Thursday, July 17, 2014

Wholemeal English Muffins

Wholemeal English Muffins
as i type, i actually have a batch of Wholemeal Raisin Walnut Bread in the oven. ^^' i picked up a reduced to clear bag of bread flour awhile back, which explains my sudden bread baking frenzy. i also found some wholemeal flour which was on sale. this English Muffin recipe used 100% all purpose flour. i subbed that out with half bread flour and a quarter wholemeal flour in an attempt to clear them before they expire. The Cooking Geek mentions that we shouldn't use bread flour to maintain the delicate crumb of an English Muffin but i love bread and i love the chewy starchy texture of bread so i really didn't mind. i mixed Bread Flour, Wholemeal flour and topped the rest with Top Flour (similar to Cake Flour)

these were mad yummy especially right out of the oven (then again, what isn't?), but i found them a tad on the salty side. The Cooking Geek used sea salt but said that table salt was fine. i used table salt and it was a little too salty for my family's liking. i would reduce the salt amount by half. maybe that's also cos my mom in particular loves having bread with salted butter and since these were already tasty on its own.... perhaps they would have been better with jam. but then i wouldn't know because i only managed to have one. :<

i made 8 in total and had one right from the oven. so i split the remaining 7 into bags for the family's breakfast tomorrow. i packed two individual muffins in a bag each, two muffins in one bag and the remaining three in another. i woke up the next morning to find that they were all gone T.T so apparently my mom took both individual muffins, my dad took the two muffins in one and my brother saw the last bag on the table and took it.. ._. and i was really looking forward to breakfast T^T. oh well. at least they cleared fast. ^^'

i was really pleased at how pretty the evening sun shone on them. a really gorgeous colours. these are not edited guys. no filter, no edits. #truestory

they puffed up really beautifully. :')

Wholemeal English Muffins (Yields 8) 
Adapted from The Cooking Geek
(pop over to The Cooking Geek for step-by-step instructions)

100g Bread Flour
100g Top Flour
50g Wholemeal Flour
(or use 250g all-purpose flour/cake flour/top flour)

150g warm water

1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon yeast
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
Cornmeal as needed
  1. Sift all dry ingredients except cornmeal into a mixing bowl. (i used my Kenwood Kitchen Mixer, dough hook to do the work. so i used the Kenwood mixing bowl for the Kitchen Mixer)
  2. Melt butter and leave to cool
  3. Attach dough hook to Kitchen Mixer and fit in the mixing bowl. Turn up the power to 1 to mix dry ingredients. 
  4. Gradually add half the water. Add melted butter
  5. Slowly add the remaining water until a dough starts to form. (i usually eye at this point to see if there is too much or too little liquid and adjust accordingly)
  6. Leave the machine to knead for 6-8 minutes.
  7. Stop, remove the dough hook. The dough should be in a ball shape at the bottom of mixing bowl. Lightly grease with oil or butter and leave to rise for 1 hour.
  8. Once the dough has doubled in size, turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface.
  9. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and round of each piece of dough by folding in the sides and shaping with your palm.
  10. Dip in cornmeal to lightly coat them
  11. Leave to rise for 30 minutes.
  12. Heat a pan. Lightly oil or butter if you wish. (i usually don't or do so sparingly because i like the browning better with less oil) Once hot, place balls of dough in the pan.
  13. Do not overcrowd the pan because they will rise. Do not flatten.
  14. Flip once brown.
  15. Serve warm with butter or jam :)

artistic shots i try

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Grandpa and I

I had been having trouble sleeping and i mentioned it while chatting with the physio and the other sports trainers the other day. i blame myself for staying home most of the time and not burning enough energy during the day these days. one of them suggested that i swim. i was rather hesitant initially, but with the lack of exercise and hardly any decent dance classes AND that i probably wouldn't be so free when i start work, i decided to get my lazy self out.

so i arranged to meet grandpa last week to swim, since he swims almost daily at the club. i did a good 14 laps or so and was thoroughly worn out by mid-noon. i slept really well that day. i had wanted to swim this week as well, but i couldn't and decided to go run at the gym instead. so i met grandpa this morning - i was late - and i headed to the other complex after he signed me in.

so this is what happened. i had rang CSC beforehand to ask if guests were allowed to use the gym and the person i spoke to said yes. i signed in at the gym with little difficulty. after the gym however, it seems that whether guests or not, there was a fee for gym usage. and members had to be present to sign the chit. i worried a little at this point because grandpa said i didn't have to wait for him after i was done. i spoke to the lady who ran a check on the system and exclaimed in shock that the member was an old man. LOL. i clarified and informed that he was my grandpa and she said that she knew him because he was such an old member and she has been working at the club for many years as well. i was terribly relieved in hopes that she would be able to help me out somehow. i explained that i could ring my grandpa but grandpa is 92 this year and hard of hearing. it would be really hard to speak to him on the phone. (he called me when i was late but couldn't hear me when i tried to explain repeatedly that i'd be there in 10 minutes. i could try ten times or twenty times over and not be frustrated but i hate the feeling that he might get upset at himself. so i'd rather not.)

