March 2011 - Page 3 of 8 - Narcissism is Necessary

Archive | March, 2011

This is truly the easiest focaccia recipe.

I’ve never in my life made bread. What took me so long? Fear. Why now? Why not? Okay, I confess. I adapted a recipe that claims it’s the easiest. I’m a sucker for titles like that…so here are the ingredients….

  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 10gm of active dry yeast
  • 80ml of warm water
  • 450gm of flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ordinary salt
  • 4 tablespoons of Rosemary powder (you can of course use fresh rosemary!)
  • 1 tablespoon of coarse sea salt

# – In a bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water.

# – Let stand for 10 minutes until creamy. Brace yourself for the stench, lol.

# – Prepare flour and salt in a larger mixing bowl.

# – Combine the yeast mixture with flour; stir well to combine.

# – Add in the Rosemary powder too, for a beautiful fragrance. Stir in additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all of the flour is absorbed.

# – Till it forms a dough that looks something like this. Gently knead it for another minute.

# – Now lightly oil a different bowl or pot and leave the dough inside.

# – Cover the bowl with a damp but clean towel. Leave it for 30 minutes.

# – After 30 minutes, the dough would have doubled in size.

# – Grease a baking tray with olive oil.

# – On a floured surface, deflate the dough and gently knead it for one minute. Then, pat or roll the dough into a sheet and place it onto the greased baking tray.

# – Sprinkle coarse sea salt all over the surface of the dough.

# – A few dashes of black pepper too.

# – And lastly, a sprinkling of rosemary powder all over…

# – With a fork, poke the dough all over.

# – Then, stick it in a pre-heated oven of 245 degrees Celcius for 10-20minutes depending on the desired crispiness. The longer, the crispier. I baked mine for 15 minutes.

# – Easiest focaccia, DONE!

# – Great with olive oil + balsamic vinegar, creamy soup, gravy and my favourite…chopped crabstick mixed with mayo and tabasco sauce. Yums!

This bread freezes really well too. Just wrap it in foil and stick it in freezer. When you want to eat it, take the whole thing out (bread and foil), place it on a shallow baking tray filled with some water (make sure foil has no holes as you don’t want water to seep into the bread), open the foil so top of bread is exposed, and bake at preheated oven at 150 degrees celcius for 10 minutes.

Nothing beats the smell of homemade breads!

Posted in: Bread, Homemade Recipes - Continue Reading

Chocolate buttermilk layer cake adapted from Donna Hay.

I found this recipe in a Donna Hay magazine. It’s their 50th issue birthday edition and the buttermilk chocolate layer cake is the cover cake. The last time I baked a cake was in 2005. That cake was not a looker but I was extremely proud of it, hahahahahaha.

# – The 50th issue birthday. The cake is just so gorgeous, isn’t it??? I just couldn’t stop thinking about it after seeing the picture.

Alright, here’s something I’ve been pondering over. Does “50th issue birthday” mean the 50th issue or anniversary of the 50th issue which could be years ago? I’m not a follower of Donna Hay magazines so if anyone could clarify this would be much appreciated. I scored this particular issue from a knocked down bin…

Anyway, I love this cake, even when I didn’t stick 100% to the recipe. I replaced the original cream cheese chocolate frosting with a regular chocolate frosting but it was still amazingly delicious. I bet the cake would be even more fantastic with the original frosting but if you don’t have cream cheese in your pantry, don’t fret!

Here are the ingredients that you need…

For the cake

  • 250ml of water
  • 125gm of butter, chopped
  • 35g of unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 300gm of flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspooon of baking soda, sifted
  • 350gm of caster sugar (as opposed to the recipe that called for 440gm because I used regular frosting instead of the more savoury cream cheese one)
  • 2 eggs
  • 125ml of buttermilk (if you don’t have it, just add 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar/lime/lemon juice to 125ml of milk and let stand for 10 minutes)

For the frosting

  • 550ml of icing sugar (roughly 2 cooking cups and a bit more)
  • 6 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoon of butter
  • 5 tablespoon of evaporated milk (I used whipping cream…which is way more naughty :P)

# – First, boil 250ml of water in a pot and sift 35gm of cocoa powder over it.

# – Then add the 125gm of chopped butter. Stir until butter is melted and set aside.

# – Prepare 300gm of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda & 350gm of caster sugar in a mixing bowl

# – Now pour the cocoa mixture into the flour mixture and whisk till combined.

# – Add the 2 eggs.

# – Then pour in 125ml of buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk, refer to recipe above on how to cheat ;)

# – Whisk everything till combined.

# – Lightly grease two 10″ x 10″ cake tins & lay them with parchment papers. But due to lack of resources and my innate rebellious streak on top of my despise for washing cake tins, I used aluminum foil and grease it with butter. Trust me, it works like a charm :D

# – Now divide the mixture into two & pour half into each cake tin. Then stick into preheated oven at 160 degrees celcius for 40-45 minutes.

# – Let the cakes cool down completely, which takes a minimum of 1/2 hour to be absolutely safe. You do not want the frosting to melt upon contact with the cakes, ya.

# – While the cakes are cooling down, lets begin to make the frosting. Sieve 550ml of icing sugar and 6 tablespoon of cocoa powder into a bowl and set aside.
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# – Lay out 6 tablespoons of butter in a mixing bowl, the cocoa & icing sugar mixture you prepared earlier, 5 tablespoon of evaporated milk and a hand mixer.

# – With the hand mixer, cream butter until smooth, then gradually beat in sugar mixture alternately with evaporated milk. Beat until light and fluffy. If necessary, adjust consistency with more milk or sugar till you get frosting!

# – Set the frosting aside and now, cut each cake into half. And lightly score the top of the cakes without cutting all the way.

# – Lay one piece with the scored surface down and slather the frosting all over the top. Be generous with the frosting, you will thank me!

# – Lay another piece on top of the frosted cake. Again, with the scored surface down and frost that baby. Don’t worry if your cake broke or cracked.

# – Repeat steps till you run out of cakes and you get this…

# – Now, frost the entire thing!!

# – Eventually, you will end up with this….

# – Oh, baby!

# – Oh, BABY!!!!

# – GIVE IT TO ME!!!!

For a cake that only had cocoa powder in it, it was surprisingly chocolaty! Not to mention, moist, rich and absolutely delicious. If I hadn’t told my BF, he would have thought I had used expensive dark chocolate bars to make the cake. But nope, just reasonably priced Van Houten’s cocoa powder that you can get at almost any grocery shop ;)

And oh, it is also very nice chilled. My BF, being a sucker for warm dessert also heated it up in the oven, till the frosting melted into some sort of rich chocolate sauce and ate it with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. Fantastic!

Please, make it happen! Yes, you, you and you!

Posted in: Dessert, Homemade Recipes - Continue Reading

Cooking with Samsung Galaxy SL

People always say that the generation of today cannot leave home without their phones. I, on the other hand, cannot live in my home without the Samsung Galaxy SL. As some of you might know, I’ve recently picked up the cooking bug.

I often trawl the internet for hours looking for interesting recipes to try out and boy, there are countless of them out there! Well, I’m not here to talk about searching for online recipes but rather the activities that transpire after finding a recipe.

Before I begin though, you should know that I recently got to review the very cool, very sleek Samsung Galaxy SL. And I am now completely smitten! Well, since I got the smartphone, my cooking history has officially been divided into “pre” and “post” eras.

The “pre Samsung Galaxy SL era” was filled with running up & down between my study and kitchen to re-read recipes on my laptop in the midst of cooking because:

1. I feel that it’s wasteful to kill trees printing or writing those recipes down for reference.
2. I thought I should impose a minor workout regiment on myself anyway considering all the food I’ve been hoovering.
3. Okay, I’m just too lazy to write and my printer has been out of commission for a while.

As for my “post Samsung Galaxy SL era”….

Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

# – The beautiful Samsung Galaxy SL.

No longer do I need to run back and forth between my study and kitchen because I could literally bring the online recipe into my kitchen, which are displayed by the delightful Super Clear LCD, a technology that gives clear visibility even in broad daylight!

# – The screen is large and superbly clear, which makes reading a recipe WHILE cooking a very pleasant experience.

One thing I notice about the touch screen is that it’s amazingly responsive, in fact I think it’s very, very close to the touchscreen of the “other” infamous smartphone I shall not name here. Playing games and typing on the touchscreen is so so so awesome! Yeah, I am truly impressed by the touchscreen.

It is also a surprisingly light smartphone considering its size, weighing only about 131 grams. Perfect for women, eh ;)

The phone has a superb camera too, with 5 megapixels capability and other cool features such as a auto focus, smile detection, digital zoom, multi shot, various effects, self-timer and hear this, panorama!

# – Picture taking is easy and intuitive, even with greasy, slippery hands begot from cooking ;)

Basically, it’s a more than decent camera that lets me share pictures of my cooking process while I’m STILL cooking!

# – Sharing pictures with friends is a breeze!

Most importantly, it runs on Android 2.2, which in my humble opinion is the BEST mobile operating system in the whole wide world. It is seamlessly compatible with almost all computers, has a bustling marketplace filled with amazingly cool applications and is unbelievably stable. The Samsung Galaxy SL doesn’t lag, it is quite a marvel!

As people like to comment on those bent on buying a certain electronic gadget, yes, ladies & gentlemen, I am fully “poisoned” by the Samsung Galaxy SL.

Pay attention because Celcom is offering a really sweet deal for getting the beautiful Samsung Galaxy SL. All you need to do is to register online via Celcom website and if you’re one of the 1st 100 customers, you will be entitled to enjoy an additional RM100 discount on the new Samsung Galaxy SL + a FREE 8GB Micro SD card! In addition to the RM100 discount, you can also enjoy an additional 5% discount on your monthly bill every month with any major credit cards via auto-billing. I told you it’s sweet!

I mean what’s not to like about being a Celcom customer? Check out the awesome Celcom Exec postpaid plans….

# – With Celcom Exec postpaid plans – You could save OVER RM800 on this amazing phone!

If you choose Celcom Exec 50, among the benefits you can get are:

  • FREE mobile internet and call within network on weekends
  • Call rate as low as 10.5sen/min (this is after 30% discount)
  • Talk more, save more. Up to 30% automatic discount

# – It is simply the best cooking aid I have ever used!!!

Now you know what I mean by you can’t leave or live in your home without the Samsung Galaxy SL. Register now at Celcom!

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