Posts

Showing posts from 2012

The Kitchen Juggler's Croissant For Tea

Image
Making a flaky croissant with perfectly structured layers is one of the ultimate satisfaction in the art of bread and pastry baking. The inside should stretch as it is pulled apart followed by the instant aroma of the buttery and sweetness of this lovely pastry that fills the air much faster than the steam that emits from between the buttery layers of the flaky crusts.
         There are many croissant recipes but I prefer this becaue it proves faster and it calls for a fewer ingredients. The folding part is 3 times single fold (if you’re unfamiliar with the rules of folding pastry, you can refer to this site:  http://www.elclubdelpan.com/en/bread-encyclopedia/single-fold-or-tri-fold-method.  

      I do however,  make a book fold to my dough just to get that extra layers.  You can always experiment with the folding part to see the result you’ll get.

Ingredients: Flour  500g Sugar  50g Salt  12g Yeast  20 Water  300g Butter for folding  300g OR 250g margarine
        Mix the dry ingredient…

Baguette

Image
Bread week was one of the weeks I looked forward to when I was at the Pastry Academy. The sweet aroma of freshly-baked bread that fills the air never failed to tantalize my palate any time of the day.

       Making this baguette was very exciting because we had to get the ingredients ready a day ahead - the bigga - and that was the first time I learned and used bigga. Perhaps this explains why this baguette is much lighter compared to the previous recipe. It has the irregular holes with a crispy crust. You should be able to break chunks off easily with your hands. 


Bigga: 1 day ahead
250g flour
150g water
2g yeast

Mix all three ingredients in a bowl. Cover with cling wrap tightly. Leave overnight.


Dough:
500g bread flour
15g salt
2g yeast
350g water
5g improver

      First, mix the flour with water. This is what is called 'autolyse'. Leave it in bowl tightly wrapped for 20 minutes. Then, dump everything in a mixer and knead on medium speed around 10 minutes. Proof the dough for 45 minutes…

Salam Hari Raya - Arabian Nights Cookies

Image
Hello and Happy Ramadhan. The excitement of Eid has begun as Ramadhan reaches its final week. The colours of Eid can be seen everywhere...from the malls, mosques, clothes, bazaar and of course the food.

        On the first few days of Eid, tables are always laden with food. I always head for the cookie jars first, carefully trying to select the tastiest ones. Many times, I was deceived by the colourful and fancy appearance of the cookies. I remember those days when cookies were simpler and require less ingredients.

        Still, they were delicious. I myself, never fail to make and sell cookies each year. I would always try to create new recipes and new looks to get not only delicious but strikingly attractive cookies. Ironically, I myself would fill our cookie jars with simple and traditional cookies, sometimes with a different twist.

        Let me share with you one of the simplest Raya cookies that has always been the family's favourite- The Arabian night cookies. 

  …

Bread Pudding

Image
I recently had a class on 6 types of pudding. One of the puddings that my students loved was the bread pudding.          Regardless of its simplicity in ingredients and appearance, it is to me one of the best warm desserts that goes perfectly well with a cup of steaming hot coffee. Preparing this old-fashioned dessert means your leftover bread slices will not go to waste.         In fact, if you find it hard to finish a loaf of bread before it's expiry date, freeze it until you are ready to make this scrumptious bread pudding. 

Ingredients and Preparation

Bread pudding : 1 loaf of bread (or any bread of the same weight. If you're using baguettes, slice thinly) Butter to spread on bread 125g butter (cold and cut into small cubes) 2 tbsp flour 500ml fresh milk 1 cup sugar 1 tsp salt 2 tbsp of brown/muscovado sugar Raisins (if desired)

        Toast each slices of bread until light brown. Butter each slice of bread. Then tear them into medium-sized pieces. Place half of the amount of bread (n…

The Destructiveness Of A Fixation With Skinnyness

I think the media is largely to blame because of this! Women look at the various magazine covers and wish to look like the cover girls they see. "Oh! I wish I was that slim", "Oh! I wish I had her abs", and so on.

       What they don't realize is the work that goes into that magazine cover. Most mag covers are air-brushed so the model looks 'perfect'. And many times, to look as 'fit' as they do, the models have to do all kinds of 'tricks' to look so 'perfect'.

