Wednesday, February 27, 2008

impromptu bbq...

just for the fun of it, both dh and myself had a barbeque for ourselves, the twosome...you read that right, a mini one so to speak..so it was a leetle bit of everything...and coincidentally, it was Chap Goh Meh, not that we planned it that way. I simply prepared everything in the morning and put them in containers, then into the fridge they went...then when it came dinner time, bring them out and voila, minimal washing up to do...
The full spread...

Photobucket

The highlights (clockwise from top left):
1/ Bacon-wrapped enoki mushroom
2/ Bacon-wrapped asparagus
3/ Grilled whole pineapple with cinnamon-sugar sprinkle
4/ What's a bbq without chicken wings, rite? I used Judy's recipe with all the sauces...thanks lazyger :)

We were so full after the meal that we could hardly move, hahah...but it was fun none-the-less. Surely will do them again, when the mood strikes (as usual), hehehe...

Reminder to self: leave the stem on the pineapple for easier handling, silly me forgot about it this time round.

heaven in my kitchen?

I quote from Peony's blog, she said the the aroma emitting from the oven while this Cream Cheese Bread Loaf is being baked is like "a slice of heaven"...and that caught my fancy, hahha.. Just imagine waking up to a fresh loaf of bread, POW WOW...but I can dream on, for I do not own a breadmaker, so that's out of the question, hhehehe... So gotta "dirty" my hands (not 100% tho, it's the KA's dough hook doing most of the job) and try if I can get that loaf of heaven *wink*


The list of ingredients weren't too bad...quite simple and 'basic', I would say, the only extra would be the cream cheese... Here's the short list:

250g hi-protein bread flour
2 tbsp milk powder
1.5 tsp instant dry yeast
2 tbsp sugar (equivalent to 20g)
1 tsp salt
60g cream cheese
200 g water (original recipe uses 160g only, but I found that my dough won't combine, thus the addition)
20g butter (from the fridge, cut into smaller cubes)

Method
1/ Put the first 5 items into the mixing bowl, mix a tad, then pour the water gradually to get a smooth dough, then lastly the butter.
2/ Let the dough 'workout' till the window-pane stretch test, put into a greased bowl to proof till double in size, about 45 minutes for me.
3/ Punch down, then flatten dough into a rectangle before rolling it into a swiss roll and into the pullman loaf tin (greased all around and lined with grease-proof paper at the bottom) it goes.
4/ Second proof, 45 minutes again till the dough came up to at least half the height of the pan, then pop it into the 210°C preheated oven for 35 minutes.

Notes to self:
* The pullman loaf tin that I got (20cm x 12.5 cm x 10cm) is far too big for this 600g dough...so I've got a rectangle loaf instead.
* And then also, since the pan is too big, the top part of the bread didn't manage to touch it, thus that top part is fair compared to the other 5 sides.
Correction: "Expert" says my bread was under-risen, that's why, hahah...that shows how amateur I am in the bread department {grin sheepishly}
* Dough is very soft, so oil hands before handling...and the bread it yields is simply heavenly...

Photobucket

Photobucket

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Happy Family...

I realised that playing with fondant is cheaper than any of the clays available, for example, Jumping Clay. Reason being that my set of Jumping Clay harden, and it cost me a freaking RM 50 for a box leh...was so mad at myself for not using it earlier...too sayang mah. Then now lagi worse, the moolah went down the drain :(

Photobucket
So these were what I made this morning...still very basic and amateurish..trying to get a hang out of it. It was quite fun to just do something with child-like curiosity, hahah...some of the inspirations were drawn from blogs, and some pointers from claycraft sites such as
Have fun viewing my 'creations' as much as I had in pinching, shaping, moulding, rounding, rolling, tapering, sticking them...till then :)

What's cooking?!?

