Orange Chiffon Cake with Orange Fresh Cream Frosting

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I have baked the Orange Chiffon Cake many times (even for bake sales) but definitely a first trying to frost and decorate one. I had a craving to bake and it so happened that my close group had a gathering cum birthday celebration. So I volunteered the cake.

Whilst thinking about which cake to bake, my mind was fixed on the orange chiffon cake as it was light (we were having a BBQ so I thought a light cake would be more suitable after the heavy weights of BBQ meats and stuff) and Chef Chris's recipe has never failed me!

Now the challenge here would be, decorating the cake suitable for birthday. I couldn't simply present the plain old cake as it was for a birthday celebration right? Then I recalled Chef Keiko did a Raspberry Chiffon with frosting before, so I quickly refered to the photo taken during class previously and decided to try the frosting with fingers crossed. Sidetrack, the raspberry chiffon would be even prettier as a birthday cake but I didn't have time to go to a bigger supermarket for frozen raspberry.


Anyways, the frosting is basically just whipping cream, a little sugar and some orange puree as well as zest. (Couldn't share the cake nor frosting recipe here due to copyrights stipulated by the cooking school and chef) The tough part was definitely spreading the frosting evenly onto the cake which wasn't very well done here. I saw some mini tangerines on sale at my local supermarket so grabbed them as deco, cute right? Though not very professionally decorated, I love how the frosting on the cake turned out, a tinge of orange with bits of zest and topped with a ring of cute tangerines =D
 
I was really glad that the cake turned out good, light and moist with wonderful aroma and taste of orange, and well complemented by the fresh cream frosting surprisingly. Even hubby gave thumbs up. I believe my friends enjoyed the cake too. I could probably attempt more of such cakes for future birthday celebrations since it was so well received? Well, we'll see how it goes :)

Banana Buttermilk Muffin

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Hubby bought a bunch of bananas the other day, hung them at the clothes peg near the ceiling and totally forgot about it (I wonder why he hung them there?). Until I was hanging clothes and saw them. By then, most of the bananas were over-riped. We ate whatever we could, and the rest, I decided to use them for baking.

Since I have made Banana Muffin before, decided to try Banana Buttermilk Muffin, also from The Little Teochew's blog :)

Key ingredients were almost the same, except less sugar and addition of buttermilk. Steps were also very simple, basically mix dry ingredients together, wet ingredients together, then everything together, easy peasy, no mixer, no mess. Instead of mashing the bananas, I added them as chunks.

I love this version of banana muffin! The addition of buttermilk made the muffin more moist and tender. It really tasted like Jemput Jemput Pisang aka 'Kueh Bomb' albeit a more healthy one.

In future when I have over-riped bananas, this is the recipe to go for! Check out the recipe at The Little Teochew's blog :)

Dear Son is ONE!

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My baby turns ONE today. I guess technically he's no longer a baby :)

What a year it has been, for both hubby and I, trying to deal with this thing called Parenthood and this little fellow who has very much become part of our life. Sometimes, we still couldn't believe that we are parents and he is our son. I just wonder because this sort of lifestyle is so not us. We chose to give up our DINK lifestyle; I became a SAHM; we travel so much lesser (comparatively much lesser than previous years and travelling with a baby is just different and tough); I bake so much lesser; we have less personal time and freedom; I sleep and wake early (amazing coz I used to sleep and wake late)... yes the rant goes on and on. Sometimes we just wish, we want to have our old life back.

Hmmm, so just what goes about this one whole year??? There is so much to tell and share but I don't know where to start. It's an experience that you've got to go through yourself to fully comprehend. I guess we are also not those type of parents who would record and remember every single milestone. We just roughly remember the months based on the photos taken. Heck, I didn't even make a photobook or print any photos (crossed my mind but didn't put it to fruition, my bad). Ok, but I did post his highlight photos periodically on my FB.
Well, now that he's into toddlerhood, I guess more mischief on the way, as he has already demonstrated on a daily basis. Patience and more patience for us. Sometimes, we don't know whether to laugh or cry. Nevertheless, for his first birthday, all I wish for is he will be healthy and happy always.

Ok, it's been a long day for us, with his birthday party and all. I'm really exhausted and I think my thoughts are getting incoherent. So here's sharing a monthly highlight of the year.

Happy birthday baby, and not forgetting, a pat on my back for surviving one year of parenthood and one year of total breastfeeding!