anyhow, we managed to work things out. after showering grandpa actually rang me and asked if i was done. he came to get me and we headed for lunch together. i updated him on my graduation, job search and showed him the family Whatsapp chat that the uncles, aunties and cousins have. we spoke about our trip to Medan where he reminisced about the food and the various beautiful places that we should have gone to. he told me that he didn't have anymore schoolmates, friends, and even some of our family anymore. i honestly didn't know how to respond at that point. i really wondered at that point, how my grandpa feels, when most of the people he knows aren't around any longer, or that he has lost contact with them. fear? sadness? loneliness? it really is quite a depressing thought that i'd rather choose not to think about.

Monday, July 7, 2014

days of our lives

i actually have a couple of drafts stuck in the draft bin which i begin the last few days but never did finish them. it's amazing how time is flying despite how i don't really have anything concrete or important to do but to get a job. i've just been job searching, applying, going for interviews. cleaning my room, meeting up with friends for lunch/dinner, swimming, dancing, going for physiotherapy. it actually seems like i have a thousand things to do. i actually have to go pick up my mirror from Ikea - i really don't have a mirror in my room right now. I had wanted really big mirror for dance purposes so i've been thinking and planning about how to go around putting it in my room. and there's a never-ending pile of laundry that demands to be put away.

strangely, or not, baking has been one of the last things to do on my mind. i guess i've been trying to watch my weight recently. with the trips to Korea and Medan and honestly not controlling my diet as much as i did, i do feel like i've probably gained a couple of pounds. it doesn't show on the weighing scale but i do feel it. i wish i could bake without having to eat. then again, i know i really should take advantage of the luxury of time i have these days to spend more time in the kitchen before i seriously get a job. then i'd literally have zero time to bake.

okay i shall prepare for my interview tomorrow, shower and head to bed early.

till next time

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Korean Food: Tuna Bibimbap

Tuna Bibimbap

hello~ it's been so long since i last posted. in fact, i don't think i have had a proper post since the year started and it's already the later half of 2014. given that i've been away on exchange the later part of 2013, i haven't had any food post up either. so i thought i'd just do a short jumpstart here with something i made of lunch yesterday. before that, here's a little update about my life. i had made a trip back to Korea in May and went to my grandpa's hometown in Medan, Indonesia last month. it's strange how busy i still feel despite graduating and technically having nothing much to do but send resumes. i guess it's still summer holidays and i still have all my friends chilling around with me. ^^'

surprisingly (or not), i haven't been baking much. haven't had the motivation to bake mainly because my family doesn't really like sweet stuff or desserts. we tend to prefer savoury foods than sweets. but i've turned to cooking lunch on my own recently. Korean food in particular. i'm still learning and practicing to tweak ingredients and methods of cooking to my own liking and i was really pleased with the Tuna Bibimbap that i made for daddy and myself yesterday.

i've also gotten around to working to minimise the amount of work and time needed to prepare. it may also take a little more work depending on the ingredients. if you've noticed, i didn't include spinach and bean sprouts this time simply because i didn't have them. i only had carrots and cucumbers own hand, and dried chinese mushrooms. so i made do and seasoned them. i also used canned tuna and an egg for some protein. most importantly, the gojuchang sauce that i got on my recent trip back to Korea. i absolutely adore the brand that i'm currently using. i had tried a couple of brands and the difference in taste and quality is significant in my opinion. Lynette and I were at Lotte Mart debating if we should buy back tubs of gojuchang (luggage limit alert) and one of the Lotte Mart staff came up to us and pointed out this particular brand, saying it's the best. well technically i believe whatever Korean Ajjummas say in regards to Korean cooking so we were immediately sold and picked up a tub each. in fact, i didn't even have to season the gochujang with anything before using it as bibim sauce. i just scooped the sauce directly from the tub to the bowl, unlike my previous experience when i had to mix it up with sesame oil, salt, sugar and a little warm water to liquify it. it was mad delicious and i think i'm a convert to the brand. i'm not sure if it's available in Singapore at the moment though, even if it is it probably is twice the price. T.T

anyhow, the recipe is pretty straightforward and just involves slicing up ingredients and seasoning them with some light stir fry. but i'll include it at the bottom anyway. i actually added spinach the last time and it was delicious as well, but a little more effort to rinse the vegetables, cook and season. not an issue if i'm cooking for 2 or more but i do get a little lazy when it's just me. ^^'

i personally love making my own bibimbap when i feel like i haven't had enough vegetable intake, which is often the case when we eat out often. i can also freely adjust the amount of rice if i want to reduce my carb intake and increase protein and fibre. the amount of vegetables in this dish can fill you up fast (:

Tuna Bibimbap (Serves 2)
1 cup rice, washed, cooked (i recommend 3/4 cup rice for 2, especially if you're not a big eater)
2 Eggs
1/3 Cucumber
Medium Carrot
6 Dried Mushrooms
1 Canned Tuna (i used the one with light olive oil)
Sesame Oil
Sesame Seeds
  1. Cook rice. Soak mushrooms in water. (i use warm water to speed up this process)
  2. Slice cucumbers and carrots into strips. Set aside separately. Salt both evenly.
  3. Once mushrooms are rehydrated, remove stalk and snip them into strips.
  4. Carrots should have softened. Rinse carrots to remove salt. 
  5. Heat some oil in a pan. Sauté mushrooms. Season with some sesame oil and sesame seeds. Remove from pan and stir fry carrots. Remove and cook eggs - sunny-side-up.
  6. Rinse cucumbers thoroughly to remove salt.
  7. Assemble: In a large bowl, position rice in the middle and respective ingredients at the sides. Add tuna from can and the desired amount of gochujang. Place egg on top.
  8. Serve immediately.
note: although the rice kept in the rice cooker will remain heated and warm and help to keep the dish served hot, i tend to try to work fast before anything becomes cold. which does happen if i take my time. 

i shall head to bed now. i honestly have had tons of thoughts and things to talk about but i'm not even sure where to begin, how to begin and if i should even begin. i haven't been blogging for awhile, not here, not in my personal blog, which may explain my weird sentence structures, English and lack of ability to phrase my words properly. so give me some time while i start writing all over again. writing has been, and still is my outlet for all the thoughts in my head. it keeps me sane and grounded. it reminds me of the person i am. a habit i ought to keep. i hope to write a little more personally here, with more of my thoughts and more of me. it's something that i've always been afraid to do. it takes courage to hang your heart on your sleeve and leave it open to the possible power of the world. the anonymous world i would add. but, life is short. i simply will do what makes me happy. 

till next time.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

23 December 2013 - Korea, Day 123; my dramatic return recapped.

helllllo. i'm back in Sunny Singapore, pun completely intended. i landed at about 1.30am on 23 December 2013 after a dramatic turn of events in the 24 hours before that. lest i have to repeat my story ten times over, let me explain what happened.

my initial flight was scheduled to be back on 23 December 2013, 1630. that meant that i had to stay a night with ebony and company in an apartment that they rented. closer to the date, i thought it was quite silly of me to stay an extra night. so i moved my flight to 22 December 2013, 1630 - which wasn't available for booking when i booked my flight.

so on the night of 21 December 2013, i returned home from Hongdae following my last cafe visit with SSN rather late.

i started packing till 3am into the night.. realizing i wouldn't be able to fit everything into my luggage. then i started to panic. i couldn't possibly handle all my luggage to the airport the next day. i had one backpacker's bag, my MCM bag, my huge luggage which was already 31kg, a box and three paper bags of stuff that couldn't fit anywhere. oh, and my stuffed penguin. it was impossible unless i had help. i decided to leave it to tomorrow morning and see what i can do. so i tried to go to sleep. but i couldn't. so i got up at 4am and contacted my brother who thank goodness is an owl and was still awake (plus the hour time difference), he woke my parents and i changed my flight back to 23 December 2013 at 1630. i managed to catch some sleep after that.

i had hoped to ship my stuff back before going to the airport, but it was, unfortunately, a Sunday and EMS was supposedly closed everywhere, including the airport. so my only choice was to stay at the apartment with Ebz and wake up early on Monday morning, ship all my stuff then head to the airport alone. so l woke up the next morning and told Lynette that i wasn't leaving with her. explained the situation in the midst of our chaotic packing and cleaning the room. oh yes, let me mention that i was out of data as well. so i basically had no way of contacting anybody except through my Mac.. or if i stood outside our room along our corridor which i did so often that night. how emotionally stressful.

anyhow, my mom contacted me and told me to get to the airport anyway, get a transit hotel and they would get me a shuttle to and fro. they would help me with my luggage and send my stuff at the airport the next day instead. i would have had better time allowance but that was a SGD100 per night. after an internal debate and speaking to Ebz and a couple of the familiar girls (whom all had to put up with my tears that morning), i decided to go ahead and stay at the transit airport because it was safer.. my only problem was moving all my stuff to the airport. i had to get on an airport bus. so my only problem was from the dorm to the bus stop. once i get on the airport shuttle everything should be easier from there. right here i really have to thank Lynette for being so optimistic and patient with me and helping me lug all my stuff, patiently, and reassuring me. and SK, who went out of his way to carry my stuff to the bus stop as well. i think i scared him when i started to tear up at the SK Lobby (name of our dorm). and Layteng too.. i somehow successfully got to the airport.

