Monday, December 27, 2010

L to R: Green tea, Peppermint, Lemon and Tiramisu
The fruit of many hours in the kitchen. Credits to Weizhen for giving me the idea of doing a tiramisu version... V (close friend) really liked it even though she isn't even a macaron person. One of Gem's friends also enjoyed the tiramisu one. Whoopee! :D
Thinking that i would be leaving on sunday for my Canadian adventure, i thought i had time to do up the literature review of my dissertation. But instead, i discovered that the 31st is THIS friday. Good job, Jo. So now i'm rushing out my literature review and am guessing that i'm making more headway in these few hours than in the last 7 months.
Just thought of sharing this photo with you, as part of my macaron madness journey. :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

it's been birthday meals after birthday meals (treats from friends and family. love.), and then doing my research's interviews in the last week or so.

and today, i spent 14 hours in the kitchen baking macarons for parties i'm going to. it was a real macaron marathon i tell ya. started the morning off with coffee-chocolate shells (zen's great idea of making tiramisu macarons), and moved on to making green tea shells, then lastly, lemon shells. from 10:30am to 12:30am, thereabout. I really enjoy the process, i'll admit. though the repetition of steps and the worry over whether the macs will crack/will not have feet/will have lopsided feet drives me a little nuts.

and i found out 2 keys things to prevent macaron death. 1) get level trays. 2) Air-con

Spoilt biscuits, aren't they? Even i don't rest in air-con rooms. hurhur. the lengths i have to go to to make them, just because i live in singapore where the humidity is high.

can't wait to experiment with flavours! going to attempt to deviate from the usual flavoured white chocolate filling and try making a buttercream. It's lots more work though. Meh.

hopefully i'll have photos to show you tmr. :) for now, toodles, good night.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Counsellors and people who have done transcribing before will know this.

1hour of recorded conversation takes about 8 hours to transcribe. Recently did an interview that lasted 1hr 25 minutes or so. And i have 5 more interviews to do.

Jesus, I need your divine speed...


Opened the fridge to find little brown-yellow bits on the shelves. Thinking they were broken pieces of fried noodles, i nudged one of them with my finger to swipe it off the shelf. I noticed it was soft but thought, maybe it was the, i don't know, the cool air and liquids that softened the noodle.

Then it hit me. Each piece of "broken noodle" was the same length. One had a tiny black dot on it, conveniently looking like the noodle had an eye.

Then i thought: Worm? Maybe. But they aren't moving. Maybe they are dead.

Took a piece of tissue and picked one up and did a double take when i found that my noodle MOVED. IT WIGGLED. @#$$%$^%&*&!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you know me well enough, you will know that worms are my greatest nemesis. Next to snails.

I was shrieking bloody murder inside but managed to clear off all my "broken noodles" from the fridge shelves with enough tissue so that my fingers wouldn't be able to feel their soft bodies.

I called mum in her office (yes, i was that desperate to find out where in the world the critters came from) and i was told they came from one of the mangoes.

Now i jump at the slightest sensation of anything wriggly or ticklish on my skin. Ugh.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Made green tea macarons today! They were pretty much a success because i decided to be patient and pipe less macarons on each baking tray. It minimised the number of fail macs so for once i had more "pass" than "fail' mac shells. Gave most of them to 2 friends by the end of the day and i'm hoping they like 'em. It's really a pleasure to just bake and give the outcomes away. I'm enjoying the baking process so much so that the pleasure is all in the baking and not the eating.

I kept the fail ones to eat and one nice one to take a shot of and post it here tomorrow.

So far i've been achieving some level of success with the italian meringue method, but i still have that annoying problem of having a hollow space in between the shell and the base. Oh well. They taste fine, but perhaps the texture isn't quite so satisfying.

I'm quite determined to achieve success with the french meringue method. In all my 4 attempts, i've failed 4 times. But i'm not throwing the towel in yet. I've already got my egg whites aging on the dining table, waiting for their turn to be made into macarons... i need ideas on what flavour i should attempt next.

So far, i've done:
- rose with white chocolate filling
- chocolate with chocolate and vanilla-peppermint filling
- green tea with white chocolate and passionfruit ganache/chocolate peppermint filling
- lemon/orange blossom with lemon curd filling

hmm, what's next? Maybe...

- chocolate with salted caramel
- vanilla/chocolate with peppermint buttercream
- chocolate with butterscotch filling
- some fruit thingy...?
- some cinnamon thingy?
- some lavender thingy?

I owe my sister a pure peppermint one with crushed candy canes in the filling. Am trying to devise a yummy way of making that macaron.

