Monday, September 30, 2013

Olive Oil Cake


Every weekend, when Bubs has this afternoon nap, Hubs and I get to savour some peace and quiet. Hubs, without fail, will be glued in front of his laptop and this is what I usually get up to.

 

That's right, I bake. I like having snacks stocked up in the fridge to bring to the office for the week ahead, plus to mention the sheer look of delight on Bub's sleep little face when he wakes up to the wafting aroma of baked goodies.

I prefer fuss free recipes so this olive oil cake recipe has been a firm favourite. It's incredibly easy and forgiving. We cook with olive oil at home so we always have some on hand but I prefer a stronger, fruitier taste for this cake so I use extra virgin (which I usually reserve to dip with bread). A variation that I add to this recipe is to toss in half a punnet of blueberries which goes so well with the lemony flavour.

Recipe link:

Ingredients:
  • zest of 1-2 citrus fruits
  • 1/4-1/3 cup of fresh squeezed citrus juice (this was two lemons for me)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 - 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
This cake bakes at 350 F for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. You'll also need a small cake pan (I used a 10 inch spring pan) and parchment paper to cover the bottom of the pan for best results. :D The smaller the pan the taller the cake.

Steps:
  1. Measure out the flour, salt and baking powder into a medium sized bowl and mix with a fork.
  2. Zest your citrus fruit over the flour mixture (more is better!) and mix it in.
  3. Juice the fruits, making sure you have at least 1/4 cup of juice.
  4. Smear butter or oil on the inside of the baking pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  5. Whisk the four eggs with the sugar for a couple minutes until nice and frothy
  6. Add in the olive oil while whisking
  7. Add in the citrus juice while whisking
  8. Add in the flour mixture and mix until the batter is nice and smooth - the flour has a tendency to clump here. You can either sift the flour mixture into the liquid mix or just beat the clumps out with a whisk. I did the whisk! This cake is super forgiving.
  9. Pour the batter into your pan, tap it on the counter to knock out the air bubbles and pop it into the oven
  10. Bake at 350 F for 45 F or so until cooked all the way through - mine took 50 minutes.
  11. Let it cool for a few minutes, and then use a knife to go around the edges and free it from the pan. It should pop right out if you've used parchment in the bottom and greased the sides.

I usually get lazy and bake it in a Pyrex glass loaf pan so it's easy for me to slice. Mine turns out darker because I use Muscovado sugar which adds a richer, more caramel flavour. When freshly out of the oven, it tastes like a slice of warm, sunshine, especially when you sink your teeth into the juicy blueberries. Perfect with a cup of strong tea ... or make that a glass of cold milk for Bubs ;)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

SPCA

Our team had a team building event by volunteering at the SPCA. I've to admit, I wasn't very keen on the idea because *please don't kill me* I'm not that big an animal lover and I get very princess-y about cleaning up poop incidents. I don't hate animals or anything, I'm often guilty of feed strays the local food court my leftovers but I don't really get excited about them either.

We were split into 2 teams: one would clean up the cat enclosure while the other would socialise with the animals. I murmured something about being allergic to cleaning detergents, volunteered Bubs (I figured animal exposure would be good for him) for the socialising bit and tagged myself as the official camera man.


I think my team was half ready to kill me as cleaning the cat enclosure took at least a couple of hours. I won't lie to you, the whole place had a very strong, musky cat scent and there were "accidents" scattered around. You really need to be an animal lover to volunteer to clean the area. I was so proud of my teammates, they brushed the area, hosed and cleaned it thoroughly.


While I was playing with them :) The puppies just had their bath and had the most melting-bring-me-home eyes.


Bubs was certainly Mr. Popular to his furry, four legged friends. He got along with them like a house on fire. They were all swarming around, gently scratching, nipping and playing with him. Bubs was half confused and half amused as it was his first time playing with so many dogs at one go.


Most of the time, they were trying to yank his clothes off. At one point, he got so exasperated with them pulling his tee and pants down, he even lifted up his tee to try to get it away from them. Though Bubs hasn't had much contact with animals, he wasn't scared and was very gentle with them. I worried that he would be rough or accidentally hurt them so I hovered close behind him.


Such an awwwww moment. Bubs was attached to this little puppy and pretty much carried him wherever he want. He kept asking if we could bring him home and burst into tears when we gently told him no :( I wish we could but it takes so much commitment to adopt a pet at we're not ready yet at this point, when we reach that point in time, we'll definitely rescue a stray.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Mid Autumn Dreams

Did everyone had a pleasant Mid Autumn festival? Hubs went crazy and bought heaps of discounted moon cakes during the clearance sales. Meh.

Too bad he didn't get a chance to savour them during the Mid Autumn festival because this was what happened to him.


Poor guy :(

No, he didn't sprain his wrist but he ended up with a really bad throat infection and the doctor administered some kind of antibiotics via injections. He needed a daily injection for a couple of days so the doctor recommended to just leave the syringe tube-thingy in his hand and then bandaged it up. I accused Hubs of doing this to escape housework.

