Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cakes for SIL

F's Lil sis getting married.... been practising my cake skills and still cannot decide what cakes to make. Tried to make brownies the other day before my Sunday Night shift. Thot it'll be a nice surprise for the office on Monday morn. I wanted to make 2 batches... so I doubled ALLLL the ingredients... but when it came out of the oven... I realised that it does not look dense. It looks very cake-like, very light and airy. I took another half hour pondering on it and then realised that I doubled ALLLL the ingredients EXCEPT the sugar. Heheh... So I got cake instead of brownies. But since it has the chunky choc pieces and almonds (from Kashmir), it was still a special cake. And they love it.
Pictures later....

And boy do they need a sugar boost on Monday!! We were short-staffed that day. In fact, we have been in the situation for the whole month now.... sigh.. and everyone else were going sick and here we are, the seniors, trying hard not to fall sick.. downing herbal teas after herbal teas. I worked 3 days in a row of 12 hour shift... and one day off and 2 days... I think I see more of the office than F or the house. On my off days, I tried to rush all errands, cleaning, cooking.. all the time reminding myself to treat myself something...

Sooo... that day was CK Tangs Cardmembers' sale preview. Preview I did!! Shop too... Got meself a gift set, comes with Shower Gel, Lotion and Parfum. Yeay!! Gonna use it on special occasion, such as SIL's wedding...

Ooohhh. back to the cake...So I'm contemplating on the following cakes:
- That special chunky choc cake that I made by mistake..
- Tri-colour marble cake
- My infamous choc tart (might make this for A's sake... cos she read the entry on the choc tart and DROOOOLL...)
- The simple, simple Hershey Choc Cake... made them into little little cups like during Eid...

Friday, February 15, 2008

My day out....

I was forced to surf thru the new Changi Airport Terminal 3 website in search of restaurants suitable for V Day dining yesterday... for my client. We dun celebrate V Day.. shessh. Became curious about what's in store. Since I was in the east today and Airport was just round the corner.... and it is my ONLY off day .... I decided to explore.

Chanced upon a few treasures which I thought was rather exotic... will bear it in mind next time I feel like treating myself. There was Harnn & Thann with its line of spa products. I was particularly attracted to its Lavender Body Balm. It will be a nice treat.. to rub it on shoulders and neck after a long day at work. $25 a bottle and they dun have a traveller's size that I can carry in my purse. Skip. ... but ermmm Sis... It can be ONE OF my Birthday presents :-D

Next was the Tea shop. I cannot remember the name of the shop but the girl was very very very nice, she let me smell alllll the teas available. I'm serious, ALL. I drool over the Emir tea or something, it has a heady smell of caramel. Yummy!! I can imagine when I am craving for a sugar rush but dun wanna indulge in a luxuriously sweet pastry... or even spent time making one. I just go round into make the Emir tea. The fact that the name of the tea is almost similar to thrid bro is not really appealing... but the smell... and imagine it with raw sugar. Yummm...and the packaging was to die for. Very chic...$19 - $27 a Canister. And all the time I was thinking of the two boxes of unopened Ahmad Tea at home... skip.

And thennnn..... there was the Chocolat Factory. Heheh....at this point... I cannot resist. The lady let me try the jam.... and I thot that it was really really really interesting to have on top of cupcakes... or I was imagining scones (on my way home in the bus). $14 for a bottle.... Not cheap for Jams. They have Choc & Orange (which I thot was quite common).. Choc & Pear (interesting) .... The lady at the store prefers The Choc & Chestnut (too overwhelming for me cos I thot that Chestnut Jam already taste like choc in itself, where's the fun in that then...??) and Choc & Mint (never like this combi... not even those After Eights stuff). Course their Choc & Orange sold the most, they only have 4 bottles left. I decided to go for the Choc & Pear. The jams were from Barcelona. OK so, I did treat myself after all.... I am yet to open my jar....

Monday, February 11, 2008

Mario Batali

Never heard of him before until today. Seriously. I dropped by United Sqaure today. I've never had any business to drop by anymore eversince I switched jobs and my old office moved to Toa Payoh. It's all cos I won a $50 United Square voucher at the Company's Dinner & Dance recently. And I only know just one place in the whole mall... one place that I will definitely definitely spend my money at. It's that basement shop alongside Cold Storage... it sells the most amazing kitchenwares.

After my night shift this morning, and a tummy-aching-laughing-gossiping-lunch with TW and AJ... I dropped by Utd Sq. I also need a new dustbin for the kitchen. The one that we bought from IKEA previously, is hanging on to it's dear live with one screw... heheh. Rust. It's cancer for boats (got it from some movie.. I think it's the Meet the Fockers) and apparently metal pedal dustbins too. Heheh.

