Monday, December 28, 2009


A little stocking which she made at an art camp for Santa to stuff things with. Below is the haul from the stockings: 2 doggies, chocolates, lolly, a Moo water bottle, erasers, stickers, Pokemon cards.

Oh, what big teeth you have reindeer... the better to eat apples with my dear! Oops, we ran out of carrots and celery but we found out that reindeer eat apples too! Why, may you ask, are the apples and cookies enclosed in tupperware containers?? Cos in this part of the world, there are such things as ants *shudder*. For those who know me, you should know I am paranoid about them so not one can live in my home.

This was what Santa brought... the latest electronic Monopoly... cashless system.

She got more Pokemon cards as part of her presents.

Ahh... the Sanrio cum Japanese product gift corner... it's like everyone knew her likes. Tks all! There were some other gifts but I think I deleted the pictures by mistake hahaha. Oh well.

The poor trees.

Of recycled gifts

Every year at this time, I'm usually seething from the insincerity of a certain person. Christmas gift-giving is not a must, but it makes the kids happy. However, for many years now, in fact for all the years since my girl was born, there's a certain person whose gifts make my blood boil. I feel that she shouldn't even bother giving us things, and it's not like we're hard up for them. In fact, it will make me feel better that way. Presents were opened on Christmas morning but the blood boiling reaches a crescendo a few days later, thus this need to bare it all out here, just to get it out of my system.

I approve of recycling of gifts to a certain extent. However, the gifts we often receive from said person are often (from my experience) at least 10 yrs old, and some even have price tags from departmental stores which existed on our shores maybe 15yrs back. Oh come on, if you really do not want to spend money on gifts, there is no need to give one each from child, parents and the grandparents. I'm happy even receiving a brand new item from Daiso, which only costs $2!

I believe our side of the family is the only one who receives old recycled gifts, as I do not think she will do that to her friends' kids and her own family. Me, my sister and cousin gets them too. It is very sad and I used to be really affected previous years when my child would receive a used story book, browned and old, and other crappy stuff. This year we had a nice photoframe but upon closer inspection, it had mould on the glass. She also received a letter writing set which had 2 sheets of paper and 1 envelope left. There was a brand new crayon set which I thought would be her saving grace, but when I opened it this morning, the rubber band had melted away, so what gives? Why do people do such things?? I feel so upset because I do put in loads of effort searching for gifts for people, and I do spend on her family too, from her mum to her and her hubby to her kids. Usually, once her gifts are opened, into the bin they go. How pathetic is that?! This year her mum gave me a mug whose box had browned bits of mould. Why do they even bother? They do not need to give 3 items from their family where 1 item from all is sufficient.

I don't believe she does that to her niece who had huge gigantic stockings full of gifts. Is this what being family is about? Dumping old unwanted things on? I mean they aren't even brand new recycled gifts, but historic items! I feel sometimes that I want to bring it up to the husband. I'm sure he doesn't know what happens at Christmas but I could never do that. I'm too nice for that. So meanwhile, let me wallow in self-pity, till next year when the next influx of historical artefacts descend upon our home.

Compliments of the Season

A belated Christmas to all. How was your Christmas? For us, it was mostly attending parties and for the first time ever, I did not cook a Christmas dinner. The first party we attended on Christmas Eve was at my uncle's place and I did not prepare anything for it.

For another party the day after, I made 4 desserts, one of which was made with ready swiss roll which I just decorated using fresh cream & some toppers. Gosh I didn't take photos of the tiramisu and I think I accidentally deleted the photo with the bread n butter pudding as well as the apple crumble pie. Ooops.

When princess first heard that there was no Christmas dinner at home, she kicked up a big fuss with big tears. I managed to convince her to attend the dinner at her godparents' place in the end, with much coaxing. Lesson learnt - must have Christmas dinner at home next year. And hopefully my sis will be back too.

We've been really stuffed this Christmas and it didn't help that it was my dad's birthday yesterday and we went out for dinner at Szechuan Court at Fairmont Hotel. The portions were huge and we were all 'suffering' after the meal. It was a 7-course+1 dinner and we were stuffed by the 5th course!

Below are some gifts I baked as Christmas giveaways.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Potato Chip Crunchies

Introducing my cookie number 4... doesn't the title just scream for attention? When I came across this recipe in my baking book, I was really intrigued by it. I've never heard of or tried cookies with potato chips in them. I had to do it at all cost, and thank goodness as well, since it was a very simple-to-do cookie.

Ingredients -(I only made half the recipe) this below is the full recipe.

