when the clock strucks 12. the 'werewolf' in me, or rather, a perservering soul, pushes through his weak outer being.. it is only when midnight arrives that I become the midnight baker. Not that I have much of a choice really given my busy weekends and short nights. When orders come, i rush thru them, waking up at wee hours in the morning to prepare the swiss meringue buttercream of cream cheese frosting for the little cuppies to be sent out.
But most of the time, i enjoy baking for people in the company. their joyous smiles and twinkly eyes followed by wild gushes of ectasy are definitely soothing to the soul. Guess what? i may even have the chance to bake my supervisor's bdae cake. His strong hints are too obvious to miss... I'm not too psyched about baking an oreo cheese cake though. *yawn*.. BORING!
Most of the time, my colleagues are my lab rats, taste testers for many of my experiments and new recipes. Strangely, they are a pretty easy bunch of mice to please. Give them a few nibbles in a cookie jar coupled with a sweet note at the side, you have got yourself one bunch of rowdy mice starting a party already. Several scampering over to my cubicle sqeaking about how delish the bites are. From marshmellow cuppies to banana bread to almond cookies to butter cake; it seems they've got it good. Well, i'm not complaining either. in fact, i pretty much enjoy the whole process.
This time, i baked coffee cookies which i thought the Brazilians would enjoy especially since they do love their coffee. One thing i loved about them is the crunchy texture complimented by the nutty frangrance of the walnut topping the cookie. *grinz*. these puff up quite a bit, so my attempts at created thatched designs using a fork all were in vain. Oh well.. at least they made up with it by their divine taste. Not too sweet yet carrying the strong flavor of the coffee. Perfect for dipping into a hot drink.
and so for this round of cupcake hero, the theme as proudly presented to us by the cupcake hero team was MARSHMALLOW! *thinks twice*.. oh well, ain't got the hots for this one either except the occasional barbeque on a stick resulting in a toasty marshmallow, crusty on the outside and gooey on the inside. Just the way i like it...
Blueberry Yogurt Cake (recipe makes 17 cupcakes)
2 tubs yogurt (equivalent to 250ml)
80ml vegetable oil
2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla powder
1 tblspoon light rum
1 tblspoon strawberry creme liquor
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius
- Sift the dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, soda into a bowl.
- In your mixer, mix the eggs, sugar, yogurt, oil, vanilla, rum and liquor till well blended.
- Fold in the flour mixture till no streaks of white are visible. Make sure not to overwork your batter.
- Pour into Cupcake Tray. Filling each cup till 1/2 way full.
- Bake for 13-16 mins till skewer comes out clean and dry.
the cakes emerge from the oven, soft and springy plus incredibly moist. and they do stay that way even after being chilled. the beauties of using oil and yogurt instead of the usual butter, the moisture added just enhances the texture of the cake. The colors weren't as purple as i liked them to be though, infact they appeared a little closer to shade of black sesame macaron as opposed to the barney the dinosaur.After cooling, i poked a hole throught the middle of the cakes and filled them up with the loveliest marshmallow frosting imaginable... *yumz*. followed by spreading some generously over the domed tops of the cakes and created little peaks to be scorched by the flames of the blowtorch. It was soo much fun!
Seven minute Marshmallow Frosting
2 unbeaten egg whites
6 tbsp cold water
few grains salt
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
12 large marshmallows
- Combine the ingredients sans the marshmallows in the mixing bowl on the top of the double boiler over briskly boiling water. Stir with a whisk till mixture is blended.
- Add in the marshmallows into the hot mixture and whisk till completely melted.
- Add in 1 tsp of Vanilla extract.
- Immediately beat with beater until frosting stands in stiff peaks (approximately 7 mins)
finally. we can first pipe some of the ready frosting into the holes to fill the cupcakes and then spoon the frosting generously on top and arrange the spikes. then it comes the fun part. the blow-torching! it was overwhelming watching the peaks of marshmallow goodness swivel and shrink in the heat. almost enlightening i can say as the white tips slowly turn to charcoal, a crisp shell enveloping over the soft gooey centres of the toasted marshmallows.
with a dash of purple sanding sugar over the crowns of the cupcakes, they were all dressed up and ready to go. Like a troop of flowers, globe thistle in full bloom. in fact, this was the show-stopper at work. With many doubting my handiwork of course... oh well.. its not like an extrovert cannot find pleasure in baking ok? *bleah*.. the funny thing was that I never saw myself as an extrovert. haha.