Going to zonk out now, in 3,2,1.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Short note to self:

1) too much green tea powder killed the green tea macaron!
2) but this time, my french macarons didn't fall flat and didn't have that hollow beneath the shell which is a good thing. so, aged eggs do work. i left the egg whites on my dining table for 24 hours before using it. no feet still though, but it's an improvement nonetheless.
3) mom questioned me on how much money i throw away every time i make an inedible fail batch.... i've made a calculation, and depending on what i put in the batter, it can range from $4-$17 bucks. So far, that is. my heart breaks every time macarons go straight into the bin, but what am i to do? they are just simply not edible.

in other news, my 4-5 year old Acer Travelmate has died. Hard disk crashed. And has taken away all my recipes with it. Really sad but what am i to do? Dad and i also discussed that paying a base cost of $350 that can balloon to $3000 for the lost data is not worth it. So... it's goodbye school work, music, photos, recipes. May whatever cyberspace god that that is out there watch over you. sigh. :(

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Note to self:

1) the left/back side of my oven sucks big time. Temperature rises really really fast, i finally saw it objectively with my oven thermometer.
2) the right side sucks small time, so beware.
3) To increase number of successful macarons, pipe batter in the middle of the tray and place in the middle of the oven, (therefore, try to "undermix" the batter a little since i'm going to have the batter sitting in the piping bag), OR,
4) Pipe as per normal but place tray in vertically and to the right side, and shift tray around as per needed. Eg. When macarons start to puff up, crack, etc. I'll still lose some though... I think i might go the way of point 3. Much less heartbreak and wastage.

Made some lemon ones with my newfound technique. Some got destroyed due to uneven heat but otherwise, i think i can now finally finetune my baking time to achieve a less dry macaron. 14 minutes seems a little too long. Shall try 12-13minutes the next time.

Chocolate shell with dark chocolate mint filling, and the other one is lemon with lemon curd filling. I can't wait to make my green tea with white chocolate ones! The green tea powder is pricey so i've to make sure that i can consistently make okay macarons before using the matcha powder.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

After my 4 failed trays of macarons (4! FOUR! That's a painful lot of failed macarons...) two nights ago, yesterday afternoon i gritted my teeth and set to work again to find out what went wrong and what i should be doing to achieve nice looking macarons. Notice i say "nice looking", because perfecting the insides is another madcap adventure altogether.

The recent consistent failures really started to sap my reservoir of hope and belief in myself. For every 1-2 pretty macarons you see here on this blog, there were tons more that didn't make it. Tray after tray of wasted ingredients, time, money and energy.
But it was those early successes (Thank You Lord!), without knowing how in the world i did it, that's keeping me driven to keep trying. It was because i managed to make them before that i know it's possible to make macarons at home! It's not just for the professionals. I read up on macaron 101s from credible bloggers (who are equally MacCrazy), made notes and tried to understand the problem behind the failures.

So back to yesterday afternoon.

Inserted my first (rather crowded) tray of macarons into the oven, and as usual, they started their dismaying habit of puffing up and cracking, and not developing any feet... In my desperate attempt to save them, i opened the oven door slightly to reduce the temperature in hope of stopping the impending macaron death. Before, i would have kept the temperature at 150degress (Heat should be set to come from the bottom. But that's just my oven.) because that's what the recipes said.
But this time, i decided to take things into my own hands. (though i did remember some advice out there that mentioned to lower the temperature once you put the macarons in. some people agreed, some disagreed. i didn't think it would work for me, but...)

Strangely, i noticed that some macarons looked smooth. The top wasn't cracked, and to my delight... they started to develop FEET. Even, pretty feet. The pretty ruffled bottoms! I was on the verge of screaming. Hyperventilating. But okay, theatrics aside, all i did was message 2 of my life's dearest people, Jiejie and Gem.

Sure, some of the macarons died because of the uneven heat distribution in the oven. BUT HEY! Some turned out looking REALLY good! I was ecstatic. And i still had one more tray to experiment with.

So, preheated the oven back up again to 150-160degrees (it overshot a little this time) and buanged the 2nd (not so crowded) tray in. I did the same thing, which was to let the temperature settle down to 140degrees thereabout. I had to sit in front of the oven and stare into the window very intently, watching the oven themometer's needle and watching my macarons' reaction to the heat.

Result: Perfectly smooth, feet-ed macarons. I was so pleased. And messaged Jie and Gem that i could now Rest in Peace.
(to which Jie replied: "Dun die so fast leh, u havent made the peppermint ones")
Oh yeah, I had promised to make her those.

I'm not 100% sure if this is the solution to my macaron problems (other than not making them on a humid day). So i'm going to try again soon to replicate the conditions, after i'm done eating/passing out to GP List the ones i just made. The positive thing about seeing the same looking failed macs is that i know i'm doing everything consistently. Which means, there are perhaps only just 1-2 (God forbid more than that) factors that need to be tweaked. Guess it turned out to be the temperature fluctuations.

I'm guessing that the higher temperature first allowed the shells to puff up nicely and harden while the falling temperature ensured that they don't crack right through. 140degrees allows the insides to cook and the macaron to form pretty feet.
The 1st tray. With dead and live macarons.

The beginnings of a discovery...
And here! Pretty macarons! FINALLY! After so many heart breaks.

