Friday, 25 December 2009

The Plan



Wouldn't it be good to make a business out of a hobby?




That is what I would like to do.




About two or three years ago, I discovered the bead and button shops at Newtown, and bought packets of beads and buttons of all shapes and sizes which caught my fancy. I sewed them onto embroidered skirts, and tote bags, just for fun.




I don't know exactly when I thought of the idea of making bracelets, but I made quite a few for myself and for family and friends. I've had good feedback about the bracelets.




So here's my plan, and I've been thinking about it for a while.

Could I be able to sell hand-made bracelets?

I'd like to try, at the open air markets, such as those at The Rocks, Paddington...




No more just talking about it and not putting thoughts and words into action, I've bought the raw material, and I'm raring to go. I've got some back-up from my sisters (at least one of them to start of with :P) , and I've sold two so far.

So wish me luck, and hopefully in the new year, I can be able to update with promising news. :)


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Friday, 4 December 2009

High Ambitions

I remember the first post I put up on this blog. Looking back, I can't help but wonder about my journey in life in the past two years. With each year's ups and downs, I plod through again and again, hoping to make sense of this overwhelming ,yet wonderful, journey.

I most definitely ponder about my dedication to this blog, as evident by the number of posts I have made each year. I made a whopping 89 posts in 2007, and it seems that 2009 would not be a big improvement on 2008, not unless I can muster up another bout of blogger's diarrhoea from now until the end of the year, which is, less than thirty days' away? I shall attempt my very best.

This is the very problem of having a full time job, I have very little time to do much else, which is a shame. I have many unfinished projects I really should make a full-hearted attempt to finish them.

Alright, I will. Once I get off the Internet, which, these days, I seem to spend a lot of time on. :P


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Life is a Fruit Cake

My mother has a very good recipe for fruit cake, perfect for festive seasons. She would make the fruit cake almost every time us children go home. For me, my mother's fruit cake is more than just good food; it conjures up one of the happiest and most memorable moments in my life.

For this year's Christmas, I would like to get the recipe off her to try to make. My first year of Christmas in Sydney after seven years. Even though I would not be at home to see my family, I would like to try to make a little magical moment here in Sydney.

When I get the recipe, I would post it up together with my experience of making the fruit cake on my own. Hopefully, I can garner help from C. :P


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Saturday, 24 October 2009

Pink Ribbon Day Cancer Council NSW 23/10/2009

I've been meaning to volunteer for the Cancer Council NSW since two years ago. At that time, I volunteered for Daffodil Day 2007. I didn't make it then because I had just started my job at Campsie.

The same thing happened this year. I volunteered for Pink Ribbon Day before I got offered the job at the new workplace. I was determined to make it this time around, though. It turned out that I also needed to tie up loose ends from my previous work. I took the day off work to achieve two different goals, one for satisfaction, the other out of responsibility.

I am glad that I did make it to Pink Ribbon Day. It was a most satisfying and rewarding experience. I cannot explain exactly why or how it was satisfying or rewarding.

Perhaps it's because I felt that I have made good use of my time. Perhaps it's reassuring to know that there are others who are willing to put in time and effort to volunteer charity events such as Pink Ribbon Day. Perhaps it's because I've fulfilled what I wanted to do two years ago.

Regardless of the reason. I was truly happy doing it. :)


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Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Deja Vu

Just when I thought I was getting better at my new job. Suddenly I was poked and prodded in all directions by faxes, faxes, and yet more faxes! I was almost going to throw in the proverbial towel, when the boss came upstairs and asked me if I was going well. Needless to say he had to help me fix up the faxes.

In that moment he was explaining to me about an issue with this nursing home that I had a deja vu flash. I remember vaguely dreaming about that exact moment. Does that mean that I'm destined to work there for a considerable amount of time?

Only time will let me in on this secret life journey.


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Preoccupation

The bulk of my work is to receive and attend to faxes from aged care facilities.

Almost every day I would receive a fax notifying the pharmacy of a deceased resident.

This recurring theme of death leaves me feeling morose and pensive.

It makes me realise all the more the transience of being.

Many a wise people have pondered about the meaning of life and death.

What is the purpose of life?

Does happiness transcend beyond living?

What happens to all of us when we die?

Questions left unanswered, swallowed by the darkness of the night...

