Thursday, November 26, 2009

Chocolate Cake Experiment

Yes, yet another baking experiment. Now the house has two types of cakes and one batch of cookies uneaten. Thank goodness my parents have guests staying over. They have no choice but to politely eat them! Muahahaha!!

This chocolate cake recipe was given by an ex-colleague last year. I never tried it because it had chocolate to melt plus it had ground almonds, uncommon ingredients in my baking larder. Until after I experimented with the orange cake and choc cookies. The ingredients were just enough so I decided to try my hand at it.

Moist Chocolate Cake

200g butter
140g dark cooking chocolate
125g castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
4 eggs, separate yolks and whites
125g self raising flour
25g ground almonds/walnuts (optional)
Milk, agak-agak

1. Melt chocolate and set aside to cool.
2. Beat egg whites and set aside.
3. Beat butter, sugar and essence. Add yolks one by one.
4. Add in melted chocolate.
5. Fold in flour and nuts
6. Whisk egg whites until fluffy. Add milk until dropping consistency is achieved.
7. Bake for 60-75 mins in 25cm x 12cm loaf tin in oven at 170ºC.

A very non-sweet cake in my opinion. Mum says it's ok but I prefer it sweeter. Also, it didn't turn out fluffy. Hmm... I'll try other chocolate cake recipes next round.

Of Toilet Paper

Last night while we were gathered with some younger people, we had a detailed description of how we used toilet paper. Our sides were aching with laughter as one described how he folds six squares into one and uses it to wipe just ONCE. This made another person extremely curious as to how clean can this be. This followed another discussion on types of sai accompanied by shouts of laughter.

All the while, KS had his head flung back on the sofa shaking his head and wondering how a simple getting-to-know-you question of "Do you scrunch or fold your toilet paper?" had gotten so out of hand. So, it seems there are many people out there who talk about this topic.

And no wonder my brown cookies weren't very popular that night.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Well-Loved House

Exciting times ahead! We just got our new “old” house, near to my parents in PJ. The house hunting was quite an interesting process as we swung from wanting a small single storey terrace to a huge double storey, drawing up a list of requirements and finally having reality hit in our faces on what we can really afford. My Dad was terrific, scouring the papers every single day for the last 2 months, calling and narrowing down the selection so that we saw only relevant ones on weekends.

In the end, we settled for a smaller double storey unit which I first saw with my Dad at the start of our search. Actually, it turned me off at first despite Dad saying this is a really good buy! Strangely, Dad and I seemed to compare most houses with this one to a point that I had to make another appointment just for KS and Mum to see for themselves.

The surprising thing is that although it was in the market for some months with a few agents appointed looking for potential buyers, it was never sold. Houses in the same area going for about the same price or slightly less with termite infestation seemed to have buyers snapping them up in a short time.

It doesn’t face a junction plus it is very well looked after with renovations which were quite tastefully done. We figured it was because the house number is an undesirable number for Chinese, which we are only slightly worried about resale but that will be a worry for the far future. Mum just says it was waiting for us.

While another house met almost all our requirements for the same price compared to this house, this house had a “feeling”. So my house-hunting experience now tells me it’s not just about what makes sense, but what your senses make of it. KS said it feels like there was a lot of love in that house. The (deceased) father had actually built an attic for his kids to play in (how many would?), the home lovingly kept, carefully designed during renovations with no ugly pipes sticking out of the walls. Plus KS and my Mum love the kitchen floor tiles (!).

So yeah, our new home comes with an attic, a solar heater which gives hot water into the kitchen, has two gigantic aquariums, an electric gate, has ample parking outside for visitors. Just haven’t figured out where Ang Ku will be kept yet. Very excited about it!

Anyway, we don’t have photos of the place yet. Now begins the interesting process of purchasing a house.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Melaka River Cruise

Last weekend, we took my parents on a little discovery tour of Melaka. Yes, although Mum is Malaccan, the little town has developed tremendously since she actually stayed there years ago.

We took them on the Melaka River Cruise, a ride my Mum initially did not want to take "See Melaka in a boat?". Anyway, I think she was glad that she didn't miss it because the river bank has been given a facelift with new walk ways.