I've got empty lemon and chocolate shells waiting to be filled... Yummy. :D Shall go look for ideas now. It took so much reading up to get the right tips online! Once I get consistent results with the italian method, i'm going to venture into the french method. Muah hahaha...
Now, if only the same zest for my dissertation would kick in...

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Yes. I've finally bought my equipment (i think the baking pans could be better though) and curiousity got the better of me... And so i've begun trying my hand at making the Diva Biscuits, aka the Macarons. The instructions looked easy enough. I soon found out it isn't about the steps. It's the technique.

I'm a fan of these sweet little monsters (you'll see why i call them monsters soon). And when i say i'm a fan, i really mean a slobbering, shifty wide-eyed, hyperventilating creature with a maniacal smile plastered all over her face, whenever i see macarons in the distance. Ask Gem if you don't believe me. I'm quite adept at shapeshifting like that.

Won't say too much, and let the photos do the talking.

Macarons have infinite ways of going wrong. Out of 2 trays, only 1/4 of them can be known to survive. My heart gets broken often by these tyrants. But i think my oven is partly to blame too.

Flat, porous, feetless pancakes. Friend says they look like japanese crackers. Too true!

More japanese prawn crackers. Meh. These were hollow, feetless and porous.

These miraculously had feet, but were sticky, flat and altogether just ridiculous.

After many tries, these macarons were born... Orange blossom with lemon curd filling, and rose with white chocolate filling.
Did them the italian meringue way which i will stick to for the moment since i've had some success with it. Making macarons the french meringue way has resulted in 100% failure rate out of the three times i have tried it! But i WILL get down to making them at some point in time.
Right now, i'm going to use the italian meringue method to experiment with different flavours. I think it's going to be green tea and white chocolate soon. And i so need a macaron flavour directory right now. Whoopee!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Time to get my act together, i.e., write that dissertation. But before that! Photos of oven and stove adventures while i was/am stuck at home fighting a flu bug. I wasn't feeling too great but new gadgets/cookbooks/ideas just flirt and tempt me to the point of submission.

So here's my first attempt at making lemon meringue kisses. They turned out light, crisp and sweet! Just the way it should be... Except that they also turned out tanned, which uh, i would prefer on my skin but not on theirs. Sandwiched in between is lemon curd which i made a few hours before and refrigerated. The recipe came from my The Australian Women's Weekly Macaroon and Biscuits book that Gem bought for me. :)

Verdict: Delicious, but FULL of sugar. You need to already be able to eat handfuls of sugar without going into a hyperglycemic fit or coma to enjoy this one. Okay, i kid, but you get my drift. And because my oven is extremely unreliable, i need to ensure that i have 1 hour of my life to spare sitting in front of the oven and regulating the oven temperature. I guess making this is best suited to when i have time on my hands or when i'm already working in the kitchen handling other stuff.

My poached egg! Granted, i didn't loop off the extra wispy egg ends because i couldn't bear to waste it. But I ACTUALLY POACHED AN EGG! With the whites surrounding the yolk all pretty like that.

Yolky goop. Narm. Best on top of an english muffin with smoked salmon.

My absolute fail rose macaron. It might look like something familiar, but trust me. Although this one was the prettiest of the lot, it doesn't meet "macaron standards". The others were flat, cracked, stuck, feetless and just downright ugly that it was both funny and heart wrenching at the same time.

Verdict: It tasted nice. Well, sort of. It had that rosy flavour i love, thin, crisp layer on top and chewy insides. But most of it was stuck to my wax paper anyway. This lucky one was atop my new Silpat baking mat (love!).


Now that i've purchased an oven thermometer (following Alton Brown's advice, though i bought the one he dislikes since i didn't have any other choice), I now realize how redonk my oven is. It explains quite a lot now!

Friday, November 19, 2010

There's something i'm definitely missing out on right? What is the world keeping from me?!?!

Why do Singaporean girls have such smooth, even skin while my skin is lumpy, pimply and uneven and discoloured like the MOON?!?!?! It's not fair! ROAR!

Please tell me what the secret is, puh plleeaaasssee????

Thursday, November 11, 2010

This is a picture of my little furry angel, Jed. You don't see much of him here because he's so black, just maybe the outline of his black pointy ears. It amazes me how perceptive he can be. To most people, he's just a yappy, crazy inconsiderate dog, but to me, he's my precious 4-legged family who can be extremely human sometimes.

There's a story behind this photo of course. I had apparently eaten something wrong at lunch time on monday and got food poisoning. So i spent pretty much the whole of monday and tuesday in bed.

And true to being man's best friend, he kept me company. He would hop onto my bed every chance he got when he found me lying there, find a nice tight corner beside me and cuddle right in. All day while i was in bed and all night, for the 2 whole days/nights. On other nights, he might wander from room to room, but this time he was constantly by my side.

