Banana Nut Bread Muffins

Banana bread is a quick bread, made with a chemical leavening such as baking powder or baking soda instead of yeast. Banana bread batter also makes great muffins. Make them with young children; they’ll love it!

Continue reading

Columbus Day hols weekend

Columbus Day celebrated the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus and became a federal holiday in 1937. Since 1971, the holiday has been fixed to the second Monday in October although before that, it was celebrated on Oct 12, the arrival date of Columbus.

Thanks to the weekend break, we attended a conference or retreat as I would call it to Alton Bay in New Hamsphire. It was organised by a few Christian organisations for international students and we thought it would be a good chance to rest and make new friends.

We departed on Friday in the afternoon and took 5 hours to reach the site when it would normally take about 2.5 hours. There was a huge jam and as hubs put it, “It is faster to walk than to drive.”

The place was gorgeous and serene. The autumn foliage was awesome. We had a few breakout sessions and a wonderful hike at Mount Major. The hike was relatively easy but the view at the top was splendid! God’s creation…AWESOME!

It was a pleasant short retreat with great company. In the group were 3 other Singaporean couples and we had a good time chatting and learning the perspectives of education from one another (All have connection to education. Either they are studying or teaching there).

Need. Inspiration.

Today was a beautiful day again. Thank God. And a terrific day to run. Thought I could do at last a 10-km run but could not because I met with abdominal cramps again into the 2nd kilometre.

I should be at my peak performance now if I had followed closely to the training schedule. I am worried of course but decided that this is such a small thing in life and probably not worth my losing sleep over it.

In the next few weeks, I should be running in my race-day kit and I hope I would be able to attempt my last half-marathon before the actual day. It’s in these moments that I thought about my training buddies back in STB, the three of us training under the hot sun at Evans Road’s running track. Though I do not have the complete group – the trio- I do have one of them with me.

I do need inspiration. And thankfully, I could find it online. For those training for the Singapore marathon in Dec, you might want to view them or read the stories. And for those running for leisure, may you find motivation through them too.

 

OK. I need to be having lunch now; the hubs just came back with FOOD! And I need to look into my diet for the marathon. Carbs!

Simple pleasures in life = running

It’s not raining today!! Yipee! Taking no chances, I urged the hubs to go for a run and he willingly obliged. Yay! Part of today’s mission was to recce the school that I will be volunteering in. I’ll let the pictures tell you the story. =)

Yay! we can run...finally!

 

But it’s so cold..brr…

 

Oh look! Nice fallen leaves!

Outside the school which I'll be volunteering

The reward - Dunkin Donuts' Iced coffee

Thank you for running the miles with me despite the cold. =) And we have enough quarters to do our laundry now, thanks to Dunkin Donuts!

Claypot Chicken Rice (without claypot)

I was inspired by this dish when I saw Jade’s version on her FB. For such dishes (Singaporean & Peranaken cuisine), I like to visit RasaMalaysia and I used her recipe as a guide. And of course, I didn’t use claypot because I don’t have a claypot. =)

I love this dish because it is easy to prepare and definitely tasty too! I just need to stir-fry the chicken, mushroom and lap cheong and then daump everything into the cooker and wait for the hubs to return from his studies. Yum! Yum!

Continue reading

Multi-tasking for a novice baker: The definite road to failure

Okie. I must confess I love to multi-task. It gives me real satisfaction when I can do multiple things at one time SUCCESSFULLY. Of course, you cannot meet with success all the time so well; it was failure today =).

I started baking Chocolate marble bread with ganache at 4pm. Around that time, the itchy hand went to Tudou.com and clicked on a Taiwanese drama and got hooked! At the same time, I thought it was timely to prepare dinner too and so, you see, I was juggling quite a few things, and all these with taking photos too.

I got the recipe from Martha Stewart . It was quick bread so wouldn’t be too complicated.

It was indeed easy except that I didn’t read instructions carefully and added the heavy cream while making the batter when it should be used for making the ganache. And I only realised after putting the batter into the oven. Well, the cake could still be eaten, just that it was a tad moist. Another thing which I have learnt is NOT to use 100% Cocao chocolate when it is not called for. The ganache is rather bitter and I have to convince the hubs that it is good for health – unsweetened chocolate. =p

Using both semi-sweet & unsweetened chocolate

Continue reading

For keepsake.

We subscribed to the ST so that we could be kept abreast of the developments in Singapore though I must tell you my main reason is because I want to continue to catch up with Sumiko’s and Colin’s articles on Sunday Times =p.

I know we have heard or perhaps, read enough of Mrs Lee’s passing. I am attaching MM Lee’s eulogy because theirs is a beautiful love story, a life-long committment that they have held fast to each other. The honeymooners class could use this as their sharing and we could perhaps learn from them.