Enter Sandman, take me to a dreamless sleep...



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Sunday, 18 October 2009

Double Chocolate Chip Macadamia Cookies

This post is long overdue. I made these biscuits for KT to take back to Malaysia in August. I excuse myself for not posting this sooner as I have been busy (it's the same excuse every time). :P

KT loves nuts, and since macadamia is a product of Australia (something that almost all Malaysians would take back to Malaysia as a gift for family and friends), I wanted to make biscuits with macadamia nuts. As usual, Google is my reliable source of recipes, and I came up with a few recipes which used macadamia nuts. Most of them combined the nuts with white chocolate.

Personally, I am not a fan of white chocolate as I find it too sweet. Therefore, I used both white and dark chocolate in the recipe.



Baked goodness


Ingredients:
2 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
170g unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon rum
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup macadamia nuts

Method:
1. Pre-heat to 150-160 degrees Celcius.
2. Beat melted butter and sugar for 5-10 minutes until pale and fluffy.
3. Add vanilla extract and rum into butter mixture. Mix to combine.
4. Gradually beat one egg yolk and one egg into the mixture until well-combined.
5. Sift together plain flour, baking soda, and salt.
6. Add dry ingredients gradually to wet mixture until well-combined.
7. Spoon one teaspoon of dough onto baking tray lined with non-stick baking
paper. Stick white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, and macadamia onto
dough.
8. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Biscuits should only be lightly coloured and chewy in
the centre when cooked.

Tips:
1. When spooning dough onto the baking tray, make sure the dough is spooned as
high a pile as possible so that the biscuits maintain a dome shape when baked,
and to minimise spreading.
2. Make sure there is enough space for each biscuit to expand when baked.
3. Chocolate chips and nuts could also be mixed into the dough and spooned out
instead of sticking them onto the dough.



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New Beginning

I got the job. They must really need someone in a hurry, because not long after I went for the second interview, the manager rang me and asked me to start the following day.

I've worked six gruelling days at the pharmacy. For the first few days, I was too anxious to feel physically tired after working all those hours, but I was mentally exhausted. It is a new environment for me, and I had much to learn. I still have much to learn, but at least I have grasped the basics. I feel a little more confident. Hopefully I can gain a bit more footing next week.

One night I bought a Donna Hay October edition to get some cash out. I discovered what I think has to be the simplest and yet most delicious and satisying cookie recipe - oat and coconut crisps. I had most of the ingredients on hand (I bought a big bag of coconut shreds to make kerisik for the beef rendang the other night, so all the more reason to put them to good use!), and it didn't require too much fiddling around!


Welcome Spring!


I tried the recipe out yesterday night. I adapted the recipe, of course, since I'm not one to follow a recipe to the letter. ;)


The outcome - very nice~


Oat and Coconut Crisps

Ingredients:
135g rolled oats
(KT had a bag of tropical muesli, so I used 135g of that instead, I picked out all the large bits of fruit)
40g shredded coconut
135g brown sugar (I used 130g, I didn't want it to be too sweet)
165g white sugar
(I substituted with 100g caster sugar, and 50g CSR coffee sugar crystals for added crunch and flavour)
35g plain flour, sifted
165g butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celcius (340 degrees Fahrenheit).
2. Place the oats, coconut, sugar, and flour in a bowl. Mix to combine.
3. Add the butter, egg, and vanilla. Mix until well combined.
4. Spoon one teaspoon of the mixture at a time onto a baking tray lined with
non-stick baking paper.
5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden.
6. As soon as they turn golden, take them out of the oven, leave on the tray for a
few minutes, then lift the baking paper from the tray and onto a wire rack to
cool completely.

Tips:
1. I set the oven at 160 degrees Celcius fan-forced.
2. I spooned only one teaspoon of the mixture at any one time, not one tablespoon
as per original recipe, as one tablespoon would spread too much. Make sure
that each teaspoon of mixture has enough room to spread whilst cooking.

3. Set timer at 10 minutes to start, the biscuits would take 10 minutes at most to
turn brown. If they are baked longer, the sugar would caramelise too much and turn quite bitter.


Voila! Simple and delicious!




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Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Oh hello my old friends...

I woke up from an afternoon nap to a phone call about a job interview.

I have spent the evening planning and pondering. I believe that I have equipped myself for the inteview.