       And these tricks can sometimes be dangerously unhealthy and should never be adopted long term to have that perfect bikini body! Even bikini models have an off and on season. Even they don't adopt those crazy plans all year round! Imagine cutting out fruit totally for weeks or even months!

       That can't be healthy! Loading up on proteins and cutting out carbs is also unhealthy for long term! These are some of the 'tricks' these models employ to loo…

Creative Sewing Projects

Image
Hello to all ehomemakers readers. For this post I would like to share about several interesting webs regarding sewing projects.

      These are the useful lists for anyone who has a keen passion in sewing. The tutorial and tips given by these great homemakers are really useful and could be our inspirations to enhance our own sewing projects.

      Besides sewing classes, I regularly refer to these blogs and website for extra and up-to-date information. Sewing is all about creativity. The more you sew, the more creative you will become.

      One of my favourite websites is Craftpassion.com. The owner, Mdm Joanne, is such a creative person and full of unexpected ideas. My advice to any beginner is to follow her web and facebook as you will learn a lot from her and also to practice what the projects she recommends as this will enhance your sewing creativity.

      One of the link that I would like to share is http://www.craftpassion.com/2011/06/triangle-c…

Marble Pudding

Image
Pudding has always been a great cold dessert that is easy to prepare and very economical to the household budget.

       The best time to eat this chilled, smooth and rich custard-like mixture is during breaking fast. The silky smoothness that slides down you throat will satisfy your sweet tooth immediately.

       This marble pudding recipe can also be used to make puddings of other flavours - chocolate, vanilla, orange, peach etc. The most important thing is not to boil the jelly strips too long so as not to reduce the water too much. 

       The ingredients you need are a packet of jelly strips, a liter of water, a liter of fresh milk, a can of evaporated milk, 2 cups of sugar, a cup of custard powder, a tablespoon of cocoa powder mix with a tablespoon of hot water, 30 grams of melted butter, few drops of vanilla essence and 3 large eggs. 

        In a large pot, boil the jelly strips, sugar and vanilla until the jelly strips dissolve. In the meantime, mix the egg and custard p…

Hello eHomemakers..!!!

Image
Sewing is my passion. I found my real hobby just after my marriage. My mother was a sewing and crocheting artist. She used to teach crocheting and sewing clothes.

       Watching her amazing works, I developed similar interests ever since. Years passed by. In 2008, I went to further my studies in USM, Penang and set up a small kiosk that catered specifically to the students.

       It was named ‘Balqis House’. I spent my mornings studying and in the evening I baked bread and other homemade food to sell. I put a lot of effort to nurture my business. After I got married in 2009, I regained my passion in needle crafting and I began to develop an interest in sharing my passion and skills with other women.        I worked for 2 years after I graduated but I realized then that my job was not fulfilling enough for me. I finally made up my mind to resign and started my needle crafting business under Balqis House. 

       I came across ehomemakers and I found motivating stories of women’…

Grass Greener On The Other Side?

People in general always want what they don't have. And in a way, I'm no different. As a dialysis patient, I had to have surgery on my left arm to insert a fistula, which in layman's terms means that one of my main arteries in my left arm is 'joined' to a main vein in my left arm to my heart so that through this, the dialysis machine can get to circulate my blood to clean it. I'm sorry I can't explain any better, but that's the gist of it.

       This surgery has left a very obvious and ugly scar on my upper left arm. As a result, I can't wear anything sleeveless anymore because it's way ugly. Neither can I wear halter necks, spaghetti straps or anything  shoulder-less.

       So, when I see an attractive woman with a halter-neck dress or blouse, for instance, I can't help longing to wear something similar but I never can now because my scars are just too obvious.

       I also find myself longing for the kind of life I'll probably never h…

The Kitchen Juggler: Classic Mini Pavlova

Image
After contemplating whether to use up the leftover egg whites either for a pudding or any cookie-like dessert, I finally settled for the latter. Why? Because this recipe is super easy and the last piece is normally fought over. So I can be sure that none will be wasted.

       This is one recipe I have been using to make either a gooey or crispy-dry mini pavlovas. Baking in a very high temperature in a short time will produce pavlovas that are moist, gooey and sticky on the inside.

