Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Butter Crunch Cookies

Crunchy, chewy and buttery - the butter crunch cookies. The texture of the cookie turned out fine, but I think I added a little too much of salt, so in this recipe I am omitting salt (that is, if you are using salted butter for this recipe).

Herewith is the recipe:
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 cups lightly crushed cornflakes
- 1/2 cup cereals with pumpkin seeds and raisins

1. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cream of tartar, and baking soda and whisk to combine.
3. Gradually add in the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture.
4. Stir in cornflakes and the cereals. Mixture will be thick and almost dough-like.
5. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celcius.
6. Roll the mixture into balls and place 1 inch apart on a greased baking sheet/tray.
7. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
8. Enjoy the crunchiness after letting it to cool for a while. Crunch crunch...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Goodbye 2008 - Welcome 2009

When I reflect on the year that was - I am thankful for many things. When I think back on how 2007 had been a rough year for me, I am thankful for all that I have experienced in 2008. 2007 has been with ups and downs - with more downs for me - and I am thankful that I've learnt and grown in 2008.

My dreams which I wish to accomplish in 2009:
- Travel to new places and experience new things
- Establish a creative endeavor
- Help others
- Repeat the mantra 'Ask in order to be given'
- Work harder on my thesis and publications
- Exercise more (no, seriously!)
- Eat well (my weakness -----> the sweet stuffs)
- To make a difference

When I reflect on the significant things that I remember about 2008: I remember the conference trip to Korea in June and our engagement in August. And then, the test that Alfred and I are going through together - his treatment and the surgery next year January. All these have brought us closer together and we've grown together throughout these ordeal.

I am thankful for the amazing life that I have with him, my family and fur-kids, and my friends and colleagues. Here's a toast to more wonderful things to come - a toast to 2009!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Steamed Moist Chocolate Cake

On Christmas Eve, I baked 2 cakes; cheesecake for Alfred and the other one is steamed moist chocolate cake. This is the second time I am making steamed chocolate cake. The first time, I used a ready-made chocolate flour for the cake. This time, the recipe includes making the batter for the cake. I layered the cake and sandwiched it with creamy milk chocolate with hazelnut. When you bite into the cake, the creamy layer just melts in your mouth - and I love the crunchiness of the hazelnut. I myself (am not a chocolate cake fan) got hooked to the cake ;)
Herewith is the recipe:
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
1 cup good quality cocoa powder
250 gm unsalted butter
3/4 tsp instant coffee powder
3 large eggs (lightly beaten)
1/2 cup condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 and a 1/4 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1. Mix ingredients in A together and cook over low fire until sugar is completely melted. Stir constantly to prevent it from burning. Set aside to cool.
2. Mix A and B together until well-blended.
3. Sift C together and add into the mixed liquid mixture. Mix well until there are no lumps of flour to be seen.
4. Pour into a greased and lined round pan and steam over high heat for 45 minutes to an hour. Check for doneness by inserting a skewer into the centre of the cake.
5. Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove from pan carefully and let cool completely on rack.
6. Layer the cake into 2. Spread melted milk chocolate with hazelnut and sandwich the 2 cakes together.
7. The cake tastes better if it is stored outside at room temperature - you get to enjoy the melting milk chocolate texture in-between the cake when you bite into it. Yummy!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Christmas Eve Feast

Cooking, baking, and feasting - with great company - that was what we did on Christmas Eve. I made few dishes - and am glad it was wiped out in no time, hehe. I made Spagetti with creamy alfredo sauce, deep-dish pizza, pizza bombs, and thin-crust pizzas. It was a fun get-together.

Thin-crust pizza (I made two pizzas - one vegetarian and the other one with some sausages and luncheon meat as toppings)

Pizza Bombs (pizza dough stuffed with mozarella cheese, chunks of sausages, and minced meat)

Spagetti with Creamy Alfredo Sauce

Deep-dish pizza - with lots of chewy-stringy-gooey mozarella cheese

My sisters and cousin savouring the pizzas

My celebrity uncle - who simply loves to take photos ;)

A picture to keep ;)

Xmas Decorations in Portuguese Settlement

Last night, after a late night show, we went for a drive to Portuguese Settlement to see the Xmas decorations there. We were mesmerized as soon as we entered the settlement; it was as if you just entered a different zone altogether. A big round of applause for the effort taken to create a glittering and joyous Xmas atmopshere. As National-Level Christmas celebration will be held in Portuguese Settlement on Dec 27th, I believe the beautified-look of the settlement is definitely up to everyone's expectations. Good job!

A particular house is the best of the best; the decorations were simply amazing.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Weekend Outing

Last Saturday, Chin Lay and I went for a Korean dining experience in Mahkota Parade. We prefer the dishes here compared to the one we had in the Korean House as posted in my earlier blog entry. The dishes here are more palatable to our taste bud. But in a way, I kinda liked the food in the Korean House as well since it was more of an authentic Korean dining experience.