I got the my-wife-is-psychotic look.

So it fell to me to keep Bubs clothed, well fed and clean for the weekend.


I made lots of this for Bubs: thick, creamy Greek yoghurt with Gula Melaka and jackfruit.


He played with his Castle of Doom and devised strategies for his "castle men" (plastic knights) to get eaten up by the plastic monsters.


Bubs thoroughly enjoyed zipping around on his gigantic toy car that was a birthday present from Great Grandma and Aunt Ching. I've to admit that that thing is the bee's knees, I tried sitting on it myself and even got Bubs to sit at the back and it was easy to maneuver around, you could even reverse on it. Now if only I could reverse park that well ;)


I devised lots of activities to keep him entertained. We played with marbles and congkak, sketched on paper, played with magnets and masak masak with his picnic basket. When all failed, yeesh, that kid has the attention span of a gnat, I resorted to YouTube. Thank you Pocoyo for 20 min long episodes! It was the only time I managed to get any kind of house work done.


Me dressed like a macaron in pink and purple and my favourite lil guy who practically lives in his Elmo tee.


How pretty are the giant colourful lanterns at Queensbay? There were quite a number of people snapping photos of this and as always, I'm a Joiner :)


Ending this post with yet another moon cake photo. This was made by my mum-in-law who is the old school type that hand makes all kinds of traditional goodies like rice dumplings and moon cakes from scratch.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Jaz's 1st Birthday Bash

Remember the cake smash photos of Jaz? Her actual birthday was just last weekend and Siew put on a bash for all of us.


Her crafty sister did most of the decorations.


And demonstrated her talent in balloon modelling! Seriously, her sis is a whiz at all this party planning stuff.

She made a balloon poodle for Bubs, who promptly fell in love with her, and held on tight to his precious pet balloon the whole evening. Until he made the mistake of leaving it on the sofa and I sat on it with a huge POP. Opppps ... sorry *blushes*


Siew and her sis also made a bunch of photo props which were put to good use by us and our very willing model :D


Can you believe that on top of making all of the party props, Siew, her mum and her sis actually cooked the food from scratch? I made or may not have had more than 3 helpings of the achar, it was THAT fabulous.


Jaz's real birthday cake - no cake smash with this one!


Since her birthday is pretty close to the Mid Autumn Festival, all of the children were requested to bring along their lanterns to play. Bubs was the only one there with a traditional lantern (okay, it's my fault for liking the old fashioned ones) which he abandoned to sit and play with the new fangled lanterns that had colourful LED lights, music and spinning thingamajigs.


I gave up lighting his lantern after a scorched thumb and begged Siew's sister to help me do it. Bubs had so much fun waving his "dwagon roarrrrrr lantern", marching up and down.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Happy Birthday, Bubs!

Someone just turned 3 this weekend and is very proud of being a "big boy now" :) He got not just one, but two celebrations which meant that he got two birthday cakes for himself, hah!


We had  lunch with Hub's family at Sukhothai, one of our favourite Thai food restaurants. Bubs was so excited about his cake that he didn't had much lunch. Smart kid, I wouldn't want to fill my tummy with that much food either if I knew that yummy cake would be coming up, of course I didn't say that to him. I managed to hid some veggies in his rice without his noticing though ;)


Given that Bubs adores mangoes, we had a mango charlotte from Mon Delice, topped with succulent mango cubes. I didn't realise that the birthday candles were the other way round until I saw the photos, LOL. And in case you were wondering, Bubs isn't making a wish, he's using his makeshift "camwra" with two fists cupped around his eye. 


Awww ... he looks so grown up already. It seems like just yesterday where he was still wearing onesies and I could easily lift him up with an arm.


Off to dinner at Healy Macs where they serve the best German pork knuckles and sauerkraut. Honestly, I could eat platefuls of this stuff and the best bit of the sauerkraut are the tiny whole black peppers sprinkled on top.The pizzas are really decent too. We always end up with lots of leftovers which we happily bring back for dinner the next day.


Bubs was beside himself with joy over the fact that he got two cakes within the sane day. The Mon Delice croquembouche was a crowd pleaser and this time, I requested it to be chocolate cream filled. This was definitely a chocoholic's dream come true.


Hehe, I earlier sent my Baby Brother a picture of Bubs playing with his cleverly constructed "drum set". His drumsticks are an empty napkin roll and a water bottle and he bashing everything together. He does this song (I think that's from Mickey Mouse Club House) where he goes "Jungle Pete, Jungle Pete ... ready steady Jungle Peteeeeeee"cute: more bashing on the tins drums.

