February 26, 2009

Mixed Berries Muffins

This is not the first time I'm making muffins with blueberries but definitely the first time with raspberries in it, something which I would considered a luxury cos' a small pack of it cost S$7.50. I would only use it for special occasions. :)

The reason I'm blogging about such as common muffin is cos' it taste and smell so good that I'd like to share it here with everyone :)


240g plain flour
120g caster sugar
2 tbsp orange zest (can substitute 1 tbsp with lemon zest if you like)
1 tbsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
225ml plain yoghurt
115ml sunflower/canola oil
1 lightly beaten egg
100g raspberries/blueberries

  1. Preheat oven to 200 °C. Grease or line a 12-cup muffin tin.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour (sifted), sugar, orange zest, baking powderand salt.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the yoghurt, oil and egg until well blended. Add the flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Do not overmix.
  4. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove tin from the oven and cool for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove muffins and serve warm.

Adapted from: 500 Cupcakes & Muffins by fergal connolly

You may also like to refer to my previous blueberry buttermilk muffins or raspberry muffins by Mandy and Rasa Malaysia. :)

February 22, 2009

Made With Love

If you look around, Valentine's day never seems to be complete without seeing red little hearts, strawberries and chocolates... Heh... that doesn't mean I need to have this but just somehow seeing more of such cute things makes one happy. dd hor??

Pretty pretty cakes never fails to attract me to walk over to the bakery cafe/shop counter, pretending that I'm interested to buy the cakes but actually I'm not. I'm just trying to get more ideas on cakes decoration. Hehe... :P

I made this simple strawberry cake on Valentine's Day. My initial attempt was this Japanese strawberry shortcake recipe by Aunty Yochana's. But I overbeaten the egg whites and the cake shrunk and deflated, as what I expected the moment when the egg whites becoming grainy and separated as I was folding it into the cake batter. This seemed to be the first time I overbeaten egg whites; it was exactly what I saw from the books. :(

Luckily I still have enough time to make another vanilla sponge cake (beating of whole eggs method). Sponge cake is always a safer bet. I filled the cake layers with fresh strawberries and whipped cream, and topped with strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. Indeed a berries-loaded cake! Finished off with a brush of apricot gel over the berries. I also brushed the cake layers with sugar syrup to allow the cake to remain moist and soft Happy2 that dd ate almost half of the whole cake at one go cos' he said it's so nice. :D

I guess baking a cake for him and giving him hand-made cards and cross stitch was not that much of a surprise to him since he knows I like to DIY stuffs and do all kinds of handicraft works. As for him, I was really surprised when he gave me a bouquet of handmade flowers! :D I actually hint hint him to make flowers for me almost a year ago but I thought he would never do that. Never thought he really made for me. so touched... :) He's definitely not a hands-on person so really appreciate your efforts my dear... I knew you spent a lot of time. I love this more than fresh flowers , Thanks oo! :)

February 17, 2009

Cocoa & Vanilla

Some time back last month, my dd and I paid a visit to Shermay's Cooking School which is situated in Holland Village. I'd thought of joining their classes previously but it was always full house by the time I wanted to sign up. They also have a small retail shop selling baking/cooking ingredients and bakewares and that's the main the reason I wanted to go and have a look! I was so happy to have FINALLY got myself a bottle of vanilla extract and Valrhona cocoa powder at Shermay's. Heh probably there's nothing to boost about but this is the first time I bought a good quality pure vanila extract; previously I've always been using only vanilla essence. :P I had also heard much reviews about valrhona cocoa so I must not give that a miss!
I was surprise to find that Pantry Magic is also located around the vicinity. There are lots of colourful silicon bakewares and other quality kitchenwares and I'm really tempted to bring them home. Well, I didn't buy in the end as they were too expensive; I don't think it is neccessary for me to own them.

