Thursday, 29 July 2010

When the going gets tough...

have a break, have a kick kat!

No, don't worry, this is not some advertorial ;)

My husband bought this box of kit kat at the Narita Airport on his way home two days ago. He was back home for a mere 21 hours before he was off to another part of the world. He had planned to stay till the weekend, but was called to go to another place when he was still slogging away in Yokohama. I told him we were like 牛郎织女 a Chinese folk story about a couple who could only meet once a year on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month ;)

Even though he was home for less than 24hrs, I was glad that at least he managed to have a good rest. He had been working till 1am every night at the overseas office for the past whole week. It doesn't help that it was scotching hot over there and he came home looking so 'red' and heaty! I had to drown him with herbal tea to cool him off. For once, he finds our local weather here, lovely!

When I told some of my friends that he is taking up a long term assignment, I could detect the envy written across their faces. To most people, they equate overseas postings with a nice, fat pay package. Well, this is certainly not true for his case. Everything remains the same and he would even have to suffer some form of pay cut due to the currency exchange rates and the employee benefits that he would get to enjoy back home. He is not even given a choice, it is a matter of take it or leave it (the job). The irony is, just three years ago, he had made a decision to leave his former employer of seven years just so as to avoid being relocated to Down Under, and to cut down on the frequent travellings. He was promised a 'desk-bound' job. But things didn't work out as planned. Eventually, he even lost his desk in the office as they have adopted a 'book-a-desk' kind of work arrangement! The current organisation lost the local contract last year, and the market here is so small for the industry he is in, they have to look beyond this little red 'a wider region within seven hours flight radius' from our island.

It is not easy to get a new job over night at our age. So, for the time being, we could only try to adapt to this work arrangement. He will be away longer this time, and won't even be home on the seventh day of the seventh month! He promised he will buy a ticket to come back for the mid autumn festival, I hope no one will stop him from doing so by then. I am blessed with two kids who are very understanding and easy to take care, and yet there are times when I wish he is around especially when small things seem to start to grow into a big issue.

Ok, enough of my ramblings, I have digressed!

One of my pals has always shown great concern about the size of my brain cells when I became a full time housewife. She worries that my brain cells will shrink over the years since a housewife's world would only revolved around the seven things in the kitchen...柴米油盐酱醋茶(fire wood for the stove, rice, oil, salt, sauce/soya sauce, vinegar and tea, in a traditional Chinese home). So, I do make it a point not to lose touch with the outside world by reading, blogging, surfing the net, so as not to become a frog in the well.

Here's one new thing that I would like to share with fellow SAHMs, since we are 'home-bound' and hardly gets to see the 'outside' world. (Pardon me if you don't belong to this category, or feel insulted by my words. I don't mean to imply that all SAHMs are isolated from the outside world. I hope you understand where I am coming from because I have received unpleasant remarks and comments for being a SAHM.)

Unless you understand the Japanese language, I don't think you will be able to guess what the flavour of these kit kats is. Green tea, you may guess, but no, they are wasabi flavoured kit kats! Correct me if I am wrong, I don't think this flavour is available here? I have had wasabi coated nuts but not wasabi chocolates. These kit kats taste like white chocolates to me, sweet, and there is only just a slight hint of wasabi. You can forget about getting the real kick from tasting the real wasabi. Those wasabi coated nuts fair better in providing the burning, searing sensation in your nasal.

I won't be too surprised if anyone tells me they had baked something with wasabi....wasabi cakes, cookies, muffins and buns?!

Have a great day, and am I too early to look forward to a great weekend ahead??

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

What's your reason?

I believe there is always a reason behind an action. Even a no reason is a reason itself.

There is always a reason (and sometimes several reasons) why I choose to bake it cakes, cookies or just a simple loaf of bread. Sometimes my reasons could be quite frivolousness (^^'). I could have bought a new set of muffin cups or some new ingredients that I die die must try. Most of the time it was purely due to inspirations from images I saw on cookbooks or food blogs. Occasionally, I would conduct some kitchen experiments mainly to try to clear whatever ingredients that was nearing shelf life.

So, what's the reason(s) behind these soft and fluffy cinnamon rolls?

There are many!

