Back after three long years..

The last time I blog was 3 years ago, before I went to the land of kangaroos and koalas to pursue my degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. I’m back now, as an accredited dietitian (still jobless), worrying about my future. “Maybe I should start blogging again, to take my mind off and to occupy myself instead of just sitting in front of the television, binging” was what I thought and so here I am, back again.

I love baking, but I am very health conscious. However, none of my baked goods are usually ‘healthier’ besides cutting down on the amount of sugar. It is still high in fat, contains trans fat and processed sugar. I guess it is time now to put my knowledge into practice, to try to make ‘healthier’ desserts. I have always had high expectations and am a perfectionist when it comes to baking. I always (and still) think that butter, processed sugar, cream and fat content are essential in producing the perfect result. I have tried experimenting using healthier alternatives (eg. healthier molten lava cakes) but the results are not as promising as the original recipes. I can still remember my lecturer comment at the end of a task – to modify a recipe and make it healthier, we were given in my first year of my degree, she said she wouldn’t change anything, because if you want to have a dessert, just have it, don’t have to torture yourself in indulging anything lesser than it should be. Instead, have it in moderation.

Yes if only I have that capability to control, I probably can indulge without feeling any guilt. But since I have a history  condition, I guess I have to resort to making healthier desserts.

I’ll do my best, to either recreate my favourites to healthier alternatives, or to control myself, or both. Let this journey begin and may the Lord have pity in me and give me strength in this road to recovery.

Sometimes I wonder maybe I don’t deserve all these, and it sort of comfort me a little bit more.

Sorry for the lack of updates. Well, sorryimnotsorry because I don’t have any readers. HAHA.

My first paper is coming in less than a week. And here, I’m still procrastinating, feeling so wronged and upset with someone, feeling down because my mailbox is always empty, feeling frustrated with myself for always binging when stress hits me.

Well, just like what my title said, maybe I don’t deserve all these: Love, peace, joy, respect.

And it made me feel a little better with whatever current situation I’m in now. 😀

So, please don’t feel sorry for me. (hmm, don’t think anybody will read this too XD I just need to rant out)

Cheers! Its a happy day XD 😀 BD ^^

Rum & Raisin Carrot Cake

I have been baking for 3 years now, but only until recently I decided to blog about it.

One of the main reason why I didn’t blog until now it’s because I’m not good with words. I can’t write as beautifully or as humorous as those famous bloggers out there. I’m overly conscious about what I write, my grammar, spelling error, etc (yes, including now, I am rewriting this post over and over again :/)

Stepping out into this blogging world is a big step for me. But I’m taking this as a learning opportunity, for me to grow , to be more open and to be more confident in myself.. 🙂

And the best way to conquer your fear is to face them, not run away from them 🙂

ohh yes, I was saying that I have been baking for 3 years, and carrot cake brings alot of fond memories to me..It was one of my bake-from-scratch food, and carrot cake was the food that inspired me to bake 3 years ago, since then, I have found my love in baking and I have been trying many new things to bake..my mom is my No. 1 fan, and she would always say my baking is the best she has ever tasted (but I truly believe that I still have a long long way to go and alot of improvements to be made), but thanks mommy for always being so supportive! 🙂 and as for others, my dad, siblings and my dearest L., thank you for your constructive criticisms and thanks for being my guinea pig.. hehe

Okay, back to the cake. All these years I have been using my favourite recipe (it’s healthy, super moist and flavorful) , but this time round, I decided to try new recipes. I LOVE RUM. So I decided to incorporate it into my carrot cake adapted from flour by Joanne Chang. And the result? Super moist, and I love the taste of rum in the raisins 🙂 Definitely one of the best I’ve ever eaten!

Oh and this cake is for L’s dad’s birthday, and he doesn’t like any cream/butter/frosting on his cakes so I didn’t make any frosting for this cake, or else I’ll frost it with my favourite lemon cream cheese frosting! yums 🙂

