Friday, February 29, 2008

2 Tags In A Row

Thanks to Sue and Edith, I got to do these 2 tags on such a special day, 02/29. うれしい~~ ^_^ Here I am, sitting in the office 'eating snake' early in the morning. Eheheh..

Tag : Pass It To The Front
Here are the rules:
* First copy and paste it.
* Do not remove any content.
* Just add One word related to your blogs.
* If you don’t like the concept Pls! say no?
* Our main goal is we are going to circulate our number of friends.
* The more people join the “pass it to the front” the more links we generate.
* Lastly write only one word “short” for your blogs.
* Keep it simple and short, I know some of you have more than one blogs.
* The color is only black, gray, or white plssss avoid using any color okies.

Let me show you:1.
Filipina, 2.Darling allen, 3.Abroad, 4.Halfway, 5.life, 6.culture, 7.interracial, 8.pinaystories, 9.pinaysinglelooking, 10.health 11.Miscellaneous 12. Children 13. my experience 14.family 15. milestones 16. Home 17. shopping18. wonderland 19. memories 20. bliss 21. awesome 22. japanese

I'll pass it to :
Small Small Baker
Pure Enjoyment
Baking Mum

Another 1 to go.
MeMe Survey

1. Name one person who made you laugh last night?
My children.

2. What were you doing at 0800?
On my way to work.

3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago?
Doing the above tag.

4. What happened to you in 2006?
Hmmm... can't remember.

5. What was the last thing you said out loud?
The F word.

6. How many beverages did you have today?
1 Teh C and 2 glasses of water.

7. What color is your hairbrush?
Blue.

8. What was the last thing you paid for?
Teh C.

9. Where were you last night?
At home.

10. What color is your front door?
Brown.

11. Where do you keep your change?
Wallet.

12. What’s the weather like today?
Raining.

13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor?
Rum and Raisins.

14. What excites you?
Meeting new friends and catching up with the old.

15. Do you want to cut your hair?
Contemplating.

16. Are you over the age of 25?
It's kinda impolite to ask a woman's age, don't you think? But if you must know, yeah..

17. Do you talk a lot?
Probably, only with those I can 'click' with.

18. Do you watch the O.C.?
Not at all.

19. Do you know anyone named Steven?
Yup, I think I know 1 too many.

20. Do you make up your own words?
Sometimes.

21. Are you a jealous person?
Nope.

22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘A’.
Alex.

23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘K’.
Kenji.

24. Who’s the first person on your received call list?
My daughter.

25. What does the last text message you received say?
The friendship week thingy.

26. Do you chew on your straw?
When I'm bored.

27. Do you have curly hair?
Yes, slight.

28. Where’s the next place you’re going to?
Toilet?.. ahah..

29. Who’s the rudest person in your life?
Not bothered by them as they are of no significance to me.

30. What was the last thing you ate?
An apple.

31. Will you get married in the future?
I hope not.

32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks?
Erm.. Japanese drama considered?

33. Is there anyone you like right now?
My children.

34. When was the last time you did the dishes?
2 hours+ ago.

35. Are you currently depressed?
Nope, getting depressed doesn't change ANYTHING.

36. Did you cry today?
Nope.

37. Why did you answer and post this?
Erm.. Coz today is 02/29, happens only once in every 4 years? XD

38. Tag 5 people who would do this survey.
I shall pass this to :

East Meet West Kitchen
Cook Bake Legacy
She Bakes N Cooks
Let's Get Wokking
Yuri's Bake Journal

それじゃ~~

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Going Bananas!

Banana Chiffon

This was the cake I mentioned I made last Saturday. After CNY, prayers, offerings and everything, my mom had lots of bananas left. So, she passed some to me. In return, I baked her a Banana Chiffon cake. Not too bad a deal ya.. :)

Prior to this, I have been experimenting with other Banana Chiffon reipes with my new oven. It has been rather frustrating as I couldn't get the right texture. I did not encounter any problem with Orange or Pandan Chiffon with my old conventional oven. But I have not tried baking a Banana Chiffon before. My first Banana Chiffon cake was too wet. I blamed myself being inexperienced with a convection oven.

After speaking to Gina (KC) on MSN, I got an idea how I should go about for the temperature control. After my 2nd attempt, it dawned to me that the recipe wasn't right. Thus, after much tweaking, I present you my 3rd attempt. Being very happy with the results, I went on to bake another. ^_^

A cross-section look of the cake. Fluffy~~
Banana Chiffon Cross-section

Ingredients
(A)
4 egg yolks
40g castor sugar
1/4 tsp salt
50g corn oil
130g mashed bananas

(B)
120g Cake flour
1/2 tbsp Baking powder
1/8 tsp Baking soda

*Sift 2x

(C)
5 egg whites
40g castor sugar
1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar

Method
1) In a bowl, using hand whisk, whisk yolks and sugar till sugar dissolves.