1) Ever since I started baking bread, I 'promised' my younger child I will make him some cinnamon rolls...which is the name behind that super cute Sanrio character Cinnamoroll! He was and still is a big fan of Cinnamoroll. I told him, Cinnamoroll's tail is just like a cinnamon roll! Well, that was like 3 years ago, and I am glad that kept my promise. Yeah! Parenting Rule #1, Keep your promises! I am doing quite well in this aspect as I am smart enough to make only simple promises. ;')

2) I have wanted to try making bread using this 65C tang zhong (water-roux) method ever since I saw it at MH's blog...2 years ago.  (MH if you are reading this, I just want to tell you I finally bought a digital scale, there is no more excuse for not being able to measure 84g of tang zhong!).

3)A few weeks ago, a reader by the name of Cupcake asked me which brand of cinnamon powder do I use. I am sorry I did not reply her question. I wasn't able to. Other than the Chinese five spice powder, I have not bought any cinnamon powder. I have not baked anything with cinnamon powder, even if a recipe calls for it, I will omit it. The reason is, I am really not sure whether my family will like it. However, Cupcake's comment was so 'powerful' that I found myself dropping a bottle of McCormick's cinnamon powder into my shopping basket when I went grocery shopping the other day. So, cinnamon rolls, here I come!

4) This last reason is not the everyday kind of reason. Actually, this is the highlight of this blog post!

On our flight back from Beijing last December, I watched this Japanese movie, Seagull Diner or Kamome Shokudo かもめ食堂,海鸥食堂 on board. I didn't get to finish watching the last half an hour of the movie as the entertainment system was switched off to prepare for landing. This movie left such a good impression that I have to watched it when I came back. I did a search and was so happy to able to watch it online! Some sites provide Chinese sub, some are in English. I recommended it to my cyber-friend VB, thinking that she would probably like this kind of movie...especially she is currently learning Japanese. Now, I can't write a movie review at all. I can only say it is a very beautiful movie. It will leave you with a very good feeling after watching it. The story is extremely simple...about a Japanese woman, Sachie, who opens a diner in Finland, and her encounters with two other Japanese women and her Finnish customers. Do hop over to the above link to read about the story. I really enjoyed the movie and so did VB. Since the setting is a diner, you cannot run away from Food! There are 3 particular scenes I love...a man who came to the diner to teach Sachie how to make a good cup of coffee; Sachie and her friends making those big, fat, pure white onigiri; and Sachie making Cinnamon Rolls and the Finnish ladies having them for tea. I am so inspired that I told myself I must really make it a point to try it. I am really glad that I finally did it!

Hop over here to watch the preview of this movie to decide whether you will like it!

I did not make the classic type of cinnamon rolls where the dough is made with plain flour...which will give a more chewy texture.

I prefer something softer, so I followed this cinnamon roll recipe from this book, 65度C汤种面包 (65degC Tang Zhong Bread).

Cooking the tang zhong was not as difficult as I thought. Even for someone who is really bad with anything that has got to do with a stove, I did not burn the water-roux! However, the dough was really difficult to work with. It was rather wet due to the high water content, and even after 40mins of kneading by hand, the dough was still a little sticky. I gave up, dust it with some flour, smooth it into a dough and leave it to proof. The dough was easier to work with after the first proof. I melted some butter, spread it onto the dough (take note, the dough should not be rolled till too thin, ideal thickness is at least 1/2", otherwise you will end up with a hard, chewy roll!) before sprinkling the cinnamon and sugar mixture over. Rolling it up was pretty easy too...the only challenge I faced was cutting the rolls into equal sizes! It is not a simple task, as the cinnamon filling somewhat prevented the dough from sticking together after rolling. The centre tend to squeeze its way out when I try to slice the roll ;'(

Anyway, to cut the story short, I was rewarded with a tray of sweet smelling cinnamon rolls 4 hrs later. How I wish you could 'smell' these rolls off your screen! I skipped the icing/glaze as the roll already tasted so good on its own. It was an instant hit among my two boys. We have it for tea, breakfast and tea again the next day! The recipe is a keeper, and I am sure I will be making this again and again and again.

So, what's your reason for baking something?