Somehow, he could sense that i needed some extra love, some extra comfort and quiet company. And his loyal K9 heart didn't fail to deliver.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Grumpy at having to wake up early, grumpy that i was running late because i woke up late and had to ensure that the dog was fed, leaving the house later than i should have, knowing that I was going to be inevitably late for the first day at a workshop at the office, meant that I was not in the best of moods.

So happened that i had also chosen to try a new bus route to work in hope that it would be shorter than my usual 1 hour 15 min route.

As the bus pulled into the road with my designated bus stop, as i was unsure of the route, i hesitated and didn't press the "Stop" button. And i was like, "ARGH! Now i have to spend more time figuring out how to get back! Am i going to be late!". I stared out the window in utter despair watching my bus stop pass right on by...

But wait! HANG ON!

For some unfathomable reason and without warning, the bus was already halfway past the stop when the bus driver suddenly swung the bus into the bus bay and stopped with a considerable jerk. Good thing it wasn't crowded or you'd have a bunch of rather disgruntled passengers.

I figured the driver thought that someone at the bus stop wanted to board. But not a soul did.

This took me by surprise, but at that moment it occurred to me that i should be getting off. So i sheepishly pressed the button to let the driver open the back door for me to alight and i hopped off as silently as i could.

The strange thing was, i thought i saw a caucasian lady at the stop who looked like she wanted to board the bus, But when i got off, she was nowhere to be seen.

I messaged Gem to tell him what happened and he said, "haha, maybe the bus driver was possessed by the Holy Spirit and stopped the bus...". You know, i might jolly well agree.

I saw God's grace that morning... and then remembered how it started. Remember miss grumpalofogus earlier that morning? Well, i did leave my home grumpy, but when i was waiting for the bus, i just started to thank the Lord for the beautiful morning, my able body (you know, to run across, uh, i mean jaywalk), and for just every thing that i had in my life. I also started to sing, in my head, a praise song that we've been playing in church recently. I'm glad i chose to change the way i started my day. From a heart of unrest, to a heart of praise and thanksgiving.

It's these funny little instances that God tells me that he knows his daughter needs a hand, and extends it down to her. I love it that He shows me He cares in my everyday living. :) God shows up beyond just church, for sure. It also goes to show and remind me again that God is in control all the time, and that He can always turn a bad situation around for good, and when i share about it, it's for His Glory.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

It's no fun being stuck: I can't write my literature review because i haven't read enough, and I can't read enough because i keep fallin' asleep while readin'! It's so annoying! Despite my nerdy-nose-always-in-a-book kind of face, sorry, me and Books ended our relationship since junior college and university. Academic reading killed the reading star.

I did love reading, i did. Past tense.

So, if you've ever let me borrow a book of yours out of sheer goodwill to share knowledge, I'm sorry you haven't seen it in a while...

I ought to start a self project, to pick up a book and begin enjoying a good story, for a start.

On a completely different note, and for the sake of having pictures in this post, here are two REALLY PRETTY DRESSES! Plucked them off Inspiration for a wedding dress. :)

Love the blend of cool, calm, flowy colours, like water and the sunset sky coming together into one canvas. And the overall structure of the dress. Too bad I lack long legs. Meh.
Love the print, colours and structure.
(Photos courtesy of, from the Monique Lhuillier Spring/Summer Collection 2011)

Monday, October 18, 2010

I'm (already) dreaming of a white Christmas...

And all the food I want to cook.

In actuality, i've not exactly perfected any one dish yet. It's just that i've experimented and tried out different recipes... but it doesn't mean that what i want to cook again will turn out the same way.

The only dishes that i know reasonably well that will turn out well (but not always the same way) is my potato gratin and carrot cake and butter cake. Stuff to put onto bread is also relatively safe. (Eg. prawn and avocado or the egg, red pepper and basil filling). I think my button mushroom burgers are pretty good too. :)


Christmas is coming. And i CANNOT wait!

This is Jed licking his lips. Just like the way i am now too.



My mum was real sweet, she came home after work a few days ago and put this magazine on the kitchen table saying, "Nah, i got this for you."

It was a copy of what looked like a new women's magazine called "beautymap". Mummy knows daughter loves make up and beauty products. :D

And so i spent a short while on sunday morning relishing the articles inside and came across a short tutorial on how to put on eye liner. And i can say that FINALLY, FINALLY a women's magazine has SUCCESFULLY taught me how to put on eyeliner the way i like it without confusing me to the point of just giving up.

I'm so happy with my discovery that i foresee myself wearing thicker eye liner now. Hohoho.

I really enjoyed that really rare just-me-alone-time, sitting in the living room with the morning sun coming in and fiddling about with make-up, making a mess of myself and laughing at how ridiculous i look or going ah so des at how i've discovered how to do something new.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I didn't think too much about this recipe by Pioneer Woman because i'm not a corn person. But then when i realized that i had pretty much all the main ingredients in my fridge waiting to be used up (they were leftovers from previous cooking endeavours), i thought: How PERFECT! Onions, bacons, corn, cream, broth/stock... Can't go too wrong.