2010_EulogyKGC

I wept and then smiled =)

Today’s BS was on trials and temptations with more sharing from the sisters on their fears ranging from their husbands leaving them to the safety of their kids, even unborn ones. It’s true, isn’t it, ladies, that we are constantly gripped by fear and the unknown and the thing is, we entertained such thoughts, thoughts that might not even be realised in the first place.

I left the group, feeling a bit downcast. It was raining and I didn’t like it. The nose was still running non-stop; this morning, it was like waterfall. I wanted to explore Beacon Hill but the wind was blowing so strongly that I decided to cut it short and head to Marshalls to purchase the pair of Italian boots.

I was at the junction, waiting for the traffic light to turn green and before I knew it, a car sped by and I was splashed by those murky pool of water that was about a yard away from me. Blistering Barnacles and Thundering Typhoons! I was almost in a similar situation as Carrie in SATC, except that hers was worst.

I didn’t feel good. There I was, cold and hungry in this rainy weather. My windbreaker, jeans and bag were wet. I felt desolate and all the thoughts came to me. Why did I give up my work to come here? I don’t have many friends here and why did I leave them to come here?! Why did you bring me out of my comfort zone?! I look so frumpy and I can’t buy nice clothes because I am not working anymore! This is just terrible!

I swear that I would have cried out if not for the fact that I was outside and people would cast their curious looks at me or even pitied me. No! I don’t want anyone to pity me! I brought this upon myself! And as I walked on, bearing those nasty thoughts, I came across some glass panels which stated DISCOUNTS! 50% off shoes! UGG….and I went into the shop. I wanted to buy those Phua Chu Kang boots because I actually stepped into a puddle of water while going to class earlier in the morning and since it has been raining, I thought I could invest in one (this is cock-eyed Lynn or blur one, some would say).

You know what? Besides those PCK shoes, a pair of dark brown boots caught my eyes. It was a GEOX boots and the price was so reasonable. It was at that price because it was the last pair and the shop would normally slashed the prices ridicously low. I tried them on and….they fit perfectly and they were so comfortable too, more comfortable than the other two pairs I have tried over the weekends!

So I left the shop, with two pairs of boots in my hands, with the total cost less than the one pair of Italian boots. Moments after I left the shop, a small, still voice said to me, “My child, I love you.”

I wept.

God is funny. God is loving. He showed His love for me even through simple things like this. In my down moments, He’s there for me. He’s always there. You know, as a non-Christian or even as a young Christian, when people told me about John 3:16 [ For God so loved the world, He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in him, shall not perish but have eternal life], I wouldn’t understand what’s the big deal about it. It’s…erm…just a verse in the Bible.

But growing into a relationship with God, it’s BIG deal. You have an Almighty who loves you, who cares A LOT about you. YOu would not understand the big deal about it until you realise the existence of God and how incredulous it is that this Being loves you and will not forsake you, you who are nothing.

I came back home, with the hubs coming out, with CONCERN written all over his face (I’ve text him about the big splash). I poured out, like a little child and being comforted by him. How could I have indulged in self-pity? How could I have belittled myself and despised the situation I was in?

In my self-pity, I have forgotten that I have a wonderful husband who loves me and wants the best for me, a best friend and a protector who is always there for me and allows me to grow and blossom in all areas of my interests (and in the first place, he didn’t even restrict my purchase of anything; it’s my self-imposed rules). In indulging in my ‘awful’ situation, I have forgotten that I have been given the privilege to settle in Boston, just so that I could take a break from work and to learn how to rest. I have forgotten that all these are the blessings that God has given. And how could I?

I am at peace now. Because I remember I am fearfully and wonderfully made; I am precious in His eyes.

                  

Initially, I wanted to buy ‘loud’ colours but thinking that I would be bringing back home to wear during rainy days, it’s better not to be so ostentatious.

Braised black pepper pork with ginger

Thanks to the leftover from Sukiyaki yesterday, I only need to make one dish for dinner tonight. It’s a Cambodian dish – braised black pepper pork with ginger.

It is rather spicy, to me and this after reducing the amount of pepper by 1/2 tbsp. In a way, it taste like Bak Kut Tei to me. Still, it is a simple dish to prepare and I’m happy!

 

Ingredients (Serves 4 to 6)
4 cups pork stock/ water
3 tbsp tuk trey
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
4 garlic cloves, crushed
40g fresh root ginger, peeled and finely shredded
1 tbsp ground black pepper
675g pork shoulder (I used loin), cut into bitesize cubes

1. In a large heavy pan, bring the stock or water, tuk trey and the soy sauce to the boil. Then reduce the heat and stir in the sugar, garlic, ginger, black pepper and pork.

2. Cover the pan and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, until the pork is very tender and the liquid has reduced.

