Friday, December 31, 2010

Dad's Birthday cum Christmas Party

I've totally, completely forgotten about Dad's birthday this year.  I don't know what I'm busy with since I haven't been cooking nor baking much, but I just seem to be busier.

Last December, I baked Dad a Santa Claus cake and I was planning to bake him a log cake this year.  But after some thoughts, I decided against it and decided to bake him a proper birthday cake.

His birthday celebration was initially planned on Boxing Day but was brought forward to Christmas Day instead.  I had promised to meet up with AH for a gathering in her house on Christmas Eve, with some ex-colleagues whom I've not met for years.  Although she's staying at the other end of Singapore and to travel there by public transport with 3 kids, I think it will probably take me 2 hours from point to point.  I'm so looking forward to this gathering as I've not met them since I left the company in Feb 2008.  But with the change in date, I couldn't make it for the gathering. (Sorry AH, you organise another one next year, I'll try to make it, I promise).

After googling online for some cake ideas, I decided to bake him a longevity cake and found this design that I think I might be able to complete.  Though it doesn't look as presentable, I think it is still acceptable, at least for a home baked cake.

I didn't want to buy any colour paste just for this so I added some mixed berries jam, which I got the idea from Bakertan.  The colour didn't turn out too vibrant, but I think it is still acceptable.

Glazed the fruits with piping gel/jelly (mix 2 part piping gel/jelly with 1 part water) to keep the fruits fresh.
For my layered cakes, I never stablise the whipped cream although I've heard and read about this method.  With Singapore's humid weather, my whipped cream always melt on me so I decided to put a stop to melting cream.  There are several ways of stablising whipped cream and I chose the one using gelatin.  I've always used powdered gelatin but since my parents don't eat beef, I had to use gelatin leaves instead.  After mixing in the gelatin mixture, the whipped cream was left in the fridge as I was unable to frost the cake immediately.  When I took it out for the fridge to frost, the whipped cream was too firm to be frosted and I had to thaw it for a few minutes before I could use it.  However, this texture makes piping much easier.

Besides baking Dad a cake, I made agar agar too.

Sometime back, I saw this cendol agar agar in KG's facebook and I asked her for the recipe.  Unfortunately I was too preoccupied to make this and totally forgotten about it.  Then I saw it in Wendy's blog again after several months.  I've always wanted to make this but there were simply no occassion.  Making agar agar with 2 packets of agar agar powder is way too much for my family.  With Dad's birthday celebration, this is the perfect time for me to make this.

I bought cendol for our local supermarket and used thin coconut milk instead.  It's probably me but I try not to feed my family with too much coconut milk.  Despite rinsing the cendol in running water, the agar agar still turned out green.  I'll share about my experience in my next entry. 

We had potluck at my parent's house and here's sharing what my siblings brought (didn't manage to take a picture of what Bro L brought as he was late - he bought Tanjong Rhu Pau yummy!).

I missed out on Bro K's curry fish head too.


Food and companion, we had a great time!  I just love family gatherings!

Back to Dad's longevity cake, I think I whipped my egg whites and folded it well without deflating too much of the egg whites.  This resulted in a tall cake and I was able to slice the cake into 3 layers.  Again, I used my regular chiffon cake base recipe and the cake turned out light and fluffy.

Longevity Cake Recipe
4 egg yolks
Pinch of salt
30g castor sugar

60ml corn oil
125ml milk/water

150g cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
*sifted together

4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
30g sugar

  1. Mix ingredients (A) well with a hand whisk.
  2. Add (B) into yolk mixture, stir well.
  3. Stir (C) into yolk mixture and mix well.
  4. Whip egg whites in a clean mixing bowl until big bubbles are formed. Add in the cream of tartar and whip until white in colour. Add in sugar over 3 times and whip until egg whites is stiff.
  5. Fold in 1/3 of the whites into the yolk mixture using a rubber spatula till incorporated.
  6. Pour the mixture to the remaining egg whites and fold in gently till incorporated.
  7. Pour the batter into a 8" round pan. Bang the pan on the table to get rid of bubbles.
  8. Bake in preheated oven of 170C for 20 minutes.
  9. Turn down the temperature to 160C and bake for 30mins.
  10. Reduce the temperature to 150 deg.C and bake for a further 5 to 10mins to brown the surface.
  11. Remove from the oven and invert the pan. Remove the cake from pan when it's completely cooled.
  12. Cut cooled cake into 3 layers and decorate accordingly.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Prawn Fritters With Vegetables