So i made the corn chowder. OH. It is DELICIOUS. HOHOHO!!! I modified it of course cos i didn't have all the ingredients she stated and i also was simply just using up leftovers. It definitely doesn't look like much though. HA.

I learnt that putting parsley on top of soup ISN'T just about putting it on top!!!!!!!
The soup has to be firm/thick enough to hold the parley leaves. You have to choose the right leaves that look good to balance out the look. Enough leaf, enough stem. The soup can't be too hot, or else the edges of the leaves get cooked/soggy/etc. I'm not sure why the parsley leaves that i have had in restaurants look dry-ish, but freshly rinsed leaves that look healthy and green tend to be heavy...
As you can tell, my parsley deco is a fail. HAHA. I just thought some green would be nice for photography, even though they just look like flat 2D, green patches. HAHA.


I love you girls. Though we definitely don't see one another frequently, i thank God for the regular meets... As rightly pointed out by Germ, i quote: "It's like when we can say, 'Didn't i tell you this the other day?', when the 'other day' could have been about 6 months ago or 1 year."

My JC mates rank high on my list of important people in my life... I can still see snapshots or even little movies (though soundless) of the times we had walking around school and doing mundane or funny things. They walked closely with me back in the day, and i always get nostalgic remembering the times we spent together.

I remember as clear as day. When we were saying our partial goodbyes nearing the end of our JC journey, Betty came by with polaroid photos stuck to a small card and asked me to sign on it. So i did. And then i blew the whole thing up and stuck it on my room wall. It's been there for like 8 years now. I never regretted being that sentimental mush. :)

Sunday, October 03, 2010

The wedding and wedding dinner performance is over... My battery is low, but not flat yet.

Got a couple of thoughts here and there:

1) Self written vows (i think they were) are so beautiful, personalized, genuinely spoken from the heart and soul. I teared hearing the groom and bride say them to each other. Somehow, i was really touched at this wedding, more so than the others i have been to recently. The couple are such sweet people as individuals, and when they are together... Wow, amazing work of art by God. Made in Heaven!

2) Practiced so hard, but things didn't quite turn out as anticipated. But the piece of advice from a friend that kept me from being overly disappointed was: "It's all about the couple's happiness. It has nothing to do with us." That completely took the attention away from our inadequacies and mistakes and i felt instantly depressurized because i know that the couple was already so happy that we could be there and had put in the effort for them. As long as they are happy, whatever buangs we made, don't matter.

3) Dang, i have leveled up. I now know the difference between and Major7 and a 7. IT TOOK ME SO DARN LONG. I WANT TO LAUGH AT MYSELF! WAHAHAH! Self deprecatory joke aside, wow. I can now play a couple of jazz pieces. Not superbly well, but something decent to build upon.

4) I realized that God has given me so many gifts, which was something that someone pointed out to me recently. At first, i brushed the comment aside. After all, who would think that they were brimming with any talent? But upon honest reflection, i realize that, hey, God really did put in me a few tricks up my sleeve... And i'm really blessed for it. Now how to bless others with them?

5) Met TWO (very long lost) people very unexpectedly! Miss RC and ES. Wow. Thank God for the opportunity. It was naiiccce. :D

Battery going flat in about 3, 2, 1.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

See a cute daschund ("sausage dog") somewhere? :)
This was how the top of my butter cake looked like, having cracked open on the top after being baked. Gem spotted it. The artist he is. :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Haven't been out recently to explore new things and places, hence the lack of pictures and udpates. Been pretty much preparing for things and events at home and trying to save moolah as well.

But i would love to go look for a nice dress for the wedding dinner performance (most of my blogshop dresses just don't cut it, the lengths are too short. haha, realized that sounded funny. don't cut it. too short. ok, never mind).

Looking forward to the event that has been challenging me to play music out of my usual genre! Hope to have loads of pictures. Hm.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Another wedding, another "gig". haha. Did i mention that i really LOVE playing at weddings? Yeah, i did. I think my repertoire of songs will increase with more episodes like this. So shiok. This time round, i'm having a chance to try my hand at jazz. I like jazz. I hear jazz riffs in my head, but i can't seem to produce what i hear in my head on the keys all that well. Ah well.

Been practising and praying that Father God will let the brain and fingers work together quickly and efficiently.

There's just something about being one with your instrument and playing for a cause. For love, for pleasure, in unison with friends.

I'm not a darn good keyboardist, but I'd LOVE to play at more friends' weddings! hurhurhurhur.

Random bits...

I think the KFC egg tarts ROCK.

After making and eating too much good stuff recently, the weighing scale has told me something i really don't like. Bah. Need to get back to exercising regularly.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

A simple, outdoor ceremony would be lovely.
With my family, his family... All intact.
White, flowing, light and simple chiffon dress. Maybe i'll be barefoot too.
With a crown of dried flowers tucked into my long hair.

