Friday, October 30, 2009

You had me at Chocolate

This is a keeper. I don't know about you, but theres days where I'm just thinking about rich, moist, soft delectable chocolate cakes- maybe because I wasn't contented with my hard rock ones, but boy am I glad I finally found this recipe.

Ladies, this is one for PMS. Really. Yeah. Its that day when u need something sweet, something oozing with flavour and can gobble down within seconds.

Don't compare this to sponges- its just as simple as a rich and soft chocolate cake. Imagine it served with cream, ice cream even..or a hot coffee.

I just had two slices...but I know you wouldn't hold that against me.

French Chocolate Cake

adapted from here.

1/4 cup brown sugar
300g dark chocolate couverture, chopped
125g unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
5 egg yolks
5 egg whites
1/4 cup plain flour
pinch of baking soda
1 Tsp instant coffee

To dust: Brown Sugar, Cocoa, Butter

1. Brush 20cm cake pan with softened butter and dust with sugar.
2. Preheat oven to 160 Celcius.
3. Melt sugar, chocolate, butter and instant coffee over double boiler. Making sure its smooth.
4. Take off heat, add vanilla essence.
5. Beat in egg yolks one at a time until even.
6. Add in plain flour and baking soda.
7. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff and fluffy.
8. Carefully mix egg whites with chocolate mixture and place in tin.
9. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.
10. Dust with cocoa powder.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

OZ OZ OZ! Oi Oi Oi!

While my bestie Di was throwing a birthday bash for her baby's first birthday, I, a few continents away was trying to savour anything Australian by making sausage rolls.


a) Rumour has it Di makes some nasty sausage rolls and the original recipe is from her. ( I think you should all hunt her down for the recipe cos it really is nasty!)

b) I link sausage rolls to Australia and getting them from my school canteen.

c) I'm sad and think that if I made sausage rolls on the same day, I'm part of the celebration. -Its just the way my mind works.

d) H never, never-ever had sausage rolls and I wanted to Ausie-nize him.

e) Another bestie a few countries away made it the weekend before and told me it was gooooood!

f) I was just hungry.

Happy birthday Mia! Your crazy Aunty Liya was celebrating with you- somewhat.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My strange [un] co-ordinated life

I think my life is adorned with bloopers. Serious. ..And I think I better write about H. Cos after that post, someone had insecurities and I thought I should be fair. [But hey, its like 1001 blog entries about H and one measely post about Lee Hom but who's really counting? H. Probably.] hehe.

So while I was waiting for his cake to set, I made him a card. A quick one 'cos you know my current situation with houses and all- lets not go there.

If you're wondering why are my embossed letters dotted and all..let me tell you this- My heating tool, brand new-never been used heating tool, died on me.

I thought I'd have it easy, after using hairdryers and toasters to melt embossing powders for the last few years, I finally bought my heating tool and it died on me. What are the chances of that? As in I took it out of the plastic cover, turned it on, saw it fume and die! I thought I was gonna set myself on fire!! I thought

And the worst part? I don't know where's the receipt..I dont even know if I can have refunds. And if I refund, I need to bring it to Singapore. Grrr. So much for buying new spiffy tools.

So I resorted back to my boring old toaster, which incidentally decided to gobble my letters and make my letters more dotty. I'll just tell H its the rusty metal look or something.

On a better note..we celebrated here for the weekend..

It's also where we got married. *smiles.
And coz we're special [no, not really], the hotel was nice enough to set this up for us:)


Guess that's nature's way of sorting and balancing out my life.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chilled Lemon Cheesecake

So my Lemon Cheesecake doesn't look very lemony. But I was really trying to spruce it up for H's birthday. Everytime I ask H what cake would he like, I just about get the same old 'Chilled Lemon Cheesecake' answer. Makes it easy for me though, this is a no bake cake! Super easy and just needs a few hours in the fridge.

So I planned H's cake way before, and knew I wanted to garnish it with chocolate, strawberries and lychees. I thought the salty cheese, sourish notes from strawberries and lemons combined with tropical lashings of lychees dolloped with sweet-bitter chocolate would combine really well- that, or a potential stomach disaster. But I chose to believe in the first option- and went for it. 