I've been eager to try out the vanilla extract but didn't get a chance to bake anything out of it during the Chinese New Year festive period. I baked a batch of vanilla cupcakes for my cousin's baby shower two weeks ago and got to put it to good use. I tried a new basic vanilla cupcake recipe and the texture of the cake was very soft and fluffy, definitely a keeper for cupcake recipes. ;)
This is the first time I experimented with royal icing pipings, using meringue powder. I'm not sure whether I've beaten it to the right consistency as the piped letterings actually became soft when I left it at room temperature. Nevertheless I had fun piping the letters. I think it was the first time I managed to get some decent letterings though I still had much more room for improvement! :)

These chocolate muffin cupcakes were baked prior to Valentine's Day for my colleagues. I took this opportunity to try the valrhona cocoa powder and oh my gosh they smell so wonderful even when I was only mixing the batter! Even though no melted chocolate or chocolate chips were added, the smell, taste and colour of cocoa were intense enough. Recipe from Florence's dark chocolate muffins.
I made some simple swirls of nutella and decorated with little white chocolate hearts to make a simple sweet cupcake. :) I think the little hearts did put a smile on some faces. :)

Let me share the vanilla cupcake recipe here ;)

180g butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup caster sugar (I usually would reduce by about 1/4 of it)
1 1/2 cup self-raising flour, sifted
1 cup milk
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract/essence
  1. Preheat oven to 170°C
  2. Place all the main ingredients in a deep mixing bowl, beating on low speed until well combined and the batter is smooth (note: I've never use such method before. For me, I cream butter with sugar, added in eggs in stages till well mixed, and finally add milk and flour alternately. You may want to try their method to see if it produces a soft texture as well)
  3. Spoon batter into cupcake patty case until 2/3 full.
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until light brown. Allow to cool before frosting.

Recipe Source: Food & Travel - Oct 2008 Issue (pg 51)

February 2, 2009

Chinese New Year@Malacca

Yeah, as I mentioned, I went for a short trip to Malacca and Genting with my family. Frankly, I'm not the type who likes to go for holidays during CNY, because I like the festive mood over here. :) What's more, I have no reason to 避年 (avoid the CNY festive occasion) since I'm not entitled to giving Ang Baos yet! Haha... :P

I can't remember whether this is the first time I went to Malacca cos' the last time I went to Malaysia was years ago. I just remembered that cos' we went on guided tour packages, we were always up and down coaches which was really tiring. Now that I've experienced free & easy tours over the years, I'd prefer F&E if possible. The view taken from my room and the beautiful sunrise in the morning. :)If you had been to Malacca before, you would have know Jonker Street - A narrow straight street selling lots of unique ornaments, souvenirs, antiques, clothing, accessories and toys of the 1960s. It's somewhat similar to our Chinatown. Of course, there are also many restaurants selling the famous local delicacies such as chicken rice, chendol, etc. We had a sumptous nonya meal. Haha, although I know "Little Nonya" (our local drama serial) is a great hit recently, I didn't go to Malacca because of the show. Of course having heard so much about nonya dishes and the fact that we had stepped onto Malacca ground, tasting the authentic nonya dishes was a must. We had it in the hotel restaurant which we stayed. Authentic kitchenware .....

Chicken with a kind of olives. We were given a long fork to dig out the insides of the olives but it had a weird taste though. :P

Chap Chye (mixed vegetables)
Fried fish with sambal chilli. This was among the best! The fish was fried to perfection and the chilli was sooooo good.

Salted vegetable with duck meat soup

Nonya Popiah and Otah

This was a chicken dish but I can't remember what was it.

Chendol. I felt so guilty after having the whole bowl to myself! :P
Most of the names of those dishes were foreign to me cos' they originated from the malays and chinese, so it's not easy to tell what were the dishes just from reading its name. :)
I didn't managed to do enough shopping before we headed off to genting. Frankly, there wasn't much to see in genting except for the theme parks and casinos. The last time I went I still couldn't enter the casinos, but this time round some of them still wanted to check my identification!
Well, well....CNY is over, will be back to baking less cookies for now. But still one more project....valentine's day cake! Hee.... don't think my dd will know since he seldom reads my blog... >_<