Cinnamon Rolls
(makes 9)

tang zhong (water-roux)
25g bread flour
125ml water

bread dough:
210g bread flour
56g cake flour
20g milk powder
42g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6g instant yeast

30g egg, lightly beaten (about half an egg, reserve the leftover for egg wash)
85g water
84g tang zhong (water-roux)*

22g unsalted butter

1 teaspoon cinnamon powder (this amount is just right for my kids, use more if desired)
30g sugar (I used raw sugar)
25g unsalted butter, melted


to make tang zhong (yields about 90g tang zhong):
Place 25g bread flour in a saucepan. Add 125ml water, mix till smooth, making sure there are no lumps of flour. Cook over medium to low heat, stirring constantly with a hand whisk to prevent it from burning. Within 1 to 2 mins, the mixture will start to thicken, stop when you see traces in the mixture for every stir you make with the hand whisk. (Take a look at the video clip here. ) The 65degC tang zhong is ready. Immediately transfer the hot tang zhong into a bowl and cover it with a cling wrap, making sure the cling wrap sticks onto the surface of the mixture. This is to prevent a film from forming on the surface. Leave to cool completely before using it.

to make dough:
Mix all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add in the egg, water and tang zhong. Mix to form a rough dough. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough till smooth. This should take about 10mins. The dough is quite wet and sticky, it helps to have a dough scraper on hand to scape up the dough as your knead.

Knead in the butter. Continue to knead the dough until it no longer sticks to your hand, becomes smooth and elastic. This should take about another 20 to 30 mins. Do the window pane test: pinch a piece of the dough, pull and stretch it. It should be elastic, and can be pulled away into a thin membrane without tearing/breaking apart easily.

Place dough in a lightly greased (use vegetable oil or butter) mixing bowl, cover with cling wrap and let proof in room temperature (around 28 to 30 degC) for about one hour, or until double in bulk.

Mix cinnamon powder and sugar together. Reserve about 1 teaspoon of the mixture.

Remove the dough from the bowl and give a few light kneading to press out the gas in the dough. Roll the dough into a rectangle, about 30cm by 25cm, 1/2 inch thick. Brush surface with melted butter. Sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar mixture over the dough surface. Roll over the surface with a rolling pin, this is to make sure the fillings will stick onto the dough.

From the longer end (30cm), roll up the dough to form a long log (ie 30cm in lengh). Pinch the edges to seal. Place the log seam side down, trim off the two ends. With a sharp knife, cut the roll into 9 equal pieces, about 3cm each. (To get even rolls, use a dental floss to slice the log. Position a long string of dental floss under the log, hold the two free ends, criss-cross over the top of the log, pull the two ends to cut the roll. Tip from cookbook, 天然麵包香, Natural Bread Made Easy.)

Arrange the rolls cut-side up in a greased (or lined with parchment paper) 20cm square pan or any suitable baking tray. Leave some space in between the rolls to allow them to expand. Cover with damp cloth or cling wrap and leave doughs to proof for the second time for about 45mins, or until double in size.

Brush top with egg wash (mix leftover egg with 1 tbs water) and sprinkle the reserved cinnamon sugar mixture over the top. Bake in pre-heated oven at 180 deg C for 15-20 mins or until golden brown. Remove from oven and once cool store immediately in an airtight container.

Recipe adapted from: 65度C汤种面包, 陈郁芬

Friday, 23 July 2010

Afternoon Tea

I don't usually have afternoon tea. My kids do.

That's because I live my life around my kids' schedule. We have late lunches and early dinners. They won't be home from school before 1.30pm and we have to have dinner before 7 in the evening as bedtime is just a couple of hours away. As a result, I don't have any desire for food in the late afternoon, but my kids would usually be stealing some time snacking away at the dinning table. My elder child is that sort of person 'who lives in his own world'...but when it comes to tea-break time, he will automatically get out of his world and go hunt for food. He will ask his brother along. Besides food, you need good company to enjoy your tea time. It is the time they would share stories on the latest happenings in school, comparing whose teacher is stricter, and talking nonsense such as making fun of teachers hairstyles or names. They can talk just about anything under the sun...from jabulani ball to debating whether they should play English or Chinese chess in the evening.