Man... it was like stepping into a candy store. There were shelves of yummy coloured bowls behind the cashier. And Umbra bins and holders.... and then there was Mario Batali. I was soo attracted to the Cast Iron pots, it looks soo pretty. But I don't have a use for it. I don't cook stews and stuff. But I magined that it'll make a good pot to cook rendang in.... And it costs $299 after discount. Ok, forget it. I only have $50 to spend.

Next to the cast iron pots were these measuring bowls.. or what Mario called prep bowls and measuring spoons in matching colours. How yummy is that!! I was deciding between the Pesto and Expresso colored ones, and I saw the sign 25% off. Heheh... a grin got plastered on my face and wouldn't come off. I decided on Pesto... to match the kitchen.

Bought me a dustbin at 50% off too... Powder Blue to match the dish-rack. How great is that!!! Paid for everything and left the store. Still grinning..mind. And couldn't help thinking abt the Persimmon Orange bowls and measuring spoons. It'll look soo good next to Sis' Kitchen Aid. Managed to get her on the phone in the midst of her teaching...confirmed that her Kitchen Aid is indeed Orange. Rushed back in and bought a set for her... still grinning.

Shessh, wished I have a Kitchen Aid to match my Pesto coloured bowls and spoons. Mine's red.. and not Kitchen Aid. It's Kenwood. But I'll live.....

Gonna find an excuse to use the bowls and spoons. Tonight's dinner will be Tandoori Chix. Yummy!!.. still grinning.. heheh

Monday, February 04, 2008

Martha Stewart Sticky Buns

Sis' crazy about Nigella right now. There was Nigella Choc Muffins and Nigella Choc Cheese Cake. I've tried her choc muffins, not the cheese cake yet. Hope there's still some left when I drop by.

She got a Kitchen Aid Mixer from her husband for her Birthday. The rest of us shared to buy her an oven. Heard that she's been baking ever since. Heheh

With all the adventures of her baking that I received thru sms, I realised that it's been awhile since I baked too...

So the order of the day is To Bake. There's still sour cream in the fridge.... and the only use I know for it soo far is to make sticky buns. Got it from Martha Stewart's website - Cinnamon Pecan Sticky Buns. But cos I dun like cinnamon, I omit that. And instead of using corn syrup, I used Golden Syrup. I made only a third of the batch... that's just nice for me for 3 days. F does not fancy it too much. It's baking in the oven now.

Can't wait....

Course mine doesn't look anything like Martha's. She's such a perfectionist... I'm far from that...

Friday, February 01, 2008

The retro bowls and the Malay Jars!!!

And the bowls... Sis and I have been searching high and low for that retro looking mixing bowl. We wanted the exact ones like Mum and grandma used to have. We first saw them at Spotlight but it'll set us back a good SGD 30. And it is soo heavy to carry home. And the thought that it is made in China and it is SGD 30, we are not willing to spend.

Recently, we are willing top part with that SGD 30 cos we sooo wanted the bowls but Spotlight does not carry them anymore. AND THEN... on my recent trip to Johor with Mil, I saw it at the Giant hypermart for like RM 18 for the large one and RM 11 for the small one. And you guessed it, it is made in China. I bought a set for Sis and a set for myself and was just soo estatic about the whole purchase. Can you imagine how many of those bowls we could have bought with SGD 30...?
And on the same aisle, I saw something else to add to my jar collection. The Garam (Salt) Jar. Sis and I first saw the Asam (Tamarind) and Kunyit (Tumeric) Jar ages ago before Sis got married. I still remembered Aunt A and Uncle W drove us into Johor for the fun of it and there we bought all the items to prepare for Sis' wedding. Giant hypermart was around the corner. And we saw the jars and got really excited. Well you see, in Singapore we have all the normal Ang Moh jars with Coffee and Tea and Sugar. Boring... and then we saw these in Malay. And we were like WOAH!
When we brought it home for Mum, she got excited too and her next question was, how come you didn't buy the Garam (Salt) jar. And we were like Ibu, if they have it in Garam, wouldn't we have bought it huh.... shessh. Mum been using it since.....
And sooooo when I saw the Garam ones... I took 3 jars immediately. Bet Mil was wondering why I was soo excited... heheh.
And the news has it that after I bought Sis the Garam jar, she accidentally broke her Kunyit jar. So my next mission when I'm in JB is to buy her the Kunyit jar. Shessshhh......

Ayam Percik

Mum gave me this gadget when we first moved into the new home. Did not used it much.. wel actually not at all until recently.

I saw this recipe for Ayam Percik on the internet and my mouth starts drooling. Thoughts of the smoky smell waiving from the stalls at Air Hitam in Johor enroute to our Kampung in Muar. I just have to try the recipe.

And I remembered that gadget that Mum gave. It looks like a pan, as you see in the pix above. But the middle portion, sits directly over the fire on your stove... and when you switch on your stove, the middle portion turns... as you see in the following pix.. a blur sight. It kinda disperse the heat, giving you the kinda heat you'll get out of slow burning charcoal, if I may say so....

