Save Mother Earth!!!

Mother Earth is suffering and so are we. However all these sufferings are done by us. We ignored all the advise given to prevent global warming, giving excuses such as laziness, ‘everything is still fine, why fret about it’. Right now, we are facing the consequences.

The recent dry-spell in Singapore is one of the severe consequences faced by Singaporeans. It was the longest dry-spell Singapore had experienced. The day was warm, humid and dry. Fallen leaves turned into golden brown, making it feel like autumn, which Singapore does not have. Lakes were dried out, leaving lily pads on the cracked ground. It was a sight I never thought I would see.

Our neighbouring countries also experienced the dry-spell. They went on water rationing to limit the amount of water used. It felt like being at war again, when supplies were limited, people suffering and the world in chaos. For this instance, water are limited, people suffering under the scorching sun and the nation begging for rain.

We could no longer avoid  climate change from happening, however we could prevent it. A simply act could go a long way. Remember the 3 ‘R’s, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. I know people in Singapore could not go without their air-condition, including me, but we could reduce the use of it. Limiting the use of air-condition to only when you are heading to bed. Use the fan during the day and air-condition at night! Next, people alway toss away the plastic containers that they get when buying food from the food court. We could always reuse it when we are buying food the next time at the food court. Simply ask the hawkers to pack your food into the plastic containers you brought. Lastly, HDB blocks (Housing Development Board) have recycle bins at the void deck. Make use of them. Cans, plastic bottles, glass bottles and many more could all be recycled in one way or another. Pack them accordingly and recycle them at the bottom of the block.

I understand you might find it troublesome at first, however once you get used to it, it gets simpler.Here’s a qoute from Og Mandino, Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.”

Therefore this year, I am joining hundreds of people at The Float @ Marina Bay for ‘Earth Hour’. I do hope I will increase my knowledge of ways to prevent global warming. I will be there,having fun and creating awareness, Would you?

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Say CHEESE!

Cheesecake is loved by mostly everyone. From New York Cheesecake to unbaked cheesecake, the creamy and sweet delicacy would melt everyone’s heart. My guilty-pleasures are cheesecake. I could eat slice after slice everyday. Okay, everyday is a little too much, let’s say monthly! I could devoured cheesecake in a blink of an eye with a cup of tea. My aunt is a big fan of my cheesecake. Whenever we meet, she would always request for me to bake a cheesecake especially for her. I’m deeply grateful for the support, even if it’s only from my family. When I heard the news of her sharing my cheesecake with her colleague, I was beaming from ear to ear when she told me her colleague praised my cheesecake and she was left with very little to eat herself. It was a pleasant thing to hear as my baking is loved from many.

So today, I would like to share my ultimate cheesecake recipe!

The original recipe are for mini cheesecake, however I reconstructed it to a cake-like cheesecake.

The ultimate Cheesecake!
The ultimate Cheesecake!

Cheesecakes

Cheesecake batter:

2-8oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

2-3 tsp fresh lemon juice

2 eggs

1 tsp. lemon rind (for extra lemon flavor, optional*)

12 Digestive biscuits

3 tablespoon melted unsalted butter

Blueberry sauce: (Optional)

2 cups of fresh blueberries

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tbsp. cornstarch

1-2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Strawberry sauce: (Optional) 

2 cups fresh strawberries

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. cornstarch

Cheesecake:

1. Line baking pans with butter or baking paper.

2. Crush the digestive biscuits till its resembles breadcrumbs and pour in melted butter to bind the biscuits to create the base.

3. Press the biscuits on your baking tray, pop it into the fridge till your cheesecake batter is done and ready to bake!

2. Beat together the cream cheese and granulated sugar then add in vanilla extract, fresh lemon juice and eggs. Mix until batter is smooth.

3. Fill each paper liner 2/3 full with cheesecake batter.

4. Bake in preheated 325F (165 degree C) oven for 20 minutes or till skewer inserted comes out clean. Place on wire racks to cool

Blueberry sauce:

1. Add fresh blueberries, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice into a small saucepan. Cook on low heat for 5-10 minutes until mixture thickens.