I don't usually have afternoon tea since I don't have good company. My two rascals don't count. However, there is always an exception.

For instant, I can't resist but to make myself a cup of tea to go with a slice of this wholesome homemade cake.

Will you be surprised if I were to confess that this Banana Walnut Cake happens to fall under the category of those 'haphazardly-made' cakes? I have craved for scones, and have intended to make some, but I changed my mind halfway through measuring up the ingredients. My cravings has suddenly switched from scones to a slice of fruit pastry cake. I thought I could use up the leftover peaches to make the cake, but only to realise that I didn't have any yoghurt or sour cream that's called for in the recipe. I turned around and spotted a bunch of over-ripe bananas...all covered with speckles. My problem was solved. I threw in some mashed bananas and chopped walnuts in the batter and transformed the fruit pastry cake into a banana walnut cake. This cake is so easy to make that I have nothing to share with you on the preparation process!

The finished cake has far exceeded my expectations. This banana version tastes as good even without the use of yoghurt or sour cream. I guess nothing could ever go wrong baking with bananas. The walnuts lends an interesting texture to the soft, tender crumbs and I super-love the banana fragrant. While the cake was baking in the oven, my whole kitchen smelt as though I was frying a wok full of goreng pisang (banana fritters...deep fried bananas coated with batter). The cake tastes a little sweet though, and that is mainly due to the sweet bananas. On hindsight, I should have replaced some of the plain flour with wholemeal ones, besides the additional fibre, I'm sure I will like the extra nutty texture.

So, that was how I ended up enjoying my slice of cake with a cup of lemon tea, on a cool late afternoon.

Banana Walnut Cake


100g butter, soften at room temperature
160g caster sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
210g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
50g walnuts, chopped

  1. Grease (with butter) and flour the sides of an 8" or 9" round pan and line the base with parchment paper.
  2. With an electric mixer or a manual whisk, cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
  3. Dribble in the eggs gradually and beat till incorporated in the batter. (The mixture may appear slightly curdled.)
  4. Add vanilla extract and mashed bananas. Mix till smooth.
  5. Sieve over flour and baking powder and mix till smooth.
  6. Add chopped walnuts (reserve some for sprinkling the top, optional). Mix with a spatula.
  7. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth out the top with the spatula. Sprinkle the top with the remaining walnuts or arrange some banana slices (dipped in some lemon juice to prevent it from turning black) on top.
  8. Bake in pre-heat oven at 180degC for 60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cake.
  9. Leave the cake to cool in the pan for about 5~10 mins. Unmold and transfer to wire rack to let cool completely.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Double Berry Confiture

A couple of weeks ago, when my better half was home for the weekend, I took the opportunity to grab him to the supermarket to stock up on rice, milk powder and bulky items which I would have problem lugging home on my own. While wheeling the trolley around, I spotted a small crowd at the fresh fruits section. I left the trolley to my kids and went up to check out what was the grown strawberries were going at one third the original price! That was really a good deal, besides, the strawberries looked very fresh with stems that were still bright green. I grabbed, 3, then 6 punnets and placed them in the trolley. You would think that would be enough, but the greedy me, went back to grab another 3 and a few packs of blueberries too!

The strawberries were sweet (not super sweet, but at least they were not sour) and juicy. For the next few days, we had strawberries after every meal (^^")

I used some to made a strawberry galette and a double berry jam, both of which were on the top of my to-do list.

I took the homemade jam recipe from this book, 低热量点心DIY...homemade desserts with low calories. 1/10 serving of this strawberry and blueberry jam contains 63kcal, and 0.1g fat. I am not sure whether the figures are true, but I would choose to believe it as the amount of sugar used is less than most jam recipes.

As with most of my past jam making experiences...the process of making homemade jam is so easy...much easier than cooking a pot of porridge. As suggested by the recipe, I prepared the ingredients the night before, and left the berries and sugar to sit over night in the fridge. The next morning, when I was ready to cook the jam, much of the juice was 'extract' by the sugar from the fruits. It took me less than 15mins to cook the jam and can it.

In the past, I have never liked fruit jams. I am the kaya and butter person. But, ever since I started making my own jam, my opinion about it has totally changed!