I am not sure what to expect. Perhaps the unexpected. The destined. A pre-determined outcome. I can only do my best, and hope for the best.

Into the night, I find that I cannot fall asleep. Insomnia and Trepidation are here to visit me. Yet again.

And here I am, typing in the dark, trying to compose my thoughts, willing myself to sleep.

...

...

...

I think it is working. I will lie down now.


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Thursday, 1 October 2009

Fleeting moment

Looking for work is such an arduous, torturous process.

On top of not having steady income, the bills keep piling.

I'm enjoying the free time, though.

When I'm not worrying my socks off.

It can be difficult conveying one's inner thoughts to others, especially since everyone has worries of his / her own.

Oh well...

As the saying goes, out with the old, in with the new.

This too shall pass.


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Friday, 25 September 2009

Early Morning Awakening

I woke up at 3:47 in the morning. I fell asleep on the sofa. I was that tired.

I have been tired for a while now.

Sometimes I think too much or try to do too much at the same time.

I know I'm human. No matter how quickly I'm able to get things done, I can only truly take care of some things and neglect others.

I don't mean to.

I was browsing a primary schoolmate's Facebook account and found out that she is going through a rough patch in her life. Even though we have never been close, but I feel for her.

And I realised.

Life is made up of fleeting moments, not one moment is identical to the next. I have to live in the moment, because once it's gone, I can't relive it again.

And so I would live each moment, as best as I can.

Savour each moment, as best as I can.

And remember each moment, as best as I can.



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Thursday, 16 July 2009

Everything Happens For a Reason

I can't help but think how true - everything happens for a reason.

If I had not done A, then B would not have happened.

A series of seemingly unrelated events, each setting off another.

Divine intervention?

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Friday, 3 July 2009

Bluey Preening Himself

video

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Penchant for fondant

I love Australian Gourmet Traveller.

I made orange chocolate fondants with a recipe from the June issue of AGT.


Oozing lava


Chocolate heaven on a cold and chilly winter night...

Here it is:

Ingredients:
150g dark chocolate ( 61% cocoa solids), finely chopped
90g butter, coarsely chopped
30mL Grand Marnier
Finely grated rind of 1 orange
3 eggs
150g caster sugar
45g plain flour
30g Dutch-process cocoa
Candied orange peel (optional), to serve

Grand Marnier ganache
40mL pouring cream
10mL Grand Marnier
75g dark chocolate (61% cocoa solids)
20g candied orange peel, diced.

1.
For Grand Marnier ganache, bring cream and Grand Marnier to the boil in a small saucepan, remove from heat, add chocolate and stand for 1 minute, then stir until smooth. Stir in candied orange peel and refrigerate until firm (2-3 hours). Roll heaped teaspoons of mixture into 6 balls, refrigerate until required.

2. Melt chocolate, butter, Grand Marnier and orange rind in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, stir until smooth (4-5 minutes), remove from heat. Whisk eggs and sugar in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until very thick and pale (7-8 minutes). Remove from heat, fold in chocolate mixture, sift over flour and cocoa, fold to combine. Refrigerate until firm (3-4 hours).


3. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Half-fill 6 buttered and floured 150mL-capacity metal dariole moulds with pudding mixture, pressing mixture firmly into mould and making a small indentation in the centre with a teaspoon. Place a ball of ganache in the centre, top up with more pudding mixture to 1cm below rim, smoothing top. Bake until fisen and just firm to the touch (12-15 minutes), stand for 5 minutes, turn onto serving plates and serve immediately with marmalade ice-cream and candied orange peel, if using.

C didn't like the fondants much, she said that it was too rich. I might try another recipe some time soon.

When I get the time and muster up enough energy. :P


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Saturday, 6 June 2009

Knitting

My knitting project is going well.

KT would be pleased to get his scarf before winter ends.

Fingers crossed.

Speaking of which, I don't know if it's my technique that's lacking, but I find knitting a very laborious hobby, and not quite as relaxing as the old ladies make it out to be on television. My fingers feel as if they have been disjointed each time I put the knitting down.

I will keep knitting...



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Sunday, 17 May 2009

New Look + Current Favourites

After 4 years of wearing my hair long, I had them snipped off to shoulder length. I look refreshed, according to my sister, C.

