Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Animal Snowskin mooncake

Whilst the boy was away P4 camp in August, I signed up a 3D animal snowskin mooncake class at Mold Mart.  I had fun learning to sculpt these cute animals from our instructor, Holyrose with different yummy fillings - red bean, black sesame, lotus paste, custard, mugbean and pineapple paste. It took 4 hours to create these adorable animals.  Nevertheless, I enjoyed the class and pretty theraputic that I did not even know the time passed so quickly. 

Practice makes perfect!  Hence, I put my skill to the test by making some for my neighbour for the Mooncake/Lantern Festival which fell on 24 September 2018. Since my neighbour loves Hello Kitty, I attempted one especially for her. I also made a jade (moon) rabbit which was part of the Mid-Autumn festival legend. All five in two hours! Phew! To achieve the super cute look, it was important to place the eyes close to each other with the exception of Hello Kitty.  I was satisfied with my masterpiece, but certainly, have room for improvement :))

Traditional snowskin mooncake usually made by using the mooncake mould.  I purchased mine from Phoon Huat which come in 'shocking pink' colour (no idea why) as shown below.  My boy concluded the first pair of jade rabbit apparently looked like mouse.  Since Papa does not eat mooncake or pomelo, these petite size snowskin mooncakes are just nice for both of us.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Lessons learnt from P4 Camp

He was looking forward to his first 3D2N school camp at Labrador Park.  Not camping in a tent but slept in the dormitory. Excited and elated!  He woke up super early in the morning and went to school for the briefing.  One day after he was back home from camp, he was down with fever, cough and running nose that lasted more than 5 days.  As a result, he was not able to take his CA2 test paper for Chinese that was scheduled after the camping trip.  He was not the only one who caught the virus/bateria.  There were many other children who fell sick.  Some recovered quickly and some did not.  From the grapevine, we heard one kid was hospitalised due to high fever   There were many questions popped up in mind.  How did my boy got the virus?  Hygiene issue?  Insufficient sleep?  Dehydrated? And how to prepare him for the next camping trip, if any, so that he will not fall sick easily?  As a parent, it was heartache to see our children cried in pain due to illness.  On the other hand, we wanted them to strengthen their immunity system and fight of disease. To keep them indoors?  I felt that we need to expose them to dirt and germs to develop a healthy immune system instead of a sterilised enivronment.

The packing list provided by the organiser was exhausive.  To adhere to each and every items, we felt he woud have overpacked. For instance, the list indicated to pack extra sport/school shoes as well as track pants.  Instead, we reduced to one set each.  It turned out that he wore the same hiking pants for 2 days which I have no issue. From the photos taken during the camp, some students did not even wear their track pants.  So it was very much dependent on how flexible or strict was the "Mentor" attached to the group.   There was no water activities, hence a pair of sport shoe was sufffice in his case.

The mummies group chat also raised their concern over whether to let the kids bring the sleeping bag or bedsheet on the basis that mattresses were provided inside the dormitory. Teacher advised it was compulsory to bring sleeping bags. For my boy, he brought an extra sleeping bag liner and did not lay his sleeping bag on top of the mattress. He claimed that the mattress was pretty worn out and dark black patches all over it.  I suspected he just rolled on the mattress and slept.  Without the extra layer protection, the bacteria could have happily found its way into his sweaty and warm body.  Moreover, he has sinus every morning and coupled with sneezing and running nose at times even at home.  In essence, it was recommended to bring their own sleeping bag regardless the weather was hot and humid.  The dormitory was well ventilated; with fans and windows were installed with mosqito net.  

Next, body need to be hydrated!  Although he brought along a litre water bottle,  I guess he did not drink much in between the activites. Some of the students did not even brush their teeth.  That was why he had such a bad breath after the camp.

Not all the children have the habit to bathe in the morning.  But I think it is necessary during their camping trip to cool down their body since they sweat in their sleep due to hot and humid weather.  Dirty as well after super and night acitivities.  When I discovered that his bath gel and shampoo returned home intact, obviously he did not shower despite his denial.   The complaint was he was not given enough time to bathe.  I reminded him that he need to act fast and not taking his own sweet time like he always did at home or engrossed talking to his classmates.

I hope he learnt his lesson well.

Prescribed with antibiotics, his fever finally subsided.  Yipee!  His first comfort was vegemite spread on bread in the morning.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Not "Ethnic" Enough

Singapore is a multi-cultural society.  It is therefore relevant for our kids to embrace and accept different races and religions of our peers.  21th July is designated as Racial Harmony Day every year.  In fact, children who starts as young as those in the playgroup learnt about racial harmony in the school be it in the simple form of crafting, drawing, tasting of food, games and etc.   Children are also encouraged to celebrate the special day by wearing ethnic costume as well.  Since it fell on a Saturday this year, my boy's Primary School commemorated Racial Harmony Day two days prior to the actual date.   For the past years, he wore traditional Chinese costume without fail.  As he grew older, he did not like to wear the traditional type in our humid and hot climate.   Therefore, I bought a piece of cotton mandarin-collar shirt in festive triangle print for his Chinese New Year outfit and, was hoping that the shirt could double up as costume for the Racial Harmony Day.  Unfortunately, the shirt, according to the teacher, was not "ethnic" enough and not allowed to wear it to school.  With a dampen spirit, I guess it sort of "kill" his interest in wearing traditional costume.  