       On the other hand, low-medium temperature and longer time are needed to produce dry and crispy pavlovas. However, if you oven is pretty dodgy (like mine sometimes) I suggest that you watch the pavlovas closely while they bake. 

       What you need are 3 egg whites, 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon of  cornflour, a pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and 3/4 cup of caster sugar. Since I'm making dry mini pavlovas, I'm going to set the oven at a low-medium heat (140C).

     …

Have You Forgotten To Have Fun Recently?

To most people, I am more of a serious person than a fun person. I spend more time cleaning the house, doing work, running errands than having fun. To most people, these are hardly fun activities. 
       These days, I hardly have weekends away from the computer doing work. I think I have genuinely forgotten how to have fun? And that is pretty contradictory to my advice in my blog post below on stressing less? 
       Hardly. 
       I am having more fun than ever in my life doing the most mundane (to most people anyway) things. 
       When I clean the house, I see it as exercise for the day and working off the unwanted calories. I see itas beneficial for my health and well being. 
       When I do work, I do it with passion and excitement. I work long hours but I love the thrill of satisfaction. 
       When I run errands, I do that in between meeting friends I have not met up with for a long time. Or I choose to run errands together with my husband. So I get to hang out with him as I am …

How To Have A Positive Attitude Everyday

I am in Beijing now with husband for work. It is starting to get warmer in Beijing and I notice that people are more outgoing more smiley and more colourful in their dressing. 
        There is definitely more positive glow on everyone's faces as we move into better weather period. Everyone just seems to have a more positive attitude generally. It must be the better weather and the anticipation of more outdoor activities like picnics and hikes, which have brought on general positivity and beautiful colours. Anticipation of better days gives positive glow. 
        Which got me thinking. How does a person always bear anticipation of better days no matter how sucky life can be at times? 
This is a list I have created especially for you: 
1.     Start each day with a positive smile. No matter what happens. If you start each day with a positive attitude, you will anticipate a better day ahead. You will thus work on creating a better day for yourself. 
2.     End each day with a positive sm…

Self-Control and Self-Consciousness

If you've been on dialysis for as long as I have, pretty soon, you'll start to get sick of the routine and start to get some sort of a death wish.

      I'm not saying all dialysis patients have a death wish but I certainly did. I started drinking water, tea, coffee, juice, soups whenever I wanted too, without care of how much fluid I was ingesting.

      After years of tight fluid control, suddenly, I began thinking in a "Damned if I do and damned if I don't" kind of way. In other words, I started getting sick of watching normal people chug down ice-cold drinks and the like and started feeling this way : "Why can't I do it too?!".

      Of course, as a dialysis patient, the cardinal rule is : watch your fluid intake, keep it down to less than 500ml if you can! But after doing this for so long, I guess I began to rebel. I started thinking : "Must I go through life thirsty and longing to drink more?".

      Bad idea! Pretty soon, my pulse …

Super Excited With My New Business Venture!

I'm always cross-stitching something or other. And I have a few finished unframed pieces in my collection. Today, I decided to photograph them and post them online for sale! This is my new business venture!

Check it out here!

http://eowynincross-stitch.blogspot.com/
I hope you will like my work and order something! I will be posting new pieces as I complete them!

Hope to see you there!

Hugs,
eowyn

The Bali Escapade

Image
Hunting for local food has always been an important activity during my travels. I simply refuse to dwell on food calories when I'm away.

         My eating and sleeping schedules would go haywire. But luckily, the recent trip to Bali was with just friends. So my kids were not there to witness the mommy-breaks-the-rules-so-why-can't-we activities. 

         The scenic Bali island offers Balinese specialties that are simple yet delectable. One thing I savoured most was their soto ayam (Indonesian chicken soup). That one medium-sized bowl of broth was so complete and satisfying that other foods served there seemed unappealing.

         Though I was pretty startled at first when I noticed just how much things were thrown into the soup (fried sliced potatoes, tomatoes, shredded chicken, vegetables, eggs, tofu etc), I then realized that they had actually perfected the soup.