Chilled Lemon Cheesecake [minus the garnishings]

110g Digestive Biscuits
50g Butter

1. Crush biscuits in a zip lock bag or food processort until fine.
2. Melt butter in microwave/ in a pan.
3. Combine melted butter and biscuits together and compress in a 8" cheesecake tin. Refrigerate for atleast 15 mins.

Lemon Filling
350g (1 1/2 blocks) Softened Creamed Cheese (Preferably Philadelphia brand as it holds better.)
75g Castor Sugar
Zest of 1 Lemon (Try getting lemons from Australia/USA -Western Countries, as Asian lemons tend to have a really bitter taste to them)
Juice of 1 large Lemon
250g Cream (Preferably Anchor brand)
1 tsp Gelatin Powder
2 Tsp Hot Water

1. Beat cream cheese, castor sugar, zest of lemon and lemon juice together until soft and creamy.
2. Mix gelatin powder and hot water together until fully dissolved. Add into cream cheese mixture.
3. In a separate bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold into cheese mixture until even.
4. Place filling onto base and let it set for atleast 2-3 hours. Preferably overnight.

Monday, October 26, 2009

He's the man

I should of gone to Singapore this previous weekend. For one sole reason.

This man. This man that I still go weak in the knees for and most probably faint if I ever meet him. I guess he's the only man [besides H ofcourse] that makes my heart pump faster and my hormones rage. Ok, you shouldn't know that. But he's really freaking talented- and good looking ofcourse!

I've got a thing for talented guys. - I'm still trying to get H to play the piano. In hopes he'll be like Lee Hom. [Girls can have dreams?!]

And it's all my friend Serene's fault. [A big wave to Serene!!] She's so lucky [and I'm immensely jealous], her work place had free tickets to the official opening of Ion Orchard, which featured Lee Hom. She got to meet him, and sent me these photos. LUCKY! She's yet to update me on how everything is. Or maybe she's still recuperating from meeting him. lol.

Meanwhile, I'll just dwell on the fact that I stepped on the floors he's stepping on- or so I hope, and the fact that I just rambled on about some superstar like I was a hormone imbalanced teenager.

I swear I'm otherwise normal. Really.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Home @ House

House, oh House, when you will be ready? When can I complete all the tiling and paintwork?

When can I have a proper courtyard I can laze in?

When can I get polished floors and use you as my study?

When can I sleep in this bedroom? When can all the mess subside and furniture be moved in?

House is quite bare. Essentially- just a envelope with walls yet to be fully painted and raw timber floors. I want my home.

Friends have been asking how our house is coming along, and I always sum it up in one word- Slow. Hence I haven't been taking much photos because there isn't much to see.

Get a move on House! ..Puhlease?! 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chocolate Cupcakes (Hard Rock Version)

* No, not Hard Rock as in the Hard Rock...but as in hard as a rock. ..ok nevermind, just read on..

How do you like your chocolate cupcakes?
Dusted with icing?
Dipped in chocolate?

Topped with ganache?

I like mine warm, with chocolate ganache dabbled on top. Which literally means the ganache kinda melts sometimes. But I like it that way. It's like eating cakes with oozing centers.

I felt compelled one Saturday afternoon to bake with chocolate. I felt adventurous. My pattiserie dream was heading out again. Mind you, when I have pattiserie dreams, I normally end up with somewhat failed attempts.

So I dabbled a little and came up with a chocolate cupcake recipe. I wanted it to be real chocolatey. As in cho-co-late-y! I mixed, I baked, I decorated, I ate. Chocolate. Yummm.

Correction, I ate some unbaked dough in between. I admit. I like dough. Or, you could just pretend I'm trying to show you the texture of unbaked dough. Moving on..

I then put the remaining cupcakes in the refridgerator and thats when things started to go wrong. Do people put cupcakes in fridges?? came out rock hard. Hard rock. Hard as rock. Nearly a cookie. -It tasted fine warm, but not afterwards. Hmm...

So if you'd like my Hard Rock but super chocolatey cupcake recipe, read on..

Hard Rock Chocolate Cupcakes.

On that note, did you know the name cupcakes originated from measurements done in cups and hence the name? Well, I didn't, I always thought it was named after their size. Durh.

1 cup chocolate couverture- dont be obessesed with getting this to the dot.
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup fine sugar
1 2/3 cup plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 packet of instant coffee-cappuccino flavour mixed with half a cup of hot water
2 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 170C.

