directories with their clients lastest data updates . Services offered also include the following - a granular, local approach to PPC campaigns, with full data analytics, landing pages and conversion rate optimization. And a  Full WordPress website development with local SEO and mobile as a focus.  This also include Social Media Management, Content creation, and graphic design done in a way that local search prominence is a constant frame of reference.  I believe with the help of RevLocal.com , my brother will be able to project his company to a more competitive front.








Sunday, December 15, 2013

Durian Layered Cake





























This post is from Elinluv's Tidbits Corner .  I am migrating all the bake posts from there to my dessert blog here :)

This is one fantastic cake and it was so scrumptiously good that every mouthful was deliciously satisfying. The sponge cake was light and moist, the durian filling was creamy rich and sweet and of course with the sweet aroma of the King of fruits. This cake must be eaten chilled……one word to describe this cake…HEAVENLY !

the sponge cake was light and moist


I have recreated one nearly as good as the proffessional ;p
and I am pleased..I managed to capture
the essence of the cake :))

This cake is dedicated
to my dearly departed nephew Ernest
for the inspiration he gave when he was with us.


He loved this cake!


Durian Layered Cake

For the Sponge Cake

Ingredients:
4 eggs
½ cup sugar, divided into 2 portions
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ cup superfine flour
3 tbsp of vegetable oil
¼ tsp lemon juice
50 ml milk

Cointreau Liqueur– spray on the layered sponge * optional
Preparation:
Preheat oven to 180 ̊ C

Sift the flour together with the baking powder twice to airate the flour.
Separate the egg yolk from the white .
In the bowl with the egg white, add the cream of tartar and lemon juice and beat until thicken. Add in ¼ cup of sugar and beat further until the mixture shines.
In another bowl, beat the egg yolk with the remainder ¼ cup of sugar until the sugar dissolve.
Add milk and vegetable oil into the egg yolk mixture and stir to mix well.
Fold in the flour mixture into the egg yolk mixture.
Gently fold in 1/3 of the egg yolk flour mixture into the egg white until blend. Repeat with the remainder of the egg yolk in 1/3 portions.

Pour the mixture into 2 parchment paper lined 4” circular cake pan. Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or till cooked. Remove from the oven and invert cakes on a cake rack and let it cool completely before cutting them into 3 layers each.

Creamy Durian Fillings

Ingredients:
300gms of fresh durian pulps
100gms of non-diary whip cream

Preparation:

Whip the non-diary cream till it can holds its form
(Do not over whipped )
Gently fold the durians pulps to the cream till evenly mixed
Chilled in the fridge till ready for use.

Frosting:
200 gms of non-diary whip cream – whip till it is stiff and hold its form


Assembling the cake

Cut the sponge cake into 3 layers each. Spray each layer with cointreau and apply a thick layer of durian cream filling, place the 2nd layer of sponge, spray the cointreau on the surface, apply the durian cream filling…repeat until finished.

Frosting the cake

Spread the whipped cream on the sides and top of the cake . Decorate with cream piping as desired. Place the cake in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

* the Cointreau adds flavour to the sponge cake and keep your cake moist :)


Enjoy !



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New Year Eve's Buffet Dinner Brochures

My brother restaurant in New Jersey is having a NY Eve's Buffet Dinner and he is busy searching for a printing company to print thousands of brochures for their special buffet dinner.  He is giving a special package for families who are lazy or too busy to prepare meals for the family on New Year eve.  I introduced him to zoo printing .  He is happy with what they have to offer him.  Brochures are a popular format for sharing detailed information in a highly presentable way.  He chose the one which suit his budget . Colorful design and the food photos turned out mouth watering and I am sure with this colorful brochures, he will have great result and I am sure every tables will be fully booked for New Year Eve's night.




Change My Outlook? :)

The other day , my church friend was telling me that I should change my eyeglasses for a more younger outlook. I asked  myself , should I?  Well, WB encouraged me and say that I should get a more stylish looking frame that will make me look younger.  I got offended by his statement. As if I am looking aged now :p  Just kidding, I valued his opinion and thought that I should listen to him and get myself one stylish looking frame so that I will look younger .  Yea, I should look around for a pair of nice looking one and Jo sent me a link to this site whereby we can ordered online for the whole family and save some money.  Cool...now I have to gather all the family members and make them change their eyeglasses too.  Yea, I think I will have to convince all of them!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

















Everyone loves this tantalizing dark brown bar called C-H-O-C-O-L-A-T-E . Needless to say Piggies love them and can never resist one.