When night falls, I have many thoughts in my mind but when I'm sitting in front of the computer, my mind goes blank.  Blogging definitely needs inspiration to keep the entry interesting.  But today, my brain needs some rest.  I've been sleeping for 4 hours daily for the past 2 months as there are simply too many chores.  No, my house is not in tip top condition but the daily marketing, cooking, washing, cleaning, laundry is enough to exhaust me.  And yes, DH is overseas again, I think I only get to see him for a week or two in a month.  With DH away, I'm taking over his chores and I'm completely exhausted by 11pm.  And when I lie on the bed at 1am - 2am (alright, I skived, I did catch some movies on cable/surf the net for some ME TIME), my brain just can't stop working, thinking of the many events that happened and what's going to happen/prepare the next day.  Then , I'm in the state of insomnia again, almost every night.  I do not know what time I fall asleep but I will be awaken by DD3 for feed at least once and by 7am, the whole family is awake.

I initially thought this will be a short and quick entry but it took me almost 2 hours to complete.  Gosh, better stop now and get my butt moving, need to walk the dog.

Prawn Fritters With Vegetable Recipe
Recipe by Anncoo

100g prawns
1 onion - shredded (I used small onions)
1 small Carrot - grated or cut to thin match sticks
some finely cut spring onion or coriander leaves
Some salt and pepper

For the Batter
1 Egg yolk with enough water to make 150ml
3/4 cup Plain flour
1 1/2 tbsp Rice flour


    1. Remove shell and vein from prawns then cut to cubes not too small. Season with some pepper and salt.
    2. Combine the batter ingredients together in a measuring cup and blend into a smooth texture paste.
    3. Add enough oil (its usually sunflower/corn oil in my pantry) for shallow frying with two drops of sesame oil in wok.
    1.  In a medium bowl add prawn cubes, grated carrot, shredded onions and spring onion together.
    1. Then add about 2-3 tbsp of batter (not too thick) into the prawn mixture.
    2. Drop the coated prawn mixture in small portion into hot oil gently with a fork and spoon and shallow fry till golden brown. Dish up and drain oil well.
    3. Serve with mayonnaise or dipping sauce.

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    Steamed Brownie

    I'm not a brownie lover, especially when we're talking about dense and dry brownies.  But when I saw this in Edith's blog, I knew I must try it as it is steamed!  Yes, you've heard me alright, steamed.

    This is a very simple recipe, no fuss at all.

    It doesn't taste very much like the regular store bought brownie, the texture and taste are entirely different.

    Please pardon the pictures as I used natural lightings but it was a scorching hot day and the rays were too strong.  I should have adjusted the brightness level but I was plain lazy.

    Steamed Brownie
    Source: Magic Steamed Cake
    Recipe seen here

    100g butter
    85g chocolate

    170g castor sugar
    3 eggs (large)

    20g cocoa powder
    170g plain flour
    1 1/4 tsp double action baking powder
    1/2 tsp baking soda

    120g chopped walnut

    1. Melt chocolate and butter over double boiler till chocolate melted. Set aside.
    2. Whisk egg with sugar till sugar dissolved. Add in cooled chocolate mixture. Mix well.
    3. Sieve C and then it to the chocolate/egg mixture.
    4. Add the walnuts.
    5. Pour into a 8" X 8" square pan (or 22 X 20cm).
    6. Steam on high for 30 mins. Set aside to cool.
    7. Coat with ganache (I omit as I was lazy again)