Sunday, May 30, 2010

Midnight Baking: Vanilla Milk Chiffon Cake

This weekend I had the mood to pursue my second attempt in baking a better looking chiffon cake. When my fiance was out for his yamcha invitation on 11pm last night, he suggested me to bake the cake whilst waiting for him to come home. I agreed. I started baking at about 11pm and finished everything by 1.30am.

My aim this time around was clear: To make a chiffon cake with no messy outlook like what happened to my Pandan chiffon cake last week. Another condition that I had to put into my consideration from my fiance was that the cake had better use less, if not, no coloring or other artificial ingredients. I obeyed my master's order.

I replaced the coconut milk with full cream vanilla milk. Instead of using Pandan essence, I just used a vanilla essence. On top of that, I also added two spoons of milk powder to give more milky taste.

The aroma of the cake inside the hot oven was so strong. The house smelled like vanilla cake for few hours even after I opened the kitchen windows.

Cooling down: After 1 hr and 40 mins of keeping the cake in the oven, I finally had a golden cake.

Wrong technique in taking the cake off the tin. 
I had even uglier outlook on the cake top this time!

Inside still tasted pretty good and soft but I can't stand looking at the shape.
It's just to0 messy.

He still likes it though...

This time around, I felt like I had better grip in baking the chiffon cake except the part when I had to remove the cake from the cake tin. I think I really had to listen to all the baking tips: Use a very sharp thin blade to take the cake off the tin with one round slash.

Overall, we both feel that pandan cake tastes better and smells stronger. This vanilla milk chiffon cake taste more like a normal butter-and-egg cake but a slice of it goes very well with a cup of hot coffee.

A Cozy Saturday Evening at Home

I think today I just experienced a very tranquilizing Saturday evening in the best place you could ever be. Home. This kind of experience is indeed something that I would definitely crave again and again. It was just a wonderful chance to clear my head on a relaxing weekend - by doing nothing but enjoying the time passing by with loving people surround me.

Here are the chronicles:

Today, I finally had a real good two-hour long afternoon nap when my fiance was having his Saturday badminton practice, after so many weeks of absence. When I woke up and was pretty much awake again, I searched for the kids. I wanted to see Baby Jia Thong. Both my fiance and I had not seen her for about two weeks and we sort of missed her company and babbles.

After playing around with Jia Thong and her elder sister, Xin Thong for a while, suddenly their Mom called them to go outside and play with their bikes in the porch since all the cars were being used. The kids seldom have the chance to play with their bikes outside the house as usually the porch is used as the family cars' parking area. Kids are somehow forced to ride with their mini bikes inside the house.

Baby Jia Thong with her favorite yellow baby bike

Very cute sisters: Jia Thong and Xin Thong

Whilst the kids were playing around with their bikes in the porch, my fiance and I thought of joining them as well. He dragged a wooden bench to the middle of the porch and took his guitar. He just sat there and started playing his guitar, his favorite platform to chill out.

My happy musician

The musician apparently could not remember the song and had to refer to You Tube to refresh his memory

I saw a happy man at his home enjoying his lazy Saturday afternoon, surrounded by his family.

A real borne thinker

Fierce/cute looking baby and I finally reunited

Our Kodak moments have begun! Anywhere, anytime!

Before we ended our impromptu date, my fiancé's auntie happened to pass us by when we both were sitting in the bench outside. She was about to go out and attend a wedding dinner. Before she left the house, she shouted, "How romantic you two are!"

"Ha-ha... You bet, Auntie! I am so going to miss this again.", I murmured to myself.

Then, I walked inside.

Staying at home on weekends is not a vain. It's so enjoyable and not wasted at all, I tell you. All we have to do is just embrace every bit of moments that pass by.

Simple things are just beautiful, if we know how to appreciate them.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Baking Pandan Chiffon Cake: First Attempt

Yesterday I finally fulfilled my long overdue promise to my fiance - to bake a cake for him in his house!

After reading a famous culinary blog and seeing this blogger's baking slides on his home-made Pandan Chiffon Cake, I was totally tempted to try baking the same cake on my own. He has personally tried baking this particular cake with few different recipes and advised the best recipe amongst all to follow. I followed his final 'Extra Whites' Pandan Chiffon Cake recipe.

Ever since I told my baking intention to my fiance, he has motivated me to quickly bake one for him. Two weeks ago, he shopped all my baking utensils and ingredients in a neighboring supermarket for me but since I saw there were Pandan Chiffon Cakes on his eating table last weekend, I decided to kill my baking idea - until yesterday.

For my first baking attempt after one year of baking abstinence, I wanted to make everything right. I purposely did quite a long research to find the right recipe, read a lot of chiffon cake baking reviews, instructions and tips from different sources many times and even watched You Tube to see the different techniques on successfully baking a Chiffon Cake.

After getting some basic understanding on baking Chiffon Cake, yesterday I decided to just give it a try whilst my fiance was settling his issues at his site and his kitchen was not in use.

Here's the Pandan Chiffon Cake recipe that I used yesterday. I modified some of the original ingredients due to the logistical limitations in getting the the ingredients as per written in the original version.