With this I wrap up the marshmallow saga. I have met the challenge with some purple monstrousity; blueberry yogurt cupcakes and toasted marshmallow frosting. moving on to the next Cupcake Hero soon! *cheers*
okie. so here is the trip review. as some of u guys alr knoe. I've been to Tioman and back during the weekends. With the good friday public holiday knocking on our doors, my family didn't hesitate in packing up thier bags and leaving for a quick get-away at the nearby island of Tioman. i thought it was a lovely choice anyway i needed a swift break from work.
So after driving up to Mersing from the causeway (we took the 2nd link and tried all ways to avoid the 1st link coz of the ms incident; we were quite sure there was a major jam building up already even though we had left spore at 3am.); we took a 1+ hour boat ride to the offshore island of Tioman. Got off on our side of the island, Paya; and then for a while, we were lost.
nono.. not in terms of direction. just clueless as to the program and whatsoever. But as it turns out, everytime was carried out in a OTOT manner thus we all sorta loosened up after a while and started formulating gargantuan plans about wat to do with our 2 1/2 days on the island. But of course there were still the daily preaching and sharing sessions.. that was the centre of our trip anyway and quiet nights filled with nothing more than mosquito bites and the soft relentless buzzing of flies were uplifted by the presence of God during our worship and congregation in his name. I was severely enlightened during some sessions and not so during some as fatigue set in after a long days activities.
btw, i saw the snake creaping onto us during our first congregation on the beach.. hmph... interesting...
first day, we had half the day of which we spent half of it exploring the island. to my dismay.. this island is approximately 1/3 the size of spore!!!! it took us an excrutiating (okie, i exaggerate) 1 hour just to walk to the next settlement following the coastline and crossing a few knolls. we spent the late afternoon dipping in the sea and watching the sun cast its orange glow on the folding waves and also engaged in a game of frisbee which evolved into somewat of a competitve game almost everyday.
the night ended young with a few rounds of bridge, plenty of snooze. all in preparation for the next better day.
and of course... we had much more thrilling things lined up for the next day! coming up, scuba diving and boat trips! but needless to say, we had to bum around first. hehe. this method of attaining head-rest sure works whilst in a big group. just pray the person doesn't shake his head while on ur thigh. it itches like hell... hehe.
But soon, it was time to hit the waters. at first go, the waters were frigid cold in comparison to the sunny hot weather in the atmosphere. But after much activity and swimming around; things started to get a little warmed up. the fishes were plentiful and the coral.. hmph.. devastating. i reckon its global warming.
underwater camera rocks man. yesh i knoe i look stupid in tt mask.
but at least the bubbles are beautiful. hehe.
after hours of diving at different spots and viewing the marine park as well as a quick stop over to buy dutyfree items (i bought liquor again! midori (my fav) and myer's dark rum!.. now can add tt to my collection!) we were more or less tired and ready to head back to our humble abode to seek some rest. here's a random photo though.
Have i mentioned that besides the seaward face of the entire island. the terrain and landscape of the mainland with its giant hills and steep granite cliffs were respectable. Nature was indeed everywhere here. Of course, mosquitos were aplenty because of the same reason, that i hated the most. but oh well...
now that's some real magic ain't it...
fresh rays of light shining through the thick canopy... touching the unknown..
okie. fastforward to the next day(coz i really wanna forget about the millions of bugs that we found on our beds and lights the night before. blame it on the rain and the immensely cold weather, the darn flies were seeking refuge in our rooms.. EWWW), we went kayaking after kor spawned brilliant plans to row round the whole island (oh gosh.. look who's complaining after a small stretch of paddling? hehe *woops*)
upon approaching the next jetty along the coastline, we abandoned ship and went by foot in search of some grub to fill our empty stomachs. kayaking sure works up an appetite. After venturing through a golf course, nicely constructed paths and some donkey ranches (?!?!) (during which babe discovered his quaint love for donkeys that is. heh) we finally stumbled upon a pizza parlor in the midst of rich man's land, i meant a really high class hotel as compared to our run-down chalet like resort.
gosh.. just look at how adorable these kids are. Watching them, we sat down to chomp on one of the oven-baked pizzas that we had ordered and saw being made on the spot. It was heaven.. simple toppings on a biscuit thin like crust. *yummy*.
oh.. i forgot to mention that only 4 of us ventured out on land since we were afraid that the kayaks would be stolen. hey! come one dun look at me, i'm not the paranoid one. Hence Kor and weiquany stayed behind to stand guard. being the nice people that we are, the rest of us da-pao-ed an extra pizza back for them. mind you, the walk was not one of simple nature and involved some mini river crossings. It was a tad insane to be travelling with a pizza box at hand. Well, as FedEx would say, 'We live to deliver'; that was what it looked like.
