Friday 31 January 2014

CNY 1st day breakfast for the family

I always have those fond memories of Chinese New Year celebrations during my childhood days (perhaps aged 6 to 10).  Not so much about playing with fire crackers though (kampung days) before the ban imposed. On the 1st day, my mother would wake up early around 5:30am in the morning to prepare breakfast for the family.  I could still remember some of those specially made dishes like steamed yam cake (芋头糕), steamed glutinous rice with chinese sausages and peanuts (糯米饭), fried noodle or bee hood etc.  When we woke up, the nice fragrance food were still hot layed on the dining table. So, obviously the children had to quickly wash up, changed to our new year wear and honour our CNY well wishes and blessings to our parents before the start of our hearty breakfast.   As an adult, I do helpout the preparation of CNY breakfast occasionally until I got married.  Due to time constraint, working life and the need to look after the young kids, some of these traditional homemade dishes "no longer exists" when we would settled with quick and easy breakfast like butter cookies, cereal or sandwiches etc. Afterwhich, the family would be out the whole day for CNY visitation to relatives' places.  This year, I would like to bring back some of those fond memories of traditional CNY dish ... I made the steamed glutinous rice using my mother's recipe but modified the ingredients slightly.  Instead of adding the Chinese sausages (腊肠) and peanuts, I used BBQ pork (肉干)and roasted cashew nuts instead.  Feeling so blessed that my family enjoyed this special cooked breakfast this morning.

Steamed glutinous rice with BBQ pork & cashew nuts 
Ingredients: 4 - 5 servings
Glutinous rice (sweet rice) 250g
Soaked with water overnight
Dried mushrooms 5 - 7 pcs soaked with warm water till soften. Diced.
BBQ sliced pork 2 pcs - cut small bit size.
Roasted Cashew nuts - about 20g
Garlic 2 - 3 pcs crushed
Cooking oil 2 tablespoons

Seasoning mixture
Water 80ml
2 tablespoons dark soya sauce
1 tablespoon light soya sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
A pinch of salt, dash of white pepper.

Some spring onions for garnish

1) Glutinous rice - Drain the water and set aside.
2) Prepare the steamer.
3) Heat wok or pan (medium flame) add cooking oil.  Add in the crushed garlics till fragrant.  Add in the mushrooms and stir-fry about 1 min.
4) Pour in the glutinous rice stir-fry about 1 min. Pour in the seasoning mixture. Continue to stir fry another 5 mins. Add in the BBQ pork & cashew nuts and combine thoroughly.
5) Transfer the rice to a metal or heat proof plate.
6) Place in steamer and steam for about 25 mins.

Serve hot. Garnish with some spring onions when serving.
迎新春、过新年!May the new year brings you good health & fortunes always.

Sunday 26 January 2014

2014 CNY home-baked cookies

Finally, mission is completed! Tired & exhausted night for me. Yes, late night baking 2 types of CNY cookies. My 1st attempt on baking Coconut Cranberry cookies. Yummy ! The aroma of the coconut fragrance and the light buttery texture of the cookies. Tasted good with a cup of hot beverage. I have baked German cookies before and they are my teens favorite. Well, we will definitely enjoy these home-baked cookies!

Coconut Cranberry Cookies

Monday 20 January 2014

Some housekeeping ...

We will be celebrating the Chinese New Year (CNY) in about two weeks' time. It's also the time of the year to do some spring cleaning in the house. It's the tradition (perhaps) to throw away any unwanted things remove some 'clutters' and make the house 'smooth and shining' like brand new as we usher to the new year. I have not been "disciplined" and not in the mood to tidy up my place. Well, still have another weekend for me (excuses again) ... Hmm .. A list of 'to do list' before the festive celebration... To bake some CNY cookies; shop for new year clothes; spring cleaning; menu for the reunion dinner etc etc.

Saying about housekeeping, think I should also 'tidy up' my photos. Last year I baked quite a lot. Other than muffins and cupcakes, I was also brave enough to try new recipes like scones, layered cakes, brownies, swiss roll (decor roll), log cake and quiche! Some were my 1st attempts and felt so satisfied ... able to share some delicious cakes/snacks with family, friends and colleagues! Okay, putting some of my favorite photos for my fond memories ...

Sunday 19 January 2014

Dinner is served ... Cooked by my sis in law

A surprised homecooked dinner prepared by my sis in law. Grilled black pepper chicken, garden green and potatoe salad. Really tasty and delicious. We enjoyed this sumptious dinner to our fullness. Feeling blessed that she specially cooked up a meal to celebrate my birthday.

I baked my first birthday cake

Today is my birthday. It's just like any other weekend with the usual routines like doing household chores, groceries shopping, cooking and washing etc. etc.
But today is slightly different, not because it's my birthday.  Yesterday, my girl sprained her ankle during her basketball practice in her school. Her  coach brought her for physiotherapy and needed follow-up review today. So, the original plan for a family lunch celebration has to be call-off as I need to bring her for the physiotherapy appointment at 2:30pm. As she has been advised to 'walk less', my boy (17 years old) helped to cook simple delicious spaghetti for the family while I baked the cake. A small 2 layered sponge cake with some fruits toppings to share with family. Happy Birthday to me!

Wednesday 15 January 2014

my passion and interest in baking...

It was about 3 to 4 years ago that my girl requested for some homebaked cakes.  I started to bake some easy muffins as I do not have a cake mixer or whisk for cake recipes.  Well, started with some nice and easy recipes from cook books, magazines, website & blogs (Joy of Baking, Happy Home Baking etc.) and self-learned by picking up recipes with easy basic baking steps ... chocolate chips muffins, banana muffins, blueberry muffins.  Along the way, trial & error and modified the ingredients to suit our taste. So, that was how I started to "play" with flour, sugar, butter during my weekends ... Developed my passion and interest in baking, I bought a cake mixer to bake some simple cakes. I am working full time, so could only spend some weekends to cook and bake for the family ... feeling so great when they enjoyed my bakes and home-cooked food.