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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Buttermilk Bundt Cake (Nigella Lawson)


Buttermilk Bundt Cake (Nigella Lawson)

It was a national public holiday in Malaysia yesterday. A friend who just gotten married last month invited us over to her house for a small gathering.

At the mean time, over at I Heart Cooking Clubs, it's Pot Luck week and we can choose to cook anything from these chefs: Diana Henry, Nigella Lawson, Mark Bittman, Giada de Laurentiis, Jamie Oliver, Tessa Kiros, Rick Bayless, Madjur Jaffrey, Yotam Ottolenghi, Donna Hay, and Nigel Slater.

And so, I chose to bake Nigella Lawson's famous (and fail-proof!) Buttermilk Birthday Cake (I baked it in a Bundt pan, so I named it Buttermilk Bundt Cake) to bring over.

Recipe from Nigella's "How To Be A Domestic Goddess" cookbook or here. 

Ingredients:
(Makes one cake in a 23-cm ring mold cake pan)

1 & 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (I used 2 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (omitted)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons buttermilk*
1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar (I used demerara sugar)
3 large eggs

* If you don't have off-the-shelf buttermilk, you can substitute with 1/3 cup plain yogurt mixed with 1/2 cup low-fat milk. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes before using.


How to:

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a 23-cm ring mold can pan. Note: I used a 10-cup Bundt pan, so I also sprinkle some flour after greasing it. By the way, the 10-cup Bundt pan is a bit too big. I've yet to find out which size will be more suitable.

2. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl and set aside.

3. Pour buttermilk into a measuring cup and stir in vanilla extract.

4. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy.

5. Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds between additions.

6. Add alternating increments of the flour mixture and the vanilla-buttermilk, blending well after each addition; this should take 3 to 5 minutes.

7. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes (30 minutes if using layer cake pans) until the cake is beginning to shrink away from the sides and a cake tester comes out clean. If using a mold with a lot of patterning, leave to cool for 20 minutes.

8. Loosen the sides of the cake with a round-bladed knife and turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.


My hubby said, "Look, a giant doughnut!" LOL!

Initially, I planned to drizzle some frosting on it but in the end, I didn't do so. Something like praline frosting would be nice. Hmmm...


Moist and super yummy!

Thanks Nigella! Even my non-cake-eating-hubby said the taste is really good! Yay!



I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) for this week's theme, October Pot Luck!


 photo 77951578-1914-4b72-8eda-9e40a91183ac_zps331eb4b4.jpg 

I'm also submitting this post to Cook-Your-Books #17 hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Baked Pumpkin & Zucchini Cheesy Chicken & Egg Cutlets


Baked Pumpkin & Zucchini Cheesy Chicken & Egg Cutlets

We are going to a friend's house in the afternoon, so I make these cutlets because they are easy and convenient to pack. Not only so, they are also excellent finger food for toddlers and on-the-go quick bites for adults.


Ingredients:
(Makes 14-16 small cutlets)


1/2 cup chicken breast, minced
1/2 cup pumpkin, chopped finely
1/2 cup zucchini, chopped finely
1/2 cup pre-cooked mashed potato
1/4 cup alphabet pasta, pre-boiled and drained
1/4 cup oats flour
1/4 cup grated Cheddar cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Rice bran oil, to drizzle 


How to:

1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with baking sheet.

2. Mix minced chicken, pumpkin, zucchini, mashed potato, pasta, and oats flour in a large bowl. Combine well with hand. Add more oats flour if necessary until everything stick together.

3. Heat up 2 tablespoons of rice bran oil in a frying pan and stir fry the minced chicken and vegetables mixture until the chicken turns white. Add grated cheese and stir fry until melted. Off heat and set aside to cool down a bit.

4. Pour the cooked chicken and vegetables into beaten eggs and coat evenly. Roll into balls, flatten them on your palm and place onto the prepared baking tray. Drizzle with rice bran oil.

5. Bake for 30 minutes. Flip them over and bake for another 10 minutes until golden.


Lovely golden cutlets.

These cutlets can be addictive!


