baking fiends unite!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Gong Xi Gong Xi.....

Beginning of another lunar year in 3 hours and 7 mins ....

I hope my new year will be a good one. There'll be some exciting events lined up for me in the coming months. I'll be moving, to a smaller apt, and hopefully it'll be near my mom's place and the mrt station. Of course, that means a time for house-hunting... I hope it won't be a nitemare and that I can find somewhere suitable very soon.

DH will need to continue with his travelling once we end our CNY celebrations. He'll be re-scheduling his travelling periods so that I won't be alone for long periods of time to handle the kids alone.

DS is settling into his pri school-going routine and what's bothering me is his reading skills. He needs to brush up alot and I think I'll need to enrol him in some phonics courses soon. As for DD, I hope this new year will bring her some confidence. She's been getting very insecure lately, esp when she saying her goodbyes to us when I leave her in her childcare. And also at the end of the day when I go and pick her up. Most of the time she's in tears... saying that she miss me!

For myself... frankly, i'm not expecting much except to shoulder on.... to have the strength and will to do so. Also have more time for baking.... ultimately, I hope to be able to beome a "tai-tai"! kekeke.... actually was juzt thinking of devoting more time for baking, rather than to be sitting in the office whole day, shivering in the air-con environment. Besides that, I hope to be able to attend some baking classes... altho' I've been baking for the past few years, it's more self-taught and research thru' the internet. I still find myself lacking in many areas...

Anyway... enough of my rantings....

I wish everyone a HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR! May the new year bring prosperity, happiness and health to all of you.


Last lot of CNY bakes....

Got the pineapple tarts outta the oven in time for cny....



This is the star tip i used for these cookies. Cost $1.80 from Phoon Huat...
This is cookie press with interchangeable heads with different designs. Bought at Gim Hin Lee @ Haig Road. Cost $7.90.


CNY bakes.... cont'd

Not a very productive day.... only managed 4 pairs of the koi nian gaos. 3 sets are given away, keeping a pair for myself.

Pineapple tarts are still baking in the oven now as i'm typing. hiaz.....

Here's the fishies....

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

CNY bakes...

Finally took some time off work to start my CNY bakes. Nothing ambitious, Just need to get some bakes ready as giveaways to my family and friends.More to come tomorrow....


Food Review 2007 #03 - Aburiya

Let me start off this post by wishing everyone a Happy Valentine's Day.... It's been a long while that I've time to dine alone with DH. With him back in sg for the CNY period, of course I won't waste any opportunity to "romance" him with food! hah.
This Japanese joint, ABURIYA, has been around for some time. I remembered some time last year, my brother told me abt this place. He found the food to be good, altho' abit on the pricey side (that's for the ala carte menu). Anyway, we tried gng there once to try the food but was turned away 'coz it was full. Apparently, reservations were needed to be able to step in there. So i made a mental note that i MUST try the food here one day....

So here comes the occasion... well, we did make reservations, but only on the nite b4.. and was told that the place is full (again) and they can only offer us counter seats! Oh well, we decided to just grab those 2 precious counter seats.... The surprise came when we reached the joint and were urshered to a table instead. I guess someone had reserved a table but did not turn up.

OK... now the food.... we chose the set menu for 2 at $70. It consist of a mix of different meats, namely - duck, lamb, beef and pork. Also we were offered a small bowl of kimchi, a huge bowl of salad, another huge bowl of egg-drop soup and also 2 bowls of plain white rice. There's also the dessert, which is ice-cream (more of that later...). Besides that, we both ordered a drink each.This is the BBQ "stove" which we're gonna BBQ our food on.

The meats grilling... hear the sizzle?

Yum yum.....
Assorted veg (which are are supposed to grill too....). The corn is really sweet after grilling! and I love the onions too.
The beef stew...goes perfectly with the white rice. I think this dish is more like a filler...
I ordered fruit punch.(end up drinking less than half of it... really too full after all the food and that big bowl of soup!)
Ice cream to finish off the meal... I got the green tea while DH chose the chocolate.
Overall, the dining experience is pleasant.... will go back there again some day, if I can call in advance to make reservations. They have a good selection of meats if u want ala carte but be prepared to fork out alot more for the meal. The set menus were good value for money, allowing me to try different meats. There are 4 types of set menu... one of which is only beef ($80), and there's different cuts of beef included.
Aburiya is located at :
60 Robertson Quay, #01-03 The Quayside, Singapore 238252.
Tel : (65) 6735 4862


Saturday, February 10, 2007

CNY must have (improved version??)

Decided to give the bak kwa another try to further improve on the recipe. This time, i used 1/4 cup honey and 1/4 cup sugar. Also bought slightly more fatty meat, the shoulder butt area. There's more marbling at this part of the pork. Which makes it more tender. I managed to mince it myself, but not as fine as the previous attempt. Finally, i reduced the amt of the dark soya sauce so that the end result will not look too dark.