The boat ride took us almost 45 mins. Here are some scenes I captured along the way:

This is Kampung Morton, a beautifully restored kampung with the houses given fresh paint.

One example of the kampung house. Wish we could have stepped into one.

Common scene along the river.

The new walkway along the river.

The Red Bridge, so called because during the Japanese occupation, they beheaded thousands of locals on this bridge. During the Hungry Ghost Festival, people still pray for the souls who were lost then.

This is our local Leaning Tower, a Catholic Church that is leaning on one side. It is packed on Sundays.

Refurbished shoplots along the river, making it look like it's a scene taken from somewhere in Europe, doesn't it?

A newly built fort to add more stuff for tourist to see along the Red House area.

"Noah's Ark" - the restored Portugese shipwreck now used as a museum. Never been on it before.
Some random windmill, which they claim is exactly like the windmills you'd find in Holland.

KS said he was proud to be Malaccan after the ride. Although it was a good ride, it could be further improved by having stops along the way ie. seeing the houses at Kampung Morton, having souvenir shops along the river to encourage visitors to stop by, a stop at the small theme park, which was absolutely bereft of any visitors as we passed...

Instead, they are building a monorail along the river to compete with the boat ride. Doesn't seem to make sense.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

With a title like that, which chocoholic could resist? Anyway, this was my second new recipe I've just tried out, taken from Nigella Lawson's site. Someone told me her recipes are easy and yummy.

So I gleefully set out, bought myself an ice cream scoop over the weekend and went crazy buying expensive chocolates in the baking shop.


250g dark chocolate
300g plain flour
60g cocoa
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
250g butter
150 brown sugar
80 white sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, cold from the fridge
A few handfuls of chocolate chips
A handful of hazelnuts

1. Melt dark chocolate (it's so easy using a microwave for this!).

2. Sieve flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl.

3. Cream butter and sugars. Add melted chocolate and mix well.

4. Add vanilla extract and eggs. Mix in the dry ingredients. Then add the chocolate chips and hazelnuts.

5. Scoop out the batter with the ice cream scoop and place them 6cm apart. Do not flatten them.

6. Bake for 18 mins at 170º C or until skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool slightly on baking sheet for a few minutes and transfer them to cooling rack to harden.

Some people who have tried it out commented that it turned out exactly like in the photos posted on her site. Now, seen here is the photo from her site:

See the lovely brown and round cookie? Now, here's how mine turned out:

Fat, flat and black.
It's huge! As I tried to take this shot, the cookie crumbled, it is that fragile!

It tastes good so far (I forced Dad to take some when it came out of the oven and he said, "Good! Anything that is fresh from the oven is good!" Cheh.) Now, as they all sit on top of one another, they are slowly conforming into a single mass of black cookie.
Still, this could be a repeat if I only knew what made it so flat and fragile.

Orange & Almond Cake

I've been baking a couple of stuff since I'm on leave. Usually, I bake the usual stuff I make so that I know there will be people eating it after all my effort. Plus, it takes me HOURS to prepare new stuff as I'm unfamiliar with the processes so I'm usually lazy when it comes to trying new recipes.

However, the free days has allowed me to experiment and I've tried 2 new recipes so far, one of which is a new cake found on

Orange & Almond Cake:

3 whole oranges
150g castor sugar
250g ground almond
6 eggs
1 tablespoon plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

1. Wash oranges and place them whole in a pot. Cover with cold water, place over high heat and bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Drain the oranges and refresh the water and repeat the process again 3 times. This took me over an hour.

2. Let oranges cool to room temperature. Remove seeds and pith. Blend oranges in blender until fine puree. Since my blender is pretty small, I chucked the orange puree into my mixer and added all the other ingredients to mix.

3. I used a 21cm round baking tin, bake in a pre-heated oven at 170 degrees celcius for 50 minutes, or until skewer comes out clean.

4. Cool cake in the pan completely before removing. It is best to leave the cake overnight to allow the flavour to intensify even further.