Boots?

Today was such a sad and depressing day because it has been raining almost the whole morning and afternoon. We were supposed to do a longer run and the hubs wanted to show me how to get to the school which I would be volunteering in and all plans have to be shelved because of the gloomy weather. Here I was, constantly checking if it was still raining.

It drizzled, non-stop. I would be very much tempted to run if not for the fact that I am still not completely well. The nose kept running and the cough still was persistent. Arghhh…when would I be well again?! This is super frustrating!

Anyway, what sorta boots should I get for the coming season? It should keep my legs warm and also enable me to walk in snow.

A friend suggested UGG’s boots and I saw an Italian-brand boots in Marshalls during the weekends. The hubs has given the go-ahead to purchase and I just need to convince myself to part with that amount as it was rather steep in my opinion. Should I get it? Hmm…Four seasons. So fun yet so troublesome.

I like the third type of boots the best. More versatile.

Currant Cream Scones

Second item for this set of baking lessons? Currant Cream Scones which are rich British tea biscuits and have a flaky, slightly cakelike texture. Scones are traditionally served warm, spilt open and topped with chunky fruit preserves, clotted cream or Lemon Curd.

For me and the hubs, they are served with butter and rasperry jam for brekky! Yumz!

 

Ingredients (makes 8 scones)
For the dough
315g all purpose flour
60g granulated sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp grated lemon zest
90g cold unsalted butter, cut into 12-mm pieces
90g dried currants
180ml heavy cream

For the topping
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp whole milk or heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Line baking sheet with baking paper.

2. (By mixer) Combine the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest and beat on low speed for a few seconds to mix. Add the butter and mix in medium-low speed just until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of small peas. Scatter the currants over the dough. Pour in the cream and mix for a few seconds until moistened.

 

3. Turn the dough out into a lightly floured surface and press together gently until it clings together in a ball. Pat out into a round (12mm) thick and 16.5cm in diameter. Cut the round into 6 to 8 wedges. Place the wedges 2.5cm apart on the prepared baking sheet.

4. To make the topping, in a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. Brush the wedges with the milk and sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon sugar.

5. Bake until golden brown, 13-17 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm.

Sukiyaki

I wanted to try this dish because someone wrote an encouragement note on my kitchenwork blog and when I checked her blog out, I saw how she made Sukiyaki. It was easy and healthy, so I gave it a try for dinner. I wanted to use just one pot today (as compared to numerous pots and pans) so that we have less to wash. I’m doing Ken a favour since he’s the one doing the dishes. =p Oh, do remember, if you add a little of a lot of things to cook, you have A LOT to finish.

In the end, we can’t and have to leave it till tomorrow for lunch.

All you need are chicken thighs, carrots, yellow onions, mushrooms, Chinese cabbage, bean thread noodles (rice noodles), firm tofu. For the sauce, you would need soya sauce and sugar.

Using the dutch oven to make sukiyaki

Chinese cabbage, not the whole lot!

All the ingredients you'll need

Boil the bean thread noodles and set aside

saute the chicken & set aside

Add the carrots & onions

Throw in the cabbage!

Dump in the chicken!

Turn off the heat & let it stand for 30 min

BURP!

Honeymooners’ class – Lesson 2

The weather took to a change suddenly and from 76 F, it dropped to 50F on Sunday. It’s certainly time to layer and as the colder weather approaches, I wonder how we could really tahan winter.

Anyway, it’s our second lesson for the honeymooners class. This time round, instead of the usual facilitators, a couple who had attended the course came back and facilitated. Some of the topics shared were on Consummate love, stages of love and of course the love languages which we know more of.

Perhaps, let’s talk about the love languages. The hubs and I had a discussion prior to the lesson on this and we determined that his predominant love language is words of affirmation whereas mine is acts of service. This is evident in how I like to bake and cook for him, making sure he has enough for every meal. He, on the other hand, will ALWAYS encourage me when I’m down and feel bad or belittle myself. And then we also realised that the love language(s) that we express is the love language(s) that we want from our partner. For e.g., I felt loved when the hubs made the effort to make the bed and boil the water ever so often now (since our last communication) and recently, when I was sick and needed medication, he went to the pharmacy first thing when it opened its doors to business. To him, he felt loved when I encouraged him in in his studies and trusted in him in the things that he was doing.

So, it really pays to talk to your partner and find out the love languages each displays/expresses/prefers.

What’s your love language?

At the Public Garden

Wendy's came to Spore but we chose to eat it in Boston =p

Oh, we forgot to update. We received invitations from 2 Singaporean couples to their homes. One, to have dinner and the other to visit their place and perhaps have a swim in their condo’s heated pool. Woohoo! Such hospitality!

