A Lovely Long Weekend

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01. We managed to catch the Deepavali Festival Village tucked along Campbell Lane and Hasting Road on the its final day.

02. The bazaar was huge on party poppers, confetti showers, and decorative items.  It got really crowded when we reached the festive snack stall.

03. The block of flats above Tekka Market, interestingly, houses lifts with transparent viewing windows! (Is this a trend everywhere, or have I been living in a cave?)  We took it all the way up (25 floors in all), and could see Marina Bay Sands from where we stood.  I then realized that the lift interior was uncomfortably hot and stuffy, due to the scorching noon sun that was shining through the window.  I silently prayed that the lift would not stall on my way down, for I think it is pretty painful getting stuck in there where the ventilation fan above don’t even work well enough, suffocating while waiting for help. (Touch wood!)

04. I later learned that the Indians have a very, very sweet tooth.  I bought 6 pieces of the sweets back to sample (they have a lot more variety!), but I could only bit a tiny portion off each time, only to find it too sweet for a second bite, before returning it back into the fridge.  It is still there, and I have a feeling that I won’t be able to finish them at all…

++ I passed by Moghul Sweet Shop (48 Serangoon Road) and saw a long queue at its entrance.  Will return for their Kaju Katli, as they look simple amazing with the edible silver foil! ++

Teachers’ Day Printables

Teachers' Day Printables // Makingitblissful

*This post is totally late as Teachers’ Day fell on the 6th September this year.  But I think the links to the printables will come in handy again when the kids give their teachers a gift of appreciation for the end of the school year later in November.*

I prefer snacks like chocolates or candies when it comes to gift ideas.  I’ll either re-wrap them with a customized candy wrapper, or re-pack them into little bags and add a cute gift tag for a touch of personalization.

I decided on this Owl Thank You Teacher printable from Living Lorcurto in the end, after sourcing through the list of possibilities from the web.  The best part is : they are all FREE!

1. Teachers Are Treasures Chocolate Board via I Heart Naptime
2. Chocolate Bar Wrapper via The Celebration Shoppe
3. Tote-tally Terrific Teacher Gift Tag via Uncommon Designs
4. You are the Berry-Best Gift Tag via Love The Day
5. You are an Awesome Teacher Tag/Label via Design Mom
6. Simple Thank You Card via Tip Junkie

Milk Bread Loaf

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This Sweet Milk Bread recipe is a keeper.  Original 元子’s recipe had plain water and whole egg.  After 2 bloggers’ modifications (1st here, then here), the recipe now uses fresh milk and egg whites instead.  My final proof took almost 4 hours for the dough to rise and fill 80% of the loaf pan, but I think the overall texture was worth the wait.

As with all fresh homemade bread (no additives, bread improver, blah, blah), finish it up within 2 days.  On day 3, bread sort of dried out, and turned crummy, even though I only slice it before eating

Made notes below next to the ingredients to remind myself what I have used or tweaked.  So far, all my 3 attempts have been very successful.

The Big Man asks for consistent taste in his daily bread, commented that I have attempted far too many different milk/sweet bread recipes.  I think this is his way of saying that I should stick to this recipe.

MILK BREAD
//Adapted from Eileenの记事本

INGREDIENTS:
250g bread flour (I used Prima) / plain flour (I used Sheng Siong house brand, Happy Family)
50g fine sugar
65g egg white
100ml fresh milk (I used Meiji full cream)
8g milk powder (I used Fernleaf)
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
25g unsalted butter (I used SCS and Anchor)

Oven Temp : 170C
Bakeware : Bread Loaf Pan

1. In a mixer with paddle attachment, mix well all ingredients except butter at low speed.
2. Change to a dough hook attachment, add in butter, and continue mixing till window pane stage, about 20 minutes.
3. Remove mixing bowl from mixer, cover with a clean tea towel, and leave it aside for 1 hour, The dough will rise to approximately twice its original size.
4. Punch down the inflated dough, and pour it out onto a clean worktop.
5. Evenly divide the dough into 3 portions (approx 160g each), roughly work them into balls and leave it covered for 15 minutes with the tea towel.
6. Flatten and roll out with a pin and roll up dough like a swiss roll from the shorter end.  Leave dough aside for another 15 minutes.
7. Repeat step 6, this time pinching the seams to seal tightly.  Arrange the 3 rolled up dough with seam facing down into the loaf pan.  Final proof till dough rise up to fill 80% of the pan.
8. In a preheated oven at 170C, bake for 35 minutes.
9. Remove the bread from the baking tin immediately after the baking is done.  Leave the bread on a cooling rack to cool completely before slicing.

For a better understanding of Step 6-7, See Photos Here.

Sorting The Laundry Faster

I know some moms who hate sisters wearing the SAME thing together.  But some of the wee clothing are so adorable, I often find myself getting identical ones for the girls, albeit different colors, if available.  They can even take turns wearing different colors for all they want, as I hang them all in the same closet, so there is not much sorting done for the “going out” clothing.

It’s the undies and pj , which we are more particular with.  When the girls were younger, visual sorting was still possible with the obvious size difference.  As they grow up, it’s now down to just one size difference, mmm…not that obvious anymore.

At first, the size labels were doing a fine job, but with more washings, the prints on them started to wear off and could no longer be seen.  I often find myself holding 2 pieces of clothing together to compare the width at the waist band/ shoulder before keeping them into the sisters’ respective drawers.

