Thursday, July 31, 2008
There is a very painful story behind this Bento #4.... gastric pain that is.. hahaha. I know that most bento bloggers are normally so filled with joy and happiness whilst making their bentos.. of course, my favorite bento blogger Bento Pet did admit that she was feeling a bit frazzled whilst making her bento (but when you look at her bento, you would not have guessed it... it was still looking yummilicious)...haha but never in pain :p. If you want to know what happened, do drop in at my other blog.
Bento #4 consisted of only onigiris with chicken floss as fillings, some cherrie tomatoes and 2 kiwi fruits. It does look like a little bit too much but this bento went from being my lunch (which would have been only 3 onigiris) to a breakfast for 2 brothers :). I do hope they enjoyed it.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
So, last night, before I went to bed, I looked into the fridge to see what I have in there that are either leftovers or has to be eaten before it expires. Ha.. spotted a packet of Chuka Wakame (soft seaweed in vinegar sauce, with sesame seeds), some left over homemade terayaki chicken and some cherries with skins starting to look like my grand auntie's. That's what I decided to make as my bento lunch for tomorrow. Steamed some rice in the steamer before calling it a night.
This morning, preparing the bento was quite fast and easy. Just had to re-steam the rice ( and found that i do have rather a lot, enough to make 2 bentos) whilst preparing the rest food. Decided to do one for my friend Tobiyama, letting him have the teriyaki chicken pieces. This is my bento lunch, complete with some soup in a cup :)... I really needed the soup as it has been quite cold in the office lately.
This is the bento for my friend, Tobiyama. The only difference is the chicken pieces.
Monday, July 28, 2008
There was nothing for the food exchange today as I spent most of the weekend doing tarts for 2 friends. They both had their birthdays on the 24th July, which was last Thursday but I didn't have time to make anything special for them. Wanted to do cupcakes or a simple cake, but with all the work I had last week, I just didn't have any energy left by the time I got home.
Anyway, was deciding what to bake for these 2 friends of mine... when the punnets of blueberries and strawberries caught my eye at the usual fruit shop that I go to at Subang. Their Kiwi fruits also looks big and yummy. That kind of decided it for me... I shall make them fruit tarts and tartlets.
I have done this before but I didn't know how to make those fruits all shiny and nice. After surfing around the food blogs, I realized that it was just apricot glaze that did it. So simple but the effect is so nice. Just take 2 globs of apricot jam and 2 to 3 tablespoons of water and boil these (or microwave them). To play it safe, I double boiled the jam and the water. Have a look at the photos, it does make that little bit of difference.
Click here for the fruit tart recipe.
A belated Happy Birthday to my friends Melvin Kuo and Puay Aun. May this year be all fruity and sweet for you both :)
I never realized that a wet dishcloth can be a one size fits all lid to cover a fire in a pan!
This is a dramatic video (30-second, very short) about how to deal with a common kitchen fire ... oil in a frying pan.
Read the following Introduction, then watch the show ....
It's a real eye-opener!!
At the Fire Fighting Training school they would demonstrate this with a deep fat fryer set on the fire field.
An instructor would don a fire suit and using an 8 oz cup at the end of a10 foot pole toss water onto the grease fire.
The result s got the attention of the students.
The water, being heavier than oil, sinks to the bottom where it instantly becomes superheated.
The explosive force of the steam blows the burning oil up and out.
On the open field, it became a thirty foot high fireball that resembled a nuclear blast.
Inside the confines of a kitchen, the fire ball hits the ceiling and fills the entire room.
Also, do not throw sugar or flour on a grease fire.
One cup creates the explosive force of two sticks of dynamite.
This is a powerful Message----watch the video and don't forget what you see.-
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
As a result of that, I decided to sign up for Melinda's Taiwanese Mooncake (of Apple Bakings)class together with my gal pal Sue so that perhaps I can make my own mooncakes. We spent almost the entire day at Melinda's and as usual, class was really fun. There was so much chatting and laughing. Actually, it was a rather great way to loose weight too.. haha.. as we were all so engrossed in making and baking these mooncakes, that by the time we were all done and seated, it was close to 4:30pm. Well, to reward ourselves, we wolfed (actually it just me) down a few of these little yummy cakes...but I had enough to pass around to some friends later.
