Monday, April 26, 2010

Donuts (fried)

This is my first attempt at fried donuts. I am rather pleased with the result, but lazy me did not bother making the glaze, but instead dumped the fried stuff all into a ziplock bag with sugar and tossed them about to coat them.

I found this recipe through Camemberu's blog and have been wanting to try it all of last week, but I was out of sugar, and when I finally got the sugar, it was the weekend thus busy as usual. Instead of the original recipe, I halved it and still got at least 12. Her original recipe using 6cups of flour which yielded 12 jumbo donuts, but so did my 3 cups, except they were not jumbo. I would half it again if it's just for the 3 of us at home.

DONUTS (makes 12 or more)
3 cups plain flour
3 teaspoons instant yeast
3/4 cups warm milk
A pinch of salt
1/4 cup sugar
50g butter
1 eggs
Vegetable oil (for frying)

Honey Glaze
1. Honey
2. Sugar
3. Vanilla essence
4. Water
5. Butter

1. Mix the butter, sugar, eggs, salt and milk on slow speed until smooth. I did this manually.

2. Mix instant yeast with about two cups of flour, and add that to the first mixture till you obtain a paste-like texture.

3. Add the remaining 1 cup flour and manually mix and knead till a soft elastic texture is obtained (add more flour if it's too wet).

4. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cling wrap the top.

5. Set it aside in a warm place for about an hour and the volume should double.

6. With a rolling pin, roll the dough (using copious amounts of extra flour if it's too sticky) into sheets of about 1/2 an inch in thickness.

7. Using cookie cutters or a donut cutter, cut out the donut shapes.

8. Line them up on a lightly greased tray prior to frying.

9. Leave them to puff up even more for 30-60 mins (or until desired risen size)! Some crazy yeast at work here! See how big they've become?

10. Meanwhile, make your glaze (no fixed proportions here - this I found tricky)
a. Melt some butter in a pan
b. Stir in sugar and honey till desired flavor is obtained
c. Add a few drops of vanilla essence
d. Add water and stir on low heat until desired viscosity is achieved

11. Heat oil on medium heat, test the temperature first by sacrificing one of those donut centers.

12. Fry each donut for about 20-30s on each side (they cook very quickly!)

13. Set aside donuts to cool and excess oil to drip off (they won't pick up the glaze if they're too greasy or too hot)

14. Dip one side of each donut into the honey glaze and serve warm!

For me, I omitted the above and simply used castor sugar to coat.

Little piggies & Stitch bento

The photo above is for the benefit of a friend who said I didn't show her the full picture of my sandwich bento previously, so here you go girl. :P I didn't use this intentionally but it was the first bento box I saw when I opened my full to the brim bento shelf. Rather than digging in there and in the midst of it, having to take the whole lot of them out, this one seemed to fit the size I needed, so I decided to use it, killing two birds with one stone. :D

This bento took me a much shorter time than my last froggy one, approximately 1/2hr? I purchased some sushi while out grocery shopping, and preparing the fruits was easy, cutting 'V's in the strawberries to turn them into tulips; using my egg cutter to cut up the golden kiwi to give it ridges, and lastly just simply cutting some tomatoes into quarters. The soy sauce was placed in the blue cup.

Next was boiling some cha soba and mixing together the dipping sauce, which was basically soy sauce diluted with water. I don't know how many of you have tried the cha soba that you can get cheaply at Daiso, but personally I find them rather powdery in texture, so I tend to spend a bit more (double the price actually) for a better quality one. The princess loves cha soba but they don't sell it in school. The Bento Box stall in school only sells soba, so she's kind of gotten used to eating that.

