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Showing posts from May, 2010

Hot Days Activities

What is the best thing to do when the weather is so sweltering outside?

For the life of me, I can't think of anything constructive other than hiding in an aircon space until the sun goes down. But even if I manage somehow to convert myself into a nocturnal creature, the rest of my people in my life won't be doing that anytime soon.

Imagine this: "Hi Boss, can I come in for work at 6.45PM or as soon as the sun sets?" That will almost guarantee an immediate dismissal.

So what are we to do about this heat? Maybe we could start cottage industry here for drying of fish, prawns, and the likes. Perfect sun and heat with zero rain.

While I am figuring something out here, I remember reading on The Straits Times or Sunday Times a long time ago that one of the best thing to do in such hot weather is to bake bread as the bread will rise rather quickly.

With that thought still in my head, I turned on my KitchenAid and churned out a dough in under ten minutes, washing included. Fine, I…

Performer's Mama

I'm literally camping out at the cafe of my little princess' dancing school during most evenings of the week in the run up to the big concert performance put up by her school next week. Madness!

The weather is draining the life out of me and I just don't want to be anywhere near the hot stove and/or oven! Madness, madness!

In the meanwhile, I have to come up with some strategies to cope with the heat and yet be able to put some food on the table. Sigh ... The thinking at the moment is to go with salads and soups and see how that goes.

I'm moving to temperate country with better milder summer!

Pizza Etcetera

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And I thought that I was the only one who is in the pizza baking mode. Just spotted an article from NYTimes on making pizzas at home that spots blistered crunchy crust that is chewy and thin.

Oh my, would you just look at those pizzas?


I am in need of pizzas again.

Not the best thing for the caloric conscious, but still ...

... At least it is homemade, okay? Being homemade somehow absolve all incriminations of being unhealthy. In my mind.

So, now I think I know why one of the pizza dough recipes (yes they have quite a few variations) from Cook's Illustrated called for cake flour. Hmm ... they are really ingenious bunch of people. The recipe can be found at Baking Bites.

The article is full of useful tips such as letting the dough rise overnight for better flavour, the use of soft flours and sponge starter as well as going easy on the toppings.

The pizza bug just won't let go!

Rolled Away

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Now armed with my new found toy, I thought maybe I ought to try a few more dough recipes. As the current trend is now pizza making, I picked up another recipe from The New Best Recipe. The ingredients list looks pretty much the same as the recipe from The Joy of Cooking but the proportions for water differ slightly, so that made me quite curious to try if there's any difference.

TNBR: 4 cups flour: 1 3/4cups water

JOC: 3 1/2 cups flour: 1 1/3 cup water

As a rule of thumb, I'd add less water to the initial mixing when in doubt. You can always add more later, but not the other way around. So in goes one and a half cup of water into the mixing bowl and I waited. The dough mixed beautifully and pulled away from the sides of the mixing bowl cleanly without the need for the remaining quarter cup of water. Hmm ...

As you might noticed, I am a big fan of Cook's Illustrated for the sole reason that their recipes seldom fail. But if I had followed the recipe to a T, I would have ended u…

Eating Alone

What do you eat when you are alone?

I have been thinking long and hard about this question since I picked up All Alone In The Kitchen With An Eggplant. This book is a collection of essays from writers who shares their secret of feeding themselves when they are all alone. Some weird, some decadent, some .... just plain weird.

There was one night when hubby was out and princess went over to my in-law's, I found myself alone at home. And what did I feed myself with? That happens to be whatever that was in the fridge at that time: mashed potatoes and sauteed zucchini. Two of my most favourite foods.

Then there was the other night when I was hungry but there wasn't anybody in the house to cook for, I fed myself a good loaf of bread and hunks of cheddar cheese. I ate half a block of the cheese, I think. Pity I didn't have enough space for the remaining block.

So there, me at my solo eating moments.

If I am to live alone, I don't think I would have bothered to cook very much. But …

Chicken Provencal

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I am still deciding which book to choose for the next Cooking the Cookbooks. So for now I am zig-zaging among the few trusty companions lying on top of the cookbook piles.

This recipe came from The New Best Recipe which made me wonder why I didn't spot it earlier.

The recipe calls for 8 chicken thighs, but I really really don't like to eat thigh meat. Don't ask. Just don't like, okay? Leave it. Don't go there. So I picked up a whole chicken from my favourite supermarket and asked the nice lady behind the counter to hack it up for me.

Me: "Hi! Would you please cut the chicken up for me?"

Lady: "Sure, into how many pieces?"

Me: "Say 6 to 8 pieces would be great."

Lady: "For cooking curry?"

Me: "I need bigger pieces. 6 would be fine." Thinking of something to correspond to the 8 thighs.

Lady: "So for cooking curry?" Her eyes revealed confusion.

Me: "Erm, ... something like that." Thinking french curry.

I wond…

Pizza Bianca

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Our little princess has never been fond of ketchup or any dish that involve tomatoes. While her peers are basically paddling in ketchup pools with either french fries or nuggets, she would look on with disdain and shudder. This is just as well. Who really knows what goes in to making ketchup please raise your hand? If you are interested, check it out here for what goes into a popular brand of ketchup. See High Frutose Corn Syrup amongst the list? Thanks, but no thanks.

So that brings us to our pizzas. She loves making them and does a good job, but she just wouldn't even take a bite of her own creations because it had tomato sauce. Necessity is the mother of all invention. Which lead me to create pizza without tomato sauce. Actually, I didn't create it. There already exist such pizzas it just so happen that it didn't cross my mind.

Making pizza now is a breeze. No more arm power required to wrestle with the dough. Hooray!

Let's meet the pizzas!

First up, Pizza with Sun-drie…

Cocoa Bread

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Chocolate bread didn't sound very correct since there wasn't a piece of chocolate to be found in it. The bread was made as the usual white bread but with the addition of cocoa powder.

The recipe desperately needs tweaking as the bread was neither here nor there in terms of taste.


Texture wise, it was great. Especially now I have the help of KitchenAid, which I finally brought it out of its eternal slumber.
Now, this loaf reminds me that I have a recipe for a chocolate loaf which I have been meaning to make. It definitely looks more promising with dark chocolate pieces.

Stranded In A Cafe

Well, not actually.

I am just sitting in the cafe of the dancing school which our little princess attends. Trying to kill time. But hey! I learn how to hook up my laptop to my iPhone! Presto! Eureka!

Okay, I am a technological idiot. I can't read instructions. So this is a relevation to me.

I haven't dropped off the face of the earth. Just been busy catching up on my sleep. Think I am coming down with some bug. (-.-)

Apart from sleeping, I had done come cooking here and there. Made foccacia, chicken provencal and chocolate bread. I will post these shortly when I get some free time to upload the photos. Other cooking that didn't get snapped by the camera include Triple Chocolate Brownies and Laksa. Sorry, just too hungry.

I am currently bringing Outliers to bed with me. Wonderful book. If my eyes didn't droop ever so often, I would have loved to finish up the book in one sitting.

Okay, gotta go! Princess is on her way out of her class!