The finished jam is not sweet at all...I could still taste the slight tang from the berries. What I really like is the chunks of fruits on my slice of toast. It is the best berry jam I have ever had....really, nothing beats a bottle of homemade jam :)

Try it and I am sure you won't regret...especially if you happen to get the berries at dreat discount ;)

Double Berry Jam

(yields about 300ml of jam)

200g fresh strawberries (I used 275g)
200g fresh blueberries (I used 125g)
120g granulated sugar*
2 tablespoons lemon juice**

  1. Wash and remove the stems from strawberries, cut into halves or quarters(for bigger ones), leave whole for small berries. Wash and drain blueberries.
  2. Mix strawberries, blueberries and sugar in a bowl. Cover and leave in fridge over night, or let it sit for at least 30mins.
  3. Transfer the mixture (including whatever juice that was drawn out from the berries) in the bowl to a stainless steel pot or a large saucepan. (Note: use non-reactive pots made with stainless steel, glass or enamel, avoid pots made with copper, aluminum or cast iron which would react with acid).
  4. On medium heat, stirring constantly with a heat-proof spatula or a wooden spoon, bring the mixture to a full rolling boil (when the bubbles do not stop or lessen when you stir it). Once the mixture starts to boil, skim away any excessive foams or bubbles, stirring constantly all the time.
  5. Keep at a slow rolling boil for another 5 ~ 10 mins, stirring constantly till the mixture thickens, becomes clearer and transparent (no more foams).
  6. Drizzle in the lemon juice and cook for a further 2~3 mins.
  7. Remove from heat. The jam will be a little runny when hot but the consistency will be just right after it has cool off.
  8. Ladle hot jam into hot sterilised jars, fill to the brim. Secure lids. Let cool. Once opened, store in fridge and best consumed within 1~2 weeks***.

how to sterilise glass jars and bottles:
Wash glass jars and lids in hot, soapy water, rinse well. Place jars and lids in a pot. Fill with enough cold water to cover the jars. Place over high heat and bring water to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and boil gently for 10 minutes. Remove jars and lids from boiling water and drain upside down over a clean tea towel. Preheat oven to 110 degC. Place jars and lids upside down on a baking tray. Place in the oven and heat for 15 minutes. Proceed to make the jam while the jars are in the oven. Do use glass jars with lids that come with a gum binder that seals them against the top of the jar.

*Do not reduce the sugar, as the amount is required to preserve the jam.
** Do not omit the lemon juice as it help to hold the jam together and enhances the flavour.
*** For safe eating practices, do examine the jam frequently for signs of spoilage.

Recipe source: 低热量点心DIY, by 大越鄉子

Monday, 12 July 2010

Priceless Dishes

It is not an everyday affair that my children helps me with my chores. On rare occasions when they eagerly offered to help mop the floor for me, I ended up spending another extra half an hour to complete the job. As much as I appreciate their kind assistance, sometimes I am better off that they leave me alone while I whizzed around the house.

It was a usual weekday evening. I was preparing dinner when my elder child dropped by the kitchen. He was trying to kill time while waiting for his turn to 'polish' the ebony and ivory keys (yes, I am one 'lucky' mother to have free 'piped-in' music every evening).

He offered to help me with the cooking.

In my mind, I was telling him 'You should be spending time to solve that mysteriously unsolvable maths question, the stove is not going to give you any inspiration', but what came out from my mouth was "Ok, go get the eggs from the fridge. We will have stir-fry eggs with tomatoes tonight."

Even though I wish that he spent the time on his studies, I know that I am doing myself good. In time to come, I would probably have to chain him to the dinning chair just to have him sit down to have dinner with me. I shouldn't miss golden opportunities like this, especially since it is out of his own will.

The next scene you would see a mother trying her best to slice the ingredients into 'equal' sizes, and a boy cracking eggs using only one hand. A few knocks on the edge of the bowl, with a squeeze and a squash action, the egg flowed through the cracks effortlessly. I inspected the bowl, no tiny bits of egg shells, great! Do you believe that I am not able to break an egg with one hand? I have cracked so many eggs for the past years, and yet, I can only do it with both hands, and I still get egg shells in the bowl, sometimes. I have showed him how to break an egg with both hands, but he does it his way...which I think he finds it cool! This is just like the Chinese saying "初生之犊不怕虎", aka the fearless youth...there is no worries or fear of making a mess, and no silly self-imposed rule that the yolk has to stay in shape and not be broken, even though it was meant to be scrambled anyway!

