Saturday, April 23, 2011

Blueberry and Cinnamon Frozen Yogurt

The weather has been so hot lately that I feel like I just want to have an ice shower. Ahhhh.. It would be so good. In fact, making your own ice cream would be equally good. And that was why I decided to make fro-yo again today. :D

One of the fro-yos available here is the Tutti Frutti and I have to admit that they do have quite vast selection of flavours. The bad news is that it can be a little bit pricey. When I eat Tutti Frutti, I would avoid taking too much toppings so that I won't have to pay much. :P

Anyways, we have bought an ice-cream maker about two years ago. However, we have only started using it last month. And this is one of the recipes that I love the most.
 Ingredients (blueberry and cinnamon yogurt) :

  • 1kg Greek-style yogurt
  • 1/3 cup sugar + a little bit of warm water to dissolve the sugar
  • 2 1/4 cup frozen blueberries
  • 5 tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • cinnamon
Method :

1. Put the blueberries, sugar, water and cinnamon into a saucepan. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the berries pop and the mix reduces to semi-thick syrup. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
2. Dissolve 1/3 cup of sugar with enough water and mix with the yogurt.
3. Add the yogurt mix to the ice-cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions which normally takes about 20-25 minutes. 
4. You can add the blueberry syrup 10 minutes before the ice cream is done churning (This is what I did). You can also add the blueberry syrup together with the yogurt from the beginning.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Homemade Burgers

Why bother going to McD, Burger King and such if you can make better ones at home? I've bookmarked this amazing recipe for quite some time already but I haven't had the time to make them until today.

Recipe (Burger/Sandwich buns) :

Ingredients :

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 4 1/4 cup bread flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
Method : 

1. Put milk, water, honey and butter in a pot and warm them up. Let it cool slightly and beat in the egg.
2. Mix 2 cups of flour with the yeast and salt. Add in the milk mixture and mix well.
3. Add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until it forms a quite stiff dough.
4. Transfer the dough to the working top and knead for 5-10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.
5. Shape into 12 buns and flatten the top slightly by gently patting them. 
6. Leave it to rise until doubled. 
7. Bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. 

Recipe (Beef patties) :

Ingredients :

  • 1 kg lean meat
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 medium red onions, finely chopped
  • 1-2 handful of fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 small pinch of cumin seeds, crushed
  • 1 headed tsp of Dijon mustard
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
Method : 

1. Preheat the oven to 230C. 
2. Chop the meat in a food processor until you get the desired texture. 
3. Combine all the other ingredients and mix well. 
4. Divide into 4 (I made them into 10) and use your hands to shape them.
5. Roast for 25 minutes if it is very thick or less if it is not so thick. 
6. Build a burger with what you have.

Recipe (Caramelized Onions) :

Ingredients :

  • 6 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 4-5 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar (I didn't put this)
  • 2-3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 knobs of butter
  • salt to taste
Method :

1. Heat the oil in a heavy based pan or pot.
2. Once hot, throw in the onions and make sure that every slice is lightly coated with the oil. 
3. Stir once in a while to ensure even browning. This may take a while. 
4. When the onions turn pale gold, pour in balsamic vinegar, sugar, butter and a good pinch of salt.
5. When the onions turn dark golden brown, they are ready.
6. Store in a sterilized jar in the refrigerator.

Recipe (Curry Mayonnaise) :
  • A slap of bottled mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp mustard
Method :

1. Mix them well and slap on burger.
p.s : The caramelized onions make the burger tastes even better and I'll definitely be making this burger again and again. :) I'm submitting the burger buns recipe to yeastspotting.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Choosing the right path after SPM

I'm not sure where to start or what to write actually as I don't really have much information about this matter. I, myself, was once in a dilemma. Probably I still am because we have a project whereby we need to update monthly about the courses and universities that we wish to go to after A-Level.

As I have mentioned in the previous post, I'm taking 4 subjects excluding thinking skills. The 4 subjects comprise of Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. To be honest, all 4 subjects are quite hard. It is one step further than the ones we have learnt in SPM. If I'm not mistaken, most of the subjects have 4-5 papers that we need to sit for during this 1 1/2 year period. All the science subjects have a practical paper whereby you need to conduct the experiments in the lab.

If you go in for March intake, you have to finish the AS syllabus by June/July, which means you have only 4 months compared to the January intake who has 7 months to complete before the AS trials. So you really need to focus in class so that you don't get left behind. And there are students who didn't get A for their Science subjects in SPM but still take all the Science subjects in A-Level. My advice is if you really can't do Sciences, don't bother taking them. But you can try. You can drop the subjects later if you decide not to continue with the subjects.

In Taylor's, there are 3 classes (March intake) for Pre-Medic program. While my class takes 4 subjects  that I have mentioned above, other classes take different subject for their 4th subject. You can take Further Mathematics, Accounts etc as the 4th subject. What subject to take depends on the University that you want to further your study in. The compulsory subject for Medicine is Chemistry and I  think they want Mathematics too. Biology and Physics are not compulsory. However,  you should check the entry requirements for each university as they differ from one another. (Compulsory subjects for dentistry are Chemistry and Biology - University of Manchester)

So which is better ; ADP, SAM or A-Level? I'd say it depends on which country you want to go to. If you haven't decide, you should do A-Level then because most universities in the world accept A-Level. It is basically like SPM as it is exam oriented. You have two major exams, one in June (A2) and the other in November (AS).  There's one year A-Level, but in Taylor's, they have 1 1/2 year and 2 year program.