And somehow or another, we are now involved in the International Fellowship and attended their leaders’s meeting twice, just over the weekends. Hmm…we thanked God that well, He has placed us there and that we are to serve and not to be served. =)

Minced meat with charred aubergine

It seemed like a long while since I last attempt something new. Today, the health condition was better and let’s try Cambodian! The dish , minced meat with charred aubergine has its variation in different parts of South-East Asia. To attain the unique, smoky flavour, the aubergines are charred over a flame, or charcoal grill and then skinned, chopped to a pulp and added to the dish.

The hubs and I felt that what is unique about this dish is the flavour that is somewhat different if the dish was prepared in a Chinese way. I believe what made the difference is the tuk trey. This dish is easy to prepare and complements well with rice.

Continue reading

*_*

Panda-eyed Lynn

I could understand how frustrating it is NOT to be able to fall asleep.

I was a victim of insomnia yesterday. While I knew my body was already rather weak, with the aching muscles and irritating cough, I could not get to sleep. I tried to turn in early after taking the medication but instead of falling into a deep sleep, I tossed and turned.

And at 2am, the silence of the night was broken by some college students who felt that they had to announce to the whole neighbourhood what they were talking about. My goodness! Then there was screaming and laughs from some ladies and this persisted for more than an hour. I stared into the space, half wondering if it was because I was not their age and thus could not appreciate the excitement and adventures these young ones go through. But after bearing this thought for a minute, I heard a shout from a neighbour, “SHUT UP!” and decided to be kind to myself. It’s them, not me. This bunch of inconsiderate college students! Life in college must be real relaxing that they can party the whole night!

Anyway, for the whole day, I was suffering from panda eyes and a cloudy mind. Ken and I went for the fellowship meeting and during some deep discussion, I could not contribute at all because I just wasn’t thinking. And when we came back home, we were greeted by those noises again! Party again?!!!!!!!

I know shifting apartment is kinda out of the question but perhaps, ear-plugs could help? I hope so!

Anyway, I decided to pamper myself by asking the hubs to buy me cupcakes. Cupcakes can cheer one up, you know?

Quick breads: Baking Powder Biscuits

I’m on to the next stage of my baking lessons which is on quick breads.

Quick breads refer to most types of loaf and pan breads, muffins, biscuits and scones and are a snap to assemble, usually requiring little more than stirring together a handful of everyday ingredients and slipping the mixture into a hot oven. Quick breads rely on baking powder and/or baking soda for leavening. So, they are more like cake than they are like bread.

My first item on the list? Baking powder biscuits.

Since biscuits and quick breads benefit from minimal stirring, it is best to stay by the rule. Well, strangely, while the recipe stated thatit should yield 10 biscuits, I could only produce 5! Weird!

Continue reading

First Cambodian attempt

Hello, I’m back to cooking today. Ken bought me cough syrup which knocked me out after taking it and I’m better now! So, I planned to prepare two Cambodian dishes – Caramelised chicken wings with ginger & Rice porridge.

First was the Caramelised chicken wings with ginger. The steps were pretty easy except for the first which I had to make a caramel sauce. I tried but failed. I tried heating the sugar in the non-stick pan. After waiting for a good 10 minutes, I think it was not going anywhere and pour the mixture into my wok and you know what? The mixutre turned into crystals! Oh my! It’s such a joke! In the end, I decided to stir-fry the chicken wings using soy sauce and shao xing cooking wine with ginger. Taste good still but I will try to make the caramel sauce again!

Next for dinner was the rice porridge. In Cambodia, a steaming bowl of thick rice porridge or Bobor is a nourishing and satisfying breakfast. But for me, since it has been raining almost the whole afternoon and is still raining now, I made it for dinner.

This is really a simple and healthy dish. However, I feel that it pales in comparison to the Teochew porridge which has more flavour. Still, it is a nice porridge to have!

Continue reading

)=

The day saw me as a weary woman, lifeless almost. Had no energy to cook and we decided to go to the foodcourt at 88 Supermarket to have our lunch. It’s our first time though we often went there to do our grocery. So I was expecting Laksa, fried carrot cake, char kway tiao and the like; I was excited!

But what a disappointment! None of the above! I was craving for all things Singaporean at the moment and I guess I have to make them myself. =(

Anyway, off to the supermarket after the makan, primarily to stock up on our food supply for the next few days and to buy some Cambodian condiments (remember the hubs chose Cambodian food?)

We searched the different aisle for 2 main items- tuk prahoc and tuk trey – but in vain. What the?? That would mean I would have to make the sauce (whatever they are) myself? But in the end, I guess I would substitute the 2 items with something near, that is, if I know what they really are. If not, I will just use whatever I have to whip up those Cambodian dishes!

I miss my Singaporean food!!!

What big portion! We share!

Continue reading