Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bangkok Kaya Cake

After a good break to Taiwan, I'm back to face reality.  We were on a Free & Easy holiday, that means alot of prep work to be done, from booking of plane tickets, itinerary and accommodation.  And just a week before our departure, DD1 developed a high fever of 40.4C.  With her fever, I kept her home and she had to miss 2 papers of her final year examinations.  I just couldn't take any risk since she wasn't in a good state of mind to take her exam, might as well keep her home.  However, I was taking another risk, worried that she might not end up in the top class since her final year exam results will be computed based on her mid-year exam.  The first thing I reached Singapore was to text the teacher to find out her results :P  I'm thankful she maintained her standard and will be going to the better class next year, but on the other hand, I fear she might not be able to catch up in the "elite" class.  Being a dawdler, she needs to put in more effort to improve her attitude in learning.  I can only wish for the best.

I'm thankful to my dearest friend, DO, who joined us in this trip.  She is my best travel companion.  Our very first trip was to the USA, and that very trip has proven that both of us can travel together.  It is not easy to find a compatible travel companion.  DO is not calculative and easy-going, especially not fussy on meals.  She has joined me in a few other trips to ANZ, including my honeymoon.  Yes, you've heard it correctly, honeymoon.  Prior to my wedding, she has joined me on a few occassions to visit DH in Australia.  And the interesting thing is, DH and her behaves more like a couple.  I couldn't cook then, so with her presence, she became our chef.  As most shops are closed at 5pm in Australia, we usually prepare our own dinner in the rented service apartment.  At the supermarket for grocery shopping, DH and her walked 2 - 3 metres ahead of me, discussing what to buy for dinner, what dessert, drinks and snacks.  Me?  Pushing the trolley behind them, like a typcal maid hahaha!!!

Due to our holidays, we had to celebrate my Mom's birthday earlier.  I thought I was prepared but I was wrong.  With the trip co-ordination and DD unwell, I was not in a good condition and took things for granted, thinking that my pantry had all the stuff I need.

My last frosted cake was back in April, I made a Nutella Chocolate Cake for DH's birthday.  Thereafter, all other birthday cakes were either ice cream cake or jelly cake.  Again, for Mom's birthday, there was no intention to make a frosted cake.

A friend told me about Bangkok Kaya Cake, I thought this cake was from Thailand but I was wrong.  I think it originated from Malaysia.  It is basically a sponge cake layer, plus a layer of coconut agar agar (kaya) and a 3rd layer of coffee agar agar.  Anyway, I was given this recipe but just didn't have the opportunity to make it.  And with Mom's birthday in mind, this is it!

I'm a sucker for chiffon cake so again, I used my regular chiffon cake recipe for the cake base.  Was planning to make a pandan chiffon cake, followed by a white layer of kaya, then the coffee layer.  But I realised I was left with only 2 packets of skim coconut milk amounting to 500ml, and this was barely enough for the kaya layer.  There goes my pandan cake...  change to Plan B, use milk instead of coconut.  But I have nil milk at home too!  It was 4pm the day before celebration and there was no time for last min shopping as I had to prepare dinner.  Left with no other options, I just had to make do with water.

Preparation was relatively easy, bake the cake, set aside to cool while preparing the coffee layer.  While the coffee layer is left to set, prepare the kaya layer and finally place the cake layer on top, chill in fridge and job completed.

It was getting late so I couldn't be bothered to slice the cake to desired thickness. Insufficient ingredients left me with a thin kaya layer, but what the heck. Most importantly, it was well received at the celebration.

I've not tasted an authentic Bangkok Kaya Cake so I can't comment if this is like the real thing.  What I can say is, my nieces and nephews asked for subsequent serving and SIL DL asked to pack the balance home :-)

Recipe later...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Lotus Roots with Cranberry Beans Soup

I'm a person who don't like confrontation.  But if need be, I'll do it protect myself and/or my family.

Of late, I've been getting nasty comments in my blog.  I might have stepped onto someone's toes ever since I blogged about the life of a SAHM.  I have received a few not too polite comments in my blog.  Besides blog, there was also some unpleasant instant messaging exchange with a friend.  To quote in general, the comments were "not everyone is interested to know the life of a sahm or to put themselves in my position".  Yes, I can fully understand and accept this fact.  But these people forgotten that this is MY BLOG.  If you don't like reading my posting, a simple solution is, don't visit me.  And to think that such similar remark came from a close friend, I felt disheartened.  No, I'm not angry with her, but just didn't expect something like this to come from her.  Anyway, life goes on and I still value her as a friend.

So, what's cooking?  This is a frequent question that pops up in my msn/skype.  I wonder what's my cooking got to do with you?  I'm not inviting you over for dinner so why ask for the sake of asking?  Hmm...

Anyway, just to share one of my favourite soup, Lotus Roots with Cranberry Beans Soup.  I love the nutty taste of cranberry beans.  I don't cook with peanuts for children under 5 years of age so I replaced peanuts with cranberry beans and I think the soup taste equally good too!  Alright, confession time, I didn't create this soup, I learnt it from Sis C.

Look how beautiful these gems are!  And they taste great too!  (my kids don't like the cranberry beans though they don't mind drinking the soup).

My little helpers at work (this pic was taken in Aug 2009, DD3 was 1.5 years old then).  I like to get them involved in the preparation to make them feel useful :-)

Lotus Roots with Cranberry Beans Soup
300g pork ribs
1 large or 2 medium section of lotus roots, remove skin and cut into slices/chucks
250g - 300g cranberry beans/shell beans, shells removed
10 - 15 pitted red dates
5 dried scallops (optional)
1 dried cuttlefish (optional)
1.5 - 2 litres water
Salt to taste

  • Blanch pork ribs with boiling water.
  • In a pot, bring 1.5 litre water to boil and add all ingredients (except cranberry beans). Using medium fire, bring water to boil again and cook for 10 - 15 minutes, reduce to small flame and simmer for 2 hours.
  • Add in cranberry beans and let it cook for another 30 mins - 1 hour.
  • Add salt to taste before serving.