Saturday, February 27, 2010

Seven layer bars

My mentor at Saatchi Lab left the company in January. She was a really nice lady and I wanted to bake her something to thank her. As her last day was in the middle of the week,  I knew that whatever I chose had to be simple and not take up much time. I browsed through my recipes, and saw these bars. Like hello? It screamed easy with a capital E. I also knew for a fact that Shareeda loves chocolate, so these would be perfectly fine for her. It comprised of approximately ten ingredients or so, and I went to the supermart the day before after work to grab whatever I didn't have at home so I could work on it the next morning.

The recipe was straight forward, but as I was making these bars, I realised that if I followed the proportions exactly, they were going to be extremely sweet. Therefore, I reduced the measurements according to how I felt should be enough. I didn't exactly measure anything out except for the digestives base. I just sprinkled the ingredients on top of one another and stopped when I think they were enough. I replaced half the butterscotch chips with some crumbled butterscotch cookies as a bag of butterscotch chips were friggin' expensive.

The bars baked beautifully and the aroma of these in the morning is enough to send any diabetic running. All that sugar. Tsk tsk. It was really chocolatey and a small piece of it is enough to sate any sweet cravings. Thank heavens I reduced the proportions, if not it would be overkill.
 
Seven layer bars


The instructions were to cut it after it has cooled down fully. And please, whoever reads this and plans to make these, heed those damn instructions. I left it to cool for twenty minutes or so, it was slightly warm, but I was rushing to work soon, I had no time to wait for it to cool anymore. So I cut it in half, and cut one of the halves into pieces. 

Needless to say, warm goods should never never be sliced. They crumble very easily and the pieces I finally chose for Shareeda were quite disfigured. :( Oh well, I comforted myself with the thought that at least the taste of them would be good (I knew - guess where those bits of broken crumbs went?).


Such yummy (and sinful) goodies should be shared with as many people as possible so you don't look at them lying on the table and munch on them. After I reached home from work at night, I sliced the remaining pieces, and they were so much easier to cut. They held their shape better and didn't disintegrate at the slightest nudge of a knife. I was meeting some friends for brunch in the weekend, so I made sure I saved some to share with them. They seem to like the bars, and two of them asked for the recipe after that.

Such a scrumptious bar, that takes so short of a time to bake (it's just the waiting that can make you go crazy. The smell and sight of it hmmmmm, yet you must exercise that last bit of self control - you must! - so that you can savour it fully later on.). What are you waiting for?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Caramels

I finally dragged my lazy arse up early yesterday morning for a jog. The last time my running shoes saw the sight of me was like probably two months ago. Which is like long long time ago. I know. Poor them. Now that I have the time on hand, I should probably make the most of it by meeting up more often with the neglected shoes.

And, the weather these coupla days has been stifling hot, to say the least. Singapore has always been a hot and humid country. But the last week has totally stretched the terms "hot" and "humid" to the very max. The intense heat has me feeling sticky perpetually all day, and it does not relinquish its hold on me at night even when I'm asleep. I normally sleep in shorts and a tee shirt, and cover up with a blanket to keep away the slight chill the night brings. But these days, I kick my blanket away (what breeze? it's hot even at night now.), and when I wake up in the morning, I feel a restlessness in me, and my neck and back feels hot. My hair sticks to the back of my neck, very lightly damp from the perspiration.

It doesn't help that I have way long hair in this sweltering heat. At times like these, it brings to mind that a trip to the hair salon, a snip of a scissors, and I could be feeling way much comfortable. Alas, the vanity in me recoils at the horror of a hairdresser shorning away my precious locks. My last short haircut took me more than a year to grow back. I won't easily forget the pain of how I looked in that hair-growing-out phase.

Anyway, enough of the weather, I have some caramels to share today. Over photographs of course.

Little caramel nuggets

I had leftover cream in the refridgerator, and was not very keen to make any cake or pudding. My next thought was candies. I've never attempted making candies before, since I didn't own a candy thermometer. But once the idea hatched, I just couldn't shake of the need to make them. It's like I must make them. And so I did. Without the help of the candy thermometer.

Of course, that wasn't my smartest plan, and I had to pour the mixture back into the pot to cook again I had already poured them out to cool. The mixture wasn't hardening into caramels form, that's how I know I had undercooked them in the first place. No harm done, I just waited till it became stickier and a darker hue of brown before I removed them a second time and cooling them again. Though they weren't as hard as I would have liked them to be, the final result was a soft chewy caramel, which flavour reminded me of the caramel sweets (Wurther? Werthers? You know you know, that brand with the light yellow packaging?). I cut them into pieces and wrapped them with baking paper and brought them to the office to share around.


