Butter Cookies

I didn’t intend to bake them but I received a distress signal from my sis who was at her wit’s ends; her cookies were unsuccessful and she wondered why.

We communicated for a while, laying all possibilities for the flakey cookies. I was puzzled because my sis has more experience in the kitchen and even if she were to encounter any difficulties, it would be other stuff and definitely NOT….cookies!

So, my curiosity was aroused and I wanted to test if the recipe was all right. I decided to bake them. We are 12 hours apart and I wanted to share my results before she retired for the day.

We shared the same technique and had the same result for the dough. But the finished products differed. Mine came out okay and were butter cookies all right. In the end, we both agreed that it could be her oven (or was it toaster?) that was the culprit. She has brought her toaster to the new place which used a different voltage and this could be the reason why her baked goods didn’t turn out well.

Yup. That could be it. Mystery solved! But well, I think my BIL would have to fork out some resources for an oven now.

From Notes on Cooking: Avoid even numbers when plating food.

Bilateral symmetry can suggest animal or human forms; shun such anthropomorphizing unless you are making gingerbread men. Imbalance adds interest. One exception: eggs, sunny-side up, look good in twos for some reason (likely Freudian).

Beautiful snow…

The reservoir where I frequently run is now covered with snow. What a beautiful sight to behold!




My 10 best friends in the kitchen!

In no particular order of preference.

#1 KitchenAid Standmixer
My hands are free to prepare other stuff while this machine helps to complete its assigned task. Good companion!

#2 Rachel Ray Basic 3-knife set

Sharp knives are good friends and knife skills are a must in the kitchen. You don’t even need any slicer when you have acquired the skill. I love this set because they are so sharp that I was cut a few times by them, normally as a result of carelessness when I washed them or brushed against them.

From the Notes on Cooking, never scrape the sharp edge across the cutting board. To gather food bits – either waste or choppings – turn your knife over and scrape with the spine of the blade. I’m guilty of that. =(

#3 Electronic scales

Precision. Precision. Precision. What more can I say? This is crucial in baking and this scale has travelled miles with me.

#4 Cuisinart Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 3 Qt

Love this because it can be used both on stovetop and in the oven. Food cooks evenly in cast-iron and is particularly useful when roasting chicken. My only complaint? I should have bought a bigger one. A 5 Qt is essential to cook a whole chicken in it.

#5 Le Creuset cast-iron skillet

Same reason as above for its material. Anyway, I love anything by Le Creuset.

#6 Martha Stewart Magnetic Measuring Spoons

I love them for their colours and that I could still use the other side of the spoon if one side has been used. Useful especially when I have no time to wash and dry it. The magnets help a great deal because I could just stick them onto the oven or my sink. Space is a constraint in the kitchen and this is great!

#7 Rachel Ray bakeware

I only have the loaf pan and round cake pan. Love the fact that they have handles at the sides, making it easier for me to remove from the oven. Love the orange too!

#8 Silicon Baking Mat

I adore this! Traded parchment paper for this. My cookies do not stick to it, making it so much easier to remove from the mat. I could just picked the cookies up by the fingers! In the long run, I think it helps me to save more as compared to using parchment paper.

#9 Non Slip Flexible Pastry Mat

I don’t have a good open space to knead my dough, only one kitchen table which I share with the hubs for his studies. So this comes in handy. I love the measurement guide on it too! Aiming for a granite/marble tabletop in future!

#10 Dorie Greenspan’s Around my French Table

By far, this is one of my favourite cookbook. Dorie Greenspan made French cuisine so achievable and her short stories for each dish is a delightful read. I will be continuing to cook from her book in 2011.

Out of all these favorites is still my bestest of the best – the hubs! I started cooking partly because of him and this interest has grown into a passion. His encouragement has sustained me when I wanted to throw in the towel and his honest review of my food has allowed me to continue to strive for excellence. This companion of mine has graciously allowed his waistline to grow too when he goes on food trail with me just so that I could set myself a benchmark. ❤


I had a dream…last night.

I dreamt that I was in my ex-school, had my own table but then I was not to teach.

Horrified was I. I wondered why.

I woke up. And I tried to reason with myself, “What’s wrong? What happened? Why was I not teaching?

Then I realised…I’m on no-pay-leave.

Dear Lord, grant me the grace to accept that when that day eventually arrives.

I do love teaching and I love teaching in my country. Having visited schools in other parts of the world and reading up on various education systems, I must say that ours is unique. We are perhaps the only country whose student-teachers are being paid and that they do not have to apply for licence to teach.

Our system is not perfect though. No one system is but having worked with the policy makers grant me assurance that they are forward-looking and looking into the full interests of our students and teachers. Change takes time, so be patient; I’m not even sure if people will react favourably when the change takes place, even if it’s for the positive.

I’m not sure why I’m rambling. I’m just thankful for our educational system. That’s all I can say.