I can dream, right?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

As i mentioned yesterday, i made scones at close to midnight yesterday because my craving was just too strong... My inspiration was of course - Pioneer Woman, who cooks stuff that REALLY appeal to my tastebuds. Maybe i belong on her ranch and should work as a ranch hand just to eat her creations. I'll even volunteer to wash the dishes, which she hates to do. Anyway.

Here's how Pioneer Woman's scones look like (with the delectable vanilla sauce being poured over...):

(Courtesy of The Pioneer Woman, her website's link can be found on the right)













And here is mine.

I was laughing half the time i was making these! Firstly, i didn't follow the recipe's ingredient list (i used light cream instead of heavy cream. and i had wondered what went wrong. sheesh.) and since it's my first time trying this, my hands were clueless as to how to lightly and lovingly handle the dough. I more like manhandled it.

And here you have it. Sco-ca-kie! Which is, a cross between a scone (it tasted like one, a delicious one, mind you), and the consistency was like a cake and a cookie (doesn't it look like a giant cookie?)

Looking at the cross section though, i can't decide what it looks more like. A scone? Cake? Muffin? Bread?

When handling the dough to cut into rectangles, it was pretty impossible because it was gloopy and sloppy and resembled puppy rice-patty-vomit (ok, a puppy i used to have that ate rice). So i gave up and simply dropped dollops of dough onto the baking tray. Hence the cookie shapes. But hey! It tastes good! Though my mom says that 5 teaspoons of bicorbonate soda (as per the recipe) is crazy and it burned her tongue. I don't feel the burn though? *shrug*

Haha, i'm wondering who would want to try it this evening at church... Hoho.

Friday, September 03, 2010

some recent yums and places

Gem and i went to try the food at Amirah's Grill at Bussorah Street, on the recommendation of J. :) Thanks J! :D

This was the mushroom soup that came with Gem's set meal. It was a pleasant surprise that the soup wasn't your usual campbell mushroom cream soup. It tasted like there was effort put into it (spices, flavour) and there was chunky mushrooms in it. Not a ton, but enough to please. :)
The garlic toast and wrap.

Gem's mixed kebab. Very tasty, each kebab had a distinct different flavour. Yum. Chicken, lamb and beef. The potatoes were just as tasty!
and THIS... my friends, made my heart SING. The HUMMUS. I'm so going to find out HOW to make it. I think i have an inkling of how to make the yellow one, but not the darker colour one. Hm. But oh boy. My eyes widened and tastebuds went WOOHOO when i tasted both of them. Ultimate delicious.

Jie wanted to bake something and i think the words "Alton Brown", "carrot cake", "Cheryl", and "cake" has been floating around enough to provide a subliminal message to her to look for a carrot cake recipe. Ok, it wasn't that subliminal.
Jie: I think i shall make carrot cake.
Jo: I also think that you should make the carrot cake.
And made it she DID. They were DELICIOUS!

So, these were carrot cake cupcakes to give to the neighbour! I slotted that sheet of paper in between the two rows to indicate which cupcake had which particular frosting. You can see that the lemon frosting looks firmer and has a more defined shape than the frosting made with maple syrup. But both taste heavenly. But you must love your sweet food in order to enjoy this!

I gobbled one down myself after the phototaking. How could i not... Yummy.

This was the beef stew (chocolate beef stew) that i made for my sister. I made it once some time ago, and she liked it. I didn't make a lot so she didn't get her fill of it. So recently she requested for me to make it, and HOW could i possibly refuse? :) I like to feed people (just like me mom, but perhaps not yet as skillful) and she's my sister so i'd gladly do it. Besides, it's awesome to know that someone enjoys your cooking. :DD

Raspberry and chocolate sauce cheesecake at Max Brenner. Shared it with JL. :)

Ok, this was before the syrup was poured all over the cake.

Gem and i were walking to Chinatown under the hot sun and saw this really nice wisp of cloud above.
Couldn't capture the whole long wisp, but yeah. :)

Love the rainbow colours! That paler section of colour you see on the building has nothing to do with paint... It was actually the reflection of light from an opposite building's metal(?) exterior.

Pretty rainbow colour, i love.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Have got loads of (food) photos to show you guys... Have just been quite lazy these days. Ack! Hoping to get em up soon. The blog's too quiet!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Yum. Made a really delicious pasta.


1) Ordinary, boring, smoring, plain campbell mushroom soup (also add 1 can of = milk and water)
2) Garlic and onion (roughly chopped)
3) Leftover salsa (tomato, jap cucumber, chilli padi, onion, black pepper, salt, lime/lemon juice)
4) Basil leaves (from my OWN PLANT!)
5) Bacon
6) Pinch of mixed herbs
7) Linguine

1) Fry garlic and onions in olive oil till soft and brown
2) Add in can soup, plus the additional 1 can combination of milk and water
3) Stir till it smoothens out
4) Add in salsa and bacon
5) Throw in chopped basil
Keep stirring...

Meanwhile... Towards the end of the sauce-making...
1) Boil up your linguine till it is still a bit hard, just before hitting al dente (or you can have it al dente if you want a softer pasta at the end)

When sauce is done, just throw in the freshly cooked pasta.

