Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Tonight both kids offered to read me a story before bedtime.  Adrian will be 7 in 2 weeks and Livie will be 5 in 6 weeks.  Both of them picked a Dr. Seuss book.  Adrian has been reading very well since SK so I let him do it.   When I looked at Livie’s 62-page book, even though there was only one short paragraph on every page, I didn’t expect Livie to be able to really read it.  I said to her, “You don’t have to do the whole book.  It's so long.  You are going to just recite from what you heard from class, right?”  As she started reading, she was serious.  She went on and on!  She couldn’t remember that much, she was really reading!  I was so impressed.  I only hinted her no more than 5 words.  Then she finished the whole book.  I’m so proud of you, Livie!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Strawberry Chiffon Cake

Strawberries are on sale!  I love strawberries!  I controlled myself and bought only 2 lbs.  Yet when I went to my in-laws house on Monday, my mother-in-law said, "The strawberries were very cheap.  I bought extra, do you want to take some home for baking?"  Of course!

This is a recipe I had adapted from Little Corner of Mine.  I have reduced  sugar on the ingredients list.

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup canola oil
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup strawberries puree (Use a blender and puree 5-6 strawberries in 1/2 cup of water and sieved)
1 tsp. imitation strawberry extract

6 egg whites
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
2/3 cup sugar

1 cup of  strawberries, finely cubed

1/3 cup of pecans, blended to powder stage

I added strawberries to enhance the flavour because I didn't have extract at home.  Pecan powder was just a test.  It didn't affect the texture but I couldn't taste the difference.  I may add more next time.


1. Preheat oven to 350'F.

2. Sift (A) in a big bowl. Stir to mix. Add (B) and use an electric mixer to mix until incorporated, set aside.

3. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in another bowl until soft peak, then gradually add in the sugar. Beat until stiff peak is formed. Fold 1/3 of the white mixture into the yolk batter gently but thoroughly. Then, add 1/3 of the whites and do the same until all the whites is used.

4. Fold in (D) strawberries cubes and pecan powder if using.

5. Pour batter into a tube pan, give it a knock on the table. Bake for 50-60 mins or until a tooth pick inserted come out clean. Invert the pan and let the cake cool inside the pan. When cooled, loosen the edges and remove the cake to cool completely on a wire rack.

You can see the pecan powder in the batter.

The cake was so soft that I had to flip it with the rack.

The strawberries shrunk and left holes in the cake, which I don't mind.

It'll be nice to serve it with yogurt but I only have cottage cheese at home.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Double Cheese Kolaches

It's sleepover day for Jennifer and Francis at our house.  Poor them didn't get much sleep because Adrian and Livie slept in middle of their beds.  So uncle and auntie had to sleep on the coach.  I was going to make big breakfast at home but celebrating D's birthday at karaoke went really late last night.  No time for grocery shopping.  I still wouldn't give up.  I started the bread dough early but who am I kidding?  There's no way to have this bread ready...  but I started it already...  So I went to pick up Mr. M's big breakfast for them and got some cheese on my way to complete this bread.

This is a great recipe from Canadian Living.  Yet I forgot to put salt in the dough.  Someone on the internet suggested making a paste with salt, flour, and water and knead it in the finished dough.  It worked!  The bread come out fine.  Just that because we had to go to see the Toy Story 3 movie, I couldn't stay at home till the end of the baking time.  Luckily our nanny was home to do our weekly cleaning, so she took it out for me.    I think the bread was left in the pan for too long.  It dried up a little, but it's still very good.

Car Pool

With help from Jennifer and Francis, Ho and I could go to a Brazilian restaurant to celebrate D's birthday without bringing the kids.  That place is just too loud for children.  A friend offered to drive everybody down with his rental van.  When we left the house, we told Livie that we didn't need to drive.

Olivia: 你哋點樣去呀? (How do you go to the restaurant?)

Me:  我哋 car pool 囉。(We are doing car pool.)

Olivia:  乜嘢叫做 "cow poo" 呀?(What is "cow poo"?)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Oatmeal Molasses Bread

Now that the breakfast bread class is over, I feel so lost on Saturday morning.  Looking at Jennifer's olive bread, I want to make a loaf of bread too.  I flipped through my William Sonoma baking book on Friday night, I picked the whole wheat bread as my Saturday morning project.  So I measured all the ingredients before I went to bed so I could have a quick start the next day.  However, when I woke up in the morning, my fingers "took" me to this page of Oatmeal bread.  It looks so nice in the picture...  Well, we can always change our mind, right?  So I poured everything back in and do my measuring again...

Monday, June 21, 2010

In Love

Early last week, Ho picked up the kids from school.  He told me a conversation between the kids in the car.

Olivia:  Daddy, I'm in love with Adrian.