2) Add oil and salt, whisk and add mashed bananas. Stir well.

3) Fold in sifted flour and mix well.

4) In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat till the whites are frothy. Add in Cream of Tartar and beat till soft peaks.

5) Add in sugar gradually and beat till stiff peaks.

6) Fold in 1/3 of the whites into the yolk mixture using a rubber spatula till incorporated.

7) Pour the mixture to the remaining egg whites and fold in gently till incorporated.

8) Pour the batter into a 21cm chiffon tube pan. Bang the pan on the table to get rid of bubbles.

9) Oil a piece of aluminium foil and cover the pan loosely. Bake at 170 deg.C for 10mins.

10) Turn down the temperature to 160 deg.C and bake for 10mins. Lift up the foil to check the surface of cake, bake for another 10mins.

11) Insert a skewer to check if cake is done. Remove the foil and reduce the temperature to 150 deg.C and bake for a further 5 to 10mins to brown the surface.

12) Remove from the oven and invert the pan. Remove the cake from pan when it's completely cooled. The surface will feel abit wet but it will be dry after exposing to the air.

*Note : You can replace corn oil with other odourless vegetable oil. Try not to use butter.

**Note : I am using a convection oven with fan which I cannot turn off. I didn't preheat the oven. If you are using a convention oven, it might be more straight forward. Try baking at 170 to 180 deg.C for 40 to 45mins, you will need to preheat the oven.

***Note : According to my mom, a good chiffon cake should spring back after cutting or pressing, moist but not wet.

Happy baking~ じゃね。

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Series of Bentos

Started out making morning/lunch bentos when I went back to work after my confinement. I heard that it can help to calculate calories consumed for that meal. Results seemed slow as I don't exercise AT ALL. Besides, after CNY, who doesn't put on weight?? Wahahah.. Me and my excuses. :p

I try to make my bento as interesting as possible. I don't use fancy cutters to cut my veggies as I find it wasteful. Nor do I pack deep fried food for my bento, considering I am trying to lose weight. I usually use the minimal seasoning, pan fry or steam my food. Basically, it is said that it is healthy that we should consume 5 colours (f00d), namely, White, Red, Yellow, Green and Black. A little use of Furikake, Sakura Denbu and black and white sesame seeds will cheer up your bento. Not forgetting my favourite, Natto (納豆) and pickles (つけもの).

These are what I had for today and yesterday.
Photobucket

Bento 8

Below are what I had done previously.

video

Happy viewing!  じゃね!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Warabi Mochi (わらび饼)

Photobucket

I shall start with Warabi Mochi. I made this on Saturday morning for Gina to try. I first fell in love with Japanese confectionery (Wagashi, 和果子) when I went to a Hokkaido fair at Isetan. I remembered it was rather expensive but considering it being airflown... oh well... Later, I found this particlar dessert at Aji-Tei Zabo and Tampopo. It just doesn't taste quite right. It's either too hard or too soft, unlike the ones which I have had. It should be soft but QQ. I wanted to try making some myself but was unable to get hold of the main ingredient, Warabi powder. Finally, I found a recipe using Lotus Root powder at here, (search under 日本点心, 厥饼).

Not quite the same with those using the actual Warabi plant (Bracken or Fiddlehead Fern); my sis commented that it lacked the 'grassy' taste, but it was close enough for me. In Japan, they either use Warabi powder or use the root of the Warabi plant to make this dessert. You can see the plant here. The recipe as below, made slight adjustments to the original for convenience and texture's sake.

Lotus Root powder is supposed to be beneficial for the lungs. It contains zero fats and contains just little amount of carbohydrates. You can also use rock sugar if you do not like Japanese Black sugar, but I suggest you give the Black sugar a try. Lovely aroma.

Ingredients
(A) :
Lotus Root Powder - 100g
Sweet Potato Flour - 25g
Water - 100ml

(B) :
Black/Dark Brown Sugar (Kurozatou, くろざと)- 130g
Water - 300ml

(C) :
Soy Bean Powder (Kinako, きなこ) for sprinkling

Method
1) Mix (A) well and set aside.

2) In a saucepan, boil (B) till sugar dissolves.