Homemade Chinese Roast Pork Belly

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Based on my previous posts here, here and here on roast pork, you would have known my household is obsessed in love with roast pork :p

So far, I buy my roast pork from Sheng Shiong Supermarket, which sells quite good roast pork. When I came across this recipe featured in the Jan 2011 issue of Simply Her, I knew I had to give it a go as it looks really simple with only 4 ingredients and 5 steps. And indeed, the preparation was fuss free and I was totally surprised that the pork belly turned out quite good. I mean, not as good as those sold outside but good enough as a homemade.

 I was really excited when I saw the finished product and couldn't stop raving to hubby about it. The meat was tender and succulent and skin quite crispy. One thing though, I didn't poke enough holes on the skin so some parts of the skin was a bit tough and not crispy enough.

Anyway, I think the beauty of homemade roast pork belly is, I could adjust the amount of salt used and choose the leanest cut of pork belly. The method is so quick and easy that I could make it every other day, then I could satisfy my craving anytime.

Chinese Roast Pork Belly
(serves 6-8)


Ingredients
  • 1kg baby pork belly
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp five-spice powder
Directions
  1. Rinse the pork belly* and pat dry with kitchen towels. Mix the salt, white pepper and five-spice powder.
  2. Place pork belly on a plate with the skin side facing downwards. Rub the top and sides of the pork belly with the salt mixture. Do not season the skin. Flip the pork belly over and chill it for at least 6 hours to dry the skin.
  3. Preheat oven to 220 deg c for 15 min. Place pork belly (with the skin side facing down) on a metal rack or tray lined with aluminium foil and bake for 40 min.
  4. Remove pork belly from the oven and prick skin all over with the tip of a knife or fork**.
  5. Return the pork to the oven with the skin facing up. Switch the oven to the grill mode and grill for 30 min until the skin turns golden and blisters. Watch to make sure the skin of the pork belly does not burn.
*Baby pork belly is best for roasting as it's more tender.If the butcher does not have it, ask for the thinnest slab of pork belly.
**To prick the skin more thoroughly and easily, use a pricking tool designed for making roast pork, available at Sia Huat at 7 Temple Street, Tel: 62231732.

2 no-bake cheesecakes - tofu yogurt & cream cheesecake, mango cheesecake

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For the just past Christmas/New Year gathering, besides making individual festive treats, I also made a tofu, yogurt and cream cheesecake that I learnt during the Jap Home Cooking demo class conducted by Chef Aki last July.

Due to copyright stipulated by Shermay's Cooking School and the chef, I couldn't share the recipe here. Basically, cream cheese, yogurt and tofu are used. It is no-bake so method is relatively simple. The texture is more like mousse than cake I would say. Taste-wise, very creamy and tangy. The cake was an instant hit with the kids, as most kids love yogurt. Babies above 9 months may eat it too so long as they have tried these ingredients as single foods before with no adverse reactions.


Another variation is a mango cheesecake by Mabel of baby @ thescafer.net.

 My cheesecake looked different from hers though :p
Texture was still mousse-like and tastewise, more creamy than the tofu cheesecake and complemented with bits of sweet mango. Check out her blog for the recipe :)

Festive Treats 2010

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For the annual Christmas/New Year gathering with my close friends this year, I was cracking my brain on what to gift? Finally decided to bake something for them, one of my favourite cake, Carrot & Walnut Cupcake with White Choc Cream Cheese Frosting.

The party was on Sunday, so sent dear son to his grandma's place on Sat so that I could bake in peace. I could never bake with him around. Oh, how I enjoyed myself, a good solid afternoon of baking and packing the goodies. Had to bake 2 batches, since our group had more than doubled from just 11, with the inclusion of the spouses.
The packaging was lovely, wasn't it :) I fell in love with the pale blue snowflake design from Martha Stewart the moment I saw it at Shermay's Cooking School.
The cupcake cases were lovely too. Alas, forgot that the carrot cake is dark in colour and very moist so the design couldn't be seen at all :(
Was quite pleased with how the presentation turned out, though it was actually quite tedious to assemble the packaging and pack the cupcakes. Also have to be careful in the storage and transport, but looking at them, it was totally worth it.
Couldn't resist eating the cupcake, hey I got to do taste test right? A perfect excuse to indulge :p Hmmm, yummy. The cake was flavourful with sweetness of the carrot, crunchy with bits of walnut, slight tang with orange juice and zest, and complemented with rich aroma of spices. Tip of the iceberg, the white choc cream cheese frosting, such a harmonious marriage.