Adrian:  Yuck!  I'm not in love with you!  If you are in love, you are going to marry that person.

Olivia: Daddy, who am I going to marry to?

Daddy: I don't know...

Adrian:  I know...  you are going to marry Aston*.

*Aston is a boy in Livie's class.

Part II happened today in the car again.

Adrian:  Olivia, you are going to marry Aston.

Daddy: No!

Olivia:  Yes, I'm going to marry Aston!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Chestnut Cream Cake

I was cleaning up my fridge and noticed that there was a strawberry shortcake base frozen in my freezer.  I thawed it in the fridge, it actually tasted very well still and the texture was even moister than before.  I also had some chestnut cream in the freezer which I thawed together with the cake.  Hmm... sounds like a mont blanc to me.  I started searching through the internet.  Then this No Recipes site came up with the tag Chestnut Cream Cake. I had most of the ingredients at home except the chestnut.  So I drove to the closest Chinese grocery store to get them.

None of the first few people understood what I was looking for because they all spoke Mandarin.  I do speak a little of that but I don't know how to say chestnut!  Finally someone pointed me to those ready to eat snack chestnut which were on sale.   I grabbed 4 packs and drove home right away.

I didn't follow the recipe 100% because I only needed half of the amount and I have some chestnut cream left at home.  Plus, I forgot to add the egg yolk.  Hey, it still worked!  I put 7.5 oz of chestnut in the blender, warmed up 1/2 cup of heavy cream to melt 1/8 cup of sugar.  Mixed everything together in the blender again and pressed the puree mixture through a double sieve.  That was labour intensive work!  Yet, the result came out very good.  After stacking up the layers of cake with cream in between, I squeezed the mixture with a piping bag and a special tip for chestnut paste which I bought from Hong Kong.  It was well worth the money and the puree strands came out perfectly.

This is chestnut from blender before adding cream and sugar.

This tip made the piping much easier.

I finished the cake in the evening when the sunlight just started to pass through our family room window.   Ho took these pictures under the sunlight.  Pretty neat!

I was going to just stack up the cake layers and top it with the puree.  Yet Ho thought that it needed some cream on the side.  I quickly put some on but I didn't have enough to cover it smoothly.

Then I remembered that  I had some dry chestnut puree left.  Voila!  Here's the completed cake!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Frankenstein II

Adrian's assignment was to write a story about a puppy using some of the words provided.  Frankenstein II was the title Adrian used.  As usual, he only used a couple and made up the story mostly with his own words.  I don't know since when his mind has started to be occupied by the word "die" and "blood".  Seems like every story he wrote mentioned somebody or some animal, insect died.  When I read title of his story this time, I was wondering what he would write.  Here's the story:

One day, I bought a puppy.  I played with it.  Then it got sick.  We brought it to the vet.  But the vet was Frankenstein!  Now it was Frankendog! It could talk!  We realized it was Halloween!  He took of his mask.  It was daddy!  He said, "Happy Halloween!"

On back of the assignment sheet Adrian even drew a picture of the Frankendog.  Whew!  Finally no one died in the story...

Chilled Cantaloupe Soup

I intended to have 3 friends coming over for dinner, ended up only D could come because the other 2 had to attend a golfing and dinner event.   Ho was invited too but he skipped the dinner and came back to have dinner with us, which meant I had to do all the grocery buying and cooking.  Luckily we had a simple menu in mind and all of them needed little preparation.  Sashimi salad and rack of lamb were simple, we had done those before.  Thanks Jennifer for the chilled soup idea, I found this recipe from Recipezaar.

This one was so easy to make.  All you need to do is cut up one cantaloupe, pour 2 cups of orange juice, 1 tbsp of lime juice, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, blend them all together.  That's it!  Just add 2 hours of chilling time.  The most time consuming part is cutting the cantaloupe.  I cut it last night and left it in the fridge overnight to speed up the chilling.   The original recipe said 1 hour but I think it's not enough.  I made the soup when D arrived at our house around 7:10pm.  By the time we had dinner, it's 8:20pm.  The soup was still not very cold yet.  Even though I don't like cinnamon much but its presence is important in this recipe because the soup will taste like normal blended fruit juice without it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wonton Soup

Haven’t made wonton for a long time.  The last time which I remember making it was with my mom before I got married, my son is turning 7 next month!  So I decided to make some and see if my kids like them.  I spent about 1 hour to prepare the filling and wrapped 50 wontons last night.  I mixed ground pork, mushrooms, and bok choy as the filling.  My shoulders were sore!  They turned out quite well I think.  I even made special kind with pureed carrots to replace the bok choy inside for Adrian because he doesn’t like any veggies. The kids ate only a little bit and stopped.  I was very disappointed at first, but after they told me what they had eaten at grandma’s house after school, I understood why.  The quantity of food they had was almost equivalent to a full meal!  Livie said she liked the wontons, Adrian liked the carrot ones.  Ho, being on diet, ate about 10 of them.  I still have about 25 left in the freezer.  This will be a quick an easy lunch for Ho if he eats at home sometimes.