These are some of the mooncakes made.. there were others but I didn't do that great a job with the phone camera. They turned out rather blur so did not post them. If you are interested to have a look, I do believe Melinda would have plenty to show you :)... perhaps if you are nice, she might have some tasty samples left :D
Friday, July 18, 2008
When I got home, was still in a sore kind of mood. Went to switch on the TV to see if there were any news as to what's happening.. but trust the TV news... which is like no news. All I saw was the ticker which read (translated) "Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as been released from jail... yada yada yada". Channel surfed for a while but there was nothing much to watch.. not even on my favorite Asian Food Channel (AFC) on Astro. Switched off the telly and went into the kitchen (ahhhh.. one of my favorite place to be). Saw the left over gum paste and fondant that I have from the last cuppie session. Mmmm.. now, why don't I do some gumpaste and fondant toppers. If you need the recipe for gumpaste, please hope over to Min's blog "Baking Projects".
Cleaned some of the cutters and other equipment that I needed. The time was around 11am.
Did I have fun... as my mood meter turned from sore.. to sour... to easy...to happy and smiling. Oh yes, playing with gumpaste and fondant is definitely therapeutic for me. Started off with the normal flowers and leaves cutters. These are easy and fun.
Cut out a couple of butterflies just to a variety.
After having done about a few dozens of them, decided to put away these cutters and tried some free-hand stuff. I remember seeing these in some magazines in MPH some time back. Recalled that they look vaguely like these.. but without having the image in front of me, I must say that these are really very crude models of what they should really have looked like. Ha Ha.. just like software applications.. these are definitely versions 1... have to wait for another day off to do versions 2.
You may have to use a little of your imaginations to picture in your mid what I really wanted them to look like..
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Some of the food that I used for my #2 bento are in fact leftovers from yesterday's dinner. Ha Ha.. is it about non-wastage or just being lazy to really make fresh food for the bento ;).
Woke up a little earlier today as I knew that I had to boil the egg and roll up the cheese and chicken ham rolls. Found out that using the toothpicks to hold up the cheese & chicken ham rolls served 2 purposes. One, it prevented the rolls from unfurling and two, the top few can be held intact by piercing them against those at the bottom :). It is also great for holding onto the cucumber pieces and cherry tomatoes.
The black pepper chicken sausages were from last night's dinner. What a great way of getting rid of left over food. And also great for stuffing between a bit of corn on the cob (also left over from yesterday's dinner) and the sliced kiwi fruits.
Luckily I decided to pack lunch today as it is raining now. I am sure that the rain will carry on for a bit as the entire sky is covered in dark stormy clouds. Lucky lucky me :D
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
This is my very first Bento and I must firstly thank Bento Pet for all her encouragements to me to start this Bento journey :). I hope to be able to qualify for her next Bento competition similar to the one she is currently organizing "Bento Pet's Bento Competition". I do so love her Winner's Haul.
I have taken the liberty of checking out some of the Bento bloggers who will be taking part in the competition. I am so glad that I'm will not be the one deciding on the winner. To me, each of them is a winner and most are clearly mummies and wives who have put so much love and care in each of the Bentos. I will be going back to many of their sites to learn and also to get more ideas as to how to fill up my own Bento box.
These are the few Bento bloggers whom I shall be stalking from now on....haha
Allthingspurple of Allthingspurple
LZMommy of BabiestZ
JustBento .. i love the little comment on the side bar which reads "Eat healthier, save money, maybe lose some weight with bento!"
And a whole lot of others.. and if you are interested, just hop over to Bento Pet's comment list here to find out who those other Bento bloggers are :)
At the moment, I do not have any of the nice bento boxes that some if not most of the Bento bloggers are using. I went shopping the other day at that outlet next to HomeFix at 1 Utama's new wing (cannot for the life of me recall the name of the outlet) and spotted several beautiful laqueured bento boxes.. the most expensive one costing RM999. Ha Ha.. this is definitely not a box that I can afford this lifetime. So, I ended up with a Lock'n Lock box which I reckon will serve its purpose for the time being.
Went home yesterday night to prepare some sushi rolls for today's lunch, washed some cherry tomatoes and lettuce leaves, cut up so carrot sticks and peeled some longans which I bought on Sunday. This morning, got up at 6am thinking that it would take me some time to prepare my bento box but I think since most of the work was done the night before, I only took less than 10 minutes to fill the box up (and that was because I had to cut up the sushi roll).