Bi Bim Bab (Rice with kimchi and chicken)

It was nice walking around the mall during Xmas season - it's just so exciting seeing all the decorations and basking in the Yuletide mood. We were checking out for some presents as well.

Chin Lay and I

Later, we watched Bolt. We really enjoyed the movie - it gives off a mixture of emotions - at first, the scenes of the dog turning into a SuperDog was surreal; then, it was heart-warming to see the loyalty of the dog towards its owner. In some scenes, we were laughing our heart out; and in some it moved us to tears. A good show for kids and for everyone :)

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Last 2 weeks, I had been busy completing and editing a research paper. Thankfully I managed to send in the paper to my supervisor for review as per the deadline, which I promised. I am starting to realize that I have been spending more time writing research papers, rather than sitting and writing my PhD chapters. And recently, our EScience research grant was approved by MOSTI - which adds to the mounting pressure. I find it difficult to work in parallel from research paper and thesis writing. I've gotta find a way to prioritize - and try to communicate this to my supervisor. Good luck to me ;)

Potluck Baking - Cheesecake with Apricot Glaze

Last Friday, we organized a potluck party among our colleagues - and it has always been something that I look forward to very much - the feasting, the mingling, the celebration :) This time we had gift exchange for Xmas, it was fun. I got a I baked a cheesecake with apricot glaze - the same cheesecake recipe which I posted some time back, except this time I substituted the glaze to apricot jam. Since cheesecake have always been everyone's favorite, it was no surprise that it 'sold' out like hot-cake, hehe. Now you see, now you don't! Will post the pictures of our potluck party soon.

The Stars on the Sky

When I thought I was all alone gazing at the stars on a lovely night, I noticed I had company; it was Casper. The stars bring a smile and excitement on my face. And when I walked along the narrow edges along the garden, it brought a bigger smile on my face when I saw a shadow following me as I move. It doesn’t matter what time and how sleepy he is, he is always there for me. And I am thankful for that. And for the beautiful stars on a beautiful breezy night.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


It has been a week since I blogged. Lately, besides baking, I've not been penning down my thoughts and feelings on my blog, because I just didn't know how to express it; or maybe I don't wanna express it. Prayers and meditation gives me direction and hope and strength.

When I needed hope and some direction, just looking back at my earlier blog entries gives me a sense of purpose; it serves as a reminder of my enthusiasm, dreams, and passion. The other reason I blog is because I want to share my ideas and thoughts with whomever who reads my blog.

It's gonna be almost the end of the year - one more year passes by; and when I look back, I realised I've accomplished some of the goals which I set out for myself. That gives me satisfaction knowing that I didn't let my time go by just like that. That's the importance of having resolutions and somehow sticking to it.

When I envision the years to come, I feel happy that I have a vision/goal on my mind on how I want to lead my life. In this case, I don't have specific plans on how I am gonna accomplish my mission, but I just know from my heart that I want to do certain things. Alfred and myself find ourselves happy discussing about these. One of it is to migrate to a new place and experience the life there; start a small restaurant/bakery - doing what I love the most - baking; and live in a countryside with lots of sheepdogs, sheep, and horses. And I can sense happiness and excitement just by having a vision of this. I've never had long-term goals till now; I guess it's high time for me to decide how I want to lead my life.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Strawberry Muffins topped with Crunchy Streusel

This is my favorite! The topping for the muffin is the highlight of this recipe - when you sink your teeth into the muffin, you are overwhelmed with its crunchy, crumbly cinnamon-ny streusel topping and the soft and moist mixture inside. I loved the freshly baked cinnamon scent from the muffin topping.

Compared to the first time when I made muffins, I've filled the muffin cups to the top to make bakery-style muffins. And of course, muffins are a convenient treat since it's so easy to make. It's perfect for potluck parties, or just a treat to bring over to your friend's house.

It'd be gone within few minutes after it's out from the oven - so you need to double this recipe to make more :) My mom and sister loved it.

Herewith is the recipe (this recipe makes 9 muffins).


For the muffin:
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
3/4 cup castor sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
Enough milk to fill one cup
Fresh/Frozen strawberries (chopped)

For the topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup of all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cold and cubed
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder

1. Preheat the oven to 205 degrees Celcius. If you are using muffin trays, grease it.
2. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Whisk to mix.
3. Place the vegetable oil into a 1 cup of measuring cup and add the egg, vanilla, and enough milk to fill to the 1 cup line.
4. Mix the wet ingredients with the flour mixture.
5. Fold in the strawberries.
6. Fill the muffin cups to the top.
To make streusel (crumb topping):
1. Mix together the brown sugar, flour, cubed butter, and cinnamon.
2. Using your hands combine until the butter is pea-sized.
3. Sprinkle over the muffins before baking.
Bake 20-25 minutes in a preheated oven or until they test done. Let cool for 5 minutes and indulge!