2. Cool slightly, then top in the centers of the baked mini cheesecakes.

Strawberry sauce:

1. Add strawberries, salt and cornstarch into a small saucepan. Cook on low heat for 5-10 minutes until mixture thickens.

2. Cool slightly, then pour a layer over the baked mini cheesecakes.

For the best taste, place them cool in the fridge for a couple hours or overnight before serving.

I too tried the mini cheesecake with the blueberry sauce.

Making the base.
Making the base.
Tried the mini cheesecakes.
Tried the mini cheesecakes.
Cheesecake with the blueberry sauce
Cheesecake with the blueberry sauce

I obtained this cheesecake recipe from http://www.joyceyvonna.com/ ! She’s a Youtuber as well , @ joyceyvonne . She makes really cool and pretty pastry! And I keep going back for more interesting recipes!

There were a few mistakes I made while doing these cheesecakes and have yet to find the answer. Whenever I bake these cheesecakes, a few of them would sink in after they are cooled. I have no idea why is that so, therefore I would keep trying and practicing till I get a cheesecake that would not sink in. Or if you have the answer, do comment and help me achieve a cheesecake without a depth.

For those cheesecake lovers out there, baking cheesecake is not tough. Once you pick up the whisk and try baking, I believe you would have a great time baking your cheesecake. Good luck & Have fun.

What happen to Flight MH370?

On the 8th of March, Saturday, a Beijing-bound aircraft disappeared, departing from Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. The aircraft carried 239 people with nationalities all around the world. I heard the news on Sunday afternoon. I was taken aback by the news, it happened too sudden. Questions started flowing through my mind. ‘How did it happen?’ ‘Where was it headed to?’ ‘Who are involved?’

I opened Twitter to find many individuals sending their prayers to the passengers and their families and friends. It certainly has affected many.

In the next few days, Singapore along with many other neighbouring countries sent ships and airplanes to help search for the missing aircraft. I took this topic to relate to my studies in school. It made learning come to life. What I’ve learnt was about Diplomacy during Social Studies. Diplomacy means a strategy for establishing friendly relations with other countries. It allows countries to help each other when in need. And Singapore has demonstrated such acts for sending out help, and to be able to call Singapore my home, it is my honour. This issue has also made me understand that diplomacy is important to every part of the world. Be it if the country is big or small, it needs one another to work closely, to solve problems. My learning perspective has change; it made me want to venture more into other sources, other than textbooks and worksheets.

It was a misfortune such accident happened and I sincerely hope that the aircraft would be found soon and allow the families and friends of those passengers and the crew members be at ease.

Sending out my condolences to the families and friends of those on board on MH370.

Red-velvet Madness!

Red-velvet cake or cupcake has recently become a trend in cafes. I personally have not try one before however dark red colour attracted my eyes and it made me yearn to bake red-velvet cupcakes.

Fortunately for me, with the support of my aunt, she decided to purchase 2 dozens of red-velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. I very happily accepted that order and got straight down to it. With so much to make, planning is required. From the grocery shopping to the calculation of ingredients, then I begin!

 

Flour measurement~
Creaming butter and sugar~ 
Batter~
Batter~
Spooning each scoop of batter into paper cases.
Spooning each scoop of batter into paper cases.

Note: Try to avoid dripping small drips of batter onto muffin tin. You don’t want a hard time cleaning up the tray..