Photobucket

This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs Up (October 2014 Event: Pumpkin) organized by Zoe (Bake for Happy Kids), Doreen (My Little Favourite DIY) and hosted by Eileen (Eileen's Diary).


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Why do I limit sharing stuff about my kid online


Do I blog about my baby online? Do I share my baby's photos with my circle of friends online? The answer is yes. Why? Here's why: Like so many other parents, I want to let the world know that I have given birth to the smartest, cutest, handsomest, yada yada yada baby in the world.


Why do we share stuff about our kids online?

The underlying factor - as highlighted by PBSParents.com - is this: social media has triggered an onslaught of parental insecurities. INSECURITIES. Ouch. This is somewhat similar to what I'm thinking: "I think I'm doing a good job raising my kids… but let me find out for certain [by sharing on] Facebook."

This explanation, by psychotherapist Nathan Gehlert, summarizes us, the parents perfectly, "In many ways, we're biologically wired to promote our children, and the Internet and social media provides a convenient and effective way to do this." 

Apart from Facebook, blogging is another way for a new mom like me to share about motherhood and baby stuff. Technically speaking, I'm not really a mom blogger because I don't blog about my baby every single day. So far, I have blogged about my birth story, breastfeeding journey, and bits and pieces of my baby's growth and milestones.


Reasons NOT to over-share stuff about our kids online

#1: Privacy, consent & safety issues

When we blog or post our kids' photos online, we might be violating their privacy and safety. We must always be vigilant not to post (even if it is unintentional) any indication of date of birth, place of birth, full name, or tagging of any photographs with a geographical location – basically anything that could be used by somebody who wanted to steal your kid's identity. It's dangerous!

About the issue of consent, what type of information would your kids want to see about themselves online in 20 years' time?

Heather Mann, a mother said, "As parents, we're the custodians of our children's personal privacy until they are old enough to take over. Just because I am interested in sharing personal details of my life online doesn't mean my child will be."

#2: It's difficult to erase digital footprint

TheGuardian, in an article, highlights this: "Every time you post about your child on social media you are helping to create for them a data-rich, enduring and potentially problematic online profile."

Once you post something on cyberspace, it's most likely that it will stay there forever. It's phenomenally difficult to have zero digital footprint. If one day you decide to delete all your kids' photos, you will find doing so almost impossible.

Even if you don't post anything at all, (which is quite unlikely, agree?) can you guarantee that your friends won't tag your kids' photos? (Of course you can request to remove the tags but it's still a violation.)

#3: Over-sharing is not caring

This is my personal opinion. The saying goes, sharing is caring. I agree. But, over-sharing is not. Over-sharing is a sign of a few things: addicted to attention and crowd affirmation, insecurities (as mentioned in the intro paragraph above), showing off (which comes from the need to promote well-being), and depressed (motherhood is not a bed of roses).


How do I limit sharing stuff about my baby?

#1: Be vigilant with what photos to post

I don't post my baby's face on my blog (which is open to public). If I have to post, I use photos that don't show his face clearly. For other social media networking tools, I control who can view when I upload his photos. Another thing, I don't post compromising and embarrassing photos.

#2: Don't be too detailed 

I don't blog about my baby's every single development on a daily basis. I think that's overbearing; it's just my personal preference. I go by less is more. And of course, being a working mom, I prefer sleeping if I have some spare time to kill.

#3: Be careful when posting to Facebook open groups 

As much as I want to post photos of myself breastfeeding to the breastfeeding network Facebook group or my baby eating like a champ to the healthy food for my baby Facebook group, I don't do so because these two groups are open groups. Any Tom-Dick-and-Harry in cyberspace can view the uploaded photos and do whatever they want with them! Gosh! What if a pervert downloads the photos? Child porn is not a myth.


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If you want to share a piece of your mind, feel free to comment in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading.


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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Passion Fruit & Honey Jelly with Buttermilk Cream Pudding


Passion Fruit & Honey Jelly with Buttermilk Cream Pudding

This recipe is adapted from Diana Henry's Blackberry jellies with buttermilk cream. This jelly is supposed to have a tart layer of blackberry jelly on top of creamy buttermilk pudding. But mine turns out to be the other way round. So, let me tell you what happened.