The piggies took up the most of my time. I was planning on doing the Rillakuma bears but at the last minute, I couldn't find any blogs with tutorial, and while checking out Mothering Corner for inspiration, I came across piggies. How easy to do with so simple to follow instructions! But in the rush, with no time to look for cutters, the snouts where cut manually using a knife. Glad they still turned out ok though.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Japanistic Bento Box contest

Debra of Hapa Bento conducted this garden theme bento contest and I decided to send my bento in, after friend encouraged me to try my luck. Do vote for me here. It's really simple. Just go to link and click on the number. Remember mine is number 15. :) Thanks!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ribbit & Rabbit

This is the most elaborate bento I have ever done. I'm ashamed to say I spent a couple of hours on it *head hung low*. From researching frogs, to digging out my boxes of cutters, to actually putting it all together, has left me very exhausted. I wonder how bento mums do it from day to day. Salutations to them. This all started when I came upon Bentolicious' egg sheet tutorial. I've been wanting to make them for the longest time, but by far, hers is the most successful recipe for me. Thank you so much. I made two colours, namely orange and green and couldn't figure out what to do with them haha. I was browsing some blogs when I came across a frog. That is easy enough! So with a theme, I went hunting for my cutters and found them all.

When the princess saw her lunch, she was so surprised and thrilled at the beautiful bento, and exclaimed, 'This is the best bento I've ever had', actually she said 'eaten' but she hadn't yet started on it. Lol.

In the tomato bowl which I cut using the egg cutter, you can't see the design as it was buried among the rice, I placed rockmelon and nata de coco. The flowers and butterfly are made with egg sheets and kamaboko. Froggies' eyes and cheeks are made with crabstick. Unfortunately, though, the colour of the butterfly and flower matched exactly the colour of the melon. It would have been nicer if it was a different colour.

It was grandma's 4th year anniversary yesterday, but we didn't manage to visit her. I decided to keep the outing for today since it is a Friday. Knowing that the lunch might not be enough for the girl, I packed her another bento for when we are out. There is a blueberry jam sandwich, and on top of that is a cheese sandwich decorated to be My Melody's facial features. There's apple & cinnamon cereal, Ikea Easter marshmallows, some fresh apples and Easter sunflower seeds.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A teatime treat

Two bentos in one day?? I must really be super bored. Or the only other reason would be that I am inspired checking out my regular blogs and seeing lots of creations, and through them, have discovered a few more really good ones.

I really love Lia Chen's bento blog and can't stop admiring the beautiful kawaii stuff that she has. Even the egg beater and measuring cups are super cute!

I wish to join this contest which I discovered through Angeleyes, but it's not happening as I am short of fruits and vegetables in my fridge and am not inspired to come up with a garden-themed bento pronto. The contest ends tomorrow. Let's see if I'm up to it then. ;P

Lunch was a bit of a rush and didn't seem enough, so I decided to create a teatime treat for the princess. It is basically a nutella cum peanut butter (Yes! She is finally eating peanut butter! My first experiment failed and she requested to try the crunchy version and she loves it!) sandwich, decorated with Mocha and dark clouds. Yes, the sky is dark again, as it is every afternoon around this time that it begins to storm. The apple became a Japanese lady by accident. I tried to create some design on it but somehow nothing came out of it, and I haven't got much patience cutting shapes out of apple skin. I decided to half the apple and put one on top of the other, and that's how it came about. All she needed were eyes, nose and a mouth. :) The sausages were a special request due to last week's theme on Pets Society (Japanese week), and thus she (princess) exclaimed that I hadn't done one in a long while. Whilst the one in Pets Society (a Facebook game) had a piece of seaweed round the octopus' head, I didn't give him one in mine as I am rushing to prepare my steamboat dinner for this evening. :)

Sugarbunny & Hello Kitty pizza bento

I had a splendid morning with two good friends and a friend from out-of-town I just met today. He was a laugh and he left us 3 in stitches. It was great fun. I left them with a smile on my face. I haven't been feeling tiptop lately as there have been pains in the joints of my hands and wherever possible, I try not to take any steroids. No steroids = pain, but well, just have to endure.

We spent 2-1/2hrs chatting about everything and it was with great regret that I had to leave them. My girl does not need to stay back in school today as mid year orals are on thus teacher will be preoccupied testing the older girls after school this afternoon.

I rushed to the supermarket grabbing the stuff that was on my shopping list, thank God I prepared it before I left home, as I would definitely have been in a flurry as time was ticking real fast. I knew I was going to prepare a bento, and a pizza one at that. From the moment I got home, I had exactly 15mins in which to prepare it. I had picked up a slice of kueh lapis from Bengawan Solo when I walked past the shop, and that plus the sushi helped in the speed of the preparation. After popping the pizza into the oven, I cut up some rock melon and started the assembly. Hello kitty-shaped pizza is right below the Sugarbunny one. I cut them using rice moulds.

