Tuesday, June 7, 2011


This was my first attempt making scones after watching the 'Excellent Chef Series - Ah Jiao' on AFC. This has been one of my favourite cooking programmes recently as I can learn a lot on basic baking techniques which are clearly explained and demonstrated by the experienced professional baking instructor. I just could not wait to do this project after watching the show.

My daughter enjoys baking with me or just getting herself involved in one or more age-appropriate tasks like gathering the equipment, measuring the ingredients, whisking the eggs, mixing the batter, kneading and rolling out the dough and etc in the whole baking process. I love and enjoy doing each project with her and that we have an addition of P in the family now, he is somehow our faithful audience at the moment, I am sure in no time he will be able to join in the fun and make a mess together with us :).

This is an appropriate and fun baking project for kids under six years old. They could probably get involved and do everything on their own with little help from their mummies from A - Z. This is a much fun project for kids as compared to muffins baking. The latter probably required a kid to do a lot of mixing and folding in the ingredients and perhaps scooping the batter to the muffin cases as the last step. Scones baking with this technique is more fun, interesting and achievable for their age. Each step is so different from the other from the beginning till the end and that really thrills the kids and breaks the monotony of baking in most times which required just mixing, folding and scooping!!

I got C involved throughout as much as possible and she had great fun. I could tell that she enjoyed doing this much more than baking muffins. She got to do the following :

- gather the equipment
- measure ingredients
- mix the dry ingredients well
- cut in the butter to the dry ingredients using scraper (a new tool introduced to her)
- make a well of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ones in the centre and mix them around (or make a mess!! :)
- scrape and press the batter to form a dough
- roll the dough with rolling pin
- cut the dough with round cookies cutter (fun, fun, fun!!)
- transfer cut dough to the baking tray
- continue to create her creations using the balance of the dough (mess, mess, mess!!)

The ingredients are easy to get and it is an action-filled baking project throughout the process and I do highly recommend parents to do this baking project with your kids.

I demonstrated to her once and she did it on her own for most of the steps. In fact she was so impatient when I tried to explain to her the reason behind each step that we did. She was mixing around the dry ingredients using the scraper.

She was half way cutting in the butter to the dry ingredients when I asked her to post and I took a picture of her. Cheesezzz!!

This was the end result of the dry ingredients after cutting in the butter. It should look crumbly like this.

Making a well in the centre to make way for the wet ingredients to be combined together with the dry ones.

Cutting out the scones using the 3cm in diameter cookie cutter. She enjoyed this part very much as you can tell by her grin and her post :).

The cut-out scones being arranged nicely on the tray.

Basic Scones


Dry ingredients:

250g cake flour

25g milk powder

35g sugar

1.5 teaspoon baking powder

1 tsp salt

Wet ingredient:

1 whole egg (room temperature)

70g water

80g butter

1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C/350 deg F. Line the baking tray with baking parchment

2. Mix thoroughly all the dry ingredients with the scraper. I think we could also do this by using a whisk if u are doing it in a bowl but according to the instructor it is butter to do this on a flat surface to prepare for the next step.

3. Gently cut butter into the dry ingredients. Make sure that u cut and scrape in the flour many times and it should be crumbly at the final stage for this step.

4. Make a well in the centre and pour in the wet ingredients. Slowly scrape inwards using a small spoon from the inner edge of the well to the centre and swirl to mix well. Repeat the steps until the wet ones are well incorporated.

5. Use scraper to scrape with your dominant hand and gently use your non-dominant palm to press the dough. Do this for a few times until all are well combined but do not over mix the dough otherwise gluten will form and the scones will be hard and not soft and fluffy.

6. At this stage the dough will be sticky. Sprinkle a little flour on the counter top, rolling pin and the sticky dough if you want to roll and cut the dough and bake straight away. Otherwise wrap dough in clingwrap and pop it in the fridge for a good 30 minutes to let it relax so that it will be manageable by then.

7. Roll it to about 1.5cm to 2cm thick and cut it out using round shape cookies cutter.

8. Bake for about 25 minutes.

Notes :

1. According to the instructor, you could use any type of flour you have in your shelves except high protein flour.

2. I rerolled the dough for 2 times and the recipe yields 9 scones using 3cm in diameter round shape cutter.

3. Serve the scones warm with butter and fruit jam. They are so delicious that I bake them twice last weekend!

4. I took some video of C for this project hopefully I could have time to edit them and post up to share with you.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Under The Sea Birthday Cake

C just turned 4 last year. I was holding her hand while I walked her to school last week and suddenly I felt the tiny little hand that I once held has grown much bigger. I was wondering for how long more I could continue to walk her to school and hold her hand like I did. Everything seems unimportant to me suddenly at the moment than to cherish her the way she is... yes just the way she is even her naughtiness. I asked her one afternoon what she wants to be when she grows up, she said, "Mummy, I don't want to be anything... I just want to be myself". Beaming at her, I gave her a big hug and said to her, "Yes darling girl, you should be just yourself!".

C wanted a cake she saw in the animal birthday cakes recipe book that I have. I don't know why she was so attracted by the underwater sea creatures cake that she saw and when asked again at different times, which cake she wanted she was so persistent with her first and last choice.