This was dh's dinner last nite....more like out of desperation, got no idea what to cook, so simply marinate the chicken breast with whatever sauces that I have at home, so if I were to ask to replicate this, doubt it will be the same...hahah, that's the 'science' of cooking, and the beauty of agaration (agar as in estimate in malay). I used herbs + black pepper + soy sauce + chilly sauce + tomato sauce + honey + black pepper sauce + hickory sauce...

Then I wrap it up in aluminium foil, stick it into oven, and what comes out was simply beautiful..see those precious natural juices in the small glass there? It's the 1st time ever dh didn't "insult" my cooking, as in he didn't eat his food with chilly/tomato sauce, as was customary.

Photobucket
Rest if on a bed of blanched french beads...and voila, my version of "Baked Chicken Parcel".

Monday, February 18, 2008

Learning ABC...

was playing with a "Sculpey" alphabet mould that I bought 2.5 months ago...I needed to try my hands on it to check if it's user-friendly on fondant, coz supposedly, it's for clay craft, hahah... Boy was I glad I bought it, it sure was fun getting all the 36 tiles (26 alphabets + 10 numbers), thereafter painting it gold to make it *outstanding*, else can't make head or tail what it is.
Photobucket
This is the only brand of ready-roll fondant that I can lay my hands on, not too bad I guess for beggars can't be choosers as there's no other choice for me. Of course the other option would be DIY, but heck, that takes a lot of muscle power to get a smooth fondant eh. Been there, done that...so opting for the easy way out, hahah..
Photobucket

In the playground..

made this cake for a friend's son's 1st birthday...he was born in the year of the dog, thus the theme...this pix looks like the dalmations having fun in the snow park, hahha...

Photobucket

Photobucket
whereas this one looks more colourful and cheerful, what do you think? *smile*

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

United Nations

thanks to Jo, I happened to 'bump' into this can of "Comstock" while shopping at the bakery supply shop...if not for her introduction, I doubt I would give it a try, hahah... Well, as usual, buy-now-think-later attitude kicked in, so happily it goes into the bill and what better way than to savour it straight from the can, with pancakes.

Wah, the round ball of cherries were so inviting, I couldn't help but try it right away...slightly sourish, it's a change from the norm of overly-sweet pie filling. Worth every sen paid for it, heheh... :)

Photobucket
Photobucket
(L - R): Blueberry, Home-made apple filling, Cherry
Couldn't wait to serve it as V-day breakfast tomorrow, hip hip hooray!

Monday, February 11, 2008

New items...

does the word NEw excite you? I simply just like the idea of trying something that is newly on the menu, and this was one of it. We first saw it being displayed while our hangout cafe was closing for the day, but it was not on sale yet, more like the cake was brought out to thaw for the opening of business next day. So this item had been on our mind eversince then, hahah...and of course, we chanced upon it the first opportunity we had, on the 1st day of Rat year. By now, you would know what are the few key items that will get us game to try, hahah...in a way, we're that 'predictable', muahahha...
Photobucket
Chocolate Banana Pie: Nice blend...not too sweet

Random eat-out

have you attempted to try to check out new outlets of makan, and end up disappointed? It's usually the case for us, we tot well, since we haven't been to this new place, we should break out of our norm to at least live up to the maxim of been-there-dine-that...but the countless number of times we did that, we were disappointed loh. It only made us appreciate our favourite joints more, hahah...and then the cycle begins, we got bored with our favs and we venture out again, haha...Human beings, so hard to please yea?!?

Just like this item that caught both dh and my sight, it's something new so we were game to try..only to realise it's Fish Cordon Bleu but was named "Stuffed Fish". What's better is that they ran out of tartar sauce, and my, how to enjoy fish without extra helping of that sauce, rite? Once is more than enough, not going back there anymore...

