Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Craneberry yogurt chiffon cake

I have a soft spot for cotton, fluffy, spongy cake.  Whenever I have such craving, I will treat myself with the pandan chiffon cake from Bengawan Solo.  But I have never thought of baking one. Last year, whilst I was browsing aimlessly at Phoon Huat shop at Woodlands with my mum, I spotted some 17cm tube pans.  I bought it and started experimenting chiffon cakes since. 

I have attempted pandan chiffon, a tea flavor chiffon using TWG fruity tea leaves (gifted by our niece) and also, matcha powder which my hubby bought it in Tokyo during his business trip.  The recipe I tried used 3 eggs whites without cream of tartar.  And I beat the meringue till soft peak.  All of my chiffon cakes failed to raise resulting a rather dense and short cake. 

This craneberry yogurt chiffon cake, however, rose well and was taller than all the previous chiffon that I had baked although I had accidentally mix in additional egg yorlk (4 instead 3).  Egg whites was beaten to stiff peak as opposed to soft peak in my previous bakes. The inclusion of rice flour seemed to gives the chiffon cake a really nice soft and spongy texture.  I shall be experimenting more with rice flour in the future. 

Receipe adapted from Anncoo Journal's sakura yogurt chiffon cake.

3 egg yolks
25g sugar
40g oil
100g natural yogurt
60g cake flour
20g rice flour
4 egg whites
50g sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 tsp vanilla essence
60g dried craneberry (chopped to small pieces & coat with flour to prevent sinking to the bottom of the cake)



Thursday, July 20, 2017

Fuss free bento

#398
A last minute request the night before his bedtime. No elaborate details.  Simply a fuss free bento which I rushed home to prepare after a yoga exercise in the mid-morning.  After that, I hand delivered to him at the designated school gate.

The paper baking cup came in handy which could hold two pan-fried gyoza and a small piece of black peppered salmon fillet.  Other side were just blanched leafy vegetables (cai xin) and carrot flowers.  Soup and udon noodles were packed in the vaccum flask.




Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Mother's day


Do you honor your parents?

Mother's day is another occasion that is celebrated over a sumptuous meal (in my humble opinion).  Chinese restaurants will create a special menu for the parents and grandparents.  They do not just honor the mothers but both parents and grandparents (if any) making it like a great union or gathering.

Two weeks ago, I was literally heart broken when I was told by my dear 9 years old son that 'we do not celebrate Mother's Day in our house'.  That moment, I felt that I have failed my duty as a parent!  I began to question myself whether I have raised a child who lacks empathy towards parents.  Filial Piety, a virtue of respect for parents that I firmly believes begins at home.  Have I been too focused academic performance that totally neglected in character building for this little one?  What kind a person he will become? Upon reflection on my parenting journey, I come to realise that apart from the teachings in kindergartens and schools, kids learned from parents too. Papa, is the root of the problem.  He is brought up in a tradition Chinese family where woman is meant to serve the man and does not have equal status in a household.  He is a  'Male Chauvinist Pig' that I guess, has an influence over my son's behavior.  I hope to change the mindset of my son (since I am totally helpless with his Papa).   

Despite wrenching heart moment, I cajoled my boy to make a Mother's day card for me instead.  Most importantly, I reminded him that there is no need to buy expensive present to pamper your mother now.  (He can shower me with gifts when he grows up as a working adult later ;) And I even showed him what he had made/created during his preschool/kindergarten days like a jewellery box made from ice cream stick or a simple card with love message that, some of which, I have kept it. 


I hope there will be some nice surprise from him next year. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Peacock



#397
This was one of the prettiest peacock I ever made. It has become more difficult to prepare a karaben nowadays due to lesser or no bento made for the boy at all. However, I had the opportunity to do so for the month of April because my boy was selected to attend 5 lessons of Science Olympiad after school hours.  He requested me to bring lunch for him.  And I did for the past weeks.  But I realized my bento-ing skill has become rusty and was not able to create a presentable one. As usual, I asked him what would he like to eat for his lunch the night before.   Then I kept on suggesting some of his favourite food which came to my mind until my boy stopped me.  Unexpectedly, his reply was "Don't tell me, I like surprises!"  Feeling motivated and encouraged, I was in such a high spirit making his bento that my creation simply at its best.  The peacock is made of thinly sliced (Chinese) flat fish cake, patterned nori/corn kernels with a drop of ketchup (for its feather), carrot (for its beak)  and tiny broccoli floret (for its crown). 

In his lunchbox, he has :-

Fried mee hoon with cabbage, carrot and fishcake
Pan-fried gyoza (homemade)
Boiled broccoli


A happy belly, a happy boy!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Bayleef Pokemon Birthday Party

The boy turned 9 years two weeks ago. He is taller and bigger each year. And heavier too! (on the chubby side).  As a Primary 3 student, he has lots more homework to cope with.  Initially, he was stressed over Chinese spelling in Term 1 but has since overcome it.  Now, he is working hard to hone his composition writing skills, both in English and Chinese. His effort did pay off and I have seen improvement in his composition writing.  He hardly have time to play on weekdays due to the fact that he can take up hours to complete his daily homework (a slow writer, his grandma can attest to it) and additional badminton training.  As the saying goes, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.  I decided to declare one Friday 'free of homework' to celebrate his birthday with his schoolmates after school. 