The recipients upon getting their shipments were estatic of course and dived into the pizza. now..gluttony just makes u unglam! shame on u kor. hehe... *sniggers*
and after some vigourous exercise after paddling back to home grounds. we were treated to a wonderful lunch as well as desserts after. now, whats more luxurious then a malaysia-bred ice kachang after activity under the hot sun? trust me.. with bandung spilt over the top of the shaved ice, and milo topping strewned generously over together with the numerous condiments or treasures below the ice. this was a sure winner. and all for the price of $2.50 RM only! hehe. i love M'sia.
not to mention their teh susu is delicious. we had not one, not two, but THREE glasses!
mummy and Velda enjoying their Chendol
you know how time passes so fast sometimes when you're enjoying yourself. Time spent with family was indeed a precious moment for me and i relished every second of it. However, it was time to leave the island and return back to the arms of harsh reality. i detested that. but oh well, all part and parcel of life...
Bye bye Tioman!
Heaven is a wonderful place,
filled with glory and grace.
I wanna see my Saviour's face,
Heaven is a wonderful place!
head heavy, shoulders like lead, i sink into the soft cushions.
sticking to the smooth sheets like adhesive. i can't get up...
fatigue seeps through my bones.
i close my eyes and let colors fade away into a slurry of hues, yellow and green.
sorrie tt i've been too tired recently. watched the bucket list last night. perhaps i shld formulate one of my own soon. before i hit the bucket of course. Opportunity for one appears but my stand fluctuates. dance class awaites later in the evening. Lindy Hop lessons at jitterbug with Babe. dancing with the stars to big band music... *yay*. nothing beats that... psss. updates on the previous tioman trip coming soon. Stay tuned.
How else to please a bunch of grown ups stuck in an office with frigid cold temperatures and nothing but strong,black and almost repulsive coffee; than to bake a something a little pleasant. nothing beats a tinge of color and a sprinkling of multi-coloured jimmies to make someone smile. No wonder it wasn't long after i placed the cake bell on the pantry counter tt the entire collection was evacuated.
my choice of
weapon...recipe, simply the chocolate pound cake. (now tt it is revealed... can i say tt i find the crack on the first picture somehow uber sexy.. glossy combined with a deep dark crack... must be some form of socery working ard here.)
Perfection Pound Cake (cocoa version)
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter (236g)1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius
- Butter a 9x5 inch loaf pan
- Sift the Cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and salt together.
- Working with a stand mixer, on paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar till pale and fluffy (5 mins at high speed)
- Scrape down the sides, turn to medium speed and beat in the eggs one at a time, beating for 1-2 mins after each egg goes in.
- Reduce the speed to low and add in the flour mixture, mixing until just incoporated (be careful not to overmix)
- Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and smooth the top
- put the cake into the oven to bake and check on it after 45 mins. Bake the cake for 70-75 mins.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let it rest for 30mins before turning out the cake on the right side up.
the end result, a no frills, sturdy loaf of intense chocolate suitable for my babe...
on a side note, happy 6th month baby boi. guess we've both got our shares of ups and downs in the relationship. we know the roots and ways to get on each others nerves and so do we know how to please each other. I just want you to know that however much i scold and beat you (woops... husband beater in da house) i still love you all the same. Things will be alright in the end k? let the Lord guide us through.
i guess i was wrong...
giving you freedom didn't mean that it would make you return to me the same kind of treatment. u chided in the fact that i showed nonchalence towards your dates and frequent meetups with your other female friends. A matter of fact was that i did not really care nor worry about their lingering presence and their enthusiasm for your companionship. all i knew was that what was meant to be yours would be yours and I was sick and tired of fighting. more or less, i had resolved to fate and God's plan. However, i have came to realise that things don't always work in the way i want them to. I have been selfish...self conceited..
vexed...looks of disapproval, squabbles, fights, broken glass, boody fingers. Things have never looked more bleak. Someone's gotta do something..and i know it has got to be me.
I just dont want to see somone losing himself to the immensity of relationships, overwhelmed by commitment and bonds. i long to see the free-sprited him once again. Someone who couldn't care less for the world. But still, my actions and persistance have proved to be fatal. I have killed you.. torn your insides down. I am deeply sorry for my actions which i seem so unaware about. I just want to see you happy and yet I do everything that would make you cringe on the contrary. Ironic. I have done nothing to be proud of; but yet i see no reason to hang my head in shame. that's just me.
i knoe i love you though...
alright, so I confess, frankly speaking, i'm not much of an almond lover. i reckon that my immense dislike of the flavor had arisen from the emergence of the overpowering aroma from the almond syrup added to our usual bowl or tau-huey (soya beancurd). I never quite had the penchant for this added flavor and often deteste the strong smell it commanded even before you had put a spoonful of beancurd to your mouth.
but somehow, the beautiful bottle of amaretto (almond liquer) sitting on my tabletop beckoned. i heeded to tis calling and found this beautful recipe which wld thrive from the strong presence of its tipsy derivative of almond. moreover it was friday, in the spirit of TGIF, i decided to bake a batch for the office pple.
sitting in my new porcelain cookie jar in the pantry... signed off with a lovely note on the side, it was no wonder these cookies were gone in a flash. They smelt, they loved and they munched and they asked for more...Best thing is that the recipe is pretty simple and the fresh batch of cookies can be churned out in a jiffy. so to all those interested in sinking your teeth into a batch of these awesome cookies, do try out the recipe yar!