I think so, too.

Current favourite look - lady-like.

I told C that if I have loads of money to spend (disposable income, in economic term), I'd spend them on Christian Dior haute couture.

I saw this dress from the 2009 Spring / Summer collection.Justify Full



Très joli, n'est-ce pas?


Current favourite TV show - Masterchef on Channel Ten.

I love food shows... and I love watching George Calombaris, he reminds me of Doraemon... recipes and gadgets coming out of his pockets. :P

I love Manu Feildel... too bad he has so little airing time on Masterchef.

Current thought - It's 4:36 am Sunday 17/05/2009. I should be sleeping soon.



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Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Stir-Fried Fish Noodles

There's this shop in old town PJ which sells noodles made from fish meat. I've eaten it twice. The noodles are stir-fried kuey tiaw style, very very yummy.

I decided to make fish noodles today.

I bought snapper fillets to make the fish meat. The fish needs to be minced until it is of lighter shade, then kneaded until it is of doughy, rubbery consistency. I added an egg to the paste, which made the dough a little bit sticky and harder to handle. I should have left out the egg. I added a little bit of oil and salt to make it shinier.

I put the fish paste into a piping bag and piped out thin strands into a saucepan of hot boiling water. Once the noodles float up, they were ready to be used.
The noodles needed to be seasoned quite heavily when fried, because I didn't add much salt to the fish paste.

I fried it kuey tiaw style, minus the prawns and cockles (I couldn't find cockles). Yummy yummy. I'll post a picture up when I get the time.

KT liked it, so that was a good thing. My sister that the noodles weren't as chewy as
the one in PJ, which my father thought was because of the snapper; tenggiri (mackerel) would have been a better fish to make fish paste. I didn't process the paste for long, which could have contributed to the lack of chewiness. :P

When I lay my hands on mackerel... :P



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Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Dear Prime Minister

Dear Mr. Rudd,

I've been meaning to write you for a while now. I was glad that you were elected Prime Minister. I know that you would bring about great improvements for Australia.

I know that you've been busy with the economic crisis - I saw on the news that you're flying off to meet the President of the USA. On my part, I have been dealt with a crisis of a different sort. I can assure you that this crisis also affects the lives of others in the same predicament as I.

Ever since I moved out of college and into an apartment, I have been told off on numerous occasions for hanging laundry on the balcony. I have been enlightened on the strata by-law banning laundry from being put out in sight, not in keeping with the overall appearance of the apartment block. I trust that you know such strata by-law.

I find it strange that a progressive country such as Australia, a country vocal on environmental issues, would not have reviewed such a by-law. You can imagine that enforcement of this by-law would result in increased use of the dryer, and increased electricity consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. I understand that this by-law has been implemented to avoid apartment blocks from looking slum-like.

Slum-like, as in, Sydney CBD streets littered with rubbish, the stench of urine in each alleyway, homeless and / or drunk people wandering aimlessly? Surely there ought to be some law banning littering and passing of urine in public areas?

The simple act of drying laundry out in the sun is likened to littering. The analogy eludes me.

I grew up in Malaysia where our laundry are hung out in the sun. There was nothing slum-like in utilising the sun's energy to dry one's laundry. Far better for the environment, not to mention, the pocket. My parents were middle income earners. I am, too.

I believing in the judicious spending of one's income. More importantly, I believe in utilising renewable resources where possible in one's daily living. I am sure that Prime Minister, you share my sentiments.

Yours truly,
Suen Yee Chew



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Tuesday, 17 March 2009

How To Avoid Trapped Arm Whilst Cuddling in Bed



I was Google-ing on how to knit a scarf.

That was how I came across this website. www.videojug.com

I laughed out loud watching it.




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Tuesday, 10 March 2009

The Other

Let me introduce you to Bluey...


Whatcha looking at?


The newest addition of tenants to the apartment.

By far the quietest addition.

Not including the creepy-crawleys, that is.

He loves choy sum, bok choy, carrots, and raisins.

Oh boy, he loves his raisins.


I love picnicking with my best mates, too!


When we brought him home about a month ago, he was a quiet little fellow, so cute and cuddly.

Not anymore.

I have a sneaky feeling that his testicles descended.


I'm still quite metrosexual, you know.


