Tuesday, August 31, 2010

X Factor 2010 Australia. Harry Abu's audition.

This is the moment.

Brunei's Harry's chosen song to tell the world his inner turmoiling emotions.

Through tears before and during the actual audition he told the world he is gay and his parents resistance against it.

It was brave of him and I think there is no other more shocking/grander way to tell the world and his parents/friends/relatives back home in Brunei, if they don't already know.

Harry gave a very emotional performance and received standing ovation from some judges and spectators. It was a truly moving moment and I also shed a tear or two.

I wish him well and all the best in the competiton.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

[Baking] Decadent treats: Pandan chiffon cake and custard cream

Pandan cake & custard cookies

If you read my blog regularly, you will notice that I hardly ever visit any cafe.

Cafe culture might be all the rage here but if you could whip up cafe offerings easily at home...........why bother wasting time and money to visit one.

Now if you could whip up a plate of fry-ups for breakfast or brunch in the time you take to drive out or walk to the cafe. Why waste time and petrol?

And if you could cook the stuff for say fry-ups (2 sausages, 2 bacon, hash brown, 2 eggs and 2 pieces of toast, grilled tomatoes) for less than $5, how is it justified paying around $16 for it in a cafe? Not guaranteeing you will even get gourmet sausages, free-range eggs, heritage tomatoes, nice streaky bacon and sourdough toast.

Not to mention the super cheap and fast pancakes you can make at home but in a cafe you will have to fork out around $13 for just a stack of maybe 3 pancakes with some sauce and maybe ice-cream.

It's all very well if people go out to cafe to chill-out, take a break from hectic work week. But I am a stay at home mum and I love to do cooking/baking. So naturally, cafe is just not an attractive option when I go out for food.

I was supposed to be talking about cakes and cookies but I digress.

There are always baked goodies at home; cheesecake, chiffon cake, devilish chocolate cakes, chocolate cookies, melting moments.

And especially when you have merlo coffee, Mariage Freres tea, Lupicia tea and my all time favourite Lipton intense in your cupboard (I don't profess to be a coffee or tea connoisseur, it's just a matter of taste like and dislike for me) , all the less reason to venture out of the house for breakfast, morning or afternoon tea.

But I still have my weakness for beautifully baked goodies from Chouquette and the awesome wood-fired grains and nut sourdough from Banneton Bakery and the macarons from Twist n Roll.

Pictured pandan chiffon cake was made with Leslie from ieat's fantastic recipe. I am still on the lookout for the perfect recipe for I feel the cake's texture could be softer like the result I get from my 4 eggs recipe. I have yet to adapt that recipe for a pandan version.

Custard creams which commonly known as melting moments is one of those thing you can't stop popping into your mouth. You just have to reach for another one after the last one. I got the recipe from a friend, S and the result was delicious and light eventhough there is no cornflour in the recipe, widely regarded as the reason for the lightness in melting moments.

Custard creams
160g butter
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup custard powder
1. Beat butter and sugar till pale and flufy.
2. Sith flour and custard powder togther.
3. Gradually add to butter till mixed to a stiff paste.
4. Roll into balls, press flat. If desired, press with a fork for pattern.
5. Cook in preheated oven at 160 degree celcius (fan-forced) fo 10 to 15 minutes.

25g butter, softened
1/2 tsp finely grated orange/lemon rind
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/3 cup icing sugar
2 tsp custard powder

Happy baking!

[Brisbane] Malaya Corner

Malaya Corner
Market Square
Shop 38, 319-341 Mains Rd
QLD 4109

Prawn noodles
Prawn noodles

Mixture of noodles and vermiceli in prawn stock.

Fried carrot cakes
Stir fried carrot cake

Cubed steamed carrot cake stir fried with egg, sambal (spicy paste), chai poh (pickled vege), beansprouts and spring onion.

Cheap, no-frill place with efficient service.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

[Brisbane] Bamboo Basket at Southbank

Bamboo Basket
189 Grey St Shop 1003-1004
Brisbane, 4101

Bamboo Basket@Southbank
Busness was brisk but not very busy on a Sunday lunch time.

Service was hit and miss, it was difficult to flag down a waitress.

Dumpling noodle soup@amboo Basket
From the lunch menu, dumpling noodle soup. Unremarkable, soup was bland and noodles too soft fitting for baby's consumption. The dumplings' filling was good and was the same as the xiao long baos' meat filling.

Dan dan noodle@Bamboo Basket
From the a la carte menu, dan dan noodles.

Pretty disappointing as it came as noodles in sweet and sour broth with sprinkles of sesame and crushed peanuts on top. Needless to say, weird. But if haven't the faintest idea of a genuine version, you might actually enjoy this. The sweet and sour broth is pleasing to the palate. My benchmark will be Din Tai Fung's version though my favourite is from Imperial Treasure Nanbei in Singapore.

Savoury pancake@Bamboo Basket
From the a la cate menu, pancakes with savoury chicken and vegetables filling. Quite tasty with generous fillings. I just wish it has some kind of sauce to go with it.

I forgot to snap the xiao long bao as we were too busy eating it while piping hot. Their version is decent, tasty meat filling with juice but I find the skin too thick.

Now these tasty morsels are hard to perfect. The skin has to be thin and resilient with standard 18 pleats and the filling has to be moist with right amount of soup so the skin is not torn when you tried to pick one up with your chopsticks. My favourite was those from Shangpayne in Sunnybank Hills.