Filling ingredients:

1/2 lb ground pork

1 small bunch of bokchoy, chopped

6 dried mushrooms, chopped, lightly season with salt, sugar, rice wine, and corn starch

Meat Marinade:

1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoon white sugar
ground black pepper to taste
2 1/2 tablespoons water

1 package of Shanghai wonton wrappers

1 egg beaten


Soak whole mushroom in cold water the night before, chop it to small pieces.

Wrap 2 tsp of filling in each wrapper.

Seal each with egg.

Bring a pot of water to boil.  Slide wontons into boiling water.

Boil wonton for 12-14 mins.

Add 1/2 cup of cold water to the pot. This will prevent the wrapper from breaking.

Remove wonton from water once the water turns boiling again.

Wonton can be eaten with any type of dipping sauce like dark vinegar, chili soy sauce, or regular soy sauce.  Or, simply serve wonton in chicken broth.  Boil extra veggies in broth to add the colour of your meal.

I tried wrapping the wonton in different ways.  This was the final “design” I used.

Ho went to pick up the kids from grandma’s so I could start making dinner early. Thanks for the long day time, sunlight was still available after I made my first bowl of wonton soup.

This is the special carrot filled wonton I made for Adrian.  I could have put less carrot next time.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mango Cupcake

After making the mango cream cake, I have so many mangos and puree at home!  Adrian had a big tantrum last night, which made both him and Livie crying.  When they finally calmed down and fell asleep, I was stressed.  Looking at those bottles of puree in the fridge and my dear friend KitchenAid, I went to surf the internet for mango recipes.  I found this one which is super fast and easy to make.  Total time including measurement and oven time was only 30 mins.  Sounds good to me!  So I did it!  I’ll add the link to original recipe later.  Comment from my colleague was “mango taste was too mild”.  Since I can’t add more puree to the batter, I’ll add some diced mango in it.  That should enhance the flavour.  Here’s the recipe:

Mango Cupcake

Ingredients #1:

1/3 cup sugar (original recipe called for ¾ cup but I think it’s too sweet with the puree, can even be reduced to 1/4 cup of sugar if the puree you bought is very sweet)

½ cup butter (room temperature)

2 eggs

Ingredients #2:

1 ¼ cup self-rising flour

1 tsp baking powder

Ingredient #3:

2/3 cup mango puree

1/3 - 1/2 cup diced mangoes


  • Preheat oven to 350F.

  • Cream butter and sugar until sugar dissolved.

  • Add eggs one at a time, beat well after each addition.

  • Sift #2 and mix in with #1.

  • Add mango puree.

  • Scoop in lined muffin tray.

  • Bake for 20 mins.

If you want mango cream topping, just whip 1 cup of fresh whipping cream and stir in 3oz of mango puree.  Add diced mango for decoration.  I didn’t have time to do these last night.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Test of Food Function in Panasonic Lumix

Just a test of the food function in our Panasonic Lumix camera.  Not bad!  These pictures were taken from my father-in-law’s birthday dinner.  It’s Jennifer turn to make the birthday cake this time.  Very pretty and yummy too!  What a great success!  Here’s the link if you want her recipe.  The puffs were the only one course I made.   I used the leftover cream from Ho’s aunt’s birthday cake to fill some cream puffs.  The camera is pretty good!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Coffee Cake – Breakfast Bread Week #6

I had better results on the coffee cakes.  I don’t understand why they would call them “cakes” since they look very “bread” to me.  Anyhow, they taste fantastic and very rarely my husband, who’s very diligent in cutting sweets now, asked me to leave the marzipan coffee cake at home.

A side view of the marzipan coffee cake/bread.

Bagel - Breakfast Bread Week #5

Since the instructor will not be available next week, she combined 2 classes into one.  We made bagels and coffee cakes in the 4-hour class.  Of course we went overtime.  What a hectic class!  Yet I think this is a better arrangement because otherwise class doing bagels only would be too short with a lot of waiting time.

This is my first time making bagels so I didn’t know I had to press on the poppy seeds before the final proof.  Most of my poppy seeds fell out!   Cherry said my bagels looked like dirty belly buttons.  That kind of spoiled the appetite, didn’t it?  The picture shown above has the most poppy seeds left.


Yet the bagels are very soft inside.  I’m glad that I chose to make cinnamon raisin bagels.  They’re great!  (At least the raisins didn’t fall out… J)