Saturday, April 8, 2017

Purple Sweet Potato Hot Cross Bun

This Sunday is Palm Sunday , the Sunday before Easter and it marks the start of the Holy week that encompasses Maundy Thursday which commemorates the last supper of Jesus ; Good Friday , when Jesus was crucified and Holy Saturday, the day Jesus was placed in His tomb after his death. He rose on the 3rd day and that will be Easter Sunday.  This is the time, we reflect on our lives, gives up our vices for Lent and remembering the sufferings and trials Jesus had to go through . My baking the hot cross buns has nothing to do with tradition or a must have but making them and looking at the cross reminds me of God's great sacrifice.He sacrifice His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall have eternal life .  

Instead of making the tradition hot cross buns using fruit peels ,  I used purple sweet potato for the natural purple color and it turned out fabulous.  The buns were soft and fluffy and the sweet purple color gave the bun its attraction.  I added some brandy soaked raisins  for extra flavor.  These hot cross buns were really delicious. A keeper for sure.

beautiful piece of purple dough
love the natural color dye from the purple sweet potato

 one recipe can make 9 pieces of buns

once the buns have proof and ready for the oven
pipe in the cross.. so fun piping on the cross
 this is symbolic for me as the cross reminds me
of the  Gift God has given to us. Eternal life through
His only begotten Son

 after baking for 20mins, the buns were ready for our tea snack

the buns turned out soft and fluffy

 waiting for the buns to cool down before serving :)

 you will know it is fluffy when you see this :)

Purple Sweet Potato Hot Cross Bun - adapted from Nasilemaklover

For the bread

75 gm mashed purple sweet potato
50 gm raisins soaked in brandy -optional
250 gm high protein flour or bread flour
30 gm caster sugar
25 gm sweetened condensed full cream milk
1 tsp instant yeast
120 gm milk
1/4 tsp fine salt
 25 gm unsalted butter

For Topping
40 gm high protein flour
55 gm milk
10 gm sugar

1. Mix all bread ingredients in a mixing bowl except butter, mix till smooth.
2. Add in butter, knead  till elastic and shining dough. Set aside to rest for an hour.
3. Divide equally into 9 portions, roll into round balls.
4. Grease a baking pan of 9" X 9" and place the round balls onto the greased pan. Leave to rise for another 30 mins.
5. Mix the topping ingredients together till you get a smooth paste. Put into a piping bag and pipe a cross on top of buns.  Baked at preheated oven 180C for 20 mins.


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Fudge Ribbon Cake

Love anything chocolatey and this is a gorgeous !  I managed to get some Valrhona cooking chocolate from Singapore and could not wait to use it and here is the most delicious fudge ribbon cake I have baked thus far. Googled and got the recipe from here.  It is moist , and so chocolatey that I just want to have the whole tray all to myself :) This is a keeper for sure. The ribbon swirl is cream cheese. Oh gosh! the waistline is getting broader :p  I omitted the frosting as I find this fudge cake is rich enough and I love it without the frosting.

this is so chocolatey cheesy good that my piggy daughter asked for more

Fudge Ribbon Cake - adapted from Grammy's Apron


Cheesecake Layer:
2 Tbsp. butter
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. corn starch
1 egg
2 Tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Cream 2 Tbsp. butter with cream cheese, 1/4 c. sugar and cornstarch.  Add 1 egg, 2 Tbsp. milk and 1/2 tsp. vanilla.  Beat at high speed until smooth.  Set aside.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar * I reduced to 3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 cups milk (divided use)
2 eggs
4 oz. unsweetened Baker's chocolate (melted) * I used Valrhona cooking chocolate
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine 2 cups flour with 2 cups sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in large bowl. 

Add 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup milk;  blend, and beat 1 1/2 minutes. 

Add 1/2 cup milk, 2 eggs, melted chocolate and 1 tsp. vanilla.

Spread 1/2 of batter into greased and floured 13x9" pan.  Carefully spread cream cheese mixture over to cover.  Top with remaining batter, and again, carefully spread to cover cream cheese mixture. 