Rum & Raisin Carrot Cake

Makes one 8-inch, 2-layer cake

Or 12 cupcakes

For the carrot cake:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (220 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons nonfat buttermilk (I used milk instead)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (160 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups (260 grams) tightly packed shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup (80 grams) raisins
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) walnuts, toasted and chopped
  1. In a small saucepan, place raisins and dark rum. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer for a couple more minutes before removing from heat and covering with a lid. Allow to soak for at least 2-3 hours. Drain raisins but keep 2 tsp of rum (or more)aside.
  2. Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 175C (350 degrees). Butter and flour an 8-inch cake pan (or line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners)*.
  3. Using a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment (or a handheld mixer), beat together the eggs and brown sugar on medium-high speed for 3–4 minutes, or until the mixture is light and thick. (This step will take 8–10 minutes if using a handheld mixer.) In a small bowl or pitcher, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, and vanilla. On low speed, slowly pour the oil mixture into the egg-sugar mixture. This should take about 30 seconds.
  4. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the egg-sugar mixture. When most of the flour mixture has been incorporated, add the carrots, raisins, 2 tsp of reserved rum (or more if you like it stronger) and walnuts and continue to fold until the batter is homogenous. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan (or divide evenly among the prepared muffin cups).
  5. Bake the cake flour for about 1 hour and 20 minutes (or the cupcakes for about 50 minutes), or until the top is golden brown and springs back when pressed in the middle with a fingertip. Let cool completley in the pan on a wire rack.
  6. The cake (or cupcakes) can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It is best served a littel cooler than room temperature, so remove it from the refrigerator about 2 hours before serving.

* I baked mine in a tube pan. But that’s because I didn’t have a proper baking tin here, the baking tins here are either too big or too small 😦

Happy birthday Uncle! it’s 21 August,12:30am here in Singapore, hope that you will like your cake 🙂

Love,

Grace

Blueberry Tartlets

I remember my first time making fruit tarts (chocolate, custard, strawberry tarts to be exact), I had so much expectations of my tarts.. Crust has to be perfect with buttery and crumbly texture; chocolate has to be smooth; custard has to be rich and creamy and fragrant.. however, things sometime don’t turn out the way we want to be.. To be honest, I was disappointed with my tarts, my family, however loved them, but it wasn’t up to my expectations at all.

After that experience, I begin searching high and low for a perfect recipe, going through videos, blogs to see how do they get such a perfect looking tart! And after many many months, I picked up my courage again to conquer my fear of making tarts.. I decided to use Joy of Baking’s tart shell, and Dorie Greenspan’s Pastry Cream. Both turned out to be really good, the pastry cream is to die for! There are still alot of improvements to be made for my tart shell, but this round was so much better than the previous ones!

Blueberry Tartlets (or any fruits you prefer!)

Sweet Tart Dough

  • 1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  1. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour with the salt. Place the butter in the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, and beat until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten egg, beating just until incorporated. Add the flour mixture all at once and mix just until it forms a ball. Flatten the pastry into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes or just until firm (can place in freezer for about 10-15 minutes.)
  2. Lightly butter and flour, or spray with a non-stick vegetable/flour cooking spray, an 8 – 9 inch (20 – 23 cm) tart pan with a removable bottom (I use muffins tins here). Evenly pat the chilled pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Lightly prick bottom of pastry crust with the tines of a fork (this will prevent the dough from puffing up as it bakes). Place tart pan on a larger baking pan and bake crust for 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and continue to bake the crust for about 15 minutes or until dry and lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely before filling. Can be covered and stored for a few days.

Pastry Cream

  • 1 1/4 cups (300 grams) whole milk
  • 1/2 moist, plump vanilla bean, split and scraped or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (30 grams) cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1. Bring the milk and vanilla bean (pulp and pod) to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cover the pan, turn off the heat, and set aside for 10 minutes. Or, if you are using vanilla extract, just bring the mil to a boil and proceed with the recipe, adding the extract before you add the butter to the hot pastry cream.

2. Working in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, whisk the yolks, sugar, and cornstarch together until thick and pale. Whisking all the while, very slowly drizzle a quarter of the hot milk onto the yolks. Then, still whisking, pour the rest of the liquid in a steady stream over the tempered yolks. Remove and discard the vanilla pod.

3. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously and without stop, bring the mixture to the boil. Keep the mixture at the boil, whisking energetically, for 1 to 2 minutes (until it thickens), then remove the pan from the heat and scrape the pastry cream into a clean bowl. Allow the pastry cream to cool on the counter for about 3 minutes.

4. Cut the butter into chunks and stir the chunks into the hot pastry cream, continuing to stir until the butter is melted and incorporated. At this point, the cream needs to be thoroughly chilled. You can either set the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water and, to ensure even cooling, stir the cream from time to time, or refrigerate the cream, in which case you should press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create an airtight seal.

