Good Bye 2011 and Welcome 2012

I cannot imagine that time actually flies so fast that we are already at the last day of Twenty-Eleven. 2011 has its mixture of happiness and sadness for us but the positives seems to have outweigh its negatives.

2011 has seen my hub’s close ones-his dad and his granddad passing on just 2 weeks one after another. But this has seems to have taught us to treasure our everyday more and has also seem to have brought the family a little more closer.

Hub, kids & MIL

It has also seen my mum pass through a rather major operation of removing her entire thyroid gland. She has recovered well and it has not seems to deter her from “screaming” at her top of lungs again.

My dad has also went through a heart operation and have began to watch what he puts into mouth though there are times where there is always a little craving.

Mum & Dad to be ever-loving

On the brighter side, our first joy was when Clemens got balloted into Catholic High Primary School with the lucky number 22 at the last 5 slots. Then I switched to a job which has actually seen the increase of my income in a good way and another switch of job which is so-called permanent. So I am rather satisfied with what I am doing now. The next surprising thing is for such a lazy person such as I, have actually enrolled in a part-time degree (Now I wonder what I got myself into). My hubby has also gotten a role change in his job and is now looking forward to another detachment in the States from another 2.5yrs from now. I am so seriously looking forward to it. Till then I am keeping my fingers cross.

So as it all sums up, 2011 seems not to be a bad year after all.

As for 2012, what am I looking for? I am not very sure my self too. I just hope for:

  • My hubby’s career to progress after we do benefit from him being good.
  • My boys will grow up honoring brotherhood.
  • Our parents and family will be healthy, happy and contented.
  • My mum and dad to be ever loving.
  • Clemens will be able to adapt to primary school life and I look forward to studying together with him.
  • My siblings to enjoy their life to the fullest.
  • My besties to be all happily and blissfully married.

Hoping for the Brother to Enjoy Each Other's Company NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS 🙂

Hope Our Ties will Only grow Stronger as the Year Goes By

Most of all, I of course wish for another smooth-sailing year without too many hiccups after all there is really nothing much for me to covert after any more. With a supportive mum & dad, a loving hubby, 2 great but ever-bickering boys, 3 great friends who are always there for me, a roof over our heads and a mini little transport to bring us to where ever we want to go. What more can I ask for?

Just a Happy Smooth Sailing 2012 will suffice and I wish the same for you guys. 🙂

Me & My Favourite Sparkling Sake (A Nice Way to Start the New Year With)