Bake at 350'F for 50-60 minute. 

Cool and frost with Fudge Frosting. * I omitted the frosting

Fudge Frosting:
1/3 c. milk
1/4 c. butter
1 (6 oz.) pkg. chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

Combine milk and butter in pan; let come to a boil.  Remove from heat. 

Blend in chocolate. 

Stir in vanilla and sugar.  Beat until of spreading consistency.  Add a few drops of milk if necessary.  Spread evenly over cooled cake.

 Enjoy !

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Bacon Epi Bears Recipe

I had so much fun making these Epi bear buns filled with bacon and cheese.  It is play dough time for me :)  This is my lastest addiction besides making plain bread for breakfast and our tea snack.  Shaping animal characters with the bread dough is so fun and I can't wait for the next play dough time.  There are many more characters that can be shaped with the bread dough and I feel like a kid again :p  And once again I say...practice makes perfect...these bear are not so beautiful as the one made by the original baker , a far cry in fact if compared with the original ones.  I did not have mini sausages at home when making the bears , thus I used the extra dough to make the ears and nose :p  .  Hubby said I am creative enough and he chomped down the row of bears in one sitting...LOL!  I am happy that he likes the taste of the buns ...of course, it is filled with bacon and cheese..his favourites ! Though the bears don't look cute but they taste good :)  Practice makes perfect...this is my first try anyway LOL!

I love kneading the dough because it gives me satisfaction
when it turned out nice :)  leave to proof for 1 hour

after 1 hour , poke a finger into the dough and if the dent remains
then it is then ready for use

visual steps

my epi bears are ready for baking :)

when they were taken out from the oven 
was " oh gosh ! they looked too cute to be eaten !"

they dont look like epi bears but more like grizzly bears
just the same, the taste delicious !

Bacon Epi Bears Recipe - adapted from


250 gm bread flour
155 gm lukewarm water
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp instant dry yeast

4 slices of bacon
some grated cheddar cheese ( or cheese of your choice )

For eyes
toasted nori seaweed * I use chocolate - melted

For ears
sausage  * I replaced with dough
dry spaghetti - to attach the ear

For noses
toasted nori seaweed, sausage * I replaced with dough

1.  Measure the ingredients . Sieve the bread flour into a mixing bowl.  Add water, salt, black pepper and dry yeast into the flour.  Stir till well combined and knead a little. Take the mixture out and knead on a floured counter surface and knead for 2 to 3 minutes just enough for the dough to become smooth.

2. Roll the dough into a ball and place in a bowl.  Cling wrap and place in a warm place and let it proof till double its size.

3. Floured a surface.  Gently take out the dough onto the floured surface and divide the dough into 2 equal parts.

4. Take one portion , roll out the dough and fold the dough, so that the top and bottom to meet at center of it.  Close it firmly as if you were pasting it together. Place the seam facing the bottom. Do the same with the other portion.

5. Leave the two pieces of dough to proof for another 15 to 20 mins . Cover with a damp cloth.

6. Roll out the dough into a 10cm X 24cm rectangular.  Make sure that both horizonally and vertically the size allows for two strips of bacon to be placed on it.  Wipe off water from the bacon and place 2 strips of bacon on top of the dough.  Place grated cheese on the strip of bacon closer to you.

7. Start rolling the dough beginning with the side that is closer to you towards the other side, as if you were pasting it together.  Place the roll with the seam facing the bottom on lined baking pan. Repeat same with the second dough.

8. Leave the rolls to proof a second time till it doubles in size. ( cover with damp cloth )Right before baking, mark the dough at 6 different spots with your fingers. Then cut the dough on those spots using scissors and pull them lto the sides alternating left and right. Preheat oven to 230 C and bake for 18 minutes.

Cut the sausages in round slices of about 0,4 inches and fry in a frying pan. While the bread is still hot, break the spaghetti in pieces of an appropriate length and use them to prick the sausage slices. These will become the bears' ears.
Please use the spaghetti without boiling them. If you prick the sausages when the bread is still hot, they will absorb some water, which will make them easier to eat.
let them cool down on a rack. 