The Red-velvet cupcakes
The Red-velvet cupcakes

The highly anticipated Red-velvet cupcake recipe,

60g unsalted butter at room temperature
150g caster sugar
1 egg
20g cocoa powder
40ml red food colouring
½ tsp vanilla extract
120ml buttermilk
150g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1½ tsp white vinegar
1 x 12-hole cupcake tray, lined with paper cases

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3.
2. Put the butter and the sugar in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy and well mixed. Turn the mixer up to high speed, slowly add the egg and beat until everything is well incorporated.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract to make a very thick, dark paste. Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly combined and coloured (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Turn the mixer down to slow speed and slowly pour in half the buttermilk.
4. Beat until well mixed, then add half the flour and beat until everything is well incorporated. Repeat this process until all the buttermilk and flour have been added. Scrape down the side of the bowl again. Turn the mixer up to high speed and beat until you have a smooth, even mixture. Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. Beat until well mixed, then turn up the speed again and beat for a couple more minutes.
5. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely. When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the cream cheese frosting on top.

Another view of the Red-velvet cupcakes!
Another view of the Red-velvet cupcakes!

Next would be the frosting. The delicious frosting that make the cupcakes, oh so perfect! However when you want to frost these badboyz, the cupcakes HAVE to be cooled. It takes about 2 hours or more for the cupcakes to cool, so I suggest you bake the cupcakes a day ahead, to be safe. And that was what I did! I baked the cupcakes a day ahead to prevent the frosting to melt.

Frosting:
300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold

To make the frosting by beating the icing sugar the remaining 20g of the unsalted butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat it until it is completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least five minutes. Do not overbeat, as it can quickly become runny.

The fun but 'hands-are-too-shaky' part...
The fun but ‘hands-are-too-shaky’ part…
The attentiveness scares me..
The attentiveness scares me..
Frosted!
Frosted!

 

Luckily everything went to plan and I produced the cupcakes out in time! So after the red devils were frosted, I packed them up and waited for the arrival of my aunt!

All packed and ready to go!
All packed and ready to go!

I got my red-velvet recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook by Tarek Malouf and The Hummingbird Bakers  (Ryland, Peters & Small, $10.59). Photograph, Peter Cassidy. I enjoyed the rest of the recipes in the cookbook and looking forward in trying out out of their produces.

For those out there wanting to try Red-velvet cupcakes, go ahead and give it a go! I’m sure you would enjoy it as much as I did. Do give the recipe a try and Good Luck & Have fun!

To end off today’s post, here’s a photo of cheeky me, with the mess on me.

A cheeky photo of me with the aftermath of baking red-velvet..
A cheeky photo of me with the aftermath of baking red-velvet..

 

The Joy of Giving…

My parent always tells me that its better to give than to receive. And I absolutely agree with the phrase. The pleasure after giving always leave me beaming like a fool, every time, it never fails. So late last month I decided to bake 17 cupcakes for a beautiful and lovely friend of mine on her birthday. The thought of it excites me. The planning, the grocery shopping, the baking and finally, the giving. It wasn’t easy but it ain’t too difficult to do it all by myself. So I would like to share with you the project of giving.

Step 1: Planning.

I begun planning for the baking a week before I planned to give her the cupcakes.The amount of planning wasn’t massive but it needed detailed instructions, therefore I gotta be extra careful with whatever calculations I do. The calculations included the batches of cupcakes I’ll be doing and the amount of ingredients I needed.

Icing recipe that I rescaled to half.
Icing recipe that I rescaled to half.
Icing recipe calculated into half.
Icing recipe calculated into half.
Icing recipe calculated into half.
Cupcake recipe calculated into half.
The untidy ingredient list ..
The untidy ingredient list ..

Step 2: Grocery Shopping!

I believe this is my most anticipated part of the process! Well, it involves shopping and food! What’s there not to like??? With the ingredient list written out, all I gotta do is hunt down for the materials I needed. I’m pretty familiar with the items in the supermarket, so it didn’t take me too long to get what I required

Natural state of me!
Natural state of me in the supermarket!

Step 3: The baking!!!

So I baked a total of 3 different types of cupcake, red velvet, banana and lemon. I had the most enjoyable time baking the red velvet cupcakes. It made a huge mess in the kitchen and on me but it was such a pleasurable time baking those cupcakes! And the banana cupcakes were pretty interesting as well, the spices were so fragrant and the cupcakes turned out beautifully. The lemon cupcakes were the least messy, however it as fun.