Here's how it works :

What you need
  • 550gm coarsely minced pork
  • 1 1/2 tbsp light soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soya sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp hua tiao jiu
  • 1 tsp red wine dreg
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup sugar
What to do
  • Add all the seasonings to the minced meat and mix till gluey.
  • Sandwich the meat in between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper and roll out to the thickeness u want.
  • Bake at 180C for 10 mins and then turn it over and bake for another 10 mins or until the sauce that oozed out during baking has dried up. rememeber to keep checking, as it gets burnt pretty fast. of course you can reduce the temp for the latter part of the baking.
  • Cool completely and cut into desired shapes.
I'm quite divided abt the results. Personally i prefer the taste of the bak kwa in my previous attempt. Now with honey added to this recipe, the meat seems to stick quite abit to the greaseproof paper. anyway, the meat is more tender this time round. I guess for my next round of bak kwa making, i'll be using the previous recipe, but choose the shoulder butt portion of the pork. hopefully, it'll turn out as wad i want it to be.


Friday, February 09, 2007

CNY must-have

This is my 2nd attempt to make bak-kwa. tried it once sometime last year and din like it at all.... the meat was minced too finely but it was still edible and bore no resemblance to the store-bought ones at all.

however, i bought a kitchen aid mixer lately and got a meat grinder as a free gift, so i bought some pork and tried mincing the meat myself. this time round, i still found the meat minced too finely.. maybe it's just me... but i find it's good to have some fibre to chew on, rather to have finely miced meat. taste-wise, i find this attempt much much nicer. still, the meat was not fatty enuf. when i was choosing the pork, i din dare to take those with fats.

furthermore, i removed most of the fats attached to the meat. i guess i really have to be more daring to include more fats in my next try. afterall, most of the fats will be "melted" once i pop it in the oven....not?

On to the recipe....

What you need
  • 550gm minced pork
  • 1 1/2 tbsp dark soya sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp light soya sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp hua tiao jiu
  • 1/2 tsp red wine dreg (hong-zhao)
  • 1/2 cup sugar

What to do
  • Mix all of the ingredients tog in a big mixing bowl (read in IK that i can actually use the mixer with the creaming attachement) until gluey.
  • Place mixture onto greaseproof paper and put another greaseproof paper on top and roll it out to the thickness u want. (for the amt above, i managed abt 3 pcs of A4 size... however, as the meat shrink during the baking process, i will be rolling it thicker on my next try. probably reduce it to 2 A4 pieces instead)
  • Bake at 180C for 10 mins, and turn it over and continue another 10 mins. keep a close watch as it may get burnt 'coz of the amt of sugar added. you may want to reduce the temp to 160C for the last 10 mins if the oven is too hot. As the bak kwa bakes, there will be alot of juices. What i do is to let it be and it'll dry up in no time. and then the bak-kwa is ready.
  • Cool it completely and cut into desired sizes.

To end this post, here's a shot of the bak kwa that i like... more like a mood shot ....


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Snow-capped cathedral...NOT

Went to Pantry Magic last week and bought a really beautiful silicon mould.... so tot i shd try baking cupcakes with it. I whipped up a batter adapted from yochana's chocolate peppermint cake.

However, when the cakes were baked, i was rather disappointed when i unmoulded it. the outlines of the cathedral were not defined. some of the cake remained stuck to the mould! argh.... BUT the cake is nice in texture and taste. moist and soft.... will definately bake this cake again, but not gonna use the silicon moulds for it. probably shd just follow the recipe and use an 8inch tin instead.

Here's my adaption :

What you need
  • 230gm butter (soft, at room temp
  • 200gm self-raising flour
  • 50gm cocoa powder
  • 230gm eggs (abt 4 1/2 eggs)
  • 180gm sugar
  • 50gm milk
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint essence

What to do
  • Cream butter with sifted self-raising flour and cocoa powder till smooth.
  • In another bowl, beat eggs and sugar till pale.
  • Add the creamed butter and flour mix into the beaten eggs. Beat on low speed.
  • While beating batter on low speed, add in milk and peppermint essence.
  • Continue to mix till everything is well combined.
  • Pour batter into moulds or 8-in baking tin.
  • Bake at 180C for 40 mins.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

1st b'day cake of the year....

Firstly, I apologise for not updating my blog as often as i like to. Things are moving at a crazy speed lately and i'm totally worn out.

However, there's one b'day cake that i MUST bake every year... it's the b'day cake of my dear best friend, FION. As she's always overseas, whenever she's back in sg, i try as much as possible to bake her a cake. As i can't decide on which cake to bake her, I got her to look thru' my blog and my past bakes to choose somefin that she likes. In the end, she asked for a yam cake... so here's the yam dream cake.... (sorry, i din get any shots of the sliced cake, as u know... it's a gift)

Happy B'day my dear friend.... I hope you enjoyed the cake as much as i enjoyed baking it for you.