Ask Piggy boy what kind of cake he wants for his birthday… chocolate cake. Ask him what ice-cream flavor he prefers ,he will also answer chocolate flavor… Ask him what cookies he prefers , he will answer chocolate cookies..haih…ever since a toddler he will go for chocolate :) A chocoholic no doubt. .

My Piggy Josh used to smsed me for some  nice chocolate cookies to take back to hostel when he was in college some years back.  I searched for the easiest to bake chocolate cookies :)   I used the Macademia Nut Cookies recipe …added dark chocolate powder to the flour and used hazelnuts instead of macademia nuts …Tada in less than ½ hour, the cookies were baked to a heavenly smelling and wonderfully shaped chocolate hazelnut cookies. It was O-I-I-S-H-I ( delicious ) !!!  You can make these for the coming Christmas.  Christmas without chocolate is unthinkable :p



Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

Ingredients:

125g butter
60g brown sugar
130g plain flour
20g dark chocolate powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/8 tsp salt
1 large egg yolk
60g hazelnuts – chopped
40g chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4.

Method:

Beat together the butter and sugar until it is pale and creamy.

Beat in the vanilla extract and egg yolk. Sift the plain flour and chocolate powder together. Add the salt, flour and chocolate powder mixture , chocolate chips and chopped nuts. Mix until you have a smooth dough, with the only lumps being the chocolate and nuts.

Using your hands, roll the dough into golf-sized balls and lightly press each one flat on to a greased baking sheet, making sure they are spread slightly apart.

Bake for 12 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and let cool for a couple of minutes before either eating or cooling completely on a wire rack.


Make this for Christmas and I am sure your family
will simply love it :)


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Dog Door For Our Charco :p

Our pet dog Charco is not a guard dog. Though he is such a huge giant, we allowed him to stay indoor with us.  Strange right?  Since our kids have left our nest for further studies and job opportunity in other States...we have no choice but to fill in the emptiness with this huge dog.  He became our kid in the house :) He knows us a Mommy and Daddy.  Whenever WB says " go mommy there" he will run to me and lick me....ahhh he is such an adorable creature who we called our " four legged son ". WB was looking through some websites on patio pet doors because he thought of making a door for Charco to go in and out as he wishes.  But looking at Charco's size, a door that is big enough for him to go through will be big enough for the robbers to enter our house ! LOL!  Thus we cannot have the pet door made for him unless later we have a smaller pet dog at home.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Strawberry Cheese Cake


This is the cake my Piggy Jo baked for me for Mother's Day, when she just started college . That was many years ago.  Today , I would like to share with you once again this Strawberry Cheese Cake...a beautiful cake packed with strawberries and rich with cream cheese and finished with strawberry jelly top. Lovely cake to bake for the coming Christmas :) 

















Strawberry Cheese Cake (adapated from Cadware Baking Cookbook )


Ingredients: Base

2 slices of sponge cake (9" round )

IngredientsCake

(A) 
120 ml fresh milk
4 egg yolks - Grade A
160 gm caster sugar
(B) 
2 tbsp gelatine powder
75ml water
(C)
250 gm  cream cheese
(D)
350 gm whipping cream
(E)
120 gm strawberry - diced

Ingredients : Topping

(F)
150 ml water
150 gm strawberry pie filling
8 gm instant jelly powder

Method:

1. Melt ingredients A in a bowl over hot water until smooth and creamy. Melt ingredients B in another bowl over hot water until the gelatine powder melts.
2. Whip (C) until thick and creamy ( about 2 minutes) . Add in ingredients A and B. Blend well. Finally add whipping cream and stir till smooth.
3. Layer 1 slice of sponge cake on a 9" cake ring. Pour half of the batter on the cake. Sandwich a layer of strawberries and layer another slice of sponge cake on top of the strawberries. Pour the remaining batter on top. Even the surface and chill in the refrigerator until it is almost set.
4. Mix ingredients F and melt over heat. When the mixture is cooled, pour it onto the cheese cake. Re-chill the cheese cake in the refrigerator for 2 hours before serving.