You'll need a big wok... mine is a 36cm Supor brand to dump all the chix in.

A bit of tweaking to the recipe again. Rather than just marinating the chix in the Spice Paste (what spice paste, what recipe... geez, click on the link will ya?), I dumped in my chix into the gravy....and let it cook for a while. Then I just grill in on my spanking cool gadget until the chix turned crispy and brown on the outside.

Pour the remaining gravy into a bowl and place it near the stove.
Once in a while, dip your chicken in teh bowl and put it back on the grill.
The end result is a smoky, crispy chix with amazing flavours.

Cooking 101 - Butter Chix and Summer Salad

Don, Fourth Month and Kak H decided to drop by last month to try our hand at some recipes. It was our first ever cooking lesson together. I owe Don this post for the longest time. The results were satisfying. They came to cook lunch and eat em'. Menu for the day was:
  • Flat Arabic Bread
  • Butter Chicken
  • Summer Salad

We did not manage to take pictures of the Butter Chicken and Summer Salad. We were soooo hungry while waiting for the chicken to cook. We were gulping down Coke and the peanuts that Kak H bought just to tame down our stomach juices. And when the chicken was ready, pictures were definitely the last thing on our mind!!

Don, here's the recipe that I owe you!!

Butter Chicken
** Recipe from Sis but with a bit of tweaking

Part A
1 small chicken
1 tbs lemon Juice
1 tbs chilli powder

Part B
1 cup yoghurt
1/2 tbs Garam Masala
2 tbs melted butter
1 tbs chilli powder
2 tbs grinded ginger
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs olive oil

The Sauce

1 tbs butter and a bit of oil
1 tbs Garam Masala
1 tbs grinded ginger
1 tbs chopped garlic
1 tbs chilli powder

1 cup heavy cream
2 cups pureed tomatoes
1 cup water
1 tbs Yellow Bell Pepper, cut into squares
1 tbs honey
Salt to taste

Ok here goes...
1. Take all of Part A and mix and marinate the chix for about 1 hour (as per instructions from Sis)

2. Then take all of Part B and mix well and pour it over the marinated chix and put aside for 3 - 4 hours. Preferably overnight.... and then you bake the chix till Golden Brown.... **

3. Take the first para of The Sauce. First put in the oil and butter in the pot, wait for the oil to heat and butter melted... pour in the rest if the ingredients and stir until fragrant.

4. Pour in the heavy cream and let it sit for while.

5. Pour in the rest of The Sauce ingredients and let it simmer to a boil.
6. Pour, YES pour in your baked chicken. All the juices during the baking and all.... into The Sauce. Simmer for while more and......ermm.. eat?
** at this point you will be soo tempted to just eat the baked chix. Cos it looked so good.
Confession from the kitchen... we could not wait to bake the one portion of the chix cos Don was running late for his driving class, so we fried one batch (abt 5 - 6 pieces)... it was just as marvellous. But of cource your frying oil turns murky cos of the yoghurt. But the chix was tender and moist. And since we know how the chis is gonna taste.... we could not wait to have the bakes one ready... we were wathing the oven door like as if it was a TV.
there was about 4 of us in the kitchen that day, with Don chopping and 4th Month stirring and Kak H flipping the Flat Bread. It was chaos but things get done faster. If I was alone, I probably take half a day just cooking all these. But it turned to be quite simple cos if you can gauge your timing well, while waiting for some things to happen, you can do other things.....
The four of us.... we prepare our meals in the following carefully thought of steps:
1. Marinate chix with Part A. Put chix in fridge.
2. Make dough for Arabic Flat Bread ** Do not peek at the dough while it rise ;-)
3. Put Dough aside to rise
4. Take chix out of fridge and Marinate with Part B
5. Watch TV, smoke, drink, etc...
6. Take chix out of fridge and put it into a oven safe dish... bake.
7. Start kneading the bread dough and rolling and frying the bread
8. After frying abt 3/4 of the bread, start heating the pot for The Sauce
9. Start making The Sauce
10. While The Sauce simmer, start you Summer Salad
11. At the end.... ta dahh!! You get 4.. OK 3 (cos Don left after eating the fried chix) very happy and sleepy individuals on the Blue Sofa... trying hard not to snooze. Ermmm 1 did snooze. I'm not gonna name names.
Summer Salad
2 Japanese Cucumber*
2 firm tomatoes*
Abt 50g of Feta Cheese cut into cubes
Black Olives soaked in Olive Oil
Black Pepper and salt to taste
* cut them into the same size as the Feta Cheese.
I called it Summer Salad cos it is soo refreshing and best served COLD. I first ate it at this cafe in Arab Street. It used to be a small cafe owned by this chap from Egypt but now the grew into two units with lower and upper level dining.
Anyways, for the recipe I used the Emborg feta cheese. They have the ones that comes in a jar Feta in oil w/olives & herbs... or there's another brand. I cannot remember, it comes in a plastic container and in smaller portions.