2. Melt chocolate over double boiler or in the oven. Let it cool. Add in the diluted instant coffee.

3. Beat sugar and butter until creamy.

4. Slowly add in flour, baking powder and salt. Then, add eggs and chocolate mixture.

5. Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked.

Cool before decorating. And eat like no one's watching.

The Ion Rave: The ongoing hunt along Orchard

My first visit to Ion was ..well, bleh. It most probably took me 20 minutes and I finished [what I thought] was the whole she-bang. I went through about three floors of Ion before I told H I wanted to get out of there. It was just filled with branded outlets- it made me feel poor. I thought it was just a tiny shopping center filled with luxurious shops.


I started reading magazines, seeing advertisements and somehow everything was in Ion. Why didn't I see them?

So during this trip Singapore, I hunted. I'm sure my last trip didn't do it any justice. Afterall, why was everyone raving about it?

Little did I know, hidden in the basements were lots of quaint outlets and quirky shops. How could I miss the basement? All the food- yes, that kind of posseses my world, all the imported stuff they had from Japan, all the funky eats and treats.

Insight: At around 9am-ish, pretty much nothing is open along Orchard. There isnt much of a crowd either. Honestly, I had been hunting down 2 eateries which I read great reviews about but were dully disappointed when none of them were open. Hence we made our way to Ion just to fill our hunger pangs.

Now we're talking. Yeah baby!

Ion basement (B4) was filled with choices- but we weren't quite adventurous anymore [after the morning detours] and settled for simple egg and bread at Tea Loft.

The decor reminded me of a Colonial Tea Parlour filled with cakes and delights.

*Kindly excuse H rummaging through his bag. Thank you.

...And I love these chairs. Something about the rivets. Nice.

While- coffee, egg and bread somehow reminds me of my late grandpa.

Lunch was at Canton-i. A mix of Chinese influenced foods.

Aint the decor pur-reee-tty? ...Complete with dainty china.

Did you see all the little boys on the plate? Ancient Chinese boys had no hair. And if they did, it was styled like spring onion- According to the plate.

You can't forget the teapot either- also with bald spring onion boys.
Roast pork & Duck- Kur-reeee-s-peee!! Yums!

Custard buns

Xiao Loong bao- I should have a global mission to hunt these down. I never seem to miss them on any menu. Sucker for these- anytime, anywhere.

Shark Fin Dumpling Soup

We also ventured to Three Sixty- a Hong Kong gourmet franchise supermarket. Here we found these plump Japanese grapes. Curiousity got the better of us [all H's fault I'd say] and we bought these super expensive grapes that tasted like wine and were crunchy on the outside. Note the price tag?!!

Tea Loft- B4, Ion Orchard.
Canton-i- I forgot which level. 3?4? Sorry. Ion Orchard.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Days [and nights] should be so.

I have to admit, ever since H and I splurged on our marital bed, every other bed is just seemingly -too hard, too soft, has poking wires and so fourth.

Then we'd complain about the pillows whenever we're travelling. On that note- why are hotel pillows always so darn sinking soft?

Every hotel should have pillow menus I reckon!

We're kinda spoilt that way. Brats! Annoying brats. Whingers!

I was pretty lucky this time. As part of the birthday-mini-getaway, H decided to book a fairly reputable hotel right along Orchard.

I have to admit, the bed was pretty good. [I still love my bed, but hey who's complaining on a holiday?!] The sheets were soft. But I guess the pillows were still a little too soft for my liking.

I liked how the adjustable lamp hung from the ceiling.
..How they had modern interpretations of Chinese decor...

...How they had small details to make the guest feel welcomed...

...And how there we're a-plenty of shower nozels to scrub myself clean.

Oh..and I had to tell you this...
Meritus Mandarin Hotel is also well known for their Hainanese Chicken Rice.
We arrived quite late from our flight and after settling in a bit, we got a tad hungry. The bonus was, Chatterbox was on the 28th floor and was open 24 hours during weekends. -Just right for our Hainanese Chicken Rice dinner.
How could you beat eating Hainanese Chicken Rice, drinking Chin Chou and looking into Singapore's cityscape way into the night?
Ok, so it wasn't the best place for photos, but hey, it was a great beginning to a mini-getaway.
333 Orchard Road
Singapore 238867
Tel: (65) 6737 4411