Then this idea of cutting away one of their labels as a form of identification strikes me one fine day.  And it is so easy.  No more finding and flipping that tiny label to see whether it is a “M” or “L”.  I just need to be consistent, for example, if the elder sister is the one whose clothing’s tags get cut off, stick to this system.

It works on all clothing with tags except another clean laundry sorting spoilsport: school white socks, no tags.  Luckily, the school does not make it compulsory for the children to wear the official socks with the school’s name printed on them.  So I get the elder one to buy hers from the school, and the younger one from elsewhere.

Leftover Goodies

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The handmade, homemade, without preservatives ones went first.  These love letters were next.  Luckily, (and strangely) the urge for these stuffs come once a year, i.e. during the Chinese New Year.  Just like Bak Kwa, Kueh Lapis (an ultimate fattening 45 egg yolks recipe here) and White Rabbit milk candies, though they are available whole year round, we only eat them in the beginning of the year.  Which is a good thing, I guess.

Nutella Lava Mug Cake

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Make a Nutella Lava Mug Cake, the easiest way to enjoy Nutella other than licking a spoonful of it direct from the bottle.

Chocolate chips are added into the batter before baking for the a gooey, molten chocolate center effect.


NUTELLA LAVA MUG CAKE
Adapted from Plateful
Makes 4 cakes with small ramkins, or 2 cakes with jam jars
INGREDIENTS :
- 4 tablespoons self rising flour, sifted
- 3 tablespoons caster sugar
- 1 medium egg
- 3 tablespoons Nutella
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- Chocolate chips, for the 'lava'

 INSTRUCTIONS :

01. Combine all ingredients, except chocolate chips, in a bowl.
02. Whisk with a fork until mixture is smooth.
03. Divide the batter evenly between 4 small ramkins.  Fill up only 3/4 or less, otherwise it will overflow while cooking in the microwave oven.
04. Then tip in 4-6 chocolate chips into each cup and push them into the batter with the fork until completely submerge.
05. Microwave on high power for anywhere between 30 seconds to 3 minutes, depending on the microwave wattage.  My 1000W microwave took 30 seconds for small ramkins, and about 50 seconds for the jam glass jars/mug.  The size of the cake/container will affect the cooking time too.


 ++ Notes To Self ++
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To know how long it takes for your microwave oven to cook the mug cake, watch the cake while it is cooking in the oven.  The cake will reach a “dramatic rise” stage when it is about to be done.  Once that happens, give it another 5 seconds, the texture should be just nice; moist and not too dried out.
///
I used Nestle Toll House Semi-sweet chocolate morsels
///

Last Minute Chinese New Year Bake Off : Crunchy Sugi Cookies

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CRUNCHY SUGI COOKIES
Adapted from “Delicious Asian Sweet Treats
Yields 70 bite size cookies, 5g each
INGREDIENTS :

- 100g ghee
- 120g caster sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 150g plain flour
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Egg yolk, for glaze

INSTRUCTIONS :

01. Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
02. Combine ghee, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla extract in a bowl, mix well.
03. Sift flour, baking soda and salt.
04. Fold flour mixture into ghee mixture with a metal spoon to form a dough.
05. Pinch 5g of dough and roll it into a ball, place it on a lined baking tray.
06. Arrange shaped cookie doughs 2 cm apart on the tray as they will spread during baking.
07. Brush egg glaze on top of cookies.
08. Bake in preheated oven for 14minutes, till golden brown.
09. Allow cookies to cool completely before storing them in air tight container.

Condensed Milk Marble Cookie

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Another small batch baking recipe from <<每天都是饼干日>>.

++Notes001 // This cookie cutter will make the cookies look even nicer.

++Notes002 // I use Van Houten cocoa powder.  Recipe originally stated 4g, but I found it too much and dry out the dough.

++Notes003 // After cutting out first batch of star-shaped cookies, I still had a lot of dough left.   As I did not want to spoil the distinct marbled effect by gathering and kneading the remaining dough too much , I simply rolled and shape the remaining into a log. Wrap it with a plastic bag, and after chilling for 30minutes, the dough is ready to be sliced into 1cm  thick round cookies.  I then baked them the same way as per the recipe instructions.  (Last photo)

CONDENSED MILK MARBLE COOKIES
// Adapted from <<每天都是饼干日>>
// Yields 20 cookies, depending on the size of cookie cutter

INGREDIENTS

  • 60g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 100g condensed milk, room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 170g plain flour, sifted
  • 1 tbsp Cocoa powder

METHOD

01. In the small mixing bowl, whisk to cream softened butter.
02. Add condensed milk and salt.  Whisk to combine.
03. Add vanilla extract.
04. Pour sifted flour into the mixture, stir with metal teaspoon to form dough ball.
05. Pinch out 50g of the dough, add cocoa powder slowly to it to form a cocoa dough. Stop adding when the dough starts to feel dry
06. Roll out the plain dough on a floured surface or baking paper.  tear up cocoa dough into pieces randomly place them on top of the flatten plain dough.
07. Roll out with pin again to flatten (to 0.4cm) and combine them.
08. Cut into desire shapes and arrange on a baking tray.
09. Bake in a preheated oven at 170C/325F  for 10minutes till cookies are done, but not brown.
10. Cool completely on rack before storing in air tight container.