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.