A visit to Blue House

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Yesterday, I attended a sharing on Positive Parenting for the Under 3s by Ms Shona Sanosi, the co-founder of Blue House International School. My main aim, however, was to have a look at the school environment. Nope, I would not enrol Faith in this school as the fees are exorbitant but I’m more interested in their Reggio Emilia approach to teaching.

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The school is located near Turf city and I thought I could pop by Pasarbella for a bite after that. After parking, I was greeted by this signboard which set me thinking, “Hmm…seems like a nice school!” I don’t think I have seen such a signboard in local preschools. Perhaps I’m just ignorant.

As I walked towards the building and entered it, I had a peek into their classrooms which are shielded by glass windows. They are much like the classrooms in the private school which I had interned in Boston. The rooms were neat and inviting and I couldn’t help stopping by each room to have a hard look at it. *Cosy feel*

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Leaving the premise, I posed myself these questions, “What kind of preschool would I enrol Faith in?”, “What are the important criterion that I’m looking for?”, “Would I want to homeschool Faith if I have the capacity to do so?”

*Need to reflect.

Cheesecake overdose

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I’ve had enough of cheesecake for now.

You see, a few weeks ago, a friend has asked me to bake a strawberry cheesecake to celebrate her hubs’ birthday. I agreed readily since I have baked it before. However, this time round, because I would be paid for baking that cake, I jolly well do a good job and make sure that the cheesecake delights rather than disappoint.

There are a few specifics. My friend wanted a 6-inch cake and with big juicy strawberries. The cake must be rich as well since her hubs are all into indulgence of the calories.

Therein lies the problem. Many recipes that I come across are designed for 9-inch cakes with few for 6-inch. So, I would have to come up with one for this custom-made cheesecake. Another problem that I have is I don’t own a 6-inch springform pan (I have 7-inch and 9-inch) so I would have to improvise (couldn’t get a 6-inch one in time).

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Basically, I took 3 days to come up with one recipe that I could be pleased with. This cake has to be at least 2 inches tall and filled with the cheesy flavour. So you could imagine how much stuff is packed in. In one of the recipes that I tested, I put in cut strawberries (sprinkled with flour) into the main batter but because they are moist, they don’t give the effect that I want. Then I thought of swirls but discarded the idea eventually as my artwork isn’t that stellar.

After two failed (according to my standard) attempts and a stomach filled with cheesecake slices, I managed to bake the ideal ones for my friend. Hopefully the hubs will like it.

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This is the adapted miette‘s version. It’s rather light which is good for the weight-watchers. However, a rich cheesecake is called for so this won’t do.

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It’s best to bake cheesecake in a springform pan. Since I couldn’t get hold of a 6-inch one in time, I used a cake pan with a removable base. The result is uneven sides as depicted in the first picture. ;( But otherwise, I didn’t encounter cracks for this cheesecake.

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As I delivered the cakes (she ordered two) to my friend each of more than 1kg, I could at last heave a sign of relief. No more cheesecakes for now! But I shouldn’t really get a 6-inch springform pan with the money collected from the cakes. To more baking adventures!

Cheesecake topped with strawberries
Yields a six-inch cake

190g digestive biscuits
50g unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp sugar

2 blocks of Philadelphia cream cheese
3/4 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup sour cream/ heavy cream (I did a combination)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs

PREHEAT oven to 180°C (middle rack). Mix digestive biscuit crumbs, melted butter and sugar. Press firmly onto bottom and up the side of pan; set aside.

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BEAT cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add sour cream/heavy cream and vanilla; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until blended. Pour into crust.

BAKE 1 hour 10 min or until center is almost set. Turn oven off. Open oven door slightly. Let cheesecake set in oven 1 hour. Remove cheesecake from oven; cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight (better). Loosen cheesecake from rim of pan; remove rim. Top cheesecake with strawberries just before serving. Pour a little heated strawberry jam over the fruits.

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