On my usual blog hop, I stumbled upon Sweet And Simple Bakes on this Christmas Bake Event. Currently in the fever of baking, I jumped at the chance to try out a new recipe and participate in a bake event!
Effectively, this is only the 3rd time I make muffins since I own myself a mixer. I ask for your leniency on this!
Not long ago at the bookstore, I just picked up Nigella’s Christmas Book and wowed at the recipes within. To much delight, I am able to now try one of those for this event. The best thing is there’s a get-together tonight so I can bring a bunch of this to share.
Turns out this recipe is extremely easy to follow, especially for a newbie like me – I did not mess it up. The aromas of nutmeg and cinnamon filled the place when the muffins were baking, bliss! This recipe will definitely be kept for coming Christmas years.
I didn’t like grating orange zest though; I used a fruit peeler so that was the only step that took me some time. *I have a fear of peeling my skin off!!*
Thank you Sweet & Simple Bakes for organizing this!
Happy 2009 to all and be blessed in the coming year~
Home made mulled cider…
2 days of sumptuous home cook… Hope all had a good feast and Christmas filled with love! While we round up for 2008, lets gear up and look forward to a brand new year! Jetting off soon…catch ya’ll in 2009.
I threaten to sack my photographer. However, it was a mad rush to serve the guests and he doubled as my party planner so I let him off the hook this time. *Kidding! Kel, would not have done it without you*
For the record, the menu of the night was…
Roast Beef with Mushroom Sauce
Black Pepper Ham
Greens & Melon with Peppers Salad (with love from Aileen)
Mushroom Tomato Spaghetti
Chocolate Log Cake
Liquor Fruit Cake (with love from Pat & Eve)
Bingo was exciting mostly because I had a lucky hand at it and pass the parcel was challenging - try playing out the Rudolph Reindeer song by physical actions. The Christmas feel is picking up!
All the most, I want to give my many thanks to Kel for being the life of the party and given much assistance in the organizing and making our very own DIY Christmas Tree from scratch!
Wishing all my dear family and friends a very blessed Christmas and all the best for the New Year~
Largest German market staged outside Europe, I’ve travelled 105miles to a city in midlands called Birmingham. Ok I made it sound far but its actually only 1.5 - 2hrs drive.
Don’t have sweet tooth? Lets tuck in for some salty stuff.
If you drive, don’t drink. Sighz, I can only settle with hot chocolate with baileys and I… I smuggled the mug home.
Time check: 1417hrs, I’m home blogging. Holiday starts right now for 15days. Woohoooo. Happy Holiday All!
Dinner 1 @ Hole in the Wall
Located by the dockside in Bristol town centre, this pub built in the 1700s, earns its name from the small peep hole (now still visible) that sailors used to keep a watch out for pressgangs in the olden days.
Smoked salmon as starter
Very rich chocolate tart with fresh cream as dessert.
Lunch 2 @ Site
Back at work, we celebrated Christmas with a get together lunch and was served exactly the same meal but cheaper version.
And the most exciting part, Raffle time! Every year, this time, we get Xmas gifts from ‘people’ we work with. Because we are a team, whatever we received will be put together for the raffle so everyone gets something.
Geez, I contributed my wines & chocolates prezzie and still get to lug back wines and a box of beer from the raffle. Not bad huh.
I love the shroom and black pepper combination. The risoni did not absorb the chicken stock as well as risotto would though, and I have omitted the usual butter and cheese based on personal preference.
Kel took some getting used to eating risoni, he said it was like rice but also like beans, it is pasta but doesn’t feel like it in the mouth. Hah.
The following recipe is exactly the same for Risotto, just substitute the Risoni and you have perfect comfort food to stay in with. Roast Chicken was leftover from previous meal – just heat it up!
· 2 cups chicken broth
· 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
· Portobello/white mushrooms, thinly sliced
· 1 small shallot, diced
· 1/2 cup Arborio rice
· 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons dry white wine
· sea salt to taste
· freshly ground black pepper to taste
· 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
· 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon butter
· Parmesan cheese (of cos I omitted this)
Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the mushrooms, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove mushrooms and their liquid, and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, and stir in the shallots. Cook 1 minute. Add rice, stirring to coat with oil. When the rice has taken on a pale, golden color, pour in wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed.
Add warmed broth bit by bit to the rice, and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove from heat, and stir in mushrooms with their liquid, butter, chives, and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot with shredded roast chicken garnished with parsley.
It was the Halloween weekend (so you know how backdated this post is), parking was almost impossible so when we arrived, all of us were ready to indulge – or maybe just me and Aileen.