3) Pour mixture (B) into mixture (A), stir well before returning mixture to saucepan.

4) Heat up mixture over slow fire, stirring constantly till mixture becomes translucent.

5) Turn off heat and continue to stir to get a QQ consistency (elastic).

6) Pour into a pan and steam over high heat for 25 minutes. (I steamed for 20 minutes only) Leave aside to cool.

7) In a tray, sprinkle soy bean powder and transfer the gooey glob to the tray. Sprinkle some more soy bean flour on top.

8) Press the mochi till it is quite even and cut into pieces (I use scissors). Coat the pieces with soy bean powder as you go along.

9) Best served chilled and with green tea or barley tea (Mugicha, 麦茶).

*Note : Do not attempt to double the recipe. You will have a hard time stirring in the later stage. The mochi is not that sweet, just nice.

**Note : It would be good to use a non-stick saucepan.

Just when you thought your life is boring...

I must be crazy or think that my life isn't interesting enough. As my mom would have put it, '吃饱太闲'. Besides feeding Ah Boy, picked up the Takoyaki mould from Gina, did grocery shopping, cooked dinner, I also churned out 2 cakes and 2 desserts last Saturday. Superwoman or what?! By the time I was done, it was 2 a.m. One would think, 'Good, can sleep already.' but no... Ah Boy decided to wake up for his night feed. -___-

Next day was feeling kind of sluggish but still have to wake up at 7.30 a.m. to entertain Ah Boy. Promised Ah Girl to bring her 'kai kai' and shower her with lots of attention. So, the hope of an afternoon nap, gone. Had to go to a dinner invitation but idiot husband asked me to cook Japanese curry rice for him before I go. *%#^*&@~!!! HMPH!! 嫌我没事儿干啊?? Only know how to eat, eat, eat. In the end, went to the dinner, bl**dy tired and had to pack the leftover curry for lunch on Monday. Ah~~ This part I did't mind that much, coz Japanese curry taste best the day after. Here's what my lunch bento looks like. うまい~~

Rei's Japanese Curry

Seriously, I need to do some planning next time. As for the cake and desserts, I will post separately with the recipe. じゃね。^_^

Monday, February 25, 2008

I have been Tagged!

This caught me totally off guard. Thanks kwf for the tag. But the real problem begins. I am an IT idiot! I discovered that I don't understand a thing about HTML. Wahahah.. I stared at the screen and tried to decipher but in the end had to ask my colleague for help. So after 30 minutes later, I finally did it. *Phew~ Thanks J~

The Meme rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself.
3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

MeMe - Five facts about myself:
1. I am heavily influenced by Japanese culture but still appreciate Teochew operas.
2. I enjoy Japanese drama and yes, I heart Japanese hunks.
3. I picked up baking again during my 2nd pregnancy.
4. I am into loom beading and like to make bracelets.
5. I cuss too often for own my liking. :p

Now another problem. Who should I tag? I am a practically unknown blogger (newbie; a.k.a. 菜鸟)and my blog has only 1 post so far. Ahahaha~~ Would people want to be tagged by me? Or perhaps they have already been tagged MeMe long time ago. Anyhow, still have to pass this on. Here goes :

Precious Moments, Cooking Monster, Rainbows, Gina, Cooking Momster

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Welcome to my blog!

I have been procrastinating for the longest time to start a blog. First of all, I would rate my life as a bore, I am not good with words. I sucked at photography and I do not even have a decent camera. I am still learning how to use Photoshop, I am busy with work, I am still breastfeeding, I simply don't have time and the list goes on. Oh, and I forget to add; I am lazy. :p

I managed to meet up with my friends lately, W and H. We haven't met for a couple of years. We talked about our school days together and the friends that we have lost touch with. This kind of saddened me but I have only myself to blame. I haven't been making effort to keep in touch with them, especially after I started working, gotten married and have children. Now with blogs, Facebook and all, I hope to re-trace them back. K, if you are reading this, I miss you~~

I am also trying to document what my kitchen churns out and pass on all my tried and tested recipes to friends who are interested and to my children. It would take some time as most of dishes I cook are based on estimation. To me, kitchen is a place for me to de-stress and a place for me to bond with my daughter. My son, your time will come too. :) I would also like to thank a fellow forumer from Kitchen Capers (KC), Edith, for her encouragement to start a blog. I just needed that little pushing. Hahah. And to all at KC, expecially Gina, for being generous with their knowledge and recipes. It's a great site.

Now, having said all and killing so many birds with 1 stone, finally I jumped on the bandwagon of blogs.