2 cups butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup crushed potato chips (I doubled this as I omitted the pecan nuts)
1 cup chopped pecans

Method -

1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg & vanilla. Gradually add flour and mix well. Fold in the potato chips and pecans.

2. Drop by tablespoonfuls 1-1/2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Flatten with a fork. Bake at 175deg C for 12-14mins or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks and cool.

In the background are chocolate chip meringues which are a bonus bake. I made them the year before with crushed peppermint candy canes. That was my plan today but the candy canes weren't fresh and crunchy, thus I decided to not use them in case they messed up the meringues.

Ingredients for meringue-

2 egg whites
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 peppermint candy canes, crushed. (I used mini chocolate chips just to make them look prettier)

Method -

1. Preheat oven to 110deg C. Line 2 cookie sheets with foil.

2. In a large glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites, salt and cream of tartar to soft peaks. Gradually add sugar, continuing to beat until white stiff peaks form. Drop by spoonfuls 1inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets (I used a piping bag). Sprinkle crushed peppermint candy or chocolate chips over the cookies.

3. Bake for 1-1/2hrs in preheated oven. Meringues should be completely dry on the inside. Do not allow them to brown. Turn off oven. Keep oven door ajar, and let meringues sit in the oven till completely cool. Loosen from foil with metal spatula. Store loosely covered in cool dry place for up to 2months, if it's not gone before then. ;P

Loved the potato chips crunchies. They are excellent, and no, it's not because they contain the chips!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Fruit Cake

I decided to take a break from cookie baking to try out a fruit cake recipe shared with me by a friend. Unfortunately I am not able to share the recipe here as per her request. I've never been a fan of fruit cakes. I don't like how very sweet it is with all the dried mixed fruits. But since this is a Christmas cake I decided to finally make it this year. I didn't put aside lots of time for the soaking of the fruits, and only did it 4 days prior to baking.

My schedule during the week was choc-a-block full so I only managed to bake it last evening and due to lots of hiccups during the course of the day, I only managed to put the mixture together around 5plus in the late afternoon and the cake went into the oven only at 6pm. The recipe stated 2-3hrs baking time! I thought I was in trouble as I miscalculated the time, thinking the party that I was due to be at was starting at 7.30. I thought, oh well, I'd only be about half an hour late or so. It wasn't till I put in the cake that I realized oh no, the party was starting at 7!! And then I began praying, please let the cake bake in over an hour like I heard one of my friends telling me, that was what happened with her cake. And would you believe it?! It was done in 1-1/2hrs! I was really lucky. Left the cake to cool overnight and finally cut it up this afternoon.

Both hubby and princess loved it. They had some little tasting bites of it. I'm leaving it to set for another 5 days and I hope my recipients will enjoy it as much as my family did. :)

It's another cookie recipe tomorrow. Look out for it!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Random things

Here's Santa at one of the road corners in Orchard.

Love this little reindeer dressed up as a tree. For more reindeer photos, check out Peony's blog.

Ahh... I've been looking for these too cute ice-cream sticks since the time I spotted them at bff's home. It was during Halloween. I didn't have much luck till last week when I saw them advertised in the papers.

I remember having something similar to this when I was young. Super cute, don't you think?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Sugar Cookies

I made a date with 2 girlfriends to make some cookies with the kids this holidays. We finally did it today, and what can be more fun than doing sugar cookies and letting them play with dough and decorate in any which way they liked. The kids had fun and I can't deny the adults did too, with all the fun royal icing pipers and fanciful topping that went on the top. We (adults) really had to get the creative juices flowing, but it was much easier for the kids. I think everyone did a great job!

I browsed for sugar or shortbread cookies online last evening, and found this one by Joy of Baking, for both the cookie as well as the frosting recipes. They were both excellent and I have to admit, way better than the ones we made last year. I guess I was just lucky I picked the right recipes this time. These recipes will stay with me for a long time. I love them that much!

Ingredients for sugar cookies -

1-3/4 cups (230gm) all purpose flour

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup (113gm) unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup (150gm) granulated white sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

Method -

1. Whisk together flour, baking powder & salt. Set aside.

2. Beat butter & sugar till light and fluffy (about 3-4 mins). Add eggs and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture & beat until you have a smooth dough.

3. Divide the dough in half & put in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour or until firm enough to roll. (I didn't divide dough, just simply put the entire bowl in the fridge).

4. Preheat oven to 177 deg C (350 deg F) and place rack in the centre of oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. (I didn't use parchment paper. Just put them direct on tray)

5. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough till a thickness of 1cm. Cut dough out using a lightly floured cookie cutter and transfer cut out shapes to a cookie tray. Put the tray of unbaked cookies in the refrigerator to chill a second time before baking. This is to prevent the dough from losing their shape whilst baking.

