Tuesday, November 20, 2007

More Nihon Snacks

Nihon Snacks 1: Following the treat with the limited edition Green Tea Pocky, I found the limited edition - Chocolate Cream Pocky at Bishan NTUC. It costs a whopping $4 but if it's as nice as the former flavour, it's definitely a worthwhile buy!

Full of anticipation, I opened the Pocky pack and found each pocky sticks wrapped in a thick coating of cream chocolate. A review I read in the papers claimed that the Chocolate Cream flavour is less sweet than the Green Tea flavour. But one bite into it and the verdict is clear - Green Tea Pocky win hands down, no doubt about it! The cream flavour is rather heavy and much too sweet. It would have been better if it's dark chocolate instead. At least the Green Tea Pocky has a tinge of bitter green tea flavour in it to sort of balance off the sweetness from the chocolate.

So the next time I make another purchase of $4 Pocky, the choice is clear.

Nihon Snacks 2: Some days back, my mum received a small box of Japanese Raspberry Chocolate Crunch from my friend. As always, the nice photos on the packaging box already tells a tempting story of what lies within. One bite into it and it tastes more like Raspberry Yoghurt Crunch. The rich raspberry flavour just explodes in my mouth and my tongue kept telling me that it's Yoghurt, not Chocolate. Considering that I'm a more Chocolatery person, this Raspberry Crunch is really not bad!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I Swear

Alicia has grown so much over the past few weeks. She has learnt to keep her gaze at one moving object, turn her head to look at the sights or respond to sounds around her, mesmerized by the colourful photos in magazines, blabber baby talk when encouraged and most importantly, gesture with her fingers. Of which her favourite would have to be:

I'm not so sure she knows what this gesture means yet....

Monday, November 5, 2007

Raspberry Kiwi Sponge Cake

I had originally wanted to bake a Strawberry Shortcake but ended up with Raspberry Kiwi Sponge Cake. It's unbelieveable that I could not manage to find strawberries at either the nearby fruit stalls or NTUC. Is it common to run out of strawberries by mid-afternoon in Singapore? I also had some difficulties finding the recipe online. The only recipe I got looks rather suspicious as the instruction asks me to pat some butter crumbs on the base of a baking pan before adding the whipped egg whites...hmmm...

In the end, I managed to merge two other recipes I found online and made do with the raspberries and kiwi in the fridge.

This is also my first attempt at making a cake with whipped cream. I started at 4pm and only finished at 7.30pm, a whopping 3 hours 30 minutes! Not sure if this is considered slow or fast or normal speed?

In case anyone has a recipe to a foolproof strawberry shortcake, please send me a copy. Thank you! :)

Raspberry Kiwi Sponge Cake


(Sponge Cake)
4 eggs, room temperature
206g caster sugar i used only 150g of sugar
4g salt
140g cake flour
30g salad oil i used canola oil
30g fresh milk

(Raspberry Whipped Cream)
300ml heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs granulated white sugar i used slightly less
1/2 cup lightly sweetened raspberry puree i used whatver i could squeeze out

(Raspberry Puree)
340g of frozen raspberries i only had ~100g and mine's not frozen
1/4 cup granulated white sugar i used slightly less
1/2 tsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)

(Fruit Fillings)
remaining raspberries from the box
1 kiwi

Method (Sponge Cake):
(1) Sift the cake flour, set aside. Line a 20cm round pan, set aside. Preheat oven to 180°C. Position rack at the lower bottom of the oven.

(2) With an electric mixer, whisk the eggs, sugar and salt on high speed for about 5 to 7 mins, until the batter doubles in volume and is ribbon-like. Turn to low speed and whisk for another 1 to 2 mins. Whisking at low speed helps to stabilise the air bubbles in the batter. (My handheld mixer do not have high and low speed. But for me to achieve the ribbon-like consistency, it took about 10 - 12 mins)

(3) Add sifted cake flour into the batter. With a spatula, gently fold in the flour until well blended.

(4) With a spatula, mix about 1/3 of the batter with the salad oil in a separate bowl. Fold in this mixture into the remaining batter. This method will help to ensure the oil will be fully blended and at the same time not deflat the batter.

(5) Add in fresh milk and fold in gently with the spatula.

(6) Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 35 mins or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Unmould and cool completely. (The cake was still wobbly after 35 mins of baking. I decided to add an additional 25 mins of baking time to it and it turned out just nice)

Method (Raspberry Puree):
(1) Thaw the frozen raspberries in a large fine meshed strainer suspended over a large bowl.

(2) Once thawed, force the juice from the berries by gently pressing the berries with the back of the spoon.

(3) The raspberry seeds should remain in the strainer. Throw away these seeds.

(4) To the strained juice, stir in lemon juice (optional) and sugar.

Method (Rapsberry Whipped Cream):
(1) In a large mixing bowl, stir together the whipping cream, vanilla extract and sugar.

(2) Cover and chill the bowl and beaters for at least 30 mins.

(3) When chilled, beat the mixture until soft peaks form.

(4) Add the sweetened raspberry puree, a little at a time, and beat just until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised.

(5) Taste and fold in more sugar or puree, if needed.

Method (Assemble the cake):
(1) Slice the cake horizontally into 2 layers. Place one of the cut cake layer side down on a cake plate

(2) Spread the whipped cream over the layer.

(3) Arrange sliced kiwis to cover the whipped cream layer.

(4) Fill with some more whipped cream. Top with the other cake layer, cut side up.

(5) Spread the whipped cream over the top and side of the cake. Decorate as desired.


(+) The whipped cream tastes heavenly! As the cake is a little dry, the whipped cream complements the cake nicely.

(-) The whipped cream started to melt when I'm almost done applying it onto the cake. Perhaps I should have applied it in an air-con room or simply apply it faster. So you can see in the photos that the piped cream underneath the raspberries have already lost it's 'form'.
(-) The sugar quantity given in the recipe would be way too sweet! I was lucky to reduce it to 150g only.
(-) With absolutely no experience in applying the whipped cream on the cake, mine looks like one done by a child.
(-) I tried to sprinkle roasted almond flakes on the side of the cake and it proved to be quite a challenge to try to sprinkle the almonds and maintain my balance of the cake at the same time.

(=) Overall, I would say it's quite a successful attempt!
(=) I hope to get another recipe which gives a softer cake texture.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

A Pacifier That Tells The Temperature

Which is your preferred way of measuring the body temperature of a baby or toddler?

(A) Stick the thermometer up their butt hole?

(B) Place the thermometer under their armpit?
- can't stop them from fidgeting?

(C) Put the thermometer into their mouth?
- worried that they might bite and crack the mercury bulb?

(D) Place the thermometer into their ear?
- worried that they might jerk their head suddenly?

(E) Have them suck on the thermometer willingly without the danger of mercury poisoning?
- sounds too good to be true?

Tah-Dah! Presenting.......the 2-in-1 Thermometer Pacifier!

The usage is simple: pop the pacifier into the baby's mouth, press the red button at the back, the pacifier starts measuring the body temperature and when the temperature stabilizes, it'll issue a soft beeping sound.

Kiss those conventional methods of temperature measurement goodbye!