Note: If using dough for the ear and nose, attach them to the bear face before baking. You can hop over here  for  clearer illustrations .

Enjoy !

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Homemade Extracts And Flavoring For Baking

When you have a bottle of Vodka and it has been sitting in your cupboard for sometime, what do you do with it? Yes, you can make your own extracts and flavorings for your baking. As for me, I bought a bottle of Absolut Vodka back from the duty free liquor shop at Changi Airport just for this purpose. I have been wanting to try making my own vanilla , lemon and orange extracts from the day I started baking, but never had the opportunity to do so until recently I was given some Madagascar vanilla beans from my brother who stays in the States and my dear friend Gertrude of My Kitchen's Snippets.  Homemade extracts taste much better than store bought ones and easy to make too. I just have to add a few drops of the extract into my cake batter and the aroma lingers .

Yesterday, I did a second batch of vanilla extract and I took the opportunity to also make some orange and lemon extracts  as I do not want to keep the already opened Vodka  for fear that the alcohol might evaporate or lost its taste if unused for a long period :)  A bottle of 1 liter Absolut Vodka ( Sweden made ) can made 4 bottles of extracts of these size as shown in the picture above.  To make good quality extracts, make sure to use good quality vanilla beans and a not too low grade alcohol as it will affect the taste of the end product. You can use Vodka, Rum or Bourbon.  Making your own extracts guaranteed quality extracts.  Not cheap as the price of vanilla beans and Vodka are expensive over here in this part of the world :p  So happy that I can make my own extracts and flavoring from home :) You can do it too !  Not hard to make and I will have a whole year supply of quality extracts for my baking !

 Soak and wash 2 Sunkist oranges (USA) and 3 lemons (Turkey)
to remove wax coating, wipe dry them with the kitchen towels
before using

Madagascar Vanilla Beans - split open extract more flavor
oranges/lemon- use the rind and try not avoid the pith

my measurement - I filled the bottles with 1/3 of rinds for fruit extracts
and 6 vanilla beans  and fill vodka to the neck of the bottle.

I bought the bottles from Daiso..just testing it out 
and see if they are air tight as claimed to be :)

I have 2 bottles of vanilla extracts and 1 bottle each of orange and lemon extracts
to last me a year or two :)

Some pointers when making your own extracts

Getting the Right Alcohol
 You don't have to buy the top shelf stuff, but it's important not to use low-quality alcohol as it affects the taste of the end product. For some extracts, you can choose from a few different types of alcohol based on your taste.

Steeping Your Extracts 
 hile your extracts are steeping, you need to store them in a cool, dark place and give them a good shake about once a week. After it's done, be sure to remove the ingredients and strain the extract before storing it so it doesn't keep getting stronger.

Vanilla Extract

Split 3 vanilla beans and cover them with about half a cup of vodka, bourbon, or rum. Let steep for about two months.

Orange And Lemon Extract 
Using the rind of the fruit, but it's important not to include any of the white pith because it's very bitter. Cover the rind of one large lemon or navel orange with half a cup of vodka and steep for 5 to 6 weeks. 

Enjoy and happy baking with your own homemade extracts
I know I will :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Matcha Swirl Bread

My bread making passion is back and nothing makes me happier than kneading and kneading dough to make bread or bun for our tea break .  Now that the addiction of making bread is back, Wildboar and I will be having bread for most of our tea break... LOL!  Wildboar loves bread just like his dad. I remembered my father-in-law had bread everyday for breakfast. Looks like he takes after his dad. Good for me that he loves eating bread. I get to enjoy making bread and someone gets to eat the bread. 