6. Bake cookies for about 10mins depending on their size, or until they turn a little brown around the edges. Remove from oven and let cookies cool down. Frost with royal icing if desired. Be sure to let royal icing dry completely before storing them. This may take a few hours.

Royal Icing recipe :

Ingredients -

1 large egg

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1-1/2 cup (165gm) confectioner's (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted

Method -

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg white with lemon juice. Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined and smooth. The icing needs to be used immediately or stored in an airtight container as royal icing hardens when exposed to air. Cover with plastic wrap when not in use.

Note: I doubled both the cookie as well as icing recipes and cut down on the sugar for the cookie part. I find the cookie is still sweet so can cut down more to maybe 100gm for a single recipe? Try it out.

Buttery Spritz Cookies

I bought a tree-shaped icing tip last year but never got to use it. I only got it because it was too cute. Thus, I decided I should try out a spritz recipe this year.

Ingredients -

1 cup (227gm) butter, softened
1-1/4cup confectioner's sugar (you could cut it down to 1 cup)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract (could be less as the almond flavour is very strong)
2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
Food colouring optional (I used red & green)
Coloured sugar and decorating candies, optional (I used hundreds and thousands)

Method -

1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and confectioner's sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and extracts. Combine flour and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture; mix well. Tint with food colouring if desired.

2. Using a cookie press (I used a pastry bag) fitted with the disc of your choice, press dough 2inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Decorate as desired.

3. Bake at 375 deg F ( I used 170 deg C) for 6-8mins (6mins was sufficient for me) or until set (do not brown). Remove to wire racks and cool.

The cookies were not too bad except that it took me a long time to complete the entire recipe as the icing tip was not big enough. But they turned out really pretty with the decor.

As per requested by Peony, here is a picture of the icing tip I have. It's pretty small thus it churns out really small cookies. Anyone knows if there is a bigger version of this? Please do let me know ya. This can be found at Phoon Huat bakery supplies store.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cream Cheese Macadamia Nut Cookies

I decided to get started on some Christmas bakes today, seeing that Christmas is in a weeks' time. No more procrastinating or 'trying' to get into the baking mood. Once the mind is set, the task has to begin. I started off the day with a visit to Phoon Huat for some baking supplies. Ambitious me has 5 recipes that I want to try and a fruit cake as well. Let's see how far I'll go.

I made 2 recipes today. One of which was this particular recipe which got me a little excited with the words 'cream cheese'. I've never baked any cookies with cream cheese as an ingredient before, so I decided to give this a try, seeing that I had everything I needed for it.

My reference point for the recipes that I'm going to try out for the first time are from 'Taste of Home - Best Loved Cookies & Bars'.

Ingredients -

1/2 cup butter or 112.5gm, softened
1 package (80zs or 227gm) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar (no need to cut down as cookies turned out only slightly sweet)
4 tsps grated orange peel (I grated the peel of 1 orange)
2 tsps vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsps baking powder
3/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts or almonds
3/4 cup chocolate chips (I added on my own)

Method -

1. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, cream cheese, brown sugar, orange peel & vanilla.

2. Combine flour and baking powder. Gradually add to the creamed mixture; mix well. Fold in nuts. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.

3. Drop by rounded teaspoons 2inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets with a greased glass. (I used my hands to roll them into balls and flattened them a little on the top).

4. Bake at 200 deg C (I used 180 deg C) for 9-11mins or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Notes - This is a good recipe for those who are allergic to eggs. The result was a cake-like cookie.

Point to add - The cookies didn't turn out sweet at all, and they are ok by my standard, but some might not like it. That's the reason I added the chocolate chips, to add sweetness to them, but it gave me a pleasant surprise instead, by bringing out the flavour of the orange which complimented the chocolate chips very well. Without the chocolate chips, the cookies were ok but you couldn't really taste the orange peel.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Happy Mama Blogger Award

Thanks very much to javapot who so kindly handed me this award. Thanks for thinking of me. :) I love straightforward awards like these and it's very pretty too. I'd eyed it in some blogs and finally it's my turn! Yippee!

Do feel free to claim the award for yourself, but just to name a few mamas, here they are -

Jottings of Life
Little Corner of Mine
Easts Meets West
3 Elements
Rojak Rendezvous
Susan Yuen of Hawai'is Bento

Friday, December 4, 2009

Canon EOS 500D

Hubby finally bought us our first DSLR camera, a joint-Christmas present for us both. I'm not complaining, since I get to use it more. Haha. Actually it was my idea that we share this present so I'll not be the only one having to learn how to work it. ;) So far, it's been pretty easy to use since I mostly do the auto focus option. Haha. Hubby's been having fun with it as well, and reading up on the features.