Chewy caramels

Thank god it's late afternoon now, the heat isn't that unbearable now as in the early noon when the sun is at its strongest. I have a gathering with my girls later for dinner. Man. It's steamboat. Pray hard for me that it rains heavily during dinner time okay? Not before or after the dinner since I gotta travel to and fro my friend's place, but during the dinner itself okays? Need to keep my cool in the face of the steam I'm gonna be facing. Thanks. ;)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Peach pistachio frangipane tarts

I'm heading out for a litle shopping soon in town with my girlfriend later, so let's make this entry short and simple shall we?

Following the success of the previous tart I made,  I used the same recipe for the tart base for these tarts. Lovely luscious peaches, with their seductive pink hues and tantalising aroma, how do I resist them?

Peach pistachio frangipane tarts

Monday, February 22, 2010

Chocolate mousse

My friend and I decided to usher in 2010 with a quiet night at my place. We intended to chill and she will teach me this awesome chocolate mousse recipe she said she tried out previously. So, in the end, there were three of us that night. After having a late dinner out, we headed back to my place. Actually, what we end up doing was we spent the majority of the night playing cards, and only a small portion of our time was used making the mousse. The recipe was dead easy and it tasted simply divine. At the strike of midnight, we toasted with wine and these chocolate mousse cups. It was a great way to welcome the new year in I must say (although there goes my plan for a healthier new year...).

Chocolate mousse cups, with crushed oreo bits sprinkled on top.


The mousse tasted really good by itself, or sprinkled with crushed biscuits (think oreos or digestives or even grated chocolate). I reckon the mousse would be awesome in a chocolate cake as a frosting or filling. Hmmm, I should try it out again sometime soon and I'll tell you how it taste. Come to think of it, I don't have the recipe in my recipe book! Okay, there are perks of finally catching up with my baking posts - I gotta hound my friend for the recipe. (:

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Plum almond frangipane tart

It's in the midst of CNY now, and I've currently joined the ranks of the unemployed. My internship ended on the Friday before CNY as I've decided not to continue with the position due to several reasons. So it means I'm currently very available while seeking job opportunities. I've been catching up loads with several friends and it's great to meet up with them when I've not had the chance to see them for quite some time.

Been doing loads of other misc stuff, like watching dramas (finally finished my GG season 1, yes I know, how lag can I be) and Hi My Sweetheart. Lala. It's been a while since my last taiwanese drama.

Oh oh, and I got so sick on the first day of CNY I didn't enjoy anything. :( Was having a tummy upset (probably caused by oyster buffet on Friday) and I vomitted in the morning of CNY day one. Bah. New year visiting was not a joy when all I did was show my face to the both granny's places and then spent majority of my time lying on cousins' beds. Lol. Well, an upside to it is that while people are busy gorging themselves silly on new year goodies (and ahem gaining weight), I'm not! Hahahahha. All I could stomach for the next few days was porridge and other bland stuff. It didn't help that I had abalone and shark fins for reunion dinner and with my upset tummy, it made me nauseated to think of most foods. Bleah.

Anyway, here's my final post for 2009 - plum almond frangipane tart. I must say the tart was damn awesome. At least the tart shell was. The method for making it is slightly different, as it uses melted butter instead of butter at room temp. The almond tart dough combines almond essence and a small quantity of almond flour and the flavour was amazing. (:

Plum almond frangipane tart
Care for a slice?

I had snagged a whole container of plums at the supermart just because I couldn't resist fruits. But then, the plums were slightly tart on its own, and I couldn't imagine eating the whole lot by itself. Since I had leftover frangipane in the freezer, I thought I should just make a tart with the plums. So I dug out tart recipes and found this amazing almond tart recipe in the midst of my list. Total keeper I tell you.



Off to more CNY visiting today. Heading to my ex-colleague's place as she's invited us over for lunch, and then will be having a potluck tonight at Jia's place. I've not seen her for too damn long! Can't wait.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Brunching @ Riders Cafe

Hey hey. I did uploaded the pictures within the week, in fact on the actual day itself I took them, I uploaded them onto Facebook! What a miracle. As anyone who knows me well will attest to that fact... ;)

I was so looking forward to our brunch session at Riders Cafe, after hearing the reviews about the nice ambience for brunch. We got there, and found that the balcony seats were all taken up (boo!) and settled for seats indoors instead. The place was nice, except for the slight whiff of horse manure in the air for a short moment (from the horses situated nearby). It was a really nice place I guess, if you manage to secure a balcony seat. The place was packed, and noisy chatter filled the place.