Some mornings, I would drop my mother off near her workplace. During the 35 mins morning drive, we would tune in to her favourite radio station FM97.2 and chat about random things like her job, my job, the neighbours or laugh at the DJ’s jokes. On this particular morning just few days before the actual Mother’s day, DJ #1 of the morning show caught my attention when he talked about a listener who wrote in to share her mother’s day wish. At first, the listener’s wish sounded weird, as her wish was simply: “Not to have chicken rice with her children, but rather, to eat “no-chicken rice” 无鸡饭 with them.” Puzzled, DJ #2 then asked the same question that I had on my mind, so did she mean she just would like to have the plain rice without any chicken with her kids? But why? Was she on some kind of diet? So DJ #1 explained that she actually didn’t mean the actual chicken rice which in mandarin is called Ji Fan 鸡饭 (“Chicken Rice”), but rather she actually meant Ji Fan 机饭 (“Appliance Rice”).
FIVE MONTHS. That was how long I neglected this space. I know there is no perfect excuse so I shall not persist on explaining my disappearance… LOL… So let’s head straight to the recipe I’m sharing in this “comeback” post.
I found the recipe through this Japanese blog called The Last Order , a site that I visit frequently to marvel at the mouthwatering photos and to find inspirations. Looks like the guy behind this blog, Masaki Higuchi, is also the author of a few Japanese cookbooks that focuses on vegetables which I am really keen but unfortunately, I don’t understand a word of the language. The recipe for the muffins was not posted on his blog though but can be found here from Marie Claire Style JP. He seems to be the regular contributor for the magazine as there were a string of recipes published on the magazine site.
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I found this cake of Sicilian origin from The Guardian, when I was looking for an orange cake recipe. The original recipe was from Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes. This recipe was based on a traditional butter cake proportions, flavored with freshly-squeezed orange juice and its zest. Here, I had gone a little further by adding a splash of Grand Marnier which I believe it deepened the orange flavor in the cake.
The recipe calls for self-raising flour which I don’t always keep stock for, so I made a substitution by mixing all-purpose flour and baking powder. It works perfect. I also upped the orange juice by a little, which contributed to a nicely moist crumb. When it comes to traditional butter cakes, I always prefer to use salted butter, a tip I learn from my dad, who bakes the best Hainanese butter cake in my world. You could use unsalted but I would recommend adding a touch more salt to the batter. It alleviates the taste of such dense butter cakes.
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When it comes to cookies, I like to refer to Alice Medrich‘s book, Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies. The title says it all isn’t it? These beautiful Goldies are addictive. Be warn. If you like Pepperidge Farm’s Milano Cookies, then I am sure you will enjoy these, as they are actually quite similar.
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A few weeks ago, my nephew celebrated his 3rd birthday. I didn’t make him the birthday cake. Apparently, he wanted a Mickey Mouse cake and they were looking into fondant, which is something I don’t do (I love desserts seriously but I’ve never like fondant). So instead, I volunteered to provide accompaniment desserts. Mickey Mouse is my nephew’s current favorite character, and naturally the character became the party’s theme. The first item I made was this Mickey Red Velvet cupcakes, this time replacing the artificial red gel colorant with natural beet powder. The cakes did not get that vibrant red with the use of beet powder, instead it turned to a dusky rosy color, minus the nasty chemicals. Why not right? Mickey’s face was easily achieved by using a regular Oreo as the face and two mini Oreo representing the ears.
I actually made another batch of yellow cupcakes, which was meant to frost it with a peanut butter frosting and strawberry jam. PB & J that is. But… I can’t figure out what went wrong, the cake turned out to be unsatisfactory. It happens sometimes. Didn’t want to waste, I crushed the cakes into fine crumbs (this was real fun!), mixed in some of the PB frosting, made into rounds the size of ping pong ball, roll them over melted dark chocolate and coat with sprinkles and crushed Oreo. I am glad that these cake truffles attracted quite a lot of attention from curious guests, tempting them to try. Can’t tell you how it tasted because I didn’t get to have a bite but I did taste the cake mix during the making and it was actually not bad.
When I was planning on what desserts to bring for this party, one of the sources I looked to was Donna Hay’s Kid’s issue 2012 (digital edition). And these Mud Pots came from there. It was made with milk, cream and Milo. The Milo pudding representing the soil and the mint stalk, the plant. So simple yet creative and very yummy too! I must mention that it was also extremely easy to make.