Carrot Halwa

Carrot halwa! I've always had a misconception on how yucky halwa tastes - and ever since I could remember, the term halwa sounds repulsive - the sticky and super-sweet Indian dessert. Until lately my friend, Vimala, mentioned how carrot halwa is such a delectable dessert - and how the texture is soft and melts in your mouth. That's when I decided to give it a try. And yes, it's texture is like kesari, but this is even better - with carrot and milk - and yummy!

Herewith is the recipe given by Vimala (I added saffron for extra color and taste; and I've used condensed milk instead of sugar):

1 kg carrot (this is not alot since once you start cooking it, it will shrink to half of the amount of the grated carrot)
1 litre fresh milk (I used low-fat milk from the carton; you can use powdered milk as well)
Condensed milk, to your taste
Almonds, chopped
Cashew nuts, chopped
Pistachios, chopped (keep some to sprinkle on top of the carrot halwa once it is done)
Crushed cardamon pods, to your taste
A pinch of salt

1. Wash and grate the carrot finely.
2. Fry the raisins and nuts with ghee. Set them aside.
2. Fry the grated carrots using ghee.
3. In a large pan, add milk with the fried grated carrot.
4. Let them cook for a while until it simmers.
5. Add condensed milk, to your taste.
6. Add a pinch of salt.
7. Let them simmer until the mixture thickens.
8. When the mixture has thicken, add some crushed cardamon pods, followed by the fried raisins and nuts.
9. Add the saffron (you can soak the saffron beforehand in water so that the color is more infused). Mix well.
10. Stir on low heat till the mixture collects in a soft ball (or to your desired consistency - pudding-like). Do not heat the mixture too long, so as to prevent it from getting hardened/burnt.
11. Lastly, add 2 tablespoons of ghee before scooping them and pressing them onto a greased tray. You can either serve it hot (no pressing on the tray is needed then) or refrigerate it before serving.
12. Garnish the carrot halwa with chopped pistachios.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pizza Adventure - Part 3

Today I made pizza dough again. I've let 3/4 of the dough to proof overnight in the fridge. When you let the dough to proof overnight in the fridge, it definitely tastes better. This time I added chopped pineapples and capsicum for the topping. My grandfather made sure he stayed back to try the pizza.

2-in-1 benefit of making the pizza dough - a freshly baked pizza crust and a upper body workout from kneading the dough :)

Tomorrow will be a feast of pizzas, muffin and carrot halwa ;)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Korean Gastronomical Delight

Last week after watching Madagascar 2, we dined at Korean House restaurant at Bukit Baru, Malacca - it is situated opposite the Man-made Waterfall. We enjoyed the ambience - although parking was a little problem. The service was superb - with lots of attention - a great place to dine.

We both ordered Bi Bim Bab (Mix vegetables rice with chicken) - and it was accompanied with 11 side dishes for us to indulge. I missed the Korean experience I had when I was in Seoul last June for a conference - it was priceless. According to Chin Lay, the Korean dishes in Mahkota Parade is more palatable to our tastebud.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Nice Weekend

Alfred and I had a great weeekend just chilling out and resting - on Saturday we drove up to Bukit Tinggi and chilled out there savoring the fresh air and the beautiful view. It was refreshing to just sit back, relax and enjoy. Alfred's motto now is 'Relax, Smile, and Enjoy' - each time he says that, it certainly helps us to cope in times like this. We are certainly keeping a positive outlook despite having some negative thoughts creeping up on us now and then - but each time he says his motto with a smile on his face, we end up cherishing every moment we have.

We had a fabulous meal at the rest stop in Genting Sempah - a perfect place to sit and enjoy your meal accompanied by a great view. A perfect weekend - just relaxing and spending time with each other - just the two of us :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pizza Adventure - Part 2

I have been reading about the art of making a tasty and crunchy pizza crust. There are so many differing opinions and views about what constitutes a good crunchy delicious crust. I found one where the writer mentioned that it's not necessary to let the dough to rise - and that will produce a nice crunchy thin crust. And I also read it somewhere that salt kills yeast - but there are recipes which suggest mixing salt with yeast. I have been noting all the tips and secret ingredients - and am determined to try 'em all out - and decide for myself which one produces the best crust ever!

Today I tried making the dough using a different recipe. I've rolled out a quarter of the batch of dough I made today in a baking tray without letting it to proof (I did leave the dough at room temperature for about 15 mins or so since it was 'not behaving' when I rolled it out). For the remaining 3/4 of the dough, I've set it aside to proof in the fridge overnight.