These days, he spends his romp time outside his hutch underneath the couch.

His burrow, my sister calls it.

When he's hungry, and there's nothing in the hutch other than hay, he sits and sulks.


Emo-ing, my sister calls it.


Can't you leave me alone?


'Nuff said.



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Monday, 2 February 2009

Sunflowers


Sunflowers turn their heads toward the sun,
"Look towards the bright future", they seem to say,
"Night took its leave and is on the run,
Why think dark thoughts in the light of day?"




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Sunday, 1 February 2009

Checking out

The apartment is in a major start of disarray.

On the 6th day of Chinese New Year, we are packing up a storm in preparation of our moving to the block across the road.

The living room is filled with cardboard boxes of all shapes and sizes, empty, half-full, full.

I am here to document this important event.

Fluffing, in other words.

I love that word.

I should be packing, too, but the stomach's growling, and I'm thinking of oh jian (oyster omelette).

So I'm googling for a good recipe. To keep up the energy to pack up.

I liken renting to an extended stay at a hotel.

Check-in, unpack, pack, check-out.

With more than just one suitcase of clothes.

Heaps more.




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Monday, 26 January 2009

Chinese New Year / Australia Day 2009

Yes, it was yummy!!!

I should realign this picture, but I don't have time. It's obvious KT enjoyed himself!


This is my first year and last year in Australia that the first day of Chinese New Year coincides with Australia Day. I was told by KT that this is a once in a hundred years occurrence.

Chinese New Year, Australia Day or not, a pharmacist works for bread and butter.

And Vegemite, of course.

Thank goodness I start an hour later today, that gives me some time to blog about my Chinese New Year cooking / eating dinner feast.

KT asked me to cooked loh hon chai ( a vegetarian dish) and a fish dish (fish in Chinese sounds the same as abundance).

I pestered my mother for a loh hon chai recipe, and tried it out yesterday night. Great success. :) KT was satisfied.

Fish dish? Oh, not so great success. I wanted to do a salt-crusted snapper, but the Donna Hay recipe turned out too salty. I have to look for a better recipe.

We had sambal prawn, too. Very great success. Spicy to the max. My nosed leaked like a burst pipe. So spicy that my stomach did acrobatics in the toilet, too. Not so appetising.

Chinese New Year morning? A staple - fried battered nian gao with sweet potato. Yummy. And the too salty fish? Fish porridge. Also yummy.


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Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Arrgggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

Surprisingly I was quite alert at work, considering my haphazard sleeping schedule.

I even bought all the ingredients to make lad nar before I went to work.

I was all set to cook.

Until I went home, that is.

I just wanted to rest and relax.

So I ordered Thai takeaway.

It fitted the occasion.

I reasoned that I needed to have the lad nar taste fresh in my mind before I experiment with the recipe.

OK, I was downright lazy. :P

With my takeaway lad nar tucked safely in my stomach, I crawled straight into bed. Unhealthy, I know. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggghhhhhhhh!!! To think that my colleagues commented that I've lost weight, and now I fall back to my old stinking habits.

If that wasn't bad enough, I had to be woken up by KT to open the door for him at 3am.


Now, at this early hour of 6am Sydney EST time with daylight savings (that's 3am witching hour in Malaysia, when I would still have been nocturnal), I'm still awake!!!

This has to end. Tonight.


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Monday, 12 January 2009

Back in Sydney

I arrived in Sydney on 11th January 2009 morning.

I slept until 5pm that day.

Cooked dinner, which my father can take credit for - "man fan" - rice in broth.

Simple but yummy:

Ingredients:
  • Pre-cooked rice
  • 4 packets of bonito flakes
  • 1 large piece of konbu
  • 1 tablespoon Awase miso paste
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • Soy sauce - adjust to taste
  • Suki-yaki beef
  • Spinach, rinsed and chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • Fried ikan bilis (the small variety - ngan yu chai)
  • Chopped spring onions
  • Fried garlic in oil
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh red chillies, or Japanese chilli flakes (ichimi togarashi)


Method:
  1. Boil bonito flakes and konbu for stock. Once the konbu softens, take it out, cut into strips, then throw them back into the stock. In this way, the konbu can also be eaten.
  2. When the liquid comes to a boil, turn down fire to a slow simmer, skim away foam at the surface.
  3. Stir in miso, mirin, and soy sauce to taste.
  4. Add in beef. Broth at this point is at a simmer so that beef is not overcooked.
  5. Add the eggs, stirring while adding to create egg strands in the broth.
  6. When the beef is just cooked, add in spinach.
  7. When the spinach is wilted, ladle broth over rice in a bowl, top with fried ikan bilis, chopped spring onion, fried garlic in oil, chillies or chilli flake, and black pepper.