Glad that she loved her bento and finished every bit of it. :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Deep fried carrot cake sticks

What gorgeous fingers, but oh so unhealthy. I got these right off the wok this morning, before the hawker had time to even pack them up in bags. They were freshly fried and were still piping hot when I got home. A guilty indulgence for once in a blue moon is fine. :) Just look at all the artery-clogging oil on them. One must not think too much when enjoying once in a while unhealthy food. :P

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New stuff

Whilst browsing the aisles yesterday, I came across these Oreo soft cakes in NTUC. Have you seen them? The curious me had to grab a box to try out. Lucky princess. :) She had two pieces to try, but no verdict from her.

The big packet only holds a very small piece of cake and I managed to sink my teeth into one today and verdict? I didn't quite like it. It wasn't great. I think it's better they stick to the cookie.

I've always wanted one of these although it wasn't of paramount importance, and I wouldn't pay top dollar for one. I mean we hardly even eat hardboiled eggs haha. The only time we do is when I need them for salads (which is extremely seldom), and when I make egg mayo filling for sandwiches. The ones I spied before this all cost in the vicinity of $10, so imagine my excitement when I spied this in Daiso. Into the basket it went. Now, I'm waiting for an opportunity to make use of it. Damn! I forgot to boil some eggs for my curry noodles last evening! :P

Curry noodles

I can't recall where I bought my first packet of ready mix under this same brand. If it wasn't from Penang, then it must have been from JB. That first packet was a curry chicken-flavoured one. I loved it and later on, found it on my local NTUC supermarket shelf. However, on the day that I wanted to pick a pack up, no curry chicken was available, thus I made do with the rendang. It was a mistake. I didn't like the end result and have decided to stick to the former flavour.

I cooked a big pot of curry using the mix, and had half a pot leftover. It so happened that we're in the midst of rainy season and it almost always rains every evening. This remainder pot of curry was put to good use last evening. I cooked some porridge for the princess as she's been complaining of tummy pains, thus something light would do her good. She didn't want to go to school this morning, saying her tummy hurt, but I wouldn't hear of it and got hubby to rub some tummy oil on her before packing her off to school. I boiled some bean sprouts and sliced some fishcakes, and together with laksa noodle, created a curry noodle dish. To top it off, I finely cut some laksa leaves and sprinkled them over the noodles. Lovely for a chilly evening of thunderstorm. Princess had a small bowl of it in the end. I'm very proud of her now that she can take spicy curry. I have not tried other spicy food stuff but curry alone is enough for now. It makes cooking easier. And to think that all this started with her first taste of Japanese curry. She won't eat roti prata now, without curry. :)

This curry was not cooked with coconut milk, as with most of the curries I prepare. It ensures that I get to enjoy it without suffering from all the pain the coconut would otherwise do to me. I simply replaced the coconut with normal fresh milk. At times, I use evaporated milk but I usually have a lot of the milk left and do not know what else to do with it, thus it was a waste. Fresh milk is handier.

Carl's Junior

Now this is what I call a real burger, not the the sorry excuse of the real thing we encountered a couple of weeks' back. Might I add that it was precisely the 'fault' of the last burger experience that left me feeling 'empty' and hankering for a real burger, to satisfy the craving. Coincidentally, when I mms'd mum the picture of my burger, she too had just had hers, from Carl's no less. :) Great minds think alike. Haha.

Yum, the picture below shows the portabello mushroom burger which hubby had. Look at the luscious mushrooms, gorgeous.

The fries were very nice, but too much for comfort, after a full burger. There was no way I could consume them all, even with help from the princess.

Here's mine. You can tell, by the sticker of course. ;) I detest raw onions and while we're at that, I detest pickles too and the tomato ketchup they slather on. I must remember to ask them to leave those out the next time I order.

What does it remind you of? Ok, don't even go there!

All washed down with the most delicious Oreo milkshake. :)

Happy Day bento

It has been quite some time since I last made a bento, but in any case, I have lost count and don't bother keeping track, thus I named this one a 'Happy Day' bento.