Enjoy !

HOPE Musical Concert - 15 December @Canning Garden Methodist Church

Our church will be having ' HOPE ' musical concert on 15 December. It is a fund raising concert for our  " Lighthouse Street Ministry ".  The funds is to fund all the meals given to the street people who has no home or family to go to.  Tickets are from RM500 to RM30  . Most of the tickets are already sold off :)  Time to do charity since it is Christmas.  A time of giving love .  Our music ministry is helping out with the stage decoration and preparing the sound system plus equipment.  We are pleased that the we managed to get the stage subwoofers for sale at musicians friend early this year.  These PA speakers are designed to handle low pitched bass frequencies. The musical will be a success with such good stage PA speakers.  We  pray for fine weather this coming Sunday.






Chocolate Hazelnut Cake




Christmas is just around the corner and chocolate is never a miss for Christmas.  I baked this cake for last Christmas and I would like to take this moment to share with you Aunty Yochana's Chocolate Hazelnut Cake .  It is chocolatey and moist.  Nice to serve this cake beside the normal fruit cake for friends and relatives who drop by on Christmas .Day :)


Chocolate Hazelnut Cake ( Aunty Yochana )


Ingredients for cake:


150 gm. Butter
120 gm. sugar
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
125 gm. cake flour
15 gm. cocoa powder ( I halved this with black chocolate powder)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
30 gm. Orange juice
1/2 orange zest
75 gm. toasted hazelnuts - chopped


Ganache for pouring onto cake:
150 gm. bittersweet chocolate
100 gm. whipping cream
10 gm. butter


Method:
(1) Cream butter and sugar till creamy. Add egg one at a time till batter is smooth and light.
(2) Fold in flour, salt and baking powder with a spatula until well combined. Then add in orange juice, orange zest and toasted hazelnuts.
(3) Pour batter into 7" to 8" heart shape pan and bake at 175C for about 45 mins. or till cooked.
(4) Cool the cake on cooling rack till completely cooled.
(5) Pour Ganache on top and place some white chocolate shavings on top. Chill in the fridge till ganache sets.

Note: For Ganache, double-boil whipping cream then pour onto chocolate and stir till smooth. Add in butter and stir till well combined.



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Josh's Electric Keyboard

When Josh left for Singapore to work, he left behind some stuff with the sister.  And the most biggest item is his electric keyboard  ! Piggy Jo took it to her hostel and kept in the study room.  She is hall tutor  so she has a bigger room and has a study area. She is pleased that the keyboard is with her for when she is free and need some relaxation, she will play the keyboard and entertain herself.  She finds playing the keyboard a great therapy after a whole day coop up in the university lab.  Josh is lucky that the sister did not complain but infact pleased that he left that behind for her.  Entertainment plus relaxation is what she needed now :) 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Assorted Mushrooms Quiche


I am hooked on mushroom quiche after having tasted those from Tammy's Kitchen. I tried to replicate those sold at Tammy and I am surprised that it is tasted good.  75 percent as near to those of Tammy :p .  Mixed Mushroom Quiche recipe from Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbook .

I took on the advice of The Little Teochew and used crème fraiche and it turned out smooth and more tasty and I used fresh mushrooms like shiitake, korean shimeiji and oyster mushroom for the fillings with lotz of cheddar and mozzarella cheese.  Actually , it is not that hard to make, if not for my arm, I would want to make this everyday :p  Pity WB who has to do the washing and cleaning up everyday . 

















Mixed Mushroom Quiche


Crust :

½ cup wholemeal flour
½ cup plain flour
125g butter
1 egg yolk
2 tsp lemon juice

Fillings:
650 g of mixed mushrooms, such as oyster, chanterelle, shiitake and Portobello
2 pips garlic – chopped fine
1 tsp black pepper - ground
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 tbsp of butter
80 ml crème fraiche
3 eggs
150 g grated cheddar cheese & mozarella
28 g pine nuts - * I omitted this


Method:


Sift flours into basin, return husks from sifter to basin, rub in butter, add egg yolk and enough lemon juice to just combine ingredients. Cover, refrigerate 30 mins. Roll out the pastry dough and transfer to a 9” flan tin. Bake blind for 10 mins. Remove from the oven and cool the tart shell.