A thing of beauty, a joy to behold. :)

Pretty things

Went on a trip with friend and her family to Bukit Indah. Was a great shopping trip which was almost cancelled due the men didn't agree to the all-women & kids group driving up there alone. There were 2 cars and 12 of us in total, and we had a great time eating & shopping till it was too late. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to pack my camera so no photos were taken. :(

I enjoyed shopping at Jusco without having to worry, like in Penang, about excess baggage or what can't be carried on board, etc. Discovered these Magnolia milk bottles, very cute. I'll be sure to pick these up the next time I'm there again. They come in the usual three flavours of chocolate, strawberry & plain.

Whilst browsing the bread section, I found these cute Squiggles by Gardenia which we do not have in Singapore. It was a great find too and one I'm sure princess would love (she wasn't with me on the trip), so I picked up 2 packets of these. They are on my shopping list for my next trip too. :)

For her tea today...

... and this from Breadtalk - very prettily decorated bell. Love it! And yes, my girl loves to eat non-stop when she's home.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Penang (Day 4)

On our final morning there before we headed for the airport, C took us to Kapitan for brunch. It was an Indian food joint and she highly recommended the briyani. Princess wasn't keen on the food at first but later agreed to have the banana prata. Unfortunately, they didn't have any pratas that day so she settled on white rice with some tikka masala gravy.

Hubby went for the tandoori chicken set with garlic naan.

C ordered the chicken tikka masala.

And I had the nasi briyani ayam (chicken).

After a tiring morning, she fell asleep in the plane and refused to wake up even though we were landing. Haha.

Thanks to C, I managed to go to quite a number of shops and also thanks for all the recommendations. These are the stuff I bought.

A variety of cake boxes. :D

This concludes my bumper post on Penang. :)

Penang (Day 3)

Before we left on our holiday, I had put aside one day for hubby and princess to spend the day at the hotel, doing fun things like swimming or playing games at Lil Rock or the Teen club. I didn't think it was fair to bring them around to shop all day. Besides, we had a gorgeous pool and facilities for kids. Hubby was very nice and agreed that he'd accompany her while C took me around to the bake shops, meet another blogger friend for lunch, as well as do some shopping.

For Lil Rocks, there is an acitivity plan for each day, starting at 10am for registration, followed by a cooking class at 10.30am, swimming at 11am, etc etc. I had enquired the day before and the person-in-charge told me that they make pizzas etc with the chef at the pizzeria right beside the Lil Rocks playroom. However, when hubby took her there to sign up for the Lil Chef class, apparently they were not prepared as they didn't think anyone would sign up for that. What a bummer. They told hubby to bring her back in 15mins while they prepared some muffins for her to decorate. Hubby was kidding that they'd probably grab a few muffins off the breakfast buffet and give them to her to decorate, which they did! They gave her some chocolate sauce and a packet of M&M's and that was it. Hubby felt that it was a bit boring but princess said she enjoyed herself so I guess that's what's most important. She did decline to take the muffins with her. All she wanted to do was play with the decor. Haha. I don't blame her, the muffins were not great-tasting.

They hit the pool right after the Lil Chef activity and she made 2 little friends there. Here's the all-time favourite slide.

There's a pool which has sand at the bottom, almost like the base of the ocean. Very nice. She got to build some little sandcastles there.

After swimming and lunch, they played some indoor games at the Teen's Club which had the xbox, Wii, computers, etc. They also had pool & foosball tables.

Our plan for our last evening there was to dine at the Hard Rock Cafe. Pathetically, they did not have any available tables, even though we said we were guests. She said the reservation was full. Anyhow, I felt that the cafe was too small. They should really have made it bigger with the space they have. We could have pushed for it but we didn't, as the smell of cigarettes was overwhelming, and we had a child and baby with us. So we decided to dine at the Pizzeria instead. I couldn't bear for C to drive up and down all day, so instead of having her pick up hubby and girl from hotel to go town to eat again, we decided this was the best decision. I have to say I was really disappointed with the menu at the Pizzeria. Choices were very limited and they didn't even have a basic Pomodoro seeing that this is a family hotel. However, I did request it for the Princess, and the chef agreed to do it. My guess is that it wasn't as good as the one she ate at Jemputree since she hardly touched her dinner.

Banana milkshake for the princess.

Breadsticks to go with dips below. This was lovely.

Antipasto for C.

Seafood pizza for all to share.


Crabmeat fettucine, although there were more prawns than crabmeat in there.

Calzone with ham & cheese if I'm not wrong.