Photobucket

Farmland...

tell you a secret...i still browse thru the Toys aisle these days, hahah...of course not so much for dolls (that has never been my interest at all). Can you believe that I don't own a single Barbie or a cuddly softtoy to my name? My sis on the contrary had tonnes that she covered the bed with, more like her side of the bed for we share a king-size bed way back. Then whenever she sleeps, the softtoys would all be scattered on the floor, heheh...such is the fate of them ya?!? And then hor, those softies are still around leh, despite now she's miles and miles away...stowed away on top of the cupboard loh, where else?!? I fret the dust at the very thought of them.

So back to the topic, here was my loot on one of my toys shopping...to be used for coookies loh, but yet to "officiate" them *wink*

Photobucket
My "farmland" cutters...err, not all from the far, the fish is not :P

Featherly beauty...

Dh getting better and better these days...the below 2 photos speak volume of his skill (not to mention how many cups I had the priviledge to down during the 4 day cny break). I'm not complaining at all..only appreciating it with a heart full of gratitude, my dear :)

Photobucket

Photobucket

TLC...

not V-day yet...these were
Eaten Tenderly as they were crispy crunchy, simply yummy
specially made with Love (by 2 super-thoughtful souls)
'couriered' with Care! (thanks to my reliable transporter)

Photobucket
I oledi joined the "league" liao without these cookies, hahah...thanks heaps!!

And with that, I shall dedicate this poem to them Jo & Ju:

People like you
make this
A wonderful world
Because you've
been wonderful
right from the start,
I just can't help
sending this
"Thanks"
from the heart.

Cheers mate(s)!!

Ribbed...

After all the feasting...time to get the body back into normalcy, hahah...with just a cuppa beverage and a sandwich roll to jump start the day...got the idea of the ribbed sandwich from a new book...just for the fun of it. Shows how much I play with my food, eh?

Photobucket
Nice texture to an otherwise plain piece of bread...

Friday, February 8, 2008

Tapas...

Had a feast yesterday, hahah...more like we returned to Bakerzin as the last time we went there for their Apple Strudel, was told that they no longer sell that. And it's only buffet available, no other choice...and at RM 28++, one gets to taste 57 items on their menu, that's excluding the drinks. Drink is also included in the selection, just that I didn't go count them lah.

So below is how we fared:
Soup - 5 choices, we tried 2
Salad - 7 choices, tasted 3
Bruschetta & Sandwiche - 6 choices, 3 were tested
Pasta - we sampled 2 out of choice of 12
Heartier meals - tasted 2 out of a selection of 5
Desserts - only managed to try 9 out of 22
Total 'score' of 21. Will surely return to try the rest...

Photobucket
Seafood Soup - nice, I'm yearning for it now as I type this
Photobucket
Ox-tail Soup, which I somehow feel they are not good with lamb
Photobucket
Roasted Pear Salad & Spicy Roast Beef Salad, these two we loved them
Photobucket
Grilled Vegetable Salad - the bell peppers were exceptionally sweet, nice! Mushroom Bruschetta - love those fresh shroomie...
Photobucket
Otah Bruschetta, yucky coz can taste the coconut oil, hahha...
Photobucket
Seafood Curry and Lamb Stew, both are a disappointment
Photobucket
Ham & Bacon Penne in Pink Sauce, Seafood Pasta, Brioche with Mushroom & Egg Benedict Both pastas are nice, and the mushroom brioche, needless to say lah..
Photobucket
Raspberry Creme Brulee, Pistachio Creme Brulee, Chocolate Sticks, Baked Apple Tart, Warm Chocolate Cake
Photobucket
Coupe Black Forest, Grand Marnier Souffle, Bailey's Irish Cream Souffle, Ginger Jelly with Lychee Concasse The Grand Marnier was strong, love it to bits..as I tasted that first, the Irish Cream one pale in comparison
All in all, we were satisfied, hahah...and we got the membership card as well, came free with RM 50 above of purchases in a single receipt, what more could we ask for?!? Oh, not to mention the number of coffee drinks we downed, haha...one of which is this:
Photobucket