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Archive for the ‘food’ Category

20140427_193802[1]Champagne Truffle and I were having a discussion on lavender the other day during Secretaries’ Week lunch which reminded me of the little container-full of lavender I have stashed on my piano gifted to me by Patrick the Chef some years ago.

I’ve used it once to make lavender chocolate cake (not very successful because it was way too flowery) while The Other Half tried to use it to infuse cream for chocolate truffles. Thereafter, it lay forgotten on the top of my piano.

So the weekend past, I had to make a birthday cake for my mother-in-law and decided to re-visit the pot of lavender and my recipe for lavender chocolate cake (with a greatly reduced amount of lavender).

The result, I must say, was really quite lovely.

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mints from secretary T

mints from secretary T

It’s Christmas Eve.

I’m so disinterested in work I can’t believe I am even sitting at my desk.

Doodles with the ink I got from my Secret Santa!

Doodles with the ink I got from my Secret Santa!

So if I don’t check in before tomorrow…

gingerbread house with baba-yaga (!!) from secretary A

gingerbread house with baba-yaga (!!) from secretary A

Merry Christmas!! Happy feasting 😀

turkey!

turkey!

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IMG_20130804_173811[1]It was my sister-in-law’s birthday over last weekend. She checked into a hotel at Resorts World Sentosa and we brought the kids over to hang out on both Saturday and Sunday. We had earlier asked her what she wanted for her birthday cake and she replied that she wanted something non-chocolate.

On Saturday, we all went to Universal Studios and found out, much to the delight of Peanut, that over the year, she had grown tall enough to make it for the Transformers ride. She was so pleased that she rode on it twice and while we were walking through the gift shop after, she insisted that we bought a robot for Lion, who could not go on the ride and spent all that time pottering about outside with my mother-in-law staring at all of the installations. He’s currently in a robot phase and has developed an insane obsession with Iron Man.

We left Peanut to stay over with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law and brought Lion home to bed. After putting Lion to bed, I started on the chiffon cake.

For the record, I have never actually made a chiffon cake in my life. This is the first try, and after putting it into the oven and finishing the washing up, I realised to my complete shock that I forgot to add cold water to the heavy batter. I then spent the rest of the night wondering first whether it will rise, then after I took it out of the oven, wondering whether it will deflate overnight.

Quite luckily it didn’t so the next morning, I made and applied the icing and The Other Half grilled some peaches and we were ready to go! It was lovely and everyone enjoyed it very much. I will probably make it again (with ALL of its ingredients).

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toffee apples

1. Procure and wash some organic unwaxed apples and leave them out to dry on the sink.

2. Place 1.5 cups of brown sugar with 1/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of corn syrup in a saucepan over low heat. Then decide that this should be an adult version and add in another 1/4 cup of dark rum. Stir till sugar crystals dissolve and leave it to heat, occasionally shifting and rocking the pot to get rid of heat spots.

3. Go and lie down on your kick ass sofa and wait. Check the temperature of the liquid about once every 15 to 30 minutes.

4. Take a picture of the inconsiderate cat who sits on your chest and pushes her butt into your bored and disgruntled face with the front facing camera of your mobile phone as follows:

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5. When the temperature of the liquid passes 135degC, stand over the pot with the thermometer and watch it like a hawk till it hits 148degC to 150degC. Turn off the heat and move the pan off the stove to cool.

6. Cut disposable chopsticks into half and drive them through the top of 6 apples. Lay non-stick paper onto a tray and place it next to the pot of molten sugar.

7. Stare at the molten sugar, wondering why the bubbles have not disappeared on their own. Then add 1 teaspoon of cochineal red colouring and stir the caramel till all the bubbles have disappeared.

8. Coat the apples and let it set on your dining table under the ceiling fan.

Toffee Apples complete!

Toffee Apples complete!

9. Serve them, gift wrapped, to your best friend in Court the next day for his 50th birthday!

The End 🙂

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Have I ever told you what a great guy The Other Half is? A couple of weeks back, we arranged to meet after work at Kino to procure a travel guidebook for our upcoming family holiday. We were to meet at 6:30pm, which meant that I needed to get off work latest at 6:00pm, which I didn’t manage to until 6:20pm [story of my life]. When I finally got there, he was calmly seated in Coffee Club with a drink and a book, with no outbursts or recriminations at my extreme latecoming.

at a corner of gallery hotel...

at a corner of gallery hotel…

When I was leaving work, I told my girls I married the most patient man on earth!: The man who would just quietly take a nap on the couch on his birthday morning while waiting for the kids and I to finish pottering about the dining room mixing up a cake and waiting an hour for it to be done, then later help with getting the kids ready and drive out to a hole-in-the-wall ramen place to satisfy ramen cravings, then asking me on the drive home how come I stopped playing Liszt’s La Campanella, which I stopped playing years ago because he developed La Campanella fatigue hearing me murder it on the piano every day.

Thank you for everything, my love. Hope you enjoyed the cake!

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the side salad full of love

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…is made out of 1 cup of mixed bean shoots lovingly sowed by JoMelChaton in a aluminium roasting tray and lovingly tended by The Other Half for the last three weeks or so, one part of Raspberry vinaigrette with one part of Citrus-infused extra virgin olive oil both lovingly picked out as Christmas presents to JoMelChaton from The Best Friend, with a sprinking of grated parmesan cheese 🙂

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comfort food

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I love tomato soup. There’s something about that warm salty tanginess that makes me feel instantly better about life.

I’d never had tomato soup till I was 12 years old. That year, my mother’s elder brother fell critically ill from colon cancer [who eventually passed away a year later] and my mother went over to his place in the east coast to care for him everyday. I was therefore left pretty much to my own devices after school. Although I was supposed to be studying for my PSLE, I ended up spending a lot of those afternoons wandering around Holland Village, reading out almost the whole fiction collection at the Queenstown Library, playing preludes after preludes, sonatas after sonatas, and eating all kinds of nonsense for lunch, like Campbell’s Cream of Tomato Soup. Everything but mug for the most important exams in my 6 years of primary school education.

My mother never bought tomato soup because my father doesn’t like sour stuff. But left on my own, I drank tins of the stuff, then sat at the piano or read or roamed the streets and dreamed, which explained my eventual  disappointing [for my parents at least] results for my PSLE. I think my mother still thinks that I was mixing with bad company in those afternoons. It got to a point where she demanded that I called her by a certain time from home to report attendance. Not that there was much she could do about it since she was all the way in the east and I was all the way in the west and it would have taken her a 1.5-hour bus ride to get back to me. I never had the heart to tell her that I was my own bad company; I was my very own bad idea friend. In those afternoons, I brooded a lifelong tendency towards solitude and introspection, which resulted in life being so much harder for me as a teenager / young adult. Even till now, my anti-social-ness remains legendary. I remain my own best lunch buddy.

In my poor uni days, I used to make a version of tomato soup [learnt from the afternoons I skipped lectures to watch Oliver’s Twist because I had no friends in school and felt a great sense of despair when faced with group situations in school] involving tomatoes, orange juice and thickened with potatoes. But since I passed 30 and went through childbirth, the potatoes became a tad too much for me since my metabolism went off somewhere to die.

I now make a version which is lighter and creamier but without any cream. I make up a pot on alternate weekends and freeze portions to microwave for lunch at work through the week. It goes like this:

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