Bake Off is On (Again)

Despite feeling utterly devastated last year, knowing that The Great British Bake Off is no longer broadcasted on BBC, I can’t help feeling excited to know that it is back on telly last night. Of course it is not the same without Queen Mary (Berry), but hey… change could be good. It did not work with Top Gear, but QI is doing okay without Mr. Fry.

The adverts, though… We could all do without them. But being a positive me, I think adverts time is the best time to count stitches.

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Anyway… I warned my husband that with Bake Off on telly, it means there would be a massive amount of baked goods coming out of the kitchen. When I heard him grumping, I told him that if he did not like what I bake, he could always share with the colleagues. Apparently he was grumping because he knew he had to share with the colleagues.

He really is extra-possessive to his cakes.

So, I did some midnight baking. Not necessarily because of Bake Off, but because I couldn’t sleep. Last night was BAKING hot — heh heh… sorry, can’t help myself, and it was too uncomfortable to go to bed, or knitting — gasp.

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This week signature dishes is fruity cake. Or cake with fruit. Uhm… not really understand the challenge yet, so I made my upside down apple caramel spiced cake. I mean… it’s cake with fruit, isn’t it?

x ❀ x

P.S. In the morning, only half of it is left in the kitchen.

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Relationship Goal

It was my wedding anniversary! Again! Just like last year…

It wasn’t how I imagined, or wanted it to be though. The food didn’t come out right. I was not feeling well… And, hubby was incredibly grumpy because of work related issues.

Not that I wanted a lavish celebration or something like that. We are not used to celebrating things anyway. But I was thinking of making something for us yesterday. DIdn’t happen. Oh well…

But at least one thing came out okay:

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Mickey and Minnie gingerbread biscuit…

PS. Do you know that Mickey and Minnie have been together since 1930’s? Well that’s your new relationship goal, isn’t it?

x ❀ x

Pancake Day!

Alright. I have been in the UK for over 2 years now, but yesterday was my first ever pancake day.

I always missed it in the past, but yesterday… I did it!

Pancake in the UK is different from American pancake. This pancake is thin, and the batter is quite runny, like crepes. It is very easy to make, with very simple ingredients… yet incredibly tasty.

Especially when you eat it the traditional way (my husband taught me how to do it “properly”): squeeze the lemon, and sprinkle some sugar on it. YUM!

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However yesterday evening my husband had his overtime, so he went home a little bit later than usual. That’s why I had time to make even more pancakes… so I made mille crepe.

I made one few years ago before we had this current oven hob. In fact, it was my first ever cake made for my husband’s birthday (I didn’t know how to bake back then). But the cake was too rich for him at that time, so I made less layer, and used different filling for it too…

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Ah anyway…

I still have some of them left… Guess what I am having for lunch?

x ❀ x

This Little Piggy and Her New Toy

Yes, I bought a candy thermometer from Amazon. It is definitely made in China kind of product, and since it is shipped from there as well, it took ages to finally arrived to our mailbox. It is cheap though… very cheap. You can obviously find a better looking, and ones with faster delivery there, but… I wasn’t in a rush, it’s just a minor inconvenience having to wait for few weeks for that thing.

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the thing…

What for?

Well… i wasn’t sure when I bought the thermometer. It was… you know… an impulsive purchase, because it popped up in my “you might like” section, and it was really cheap. Have I mentioned that it was incredibly cheap? I mean… less than Β£2, it’s obviously a bargain…

Anyway, it arrived, and it’s working. So, I better make use of it.

And… I’ve decided to make my own homemade yogurt.

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First step is to pasteurise it. Some source said that if I use milk from an unopened bottle I don’t need to do this, but I found out that this is actually a very important step to guarantee a thicker, creamier yogurt…

Now I don’t have a fancy yogurt maker. I don’t fancy buying it too. Yogurt is something that people has made in the past for many many years successfully without yogurt maker, so it is a clear evidence that we don’t need yogurt maker to make yogurt.

All I needed was a pan, and a rice cooker. Yes rice cooker, the one that looks like a small slow cooker. You can use slow cooker too. We have one of those, but it was stored way back in the larder, and wasn’t going to make a big batch… so.. Rice cooker would do. But no, Sir, I’ve made my point, and am not going to be tricked to buy a yogurt maker.

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After adding the starter, the milk mixture is wrapped, and let snuggle comfortable in the pre-warmed rice cooker. See the thermometer? Yep!

Especially because you don’t need so much effort to make a good homemade yogurt too. Seriously. With bread, I can see the appeal of having a bread maker. The idea of not having to break my back kneading the dough, and the minimum mess it’s making can be quite appealing. But yogurt is much easier, you just stand and stir, and if you have an oven you can sit, and occasionally check how’s your bacteria doing…

It is really easy. Especially if you have a thermometer… like me πŸ˜€

A quick google search and I was in the kitchen making yogurt.