Well, that's what i did. I realized tossing the freshly cooked pasta into another pot of hot sauce might cook it further and then make it softer than i would like. Which was a mistake. But good thing it was done slightly before al dente, so my pasta still had bite, which i like. Alternatively, maybe you could fish out the pasta first, let it cool before dumping it in with the sauce.

The result was delicious! And it didn't even taste like i used the boring old campbell soup. Yay!

It could have been better with some fresh prawns thrown in.
Was going through my old chemistry, mathematics and biology exercises (oh, the blood, sweat and tears...) from JC because i decided that i really needed to empty out the clutter for a new season in my life.

While flipping through the stacks of files with fullscape paper filled with my writing of solving sums, finding measurements of chemicals, etc, i found that i didn't quite understand or remember any of the stuff from math and chem anymore. (Bio was my pet subject though)

Goes to show how essential those things learnt at the A Levels really are to real life huh. I can only hope that the abstract/logical/creative/etc thinking that was suppose to develop as a result of all that torture actually happened. Otherwise, what in the world was all that FOR?! HAHAHA.
A couple of days ago, i was discussing adding a new bookshelf to my room with my mom. You know, to house my growing book collection on my profession and hobbies.

Then she said, "Aiya, you'll be married out and gone already..."

That struck a raw nerve in me that i never knew existed till that moment.
And now, it bothers me.
Going to BonitoChico's Birthday Bash tomorrow! I have no idea what to expect... And i don't know what to wear! It's at a club (Zirca), and i, er, have been to clubs as often as i've been to the North Pole. I imagine the place is going to be filled to the brim with lots of young, nubile, pretty, heavily made up girls. haha.

If it wasn't for Y, i'd be feeling pretty lost. and probably very old. haha.

Time to whip out a dress i've bought but never had the chance to wear... and definitely not something from BC.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Was reading some of my old posts. I think i'm pretty funny. hurhur.
In fact, i think i'm funnier online than in real life. Dangwabbit.

thought for the day

God made so many kinds of people and is always moulding all sorts of people to be who they were meant to be... Like, people...

who have keen business sense... to make money and give it away (hopefully)
who go through pain and hurt (or otherwise) to bring healing to the hurting
who are artistic, bringing another dimension of beauty that touches the hearts and souls of the beholders
who love probing into the realm of science, only to discover that there must be a higher brain behind all of it
who are annoying (at times or all the time)... to build patience and Godly love in the rest of us (haha, maybe this isn't biblical)

who do you think God made you to be? :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

4 Years and 11th month-sary present...

It was an ordinary monday morning at the lappie at the corner of my room when i felt my foot kick something as i shrivelled around on the rotating chair. I thought, there isn't usually something there...
I looked down and spotted THIS!
A Foreign Body! An Unknown Item in my Inventory! An Object without an Owner!
Whose is this?!

Starts to clue in on who was behind this...

Oh, it was definitely magic alright. I was STOKED!
And I slowly pulled this pretty-in-baby-pink, smooth finished, velvety to the touch, object of hyperventilation out from the brown package...

No, but seriously.
Yes, i was thrilled. Check. Happy that i got a new cookbook. Check. But what made me glow inside was the joy of seeing/experiencing a bit of my best friend on a seemingly same-same and ordinary monday (2 days ago). It's as if he was hiding in my clothes wardrobe the whole time over the weekend waiting for me to open the door to spring out and give me a big ole hug.
Except that he isn't actually there.
Surprises like these always remind me of the times when we first started going out doing the whole courting thing and also, well, doing the whole honeymoon thing after getting together. (I'm proud to say that our honeymoon period lasted quite a long time. :) At least from my point of view.)
It's almost 5 years on and he still speaks my love language(s).
He knows i love being surprised like this. He knows i like being given things. And he knows i love macarons. And cooking. And baking.
Tell me just how thoughtful is he?!
And I'm humbly reminded again of the many reasons why i fell in love with him in the first place, and that he sure is a keeper.
I've been wanting to clear my cupboard to free up space for new things to come. New books as references as i begin my profession in the counselling field, new cooking and baking books, etc. My room is fast running out of surfaces for all the new. But how about the old stuff? I remember an old post i wrote in 2007. Dang, i half wish i hadn't remembered...

(old post back in 2007, 2nd April)

"Old Papers"

Taking a break from staring at my lappie screen, i took a nice long stretch against the back rest of my study chair.

And i glanced up at my 3 shelved cupboard that still houses all the school work done in my past academic years, mostly from my junior college days, save for one biology file from my secondary 4 syllabus. Coloured files in yellow, black, blue and red, grey, papers chucked in between them in some order of subjects, thick textbooks that were seldom referred to but were there to give a sense of reassurance that information was within easy reach.