we had lunch and i went to find out about the hotel.. got a pamphlet and it looked so dubious and shady i was scared at having to stay there alone. and so we decided to look for EMS/parcel delivery services. i asked the info counter and the girl clearly didn't know what she was saying as she repeatedly told me that there was no EMS service. even raising her voice at me. ok.. nonetheless me and Lynette walked around. and FOUND AN OPEN EMS SERVICE. thank God seriously. so we immediately got to work and i started repacking my stuff.. basically all the stuff that was outside of my luggage i had to ship them back. air vacuuming everything on the spot.. thank goodness it was a big airport with spaces. i fished out my mac and tried to find a flight on the day itself. amazingly there were still seats available on the 1630 flight.. which i knew i probably wouldn't make in time because i needed time to pack, check in and do tax. so i looked for a later flight. AND THERE WAS ONE AT 1930. i changed it immediately. and then we started to pack our stuff.. since Lynette had stuff to ship as well. the prices, btw, are the same as those in school.

well. just when you think things couldn't get any worst.. i realized that i forgot the pass lock to my luggage. YES. HOW JOKES WAS THAT. it was horrible because i had kimchi and some liquids outside my luggage. and we weren't allowed to ship food and cosmetics.. which meant i could only ship clothes and shoes.. which were mostly in my luggage… which i couldn't open. it was strange cos there weren't such rule in the post office at school. i couldn't be bothered and decided that i may just have to wait till i get back and get a lock opener. so i packed the other stuff into the box. (yes i had that much stuff). while every once in awhile trying my luck with various combinations. and miraculously… after trying only about 20 times, i managed to unlock the luggage, not after Lynette complained, "can we just force it open?" hahahaha. random revelation in my head no kidding. and i also believe it's a divine intervention. i'd imagine God going, "this girl… tsk.. let me give her a hand." and i would have gotten an imaginary smack on my head and then the combination appeared. can i also say that i was amazed at how patient Lynette was. i guess with all the things that had happened, she didn't even seem surprised that i forgot my passcode. she just laughed. hahahaha.

so i managed to do a proper repack.. with Lynette's help because i was too disoriented to do any proper packing. she literally repacked my clothes in the vacuums bags and helped to fit all my rubbish into the box. <3 <3 <3 well the total weight of all that clothes was another 16kg. check out how much i shipped back:

19kg + 15kg + 6kg + 16kg = 56kg.

and i had a luggage allowance of 30kg. and i STILL struggled with two backpacks, two paper bags and my luggage. no idea how i managed to get all that past customs. divine intervention again i believe. i mean i could barely walk down the aisle of the SQ plane and no one stopped me either. i would believe that by guidelines and rules, i wouldn't have been allowed to board. hahahaha. i really insanely felt God's divine grace and mercy that day. perhaps His way of reminding me that He is in control.

oh yes, can i also mention that i still managed to get my window seat despite all that that happened. changing my flight countless of times. i wanted a window seat so bad because i had wanted to have a first view of Singapore's night lights the moment i got back. so thankful that i did. even though i was pretty much already exhausted by the time i got on the plane i wasn't in that much of a romantic mood to look at the lights. my arms and muscles ached the moment i sat down on the plane.

so that was probably one of the most dramatic things that happened to me in Korea (together with the incident of my sprained ankle). and that marked the end of my Korea Exchange.

i actually do have much more to say about my current disorientation back into Singapore society and trying to adapt back into the 80% humidity (it's about 50% humidity in Seoul) and getting used to the lack of cafes and wifi. trying to stop speaking Korean to service staff or random strangers who try to talk to me on the streets. it's barely been a week in and i miss Seoul so much. i mean the very first coffee i had back here from Tiong Bahru Bakery @ City Hall was traumatizing. i would believe that the barista used overly hot water which burnt the beans resulting in a sour after taste in my Cappuccino - something i never had to experience in Seoul. all my Cappuccinos and Lattes were delicious. ok i will stop complaining. i know i would still miss Singapore if i had to go back to Seoul so i would start being more appreciative of things - like the abundance of escalators we have in our train stations and the return of my personal space. even though some lady rammed right into my right shoulder today and didn't apologize and i was momentarily transported back into Seoul.

anyway, i hear from my vocal teacher back in Korea that it's currently -13ºC in Seoul. how mad crazy cold is that. i'm thankful to be back at times like that. haha.

okay that's all.