A neat table-top to start the baking!
A neat table-top to start the baking!
The red-velvet batter that was so fun to make!
The red-velvet batter that was so fun to make!
Red-velvet Cupcakes!
Red-velvet Cupcakes!
Banana Cupcakes
Banana Cupcakes
Lemon Cupcakes!!
Lemon Cupcakes!!

Step 3.1: The frosting!!

I guess piping the frosting onto the cupcakes was great fun as well! Yes, it can get messy but sticky, messy and sweet! I did a total of only 2 type of frosting, lemon and chocolate frosting! Both turned out great, thank god! I feared the frosting would not hardened by the time I deliver the cupcakes to her.

Chocolate frosting on banana cupcake.
Chocolate frosting on banana cupcake.
Chocolate frosting on red-velvet.
Chocolate frosting on red-velvet.
Lemon frosting on lemon cupcake.
Lemon frosting on lemon cupcake.

I didn’t frost the cupcakes with some fancy pattern. I was going for a rustic and old-fashioned way.

All packed and ready to go!
All packed and ready to go!

Step 4: The giving.

I was so eager to deliver the cupcakes I baked for her. I was ecstatic. All I was thinking about was ‘Would she like the cupcakes’ , ‘Is it too crazy for giving 17 cupcakes’ , ‘How is she gonna finish all of them’ ! All those crazy thoughts were flowing around my mind! However I went ahead to deliver the cupcakes to the birthday girl.

Birthday girl!
Birthday girl!

All in all, it was an enjoyable process for this project. From the planning to the giving, it was a massive idea but I’m glad I made it possible! To the birthday girl, I hoped you enjoyed your 17 cupcakes and may you be 17 time sweeter and happier. Happy Belated Birthday my dear!

Making 17 cupcakes ain’t so tough, if you really want to make it happen you can. Believe in yourself and strive to do your greatest. Good Luck & Have Fun.

And since there were more cupcakes left, I decided to give my crazily obsessed with cupcakes friend!

IMG_2778

Yes, and for those red-velvet fans, I’ll be posting my red-velvet recipe in the next post, so stay tune~

A Mother’s Love.

This post is dedicated to my lovely Mum, who turned a year older today, 11th of March.

I didn’t prepare any fancy gift for her, so I guess this post is for her.

Happy Birthday, Mummy Tan.
Happy Birthday, Mummy Tan.

Every birthday needs a cake. I figured baking one myself would be a better gesture than buying one for her. So I picked up my whisk and baked her a cake. I had an image of how I wanted my cake to be. It was covered with fresh cream, with blueberries at the side of the cake and strawberries on top of the cake and in between the cake, there’s cream with strawberry. However, the cake didn’t go exactly to plan…

I started off with my usual butter cake as the base. While the cake was cooling, I whipped up some cream. I over-whipped the cream and it became watery milk and buttery-like stuff. I was quite upset.. So the only way is to get ready-made whipped cream. With the cream already made, I folded some strawberry pieces with the cream. Then cut the cake into half and spread the strawberry cream over, after that, covered with the other layer of cake.

Strawberry cream in between the cake.
Strawberry cream in between the cake.
The inside of the cake
The inside of the cake

After I covered the top cake layer, I spread the cream all over the cake, which didn’t go too well either as the cake was not completely cooled, hence the cream started melting a little while i did the decorations on top of the cake. When I approved of the decorations above, I quickly placed the cake back into the refrigerator.(Note: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, let the cake cool for at least 2 hours as the cream might melt and make the cake soggy.)

Birthday cake for Mummy Tan
Birthday cake for Mummy Tan
Birthday cake for Mummy Tan
Birthday cake for Mummy Tan

I was really glad she loved the cake because it wasn’t how I wished it was, but I accepted the fact that the cream failed… It was great fun baking the birthday cake and I sure will bake for many more other occasion! For those out there who wants to bake for your love ones, fear not and just do it! With love and effort, I’m sure the cake will turn out great! Good luck & Have Fun!!