(The cream can be kept tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or packed airtight and frozen for 1 month. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator and whip before using to return it to its smooth consistency.)

p/s: Its so good that I had 3 of these in one sitting!.. and I’ll have some serious cleansing to do next..argh, seriously, why can’t I have more will power? :/

Everything Back To Where I Begin..

I guess I was trying too hard

I guess I was really desperate, till I ignore all my essential needs..

Everything that I have done for the past 2 weeks have gone down the drain. I wish I could go back a day earlier, and start off my day today differently..

Why is it so hard for me? Why do I have to struggle with all these issues? Its so painful, so torturing..

Where are you? I really need you tonight..I wish I don’t have to go through this alone..

But I won’t give up, its not the end yet..

Its okay to make mistakes once in awhile, I just have to stand up, be strong, and move forward.. I still have 3 more weeks to go and I’m gonna preserver,I’m gonna give my very best till the end..

I must not give up now, even If I’m all alone against this, I must not give up

Cookbooks

I LOVE baking.

But you see, I have a love/hate feeling for it. I love every process of baking, from measuring the ingredients, mixing and whipping them up, popping it into the oven and anxiously waiting for it to be ready. Now, here comes the part I hate- the strong desire to taste my baked goods even in the middle of the night..like seriously, how can you resist the temptation? and that’s not the end, I’ll ‘taste’ my baked goods one after another until half of them are gone.. haha..yeah, that’s why I hate baking.

BUT- that won’t stop me from baking 🙂 all I have to do is CONTROL (easier said than done)..and here are a list of cookbooks/baking books that I’m dying to get my hands on them!

1. Dorrie Greenspan- any books from her will do! Love her recipes! 🙂

2. Joy the baker!

3. Martha Stewarts

4. Sarabeth’s Bakery: From My Hands to Yours

Sarabeth's Bakery: From My Hands to Yours

5. Pierre Herme- I want ALL of his books! 🙂

6. Donna Hay

7. Baking with Julia: Savor the Joys of Baking with America’s Best Bakers

Baking with Julia: Savor the Joys of Baking with America's Best Bakers

8. A Passion for Baking: Bake to celebrate, Bake to nourish, Bake for fun

A Passion for Baking: Bake to celebrate, Bake to nourish, Bake for fun

9. The Secrets of Baking: Simple Techniques for Sophisticated Desserts

The Secrets of Baking: Simple Techniques for Sophisticated Desserts

ohh! and one thing weird about me- I can stay in a book shop ALL DAY just to read cook books! hehe 🙂

And to end of this post, here’s an awesome banana cake recipe from Dorie Greenspan. It is the best banana cake I’ve ever eaten. 🙂

Classic Banana Cake
Recipe from Dorie Greenspan
Makes 1 bundt (12 cup capacity)

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large egg, at room temperature
4 very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup yogurt

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a bundt pan, 24 mini bundts, or whatever pan(s) you choose.

Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together.

Using a stand mixer, with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and mix medium speed until pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Mix in the vanilla, the eggs, mixing for about 1 minute. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add in the bananas. Finally, mix in half the dry ingredients (the batter may curdle a little bit, that’s ok, keep mixing), all the sour cream and then the rest of the flour mixture.

Pour the batter into your greased pan(s).

Bake the for about 50-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Transfer the cake pan to a rack, cool for 5 minutes, then gently turn the little cakes out of the pan onto the rack. Cool to room temperature.

It’s Not Hard, You Just Have To Start.

Once, when Lazy was struggling with his spring cleaning before chinese new year, telling me that there were a lot to clean up but all he did was sit down in front of his computer continue playing his games and other stuff, i got frustrated, and started picking up his stuff one by one while mumbling this line ‘it’s not hard, you just have to start’.

All these years I have been struggling with food, with my weight, with my insecurities and confidence. I have been wanting to be better, to eat healthier, to think more positively and to grow stronger. Thank you Lord, for bringing Lazy into my life, I wouldn’t have grown so much stronger if it’s not for him.

Having said that, I haven’t completely overcome my weaknesses. Everyday is a new challenge to me. Everyday is a new struggle. Like Lazy giving his excuses not to clean up, I’m giving myself excuses too. So here I am now, telling myself, it’s not hard to change, to eat healthier, to be more confident, to stop worrying about weight, I just have to start changing, start making the right choices, start exercising, eating healthily and start loving myself again.