Almond Lover's Cookies
adapted from allrecipes
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup ground almonds
2 tsp amaretto liqeur (substitute for almond extract and add a bit of vanilla powder for tt extra boost)
- Preheat the oven to 200degrees celsius
- Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Beat in the egg, amaretto and almonds. Gradually mix in flour until well blended. Drop by teaspoons 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Bake for 5-8 mins in the oven until cookies are lightly coloured. (note: for crisper cookies, press down the dough with a fork and bake for 8-10mins; cool on pan for 3 mins at least before cooling on rack)
extra tidbits: almonds are never enough are they; add sliced almonds or almonds bits on the tops of the cookies before baking for those extra crispy bits.Now, I'm thinking what should i bake next week? some suggest brownies or anything chocolate given the approach of easter. hmph.. well, lets just wait and see yar.
ahh.. finally a slow and unhurried weekend tts comes by once in a blue moon. Pushing aside the hectic tuition schedule, i had the fortune of spending the weekend at a rather luxurious pace, dedicate more time to the family as well as to myself... as rare as it is, i treated it lyke a real treat. time to put my weary soul to rest.
the weekend came of to a fine start with the family journeying to the east to ecp for some cycling/rollerblading and of course just plain lazing ard (i chose the latter of course!), and settled down to reading a good book whilst sipping on my coffee at mcafe. *yumz*.. best way to spend a lovely morning.
its been ages since i've had the time to spend my sat mornings leisurely.. and trust me, after this experience, i wldn't mind spending it the same every sat! haha. but oh well, life goes on yar. haha.
East coast park was at the hype of all hustle and bustle with every sq foot being occupied by people doing all sorts of activities. Probably pple lyke me, trying to find some peace and relaxation from the work and weekdays. pity there aren't too many places to head to during the weekends for chilling out so it all ends up in bottlenecks at all the 'hot-spots' around the certain destinations every weekend.
seee.. violent genes coming from mummy. don't blame me yar!
After congregating again after fulfilling the multitude of activities, the family had lunch together at waruku east coast branch. warning: if u're thinking of dining at waruku, pls avoid the east coast branch. but if not possible then pls refrain from ordering their raw foods. (take note of the unfresh tuna they use in their tuna maki below.. EWWW!)
the rest of the foods served up were still acceptable so remember.. pls heed my warnings!!! for good japanese food, pls head elsewhere. perhaps i shld make other recommendations soon...
what else cld i do on a weekend? BAKE! lyke duh.. *rolls eyes*... this time, i did the Apple Almond Tart from the gorgeous book 'Just Desserts' by Daniel Tay. the tart turned up beautifully from the oven with the crisp fan array of apples golden brown and softened to an almost caramelised stage. the thick aroma of baked apples wafting thru the entire house. hehe.. poor kor kor and mummy had to sniff their way to certain 'highness' as they were not allowed to savor the tart. tts becoz i baked it for the gathering at Pingting's house together with a bunch of Aero mates.
at the gathering, we had the taste test after which i declared the tart... wonderful. the excessive amount of almond meal used adding to the fragrance and nuttiness of the entire dessert. i especially enjoyed the nutty crunch with every mouthful. not to mention the granny smith apples used were so tart tt they served as an excellent contrast to the sweet pastry and innards. this recipe is definitely a keeper!
just when i thought i cld settle for the satisfaction of having baked it once in a weekend, i did it a record twice in 2 days! due to excessive demand... hmph.. make tt more of complaints from the family. I baked another tart the next day for mummy and kor who were dying to get a taste of the terribly anticing tart. well, i'm glad to say tt they enjoyed it loads. and so did i, the baking process. In the meantime, i baked a carrot cake with orange cream cheese for orders as well. Baking.. ahhh.. wat a joy!
thanks babe for the treat!
now for another music video treat... Ashanti's 'The way that I love you'
After all of the times that we tried,
I found out we were livin a lie
And after all of this love that we made,
I Know Now you don't love me the same
click here if u wanna hear the HQ version