He has taken a liking to my homemade ones.  Thank God for that, otherwise I have to eat my own bakes then...soon I will look like a loaf of bread ...okay back to this matcha swirl bread.  Love this matcha swirl bread .The aroma of matcha waffing out of the oven as it is baking in the oven is intoxicating ! The best aromatherapy for the house is the smell of freshly baked bread!  Agree? Only a bread lovers will understand this language :)  Easy to make and so therapeutic for the soul ...try it and who knows you might be addicted to it too. 

 use the knuckles to knead till window pane ( stretch thin )
divide into two with matcha and the other leave plain
cling wrap and proof for 1 hour, then divide into 2 equal portions
of each type..2 portions of matcha and 2 portions of original

 leave to proof for 15 mins, then roll out flat of same size

 stack one layer of matcha and original alternately
and roll like how you roll a  swiss roll

 place the bread roll into a greased bread

cling wrap and leave to proof for another hour

once it has proof to double its size,
bake in preheated oven 180 deg C for 30 minutes 

once it is golden brown and cooked through ,take out of oven

 and turn over the bread and cool on a wire rack, cover with 
clean kitchen towel till the bread has cool down.
Cut into slices, thickness of your choice :)
hubby likes it thicker

 love the matcha least it looks done by a pro baker :)
 I am strong believer of "practice makes perfect"

Keep in air tight container ...the left over bread can be kept in fridge
and zap it for 20 sec in a microwave oven 
it will maintain is softness and still taste
 like freshly baked bread

Matcha Swirl Bread

To make matcha paste:

5 gm of matcha powder mix with 1/4 tsp water - stir till become a paste

 dough ingredients:

220 gm high protein flour
120 ml warm water
3 gm dry yeast
3 gm salt
1 egg
20 gm butter  - room temp

matcha paste 

Method :

To make the dough -  
1.Put all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Give it a stir to make sure all the ingredients are well mixed. 

2.Add beaten egg to the flour and stir into the flour mixture. Slowly add in the warm water and use a pair of chopsticks to stir till you get a sticky dough.  Add in butter and using the hand , blend in the butter into the dough till it is incorporated into the dough.  

3.Place the still sticky dough on a floured surface and using the knuckles knead till the dough is not sticky and you can stretch till thin ( window pane stage ). 

4.Divide dough into two equal portions.  One portion of dough , leave it plain.  The other portion of dough ,add in matcha paste and continue to knead till the matcha paste is well incorporated into the dough. 

5.Place the two pieces of dough in two separate clean bowls and cling wrap them and leave to proof 1 hour ( fermentation hour) 

6. After 1 hour of proofing or double its size, punch down the dough and divide into another 2 equal portions ( there will be 4 portions in total - 2 matcha and 2 original )

7. Roll into balls and leave to proof for 15 mins.  Flatten the round ball and roll flat into same size.
Stack alternately one after the other ,  starting with the plain dough and ending with the matcha layer. Lightly flatten with a rolling pin before rolling into swiss roll. 

8. Place the  bread roll onto a greased loaf pan. Cling wrap  and leave to proof again for 1 hour or till double in size.

9. Bake in a preheated oven of 180deg C for 30 mins or till top has turned golden and a tap on the crust gives a hollow sound.

10. Turn the bread onto a wire rack to cool down. Cover with a clean kitchen towel till it has cooled down before cutting into slices. Cut bread with serrated knife for a neat and clean cut.

* note:
keep bread in air tight container after slicing.  Left overs can be kept in fridge and zap 20 secs in microwave and it taste as good freshly baked ones.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017





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Good news at the moment , they are having President's Day Sale and giving a 10% for item $50+, 15% off for item $150+ and 17% for $170+.  It is indeed great news for all of us who are interested to get a Woodwind or Brasswind instruments.  Check out their website for more discounts and shipping internationally matters.

Steamed Pumpkin Mantou

I love pumpkin and I can cook many dishes with it. I have made Japanese Pumpkin Cake and baked Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls and Oven Baked Pumpkin Bun , and Steamed Pumpkin Cake and  Steamed Pumpkin Bun and oday , I want to share this wonderful , soft and and fluffy Steamed Pumpkin Mantou that I made for our tea break. I use Anncoo's recipe. Thank you Ann for the recipe. 

