Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Beading works

I still have 45mins before battery of the laptop goes flat. I shall do a quick update on my beading hobby.

The challenge that me and my friend started up has stopped midway .. the previous/last challenge is to create something antique, as decided by my friend. The only item I have that fits the antique theme is the antique looking butterfly charm. I paired it up with a black square bead to make this simple earring.

I seriously think this is quite a nice pair, at least the design is not copied from somewhere. But then again, simple designs are everywhere, so I am sure someone else would have already made this design before. Still, I think this is a lovely pair. I made it all by my own mah. Even the twisted wire above the black bead is handmade.

Besides this "black beauty", I have another pair of earring that "majors" in black. The design is inspired by the lightings used in store (I think in Jurong Point). Simple, but that is what I like.

Enough of black yet? Black is one of my favourite colour. I like that it has slimming effect. So if you do not need the slimming effect, then go colourful. I made a bracelet (cannot remember where the inspiration came from) with bicones in the few colours I have. Yet another simple piece, and I hopes it can go with many different outfits.

I love making jewelries, but I usually do not wear them .. I hope one day these pieces I made will find someone who will be able to appreciate them.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Nigella's Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins

I can't believe I told Small Small Baker that I will bake Nigella's Chocolate Chocolate Chip muffin when I get hold of the bicar and baking powder then forgot all about it (because I did not diligently update my to-do-list). I chanced upon it again when I got hold of the bicar few days ago. How coincident.

I love making muffins because of its easy preparation. Furthermore, this recipes uses a number of regular ingredients that most bakers will have -- cocao powder, milk, chocolate chips, plain flour. Not sure if my observation is correct, but usually bakes without whipping egg whites , without creaming butter and sugar, or without whipping full eggs uses bicar and baking powder ... I should be right to say they are raising agents ... but it seems their combined pressence are common to bakes not done with those 3 method mentioned.

I have used this recipe 3 times for the past 1 week. I made a trial batch because I wanted to use this recipe for Teachers' Day gift, then the batch for actual gifts and the last batch is for own consumption plus Teachers' Day gift to the yamaha teacher.

I finally got hold of the pretty ikea paper cases that I first see in HHB's blog and I can't wait to use it. Not sure why, the paper cases did not fit my waxed cases very well and the paper cases folded up at some places, resulted in cases "eating" into muffins.

And look at this :

the "burnt" chocolate chip

The chocolate chips inside the muffins are all darker in color then the ones at the top (can see the comparison side by side?). This "burnt" chocolate chip also happens in my Double Chocolate Cupcakes.

I have tried using different brands. For the 1st and 2nd batch I used Hersley minis while the last batch Phoon Huat's housebrand. All the same result. So it is not the chips problem, then why? Perhaps the timing? I baked longer than what the recipe called for. No choice, the muffins are not baked at the required time. I extended the time by 10 minutes.

The 2nd batch were dressed up by the kids for their teachers. I used the white cups because I wanted the kids to write the message on the cups .... but since I baked it in the night ( have to involve the boy who is in PM session), the kids have to go to bed before the muffins are totally cooled so the notes are written separately when the muffins are cooling. I even wanted to include an ingredient list so that the teachers will know what is used (incase teachers are allergic to any ingredients), but I could not find an appropriate way to include it. I also purposely asked the kids not to mention names of teachers in the message so that they will not squash the other
muffins while trying to find the right one for the right teacher. Just fish out and give.

Having baked two batches, I find that it is rather plain to have chocolates over choclates, look all dark dark ... thus the third batch, I sprinkled strawberry flavoured chocolate chips instead. The strawberry choc chips did not go very well. They deformed a little from the high heat. This time I used the ikea paper cases and got 9 muffins again. Guess what ... two are wrapped for teacher and the kids finish the rest of the 6 (I ate 1 for testing) on that very day! There is nothing left for the next day.

So, I made the chocolate chip oat meal muffin on the next day. I now end this post at 3.50am and the picture of yesterday's bake. I just ate one. Yummy.

p/s 1 : It seems that only the white pokka dot cases seemed to be too big but the red ones fit nicely.
p/s 2: That night I forgot to add that the Nigella's recipe muffin has a taste similar to 發糕,those brownish coloured ones. Maybe I should bake for other people to try, and also to try others to see if they taste similar.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Chocolate Hazelnut Bread (2nd trial)

It has been a long long time since I use the bread machine. So, since there is no bread tomorrow, and it is a saturday the next day, I decided to stay up and start the bread machine at 3am, so that I can have fresh bread at 7am.

This is the first time I stayed up and start baking at middle of the night. I always wanted to try, especially when my hubby is not in town, cos I would not have to worry about waking him up .. but that very day, they slept in air con room, so I just close the kitchen door and start working. But I was still concious about the noise I made when I gathered and measured the ingredients, so the preparation work took quite some time.

I initially though that I would be able to sleep once I set the machine working .. but I forgot that I must put in the ground hazelnut and chocolate chips at the beep after 2nd kneading cycle .. so I had to stay awake for a little while more.

Finally after I poured in the hazelnut bits and chips, I went to sleep and woke up after 3 hours to turn off the maker. We finally ate the bread around 9am.

The top of the bread is still not smooth looking. I cut the bread into thick slices, hoping to finish it sooner hahaha.

This time round, the bread is soft but very dense. Eating it is like eating bao skin. There is no mention about the inside of the bread being dense in my previous try. Anyway, I did not like the bread this time round, and my boy did not give it the thumbs up (but my 饞嘴猫 girl did). My hubby did not taste the bits this time but he also did not like the bread as much. So I think this is the last time I am doing this bread. I got to find more breadmaker recipe.

Here are how they look after I sliced them into thick slices.

The thick crust, swirly insides and all.

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