To prepare the fillings.
Blend together the crème fraiche and eggs together until smooth. Heat the butter and olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the garlic , black pepper till fragrant , add in the mushrooms and stir fry for 10-15 mins until they are tender and any liquid has evaporated.

To assemble :
Layer ½ of the mushroom mixture, half of the grated cheese mixture on the tart shell , repeat the layer process and fill up with the crème fraiche and egg mixture. Sprinkle with pine nuts and bake for 30 mins or until the filling is golden brown. * I omitted the pine nuts – I sprinkle some rosemary herbs on the surface instead.



Enjoy!


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Physiotherapy At Fatima Hospital

After my surgery of ' subacromial decompression ', I am undergoing 3 months of physiotherapy.  And I came to know a lot of new friends at the ' torture chamber' :) Why I called it torture chamber ? Coz the physio is quite painful for me .There is this old lady of 60 who recently suffered a mild stroke and had difficulty in walking. After a year of therapy, she could walk with the help of a walking cane. After our physio, we usually go for a cup of tea at the hospital cafeteria which is just next door.  She told me that her doctor prescribed that she takes clopidogrel generic plavix daily.  I asked her what this pill is and she explained that it reduces the chance of having a heart attack or a stroke in peole who have already had a heart attack or a stroke. The pill can also decrease the chance of a heart attach or stroke in certain groups of people a high risk for these events. This pill has to be prescribed by doctors. After chatting with her, I become aware that we have to take care of our health.  Exercise is still the best prevention besides being careful of the food we partake in :)

Crunchy Cornflakes Bites




A colleague brought these irresistible bites to the office for us and knowing us, thick skin women, we pestered her untill she gave us the recipe..haha how horrible it was now thinking back (“,) She told us that she got it from the internet :) and here is the recipe for this simple to make bites.

I prefer to munch on this crunchy delicious oats and cornflakes bites then some junks food with msg. I hope this will mark the exodus of Twisties and Chipsters  and other msg junks (“,)  WB likes junk food and I would prefer he takes on these crunchy bites. This is healthy snack and easy to make not to mention it is crunchy and has a nice light fragrant of honey and golden syrup..hmmm a keeper for sure. These are great for the coming Christmas...children and adults will surely love these :)
















Crunchy Oats & Cornflakes Bites


Ingredients:

250 gm butter
1 cup castor sugar ** I used 1/2 cup
3 cups oat
350 gm cornflakes (crushed )
2 tbsp honey
2tbsp golden syrup

Method:



Beat the butter and castor sugar together till creamy. Add in the honey and golden syrup and stir it till well mixed. Add in the oats and lastly the cornflakes. Scoop into small paper cups and baked at 160º C for 20 minutes till golden brown. Keep in air tight container when it is completely cool.



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Remake Of Kitchen Drawers :)

Recently ,I have so much time resting at home...on medical leave for 3 months , that I have a look at all my kitchen cabinets.  Many of the cabinet doors are in bad shape.  Looking through them , I realised that it is time to renovate the cabinets. Kitchen cabinet door hinges are rusty.  Soon the doors will come apart. And for drawers that slide , I have to add drawer slides .  Really , I have to have a proper kitchen cabinet organizers before I retire.  I can enjoy my retirement then , cooking and baking with a well organized kitchen :) Mmmm, time to sit down and discuss with WB.  The kitchen is my paradise so it has to be in proper order for I will be spending most of my time there .

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

White Chocolate Hazelnuts Cookies



I looked through one of the Australian Women's Weekly cookbooks, I found this White Chocolate Macademia Nuts Cookies recipe and thought it would be great for Christmas . I substituted macademia nuts with hazelnuts and vanilla essence with orange juice. I reduced the sugar and white chocolate coz I don't like them too sweet. Hmmmmm…the cookies were fantastically yummy. The light tangy orange scent added flavor to the cookies.. Easy to make and melts in the mouth.  If you have yet to bake your Christmas cookies...you can try these.  Very refreshing and delicious !


White Chocolate Hazelnuts Cookies - taken from Australian Women's Weekly

Ingredients:

120g butter softened (original  is 125g)
60g soft light brown sugar (ori is 85g)
1/2 tbsp orange juice ( ori is 1 tsp vanilla essence )
1 large egg yolk
150 g plain flour
40 g white chocolate chips ( ori is 75g white chocolate chopped)
50 g hazelnuts – chopped ( ori is 50g macademia nuts -chopped)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4.