Mantou is basically quite bland and it goes well with dishes with gravy.  Of course even if you add pumpkin paste to it, it is still quite bland except that it has a mild pumpkin taste and of course , it gives the mantou nice natural orangey yellow color.  Love the texture, the pumpkin paste gives the mantou a softer and fluffier texture.  Love the added toasted black sesame seeds, it gives the mantou character :) and as you bite the seeds, it gives an awesome sesame flavor ! Goes well with the Nyonya Acar that I made a few days earlier.  Perfect match with the Acar that I made. Every bite is so good.  Biting into soft and fluffy texture mantou and the spicy, sweet and sour flavors of the Acar bursting on my tongue...gosh, I was like transported to a place where I was oblivious to things around me for a minute :p after while I drank the dried chrysanthemum  flowers gifted by my daughter Elaine. A wonderful afternoon tea with my hubby...seriously ,  delicious  homemade Steamed Pumpkin Mantou on a Valentine's Day afternoon  :) Easy to make too !

 these steamed pumpkin mantou are soft,fluffy
and have the most natural orangey yellow color

 steam the pumpkin and mash them and sift them to get a smooth paste

add the pumpkin paste into the flour ingredients to make 
a soft dough and allow the dough to proof for 15 minutes

roll the dough flat into 13"X 6" rectangular and roll  into a swiss roll

cut the roll into 8 pieces equally

place each piece of mantou dough on a square greaseproof paper 
and let it proof for 20 minutes or till double in size and steamed for 15 mins

I served the pumpkin mantou with my homemade Nyonya Acar

Steamed Pumpkin Mantou - adapted from Anncoo


60g Pumpkin without skin
90g Wate
¾tsp Instant yeast
250g Plain flour/Hong Kong flour
25g Caster sugar
10g Vegetable oil or olive oil
1 tbsp Black sesame seeds (toasted)

  1. Steam pumpkin till soft and blend to smooth while still hot. Set aside till cool.
  2. In a small bowl, mix instant yeast and water together.
  3. In another bowl sift in flour, add sugar, pumkin puree and oil. Add the instant yeast and water into it. Mix well, and use hand to knead mixture to a smooth dough, add toasted black sesame seed, knead well again. Cover dough and rest for 15 minutes at room temperature.
  4. Dust table top with some flour. Roll out the dough into a rectangle shape (about 13 x 6 inch). Brush some water on top of the surface.
  5. Roll up the dough like a Swiss roll. Cut into small pieces (8-10pieces) and put the small mantou on a small piece of wax paper.
  6. Put the mantou in the steamer and proof for 20 minutes or about double in volume.
  7. Turn the fire to high and bring water to boil and turn fire to medium, steam mantou for 15 minutes.

to all readers and 
have a blessed one with your loved ones 

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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Dried Longans Fresh Wai San Aerial Tubers And Red Dates Sweet Soup

This is a must have sweet soup for our family on the morning of the 1st day of CNY.  It is a sweet soup with dried longans, red dates and instead of adding 'pak hup' I replaced it with fresh Wai San aerial tubers. I harvested some of these aerial tubers from the Wai San plant from my lil space for this sweet soup.

I don't know about other families but for mine, it is a must have on the 1st day of CNY as it symbolizes sweetness for the whole year through :) a tradition my mom passed on to me and I just keep it going in the family.  I love this simple to prepare sweet soup of longan and red dates. Add screwpine leaves for a nice fragrant . The fresh Wai San aerial tubers gave it a nutty flavor.

Dried Longans , Fresh Wai San Aerial Tubers And Red Dates Sweet Soup 


200  gm dried longans - wash and soak for 5 mins
10 pieces of dates - remove seeds
10 pieces of Wai San aerial tubers - peeled
10  hard boiled quail eggs - remove shell * optional
2 screwpine leaves
rock sugar to taste
1500 litres water

Put 1.5 litres water to boil, when water boils, add in the dried longans, red dates, rock sugar and screwpine leaves and continues to boil till fragrant and the water has turned brownish . Add in peeled fresh aerial tubers and hard boiled eggs and continue boil for another 8 mins. Off heat and serve hot or cold.