September 27, 2008

Banana Oat Bran Muffins

Recently I bought a packet of organic oat bran and was trying to find some oat bran muffin recipes to try. I vadely remembered seeing oat bran muffins at Happy Homebaker's. True to my memory, she had made this banana-raisin oat bran muffins and gave good reviews about it. I also had some ripe bananas, perfect! Some healthy muffins for breakfast the next day. :)

The muffins were really good, with just the right texture that I wanted. Wheat bran or wholemeal flour usually yields much coarser muffins but not oat bran. It was soft and had a very nice banana fragance. I felt healthy after eating it and it don't feel too oily either. Thanks
Happy Homebaker for this recipe. Oh ya I added raisins and chocolate chips too. But it'll be good even without them :)

I'll definitely make this again!

September 23, 2008

A Day of Bird Watching

Does the title makes you think of sitting on a patch of grassy field, holding a binoculars and watching a flock of birds flying across the sky? Haa... that's just what comes into my mind when I wrote this title. Nah, we didn't held any binoculars to watch birds in action, my dd and I were just watching birds at Jurong Birdpark, a tourist attraction which boosts a huge collection of over 600 species of bird collections over the world. It was first opened to public 1971. To know more about Jurong Birdpark, please click here.

Despite being one of Singapore's tourist attraction, it was both our first time here. We had this opportunity as my company offers this corporate card which we could rent over the weekend to enter the birdpark for free. If not for this corporate card, guess at this age, we would never have thought of going! Well, this is something different for us at least since we are always trying to find more interesting and varied activities to do. :)

dd said he like this photo cos I looked chubby! :( This doesn't make me happy, but still I quite like this photo as well. So, ok who cares. :PI made 2 sets of bento. I don't think this looks very colourful as I do not have enough "accessories" to dress up the bento. Nevertheless most importantly it filled up his hungry stomach. :) It consisted of tuna mayo and egg mayo sandwiches, chicken karaage, chicken sausages with cucumber, baked sweet potatoes and crabmeat. Not in the picture were strawberries, cherry tomatoes and mooncakes. Yes I brought mooncakes cos' it happened to be Mid-Autumn Festival that day. But the weather was too hot. Before we could eat the mooncakes as our snacks, the poor mini champagne truffles and white ganache mooncakes were already melting away.

There were many species of birds and it's really an eye-opener for us.

We paid S$2 to feed these little lories with nectar. Just hold the cup in your hand and these little things would fly to your hand to feed on the nectar! Only on that day did I realise I'm actually terrified of birds! :P I was screaming when these birds flew onto my hand. I couldn't help myself not to be so fearful of flying creatures near me. So embarrased when children younger than me ain't afraid. :P

My favourite would be these penguins. They were so cute, just stood there and seemed to be enjoying the air-con and relaxing themselves. I actually sympathese with them not being able to be living in their true natural habitat. Hmmm well but who knows they could be happier since they would be safe from any natural disasters or predators that comes along in their harsh environment.

Back home, we lighted up lanterns and candles, my favourite childhood activity! Who say grown ups can't play anymore? ;)

September 22, 2008

Mom's not a fussy eater :)

Weekend is usually the only time I can put my 'culinary skills' to a test where I can cook some simple meals for myself and my mum. I'm recently experimenting with pastas which is quick and easy and can make a hearty delicious lunch.

As I was browsing through pasta recipes, I was deciding whether to make carbonara or just tomato-based type. I reckon that my mum don't like cheese so I decided to go for the tomato-based versions. She actually wanted me to make the olio aglio again but I told her I need to try new recipes please so she doesn't have a choice. Hehe... :P

I did not want to buy those store-bought pasta sauces which is easily available as I wanted to make my own. :)

First I cooked the pasta. Concurrently as the pasta was cooking in the simmering water, I fried some onions, added tomato sauce, fresh ripe tomatoes and water and cook until the sauce thickened; then I added mushrooms and fresh basil, seasoned with salt and pepper. When the pasta is cooked, my sauce was done and I poured the sauce all over and mixed throughly. Oh I forgot to mention that I also stir-fried some sliced bell peppers and red chilli at the beginning and set them aside. There you are, a simply tomato-based linguine!

Please pardon me for the bad description above as this wasn't meant to be the recipe that I'm sharing. I made this dish without following any recipe, so I don't think it's good enough to be shared. The sauce was not enough for two servings, and I think it could have been better with more herbs and onions; while the pasta was way too much for two persons. :( Poor judgement I have. Hehe. :P Luckily my mum is not a fussy eater and she actually finds it quite tasty. :)

I wanted to finish off with some cheddar cheese and only then did I realise the packet of cheddar cheese which I had used only once had gone mouldy. :( Thank god I did not attempt to make carbonara in the first place. Hmmm..I must really refrain from impulsive buying of ingredients if I don't intend to use it often.

I'm participating in this week's Presto Pasta Night again. :) This coming week's roundup will be hosted by Ruth.

September 19, 2008

Rum & Raisin ice-cream

With a bottle of rum essence due to expire, leftover whipping cream and raisins, I just couldn't bear to dump it. While searching for the right rum & raisin recipes, I recalled Happy Mrs Kwok's homemade ice-cream.

Thanks Mrs Happy Kwok for sharing your recipe and answering my queries on homemade ice-cream, I really made my own ice-cream! I never ever thought it would be so easy, and you don't need an ice-cream maker at all, that's true. Isn't that good news? I'm still wondering what is the purpose of an ice-cream maker, probably that would churn out creamier, smoother ice-cream?