Beat together the butter and sugar until it is pale and creamy, in an electric mixer. Beat in the orange juice and egg yolk. Add the flour, white chocolate chips and chopped nuts. Mix until you have a smooth dough, with the only lumps being the chocolate and nuts. Using your hands, roll the dough into marble-sized balls and lightly press each one flat on to a greased baking sheet, making sure they are spread slightly apart.
Bake for 12 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and let cool for a couple of minutes before either eating or cooling completely on a wire rack. 



Enjoy!



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Piggy Jo And Her Swarovski Crystals Craze

My Piggy Jo is crazy over Swarovski crystals.  She loves them to bits and she is thinking of getting some fashion jewelry for herself and some as Christmas gifts for her loved ones...meaning me? :) She showed me this website  that has some sales going on.  I like what I see. I saw this beautiful snowflake bangle bracelet and I fell in love with it...ohhhh temptation temptation and without me knowing , I added it to my cart..hahaha WB will jump when the statement comes :p But he has not seen what Piggy Jo ordered for herself yet, he will jump higher when her statement comes.  Nope , I was just kidding. She ordered a few  Swarovski crystal earrings and a pendant Forever Mom Necklace.  I guess that must be for me..my Christmas pressie ?  Wait , I shall know when Christmas Day comes :)

Banana Bread



















Going ‘Naners '! It’s been a while since I last baked anything with b-a-n-a-n-a-s. Banana Bread is in my ' to-do ' list and since I have this sudden craze to have it for breakfast , I set about to prepare all the ingredients to make this wonderful piece of golden brown loaf called Banana Bread :)))) F-A-N-T-A-S T-I-C !!!

Bananas has the most nutritional benefits compared to other fruits . Rich in vitamins and minerals and has a high fiber content. Read here if you want to know the medicinal uses of bananas. But I know one thing… I have lotz of bananas recipes waiting to be tested out in my kitchen. I even have one Banana Nutcho Ice-Cream recipe on my to-do list …. ( imagine banana and macadaemia nuts together in ice cream ) heehee ..yummilicious no doubt!

This is my first try in making a banana bread which uses butter. Normally oil is used for banana bread . It came out nice…soft texture , slightly moist and the sweetness is just nice for people who doesn’t like it too sweet. I used ‘ Pisang Rastali ’ ( name of a local banana ) which has a nice fragrant and the smell is not overpowering .


soft texture and the pistachio nuts makes it yummz...


Banana Bread

Ingredients:

1 1/3 c all purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
5 tbsp butter (room temp)
2/3 c sugar ( I used 1/2 c )
2 large eggs (slightly beaten, room temp)
1 tsp vanilla
1 c mashed very ripe bananas
1/2 c coarsely chopped pistachios

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place the rack in the center of the oven. Grease a 6 cup (8 1/2 X 4 1/2 inch) loaf pan.

2. Whisk together the flour, salt, soda and powder and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy.

3. Beat in the flour mixture on low speed until well blended and the consistency of brown sugar. Gradually beat in the eggs and vanilla.

4. Fold in the mashed banana and chopped nuts, until just combined.

5. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool in the pan or a rack for 5 to 10 minutes before unmolding to completely on a rack. Slice it only when it is completely cool.

Enjoy!!


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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Ultimate Look For Me?

Well, everyone is complaining about my looks. My friends just cannot accept that I looked young but having silver threads all over.  They lectured me on my looks and ask me to go for a total restyling of my hair.  I told them off and say with the wide range of wigs and hair pieces, why do I need to dye my hair to look young.  I can just log in to http://www.ultimatelooks.com/ and have a look at their beautiful hair pieces. I can choose whatever style I want and I can have great hair everyday !  Dye the hair every now and then will have me bald in no time as my scalp is sensitive to the chemical in the hair dye. Now with this new trend of hair styling and hair pieces, we do not need to dye our hair.  We can have any style we want and have great hair everyday :)