Pokemon is his favourite cartoon character since the hype over Pokemon Go game which has taken the world by storm last year.  His interest remains strong till now.  And he has also been drawing the pokemon characters during his free time and sharing his masterpieces with his classmates.  Needless to say,  his mini birthday party, is all about Pokemon.  And he chose Bayleef - a grass pokemon species, for his special day.

I found a great site where I printed the Pokeball birthday banner and also the bayleef pokemon iwhich I made for the caketopper as well as for the decorations. Also, I splurged a bit more than last year on a few helium balloons.  Since last year, I have delegated the tasks of the planning of goodie bags and party games to the boy.  And it would continue as long as he liked it.   He used his savings and bought a capsule balls that contained a pokemon from a provision shop.  Packed in a brown bag together with some biscuits.  Wrote a thank you note and drew some of his favourite pokemons on colourful post-it paper which he pasted on the goodie bag.   Papa bought him a large Tri-strike nerf gun for his birthday present at his request.  Naturally, the party game, of course, none other than nerf gun shooting game.  The boys has a blast with Papa who made it in time home to celebrate their birthdays together.  (Father's birthday was one day later).


Pokeball birthday banner

Bayleef pokemon
cake topper

Some plastic cups to shoot!
Goodie bags on each side




We had an eggless mango cake which I purchased from Emicakes shop.  Why eggless?  He was told that one of his classmate, Mun Xun's little brother is allegic to eggs and walnuts.  Hence, he decided to forgo his standard chocolate cake and opt for an eggless one.  I was heartened that he has such a big heart at this tender age. 



I was also grateful to his best friend, Shawn's mummy, who baked these lovely chocolate cupcake for his birthday.  He was truly blessed!



A family photo

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Camping in New South Wales Australia, December 2016 (Part 1)

Australia has been destined as our camping trip for our family holiday for many years. This time, we travelled to New South Wales, Australia during the year end school holidays 2016. To accommodate our family of three comfortably, we upgraded to a bigger tent.

The route covered Blue Mountain, Hunter Valley, Port Stephens and Sydney. We did not pitch a tent on the last leg of the itinerary which was in Sydney city. Instead, we put up at the Market Street Hotel which was near to the train station for the convenience and ease of travelling downtown.
It was summer during December.  We planned our 14 days itinerary from 27 Nov 2016 to 10 December 2016 so that it would not coincide with Australian kids school holidays which commenced from mid December 2016 onwards. We spent 4 nights in Katoomba, 2 nights in Hunter Valley, 3 nights Port Stephens 4 nights in Sydney.  This trip was supposed to cover some nature trails and at the same time, satisfy Papa's desire to catch 'Kangaskhan' (Pok√©mon) there.

Katoomba (Blue Mountain) - Scenic World - Wentworth Falls
It was around 4.10pm when we touched down at Sydney International airport after a frustrating delays of our flight with Scoot, not once but twice!  It was our maiden flight with Scoot Dreamliner and the last flight probably:((  Although Papa got the business class seats for us which was super spacious, lots of leg room and able to recline comfortably, I have difficulty in getting a good sleep onboard.  Because of the delay, we were caught in a traffice jam on the highway heading to Katoomba. There was a light drizzle and mist as we approached Katoomba.  Katoomba is a town close to the stunning attractions of Blue Mountains and many more.  Our tent site was located at Katoomba Falls Tourist Park which was walking distance to the famous Three Sisters, Scenic World Skyway and Katoomba town.  It was cold, wet and misty as we pitched our tent at night.  Temper flared as our clumsy son attempted to help Papa.  I was irritated by Papa's body language and harch words used towards a child. My son was being elbowed, pushed away and demanded to get out of the way!  "Why did Papa push me?" he whispered softly.  Feeling hurt, my boy stepped aside and watched quietly till the father finished.  Stomach rumbled and the kid was famished.  We were lucky that Woolsworth supermarket opened till 10.00pm.  I was too tired to cook at the camp kitchen.  So, we ate instant noodles we bought from the supermarket.  For the first time, I fed my kid with instant noodle.  "So yummy!" he commented as he wolfed down the cup noodles. We quickly changed into clean clothes after a nice warm shower and snuggled into our tent, wrapped ourselves with down feathers sleeping bag.  Temperature fell to 14 degree celsius outside the tent.  The cold crisp air sent us to dreamland almost immediately. 

Reading corner at the Camp kitchen




Scenic World
We were grateful for Papa to have the tent pitched despite his obnoxious mannerism.  We woke up fresh and energetic after a restful night.  And we ventured out to the famous Scenic World Skyway after a simple breakfast; bread spread with peanut butter and chia seeds.  Originally, it was a coal mine railway that carried tourists on weekends and holidays.  Till the Hammon family bought over and developed into the Scenic Skyway.  Getting around was easy.  First, we took the the famous giant skyway with a see through glass floor panel.   It was a breathtaking sight in the blue mountains surrounded by lush greenery.  The stunning Three Sisters was just magnificent where we could see it closer from the giant skyway.  Next, we rode the cableway as well as the steepest railway; a remnant of the the area's coal mining days.  The young boy loved the 'cliffhanger' thrill of the railway ride so much that we went back a few times. Then, we did the Giant Stairway trail from the Echo point.  Lots of steep stairs to climb but we were rewarded with fantastic view.  It was absolutely worth it!  We made it to the honeymoon bridge leading to the first Sister and did not go beyond because our legs began to wobble.











*********** Honeymoon Bridge ****************

Descending

Cross over
On the bridge

First Sister