Have some party booze and A HAPPY NEW YEAR to 2012!!

~~~~~~

Possibly Related New Posts:

Advertisements

Japanese-Style Strawberry Cake (My First Attempt)

Recently I bought  a baking book known as “Okashi- Sweet Treats Made With Love” by Keiko Ishida. When I first bought it, I was blown away by the beautiful pictures especially the Japanese-Style Strawberry Cake (which happen to be my boys’ favourite)

The Cake That Convince Me To Buy The Book

Anyway I had my 1st attempt of this cake for our Christmas Steamboat Party especially now we have abundant supplies of the Korean strawberries. I am very hesitant to put this up because I will not say it is a total success with my sponge texture not fine enough (I guess it is due to the way I had handled my eggs), my vanilla cream too runny (I guess due to insufficient gelatin or perhaps I forgot to squeeze the soften gelatin sheet dry) and  my whipped a little too soft (I guess due to me not whipping enough??I am not very sure myself too) .

My First Attempt

Nevertheless after pondering awhile, I decided to share because despite the setbacks I have met, the cake tasted really great with my friend’s 2.5 year old daughter finishing 3 slices of the cake (and still asking for more) and my friends had also commented that it tasted great without being too sweet. Even my hubby who usually shuns cakes and deserts also says that it tasted nice requesting me to make one for his birthday (improved version) this coming February. (“,)

Well there are 3 steps to completing this cake:

  1. Bake the Genoise Sponge.
  2. Prepare the strawberries and vanilla cream.
  3. Prepare whip cream.

A. Bake the Genoise Sponge

Ingredients Needed:

  • 115g Pastry Flour or Top Flour (I used Top Flour)
  • 170g Eggs (About 4 small eggs)
  •  130g Castor Sugar
  • 15g Glucose (This helps to keep the egg moist)
  • 30g Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 45g Fresh Whole Milk
  • 1tsp Vanilla Extract (I used the seeds from the vanilla pod instead)
  • 3tbs Sugar Syrup (made using 25g sugar and 50g water)

Method (With Step-By-Step Photos)

  1. Split the vanilla pod length way and scrap the seeds out with the back of a knife. Set aside.
  2. Sift the flour twice.
  3. Line the 18-cm round spring-form pan with baking paper.
  4. Preheat the oven to 170°c.
  5. Beat the eggs in a clean bowl. Add in sugar and glucose and place over a pot of simmering water and mix well. Adding heat to the egg allows more air to be easily incorporated when whipped.
  6. When egg mixture is warm, beat on high speed till light and fluffy. Reduce to low speed and continue beating for one minute. Reducing speed  allows a stable egg mixture with fine form to be achieve and less volume is lost when the flour is folded in.
  7. In another clean bowl, combine butter milk and vanilla seeds and place over a pot of simmering water. Once butter has melted, stir through to mix.
  8. Add 1/6 of egg batter to the butter mixture and mix well.
  9. Then add the butter mixture to the egg mixture and fold thoroughly.
  10. Lightly sift in the flour and gently fold in flour with spatula until batter becomes glossy. You have to work very fast here and because you will not want to over mix the flour.
  11. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 40 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.
  12. Place on a cooling rack to cool. It is recommended that you cool the cake in a plastic bag to retain the moisture of the cake. Though I did not.
  13. When cooled completely, slice the cake horizontally.
  14. Place 1 layer on a flat tray and brush evenly on both sides with 1/3 of sugar syrup. Set both the layers aside.

B. Preparing the Strawberries and Vanilla Cream

Ingredients Needed:

  • 300g Strawberries (I used the Korean ones)
  • 150g Whipping Cream (35% fat)
  • 20g Fresh Whole Milk
  • 15g Castor Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract (I use half a vanilla pod)
  • 4g Gelatin Sheets (Soaked in ice water to soften)

Method (Step-By-Step Photos)

  1. Wash the strawberries clean.
  2. Hull and slice the strawberries. Set aside.
  3. Whip the cream in a chilled bowl till stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  4. Place milk,sugar and vanilla seeds in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add soften gelatin sheets. Stir to mix well.
  5. Let the milk cool and then add to whipped cream and fold till incorporated.
  6. Spread the vanilla cream onto cake layer that was brushed with sugar syrup.
  7. Top with sliced strawberries and place the 2nd layer of cake over. Press down lightly and refrigerate while preparing the whipped cream.

C. Whipped Cream

Ingredients:

  • 200g Whipping Cream (35%Fat)
  • 15g Castor Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Method (No Photos)

  1. Combine ingredients in a clean bowl.
  2. Place bowl over a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and water. It is essential to whip the cream over a bowl of ice water to keep it cold otherwise the cream will become warm and curdle easily.
  3. Using an electric mixer, whip cream at medium speed till stiff peaks form but cream is still smooth. Take care not to over-whip or the cream will become grainy and separate to form butter.
  4. Cover the chilled cake with whipped cream. Garnish as desired.

My 1st Home-Made X’mas Cake

Here is a slice of the side view. Though it is looking not as tempting with the vanilla cream runny, it seriously taste not bad.

A Slice Of the Cake

I am so looking forward to baking this again so that I can further improve on the cream. 🙂 I guess it is not bad for my 1st try. Ain’t it? 🙂

Well if you asked me when I developed a liking for baking, I am not very sure too. However baking just gets me excited because of the challenges I face, wondering if I had beaten the eggs enough, the temperature of the oven and etc. I think it takes alot of guts t0 fail and try and try again. Seeing improvement each time is like an achievement and thinking how it can be done better the next time round.

If you do not get what I mean, below is a picture to share where I baked 2 genoise sponge within a span of 3 hours because for my 1st attempt, I got a flat and dense sponge.

It maybe nerve wrecking but do not give up and enjoy baking. I guess I am one who finds myself at peace in the kitchen. 🙂

~~~~~~

Possibly Related Posts:

Boxing Day, A Special Day

The boys woke up really early this morning because it is BOXING DAY which means time to open those really longingly coveted presents only to find a bare bottom Christmas tree. How did this happen? That is because my hubby had decided to hatch a really really evil plan the night before (that is to tell the boys that Santa had decided to take back all their pressies because they have not been exceptionally good this year). So this was what went on this morning at 8am today:

A little knock on our room’s door

  • Clemens: (tugging my hub’s feet) Dad, we have a small problem.
  • Dad: What is the problem? It is still early go have more sleep.
  • Clemens: Our presents are gone……..
  • Damir: (Shaking my shoulders really hard) Mum…… our presents are gone!!
  • Mum: (pretending to yawn) Damir you must be dreaming.
  • Dad: (trying to control a laughter, he told the boys) I think I heard a jingling ling sound. Did you boys heard it?
  • The Boys: Noooooo…. We’re Sleeping really soundly. We did not hear anything….. 😦
  • Dad: I think Santa must have taken back your presents because you boys have not been really good.
  • Damir: There is no such thing as Santa!!
  • Clemens: I think a thief broke into our house.

