Sunday, May 30, 2010

How about that fondant?

Yesterday I made my first fondant!! Yes!! For some reason I have been obsessed with the thought of being able to do my own fondant, so I finally did my research some 48 hours ago, and then decided I would try. Well, it was quite successful if I may say so, given that I had only 45minutes to complete the whole thing. I had to make use of a ready made sponge cake though coz I was in a rush. The fondant was for my brothers who we were taking to the airport within the hour of making the fondant. Still. It was fun. I think some sort of like a therapy thingamathing.

So here is how I made it:

INGREDIENTS
Marshmallow bag
Water
Shortening
Icing Sugar/Confectioner's Sugar
Food colouring (optional)

UTENSILS
Mixing Bowl
Spatula
Rolling pin
Ziplock Bag

1. Grease all utensils, including hands, with shortening to avoid marshmallow sticking on it.

2. Microwave a big bag of marshmallows in a bowl for about 30 seconds at a time. Drop about 3 spoonful water in the bowl. Keep microwaving/adding water until a gooey consistency is reached.

3. Transfer the mixture onto a clean flat surface and knead the mixture while adding the sugar gradually. Do this until the mixture has a play-dough consistency (firm but not hard).

4. Take a portion of the blob, and keep what you wont be needing in a ziplock container. And then roll the remainder of the fondant into your desired shape. Should the fondant stick onto the surface, just add more sugar. Add food colouring if required. Just a tiny drop of colouring would go a long way. Knead the fondant again to attain the colour desired.

5. Put the fondant over the cake. Smoothen and make sure that the fondant and cake are firmly together. Pop air pockets with a pin and smoothen.

6. Trim the edges from the cake/fondant.

7. Decorate!

See, so simple! If I knew it was this simple I would have made my own wedding cake. Seriously!!

Now, I can't wait for Bella's 5th month celebration so I could make her her first fondant cupcake :)

P.S. Nope, I don't have all the time in the world, believe me this was squeezed during B's short nap!!! Yes, I hope I am turning into a supermum! :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What are little girls made of?



Sweet things
Cute post-it notes
Pink dresses
A bunch of daisies
Heart shaped cakes
Cupcake sprinkles
Soft lullabyes
Pretty dollhouses
Fluffy fuschia ballpens
Muffin playsets
Ceramic tea cups
Huge brown teddy bears
Rose scented perfumes




Photo from : http://www.art.com/products/p10201572-sa-i1650187/laura-monahan-little-girl-with-pray-rock.htm

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Half Year

In two weeks time I would have been not working for six months already! I cannot believe how quick that's been. It seems only like yesterday I was filing my maternity leave application....

Where did time go?
Well, surely it happened in between my early morning feeds, staring at my little one, celebrating bella's first month, second month, etc., manila trip, bella's christening, hot summer days, cool afternoon autumn strolls, and countless baby photos and videos of our bub... There have been a lot of milestones in between then and now, a huge collage of events both trivial and memorable.. We are halfway through 2010, and I am just wondering what the remainder of the year will bring.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Tagaytay in my Dreams

In a rushed and often times stressful daily life that we live in, we sometimes come up with a private dream land where we go to when we need that one second refuge from reality. It is my family's recent trip to Tagaytay which I recall and relive. Even for just a moment.

I wonder what about our Tagaytay overnight trip made it so special. Was it because we stayed at the Discovery Country Suites and got pampered so much. Or, was it the lovely massage we had at Nurture Spa. Perhaps it was the Filipino luncheon we had there? Let me relive the moment..

At the Discovery Country Suites..
The minute we stepped into bliss, a refreshing drink welcomed us. Perfectly enjoyed by the table overlooking our home for the night. Breads, cheeses and wine (off limits for me though) delectable as can be. Hubby indulged, while I resisted a bit. Baby slept soundly in her capsule, giving hubby and I a bit of time to breathe in Tagaytay aroma and scenery. Our suite opened onto a great view of Taal lake, and the lush bed invited us to sleep in longer the next day. Our little one cooperated, all the way through breakfast by the same table that welcomed us the day before. Ah, the morning meal was the best. A number of choices that all appealed to us, and when our meals finally arrived we enjoyed every gram served. The quick tease of heaven ended too soon.

At Nurture Spa..
We arrived at the reception area with tense muscles, but as soon as the swishing of the breeze and humming of the wind reverberated through the afternoon sky we were instantly feeling more relaxed. We were dreaming of our own gazebo with high ceilings on a clear, breezy summer day. Plus personal masseuse. Calming. Relaxing. Perfect. Only for a good moment, we were able to enjoy serenity and the time while it lasted. It couldn't have been more perfect to end our special treatment with sweet and spicy warm tea. Perfect actually is a word that doesn't quite come close to how we felt at that time.