The recipe as follows:

Thin-Crust Pizza Dough:
Step A: Proof Your Yeast
1) In a medium-sized bowl, add 2 tsp of yeast.
2) Add 2 tsp of sugar.
3) Add 1/2 cup of warm water (heated to about 37-41 degrees Celcius).
4) Mix the mixture until everything is combined.
5) Set aside for about 10 mins before adding it to the dough.
You can make the dough the day before and proof it in the fridge overnight; or in this case I straight away used some of the dough and kept the rest in the fridge.
Step B: Making the Dough
6) Add 4 cups of flour in a big bowl.
7) Add 1 tsp of salt to the bowl.
8) Add 1/4 cup of olive oil.
9) Add the activated yeast mixture to the bowl.
10) Add a cup of warm water and mix everything with a fork to get the flour absorbed.
11) Sprinkle some flour on a flat surface and turn the dough out and knead it.
12) Knead for about 10 mins or so or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
13) You can put the dough in the fridge and let it proof overnight or use it straightaway.
You can release some of the air bubbles trapped in the dough by dorking it (poking the dough with fork). The first time when I made the dough, I think I didn't give the dough enough kneading since the texture wasn't smooth.

The batch of pizza I made today is different from the first time: this time I added 2 tsps sugar to the dough; and I didn't let the dough to proof; I used cheddar cheese as the topping; gave the dough more kneading; and I added warm water to the flour and salt mixture. This is definitely a better tasting crust than the first one.

Tomorrow, I will be taking out the 3/4 of the dough which I left to proof in the fridge overnight and compare it with the one I made today. More updates tomorrow...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thin-Crusted Pizza

After dining at Bianco in Damansara, I have been craving to try my hand at baking thin-crust pizzas. So, this weekend I set myself to indulge in pizza baking and eating, of course. I made the dough from scratch and it was fun! With lots of mess to clean up afterwards, though. Of course I need more practice in tossing the pizza like a master-chef, hehe. And I am determined to go through all the practices that it takes to perfect the skills of making pizzas.

There were many recipes for the dough and that gives me more reasons to make pizzas frequently to experiment the best recipe for the crust. The outcome - turned out well I guess. But I still need lots of practice to make it better - especially with the oven temperature-control as well as more time for the dough to proof (allow dough to rise) - it would have been better if the dough is left to proof overnight in the refrigerator. The toppings for the pizza - eggplant, mozarella, mushrooms, and basil leaves. My sister enjoyed it :)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Mango Mousse Cake

Today I was itching to bake again and decided to make a non-baking cake - a mousse cake. Honestly, I am not a fan of mousse cake - so only try this recipe if you really are a mousse-cake fan - if not don't bother. I just wanna experiment with new types of cakes and am more interested in checking-out the outcome and also the joy of watching people enjoy the cakes rather than my indulgence in the cake itself. The texture of the cake turned out well and it's pretty nice (if you are a mousse cake fan). I used a packet of milk chocolate digestive biscuits as the base - most mousse cakes’ base are made using sponge cake - so it depends on your preference. As for me, that will be the tastiest part of the cake, hehe. My panel of judges (which are my family and friends) haven't sampled the cake yet - so the review has to wait.

Herewith is the recipe:
Ingredients for the base:
- crumbs from a packet of milk chocolate digestive biscuits (you can use as much as you want depending how thick you want the base to be)
- melted butter
Steps for the base:
1) Melt butter in a saucepan and mix the biscuit crumbs with the melted butter (the amount of butter that you use should be sufficient to get a wet-sand-like texture when you mix it with the crumbs)
2) Press the crumbs on the base of a springform pan.
3) Refrigerate.
Ingredients for the mousse cake:
- 200 gm mango puree
- 1 tbsp gelatine + 50 gm water (soak together for about 5 mins)
- 2 egg yolks
- 30 gm sugar
- 150 gm whipped cream
- some chopped mangoes
1) Boil mango puree and sugar together till boiling. Take off from heat.
2) Add in egg yolks to the puree+sugar mixture and stir till smooth.
3) Put back onto stove and then add in gelatine mixture and stir till dissolved.
4) Leave to cool till lukewarm.
5) Add chopped mangoes and fold in the whipped cream.
6) Pour on top of the base (the milk chocolate+butter crumbs) and leave in the refrigerator to let it set.
7) Decorate with some chopped mangoes.
8) Serve chilled.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Deepavali 08- Part 1

This year's Deepavali was a celebration among close friends and family; had fun spending quality time with my best friends, family, and cousins. Just catching up and makan-makan.

With my best-friends

Uncle Khoo and his grandchilden - I had lots of fun with the kids

She just fell asleep in my arms - montelnya