Wallah... my first Bento box....yum yum.. :)
Monday, July 14, 2008
The curry again turned out in the color that I like my curry to have.. heehee.. red and not brown. I also went back to cooking nasi briyani the simple way that I am used to.. and not the totally complicated recipe that I used during Joyce's potluck.
I used the one pot cook all manner of cooking this rice, i.e. washed the rice and place all the ingredients which included the ghee, the 1stick of cinnamon, 6 Cardamom pods, 1/2 tsp of mustard seeds, 3 star anise, 6 cloves, some cumin seeds and a sprinkling of mustard seeds. For garnishing, I added some cashew nuts and golden raisins. For 3 cups of rice, I used roughly 3 1/2 cups of water. Didn't use milk this time as in the previous time as it made the rice a little too mushy for my liking.
The curry and the rice were ready at about 11am and after letting it cool, packed the curry into little plastic containers. Ran out of these containers, so, had to pack the nasi briyani into aluminum foils. Reminiscence the time when I was a factory girl in Australia during my Uni days. Use to pack fried rice this way to work and factories in Australia has utilities like the Convectional Ovens, Microwave Ovens, Coffee-makers at the disposal of the workers. Hence packed lunch is a norm back then.
Anyway, hope this week's food for the food exchange program meets the expectations of those who are in the program. Sue, I am so sorry that you have to be left out this round as I knew that the traffic condition would definitely set your mood to register "LOUSY".. with all the road blocks coming into the city that it would not be wise to ask you to swing by my office to pick up this load... and (haha).. curry is going to further fuel that "seeing red" mode.
By the way, the food exchange program group has grown overnight to include PuayAun of Thought Bubbles and dcyk of See a lil bit of evil, Hear a lil bit of evil, Talk a lil bit of evil
Friday, July 11, 2008
This is my first attempt in making this cake. I have been wanting to make this for the longest time but back then, whenever I took up a packet of Finger biscuits at the supermarket to read the ingredients by the side of the packet, the one ingredient called Mascarpone cheese would leave me stumped. Sounded so mafia-ish. Then of cause, there was the baileys or some other coffee based liqueur that is needed. And because of all that, I will set the packet of biscuits down and carry on dreaming that one day, I might learn enough to just try it.
But in life, sometimes just happened. My friend Sue told me that she made an order of a Tiramisu cake for father's day. Round about that time, I was looking at babe's blog to check on a recipe when I stumbled across her Donna Hay's Chocolate Tiramisu post which looked so beautiful. Was already tempted then, so went out and got myself a packet of the sponge fingers. But nothing happened as somebody in the house ate the packet of sponge fingers :( before I could get around to doing anything with them.
Anyways, made another attempt to make it last month. Got all the ingredients except the liqueur and an angel in the form of Sue, out of blue, gave me a small bottle of a coffee based liqueur (which I forgot to ask her what exactly was it). So, all ingredients were ready and available... no more excuses. Haha.. I even got a recipe from Sue which she sent via YM. Made some slight adjustments to her recipe as it was rather complicated and used quite a lot of sugar (I am really getting worried with all the cakes and other sweet stuff that I have been downing recently... and I think some of my test bunnies would agree too) and this was the outcome.....
25g icing sugar
150ml of brewed coffee, chilled
300ml of double cream
45ml of coffee liqueur
12 pieces of sponge fingers
bitter sweet chocolate and cocoa powder for decoration
- Put mascarpone and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat it up.
- Place in about 30ml o f the coffee into the the mixture and mix well with a spatula. Set aside
- Place the double cream into another bowl and add in the half the coffee liqueur. Beat that until the mixture peaks
- Add this cream mixture into the mascarpone mixture and mix well.
- Pour the remaining coffee and coffee liqueur into a flat plate. This is used for soaking the sponge fingers
- I used a bread loaf pan for my Tiramisu. Before this, you must line the pan so as to make removal of the Tiramisu easier later.
- Pour half the cream and mascarpone into the pan. Smoothen it with your spatula.
- Take 8 sponge fingers out of the packet and soak each finger quickly into the remaining coffee and coffee liqueur mixture. Do not leave it too long as the entire biscuit will disintegrate.
- Line the fingers along the pan in one layer
- Pour in the rest of the cream and mascarpone mixture into the pan.
- Repeat steps 7 and 8.
- If you have any coffee and coffee liqueur mixture left, just dribble it on the 2nd layer of sponge fingers
- Wrap up the pan with cling film and leave it in the fridge for 4 hours or more.