Few minutes later, he dished out (actually it was pour, slide, push) his master piece from the frying pan. I was very impressed with him since I was almost hands-free throughout the cooking process. It was a simple stir fry dish, with just some oil, tomatoes and eggs, zero salt or pepper. The Chinese cilantro is a treat for his younger brother...who loves to stuff his mouth with parsley and cilantro...what we referred to as 'smelly vegetable'.

He also helped me with this stir-fry bean sprouts of my favourite dishes. My elder boy was so proud with his master pieces, that he had to make sure his brother (who was so engrossed polishing the black and white keys all this while) acknowledged his effort.

Both dishes cost less than a dollar, in total. But to me, they are priceless.

To cap it off, I was pleasantly surprised to see both boys folding the clean laundry when I was done cleaning up after our dinner. Even though their eyes were fixed on the tv set while working their way through the mountain of clothes, they did help save a few minutes of my time. It was a pleasant evening indeed.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Afternote - Comment of the Day

Dear readers,

Thank you for leaving your comments on my previous post. I really appreciate the kind understanding from all or you. Thanks for cheering me on!

My purpose of putting up that post was not to highlight the negative comment, but to use it as a platform to express my appreciations to Cassie, someone I do not know, and yet took time to read my blog and hear me out.

I have no issues with the way the negative comment is worded. I was from the corporate world, I am well trained to brace myself against those comments. Life is not a bed of roses! The only thing is, right from the start, I believe the person is living at another side of the world. No mothers will feed their children to see them growing up to suffer from diabetes or heart problems. However, due to the differences in our culture, the person may not know that rice, noodles, wheat (flour) is our main staple. The majority of our population (hope I am not wrong?) have rice almost every day. It was only these recent years that we get to see more varieties of commercially made wholemeal or multi-grain bread available at the supermarket shelves. During my short-term stay in the states 10 years ago, I was really amazed at the range of delicious multigrain loaves available, I even thought of bringing loaves of bread home. For those of you living in the western part of the world, you will be surprised that most of the local bakery stores here are selling bread and buns made with white flour, you can hardly find a bun that is made with wholemeal flour at the neighbourhood store. If you were to walk along the baking supply shelves in our local supermarket, don't be shock that sometimes you don't even see wholemeal flour on the shelves. Most of the time, I have to make special trips to the baking supply store just to get it.

To increase the intake of complex carbohydrates, I compensate by cooking a mixture of white and brown rice, and I was lucky that my kids have no problem eating it for the past year. We switched to soft multi-grain bread once they acquire the taste. I have also started tweaking recipes to introduce wholemeal flour or oats in the bakes I made. I don't follow recipes that call for a whole block of butter, and if a whole cup of sugar is required in the recipe, I'll either stay away or reduce the amount. I make muffins instead of cupcakes laden with buttercream or icing and till now, I could not bring myself to frost a cake with fondant. I baked bread more than cakes and cookies, yes, even though the bread and buns I made consisted mainly of white flour, but if we were not to eat this, I don't know what else to feed my children for breakfast. What's the point of giving them cereals if they would rather choose those 'kids-friendly' cereals which is hidden with sugar, over muesli?

I am not trying to make any justifications as there is no need to do so. However, I have to highlight this fact that my blog posts are just snap shots of what we had at that point in kids diet changes as they grow older, what I have written almost 3 years ago may not give a fair representation of the present.

I'm the sort of person who usually leaves things as it is, just like the Chinese saying 清者自清 (meaning: it is not necessary to explain or clear things up if one has not done anything wrong). However, I just felt so compelled to voice this:

Blogging makes our world makes the world bordlerless, bringing us closer, and yet, everyone needs to understand that we are still physically apart, some of us are living thousands of miles away. We have to try to understand there is always differences in our cultures, not everyone on earth speaks the same language, eat the same food. So, instead of giving one's views based solely on one's perspectives, we have to take a step back...look at things from a macro point of view and try to understand the differences before making any judgmental comments. Seek first to understand then to be understood.