Yes, I've been quite productive since I came back. That's because my sleeping pattern is off - I went to the bathroom at 5am and couldn't sleep ever since! I even had time to look up a recipe for lad nar. This web page is very informational, there is even a clip on how street vendors cook lad nar in Thailand! So tonight's menu is, yes! Lad Nar!

I really need to get some shut-eye before my gruelling 10-hour shift. Oh, no. :P



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Monday, 5 January 2009

Obsession Continued

I told my X about my chocolate shortbread recipe so we decided to make a batch of it to try, and maybe make some for Chinese New Year, too.

I mentioned in my Obsession entry that I would try to add 200g of dark chocolate instead of just 150g. Not a good idea. With the temperature and cooking time, the shortbread turned out still soft at the bottom. Therefore, if I wanted to make it more rich in chocolate, I would either have to adjust the dark chocolate amount between 150g and 200g without altering the baking settings or adding more flour, or increase the cocoa amount. I think I would try adjusting the dark chocolate amount.

Instead of vanilla extract (which I couldn't find any in the cupboard), I added some Captain Morgan's Jamaican rum. I'm pleased with the result. When I get back to Sydney, I'll try the recipe with some Marsala wine. :P

The shortbread turned out chocolatey-rich, even though the bottom had a brownie-like texture. Yummy...

Once again, X said that she likes them and would be my loyal fan. :P

Stay tuned until I achieve the best chocolate shortbread recipe. :P



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Sunday, 4 January 2009

More Counting

So my boss told me to start work on 12/01/2009. Happiness. I quickly booked a flight for the weekend. More happiness.

I finally finished the cushion cover I started making about a month ago.

The cushion cover - I made it!!!

I went for my dental check-up today. All's good in the dental department.

I also got some perspective. I'm going to take one step at a time. And hope for the best. :)


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Mami's Birthday 19th December 2008

Other than the scrapbook, we also made a cake for Mami.
A few months ago, I bought "The Big Book of Chocolate" containing 365 recipes using chocolate. Yummy.
I brought the book with me during this trip home, thinking that there would definitely be an opportunity to try some of the recipes.
For Mami's birthday, we decided on the Mississippi mud cake.

Mississippi mud cake with ganache topping

Ingredients:

For the cake:

200g butter, chopped, plus extra for greasing

100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces

300g caster sugar

2 tablespoon whisky

150g plain flour

1 tablespoon self-raising flour

2 tablespoon cocoa powder

2 eggs lightly beaten

For the ganache:

175g dark chocolate, broken into pieces

25g butter

125mL double cream


Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees C. Grease a 23 cm spring form tin, and line the base with baking paper.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter, chocolate, sugar, whisky, and 150mL water together over a low heat until the chocolate has just melted. Pour the mixture into a clean bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Set the mixture aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  3. In a clean bowl, sift in the flours and cocoa powder together, then fold into the chocolate mixture with the eggs.
  4. Pour the cake mixture into the spring form tin.
  5. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 55 to 60 minutes, or until the skerwer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out slightly moist.
  6. Remove from the oven and leave in the tin to cool for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. To make the ganache - in a small saucepan, combine all of the ingredients for the ganache. Over a low heart, stir with a metal spoon until the butter and chocolate have melted. Remove the pan from heat. Spread over the cake with a spatula.

Tips:

1. The cake should be in the middle of the oven, make sure that the top doesn't

brown or crisp too much.

2. Check the cake at about 50 to 55 minutes, at about 60 minutes, the cake won't

be moist.

3. The ganache should be cooled until it is thick enough to be spread over the cake

without being too runny.





Advertising the cake

In another light

Mami with the cake

A piece for you?