As for SAM, it is 70% coursework (assignments, quizzes, presentation etc) and 30% external examination. It is only a one year program in which the final examination is in November. You need to take 5-6 subjects. Most SAM students go to Australia and New Zealand to further their studies. However, certain universities in UK and other countries (not all) also accept SAM. Which university? That I'm not very sure, so you need to do your own research. My friend said that they have lots of assignments and presentations to do.

In Taylor's,  they have ADTP which stands for American Degree Transfer Program. If I'm not mistaken, it is a two year program and you're doing a credit transfer to a US university. So you'll study in US for about two years. It is more coursework-based. You also need to sit for SAT. Other than that, I'm not sure what else to write because none of my friends are doing ADTP.
Before you decide on which program to take, do more research on the universities that you wish to study in. And once you enroll into the program, just do your best! :)

Blueberry and Nectarine Flougnarde

Since the northern hemisphere is experiencing spring right now, the flowers in Malaysia, our roses, are blooming too. Sooo beautiful. Anyways, I'm on a short holiday right now. Class starts back on the 18th. So what else I can do when I'm on a holiday other than baking? :D

We went to Jaya yesterday to buy some fruits. The only fruit that we normally buy from Jaya is the seedless grapes. But yesterday, we took home some nectarines too. After browsing through many websites, I finally decided to make this blueberry and nectarine flougnarde, adapting a recipe from here.

According to Wikipedia, the clafoutis comes from the Limousin region of France and while black cherries are traditional, there are numerous variations using other fruits. When other kinds of fruits are used instead of cherries, the dish is properly called a flaugnarde. 
This is my first time baking and eating flougnarde/clafoutis. Therefore, I didn't know what to expect. I have to agree to what Ann said that the texture is dense and light at the same time. It tastes pretty much like a pancake too. 

Ingredients :
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup castor sugar - if you like it sweet, just add more sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 tbsp butter, melted
  • 200 ml fresh milk
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 nectarine
Method :

1. Preheat the oven to 200C and generously butter a 9-inch tart pan.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Incorporate the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. 
3. Mix in the butter and milk. Make sure there's no lump in the batter.
4. Cut the nectarine into 1/4-inch thick wedges. Scatter the nectarine wedges and blueberries onto the prepared pan. Gently pour the batter over the fruits.
5. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown, but firm on top. The center may be slightly wobbly but a tester inserted in the middle should come out clean.
You can serve this with some vanilla yogurt, ice cream or whipped cream. From what I read, flougnarde is a actually a dessert but can also be eaten as breakfast. To me, this would actually make the perfect breakfast.
p.s : I finally bought Little Big Planet 2. :D

Sunday, April 10, 2011

1 hour dinner rolls

It's Sunday again. That means I have to go back to college and prepare for the classes tomorrow. :( I'm finally done with my assignment on nationalism. But I have a few other assignments to be finished within this week. And tomorrow I have my first Malaysian Studies test which carries only 5% of the final mark. I hope I can answer the questions.

Since yesterday was Hani's birthday, we (me and Hani) had a sleepover at Hilton Hotel KL. It was fun. During breakfast, we just ate everything until we could not eat anymore.

Umi has been asking me to bake some bread since morning but I was pretty busy finishing my assignment that I didn't have the mood to bake. However, a few hours before going back to Subang Jaya, I suddenly felt like eating homemade bread. And so I made some easy ones. :)

The recipe is from this site. I've made some slight changes to satisfy my own taste buds. I just love the rolls. Look how soft it is.

Recipe (water-roux) :

Ingredients :
  • 25g bread flour
  • 125ml water
Method :

Cook over medium heat and stir until it forms a thick paste. Leave it to cool slightly.

Recipe (1 hour dinner rolls) :

Ingredients :
  • 1 1/4 cup warm milk
  • 1 tbsp instant yeast
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 cups of bread flour (high protein flour)
  • water-roux

1. Put everything in a mixing bowl including the water roux and knead using a dough hook for about 7-10 minutes. If kneading by hand, it will take a longer time. (The dough is quite sticky so there is no need to add too much flour)

2. Let the dough rise for 20-30 minutes. Then, punch down the dough and divide into 15-16 equal parts.

3. Shape into dinner rolls and let it rise again for 20 minutes.

4. Brush the buns with some milk and bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 13-15 minutes.

Friday, April 8, 2011

My Dearest Sister

On your birthday, dear sister,
I wish that all your dreams come true.
May your day be filled with joy,
Wonderful gifts and goodies, too.

On your day I wish for you
Favorite people to embrace,
Loving smiles and caring looks
That earthly gifts cannot replace.

I wish you fine and simple pleasures.
I wish you many years of laughter.
I wish you all of life’s best treasures.
I wish you happily ever after!

Happy Birthday!

by Joanna Fuchs

I must say that she is one of the most wonderful person in my life. Even though she can be quite annoying sometime, but she is definitely the best sister anyone could ever have. And she may be a pain in the butt at times, but you will miss her when she's not around with you. I really miss you sister! :( 

Happy Sweet 16 Hani!

p/s : You should read the post that she dedicated to me. I almost cried when I read it. I love you too barnie! :'(