Moist Chocolate Cake With White Chocolate Cheese Fillings





















This is a moist chocolate cake with white chocolate cheese fillings. Old post taken from Elinluv's Tidbits Corner . You must be wondering how come the chocolate is so dark.  Well, I used the chocolate powder from Germany. I bought it from Wah Seng, Jalan Cockman, Ipoh.  Very pricey but it has a dark rich chocolatey taste.  I used the steaming method instead of baking it.  This dark moist chocolate cake is the steamed version from Dralion of kitchencapers forum and the fillings I got it somewhere from the internet ( can’t remember where I got it from :p . Another great cake for Christmas party :)

















Steam Moist Chocolate Cake - adapted from Kitchen Capers

1 1/2 bar of butter (250 gm + 125 gm) OR Corn Oil **
2 cups of castor sugar
1 can of Evaporated Milk
4 eggs,lightly beaten with a folk
2 cups of Plain flour ***
1 cup of Cocoa powder
1 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp Baking soda
1 tsp Vanilla Extract or 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla essence

*** this recipe can be halve easily

1) Combine castor sugar,Evaporated milk,vanilla extract or essence and butter in a saucepan.
2) Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted,off fire and
keep warm.
3) Add the beaten eggs into the slightly cold Evaporated milk mixture and stir till well mix.
4) Sift the flour,cocoa powder,baking powder and baking soda into a large mixing bowl then pour the eggs mixture over the flour and stir till well mix (cake batter should be runny).
5) Heat up the steamer.
6) Lined and greased a 9 inch baking pan or 2 9'inch sandwich pan.
7) Pour the batter into prepared pan and place the pans into the steamer and cover the top of the pan losely with a piece of aluminuim foil.
8) Steam over medium heat for 1 1/2 hour (45 mins for 1/2 recipe/ingredients).
9) Cold the cake in pan before turning out for further decoration.



Recipe for the White Chocolate Cheese Filling ( meant for cupcakes )

4 oz white chocolates
4 oz cheese cream
¼ cup milk
½ tsp vanilla essence


Melt the white chocolate with the milk in a double boiler. Whip the cheese cream with the vanilla essence till creamy..slowly add in the white chocolate milk mixture to the cheese cream and whip till well combined. Leave it in the fridge for at least 2 hrs before applying on the chocolate cake.

Assembling the cake

Cut the cake into 2 layers. Apply all the white chocolate cheese filling on the first layer . Cover the 2nd layer and frost the cake with the non-diary whip cream ( whip till stiff)
Add chocolate shavings as toppings . Leave it in the fridge to chill and serve it chilled .



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Peggy - Nursing And Medical Scrubs

My friend's daughter, Peggy, has graduated from nursing school in the NJ and she is now assigned to the surgery/operation theatre.  She is very excited and can't wait to tell us about her new posting . There are many things she has know . For example, the types of medical scrubs she has to know and the function of each type.

She shared with us during our meet up for high tea in one of the famous tea house in town and you can guess how bubbly she looks when she touched on her job scope and the things relating to her new task :)  She told us that she has looked up on the types of medical scrubs available online at www.blueskyscrubs.com . And she has found her favourite color and the design she wants. And on and on she was blabbering to us about her newly assigned job task during the whole time we were eating our tea cakes.  Her mom and myself just rolled our eyes , but deep down, I know that Jessica is proud of her daughter Peggy and I am proud of her too.

Blue Sky Scrubs provides nursing scrubs, medical scrubs and hospital uniforms and their recent release of scrub hats, which became a must have accessory for doctors, nurses, surgeons, dentists and other professionals worldwide.  They produces the finest and most fashionable medical scrubs available. You can't find them on any retail stores but only from their online store at www.blueskyscrubs.com.  So if you searching for fashionable and finest medical scrubs and scrub hats, you can log in to view their wide range of products and colors there.  We both toast her with our cup of greyearl tea instead of champagne :)  All the best in your new job Peggy !



Monday, December 9, 2013

The Hustle And Bustle Of Christmas Season - Fruit Cake



As you know Christmas is just 3 weeks away and I have been busy baking fruit cakes as gifts for friends and loved ones.  They love my fruit cake and every year without fail ,I will bake as gifts for them.  Besides baking fruit cakes, I baked cookies and store them in beautiful jars as gifts when I visit my relatives during the Christmas holidays.  

