February 23, 2011

A nut cracking session

A nut cracking session?? Do we need a session on cracking nuts? Yes I did, for these real "extra large" mixed nuts.This large packet of nuts caught our (hubby and I) eyes when we were at NTUC Fairprice. It is a large packet, with a height as tall as 30cm, but all the nuts were huge, in their original shells. So, there weren't many actually. But unless you don't mind spending some time and effort to crack these nuts, then I won't recommend you to buy. :P

I love love nuts, all kinds of nuts, and with the fine print "guarantee fresh" i was won over. Don't they all look lovely in their original shells? :) Oh so natural! I shall now give you a lesson on the names of these nuts, if you have not seen the real thing in its shells. ;) Starting from the left, we have almonds, filbert (i googled and realised filberts are also referred to hazelnuts), brazil nut, pecan, walnut (in front of pecan), followed by almond and lastly walnut again.

After attempts to crack it with our hands, teeth and a pair of plier to no avail, hubby decided on a hammer. And... it works, almost instantaneously :)

There you go... freshly cracked atural almond.

This is pecan.

Brazil nut in its shell....

Brazil nut breaks open...


Walnuts.... I have read that eating walnuts is good for the brain... and interestingly i think it does resemble a brain...?

That was our nut cracking session.... a most indigenious way of eating nuts. I enjoyed the session, hammering while we peeled open the shell and eat it straight away.
A word of caution. Do remember to place a piece of mat or thick cloth on the floor beneath a stack of newspaper. The newspaper is for easy cleaning and the mat is to protect your floor. I'm sure you wouldn't want to damage your floor tiles. :)

February 13, 2011

Cranberry Almond Butter Cake

Looking at this messy cake, it may probably not attract one to want to have a try at a piece. But... i can guarantee you that you will regret if you do not try it, especially if you love nuts or anything nutty.
As the name suggest, this cake uses almond meal. I made my own almond meal by grinding whole almonds (with skin) in a blender, hence the almond meal containes traces of the skin in brown which makes the cake prettier and more rustic.
The original recipe uses candied orange but I replaced with cranberries, since I still have a packet of it. My mum don't usually like to eat dried fruit but she like this cake, to my surprise! Because it's full of almonds and cranberries, it crumbles easily and is difficult to get a perfect slice.

This is the top but I flipped it upside down to get a more even top.

There, you see all the almonds and cranberries!

Cranberry Almond Butter Cake
Blanched almond slivers/chopped whole almonds
60g cranberries
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
85g ground almond (almond meal)
90g icing sugar
25g cake flour, sifted
35g melted butter
  1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Lightly grease cake pan with a little softened butter.
  2. Spread almonds at the base of the pan in an even layer.
  3. Combine eggs and egg yolk and beat lightly. In a separate bowl, combine ground almonds and icing sugar and stir lightly. Add 1/3 of egg mixture to almond mixture and beat with an electric mixer. Repeat with remaining eggs until mixture is light, fluffy and pale. Do not over-beat.
  4. Add flour and cramberries to the egg-almond mixture and fold in well.
  5. Add melted butter and fold in thoroughly.
  6. Pour batter into prepared cake pan (18-cm round pan) and bake for about 40 minutes.
  7. When done, remove cake from cake pan and cool on wire rack.
Recipe adapted from: "Okashi Treats" by keiko ishida

This is a no fuss recipe and in fact you don't require a mixer. All you need is just to bear the mixture thoroughyl but not over-beat. Would you like to make your own? :)
I shall stop here as I'm taking some precious time to blog. Time to bed for me. I'm always hoping for sweet dreams of cakes, desserts, pastries.... ;)

February 4, 2011

Wedding DIY Card

These four days of Chinese New Year break is really a good time for me to recharge myself and sleep late to do whatever that I like. I don't get this kind of break when I apply for vacation leave or going for holidays because work is still ongoing in the office which means I've got to clear my work before and after my vacation leave and that's a great deal of stress for me as well! I know this doesn't happen to all workplace but it does for my office culture.
While doing some housekeeping of my photos, I saw these photos of the invitation cards which I made for my wedding solemnisation at Sentosa. They were just simple invitation cards that I printed for my friends with some embellishments of flowers and ribbons. They weren't really neccessary but I made it for some fun and rememberance :)
I bought the envelopes from Popular Bookstore and made designs using a heart-shape hole puncher. The wordings were stickers from Popular Bookstore as well.

By the way, I've finally uploaded my wedding photos taken at Sentosa by my freelance photographer on Photobuket and linked its slideshow at the right hand side bar of my blog. Feel free to click on the slideshow to view the photos ;) The photographer had taken over 400 photos and I've picked about 200 of them for the slideshow. I love how the photos turned out and they were what hubby and I wished for in a beach wedding. :D
Two days of Chinese New Year have passed. This shall be the last year that I can receive Ang Baos because according to Chinese tradition, I'm not yet married as we have not gone through the customary wedding. I will certainly miss being a young "girl" receiving ang baos :P

February 2, 2011

Happy Chinese New Year of the Rabbit!

I'd wanted to continue participating in the Aspiring Bakers challenge on Chinese Year Cookies but I was too busy to submit my post by the closing date of 1 Fen 2011. :P
Chinese New Year cookies has become my yearly to-do event and of course I have my favourite new year cookie, and that is almond cookies! I've never failed to make this every year after I make my first almond cookie years back with Florence's recipe. I had tried other almond cookie recipes and by far this is still my favourite recipe. I believe using toasted almonds really enhances the taste, much more than using ground almonds alone.
This year, I made my own pineapple jam, after reading Wendy's blog which gave really clear instructions on how to make it. Her instructions and tips really helped alot as I found it less intimidating to do as I had thought. The only problem was that my jam was too wet and soft, even though I had cooked it once more the next day and chill it in the fridge. Being too soft, I had such a difficult time wrapping the pastry dough over the jam.

This year, I made kok chai again with my mum's help. I used a bigger drinking glass to mould the shape of circle for the dough, for fear of the dough shrinking but it dodn't this year. Hence my first batches of kok chai were so big that we think it looked like mini curry puffs! LOL

I finally made kueh bangkit again this year after a few years of rest. :D

My favourite almond cookie.

We have just ushered into the year of the Rabbit and I would like to wish everyone a happy and prosperous year ahead!