Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's going to be bread again....

After I got the breadmaker, making bread is like a breeze. No hassle, just simple measurements, and we get fresh bread without any addictives anytime we want. It's good that there are many tried and tested recipes as well baking tips around, and the only problem is choosing which recipe to use.

This is my fourth loaf of bread, the third being a raisin loaf following a recipe which churn out bread that need strong jaws to chew. It might not be the recipe's fault as i accidentally re-start the BM mid-way through the process, and not knowing what to do, i just let the BM did all the work all over again. The raisin loaf was supposed to be our little treat to bring to the zoo on sunday, and also to pass some over to my aunt cat to try out. Since the loaf didn't work out, we discarded it, very wasted but no choice *sigh*

I rely alot (actually solely) on HHB's advices on making bread using BM so far, though she did prompt me to get some books from the library. I may do it after I finish digesting her blog on bread, which seems like an encyclopedia! (Note: The raisin loaf is definitely not using HHB's recipe.)

Back to my fourth loaf, i tried Milk Loaf and the result is satisfying, but not as soft and fluffy as can be seen in HHB's blog. The crust is slightly thick and too brown, which I understood is the characteristic of a BM. Read somewhere that we can reduce the baking time to achieve not-so-thick and over-browned crust. I tried stopping the machine 5 mins before the complete cycle, but I think stopping the BM 10mins earlier might achieve better result. This morning, we had the bread spread with margarine and sprinkled with some sugar, the taste of bread is really nice!

Ingredients/ Method
143g fresh milk
35g egg
25g caster sugar
5g salt
250g bread flour
4g instant yeast
38g unsalted butter

1. Add milk, egg, caster sugar, salt, bread flour to the breadmaker. Create an indent in the flour, and add in the yeast.
2. Switch to Dough mode and let it knead for 20 mins. At the 8-10th mins, add in butter.
3. After the kneading, set the BM to Sweet mode and let it run the complete cycle. Stop the BM 5-10mins before the pre-set time.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

French Toast

a special heart-shaped french toast for little zak

I baked my 2nd loaf of hokkaido milky bread on Thursday night, and since I didn't leave the loaf in the breadmaker overnight, the skin is not as hard as the 1st one. The texture of bread is also softer and much nicer this time. Anyway, I've some left-over bread today, and i woke up early to make simple and easy french toast for our breakfast, just in time before T leaves for work. Me and little baby had our warm and fresh french toast with a cup of Milo. Simple luxury ;-)

Ingredients/ Method
6 slices of bread, sides cut off
3 eggs (small sized)
1/2 tsp sugar (not sweet enough, can increase to 1/2 tbsp)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup fresh milk

1. Beat eggs, and add milk, sugar, salt. Mix well.
2. Oil frying pan with butter.
3. Coat bread in egg mixture, and transfer to pan. Pan-fried on medium heat until golden brown.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Finally, there's bread

So far, I've tried several times in making bread by hand, and whenever I see a recipe easy enough, I would try it out, but these have never been successful or edible. Since T got me a mixer for my birthday gift, I was contemplating whether should I get a breadmaker as a gift for myself. Was looking around and searching the internet for a reasonably-priced one, and just then I got a sms in the morning a week before my bday. My aunty cat smsed me to look around for clues on my bday gift. As I was busy at the office that day, i wasn't about to go and find. Checked my office emails and saw a notification from blogger "Candy Sweet said you will soon get a breadmaker... stay tuned." I knew she must be the one! She's called Candy gu-gu for a reason, there's always sweets for the children whenever she's around. She does that when i was a little girl, and now she's doing the same to my little baby. As a little girl together with my other siblings, she will hand-made "ti-kum" with sweets, crackers etc as prizes. Presents were always sweets, chocolate, crackers stacked and shaped into either house or ship or whatever. These would make us very very happy and excited. Those were the good ol' days!

Painstakingly, my aunt searched and searched and found the brand of breadmaker used by Happy Homebaker, and got the same model for me! She's really thoughtful in alot of things to the extent that some time, i admire her.

The first bread I wanted to make using the breadmaker is of course the very popular Hokkaido Milky Loaf did by HHB. The smell of freshly baked bread made me happy and seeing a nice brown loaf in the breadmaker got me excited 100times (exaggerated!) Now I can try out other interesting bread recipes from HHB. Hopefully and wishfully no more failed breads!

Ingredients/ Method
270g bread flour
30g cake flour
5g dry active yeast
15g milk powder
40g sugar
4.5g salt
1/2 egg
125g fresh milk
75g whipping cream (heavy cream)

1. Put fresh milk, egg, whipping cream, salt, sugar, milk powder, flour into the bread pan in the sequence of order. Lastly, make a dent in the flour and add in the yeast.
2. Set at 700g loaf size, choose light crust colour, program sweet.
3. The breadmaker does all the rest of the job! Amazing ;-)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Happy birthday to me

Yesterday was my bday and it is exceptionally tiring, and with a couple of new experiences, i truly enjoy my DAY!

1. Together with my boy, we went to Sugei Buloh Wetland Reserve. We tried the shortest route, which is the Mangrove track and mid-way, we stopped at one of the little huts, and he had his lunch whilst enjoying the sight of greeneries, insects, mudskipper, and sound of insects & birds singing. It's good to find such a 'ulu' place in bustling S'pore.

2. After the trip, we waited for the bus at the scheduled time. But somehow, the bus didn't turn up, and we were 'stranded' for almost an hour, and the sky has turned from bright and sunny to dark and gloomy. Just then, a lorry passed by, and the kind-hearted driver offered to bring us out of the 'ulu' place. Our very first hitch-hiking experience. However, I was 'reprimanded' by T for not thinking of our own safety!

