Sunday, May 23, 2010
These loaves are very easy to make and I just love their simplicity with the buttery flavor, embedded with soft strawberry slices and slight crunch from the almond slices make them a delight to eat all day long on a Sunday. I made it a bit fancy with extra layers of strawberry slices on the top of the cake batter before I baked them and they raised and pushed the strawberry slices to the sides! But they turned out pretty and no icing required . The cakes need to sit and cool at room temperature for at least 20 mins as it will be too moist and soft once out of the oven and cannot cut cleanly.
1-1/2 cup All Purpose flour
1 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar and extra 1 tsp for sprinkling
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp Grenadine syrup/vanilla essence
1/2 cup Almond milk/milk
2 cups sliced strawberries (about 8 large strawberries)
1/2 cup almond slices
1)Preheat oven to 375F. Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt. Set aside.
2)Cream the butter and sugar (reserving the extra 1 tsp) till light. Beat in one egg at a time till blended. Add in the grenadine syrup or vanilla essence.
3)Spoon in half of the flour mixture and fold into the butter and sugar mixture. Pour in half of the almond milk or milk and stir to combine. Continue with the remaining half of the flour and fold in. Lastly stir in the remaining milk.
4)Take 1/3 of the strawberry slices and half of the almond slices and drop into the cake mixture. Stir to combine. Grease 1 large loaf pan and spoon in the batter. Use a spatula or spoon to spread out the batter evenly. Arrange the strawberry slices on the top and sprinkle with the remaining almond slices. Sprinkle the remaining sugar on top.
5)Bake for 35 to 40 mins and test for doneness. Turn off oven and let it stay in the warm oven for another 10 mins before removing and cooling completely before cutting.
Serves: 6 person
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Nasoya called Silken Style Creations, made of tofu or soy and flavored with Chocolate. I grabbed it without much thought of what I am going to do with it until today, I logged onto the site and followed the recipe suggested! Very interesting to know that I can make a chocolate based dessert from tofu without any cheese, eggs nor extra cream added. All my childhood and adult life in Malaysia, little did I know tofu can be this versatile and certainly looking forward to use this product more in future.
I had some tart dough left over from my last Vegetable tart baking and used it up by making 6 smaller tartlets, about 3.5inch each. The only thing about using this soy product is that after the baking is done, the desserts need to be refrigerated to set further. And as the corn flour added to the tofu product was minimum, the texture of it resembles more like a set pudding and doesn't really cut well. To bake a firmer tart will require using cream cheese or some fat with the tofu. Perhaps next time I should try making a cheesecake out of the original silken tofu. The idea of using this product is to reduce the fat content of the baked dessert and a more better option for weight watching people like me.
Friday, May 14, 2010
For the past month, I have cut down on baking, mostly on my determination to eat less buttery tarts and sweet cakes with cream and anything that is fattening. And I channelled the time that I have to homeschooling my kids more, taking a nap and doing more exercise time on the treadmill and yoga mat. Gradually I am getting used to this change of course but I still bake once a week to keep my interest in it. There are many phases in my life but finding the right hobby and sticking with it comes only once in a blue moon and I must not let my baking tools turn rusty and wasted! So instead of sweet creamy things, I will bake more savory stuffs now, at least I can get rid of the sugar if not the butter. At least I am trying !
For this tart, nothing complicated about it and all I wanted to do was to put my new oblong tart tin to use. I wasn't sure on how much tart dough to make for this tin and went about concocting something more than enough. I guess the dough quantity to cover a 9 inch round tart pan will suffice. I found it difficult to roll out the dough into an oblong shape and so I just patch random pieces of dough into the tin with my hands. But first I rolled out the dough on a working surface first to get an even thickness and cut them into smaller pieces and arranged and patched them all up inside the tin itself. As with all tarts, the sides will definitely shrink during baking and I made the sides extra thick. The tart case was first baked for 25 mins before I put in the filling and baked for a futher 25 mins.
I made this for dinner today , served with mushroom cream soup and salad. Very spring like!
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
I got up pretty late this morning and had to finish up this Bento quickly before sending the kids to school and delivering the lunch box to Curry's office. One thing about Curry, he is slim in posture but his appetite is huge, more than mine and everyday he comes home in the evening, he head straight to the fridge or biscuit tin. And still he is the lucky one, he doesn't put on a single weight!
For today's Bento, I used Japanese Udon noodles, which is precooked in their packaging and all I had to do was rinsed it in water and stir fried it with grated garlic, scallion and soy sauce. Deep fried tofu cubes is a lovely ingredient which is delicious eaten plain dipped in sauce or stuffed with meat to enhance the texture and flavor. For this Bento, I stuffed them with minced beef, and pan fried them with a bit of cooking oil and flavored with a teaspoon of Japanese cooking seasoning, Mirin. The sugar content in the Mirin caramelized the surface of the tofu and gives it a charred look. For the vegetables sides, I used homemade pickled cucumber and carrot with store bought Radish Kimchi.
Today Miss E had a show and tell at school and she talked about Bento. She was very happy to have told an interesting topic to her teachers and friends and indeed, Bento is fun to learn and make. I am currently in the look for more summer ingredients to include into my family members' Bento boxes and hopefully to serve up more vegetables varieties and move my kids to eat more fish. I have been on a vegetable and white meat diet for 2 months now and I do indeed feel healthier.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
After a brief hiatus, I digged out the Bento boxes and tools this morning. Tuesdays are perfect days for Bento Lunch making as both my kids are in school and having got through a busy Monday and recouping my energy over a good night's sleep made my day more driven!
As I experiment more with bento making, I noticed that the simplest cuts of cute characters makes the most impact and I am trying to adopt a more simpler approach similar to cut and paste to decorate all my future Bentos. As long as my kids can discern what I am making and enjoys them, then I am on the right track.