         My friends and I could not help smiling when we saw the neat petal-shaped piece of brown pape…

The Kitchen Juggler's Blackforest Cupcake

Image
Making a decadent cupcake requires just a little effort, in fact, it is pretty effortless I should say.       These little cuppies are always able to delight the friends of my teenage daughters who regularly drop by after school. Instead of making a huge 9-inch blackforest gateau, I would opt for a dozen of these babies instead because I do not want leftovers piling up in the chiller!        The fastest way is to get a packet of chocolate sponge mix and just follow the directions on the packet. A 200g of sponge mix is more than enough to make a dozen of medium to large cupcakes. When you have the batter ready, fill up the cups up to two-thirds full. Bake as directed.        Normally, the temperature I set for this cake is around 180-190C. Once the cake is done, let them cool.         In the meantime, get the filling and topping ready. For the filling, pour a can of red cherries in a pot, and add 2  tablespoon sugar, a teaspoon of lemon or orange juice, a teaspoon of gelatin. Let t…

Ready Aim Fire vs Ready Aim Ready Aim vs Ready Fire Aim

Following on my post below "Ready Aim Fire", I would like to discuss the above categories of approaches towards acting on one's project. 
      Sam (below) has now started researching ideas for his cooking school project. Yaye! He is really excited and looks forward to the launch of his cooking school. 
      Fast forward another 10 years. Sam is still planning his cooking school project! Sam has so unfortunately fallen into the category of people who think that they are taking the Ready Aim Fire approach but instead are really taking the Ready Aim Ready Aim approach. Let's discuss the differences. 
      Ready Aim Fire: this means that you are quick to seize on the opportunities that come your way. But you don't just seize them blindly.      Once you see an opportunity, you get ready by doing market research and studying your competition, you aim by planning and conceptualising your project and then you fire by launching your project eventually.       You may not a…

Ready Aim Fire!

Hi guys 
       How's everybody? Hope you guys are busying pursuing your dreams :)
       Anyway, following up on the thread below "The Key To Success", I would just like to add that I fully agree with Sheau Ching in that Action Speaks Louder than words. 
       Let's take Sam (fictitious and for purpose of this example) for example. Sam has been talking about his Project A (he dreams of starting a cooking school as he is passionate about cooking) for 10 years. He doesn't take action to pursue his Project A.

       Instead, he just talks about it and whines that he can't pursue it because he has no money. Can Sam succeed? Of course not! Not even on his passion when passion is just mixed with a dream. He needs to take action and start work on his Project A. He needs to start taking steps no matter how small to work towards fulfilling this dream of his.         How can Sam do this? He needs to stop talking and whining and just GET ON WITH his Project A. How much ti…

When Cinnabon Is None To Be Found...

Image
Spending RM16 on 4 small pieces of cinnamon roll at Cinnabon is worth every bite.

       Unfortunately, they don't run a franchise here in the East Coast and I needed help with my intense craving for the fluffiest and moist cinnamon rolls with generous creamy topping, sprinkled with the crunchiest toasted pecans.

       But since Cinnabon wasn't within 100 km drive I had to head into my kitchen and start whipping up things to soothe my desperate craving. The rolls turned out to be awesomely tender and tasty! And I'm sharing this with all you bread-cravers out there!

       In a mixing bowl, put 500g of bread flour, 10g salt, 15g yeast, 60f sugar, 150g milk and 2 large eggs. Use a dough hook and knead until a ball of dough is formed.

      Then add in 100g butter. Knead again and when all of the butter is incorporate. Cover the bowl with a cling wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes. 

       On a flour-dusted work surface, knock back the dough and roll it into a cylinder. Using…

The Key To Success

I HAVE been giving talks on writing, working from home, and building home-based businesses for several years now. Often, I get e-mail from people who have attended the talks. Some are doing well after taking the plunge to try something new. They heeded the advice given them and kept improving their skills and knowledge until they knew how to handle new challenges.
However, a large majority have not taken a single step towards what they had so wanted to do. A woman met me in a car park recently, and said: “Your talk was good but a home-based business is not for me. I am too old to try new things.
“Also, I don’t want to work so hard when my kids are still young. I don’t have a tertiary education like you, so everything takes more time. I don’t have the business skills and I am scared to do anything new!” Just before she closed the door of her BMW, she threw in one last sentence, “And I don’t have money for the capital!”
I was rooted to the ground after hearing so many “I can’ts” from …