This is the first cake I ever baked without oil and it was such a pleasure to wash the utensils after that!


It came out extremely moist and had a sugee cake texture, which I don't quite fancy. Maybe if I had placed the almonds into the blender it would have been better. The sweetness was just right, although my sweet tooth would prefer it to be just a slight bit sweeter.

This cake went to Melaka over the weekend when my parents visited my in-laws. Unfortunately, since this was the first time I made it, we didn't realize it needed to be refridgerated after one day.

By the time I took this photo on Day 2, there was a disgusting putrid waft that smelt of vomit emanating from it and I was gagging as I took this photo. As I threw it away, there was mould already growing beneath the cake. Ugh!

Mum and Dad liked the cake and would eat it again. KS said it felt like he was chewing a wet blanket. I am not particularly keen on this cake either but well, let's see if there's enough quorum for me to do another one next time.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

For Pork Lovers

If you love pork, then here's a recommendation, a little place to eat called Sanbanto in SS2, Petaling Jaya. It's along the same row as KTZ, if you're familiar. They don't have many seats, the menu is limited, it's slightly on the pricey side (RM12-15 for a burger, RM38 for ribs). BUT! It is so yummy!

Check out this bacon with pork patty burger. I had a bite of it and it tasted sooo good. This is one of the Chef's Recommendations.

Seen here is another Chef's Recommendation, the pork ribs. It had generous amounts of meat and fat, which gave a melt-in-your-mouth texture, bursting with BBQ sauce and slides off the bones quite easily.

The only other comparable ribs I've had was more than 10 years ago in NZ. That one, we had bibs to help protect our clothes as we gnawed the flesh off the bones. Felt quite primitive holding the 14"-16" bone with two hands, sauce smeared all over your face, all dignity out of the window as your hunger desperately made you rip and chew what little meat there was clinging to the rib. So yeah, in terms of better ribs, I'd recommend this one. Plus you don't have to go all the way to NZ for the other.

Anyway, Sanbanto says they serve English Roast in wine on weekends. Sounds mouth-watering!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Moving On Yet AGAIN!

I’m starting a new job again, back to cards. It’s been a horrendously short span of time but the year passed painfully because I'd prefer make people spend money, rather than save. Well, almost.

While I will miss the team and the company with it’s many benefits:
• flexi hours (I come in at 9:30am!)
• free coffee/Milo & biscuits,
• Cisco IP phones (only a handful of companies use these, I swear!),
• forcing everyone to go home early on Fridays,
• Facebook connection,
• trainings on self-improvement, which is quite practical although I dragged my feet for some , (actually, one of these trainings helped me make my decision to leave)
• fantastic brand new office with a view over the KL city skyline

St Paul's Church

The old train station

KL Tower & KLCC
The famous Masjid Jamek junction where two rivers meet

Pre-war shophouses

Dataran Merdeka

And the location:
• next to a major LRT stop,
• near my favourite book rental shop,
• many wholesalers where I get my 10 large packs of Cheezels/Twisties,
• Central Market with its quirky offerings
• KS drops me off at work so I don’t drive

If anyone wants to work in my current place, I would say this is the best company to work for as they really take care of the employees. So why am I leaving???

I look forward going back into more familiar territory. I miss the friends in the industry and want to (hopefully!) slip back into my old skin.

So now I have 2 weeks off before I start. Hmm… what am I going to do besides meeting friends, running around for the house matters, watching Lord of The Rings trilogy (my annual must-do dosage), baking, FaceBook-ing, going to Melaka… okay, okay, that sounds like a pretty long list to keep me occupied.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Boomz & Shingz

KS has been absolutely fascinated by Miss Singapore 2009 and has repeatedly asked me to watch her interviews on YouTube. I must say, Miss Universe has lost it's Boomz on me since... 2 decades ago but this has got to be one of the more interesting contestants in recent years.

Anywayz, watch and learn the new Miss Singapore lexicons. Or should I say, lexiconz. And check out some essential Hokkien phrases she uses on reporters who ask about her name. I can only say she has a whole Shingz load of confidence.