Okay… I lied. I tried to make yogurt BEFORE i had the thermometer. So, making yogurt without thermometer is definitely possible. You would have to rely on your sense of touch, and visual clue. My yogurt turned out okay, albeit slightly slimy and runny. And this is why i believe thermometer would make a difference.

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it is very thick… you can see how it makes lumps when it is moved to a jar. If you want greek yogurt though… you can strain it and remove the whey. I use the whey to make bread πŸ˜€ Waste not!

My second attempt of yogurt, I got everything… i mean everything measured. The timing, the temperature… And the result? Creamy, tasty, healthy, and cheaper yogurt (I am tight, I know)… Definitely won’t needΒ any more yogurt from the store.

x ❀ x

P.S. I did some calorie calculation for the plain home made yogurt vs plain low-fat store bought yogurt. The homemade yogurt, made from semi skimmed milk (that’s 2% by the way) is significantly lower calorie while having a thicker and creamier texture. I suspect it is because in store bought yogurt, it was either runny and then strained (so gram per gram it is more calorific), it used cornflour as a thickening agent, or added sugar.

I Am Officially An Auntie :D

Well… I was an auntie before this, because my DH has a nephew, but you know what I mean…

My sister just gave birth to a beautiful little daughter — the first in my family. Both the mother and the baby are healthy, and in an excellent condition. My parents are over the moon for their first grandchild.

I am so overjoyed, but at the same time feel a bit sad that I am not the only one who are not there with my sister to give support. Seems like I am the only one missing the celebration in Indonesia 😦 Not happy about it 😦

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Anyway…

So, I decided to just celebrate it myself here with my husband, by baking a cake πŸ™‚ Obviously we don’t need any reason to bake a cake, but it feels slightly more special when you attach story behind a bake…

And here you go…

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Whoopsie… Forgot to take photo before sliced it :p

 

Cocopandan Cake with Gula Melaka topping.

Yes it sounds foreign, I know. But I feel like I want to make this one because it reminds me so much of home. Cocopandan is basically coconut and pandan (fragrant leaves, very popular in Indonesian desserts and beverages), and gula melaka or gula merah is how we call palm sugar in that part of the world.

It tastes wonderful. A wonderful cake for a wonderful day πŸ™‚

Pastry Week at The Great British Bake Off

Do you watch The Great British Bake Off? If you are in Britain you probably do, but if you’re not in Britain, Bake Off might sound not too familiar. You could google it, but basically it is a baking competition… clue is in the name.

However, Bake Off is a completely different cooking competition to ones I have seen before. It is not Top Chef, it is not Masterchef… it is not anything you’ve seen before. It is a very friendly, homely kind of show, with a bunch of lovely contestants, an unlikely pair of judges, and a pair of comedian as hosts. There are no hostility towards competitors, no bad mouthing, no sabotage etc — just a good old baking.

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I made croissant for bread week, not knowing that it is actually for pastry week… woops!!

So… I was flabbergasted when I heard BBC has to let GBBO go to Channel 4. Yes, ladies and gentlemen — it is a headline news in the UK.

I have been following the weekly themes and making my own stuff… A cake for cake week, biscuits on biscuit week… you got the picture. Only last week, when they released the news about GBBO move, I couldn’t make myself bake for batter week…

But I am back now… And although I am slightly disappointed that Val is going (just right after Kate! Two my favourites in a row!), I am ready to bake again.

So for this week theme: Pastry week… i present to you: Tarte Aux Pommes:

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Should have keep an eye for that slightly burnt edge 😦 And I forgot that I didn’t have apricot jam for glaze… oh well 😦

My neighbour has extra apples from her daughter’s apple tree at home, so she insisted I took it. I thought it would taste wonderful in a tart. Why not apple pie, you ask? Because… frangipane. Enough said…

Did my DH like it? Pssh! Sweet pastry with frangipane? He could scoff the lot in one sitting :0

x ❀ x

From Farm To Fork…

Well.. in my case it is actually from Garden to Gut, but that doesn’t sound pretty, does it? I harvested the young leaves of my Bok Choy, or Pak Choi — I am of Chinese descent but I still am not sure how to pronounce this Asian themed vegetable.

Some of the leaves were munched by something, and I am not sure what has munched my leaves. Some said that slightly munched vegetable leaves means it is free from pesticides. But… still I am not happy about my something eating my veggies without my permission. That’s thievery…

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After washing them out, I am left with beautiful fresh looking baby Pak Choi leaves. Not a lot to start with, but I wish it will change in the future (next harvest). I decided to make something out of it.

Tada…

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Stir fry is one of the most common way to cook things in our culture. My grandmother basically stir fry everything. I think she believes that stir frying things is the best way to keep the nutrients in the food, because the meat — in this case I had chicken, will be cooked first, and the vegetables would be flash cooked (so quick, it didn’t even realise that it’s actually being cooked).

Sooo excited. Especially because of my courgette is start flowering too. Really can’t wait to harvest this one too. Eek!!

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x ❀ x