The food..
The food was great, as hubby and I enjoyed Filipino cuisine served to us any day, every day. Tagaytay offered us more than just dreams, but a chance to play pretend reality for a quick while.

We will be back. Soon. For now we will bottle up all the memory and seal it tight. Release a bit of that perfect scent every so often when we need rejuvinating from the real world.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Cooking up

Well, for the past 25 years of my life I did not cook. The recent 7 years I now have. Tried. Really, truly tried. And, it's only recently that I admitted to this. Or maybe it's only recently that I have enjoyed cooking up a meal. Not that I am a good cook. If there was an award I could come up for myself in this department it is the most ambitious and persevering trying-hard cook.

When I was in Manila last month I had a a good thirty or so must eat food listed down. I was able to accomplish eating about 25 of it which was good enough (well, if only I had eaten street fishballs!!). One food which I got to eat  but did not really crave was : bibingka. I saw that in the mall they were selling the old style ones and I was wanting to buy them (but opted for dunkin donuts' munchkins instead-hihihi). So, one time when I had lunch with my mum at C2 in Shangrila I ordered their Bibingka souffle for dessert. And, it was heavenly!!! Seriously! Now, having been back in Sydney I can still savour the taste. I even googled a Bibingka Souffle recipe, which I hope to make soon! And, hopefully it would taste at least close to C2's. The recipe I copied below: (photo from clickthecity.com)

Bibingka Soufflé

4 c coconut milk
2 c sugar
4 whole eggs, beaten
1½ c cornstarch
4 pc salted eggs, chopped
Combine coconut milk and sugar. Slightly heat until dissolved.
Combine the cornstarch with half of the warm coconut milk. Put back into the mixture, cook until thick, stirring continuously.
Off the fire, temper the eggs into the mixture and cook until thick.
Set aside to cool. Add the salted eggs.
3 c egg whites
2 c sugar
6 tbsp cornstarch

For garnish:
1 tbsp queso de bola
1 tsp toasted coconut
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar.
Fold in cornstarch and mix well. Fold in base to egg white mixture.
Pipe into buttered ramekins and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350Âș F.
Garnish with grated queso de bola and toasted coconut. Serve with Creme Anglaise on the side

Creme Anglaise:
2½ c fresh milk
½ c egg yolks
½ c sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Scald milk, combine sugar and egg yolks. Temper egg yolks mixture into the milk.
Cook until thickened, stirring continuously. Add vanilla.

Bibingkang Galapong
1½ k rice, soaked for three to five hours
8 whole eggs, beaten
1 tall can evaporated milk
1 c coconut milk
1 k sugar
½ c butter
, melted
¼ c + 2 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp active dry yeast
Topping:
Salted eggs or cottage cheese

Garnish:
Butter
Coconuts, fresh and grated
Drain rice. Add water one inch above the rice then grind very finely to produce thick consistency.
Blend all ingredients together. Strain if the mixture becomes lumpy. Let the mixture rest for about 30 minutes to one hour.
Pour about ½ c mixture in a banana-lined round bibingka pan. Top with salted eggs or cottage cheese or combination of both.
Cook in bibingkahan, charcoal or electric bibingka oven.
Spread each bibingka with butter. Serve with fresh grated coconut.
Yields 18-20 pieces

Teaching the little one

The little one is now nearly 4 months old! We are trying to teach her to use the bottle, but she is just not responding to the well known brands (avent and tommy tippee). It's good we went to the baby expo and found Dr. Browns' bottle! She is sort of liking it and chewing on the teat (i guess that's better than nothing!). Too bad we only bought one set, which was a real bargain. Imagine A$3 for the entire bottle set (60mls). Wish we bought more, but of course we weren't sure if she would like it so we got one instead. I really wish she could learn to drink from the bottle. But then again, part of me wants to continue breastfeeding for as long as I can, and I am so attached to her now (figuratively and literally). Dad and I have noticed that Bella is also undergoing separation anxiety. She cries when she cannot see me, and she really prefers to be carried by me and me alone. This would have been fine by me, but it keeps me handicapped most of the time. The house is a mess, I can't run errands, etc. How I wish I could just keep her close to me all the time but it will be for her benefit as well for her to learn to be just a litttttle bit independent and more trusting of others too. By others I mean her dad.

Now now, since my family is visiting us soon, I should get more of those Dr. Browns bottles! I wish I can still get a good deal even after the baby expo. Oh, it is worth checking out how cool the bottle system is (inetrnal vent). No drips on the side, and apparently less colicky baby!

The big 4-0

Turning 40 soon has had me thinking about a few things lately. One, major one is whether to have another baby. Hmm. I guess this is partly n...