Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Pizza bread for lunch

I have half a packet of block cheddar cheese leftover from making sausage and cheese buns.  I had no idea of what to do with it.  

Recently, my Aunt gave me some slices of ham.  And so ham and cheese together with some tomato base pasta sauce make up the ingredients for our lunch today.

Spread the pasta sauce over a few slices of wholegrain bread, top it up with ham and grated cheddar cheese, whack them into the oven and toast till the cheese melts.

Simple, hassle free and convenient way of using up leftover ingredients.

I think the kids enjoyed this simple treat.  

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Weekend cake making workshop

Went for a cake making workshop over the weekend and produced three different types of cakes. 

Even managed to decorate all of them.  Of course, the standard of decoration awaits much improvements.  

The sense of satisfaction is immense.  The class wasn't too big and I had a lovely partner.  We share one similarity, fastidious about cleanliness and tidiness.

This is the first cake we made, Japanese strawberry shortcake.

The sponge cake felt soft, light and moist to the fingers.  Most important of all, it is an easy sponge cake to make and not too sweet or oily.

The next set of cakes we made is the Hokkaido cupcakes.  The recipe looks like a chiffon cake.  The only difference lies in the filling.  So I guess Hokkaido cupcakes are chiffon cakes with fillings?

I love these pink cups and the simple custard cream topping that my partner piped for me.

And finally from the afternoon workshop, I made a 6 layer rainbow cake.  Yes, rainbow has seven colours but I guess two of the colours are too close in shades so we made do only six.  The cream that was used to cover and decorate the cake is something new to me too.  It is called a Swiss meringue buttercream.  It does't taste too sweet nor too creamy/buttery, a type of buttercream that I can tolerate.

These three cakes took me eight hours to bake and decorate.  No wonder tasty and beautifully decorated cakes are costly treats!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

2013 Q3 Outing: HSBC Treetop Walk

What a long long holiday and weekend.  

It was packed with lots of activities for me, catching up with friends and food.

Treetop Walk; physical activity.  That means our family is the organizer for Q3 outing.  Not that we find it a chore.  I think the Hubby and the two kids enjoy organizing such physical activities for our friends on our quarterly outing.  

It gives us the impetus to go in search of walks suitable for our friends and their children.  But the more important part of such project is the search for delicious food and location that can take all 15 of us.  

Our 5th time, I think, on the trail leading to the HSBC Treetop Walk.  It rained rather heavily on the morning of our walk.  Of course, there was the uncertainty whether to proceed with it or not. Luckily, the rain let up after a while, and by the time all of us gathered at the entrance to the trail, it stopped.

We took the route from the entrance at Venus Drive off Upper Thomson Road.  Perhaps it was the start of a long holiday and weekend; it was pretty early in the morning; it was raining, there was no sight of the usual crowd expected on a holiday morning.  Apart from our four cars, there was I think only 4 or 5 other cars.  

And so, that made the route we took pretty exclusive to the lot of us, and that also meant that I could take some pictures along the way without the worry of blocking fellow users of the trail.

There were many interesting looking plants, some with strange shapes, some strange colors.  Didn't take all of them, don't think will post all those I'd taken anyway.  These two are favorites.

Maybe it was the rain, we didn't see many animals or insects along the trail.  Perhaps we didn't look hard enough.  But we did spot these two caterpillars.

Unfortunately, the photographer has a shaky hand.  Subjects of focus are really blurred.  Otherwise, these two caterpillars would offer some spectacular sight.

As usual, after trudging about for a while, the kids got hungry.  A pit-stop to stop some growling tummy.


I think that flight of stairs uphill after crossing the suspension bridge must have worked up some appetite.

This is just one part of the uphill flight of stairs.

This spot offered an interesting platform for the children, a very large rock.  Maybe boulder would be a better word?  Whichever; it was huge enough for all 7 kids to stand on it and form a straight line.

Our children, they have indeed grown over the years.  And yes, it is rather amazing when I think about it.  We have been tirelessly and faithfully meeting up over these years.  

We took slightly under 3 hours to complete the whole walk and back to our cars.  Not too bad for some first-timers.

We were a little early for our lunch at Cornerstone at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park 1, but we proceeded there anyway.  Indeed, we were way early.  The restaurant was still setting up for lunch.  Not a problem, we freshened up at the nearby public toilet.  I have to admit, the public toilet was decently clean.  

The kids were famished; they actually were enthusiastic in choosing their food, and more importantly, they cleaned out everything placed before them.  Even that extra dish we did not order.  Shish... Well, as long as they can eat without picking, I am happy.

Here's what some of us had.

Son's mini burger patties

Fried mushrooms in batter, button mushrooms were really juicy.  Batter wasn't too thick or oily.