Hope my dear friends of more than 15 years had enjoyed this little labour of love. Merry Christmas 2010 and Happy New Year 2011!

2010 - It's all about the baby. 2011 - Onwards to toddlerhood

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Can't believe that it's 2011. What did I do in 2010? I really couldn't recall in detail, I think it's all about the baby! LOL. It's been a long journey, I knew it was a steep learning curve but didn't expect it to be this steep. And this is what I call on-the-job training!

Anyway, here's summing up 2010.

All About Dear Son

Life in 2010 is pretty much routine routine routine. It's a challenge to us as new parents, day-in-day-out. Till now, we are still trying to learn and adapt to this thing called PARENTHOOD. For the past one year, there seemed to be challenges every other month. If it was not nursing/milk strike, it was teething, otherwise it was rejection of solids or if not nap and sleep problems. Yet, this is just the beginning and I'm sure many more challenges to come.

2 more weeks and he's gonna be ONE! He's now learning to walk and terrorising the entire house, creating a hurricane whereever he goes. I've got to watch him every minute less he gets into some kind of mischief, be it munching on shoes or rummaging the garbage, or climbing somewhere high precariously.... And when he's not venturing around, he sticks to me like glue and it irritates me sometimes as I can't cook or do any chores in peace! I wonder what will he be up to next?

SAHM

Decided to resign to become a SAHM. Was really in a dilemma when my four-month maternity came to an end. Eventually decided to take the plunge. Few reasons, firstly I want to experience what it's like to bring up a baby watching him grow up day by day. When it comes to work, I could be quite a workaholic, I know that I would never be able to juggle work and baby if I were to continue to work. And was also disappointed with my advancement prospect despite having worked so hard for the past four years especially 2009. So, when to start work again? Probably till he's old enough to attend playgroup then childcare?

Travel

The wanderlust in us craves so much for travelling, but travelling with a baby is never the same. For a start, packing an additional luggage with supplies that could last dear son longer than the trip (talk about being kiasu) is really tedious, not to mention the unpacking and washing up. During overseas trips, we tried to follow his routine/schedule as far as possible. Disrupting his routine means a cranky baby for several weeks after we return; we learnt it the hard way. Hence, it would mean sacrificing our itinerary and take things slow and easy. We managed a trip to Port Dickson when he was 3 months old, KL when he was 5 months, Krabi when he was 6 months old (that was his first flight!), Cameron Highlands when he was 8 months, Penang when he was 9 months and Hong Kong when 10 months. Hey hey, our little one is fast becoming a wanderer like us!

I wonder how much would we be travelling in 2011? Already looking forward to Koh Samui end Jan to celebrate his birthday and a trip to Tokyo in Mar (without him, just hubby and I!!!).

Baking/Cooking

Since I'm now a SAHM, cooking is an everyday affair, including meals for dear son. Been trying out new dishes in order not to bore hubby and myself, important thing is, the steps must be quick and easy as dear son's constantly seeking my attention and seldom allow me to cook in peace. Check out my entries on homecook food for some of the dishes.

Sadly, I had to sacrifice my fave hobby, baking. Only managed to bake once in a while as baking requires precision and close monitoring of timing, which proves to be tough with a sticky baby. And when I do bake, it's usually the tried and tested recipes as I'm more familiar thus relatively easier. And only managed to attend a few baking workshops. On the contrary, I'm starting to attend more cooking classes since I'm cooking more now.

Well, I do hope to cook and bake more in 2011, I have so many recipes bookmarked but simply no time to try.

Thoughts, feelings and what's in store for 2011?

Sometimes, I do regret the decision to have a baby. I'm rather impatient, a perfectionist, crave lots of personal time, space and freedom. It irritates me a lot when I'm doing things halfway and have to stop to attend to his needs. How could I have a baby who literally takes over my life?

That said, since he's now an integral part of the family, it is our responsibility to be here for him and love and care for him the best we could. He's learning fast and his funny antics often tickle us and made us laugh.

For 2011, I just want him to be healthy, and be happy. We, will continue to take things slowly, one day at a time.

Happy New Year!