I made a sea animals theme Bento today, aptly served with pan fried salmon on the side. I have always liked the octopus sausage and tried to make some today. Taking both round ends of a sausage, I cut to a length of about 2.5 inches, slit them crisscross downwards about 1 inch from the flat bottom and boiled them for 2 mins. The corns are out and I thought they make a nice addition of color and texture to the plain rice that I flavored with some Furikake. Green beans is a good change to broccoli and they are easier to arrange.
The cut outs of the octopus and fishes were made of American cheese and ham. A bit lazy to complete the fish with scales and I used poppy seeds instead of black sesame seeds for the eyes.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Happy Mother's Day to me, my mom, my grandma, my aunties, my cousins, my sister in law and my friends far and near. This is my 6th year celebrating this occasion and my kids just get better with everything they do and say!
After 6 years of motherhood life, I can say I have learned and progressed alot in terms of endearing stress, enjoying little pleasures and of course letting my kids little minds train and inspire me! The days just go by faster every year with them hollering around my days and I am a very proud mother of my kids. Although they are not wholly angelics nor saints, I take pride of having raised them so far with a good conscious of everything and they in return shares everything with me with their little stories and experiences in their growing.
As with every year, I get a big breakfast in bed, made by Curry and my 2 kids. This year, they had to drag me out of bed at 7.30am and I was feeding on my cheese omelette with half opened eyes and messy big hair! Recently I am very down with stamina but not due to motherhood duties, highly because I have allocated more time to my exercise regime and the set on of spring season allergies which slows me down. For a whole week or two, my mind and body were occupied with the same calories counting topic and I lost my mojo in cooking and baking.
Miss E brought home a card she made at school and she was right in stating that she loves me because I am good at Baking! She loves to eat and my Bento makes her very happy while Prince D tags along in everything, like or not like! And so in order to continue to be a cool and lovable mom, I tried to bake a cake for today. True enough, after a while not doing it, I lost my mojo and my chocolate cake didn't rise as much as I wanted it to be in the pan. What did I do then? Besides being the Queen in my kids' eyes, I am also the Queen of fix it when comes to flop and failed cakes. I cut up my chocolate cake with round biscuit cutters and took out my best dessert cups and made something very simple and of course nice!
I whipped up 1 cup of heavy cream with 1/4 cup of icing sugar, shelled some pistachio and hulled some strawberries and piled them all up with the chocolate cake circles. With a touch of love and simplicity, I made these pretty little cups of desserts for teatime and I feel good that I am not taking advantage of Mother's Day to stuff myself , which I will definitely have to pay for it later in sweat! And of course, thank you to my lovely hubby who treated me to my favorite lunch plate so far...... Sashimi, deluxe size and all mine!
Sunday, May 2, 2010
First thing first, when you saw that Post title, surely you think I am joking right. All these time with that much cooking and baking, sampling and snapping beautiful shots of all the food I made makes me an interesting person rather than ranting on diets and losing weight like most women. But yet, I am still like any woman, flabs are more disturbing than any butter fat and numbers mean everything in every sense from dress sizes to calories!
I have been on an exercise routine since my return trip from Asia in January and up till now, I haven't given up working up the notch every month just to train my heart pumping, lowering my Blood pressure and trying to lose weight. So far I have melted away almost 13lbs and still working on it till I see a very pleasant number on the weighing scale, most probably end of this year. Sure I was always on a yo-yo motion when comes to setting diet and exercise goals in previous times but this time I am very determined to lose it and if I am successful, I made a pact with myself that I will revamp my diet and maintain the ideal weight till the last day of my life.
Losing weight is no easy thing to do, infact it is a torture. So tortured that I sometimes feel like bursting out in tears to accompany my sweat when I am trying to score a higher number of steps or bigger score on the calories counter. So to all people out there who are trying as hard as you can like me, I share your pain. It is the easiest thing to put on weight and the hardest thing to take it off! Naturally both are total opposites and for people who has to go through it, the process is long but with perseverence and strong will, it will pay off.
I have heard alot of remarks about my weight and it hurts most when the negative remarks comes from people whom I am related to. Weight remarks are always harsh no matter how soft toned or well intended they are meant to be and at the meantime I am very frustrated with a remark that I will put back on all the weight no matter how hard I tried to lose it now. Such negative comments did spoiled my day and I went out and looked around and thought about it. Well, the other thing that this exercise regime did to me besides physically made me fantastic was that my mentality was also polished and progammed to be stronger. I will just set my mind to work harder now and lose it and shut out all bad comments like that once and for all. And if I still hear something like that, I will comfort myself with the lbs I lost and think that the bad comments were just coming from people who cannot make it themselves and jealousy runs in everything!
I wish to share something. I find the following food helped me through these past 4 months of losing the flab and think everyone should give it a try. They are dried prunes, avocado, almond milk and oatnut bread. I snacked on them during the snack times of mid morning and teatime. And also I totally take out the rice at dinnertime as my metabolism rate is pretty low at dinnertime and work on the threadmill in the evening before I hit the bed. I found out that rice is really something that I should eat at a minimum quantity in the afternoons only and not at night as I can still burn it off as energy for the rest of the half day left but after dinner time, the carbs from rice seems to linger on in my system and build up as excess! I may have very strange food intake strategies here but since it worked, I hope it can help anyone else too.
Till next time, all I can say is there is really no shortcut to losing weight except exercise and food intake watch. Do whatever you can to motivate yourself and remember that the longer you wait to lose it, the harder it will be. Negative remarks are only a form of motivation and as long as I take it and rethink it, it can be turned into a positive motivation!