P.S. To the strong and brave woman I know, Happy Birthday. You’ve grown a year older and a year wiser now. And in a blink of an eye, you brought me up for 17 years now. Thank you for enduring my rather annoying attitude and for the many talks you have given me, be it when I’m down or in need. Thank You Mummy Tan, I appreciate all that you’ve done and be looking forward for more! HEHE!! Happy Birthday!! LOVE YOU!

Carrot Cake cupcake!!!

Who doesn’t love vegetables in cupcake!! Okay, a lot of people doesn’t.. But how about in a cupcake form…? Everyone loves cupcakes!

Carrot Cake cupcake with Cream Cheese frosting
Carrot Cake cupcake with Cream Cheese frosting

I first made the cupcakes during the year-end holiday as I set myself with a checklist of different types of cakes I wanted to bake and carrot cake cupcakes were one of them! I am a big fan of carrot cake with loads of cream cheese frosting, yes, it is sinful but guilty pleasure are to be taken once in a while..  Without further ado, below are the ingredients and steps for a Carrot Cake cupcake indulgence… Enjoy!

Carrot Cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
Carrot Cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

For the Cupcakes
2 large eggs
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup sour cream or thick Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
pinch salt, optional and to taste
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated carrots (2 to 3 medium/large carrots, peeled)
1/2 cup raisins, optional
1/2 cup nuts, optional

For the Frosting
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese (light is okay), softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
about 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, more or less as desired

DIRECTIONS:

  1. For the Cupcakes – Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 12-count muffin pan very well with floured cooking spray or use liners (Cosmetically, I prefer avoiding the ripples and ridges that liners produce)
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the first 11 ingredients (through optional salt) until combined.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and stir until just combined, don’t overmix.
  4. Fold in the carrots, optional raisins and nuts. Note about the carrots – I use a box grater on the coarsest blade and it takes less than 2 minutes to grate them. I prefer the consistency of doing it by hand rather than using a food processor. Don’t use bagged, pre-shredded carrots from the grocery store; grate them yourself.
  5. Turn batter out into prepared pan. Fill each muffin cavity between 2/3 and 3/4-full. Do not exceed 3/4-full because they will overflow. You may have batter remaining for a 13th (or 14th) cupcake and it’s better to either discard it or bake it in another pan even though it’s a pain for just 1 cupcake. I have overfilled, and then overflown, trying to make it all work in one pan.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until cupcakes are domed, set, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Allow cupcakes to cool in pan for about 15 minutes before removing and turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. While cupcakes cool, make the Frosting – With an electric mixer, beat together first three ingredients on high power until combined and light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  8. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and beat to incorporate. Play with sugar ratio based on desired frosting consistency. If you accidentally add too much sugar, add a bit more cream cheese to thin it out.
  9. Frost the cooled cupcakes. I spoon on about 2 tablespoons frosting per cupcake. Pipe it with a piping bag if desired. If you have extra frosting, it will keep airtight in the refrigerator for many weeks. Frosted cupcakes will keep airtight in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Unfrosted cupcakes will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 3 months.
Carrot Cake cupcake with cream cheese frosting
Carrot Cake cupcake with cream cheese frosting

The frosting wasn’t done in a very fancy way as the cupcakes were only consumed at home and above the cupcakes was a Swiss roll I did on the same day I did the cupcakes!

(Recipe gotten from http://www.averiecooks.com/. Averie cooks is also a blog run by Averie Sunshine and she does many other great recipes, you should check her out!)
Overall, I enjoyed the whole process of baking the cupcakes, from the tough work of grating the carrots to whipping the fluffy cream cheese frostings! I hope you enjoy baking the cupcakes, if you do, comment or praise about how good your cupcakes are!! Good luck and Have Fun!
You must be wondering why there are 3 post this week. This is a bonus post as my blog have surpassed 200 views! So thank you to all you readers out there!! APPRECIATED! THANK YOU!!