- Serve chilled
Thursday, July 10, 2008
After watching Hancock the Movie, my cravings for a good Spaghetti with Meatballs started to build up until I just simply have to have some. I have not really had them for the longest time as a result of consuming many a yucky tin of these in my Uni days. They were soft and yucky. But I don't think you are able to find these sort of canned food in the supermarkets in Kuala Lumpur. Not too sure about Cold Storage but I doubt it.
Anyway, after watching Hancock gobbling down those giant meatballs, I wanted to try to do some homecooked ones. Naturally I was not going to make them hand grenade sized... haha.. the prize of mince beef is not exactly cheap . Got about close to 300gm for RM12 over at Cold Storage... prime Australian beef... haha.. I am still very partial to all things Australian.. it is the country where I grew up in... virtually... coz before my 3 over years in Australia, I used to be a God useless coward.. who would set my dad's blood to boil each time he watches me whimper my order to the wantan mee seller hahaha.
Well, I must say that the meatballs that I made definitely had the asian taste to it and a whole lot tougher than those from the can.... mmmm...just the way I like them. Ray calls it their Spaghetti Madness on a Thursday... maybe I will call mine Spaghetti Monday Madness.... :D
1 lg onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped ( 1 made do with the dried ones from a bottle)
1/2 cup red wine (optional)
1 lg can (800g) tomato puree
salt and pepper to taste
300gm mince beef
1 tsp of sesame oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp of cornflour
1 punnet of fresh button mushrooms
a few sprigs of coriander for garnishing
Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Put in all the ingredients for the meatballs into a bowl and mix well. Set aside to marinade for about 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, make little balls out of the marinaded mince meat. The size of the balls depends very much on personal preference. You can make them nice and dainty or giant hand grenade sized ones :)
- Heat up some oil in a pan and when the oil is hot, fry these meatballs. This is so that the meatballs will be able to retain their shape later whilst being cooked in the pasta sauce.
- Once the outside looks cooked, dish them up and set aside. Don't worry about the meat balls not being cooked as they are going into the sauce again later. Plus, beef can be eaten raw :)
- Put the olive oil into a pan and when hot, put in the onions, garlic and basil. Saute until fragrant. If wine is used, then this is the time to add in the wine.
- Add the tomato puree.
- Add in the button mushrooms.
- Finally add in the meatballs.
- Simmer for about 10 mins or until you hit the thickness consistency that you want.
- Add in salt and pepper for taste.
- Dish up onto some cooked spaghetti and garnish with some coriander and Parmesan cheese.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
I decided this as I was working into the wee hours of Sunday morning.... I like cooking and baking, but I simply love cake decorating.
It all started sometime in the middle of last week when I had a tele conversation with the president of our Kechara House. They were having a booth at the flea market on Sunday at Amcorp Mall and wanted to ask for volunteers to help out, either in terms of money sponsorship, items to be sold or just hard labor. I volunteered to bake some cuppies for them to sell and the president agreed without hesitation. I reckon that in my enthusiasm, I didn't really consider if I actually had the time to do as many cuppies as I intended to... also with limited resources such as only a small electric oven that can only perhaps bake only 9 to 12 cuppies each time, depending on the size of the cuppies and only 1 pair of hands to do the work.
Since I do have a day job and I had my swiss roll class at Melinda's of Apple Kitchen almost the entire Saturday, I realized that I may not really have that much time :(.
Anyways, on Friday night, I started making the fondant and the gumpaste. Stored them in an air tight container and went for a movie with a friend (haha.. still hella confident mah that I can make it for Sunday's flea market). During class on Saturday with Melinda, who is an old hand at this sort of thing was rather doubtful that I can do the job with so little time. She asked me how many cuppies did I intend to make? Without hesitation, I replied "100 cuppies". She tactfully said "I think 30 to 40 should be enough lah".
It was only at 9pm that I finally got down to starting my "work". First was the baking of the cuppies. Did 2 varieties, the moist chocolate cuppies and the vanilla mixed fruit cuppies. Whilst the cuppies were going into the oven in batches of 9 to 12, I started making flowers, mushrooms and butterflies with the fondant and gumpaste.
Started the decorating on the first batch of cuppies after they have cooled down enough.. wah.. sure is taking a long time. I know that it was getting quite late, or shall I say early, but I was really have such a good time that I had to force myself to stop at 3am. I know that by the time I clean up and showered, it would be 4am.. but I still have lots more to do...*panic*.
