Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Adrian twisted his ankle over the weekend. We kept him at home so he wouldn’t hurt it again when he runs around at school. Today is also the TV commercial audition day. When daddy took Adrian to the audition, I picked up Livie from school and went out for dinner. We don’t usually have girls only time when Adrian is around. It’s a nice time to have some girls talk. Yet, Livie loves her bro so much that most of our conversation was around him.

Olivia: Mommy, I’m sad today.
Me: Why?
Olivia: Because Adrian hurt his ankle. I don’t want Adrian to get hurt ever again.
Me: Aww... Me neither. I want both of you to be healthy and well always too. But he’s getting better today.  Mommy rubbed his ankle with some Chinese herbal stuff. He should be able to walk properly soon.
Olivia: We prayed for him in class today.
Me: That’s very nice, did you tell your teacher about his ankle?
Olivia: Yes. And after we prayed for him, I prayed for myself too.
Me: Why did you have to pray for yourself?
Olivia: Because Adrian kicked me on my face the other day, so I had to pray for my face.
Me: Does it hurt still?
Olivia: No, it didn’t hurt even when he kicked me, because his foot didn’t really touch me.

Afterwards, daddy and Adrian join us for dinner. I told Adrian what Livie said and he should give Livie a BIG hug. And he did, with a big smile too.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Restaurant Grade Gourmet Bread in 45 mins

I meant 45 mins from the time you measure your ingredients to taking the bread out of the oven. Yes, ONLY 45 mins. There’s no proofing and kneading involved. Hmm, the bread burst with fresh herb flavour, I felt like sitting in a nice restaurant when the waiter serves the basket of assorted gourmet bread in front of me. It’s super easy to make. I highly recommend it.

Cheddar-Herb Quick Bread Recipe adapted from Inspired Magazine from Sobeys

• 1 tbsp lemon juice
• 1 cup milk
• 2 ¼ cups all purpose Flour
• 1 cup shredded old cheddar cheese
• ¼ cup assorted fresh herbs (I used sage, chives, and oregano)
• ¾ tsp each baking powder and baking soda
• ½ tsp salt
• 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cold, finely cubed

  1. Preheat oven to 375F (190C).
  2. Make sour milk by stirring lemon juice to milk. Let it stand for 5 mins.
  3. Blend flour with cheese, herbs, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until well combined.
  4. Cut in butter until crumbly using a pastry blender or two knives. (I used my fingers, make sure you don’t let the butter melt in your hands)
  5. Add milk mixture and stir just until a ragged dough forms.
  6. Knead lightly, about 10 times. (Oops, I lied, there is some kneading involved, just minimal though)
  7. The dough will be sticky but once all dry ingredients are mixed in with the liquid, it won’t stick.
  8. Transfer dough to a parchment or silpad lined baking sheet and pat into a 1” thick dish.
  9. Dust the top of the loaf with a little additional flour (I missed this part) and score a large “X” (about ¼” deep) using a sharp paring knife. Bake for 30 mins or until golden and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Transfer to a rack and let it cool for about 5 mins before slicing.

There’s no yeast in the ingredients, that’s why there’s no proofing required. The crust was crispy when it first came out from the oven. I may brush the top with egg white next time and spray water in the oven to create a thicker crust. It’s still very good if you eat it fresh from the oven though.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Champagne Cupcakes with Champagne Buttercream

On Thursday a colleague in the company kitchen asked me how my baking classes went.  I told her that I didn't bake as much now because I was only taking cake decorating class now.  She said, "Oh, I was gonna ask you if you would bake me a cake because it will be my birthday on Saturday."  She has been very nice to me all along.  I didn't want to disappoint her...  Ah... I have just the right recipe for her!

The original recipe used a very sweet buttercream but I like the Martha Stewart Swiss Meringue one more.  I brought 16 cupcakes to work.  2 saved for the birthday lady, rest for others.  People loved them!  They couldn't wait for the cupcakes to go back to room temperature before eating them and asked me for the recipe immediately after eating them.  It's funny one of them told me that she loved the hardness and softness of the buttercream because the buttercream hardened when it just came out from the fridge yet it melted immediately in the mouth.  That's why it's both hard and soft. 

Update: Here's the recipe...

Champagne Cupcake Ingredients: (20 cupcakes)

• 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 3 tsp. baking powder
• 1 tsp. salt
• 2/3 cup butter
• 1 1/2 cups white sugar
• 3/4 – 1 cup champagne (I used Asti only)
• 6 egg whites

Marth Stewart’s Swiss Meringue Champagne Buttercream Ingredients(5 cups)
• 1 1/4 cups sugar
• 5 large egg whites
• 2 cups unsalted butter, cut into pieces
• 3/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 4 tbsp champagne


To Make The Cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Prepare a cupcake pan with liners. (This recipe yielded about 20 for me.)
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together, and then blend into creamed mixture alternately with champagne. The batter will be thick but it’s ok.
  3. In another large clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whites into batter to lighten it, then fold in remaining egg whites. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
To Make The Buttercream:

1. Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it should feel completely smooth.
2. Transfer bowl to mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 8 minutes.
3. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don't worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add vanilla, and beat just until combined.
4. Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat on the lowest speed to eliminate any air pockets, about 2 minutes.
5. Add champagne and beat until fully mixed. If using buttercream within several hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature in a cool environment. Or transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature, and beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 5 minutes.


Talking about cake decorating, I've learned so much.  Here are some photo's of some roses and the first cake I decorated in the fifth class.