| A blog on my journey as a WORK AT HOME MOM and my WORK AT HOME BUSINESS |

19 February, 2013

Chinese New Year Goodies

If I live in Singapore or Malaysia, I may still feel the festive ambience of Chinese New Year but because this is not Asia, it's just another day of everyday routine.

But I did worked towards a Chinese New Year mood by baking all my favourite goodies including pineapple tarts, kueh bangkit, almond cookies and included a couple of new cookies. It was nice to share around with friends and it brought back childhood memories of goodies snacking. I made two batches of pineapple tarts and I was glad the paste turned out better than last year. I tried out sugi almond cookies and these sinful morsels turned out to be one of the favourites among my friends. The spirit of sharing made Chinese New Year meaningful here though I reminisced those childhood years of ang pow collection. In those days, spring cleaning was essential before CNY and every household would be busy cleaning up their homes, fixing up stuff, decorating them with festive colours. Some people will go into the detail of fixing bar knobs and making sure every corner of their homes are spick and span. For me, the CNY snacks helped us compensate what we miss back home and I had to say that making those delicious and fattening cookies had been enjoyable.


Happy Chinese New Year

I have been absent for too long and it's just hard to put in all the chronicles after a long break. It was a 6 weeks break in Asia then before I knew it, this is the fourth week of school term 1! 

Nothing much had changed except for a new 'baby' in the kitchen - my Philips Air Fryer! Oh yes, I have been experimenting lots of things with it and it's just a useful appliance to have at home.
This was a cake done for our CNY home group gathering. I was happy that I did a mango rose and it turned out better than expected. The little jellies complement the delicate texture of the japanese cheesecake. Everyone loves this passionfruit mango jap cheesecake and it makes me happy to see smiles on their faces. This is the joy of cooking and baking... 

Happy Chinese New Year to all.

23 November, 2012

One More Week to Go...

One more week and we are off for our long vacation. It's that time of the year where many people will be traveling so the air traffic will be busy. DH had left early this week and with one less person in the house, there seems to be a little lesser chores to do! I'm still doing some bakes and they are going out to neighbours and friends since there isn't anyone to eat the buns and cakes.

 I was talking to a friend about christmas shopping and she seems to have a long list as compared to mine. She was telling me about karaoke machine at acekaraoke.com then she went on to talk about a retro game machine of the 80s. I told her my Christmas list is simple, unlike the past where I felt obliged to buy a gift for all the friends around me. Not anymore now. Life is simpler and quieter now. At the end of the day, there's just an accumulation of too many gifts and you just don't know what to do with them! If I have an oven in SG, I'll love to bake for my family and friends... but since I don't, I should pamper myself into an indulgence this holiday season.

This afternoon, I attempted these Mexico Buns (aka Rotiboy buns)... and am truly happy with the outcome!

22 November, 2012

Paper Wrapped Cupcakes

I was half way with my batter and just as I started to preheat my oven, it just stopped and I thought to myself, what timing it was!

I have been spending so much time in the kitchen and baking is my current passion. So when you are in the midst of baking something and your oven decides to play up, it is frustrating. Well, I checked, troubleshoot and did lots of things but nope, it just wouldn't start at all. So I turned to my table top turbo oven... thank God it was just paper wrapped cupcakes. I told myself, nothing to lose if they didn't turned out. After a good 20 minutes, the cupcakes rose and yes, fluffy HK style cupcakes in my less than perfect table top oven! I was delighted.

Not sure about you, but I spent lots of time on the web googling information and sometimes, I do my friends a favor to find them something they were searching for. Someone wanted to know about software development and I found http://www.eoncode.com, another wanted to buy winter wear and there were many websites for that. But I don't like spending so much time in front of the computer so being in the kitchen is alot more fun! That explains the long absence from my blog these days!

05 November, 2012

Bread Making and ....

I finally know why bread making is addictive. It all started when I saw my blogger friend's bread roll photos in Facebook and I was hooked since. The only thing is, I can't eat them fast enough before I get my hands on the next dough.

I had never hand kneaded a bread dough and it was quite an experience. The method I was keen to experiment was called the Tangzhong 65C method, aka water roux method. This method produced lovely soft bread like the ones you get from Asian bakeries, such as the ones in Breadtalk or Breadtop (in brisbane). I'm not a big fan of sweet breads but I just love making them!

It's amazing to know that we are into term 4 of school and in a few weeks' time, school will end. This has been an exciting year of ups and downs, joys and pains for me as a year 2 parent. I struggled and thrived in many situations but through it all, I learn to trust more.

For now, I'm preparing for my long trip home though I have been too busy with lots of other daily stuff. I might have to put my Christmas list on the paper and as usual, gift ideas such as best fragrance oil, accessories, lego for kids will be in it. And yes, my little boy turned eight last month and whenever I looked at him, I realized he had grown taller in the last few months. I missed those baby and toddler days, though I love every stage of his growing up. Parenting is both a joy and pain and like food, it can taste nice whether bitter or sweet.

My favourite bread from my oven: Hong Kong Pai Bao

15 October, 2012

There's a time to say 'goodbye'

It was the first time we had visitors since moving to this part of Brissy. DH's nephew and his family had visited us during the China golden week holidays and we were excited to see them again.

Clayton was delighted as he hit off so well with the two girls and they had so much good fun together. They played hot wheels, Lego and he even taught the girls how to play Monopoly. I could see that he enjoyed their company so much but I had to pray that he weren't be too sad when they leave.