It's quite hard to find fresh and frozen blackberries in a tropical country like Malaysia. At first, I planned to substitute with fresh blueberries. But when I was rummaging through my fridge, I saw a bag of fresh passion fruits given to me by my mother-in-law. So, I ended up with passion fruit instead.

About the layers, I used a bundt pan to hold the jelly. I should have poured in the clear honey jelly layer before adding the buttermilk cream layer. But somehow, I forgot about the sequence and ended up with the cream layer on top after I turned the jelly out from the bundt pan.

So here you go, this is my Passion Fruit & Honey Jelly with Buttermilk Cream Pudding. Luckily, albeit this mishap, the jelly tasted really cooling and refreshing! The buttermilk layer is milky and creamy; the honey layer is cooling; and the passion fruit's tartness provides an extra burst of flavors in my mouth! Phewww!


Ingredients:
(Serves 6-8)

For the buttermilk cream layer:
20g (1 packet) agar-agar strips

3 cups water
1 cup Paul's thickened cream
1 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons light brown sugar

For the honey jelly layer: 

10g (1/2 packet) agar-agar strips
2 cups water

1/4 cup pure honey

1 cup fresh passion fruit


How to:

To make the buttermilk cream layer:

1. Soak agar-agar strips in a bowl of cold water for about 20 minutes to soften. Drain.

2. Pour 3 cups of water in a pot. Bring to boil, then add agar-agar strips and light brown sugar. Cook until all strips and sugar dissolve. Set aside to cool slightly for 10 minutes.

3. Add cream and buttermilk. Whisk until dissolve over low heat. Don't boil.

4. Pour the mixture into a 10-cup bundt pan and leave to set in the fridge overnight.


To make the honey jelly layer:

1. Soak agar-agar strips in a bowl of cold water for about 20 minutes to soften. Drain.

2. Pour 2 cups of water in a pot. Bring to boil, then add agar-agar strips. Cook until all strips dissolve. Set aside to cool slightly for 10 minutes.

3. Add honey and stir until dissolve. Leave to cool, but not too long that it starts to set. Pour the mixture on top of the buttermilk layer. Leave to set in the fridge overnight.


To assemble:

Un-mould the jelly and drizzle with passion fruit generously.


I think this jelly looks pretty.

The jelly's cross-section.

Another cross-section.



I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) for this week's theme, Icy Cold!


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Introvert, Extrovert or Ambivert?



I scored 39 points. So, I'm an Introvert with some Ambivert functions.

 
Introvert

While not necessarily shy, you prefer to spend a lot of your time alone to recharge your limited energy. Quite simply: people drain you, and you prefer your own inner world of thoughts and passions to the external world of people and events. As such, you tend to have few close friendships, and are very selective when it comes to relationships. You prefer to think before you act, and people describe you as being thoughtful, cautious, quiet, and introspective.

To summarize, these are some of your defining characteristics:
  • Private
  • Enjoys solitude
  • Energized alone
  • Has a rich internal world
  • Thinks before speaking and acting
  • Prefers a few intimate friends
  • Doesn't enjoy loud, sociable situations
  • Independent

 
Ambivert

As a fairly equanimous person, you display both introverted and extroverted characteristics. While on some days you like being surrounded by many people, on others you prefer to relax on your own and take some time out. As such, you can easily relate to both extremes on the personality spectrum, and have an easier time delving in and out of the internal and external worlds. This may lead to feelings of confusion as many times you feel like a "walking contradiction", feeling one thing one moment, and another thing the next. Your friendship circle tends to consist of 3, 4, or 5 people.

To summarize, these are some of your defining characteristics:
  • Equanimous
  • Enjoys socializing, but also being alone at times
  • Behavioral decisions usually rely on "how one feels", or the context of the situation
  • Usually has a small group of friends
  • Flexible
  • Changeable
  • Ability to appreciate both inner and outer worlds
  • Easygoing


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