Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Banana Bread

At this moment, the sweet scent of banana bread permeates the air. There is another 20 minutes to go before I check on it.

Rising up nicely

I sit at KT's computer typing this entry whilst waiting for the bread to be cooked. It is a sunny day, with a slightly cool autumn breeze. 

The smell of good food makes me happy. 

I found this recipe on Christie's fig&cherry blog, and was attracted by the lovely photos of the finished banana bread. Lots and lots of nuts? That is right up my alley.

125g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 very ripe bananas
1/2 packed cup brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
1 and 1/2 cups of plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
Two handfuls of pecans, toasted and roughly chopped


  1. Pre-heat oven at 160°C fan-forced. Grease then line a loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the melted butter, mashed bananas, sugar, egg, vanilla extract, cinnamon and cloves. Mix to combine.
  3. Gradually sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt. In between adding in the flour, add the chopped pecans. 
  4. Bake in the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted leaves a few crumbs.
  5. Remove from tin and cool on a wire rack. 

Missing a tiny slice from the left corner. :) 

I have taken the bread out of the oven. It is very, very dense. I have cut a slice and slathered it with Harmonie Organic Butter (I happened to use the same brand as Christie). It is dense, moist, crunchy with nuts, and surprisingly, just nicely sweet. :) 

I have to restrain myself from having a second slice. 

Mmm, I am indeed happy. :)


Much Ado About Chickens Roaming Free

X came down with a sore throat on Thursday morning; she has since not fully recovered. 

I have been cooking congee almost every dinner since Thursday.

Twice I have cooked chicken congee, using different brands of free-range whole chicken.

Before I go any further, I would like to stress that I do not endorse any brand, I only state my opinion.  

On the first occasion, I used Red Lea free-range whole chicken to cook the congee. I did not add anything else to the congee other than a few cloves of garlic and salt.
Verdict: KT, X, and I found the chicken to be "sweet"-tasting.

On the second occasion,  I used Macro (Woolworth's brand) free-range whole chicken. I added Astragalus membranaceous (bei qi / huang qi) slices.
Verdict: the chicken tastes "sweet", but not as sweet as compared to that of Red Lea's.

I found Red-Lea to be sweeter-tasting, but due to the fact I added different aromatics to each batch of congee, it may have altered the taste slightly. The take-home message is, free-range chickens taste better than non-free-range chickens. :) 


Thursday, 24 March 2011



That she may be free from pain and suffering...

That she may be at peace...

That she may find salvation.


Thursday, 17 March 2011

X's scarf

Scarf motif shown top left corner. 

The day before X and I were to leave for Sydney (this was during the CNY trip back home), we were at Sunway Pyramid window-shopping whilst waiting for our father to pick us up after a karaoke session. X wanted to get a scarf for herself; after much talk, I promised her I would knit her a scarf by April. 

She decided on a pattern, I went about knitting it. My knitting skills are horrendous. After much picking, unravelling, and countless mistakes, I have managed to produce half a decent-looking scarf. At least X likes it. 

I bought the yarn Lily Sugar 'n Cream in Wine (100% cotton, use 4.5mm knitting needles) from The Granny Square in Newtown. The fern lace swatch is from the Hamlyn How to Knit book.

How to knit the scarf:

Cast on 31 sts.

The pattern is repeated over 16 rows.

Row 1 and every alternate row. (WS). P.

Row 2 K3, *K2tog, yf, K1, yf, sl 1, K1, psso, K5, repeat from * ending last repeat with K3 instead of K5.

Row 4 K2, *K2tog, (K1 yf) twice, K1, sl 1, K1, psso, K3, repeat from * ending last repeat with K2.

Row 6 K1 *K2tog, K2, yf, K1, yf, K2, sl 1, K1, psso, K1, repeat from *

Row 8 K2tog, *K3, yf, K1, yf, K3, sl 1, K2 tog, psso, repeat from * to last 9 sts, K3, yf, K1, yf, K3, sl 1, K1, psso.

Row 10 K1, *yf, sl 1, K1, psso, K5, K2tog, yf, K1, repeat from *.

Row 12 K1, *yf, K1, sl 1, K1, psso, K3, K2tog, K1, yf, K1, repeat from *.

Row 14 K1, *yf, K2, sl 1, K1, psso, K1, K2tog, K2, yf, K1, repeat from *.

Row 16 K1, *yf, K3, sl 1, K2tog, psso, K3, yf, K1, repeat from *. 

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