It was so timely for them to visit during Clayton's spring holidays and we could take them to sunshine coast, spent time in GC and did some touristy thing in Brisbane city. The weather was nice and I was glad to see the smiles on everyone's faces. The kids enjoyed the beaches and they didn't care about the cold water in the surf... all they wanted was to plunge into the ocean with the body boards! We went shopping in Eumundi, checked out some crafts, homemade chutneys, excellent groove hats, jewelry, watched Clayton's classmate basked with her beautiful voice, did the kiddy rock climbing...etc. It was just one of those holidays you wished you could linger a little longer.

When it was time to say good bye at the airport, I could see the sadness and disappointment in my boy's eyes. The girls wished they could stay longer in Brissy and Clayton was sad that he had no one to play with again. I had to comfort him and told him that this was part of life... we learn to say good byes when we have to... and wish we can meet each other 'again'.

A week had passed. I asked him last weekend if he was still sad about the girls' leaving... and he said, "not so much anymore".... time heals.

Spring is here to stay

Spring is here and the weather is warming up each day. Having said that, we had a few days of gusty winds with cool morning temperatures last week. It felt like winter for a while but I was glad it didn't last longer than 3 days.

This is officially spring weather - nice cool breeze and the blazing sun... it's all good and I'm not complaining. I'm glad to put away my winter jackets and scarves and got out my board shorts and tees. We went to sandgate to watch the kite surfers last week... it was super windy and Clayton had a nice time in the cold pool, though he did feel a little lonely not having anyone to play with there.

 My days went by pretty quickly during the spring school holidays as we welcomed our visitors from China. It was nice to catch up with family and the kids had so much fun together. I had the opp to show a friend how to order her color guard equipment online since I've become a loyal online shopper. Why go to the retail stores when you can save heaps online. Sometimes, I don't understand why things are so expensive here. It is scary to see shops shutting and businesses closing down... I only hope the people here are prepared when things take a turn. Here's a picture of warm sunshine in Maroochydore... spring is here.

21 September, 2012

Sping Holidays is Here!

Finally, it's the last day of term 3 and school holidays is here!

This term has ended faster than I think and I know that in the blink of an eye, I'm bound for my hometown. It's been an amazing term despite the ups and downs and I'm forever grateful to God's mercy and strength. His grace is ever so suffice for me and I am so thankful.

I've been baking more often than before and my gas is using up fast! Gas here isn't cheap but it's just hard not to get my hands on my kitchenaid every other day. This has been a very busy week with a few baking project. First it was a birthday cake for 2 ladies who turned 70 at Dorcas and then a cheesecake for my boy to take to his class party today. I enjoyed every bit of baking despite the challenge of making a Japanese strawberry cake which I had never attempted. It turned out good and I liked how it looked and tasted.

Mixed Fruit Jelly

Japanese Strawberry Cake

Besides baking, eBay has been a popular activity this week where I finally bought my missing 72mm lens cap for my telephoto lens. I even bought Clayton the rare Ninjago Green Ninja and that would be a surprise for him... I know he wanted it sooo much. Ebay is just a great place to find and buy things but you need to do your homework or you would be paying much than you should. You can find all kinds of stuff, from tupperware to collectibles to pillow block... my probe thermometer arrived this week and I'm delighted! Yesterday, my square pan with a removable base arrived and then my 'handmade' stickers came in the mail today too. Tomorrow, we are off to the camp and it would our third since arriving Brissy. It's nice to check out a new campsite and most of all, get closer to nature in the most natural sense... sleeping in the tent! Just pray that there are no ticks or any crawlies this time!

24 August, 2012

Bakes from the Kitchen

One of the things I look forward to is to build a kitchen of my choice. Big marble or granite table tops, an island, a wide digital oven, a 6 stove and a walk-in chef pantry. I know it's a dream kitchen but it is possible!

The oven is working overtime on some days and despite its imperfections, it had brought forth many goodies and treats. Not the best I want but for now, it serves my needs! Last night, I told myself that I had to succeed on the Castella cake and while waiting for a long 60 minutes for it to bake, I did my chores, got on the computer, compare some quotes from equote life insurance and catch up on some emails.

Here are some goodies attempted in the last 2 months.... are you drooling?


A Big Week that Harder than Baking Macarons!

The kitchen is filled with activities and I'm very busy, as always. Sometimes, I wonder why I'm so crazy... I can decide to bake a Japanese Kasutera cake at 10.30pm at night and I'm surprising myself with the outcomes of the bakes. This has been a macaron week. Yes... it's a finnicky cookie and I had failed enough attempts before seeing those little treats come out of the oven looking pretty and dainty. It's a challenge and it's no wonder why many will bury their heads just to get it baked right. It's a very big week at school as we reach week seven and the assignments poured in. I thought the last project was hard but this one was harder! Imagine a year 2 student 'creating' a new tool for an occupation. They have to construct, design and justify their design... I think we parents are put into a challenge ourselves! So if you have planned to be a musician, you may want to design a MF ibanez tube screamer that allows you to play some music or something like that. My little one has no clue and so does the parents. After some brain storming, we finally arrived to something and believe me, this is harder than baking macarons! I will choose to attempt any bakes anytime than to crack my hard over a project like this. But it's all good and the weekends is here!