The texture is good, but the rum flavour is a little artificial. I don't think I would ever buy rum flavour for baking again cos' I just don't like the taste and 'aroma' (mayb I don't know how to appreciate it :). If I'm making it again, I'll definitely try vanilla with chocolate chips or nuts, or green tea. :P

September 17, 2008

Another Birthday Post :)

It's another birthday post again...yeah it's our dear Shunmei here. :) How time first official post at Baking Cottage was her birthday post as well. So, this would also mark my blog's first anniversary! Baking Cottage's birthday is coming! Hehe... Well, I thought of baking a cake to celebrate this occasion, if time and energy permits. *lazy* :P
I like the overall presentation of this cake, simple and nothing elaborate but chocolatety. This wasn't my initial plan actually. My plan was to bake a black forest cake. Somehow, I overwhipped the whipping cream and the cream cuddled, so I changed my plan and made a chocolate ganache cake instead, since the cake was already baked that time and all I have with me was chocolate bars and the dark cherries.

Cake was sliced into three layers, layers brushed with cherry syrup, sandwiched with a simple ground almond-ganache and dark cherries in between, and finally covered with a layer of chocolate glaze. The glaze, when set was shiny because of glucose added to it. The chocolate sponge recipe was quite moist and soft, unlike some which were dry. The recipe was shared by my sister-in-law who attended some baking workshop before and here I am to share with you.

Chocolate Sponge Cake


4 eggs
100g sugar
90g plain flour
10g cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
80-100g melted butter

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C.
  2. Grease and line a 9-inch round baking tin.
  3. Whisk eggs and sugar at maximum speed until light and creamy.
  4. Fold in sifted flour, cocoa powder and baking powder, a little at a time.
  5. Add melted butter and mix well.
  6. Pour into baking tin and bake for about 25-30 minutes.
  7. Turn out from tin and leave till cool before frosting.

Shiny Chocolate Glaze (Recipe from Phoon Huat & Co)


250ml fresh milk
250g fresh whipping cream
50g glucose (can be found in baking supply stores - mine was from "redman")
1000g dark chocolate


Boil the milk, cream and glucose, then add in dark chocolate and stir till dissolve.

Note: I halved the recipe for chocolate sponge, and used only 1/10 of the recipe for the glaze as it's way too much. Do adjust your recipe accordingly.

We gave Shunmei a treat at this German restaurant - Brotzeit at Vivocity. The specialty for the day was pork knuckles! It was known to ladies to have lots of collagen who is good for our skin but we were just not adventurous enough to try it. We tried a a sampler of mixed sashimi, sausages, salads. The food were rather new to us as we've not tried German-styled cuisine before though we weren't that filling after the meal. I'm glad that xian mentioned that my chocolate cake completed the meal. :D

I wish I could upload more photos but blogger just don't allow me. In fact it took me days to get all these up, thus I have lesser postings this month. I'll try to get all my post up soon ;)

September 12, 2008

Crispy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

While there are many oatmeal raisin cookie recipes around, most of them seems to belong to the chewy type. My personal preference would definitely falls into the crispy category. Though I do give in to Subway's giant chewy cookies everytime (which is how I started accepting chewy cookie), still, in my definition of a cookie, it has to be crispy. Well, I guess this could probably be due to the fact that I'd grow up eating biscuits or cookies that were crisp or dry. If they are soft, I would thought they had 'lose air', which literally translates to simply turning soft because of not being kept well in an airtight container.

This oatmeal cookie is one of my pioneer bakes, It dates back to my secondary school days where we were asked to bake cookies for one of our practical sessions in Home Economic lessons. Everyone came with all sorts of recipes. I chose this, as it was simple and it uses the rubbing-in method which fits the criteria (the only method we learned in our lesson). The recipe was from an old magazine featuring Quaker Oats recipes, shared by a neighbour of mine then in my old flat where I used to live. I was supposed to return her that recipe but somehow had forgotten about it. I guess she should have forgotten about the recipe; and must be surprised that I still keep it until today!

I still remembered the first comment when my teacher took the first bite of this cookie - "Very Crispy", but I could see that she was biting a little hard into it cos' I had probably overbaked it, causing it to be a little hard. *lol* Since then, this is something that I'd bake whenever I have the urge to bake something, though it could be only like once a year in those secondary school time. Yet, it never failed me no matter how novice I was in baking then.

Thus, if you are new to baking and would like to give baking a try, do give this recipe a try. It'll help boost your confidence. :) Do not despair if it turns out a little soft. Just pop back to the oven and bake for another 3-5 mintes until it turns golden brown (not burnt) and it should be crisp.
Crsipy Oatmeal Raisin Cookie


8 tbsp Quaker White Oats (or any brand of rolled oats will be fine)
120g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
125g butter
120g granulated sugar
1 egg
3 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp milk

  1. Sieve flour and baking powder.
  2. Put oats, flour and baking powder together in a big bowl, add butter and mix together using the rubbing-in method or blend with pastry blender.
  3. When mixture resembles breadcrumbs, add in sugar and raisins. Stir in egg.
  4. Add 1 tbsp milk, continue mixing (The mixture should not be too wet. It should drop from a knife if shaken very sharply.
  5. Drop the mixture by teaspoonful onto baking tin, allowing space for the cookies to spread.
  6. Bake for 12-15 mins at 220°C (preheated) near the top of oven. Remove cookies while still warm.
The original name of this cookie recipe is butter oats cookie. It is really buttery and fragant, Do use the best butter for best results. :)