Looking at the boys thinking really hard with their eyebrows knitted really tightly together with deep frowns was really a hilarious sight. Such a funny sight it was that my hubby finally gave up and returned all their gifts to them where they broke into their mega smile. 🙂

The Boys Happily In Action

How I Wish I am A Kid Again

Who Says Only The Kids Have It?

While it is a Happy Boxing Day for most kids, Boxing Day also marks a very special day for my hubby and I. It is our 7th Year Wedding Anniversary.Yup 7 years of bickering and fighting over everything big and small of course plus happy moments too and we have survived it through.

Now if you remembered in October I have written that we have enjoyed the buffet at Melt The World Cafe very much, my hubby had planned a dinner there as well for tonight. I am not sure because if I had enjoyed it the 1st time very much so I have been anticipating it for the 2nd time that it no longer seems as exciting as it was for the 1st time. Or was it because the sight of fresh live fat worms dropping from my oyster shells with their heads dancing at me kills off the appetite (I wish I had the state of calmness to take a picture of it rather than immediately calling for the waitress). Anyway the way the manager on duty who handled the matter was a total turn-off. Yep he did apologize but he went on telling us that worms spotted on oysters are so common that it happens all the time and he went on saying some are even so small that you will not even be able to spot it, that is why many people do not like eating oysters. I was like urgggg………. Even if I understand that sea worms are a norm on oysters, that is not the kind of stuff we will like to hear from a manager at a fine-dinning restaurant such as this. There was no sincerity in the apology at all except for him going on and on on how normal it is to find live dancing worms on your oysters and you might even have extra-protein if you do not spot one that is so small that you actually swallow it. What a way to have a “happy” wedding anniversary.

Pictures Before The “Dancing” Worms

Boys With Ultra Large Ginger Bread House & Their Favourite Chocolate Fondue

Nice Display of Food

Gentle Reminder: Extra Traces of Protein May be Found. Worms At Sight, Eat At Your Own “Pleasure”

Moreover  the BBQ section was closed up making the food even more limited. I guess the only plus point was the desert was still as good and they gave a complimentary mini chocolate cake in celebration for the anniversary. But again how to be happy when such a thing happen. I doubt we will be patronizing them for a long time. I believed I had enjoyed our lunch at the Redhill Market a lot much more which is only for a fraction of the price paid for the dinner.

However the pressie given to me by my hubby has over ridden the unpleasant encounter at the restaurant.

My X’mas Cum Anniversary Gift

A present paid for by my hubby and design chosen by my boys (with another funny story behind). This pressie was meant to be a surprised gift when the 3 of them 1st bought it. However on the same day when my hubby picked me up from work, this was what happen:

  • The Boys: Mummy we have a surprise present for you!
  • Dad: (Nearly fainting) Sush……… Keep Quiet!
  • Mum: It must be a wallet!
  • Clemens: (before dad can say anything) How did you know???!!!
  • Dad: Why can’t you boys keep secrets???
  • Mum: (Continue to probe) It must be a Prada Wallet.
  • Damir: (with Clemens struggling to cover his mouth) Mum!!!!! Are you magic? How did you know? Do you know it is your favourite colour “PINK“????!!!
  • Dad & Clemens: DAMIR!!!!!!!!!!!

As Damir Said, It is in Hot PINK!! My Fav

By then, I was already laughing off my head with my hubby totally speechless for a moment before he went berserk nagging at the boys on how well they kept the secret. Hahahahahhahaha

Such A Big Wallet, Only $10.00 Found. Hubby Next time give more lar…….