I finally made use of the alphabet cutters from Angeleyes and used them on picnic ham to form the words. Not knowing what words to use, I decided on 'Happy Day'. Was it really a happy day? Well, I don't know but I guess so. I managed to sleep in for a further 3hrs this morning as hubby had gotten up in the early morning to watch soccer on the tele and after preparing the girl's water bottle and packing her breakfast, I left hubby with instructions to send girl down to wait for the school bus. I went back to snooze for a little while more. :D The alarm was set for 10.15am but I was up by 9.30.

The past two weeks have been a busy time for me as I had to shuttle to and from school 4 times a week. Well, actually, I gave up last week and got the bus driver to send her home all 4 days. It freed up some spare time for me and it was lighter on the pocket as taxi fare took up a big chunk. The train service has started and it is now very convenient travelling that way and the best part is, the number of days a week that she has to stay back has gone back down to only 2. Hurray!

The good thing about those stay back days is that I do not need to prepare lunch. I guess I have to buck up now. ;)

In this bento, I have prepared a Teriyaki mince with bean sprouts using leftover mince from yesterday's porridge dinner for the princess. There were the usual suspects - cocktail sausages, cherry tomatoes and crabsticks. To fill up the space, I put in a packet of yoghurt drink. There's also a piece of Belgian chocolate to cover up the little bit of white left in the box. Do you spy the little kitty in the mayonnaise container? Cute, right? It was a gift from her classmate's mum. So sweet of her to share that with us. :) Thank you.

Eat up quickly, before dear Kitty steals your food away! She's eyeing the candy, me thinks. ;P

A whole boxful of precious candies.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Otah sandwich bento

Sis had a craving for the otah from this particular store in Joo Chiat Road. It's my favourite by far. There is the right amount of fish and spice and never fails to leave my tummy burning after consuming 2 pieces. It just has that oomph which I have failed to find in other otahs. The other reason I love this store is that they produce a non-spicy version similar to what we enjoy minus the chilli. It costs 10cents more than the $1 for the normal mackerel ones we like. Experience with most otah stalls is that the non-spicy version is almost always made with fishcakes, thus the princess likes this, although she likes the fishcake ones just as much.

As we were rushing to catch a movie, I decided to make otah sandwiches for everyone, and also as a surprise for sis. :D

Pretty sandwich bento boxes.


Nam San Fresh Mackerel Otah
267 Joo Chiat Road

Chilli's, Resort World Sentosa

We spent a fun-filled week with sis and on one of those days, it being a Friday, we decided to catch a movie after the girl got home from school. And since we were at Vivo City, I suggested visiting Resort World and having dinner at Chilli's. I was told by a friend that the food served there was too salty so I told myself to steer clear of the items that she ordered on her visit there. Unfortunately that was the only restaurant I knew that existed there, and I did want to take sis and mum to Resort World.

It rained the entire afternoon and stopped just in time for us to make our way to Sentosa. However, while waiting for our food to be served, the rain started again and the downpour was so great we saw from our seat by the window, people scurrying everywhere, trying to get out of the rain. It didn't dampen their spirits though, as there were many more people milling about, being entertained by stilt walkers, probably from Universal Studios. I regret not having taken photos of the heavy downpour but it showed how badly designed the shelters were at Resort World. They are meant to be covers to keep out the rain, but in this case, the covers themselves were letting rain in.

I love the lampshades as well as this little guy on a propeller suspended from the ceiling. But most of all, I love the tables! Aren't the tiles gorgeous?

Time to check out the menu!

Ok, this is me! I feel like I'm on some quest to find the best melt-in-the mouth and moist ribs on this island.

Beer for the hubby and some electric blue blast slushy drink for the kid, from the children's set meal. I opted for a fruit punch.

No paparazzi please!

Kids' pasta came with fries.

Sis went for a prawn pasta dish.

Hubby surprised me by ordering a salad dish. He usually goes for burgers. :P

Mum had the pulled pork sandwich which she said was salty, but yummy.

This is my honey bbq ribs with a side of mash topped with cheese, bacon, and chives. Verdict - I still prefer the Brewerkz one.

All of us females were stuffed by the time we were done with dinner but hubby went for the dessert. I didn't check the name of this but it is a cake with chocolate chips, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and almond bits, drizzled with caramel/chocolate sauce which was overly sweet.