Baby Bro must have either took pity on Bubs or really, reallllllly hate me enough to have gotten this birthday present for him:


















Ta-daaa ... literally insert a *drum roll* here


A toy drum set: complete with bass and cymbals! Thank you, Baby Brother, we now have sweet music to wake up to very morning ... in addition to Bubs using my head as a drum with the two miniature drumsticks. Who needs a morning alarm? ;)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Hearts and then Some More


At the Thomas Sabo store, I couldn't resist this delectable turquoise bead bracelet and I loved how the bright red heart charm looked on it so I gently persuade *ahem* Hubs into getting this for me as an early fifth wedding anniversary present. Gosh, has it actually been that long since we tied the knot?


Arm candy - layering it with a SSG styled fearl (faux pearl) and silver charm bracelet.


Attention all quirky shoe lovers: Jelly Bunny has just opened its first store in Penang at Queensbay. Siew and I were there during the first day and they had cupcakes and balloons for everyday. The store was incredibly packed, mainly because they're having a buy 2 free 1 (the free pair is from a selected range) until this weekend. Jelly Bunny is a Thai shoe outlet that offers solely (pun intended) well, jelly shoes, of course. They come in all shapes and colours, from high heels and wedges to ballet flats. The store itself smells very bubblegum-y and everything in it is just too cutesy and girly for words.

Siew and I went in with just an intention to browse but when we flipped over the shoe to look at the price tag, our jaws dropped - it is very competitively priced, starting from RM29 for flats and the shoes were very comfy.


We both ended up with the same pair of jelly ballet flats (RM38): mine in mint and hers in cream. I can see myself getting a lot of wear out of these!


Has everyone been eating their body weight in moon cakes? I've been so used to seeing moon cakes wrapped up in individual plastic boxes that when Hubs took me to this little store at Carnarvon Street, I found it so quaint that the moon cakes were all handmade and displayed without much fanfare or packaging on simple metal trays. They'd so many different types and shapes, I think the round ones are Teochew moon cakes? All of the signs were written in Chinese so I'd a hard time figuring which was which.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Bub's Chinese Birthday

Bubs has a really easy to remember Chinese lunar birthday and we do a mini celebration every year. His birthday is always around the corner of the Mid Autumn lantern festival so we always get him a moon cake.


Mum baked a chicken and macaroni pie. If you're a kid of the 80s, you'll recognise this dish from lots of Hainanese restaurants. It's filled with chicken, macaroni, mushrooms, green peas (which Hubs and I hate and dug them all out for Bubs) in a cream based sauce and topped with a fluffy egg white crust. Mum usually cheats and uses ready made puff pastry, if you look carefully, you can spot Bub's initial on the crust ;)


Siew got him a mini Doraemon moon cake. Bubs has never seen Doraemon before so when I asked what he thought it was, he said a cat! I actually had no idea what Doraemon is and was really surprised when Siew said it's a robotic cat, LOL. I always thought it was some kind of pancake eating alien.


Bubs and his moon cake: chilled snow skin with a durian filling. This was so decadent, the filling inside was luscious and right in the centre was a goey durian coulis. Bubs and I were fighting for the lion's share of this moon cake. If it weren't for the steep prices of moon cakes this year, I'd have happily bought a few more of this, it was that good. Poor Hubs who can't stand durian stayed far away from us!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Shu@ChaiDiamMa

Shu@ChaiDiamMa is a beautifully curated bookshop that will appeal to aficionados of children's books and the local art scene.


The colourful, gigantic glass window of the entrance beckons passersby to come in for awhile ... and trust me, you will not be disappointed by this little gem of a bookshop. There is a whitewashed wooden arch right at the entrance topped with cutesy birds that forces you to pause and stoop a bit when you first step in. You'd then catch your breath.


The tiny store is filled with an eclectic mix of vintage furniture and whimsical paintings. There were bright pennant banners stretched across from each corner, quirky soft toys scattered around, low shelves filled with books, it was all very kid friendly and funky. There was also a section showcasing works by local artists and prices are very reasonable, starting from around RM3 for postcards. I saw some pencil sketches of pre-war buildings and the nearby Goddess of Mercy temple going for around RM20 which I thought would make wonderful mementos of Penang.


A chalkboard wall with a bench and a tin of chalk for little ones (and not so little ones) to sketch to their hearts' desire. If I'm not mistaken, Shu@ChaiDiamMah holds a storytelling session here every Saturday morning.


The very friendly uncle at the store told me that these old school picture block puzzles were every kid's favourite and they're so hard to find these days. I vaguely remember playing with these when I was small!


There was a good selection of English (both second hand and new) and Chinese children's books. The choices of Chinese books were fantastic, they had translations of Where the Wild Things are, Owl Babies and many more. I was fascinated by them and was thinking of getting them for Bubs but when I thumbed through a few pages, I realised some of the Chinese words in them were too difficult for me :( Okay, it feels terrible to know that my Chinese reading is worse than a kindergarten kid ...


Bubs and I were delighted to find second hand Berenstain bears books going for RM6 a copy and a hardcover copy of the Little Princess for RM12. We were both very happy campers :D

Shu@ChaiDiamMa
Mon - Sat: 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
 04-261 8117
78, Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling,10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia, 10200 Penang
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