But secret or no secret, this is one piece that I absolutely love. 🙂

~~~~~~

Possibly Related Posts:

Who Says We Need A Turkey & An X’Mas Log Cake?

I cannot imagine that I have not been in here for a week already. Busy shopping you can say and bringing my boys to take some snap shots of the glittering Christmas decorations.

But come today 25th Dec, I seriously have no plans so what do we do on this wet day? Well it was an impromptu decision with my besties that we are so gonna have STEAMBOAT!! Who needs the turkey when we can have pipping hot yummy steamboat?

Comfort Food For A Wet Cold Day

Baby's Thinking She Wants The Steam Boat Instead of Milk

Followed by a home-made Strawberry Christmas cum Birthday cake. So who says we need Chocolate Log cake? Though perhaps it is not the best in the world, I am glad my friends love it and I have a little ardent fan who can finish 3 servings all by herself :).

A White X'Mas Cake

The Birthday Gals Excluding the Little One

My Ardent Little Fan

It is not a fantastic Christmas but it is heart-warming to have the gals I have known since we were 13 and 14 around in the comfort of my home where we can laugh about the things we have done (last time), flip through photo albums and talk about the future while our kids are busy entertaining themselves.

The Happy Kiddos

A Toast to Our Friendship and one of my Christmas wish is we can still entertain each other when we are full of grey and white hair. Perhaps like what we have always said, “to check ourselves into an old folks and create a havoc  in there (“,)”

May Our Friendship Last A long Time. (BTW Can you guess how many gals are there?)

Thanks Gals for such a warm Christmas despite the wet and cold weather.

Merry Christmas!!

Though I am late, I will still like to wish all of you a “Merry Christmas!!”

~~~~~~

Possibly Related Posts:

Just When I Thought

Just when I thought I am done shopping this month….. I never expected that I will get myself a bag since I have already gotten an  Louis Vuitton for myself earlier on this year.

It is a designer bag which I never thought I will ever get because I had never shown much interest in this label. But still because of what I saw on the magazine this time round (which of course caught my eyes), I thought I will just go in and take a peep.

The lady was helpful and friendly, took out a few pieces for me to view and …….. here comes the ULTIMIUM. She whipped out a ravishing outta season beauty (at least in my eyes it is) and you gotta believe in the power of sales talk, “This is the last piece and going off at 30% DISCOUNT!!!!!”

30% DISCOUNT for a piece like that with the colours in such a bold contrast, how can I not be tempted? I, needless to say gave in to the devil talking in me, “You gotta get this or you will be sleepless tonight! Last piece at 30% discount you will regret it if you do not get it.” And hence I am now the owner of this Gucci Meta Orange Vintage-Web Small Boston Bag.

I seriously love the striking bold colours of this piece

I love how the zip goes all the way down for the easy retriever of things

Most of all I love how it can be carried in 2 ways

Lovely isn’t it? 🙂 One of a perfect piece to add colour to almost any type of causal wear.

And now as I am typing and admiring my bag at the same time, I know I do need to exercise a lot of self control. All I hope now is that my hubby is not reading this because he will be wondering why do I need another bag when I already a number of pieces in the wardrobe especially with our upcoming trip to Tokyo in January, he will believe I need more discipline than this.

But guys never understand do they? Perhaps I should justify it as Christmas spending – A Christmas gift to myself. 🙂

~~~~~~

Possibly Related Posts:

Christmas Is Just An EXCUSE To Do Shopping!!

Sales at Habour Town, Gold Coast (Few Years Back)

I guess for a sucker like me that thrives on short term thrills and happiness, Christmas is really just an excuse for me to do more SHOPPING!! Looking at my Christmas Tree last year, it doesn’t to be as filled as this year. The ‘harvest for this year seems to be better. 🙂

Christmas 2010

Anyway with Christmas arriving in a jiffy next week, have you done your shopping? It seems that I have more or less finish with mine and of course I am left a few grand poorer but seriously happyr. I guess my biggest catch for this year is for someone rather special where boxing day is also a very special day. The next one that follows belongs be my two very precious boys though I think they aren’t really thrill over it. 🙂

Hmmm……. seems like the salad days are coming my way.

But hold on………… Who says shopping is only for girls?

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Clemens When he was 2.5 Years Old Then

The boys love it too!

~~~~~~

Possibly Related Posts:

Up & Shinning Bright

Yippeee………… Thanks to hubby, our Christmas Tree is finally up and filled with toys as the tree decoration for this year.

Toys Filled Tree

It is such a theme for the kids. Toys and candy canes with the base of the tree rapidly filled too.

I have to say I am in such a festive mood mood now that I have not much mood to study for my exam this Saturday. Hmmmm if there is really Father Santa, how nice if he can ……heehhehehe.

Anyway, Merry Christmas to all and do enjoy your Christmas Shopping!!!!

~~~~~~

Possibly Related Posts: