Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Marble Cake

Wow.. I didn't realize that it has been weeks since my last post. Time really flies .. especially towards the end of the year. And soon, Christmas will be here and I thought to myself? After not having baked for such a long time, could I still do it? So, I decided to bake the world's easiest to bake cake, the Marble Cake.

As usual, started only doing this on Sunday evening. Luckily I still have a block of butter in the freezer. So, took that out at dinner time and by the time dinner was done and all the dishes have been washed, I started work on the butter cake.

My cake has a big fat mouth.. just like me *smirk

This is an old recipe which I cut out from a news paper many years back but it is quite a foolproof recipe.


2 cups wheat flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup of butter, soften (about 115g)
2 eggs
1 cup of milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Van Houtens)

  1. Preheat the oven at 180C. Grease and flour a 9 inch round pan (I cannot remember if mine was actually a 9in or 8 in pan. Should have written it down at the bottom of the pan when I first bought it).
  2. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, butter, eggs, vanilla and milk into a mixing bowl. Mix it all up with a spatula and then beat it with an electric mixer at slow speed for about 2 minutes until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Remove about a bowl of batter into another container A.
  4. Stir in the cocoa into this batter in container A until it is well mixed.
  5. Pour in 1/2 of the original batter into the cake pan.
  6. Drop in either spoonfuls of the chocolate batter into the cake pan or if you are lazy like me, I just plonked in the entire lot of chocolate batter into the middle of the cake pan.
  7. Cover the cake pan with the remaining original batter.
  8. Using a knife or a chopstick, swirl the batter around so that this will create a marble effect to the cake.
  9. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes or until the wooden pick comes out clean.

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

I Love Japanese Ra-Men

I love Japanese Ramen, whether it is from the shops or those in the packets which I cook at home. They taste much better than the local instant noodles as I find the Japanese Ramen a lot tastier. I am not sure how much I paid for them but I don't think that they were too expensive. Will need to go check out the price for a bag of 5 packets the next time I go shopping.

Normally I will just add some vegetables, a little meat (like left over chicken or duck from dinner) or half an egg into the ramen. This was what I had for lunch.

After eating that nice lunch, I decided to go check my email and I received an email from an old friend from University. He sent me a mail entitled " Beware! If you love Ramen". His email read "Sorry guys. Have to send to you so many negative news concerning foodstuff these days. Pretty soon, I'll run out of things to eat."

This was his email to me.... "Beware! If You Like Ramen"....was rather scary. I didn't want to post the pictures here as I don't think it is right to spoil people's appetite for Ramen. But if you want to have a look at what the email has to say, then click here at my other blog to have a look.

I know the packet of Ramen that I bought and cooked was manufactured in Hong Kong, China but I don't think I will throw away the last 2 packets. I am sure my body can handle it :D But I might not want to buy any more after this until I do a bit more research (coward me).

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Cup Cake Toppers Makes My Life Simpler

I have been rather busy doing a lot of exciting things of late and blog wise, I have appeared to be doing a lot of bento-ing rather than baking... so much so that Christene of AllThingsPurple gave me a call 2 weeks ago for a chat and also to ask me if I still bake. Ha Ha.. yeah I do.. especially for a good reason or a good cause. I have realized that baking for me is really a hobby that I love. It will never really be a business or a money making venture for me. The money bit may be okie but the time it takes to bake and decorate can be rather long. Furthermore money does not appear to be the compensation I seek from doing it. It is the happiness and joy from recipients faces that I seek and value. Perhaps that is why I have only been doing baking for family, friends and charity. And I really had a hard time convincing Christene that I will not accept any money for baking those few cuppies for her little girl's birthday. Read here for her little princess' birthday party. Ha Ha.. in the end, we reached a compromise. I will bake the cuppies and she will go get the toppers for the cuppies.

The spirals were done using the lovely rolling pin I bought at Cake Connections

These imprints were done using a little rolling pin which was a present from my good friend Susan (Sue mei mei)

For the cuppies' recipe, I merely used a simple butter cake recipe but added chocolate chips into one batch and dried strawberry bits in the other. The butter cake recipe was taken from Aunty Yochana's website here. I will normally try to use her recipes as they are guaranteed to work and furthermore, she uses weight measurements. I get a little worried sometimes when I read recipes when the ingredients are measured with cups.

A plain old cuppie design with a fondant table cloth design which I made

A cuppie that most child would love.. thanks to the added sprinkles and clown topper from Cake Connections

I actually took 2 evenings to prepare the cakes. The first evening was for the fondant and I know that fondant can be kept longer than the cuppies. I made the fondant into a few colors and set them aside. The next evening was for the baking and the laying of the basic decorations with the fondant and some sprinkles.

Now isn't this a lot prettier?

And this too?

I think if I were to have made the toppers for the cuppies, it would easily have taken at least one to two evenings shaping them as we need toppers for 40 cuppies. Hence, I am so glad that Christene was getting the cuppies toppers from Cake Connections.

The basic decorations on the cuppies which I did at home before they were sent to Christene's house

At Christene's place, we took out the cuppies and laid them all on the dinning table, took out the sprinkles and the toppers she bought and I think in less than half and hour, we were done decorating 40 cuppies. Opps.. forgot to mention. We were so efficient and quick as we also had a little helper. Her name is Kimberly (Christene's elder princess). She managed us using the convey style system. She will first dictate which of the cuppies get to be decorated with sprinkles (which was my job - to put on the sprinkles). Then her job was to stick on the topper and mummy's job was to put them into the plastic dome cup and staple them. See, when you have a system, everything works efficiently and quickly. This child has potential and I have already earmarked her for one of my projects when she grows up :D.

Pretty flowers for the little girls

Cute clowns for the little boys

I am so happy that people like Cake Connection has made my life as a cook(baker)wannabe so much simpler. When in need a great toppers, I know where to get them :)

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pancake House International - Food Review

It was Sunday late afternoon when my mum decided that she wanted to buy some nyonya kueh for offerings to one of the ancestors. As I was going out in the evening, decided to go to Sunway Pyramid to see if there were any around. Was walking towards the supermarket entrance into Jusco when I spotted the Pancake House International. Mmm.. I have only tried Paddington's Pancake at The Curve and Mid Valley, The Gardens. Was wondering how different this would be.

Decided to go try it out after picking up what I wanted for mum (mum had to settled with Man Tou - dumplings from the frozen food section as I couldn't find any nyonya kueh).

Surveyed the menu and it turned out that the food sold there was quite interesting. Pancake House unlike Paddington's had more than pancakes on the menu list. They had pastas, rice dishes, pancakes (of course) and waffles.

We order one piece of their "Best Taco in Town" (RM6.50). I like it a lot as it is light and tasty. Generous amount of cheese toppings.

For the mains, we tried their Gambero Spaghetti (RM21) and the Smoked Golden Tinapa with Garlic Rice and a fried egg (RM15).

The Gambero Spaghetti, a tomato based sauce with about 5 medium sized prawns was quite tasty but not hot enough. At best, it was only warm. That kind of spoiled it for me.

The Smoked Golden Tinapa was quite a disappointment. Firstly, if you looked at the picture, you might not have guessed that it was a fish dish. The poor fish came with it's skin broken up and it was not on the fish. The waiter did apologize to us for that but he gave us the excuse that they have to make sure that the fish is cooked before serving it up. And the garlic rice served with the fish.. which was under the fried egg is again at room temperature. I expected the rice to be hot. The taste of the marinade on the skin of the fish was quite overpowering. Overall, I didn't like this dish one bit :(.

Their desserts were much better (luckily). We ordered 2 desserts as I was so tempted by their Waffle Foldover (RM12.00) but since this is a pancake shop, we also order the Caramel Banana Pancakes (RM12.00).

The Waffle Foldover was very nice and they were very generous with their scoop of vanilla ice-cream. It was gi-nor-mous. And they sprinkled it with a good bit of chopped walnuts and smarties.

The pancakes are what pancakes should be but I was just wondering where the caramel was. It came with a small container of maple syrup only... mmm..

The entire meal with 2 bottles of mineral water came up to RM78.65 (10% service charge - RM7.15 included). Well, I am not sure if there will be a 2nd time for me there but if I do go again, it will definitely be for their Waffle Foldover :D.

Pancake House International
LG, 126 Sunway Pyramid
No 3 Jalan PJS 11/5, Bandar Sunway,
46150 Petaling Jaya,

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Bento #18

Ya Ya.. I know. I have been bento-ing a lot more often then I am baking these days... so much so that my dear friend Christene of AllThingsPurple called me up to ask me if I am still baking haha. Yah I am still baking. It is just that bento-ing seems fun and lately it has started to become more a necessity as I am planning to start my 3rd project... a weight management project. Will share this once I have tighted up all the screws to my little project boat.

The other thing is also to catchup with the other bento bloggers so that I can qualify for competitions organized by my favorite bento blogger - Pat of BentoPet. So, here goes my Bento #18.

I made this bento for lunch as using minced meat that was left over from making my wonton during the weekend. I found out that I made more meat then I had wonton skin. Oh well, improve a bit to make it into another meal :D

These are the meat patties that I made. For simple meat patties you can use minced chicken (or pork), mince prawns, water chestnuts, spring onions and some shitake mushrooms. Marinade the meat with a little sesame oil, salt and sugar to taste and a dash of pepper. Shape them into a small hockey pucks. First dunk them into a beaten egg, then cover the pucks with some breadcrumbs. Fry them in a wok of hot oil and there you have it... home made meat patties.

This other tray holds my rice topped with some nori bits and sesame seeds, a rolled up plain omellete and stir fried mushrooms with brocolli.

Okie.. that is my 18th bento post.. Another 82 more to go if the qualifying criteria is 100 bento posts for next year's competition :D

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Japanese Curry

I have only tried Japanese curry once before this and it was at Sushi King. They were having a promotion and only after much persuasion by the nice waitress that I decided to order my first Japanese curry. Not sure why there was so much reluctance on my part but I think it is my stupid mind set. I always only associate good curries to Indian and Malay cooking. Ha Ha.

Anyway, the curry tasted quite good. A little sweet but then sweet is my favorite flavor. Have not ordered it again, not that I didn't like it. But I reckon it was more like a habit.. a habit of not ordering it.

So, one day, I decided to get a pre-cooked curry pack from the Japanese food outlet. They actually had a whole lot to choose from. I decided to pick one which was in a blue box, blue being one of my favourite colors.. and also I was told that it was one of the more popular one :D.

The cooking is very easy. Just microwave it or dump the entire packet (take it out from the paper box first yeah) inside the boiling water for 5 minutes (I forgot how long .. please read the instructions on the box). I boiled some rice to go with it.

The taste is as I liked it, sweet with only a tinge of spicy. My only complaint is..... where are all those chucks of meat and vegetables they showed on the box?? It was like "hoi dei low chump" - trying to fish a needle from the sea (literally translated from Cantonese to English).

Mmmm.. cannot read the Japanese writings on the box. Maybe I was supposed to add more meat and veg into the curry???

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