Verdict:

We weren't sure how Mississippi mud cake was supposed to taste like, but to me, our version had the texture of mooncake with a rich chocolate taste. It could have been more moist, I think, which boiled down to the fact I left it in the oven for 60 minutes. On hindsight, I should have checked it at about 45 minutes, then take it out at 50 or 55 minutes. I could have also put a foil on top of the tin to prevent browning or crisping up of the top layer; the top layer cracked as a result of too intense heat, I think.

X, my youngest sister, claimed that she's a loyal fan of our cooking, and she ended up eating most of the cake, or so she claimed. :P


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Friday, 2 January 2009

Counting Down the Days

My flight is at midnight, Tuesday, 6th of January 2009.

I have about three more days at home.

Then it's back to reality.

I'm hoping to extend my stay until next weekend.

So far, my boss hasn't replied me on when I need to start work...

I need to change my flight more than 48 hours before the scheduled time.

Arrrgh...



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First Day of 2009 - on life and Swea'D


I'm camera shy!

She came into our lives on 26th April 1997. I was proud to claim to anyone who paid attention that I chose her. True to her nature, she was the nosy puppy that poked her face at us. I knew she was the one. Our very first pet dog.

We fought over what to name her. My father wanted to name her Dolly, as in the film "Hello, Dolly!". We quickly put a stop to that name coming to being. No, if we wanted to name our very first dog, it had to be a cool name. Way cooler than Dolly, the only Dolly I knew then was Dolly Parton.

C quickly decided on the name Sweet D, for Sweet Dog. At that time, we were in the Backstreet Boys craze, remember Howie D? I think he had Sweet D as one of his nicknames. Later on, my father spelt the name Swea'D. Much cooler.




Life doesn't get any better than eating!


Swea'D came to stay.

She was one cute puppy. A nosy parker, but a puppy could be forgiven for this seemingly harmless idiosyncrasy.

She was 6 weeks old when she came to stay.

She's 11 years old now, and she knows she owns the house.

OK, she co-owns it with my father, the only person she's afraid of.

She's slightly slow on the stairs these days, but at the mention of food, "Mam Mam!", her eyes light up and she even has a spring to her steps.

The only thing that gets her excited.

That, and the mention of my father's name, "Papa!". She knows then that something is going to happen (either a bath, or clipping her nails).

Same old Swea'D.

If only life revolves around food and eating, sleeping, and going for the 1's and 2's.

It's 2009, and I know everyone goes about making a list of resolutions for the new year.

I have one, too.

But it gets complicated.

I'm not getting younger, and it seems that there are so many things that I have not achieved in life.

So much so that I feel swamped, overwhelmed, snowed in.

"You know what I'm craving?

A little perspective.

That's it.

I'd like some fresh, clear, well-seasoned perspective."

Some perspective to clear up my addled thoughts.


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Thursday, 1 January 2009

Ang Koo 29th December 2008


The ang koo with the gaping hole fell on the floor, and the dog tried to grab it and eat it RAW. So we decided to steam it and give it to her (greedy Swea'D)

I don't know where we got this ang koo ge recipe from. The first we tried making it was about two years ago. We made it with local sweet potatoes with a vibrant orange colour.

This time around we had Japanese sweet potatoes with slightly yellow-tinged flesh. As a result, the ang koo ge didn't turn out red. :P

Ang Koo Ge Recipe

Ingredients:
300g glutinous rice flour
150g sweet potato
100mL water
50mL vegetable oil
Filling - green bean paste, red bean paste, groundnut paste
Banana leaves, scalded in hot water, drip dry, cut into ang koo mould size, and oiled

1. Steam the sweet potato. Mash it to a smooth paste without adding water.

2. Put the glutinous rice flour into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre of the
flour. Add the mashed sweet potato and slowly rub it into the flour.

3. Add the water and oil slowly.

4. Knead into a pliable dough.

5. Wrap some filling with dough. Press into ang koo mould.

6. Grease the steaming tray. Place ang koo ge onto cut banana leaf.

7. Steam on high heat for 15 to 20 minutes until cooked (the ang koo becomes
translucent)

Tips:
1. The dough once kneaded should be shiny and smooth, and when rolled out
should not have cracks at the edges.

2. I prefer local sweet potatoes (with a more vibrant orange colour) to the
Japanese variety - more colour as well as taste is added to the ang koo dough

3. Use freshly steamed and mashed sweet potato - the moisture will help to bind
the dough better.


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