After every baking session , the kitchen will be messy and especially this year, after my surgery, WB is looped in to help with the baking and you can imagine the scenario.  He uses every thing his hand can grab. The numbers of mixing bowls and baking utensils he uses filled up the sink . I know he will grumble if I were to ask him to do the washing as well .  He hates washing the dishes when they are greasy.  Thus the only way to make things easy for both of us is to dump all the greasy utensils and mixing bowls into the dishwasher . Washing up at the sinks has been proven to use on average more water per place setting than washing by hand. I know that I can save energy if I were to use the dishwasher . I just need to load a dishwasher and make things easy for WB :)  It is a blessing to have a dishwasher at home and when we have parties and for instances like this, why not leave the grottiest of all tasks to a machine, so we can be more productive and enjoy some much deserved time together after a hard day of baking :)

















I am happy to say this, finally, all the fruit cakes are wrapped up in foil and letting them matured in the fridge. Every two days, I will sprinkle rum on them so that by the time they are delivered to my relatives, the cake will taste good !  I am sure my relatives and friends are waiting patiently for this gift :)

Recipe taken from Joyofbaking



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Gifts For Christmas - A Pair Of Sterling Cuff For WB

As usual, shopping online for Christmas is so much convenient nowadays.  I still have some christmas shopping list not done yet.  These days, I don't go out much as I am still on MC till 20 Dec :) so I do much of the Christmas shopping online.  I have yet to get WB his Christmas gift.  I saw nice leather wallet but on second thoughts, I thought of getting him a pair of sterling silver cuff for him as it has been years since I last bought him a pair. Yea, I think it would be a great idea getting him one for Christmas.  Mmmm, the more I see the design , the most I want to get him the silver cuff :)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Banana Caramel Cake
















I am excited now and can’t wait to share with you , this wonderful Banana Caramel Cake (“,) This is no ordinary banana cake ! It is truly a slice of Heaven! The combo of cream cheese , banana , the amber colored caramel and fresh cream ( I used plain yoghurt instead of fresh cream ) was awesome... a truly moist and cheese scented cake ! This cake is simply AWESOME ! Every bite you get to taste the banana and cream cheese cubes mmmMmmmm you have to bake this to believe me :))))

Credit goes to one of my favourite food blogger – Piggy’s Cooking Journal . Thanks for sharing such an awesome cake. I have tried it and I LOVE IT !
















Banana Caramel Cake  - adapted from Piggy's Cooking Journal

Ingredients

For the caramel
60g castor sugar
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp hot water
2 tbsps fresh cream

For the cake
180 g self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
115g caster sugar
3 eggs, separated
1 1/2 bananas cut into thickness of 0.5cm
30g cream cheese, cut into small cubes

Method:
To prepare caramel
1)  Cook sugar and water in a saucepan.  When the syrup turn into amber color, remove from heat immediately.
2) Stir in hot water, follow by cream. Set aside.

To prepare cake batter
1) Preheat the oven to 180 deg C. Grease a 18X8cm rectangular baking pan, line with baking paper.
2) Using an electric mixer, whip butter, cream cheese and 75g of sugar until the mixture turns pale and fluffy.
3) Continue whipping the mixture , add in egg yolks one by one. With each addition, whip until the batter just combine.
4) In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy. Continue to whisk and at the same time, add remaining 40g of sugar in 5 batches. Whip the egg white until stiff peak forms.
5) Using a rubber spatula , stir in 1/3 of egg white into cream cheese mixture from Step (3). Sift flour and baking powder over the batter, stir until combine.
6) Fold remaining egg white in 2 additions, stir quickly and scraping down the bottom of the bowl making sure that the batter is well combined.
7) Lastly, stir in banana pieces and caramel. Scrape the batter into the baking pan then scatter with cream cheese cubes.
8) Bake in pre-heated oven for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake turns out clean.


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Choosing Christmas Gifts :)

Christmas is just around the corner and as usual I will be hunting for gifts for my loved ones and friends. What about you?  Still at a lost as what to get for your friends and loved ones?  I have been surfing around for gifts and I saw some beautiful watches and of the whole range of Movado watches  I love this one the best - Ladies' Movado Amorosa Diamond -Mother of Pearl Watch . Sleek and beautiful .  Perfect for my Piggy gal :p  Oops it is suppose to be a surprise so I am not going to show the picture of the watch.  Love the design and I think Piggy gal deserves this watch :)

Christmas is full of surprises.  But I really hope I will not be getting recipe books but a watch like this too :p