Got up at 8am on Sunday, brushed my teeth had a quick shower, ate one of the undecorated cuppies for breakfast and stated work again. Started with the buttercream preparation. I didn't do it the night before as I wanted it to be fresh. Put in butter vanilla flavoring into the buttercream as I simply love this smell and taste...just like the toffee sweets I used to eat by the bagfuls during schooldays.
When I did the first few ones, I still had time to take photos of each of them.... but by the 6th or 7th one, I knew that I was really pressed for time. No more photos until maybe after they have all been done. Oh, I didn't managed to make the 100 cuppies that I intended. Could only make 40 and in 5 batches. By the time I was done, it was almost noon. Took another quick shower and called Madame President. She told me that the business at the booth was kinda slow and since it is such a hot day, she was very afraid that the cuppies would not hold up in the heat. Actually, they should be able to but she didn't want to risk it. So, instructed me to bring it to Kechara House for the puja which was happening that same night. So, my cuppies ended up not at the flea market that day. Instead, they had a nice time sitting in the beautiful air-conditioned Kechara House. Well, it was really a long Saturday and Sunday for me doing the cuppies, but I really enjoyed myself very much and would not mind doing it again and again as decorating those cuppies really gives me so much pleasure :)
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
I have always wanted to attempt to make swiss rolls and chiffon cake but have not got the confidence to attempt either one. Many have told me that making those two types of cakes needs skills and probably a little bit of secret which most recipe books don't share with you. My friend Sue has confessed that she has made 3 attempts to make the swiss roll but each time the cake turns out a little too hard to roll. The chiffon cake is even tricky, as I've been told that the utensils must be totally oil free, plus the fact that the batter cannot be over beaten or under beaten *sweats*.
Anyway, I have decided to go to Melinda of Apple Kitchen for help. Signed up for her Swiss Roll class last Saturday with Sue. As usual, spending time with Melinda and Sue is always a fun learning experience. Melinda shared a wonderful butter cream recipe with us that is so smooth and soft. I could just eat it up without the cake. Sue was looking absolutely disgusted as the sinfulness of the cream. She was probably imagining her waistline thickening by just looking at the cream hahaha.
We were shown how prepare the batter first, from start to end before we were let loose. It was really fun but as first timers, we were rather clumsy with the rolling. I found out that one set of hands was simply not enough. Needed Melinda's help with the rolling. Sigh.. when I am home doing it alone, it might be quite a challenge.
Gave some to Joyce and Jean, some to Nick and Melvin...and the rest are for mua.... yum yum. Just received an sms from Joyce 5 mins ago. Told me that she bought me some kaya... mmm.. do I sense an ulterior motive there.... like do some more swiss roll with this kaya I got you .. hahah...thanks Joyce. If I don't make the swiss roll again anytime soon, maybe i can pass you the kaya, in between 2 slices of Gardenia bread.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Whilst I was clearing my fridge last night, I notice that my block of Philadelphia cheese has already molded...sigh.. I know I still have many things in the kitchen cabinet which are probably headed to the rubbish bin soon if I don't make something out of them soon. There were still bags of flour, oatmeal, breadcrumbs, coconut bits. And 2 bunches of bananas sitting on the dining table, waiting to go black very soon if I don't eat them. How.. how.. what to do??
I remember that I have come across a cookie using oatmeal and bananas. Yah.. saw the recipe in Baking Bites. Luckily I saved the page on my PC. Did a quick check on the recipe and found that I have every ingredient in the kitchen, yipppeeee !
This recipe is terribly simple and takes only very little time to make. And the results... I must say it was rather nice. These are soft cookies, which I know some people are partial to. Once they were cool enough, filled up some into 2 cookies bags for the food exchange program and enough left to almost fill up the cookie jar :)
This recipe is taken straight from Baking Bites and I followed to the letter. Didn't need to change anything. Must wait for comments from Sue and Babe as to whether the sugars quantity needs adjustments.
Banana Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, very soft
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup mashed banana (1 small/medium)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups oats
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking sodaand salt.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugars. Beat in egg and banana, followed by the vanilla extract. Gradually, on low speed or by hand, add in the flour mixture. Stir in the oats (either whole rolled oats or “quick cooking”) and chocolate chips.
Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 11-14 minutes at 350F, until set and lightly browned.
Let cookies cool for about 5 minutes on the pan before transfering them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 2 dozen cookies.