Ok, that's all I have to say, thanks for reading, and I hope this won't offend anyone.


(会看中文的读者不要笑hor, 我觉得最后那段好像选美赛宣言leh!不过不吐不快说了心中才感到痛快,可是长篇大论后又觉得在对牛弹琴,真是自相矛盾! 希望ah lau 没有突击检查,让他看到一定会给他笑死!)

Friday, 9 July 2010

Comment of the Day

No, no, no, not this one, but this one here:

Here's sharing with you the joy of blogging. 

Someone left a not-so-nice comment on my blog post here. I do get this kind of comments once in a while. I usually get a little upset initially (yes, go ahead call me 小气, petty-minded), but I would choose to ignore them and not be bothered with it...after an hour or so ;)

Although that post was written almost 3 years ago, to a certain extend I agree with that person's comment about me not feeding my kids with nutritious food. I wrote a rather childish reply (^^''')...even though I know that the person would likely not return to my blog. After posting my comment, I thought the case is closed.  Little did I know it is a classic case of the Chinese saying '翁失马,焉知非福' (aka 'The Lost Horse' in Chinese folktales).

I received the second comment from Cassie the next day. I felt so touched with her words! If you are a blogger like me, and if you are unlucky enough to encounter similar experiences, I am sure you will feel that everything you have put up on your blog is worth the effort and time. It is those words from readers like you that kept me going...and I am so glad that I have found another friend. Dear Cassie doesn't have a blog, and if I don't keep one, I will choose to be a silent reader, like many non-bloggers out there. I believe, it is not 'second nature' to leave comments on someone else blog if you are a non-blogger. The point I want to make is, she has chosen to break the silence just to 'stand-up' for me and cheered me on. I really don't know whether I would  be able to do the same. 

I am no good with my words at all. With my limited vocabulary, I am not able to express my heartfelt thanks to her in my reply...and I tend to digress in my replies! So, I am dedicating this post to Cassie to show my appreciation. We are total strangers and yet I felt like talking to a friend next door. I used to find it amazing that my mother could chat up with a stranger at the market as though she knew that person for ages. Now I know why aunties can 'click' so easily!

Once again THANK YOU Cassie!!!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

A present from me is on the way...

A big thank you to everyone who took part in my first ever blog giveaway. Thank you so much for your keen participation, making it such a successful event :)

To give is always better than to receive. Prior to this giveaway, I have no idea that there are many readers who have been silently following my blogs these years. I am thankful that you have broke your silence and took time to leave your comments. Through your comments, I found myself landing on so many wonderful blogs. It is very unlikely I have the chance to stumble upon them since I have to cut down on blog-hopping so as to be a more responsible mother, tuition teacher, cook, housekeeper, etc, etc!

I am delighted to know that there are actually many people out there in our region, who share the same interest like me...creating delicious homemade cakes, breads and desserts for their families and friends; and for those who keeps a blog would generously share their wonderful tips and recipes with the rest of the world. Not everyone I know share the same interest. I only make it known to three of my friends that I am keeping this blog, anyway, they were the ones who encouraged me to start a blog in the first place. Reading your comments warms my heart, it makes me want to believe that I actually have so many friends out there.

Since this is the first time I am hosting a blog giveaway, after assigning a running number to each participating reader, I thought of ways to pick the lucky winner. Initially, I have wanted to do it in an old fashioned way, ie, writing the names in slips of paper and get my kids to draw the winner. I even thought of using a Bingo game set to spin out a lucky number! But, I had to drop the idea when the number of participants went past a hundred! I have never expected such an overwhelming response. In the end, I have to fall back to the online randomizer to generate pick the winner. It is not as fun, but it does serve its purpose...

and the lucky number that appeared on my screen is...Number 16!

Congratulations to Hearty Bakes, you have won the bottle of Nielsen-Massey's pure vanilla extract! (Please leave a comment stating your mailing address and email address and I'll send the gift right over to you.)

To the rest of you, I hope you are not too disappointed. One reader, Pris, left a comment saying that the vanilla extract is available at Phoon Huat (Hougang branch). For local readers who are interested to get the vanilla extract, you may want to check with that store.