Pandan Chiffon Cake

Ingredients:

Group 1
  • 6 Egg Yolks
  • 100 gr Castor Sugar
  • 115 ml Canola Oil
  • 140 ml Coconut Oil
  • 200gr Self-Raising Cake Flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3 tsp Vanila Essence
  • 3 tsp Pandan Essence
  • Green Coloring (as per needed)
Group 2
  • 10 Egg Whites
  • 100gr Castor Sugar
  • 1 tsp Cream of Tartar
* Chiffon Cake Tin
* 1.5 hrs baking time in total

This is how my cake looked like:

Cooling down: The cake shrinks after it's put in the normal temperature room.

It ain't look pretty but it tastes good and soft as its name.

My fiance's nephew had no more patience to wait any longer.
Zhi Heng was actually waiting even before I completely took the cake off the tin!

Overall, I am quite happy with the cake result and I think this recipe is worth to repeat again sometime soon - especially since my fiance has given me a pretty good remark on this one!

Lucky I chose Pandan Chiffon Cake. I didn't know that it is one of his favorites.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Proposal

15 May 2010 marks another historical moment in my life. Both of my and my new fiance's lives.

Apparently, my then boyfriend planned something big for me for so long. He thought about everything for quiet some time to perfect his dazzling plan. He made all the efforts in making all this happen. He spent a fortune to make me a one very happy woman on earth.

A nice restaurant.

A delicious cake.

A sweet drink.

A bouquet of nine white roses in pretty purple wrap.

A diamond ring.

A bunch of beloved close friends.

Then, he proposed to me.

 The Proposal: 15 May 2010, The Royale Bintang Resort and Spa, Seremban.

After I said "Yes!"

All my senses collapsed when he knelt down and popped the magic question.

I was elated. I was over the moon. I was so speechless. My jaws were frozen. I opened my mouth and tried to move my tongue but not a single word came out from my mouth. So, I just nodded many times to say yes.

After that, I just could not stop smiling. The world stopped moving for few minutes. I was shivering. I forgot about everything for some moments, including my own bag under the table.

In short, the effect of it was just supernatural.

And of course, I would absolutely say YES!

After the proposal, I witnessed a very genuine happiness in his face that I have never seen before. That night his smile was just so divine. Angelic.

He told me that his one and only goal that night was just to make and see me happy. I, indeed, was and am beyond happy.

Now we both are in the cloud nine. Up, up there. And we don't feel like coming down to earth. For as long as possible.

Congratulations to him, for making it this far.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Beaches at Day and Night

Normally, I do not have particular interest in hanging out at beaches. I mean, I don't despise beaches because they are hot, too sunny and wet but usually if I could opt, I'd rather hang out in somewhere else drier.

Not sure why, these two consecutive weekends, I was rather fated to enjoy the serenity and beauty of two beaches of two different characters. One was pretty much yet undiscovered and one was quite commercialized already. Yet, both were still fascinating to me.

Beach no. 1: Tanjung Leman Beach, Johor

Two weekends ago, my boyfriend introduced me to Tanjung Leman Beach just right behind his current ongoing construction site in Mersing. It was indeed one very hot and sunny Saturday. The beach was unusually quiet and to some point, I just felt that the beach has become our private property for a moment.

Hot day.

First time witnessing so many living sea creatures living under the rocks at the seashore.

Beach no. 2: Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan

Last Saturday night my boyfriend proposed to me a chilling out time for two at a beach, accompanied with his favorite cold Tiger Beer. That late afternoon, he literally made impressive efforts in preparing the straw mats, tripod, cold drinks (beers for him and soft drinks for me), ice cubes and peanuts for us as if we were going to have a very important picnic. A tribute to my excellent personal event planner, we ended having a late night memorable picnic at Port Dickson beach, about 30 minutes from his residence in Seremban.

What can be more perfect date than this: Cold drinks, heart-to-heart chats and serene beach? 

Turned out dating at a beach could be quite romantic, memorable and relaxing.

Like he said, I would also love to have more and more of these together-moments again with him whenever we can at many other different locations.

Love Cloud above Our Heads

Last Saturday afternoon during our casual chat at home, suddenly my boyfriend's eyes were teary.

I wiped the tears from his cheeks with my fingers three times.

From the moment I noticed the tears on his face, I kept on asking him, "What happened?". I just had the hunch that the tears were not caused by his sleepiness or anything like that.

He just kept quiet. Never explained to me. Proceeded with silence.

Still, I found it hard to contain my curiosity. I bugged him with the same question again and again. He still did not want to explain. He said, "I will let you know in writing later. Not comfortable talking about it now."

In the end, as the night fell darker and darker, I got a little bit offended, irritated and angry at him, partly because of his refusal to explain to me what made him cry.

As usual, in return, I refused to acknowledge his existence for quite some time. I set my typical unnecessary cold war at him.

Not long after my silent attack towards him, he sent me few texts on WhatsApp. He said: Please check my FB. My answer has been posted.

I checked my Facebook account from my iPhone and found this love cloud picture and short writings accompanying it on his wall.

I asked a silly question: can we go for a medical check-out before we make a life time commitment? I don't want anyone to feel regret if something is wrong. 
She replied: can we do it after our ROM cause I will still take care of you if you need me.

He left me speechless.

I didn't know I was actually the one who made this man's eyes teary.

God!