My choice of sweet is Apple Crumble Muffin. I love crumbles! PS café has good mango and banana crumble (fyi, that’s yummy - another blog entry altogether!) and over here I just had to order a crumble for myself. This muffin is really like mini apple crumble, no different in taste with the normal apple crumble. Well, nothing out of the ordinary, I wish it was warmed though.
Kel had brownie with ice cream. He did not really make a lot of noise so I assume his is so-so too.
We did not get ourselves one of their award winning Tiramisu here but I have tasted it from Da Paolo Gastronomia Gourmet outlets and it is addictive. A must try.
Pretty fondant cakes on display.
Overall, this place is good for tea and a casual chat with girlfriends. We were the only customers so we pretty much had the place to ourselves. Pity the lady behind the counter had to endure our nonsensical chatter.
I would say the company and experience is more important than having fantastic food. We should do this often.
Location: 43 Jalan Mera Saga #01-74 Chip Bee Garden
The fish was in the oven, I could hear crackling sounds from the natural juices oozing out of the fillet and the aroma of herbs cooking perks me up. My no-fail dish; have been baking my salmon since student times. Easy and healthy~
Did not plan to cook dinner at all. Was having a great headache but HAD to go grocery shopping and there I caught sight of my favourite salmon. Big slab of it only costs $6 and I know it will be even cheaper if it was the wet market. (Note to self: I should really go marketing more often)
Anyway, we also bought ready-made roast chicken and broccoli so we decided to stay home for an easy meal. I boiled the broccoli and cooked pasta and sauce to go with it.
Am very proud of myself for pulling this off while dealing with a splitting migraine.
Ginger, sliced thinly
Mixed dried herbs (in a bottle)
Preheat oven to 160C.
Prepare oven pan by layering aluminium foil, grease foil with olive oil.
Rub salt all over salmon (and don’t be stingy).
Sprinkle mixed herbs all over fish – top and bottom. (be generous too!)
Place sliced ginger on top and below fish.
Place fish skin side up on the pan.
Bake fish for about 15mins on 160C and increase to higher temperature when fish is half cooked.
Cook 10-15 mins more and check fish with fork to see if inside is cooked.
Serve hot with quick squeeze of lemon.
Time of cooking really depends on how big/thick your salmon slab is. I am very bad at writing recipes so self-discretion is very important. Starting off with a lower temperature allows the fish to cook properly to avoid be burnt outside but raw inside.
Remove from oven when fish skin is crispy but not burnt and inside is juicy. I love salmon minus the heavy sauces to experience that distinct flavour. Yum~
In the end, the chicken is barely left untouched. Will be cooking Roast Chicken (leftover) Mushroom Risotto tonight and probably reuse the bones for something else too. Check out future posts to find out!
I pulled out my recipes and all my plans to bake this, make that.. Chester decided he wanted to read up too! He refused to get off my recipe folder while I make up my mind what I can bake for Christmas.
My sister is convinced I will only make a big fuss of my new gadget for a short time. Let’s see? Now it is time to hand-pick who will be on my guinea pig panel of tasters.
The bottomline is, I love the giver and I love my Christmas pressie *Awwww*
Its not common here to have cafe/ patisserie/ brasserie of such and its definitely not easy to find pretty whole cakes like these for occasions. Not sure why but I guessed breads are what peeps here are used to. I’m glad Patisserie Valerie has come to this end of the country! Surprisingly, Patisserie Valerie had actually owned international reputations and was established since 1926 in London.
It felt like a breakthrough from tradition, like something new, something so interesting cos everyone who walk by this patisserie never fails to stop for some admirations. They’ll go ‘ohh aren’t they pretty?’ and if not you’ll see people whipping out their camera phone and start snapping away. I know its a norm for us but seriously will you bat an eyelid when you pass by a cake shop back home?
They also have traditional handmade Italian Gelato in store. One unusual flavor that caught me was the light green Gelato made from Pistachio.
And since Christmas is approaching, its obvious they’ll have log cakes. Look any good?
Not forgetting to try it myself.
The cakes taste differently as compared to the ones I prefer back home. I think its the flour. Still, its not bad, worth a try.
At times when lunch is not pack to work, Parsons Bakery is one of my favorite take away choices. This tiny bakery established since 1926 is tuck away in a corner in the center of the small town/village where my current project is. Tiny it may be but business is good.
Freshly baked and nicely brewed. That’s how I like it. And today’s menu is hot chocolate + char-grilled chicken, bacon & melted cheese Panini with toasted poppy & sesame seeds.
* And if you are wondering what am I doing in a village? I don’t have the luxury of working in a posh office and have permanent work space nor desk. I move where ever my project is, where ever we are going to build. On live site it is, played on muddy field and watch building get erected from cradle to completion. Ever changing environment and you never know, it may be in the middle of no where next. My battlefield where fun begins…