3. Nothing usual is my baking, but i tried a new recipe, used my new mixer, baked in new baking tin, decorate in a new way! I was pretty excited when i tried my hand on the new mixer, and i think it really performs better than my old mixer. I made myself a cake in flower pot, i got this idea when i was surfing the net and the cake recipe was using Passion fruit yogurt pound cake from Honey Bee Sweets. It leaves a good after-taste and makes me crave for a second helping, and texture is smooth.

4. Surprisingly, my little baby sang 'Happy Birthday' to me whilst i was half-way baking! I gladly said thank you to him ;-)

5. I usually don't eat crab, but we went for crab dinner as my bday treat from my brother . We ordered the crab bee-hoon and 金沙螃蟹, they are superbly delicious! Of course, our cholesterol level is up by a few notches...kekeke

Passion Fruit Yogurt Pound Cake
Ingredients/ Method

150g plain flour
140g caster sugar (original uses 160g)
110g unsalted butter
2 eggs
70g plain yogurt
4 tbsp passionfruit juice (i used 3 passion fruit)
1/2tsp baking powder (original uses 1 1/2tsp, when i baked it, the quantity was missed out)
pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven at 180 deg C. Lined and greased cake tin.
2. Beat butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, till well-mixed.
4. Add in yogurt till well mixed. Add in fruit juice and mix well.
5. Add in sifted flour, baking powder and salt, and mix well. Do not overbeat.
6. Bake for 40-45mins.

For anyone who wants to try their hand on flower pot cake, the decoration is easy, use crused oreo biscuits for the 'soil', and 'plant' the flower using satay stick.

Happy birthday to me!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cooling, detox & cleanse

My little baby missed school on Friday again! Not after 2 letters from the school to inform us of few children in their centre was down with HFMD. Although it should be safe to send him to school as several precautions were taken, we are hesitant to do so, better to err on the safe side right? One of my aunties is a childcare centre teacher, and we consulted her with our 'concerns'. Similarly to alot of other common diseases like chicken pox, my little baby is likely to be carrying the HFMD bug by now, which deem him to be a HFMD-carrier. It is now upto his immune system to fight back the bug. To minimise the chance of getting HFMD is to cool, detox and cleanse his system, as we were told.

Something very simple and cheap.... grean bean cooked with black sugar. Just wash the green beans, put in a pot with water and let it boil for 5 to 8 mins. Add in black sugar to taste and it is ready to be served.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Early birthday gift

I got my birthday gift much earlier than expected, and something that i never thought T would buy for me. When T suggested to buy for it for me, i told him the brands that i would consider and the price range, and he asked me whether such expensive stuff would churn out better bakes and uses lesser time, and that i should just settle with a lower price range one. For myself, i've been contemplating whether to get one for myself or stick to the $27-one that has served me well for years. Also, it has a great sentimental value and memories attached to it.

I think the deciding factor was the promotional price, it's $200 off from the usual price, but there is only one colour choice - onyx-black. I would prefer a coloured one, but we don't want to pay anything extra. We hesitated, we walk around, we asked for more freebies, we decided, ok we buy.

Due to the weight of the machine, T allowed me to place it as a permanent fixture in the kitchen. I don't need to keep it in the cabinet when not in use, like what i have to with the 'old' mixer.

I suppose i need to bake even more now in order to fully utilise this 'huge' investment.

Baking on cloud 9 = Baking Happy.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

My little one is 2!

Time really flies and it just seems like yesterday that i was in the delivery room. Our little bundle of joy is no longer baby and has now become a toddler. I remembered that when he was just one month old, we ordered some gift box for our relatives and friends and our announcement card says "Of all life's miracles, the biggest one comes in the smallest package...." This is so true as little zak has always bring joy, happiness and strength to everyone around him, especially myself during the difficult time.

We did not have a proper birthday celebration for little baby when he was 1 year old. This year, we sort of made it up to him, he had 3 celebrations this time round! The actual elebration is a bbq on the weekend before his actual day. However, the weather didnt play along with us, and we end up shifting the food stuff from the pit to our flat and everyone had to cramp into our little flat. Counting back, it seems ages that we had guests in our house, 14 months to be exact! Other than the usual bbq stuff, i made a car birthday cake for little zak. A three-tier and 20cm cake, the biggest that i had made so far, although taste-wise it's nothing fantastic.

The 2nd celebration was done in his childcare centre, together with his friends and teachers. Although little baby may not understand what's going on, i just hope that he will have some good memories and fun throughout his childhood days! I tried my hands on baking some cuppies, with some cutie kiddie designs ;-) I like how they turn out, but of course the piping really shows how amateur I am.

The actual birthday was yesterday, and I planned to make it as enjoyable for him as possible. We had the usual McDonald's breakfast, and he has a very good (big) appetite; he took 1/3rd of my sausage muffin plus almost one piece of hotcake, and a cup of milo. My 'special' programme led us to kranji farms. Initially wanted to go to at least 2 farms, but eventually we only did one, and I was almost dead-beat. Nevertheless, the farm experience was really good, and little zak and myself enjoy ourselves thoroughly. Anyone interested, can visit kranji countryside for more details. We are definitely going to the other farms soon. The little innocent smiles make everything so worthwhile!

The day was ended with sumptuous dinner plus a piece of complimentary ice-cream cake plus mr. san francisco ice-cream plus giant earthquake ice-cream! So much of good stuff, i bet little zak wishes everyday is a birthday!