This is the third butter cream cake that I iced after the first two which I made or rather need to make when I was attending the Wilton Cake Decorating Level I which was about 2 years ago. I felt that the butter cream following the Wilton Method was rather too greasy, too sweet, not fluffy and neither was it light. My whole family didn't like it and we ended up scraped out all the icing but just ate the cake. The Wilton method required Meringue Powder for the butter cream and it didn't come cheap and mind you if you are not frequent baker, the whole tin will be a waste.

This is the site that I stumbled upon during my search for easy to make and delicious buttercream. I was so happy to have found this site and that I have learnt so much about so many different recipes of making buttercream. Another site that I have been visiting frequently lately to learn about buttercream cake decoration technique is this . I really would like to share these with you for your reference.

The buttercream recipe that I made was extracted from Tasty Kitchen and it was really a success and I was so happy about the result. It was not too sweet but very creamy and light and above all it was so so yummmmmmy!

Enjoying the first piece of the cut cake. The blue soft gel paste colour is so concentrated that her lips and teeth turned blue even before she could finished up the cake! She is so sweet and mummy loves her a lot!

Still have to work on the skill to frost a smooth cake. Saw the dented corner...?!
The cake was packed in a cake box, tied with a golden string.... simple but elegant presentation to me.
The decorations I used....
The fun part that she has been longing for the whole day .... :)
The deep blue sea is made of jello coloured in blue. I like the effect of the water splashing out from the pool-like-sea.

This was a two layered chocolate cake filled with the buttercream icing. Create a dam in the centre of the cake to hold the jello. Dig out the centre of the cake about half inch depth and one half to two inches from the edge towards the centre of the cake. The recipe was adopted from Hershey's website.
Some of the non edible decorations I got from the stationery store.
The jello was cooling off at the counter top to set about 80%. Swirl it with a fork to break it up. Strain away excess water. I used one packet of jelly powder.
The buttercream is a bit too thin in consistency and soft. I didn't left it too long at the countertop for fear it will melt in our climate.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Phelgm Remedy

I stumbled upon Audrey's website when I was searching for chinese remedy to clear the stubborn phlegm that my daughter had due to her prolong cough. Since she turned two she falls ill frequently due to upper respiratory tract infections. She is sick at least once a month. I boiled this once for the whole family and I think it is not appropriate for me to comment whether it is effective or not since drinking herbal remedy like this for once is unlikely able to show significant result.

Boiled 1.5 litre of water with 30 pcs of red or dark red grapes and 5 pieces Liquorice roots for about one hour. For the detailed recipe you may visit the site that I mentioned above.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Apple Pie : Mistakes that you can avoid...

I have been working on sugar cookies for the past few months. I have been researching a lot on it and baking trays of these cookies with different recipes. I am almost there getting the perfect sugar cookies recipe and once I am satisfied with the final recipe I will post it up and share with you my experiences.

Now the weird thing is that the more I am into this sugar cookies thingy the more I crave to make pie dough from scratch and eat home made apple pie!! Nope, I am not pregnant with number 3 and I find this urge and craving is totally absurd and unexplainable!!

So, I bought apples and made the pie dough couple days ago. The pie dough was sitting in the fridge for two days and though I have this very disturbing pain at my lower back, being stubborn I decided to bake an apple pie while the kids are taking their afternoon nap. I didn't have a pie dish so I took a risk to use a tart dish which can easily tear the pie dough (which happened) to bake the apple pie.

The crust was heavenly flaky and flavourful. I use a ratio of 2:1 for butter and shortening and that gives the pie great texture and flavour. I would love to bake this pie again using this recipe but I would put more effort to work on the dough next time.

Mistakes that I made that you can avoid...
1. You definitely have to chill the dough for at least an hour. As you are working on the dough and it turns too soft in between pls put in the freezer for 10 -15 minutes to chill it again. The ingredient to success is to be patient which my desperation fails me for this process:P

2. Do not roll the dough too thin as it can tear easily. Ensure that the dough is rolled out about 3" bigger than you dish size. I rolled it far too thin and big and when I flipped it over the tart dish it torn :( . Partly this was due to the wrong dish I used. So lesson no. 2 is to get the measurement and item correct.

3. Do not throw your dough or stop there if you ever had difficulties or problem rolling out a nice smooth dough into a pie dish. My dough torn twice (after I chilled it and rerolled it two times) and honestly I was discouraged at the point. Thank goodness, I never gave up. I chilled the dough longer in the freezer this time and yet it didn't work so well for me in this third attempt :(. So finally I used the egg tart making method to push the dough up from the centre to the edge of the tin and patched wherever was torn. Well this is definitely not an acceptable method for a prof baker but it isn't too bad an idea if you are working on a tart dish. The ingredient to success for this mistake is to be persistent.

4. More juice meaning messiness for presentation but it is absolutely tastier and finger licking good for apple pie! I chose the latter so you can see plenty of juice oozed out from the pie which I wanted. However the centre pie was dry so perhaps pouring in the juice from the centre (which I did the opposite) and let it flow by itself to the edge will resolve the problem?!

This is definitely a very delicious pie that I will make again by avoiding the above mistakes. The next time if I were to bake this again, I will try to bake it on small tart tin and see what are the results.

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