All of them speak silently and daily, reminding me (only when i take the time to look at them) of all the toil, tears (<-- seriously) and frustrations of the old, the failures and triumphs. And i realize that i may very well bring all of them with me till... We'll never really know.
Perhaps for as long as i can keep them. It's too difficult to throw them all away, for sentimental reasons.

Though I can't make sense out of whatever i read in them anymore (esp. chemistry) but somehow, these chunks and stacks of papers with my own handwriting scrawled all over in attempts to solve sums and problems, to write logical essays without smoking through them, every dot and scribble - they were a part of my thoughts, and of me, back then.

Mundane as they look sitting high up there above my head as i type my essays to be handed in to tutors from university, these representatives are from one of the hardest periods in my life, emotionally and mentally, will always bring back the nostalgia no matter where i am in life. With each passing year, i grow more attached to these physical "relics", serving as triggers and cues for me to be able to recollect the memories of those days past.

Why is it that i refuse to let go of the memories of hard times and the things that transport me back to it? Is that a seeming rule that applies to people in general, i wonder.

I guess hard times were when you saw yourself put to the test, to see what you were made of, to show yourself and unknowingly others as well, who you were when situations become pressing and hard to bear. It's during those times when you see yourself stumble through weaknesses, grappling for help or just sticking it through, even growing and discovering new strengths and revelations. You get to see who among you are the people you can or cannot depend on, and sometimes our search leads us to become jaded, indifferent or even more hopeful.

Quite obviously, tough times are never a walk in the park and when we eventually emerge from the shadows, we step out with battle wounds that leave a deep impression, and scars to remind us of the tale, to either tell of or hide it. We come out of it knowing that something profound happened inside of us.

Which is probably why we never, or find it hard to forget tough times. They're somewhat useful bittersweet tools, becoming fuel for anger that continues to burn inside, times we laugh or grimace over on hindsight, the experiences that we look back upon to see how far we've come in our personal growth, the basis from where we glean some of our most intimate lessons from.

How to clear my cupboard like this?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Poll and Thought for the Moment:

Do you think a guy should ask his potential in-laws for their daughter's hand in marriage before actually making the proposal, or should that practice become obsolete?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

i need to get this out of my system before my cortisol levels boil me up alive.

i was reversing into a parallel parking lot when the owners of the nice red toyota celica that was in front of me actually came and wanted to drive off. So common sense tells me to pause in my tracks in the middle of parking so that i don't hit the celica that was reversing backwards before driving off.

because the road was a narrow one, i was in the way of the driver behind me. due to the above situation, i couldn't budge for a few moments, BUT THIS EINSTEIN of a driver behind me started to horn.

and horn.
and hoooornnn...
and horn, horn, horn, horn, horn, horn, horn.

i tell you, i was so pissed off.

instead of horning the whole neighbourhood awake (it was night time in a dense housing estate), why don't you perhaps stop for a moment and LOOK FURTHER AHEAD TO SEE WHY I AM PAUSING?

sheesh. i passed my driving test you know. and i have a certain level of intellect that i wish you would at least respect.

didn't you learn that you should look at least 100m ahead of you? have you ever thought that perhaps there is a REASON for some things to happen?


Rant over.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I can't believe i had to do this, but i had to cancel brunch with a friend recently just because of this IBS nonsense.

My gut has been protesting recently and it's making me increasing frustrated. At the simplest foods, i get bloated disproportionately to the amount of food that i eat and yesterday and today, i even experienced pain. I used to get backaches and pain before when it used to be worse. I got better in the last few years, but now the pain has returned.

Things started to go downhill after eating a bowl of fish slice ban mian a few weeks ago. I got pretty bloated after that and it pretty much messed up my whole rhythm for the days to come.

Another ironic observation is, is that i'm still having these problems despite my efforts to eat healthier recently. As you would already know, I've always tried to eat balanced meals (carbo, fibre and protein in a meal). Recently, I have added more greens to my diet.

I wonder. Has the increased greens actually aggravated the condition? After all, more fibre = more gas. If this is true with respect to what's happening for me right now, then boy howdy, this really sucks because i've been eating more greens in hope to have better movement in the system and also to get the nutrients from vegetables that nutritionists and doctors always talk about!


Gem has kindly and very sweetly borrowed some books for me on digestion and the gut last week (ever since my complaints escalated) and i guess i need to take some of the suggestions in there seriously. Anyway, just wanted to take the chance to say thanks dear, you're awesome. :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

recalling some recent cooking exploits

Jie made these rockin' cinnamon and brown sugar coated grilled pineapples. Sprinkle with mint leaves and lime juice if desired. To enjoy, you gotta love your sweets.
My tuna, button mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, onions, garlic, and feta cheese (had chopped basil, thyme, rosemary and parsley) pasta salad.
Ingredients for one of Pioneer Woman's recipes... Tweaked a little though.
Just to help me remember that i buanged in fresh chopped basil.
And some lemon juice.
End result.
With mozzarella cheese and smoked cheddar cheese on top, with coarse black pepper.
Another pasta salad for one of our dinners.