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Teddy Bear Mushi-pan (Steamed cake)

Receipe adapted from Little Miss Bento


150g Morinaga hotcake mix
50g sugar
100g plain yogurt (no sugar)
1 Tbsp oil
2 Eggs
1 Tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp cocoa powder

Super cute teddy bear mushi-pan (or Japanese steamed cake)!  I baked it as a treat for my big boy who has been working hard for his SA1 exams.  Not too bad even though I forgot to give the cups a tap on the tabletop to remove trapped air bubbles.   For the nose and eye, I melted some dark chocolate and applied on its muzzle.  

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Minimalist Bento

I could not remember the last time I made a bento lunch.  But the moment I saw the Chef Bento Contest organised by Bento & Co, I told myself that I must give it a try.   It was like a push button that flashed back loads of fond memories in the preparation of many bento lunches for my boy.  Interestingly, this year contest required participant to submit a 'before' and 'after' pictures each.  Feeling overwhelmed with excitment, I forgot to present the bento box in the 'before' photo.  Oops! Nevertheless, it still worth all my effort because my big boy enjoyed eating the bento, including Papa who came home out of the blue for lunch.

The star of the bento is the tofu chicken patties which I adapted the receipe from Just One Cookbook.  Healthy and high in protein.  It had become one of our favourite dish on our dining table. It was a simple bento that anyone could assemble.  Nothing fancy and hence, the theme was 'Minimalist Bento'.



Blueberry Yogurt muffin

I like blueberry muffin a lot!  Therefore, I baked it t more often than chocolate muffin especially when blueberry was in season and sold at discounted price at the supermarket.  This receipe that I adapted from Baking Tai Tai was moist and soft.   I added extra fresh milk to make up the 160g yogurt as required in the receipe because I left with only 133g of Meiji yogurt.  The rest of the yogurt had found its way into my big boy's stomach. ;P  Because big boy has big appetite, my muffins has increased its size over the years.  No longer the petite ones.  I tweaked the receipe by including 1/4 teaspoon of vanila essence for more flavour and 2 tablespoon of rolled oats.  It turned out tasting so delicious!  I reckoned this was the best blueberry muffin receipe I have tried so far.

Ingredients (Receipe adapted from Baking Tai Tai)
(6 big muffins)
2 eggs
100g caster sugar
120g oil (I used extra light olive oil)
70g milk  (I use Greenfield fresh milk)
160g yogurt (I used Meji plain yogurt)
200g low protein flour (I used Top flour)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
100g blueberry
(I added 1/4 tsp vanila essence and 2 tbsp rolled oats)

1.  Mix all wet ingredients and set aside.
2.  Shift the flour, baking powder and baking soda. 
3.  Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and gently fold in.  Do not overmix.  Lumpy is fine Just make sure there is no trace of flour.
4.  Lastly, mix in the blueberry.  
5.  The original receipe indicates to preheat the oven 190 degree celcius top heat,  180 degree celcius bottom and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  I knew my old Ariston oven will overbake at 190 degree celcius.  Hence, I baked at 180 degrees celcius for 20 minutes (lowest rack).  Then, the middle rack for the last 5 minutes to give it a nice golden brown crust.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Pineapple tarts (enclosed version)

This is the second year I baked pineapple tarts for Chinese New Year.  Instead of the open version, I decided to attempt the enclosed ones adapting a different receipe from Sonia aka Nasi Lemak Lover.   Because I used the real butter SCS butter instead of Buttercup, the result was buttery and milky which somewhat overpower the the taste of the pineapple paste.  Nevertheless, it was so much tastier than the pineapple tarts I baked last year.  On a separate note, I do not reckon the receipe is the melt-in-your-mouth type.  Nevertheless, it was yummy and definitely a keeper!

(Upated 2 Feb 2018: When the tarts were freshly baked straight out of the oven, it actually have the 'melt-in-your-mouth' crust, literally 'pop' on the first bite (if you get what I mean).   The next day, it did not have the melty taste.  Rather crumbly.)

I baked these 3 weeks before the Chinese New Year so that I could give some to my friend, Hazel to try.  I was absolutely grateful for her comments and those from her family members:

"For me, I like it that it's not so sweet, tastes like a healthy version of those sold outside.  However, personally, I thought I taste more cheese in it, or is it juz butter?  I'm not sure.  I'd prefer less, but that's juz me, my other family members do not feel this way.  Also, it would be great if it has more crust on top, ie if the golden yellow part on top would look and taste nicer, also my personal opinion.  Otherwise, it's almost perfect!"

Thank you Hazel for her generous and kind words that put me on cloud nine.

Receipe adapted from Sonia aka Nasi Lemak Lover
350g butter*
100g condensed milk
2 egg yolks
510g plain flour

1 egg yolk + 1 tsp milk for egg wash

700g pineapple fillings**

* I used unsalted SCS butter
** Store bought Redman pineapple paste (AAA grade) from Phoon Huat which includes the core of pineapple (less sweet)

Store bought pineapple paste (AAA grade) from Phoon Huat

Updated 14 February 2019

I baked the same enclosed pineapple tarts in year 2019 using the same receipe with some changes.  I combined SCS salted (1 stick = 227g) with unsalted butter (123g) and purchased the REDMAN Kurang manis (less sweet) pineapple paste instead. The store-bought paste, apparently, did not look good as some amount of glucose/sugar could be seen melted inside the package.

Granny commented it tasted better than the previous year.  Another Mommy's friend complimented that it has the melt-in-your mouth crust and she liked it that it was not too sweet. Surprisingly, the Kurang manis type pineapple paste has a subtle sourish taste which I loved too. Feeling accomplished of the baked goodies.  Absolutely wonderful receipe I found.  Thanks to Sonia.