Friend's order of leg of lamb on risotto

Hubby's pork rack with blue cheese cream sauce

My order of pulled pork shoulder sandwich
I love my order.  The pork shoulder was really juicy and extremely softly braised.  The sandwiching bread was adequately scented with herbs.  The portion was just right for me.  It would really be perfect if not for the wait.  I waited for about 1.5 hours for this.  My guess is that the kitchen had either missed the order, or sent the order to the wrong table but failed to realize it until we started questioning.  Which in turn meant that I took a while to start questioning.  The morning walk must have taken its toll on my level of awareness.  But whatever it was, I wasn't upset with it.  It was perhaps a blessing in disguise.  The management readily offered a 10% discount off the bill.  There were 15 of us, a main dish each, a couple of side dishes and 15 drinks.  The bill was considerable, the discount was a gift.  I guess my order was perfect after all.    

Wednesday, August 7, 2013




而且,小朋友从明天起就连续放两天假。再加上周末,我想应该没什么 闲暇时间让我慢慢摸索制作面包。干脆今天就试一试儿子很喜欢吃的咖喱内馅小餐包。













Tuesday, August 6, 2013










Monday, August 5, 2013

Sweet potato buns with pork floss

Got a little tired of the usual bread flour, egg and milk combination for buns with fillings.  So decided to try this recipe which calls for some sweet potato mash.  And at the same time, also to try out a different way of adding the fillings into the bun.  Made these last Thursday.

The flavor of sweet potato did not stand out at all, in fact, there wasn't any sweet potato flavor. I liked the swirling effect created by rolling the pork floss with the dough.  Looks a little like a swiss roll.  

Made only 5 of such pork floss rolls.  The remaining portion of the dough was used to make plain buns.  As usual, a couple of assorted shapes as I practise on my shaping skills.

The usual swirly knot in the middle.  There is the twirl situated behind the knot.  The one in the foreground was simply achieved by giving it a few slashes before the start of the second proofing.

What's interesting about this batch with the sweet potato added is actually the softness.  Though there isn't any sweet potato flavor, probably masked by the butter and the milk, the softness provided was very obvious to the touch.  It was very much softer than the usual recipe I use.

Unfortunately, only these assorted shapes can boast of the softness I am talking about.  

Those with the pork floss filling was a little tougher than the previous buns I made using the usual flour/egg/milk combination.  I had rolled out the dough too flat, and rolled it up with the filling too tightly such that the dough could not fluff up enough during the second proofing. 

see how flat the bread portion is, both sections near the core of the bun and the top layer of the bun.

Of well, lesson learned.  Next time, I've got to remember not to roll up too tightly for such buns.

One final picture.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sausage and Cheese buns

 The girl loves buns with sausage and cheese toppings.  Of course this will be one of my attempts.

Made these on Monday.  I remembered to add a little more salt and a little more fat to the original recipe.  To be precise, 1/4 tsp more of salt and 5 gram more of butter.  

The salt didn't do anything to the yeast.  It worked pretty well.  The butter did make the bread softer, despite a mere 5 gram more.  Quite amazing really, what a mere 5 gram can do to the texture of the bread.  Imagine what it can do the body.  But well, as long as it makes the end product softer and tastier, no need to fret too much.  Just pound the ground harder when I go for my routine jog in the morning.

Round 2 proofing, tray 1
Round 2 proofing, tray 2

 Come to think of it, I did take a bit longer to reach the window-pane stage while kneading this batch of dough.  I wonder if it has anything to do with the additional butter.  Or perhaps I was more gentle with the dough this time round.  

Oven ready

After 1 hour of the second proofing, this tray is ready for the oven.  Dot the swirly buns with sausage and brush the surface evenly with whole egg wash and into the oven.

Cozy in the oven at 170 deg C.  No cheese topping yet.  I found that if I add the cheese at the beginning of the bake, it will brown too much and dry up.  Perhaps I ought to get those cheese with higher melting point, or those more suitable for baking.  But I have no idea what are those.  And that means a little bit of research is necessary.  Okay, this will be a test for next time. 

For now, it will be processed cheddar cheese which I cut into strips and carelessly strewn over the buns.

Cheddar cheese added
Half way through the bake time, I added the cheese.  And it melted almost immediately.  That got me worried about the cheese browning up too soon again.  But luckily it didn't.
Here's the end result.  

For the second tray, cheese was added in the final 2 minutes of bake time.  But that wasn't quite enough for the cheese to brown up.  And I ended up adding another 2 minutes to the bake time.  Of course there was the worry about the bread over-baking and drying out, but luckily, the 2 minute impact wasn't significant.