Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Banana Bread With Chocolate Chips & Cinnamon Sugar

Here is another recipe which I immediately baked when I got home from work after reading another favorite blogger wax poetics about it. Reading her blog almost seems like reading poetry, I love it! Sometimes when Im at work and I'd get a chance to have a sneak peek at some food blogs, I get a strong craving to go home and immediately try the recipes! This is one of those moments, and I literally hopped my way home to start baking!

As Molly said, this recipe is super easy - you can expect no messy clean-ups later as it just requires one bowl. I love the combo of banana and cinnamon and chocolate chips! Can you think of any heavenly combo than this one? Hmm, the aroma wafting in the kitchen was just super :)
It also helped that she's giving all these tips for storing it, I made a big batch and they're still in the freezer at the moment, ready for my next banana craving attack. Please head on over to her recipe, you'd be sure glad to stumble upon it. I can see myself baking this often, I just love these recipes that don't require much effort and much clean-ups afterwards. Much that I love to bake, it sometimes takes a toll on poor moms like me who juggle work and family life! So thanks for recipes like this, you never compromise your family on store-bought goodies. This will be great for the Little Bee's school snack pack :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Homemade Pesto, Inspired By A Fellow Blogger

The title says it all, when I saw that one of my favorite bloggers got inspired by her boss to make homemade pesto, I just had to try it too! Stella's blog is such a delight to read, her words so fresh and you could see through her amiable personality right through her blog! And if that wasnt enough, she lives in beach paradise Mauritius!

Please head on over to her mouthwatering pesto recipe, which I dutifully followed (except I had to substitute pine nuts for walnuts). The walnuts are actually a very good substitute, in this land where pine nuts are hard to come by. The pesto is so refreshing, so easy to make and it keeps well too. Ive had my jar for over a week now, and whenever we get a craving for pasta, all we have to do is cook our pasta al dente, take the jar from the ref and toss the pesto with the pasta! And then you can let your imagination go wild at this point - you could add sundried tomatoes as Stella did, or sardines, or anchovies, even capers if you like! But i wanted mine plain and refreshing, and so just tossed it and added a bit more olive oil. Nothing could be more refreshing than the sweet sweet aroma of fresh basil!

Thank you for the recipe Stella! Will definitely make it again and again! I hope that you continue to go blogging on and on and on... as a constant reader, I continue to be inspired to cook and bake!:)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

A Happy Third Bday

I cant believe my dear nephew is 3 years old! He successfully passed the terrible two stage - without being terrible! Seriously he's the most mild-mannered kid I've ever encountered. Because he's so blessed with very generous godparents, and even more generous grandparents, I've decided to skip the whole toy gifts and bake him his birthday cake instead! Im sure he cant appreciate it now, but when he's bigger - he's gonna thank me heaps for this kind gesture *winks**.

He had a party which unfortunately we were unable to attend as the Little Bee was sick, but nevertheless I sent his cake and I sure hope he enjoyed it, as well as the magic candles that wouldnt be off unless you dip it in water! Haha, tricky!

This is my very first attempt at baking a proper birthday cake. I wanted a two layer cake with immaculate white frosting and sprinkles all around - the ideal birthday cake. Alas - there were a lot of mishaps! I used the same Amazon cake recipe I always do with success, and the Vanilla Buttercream frosting Ive used before for the Little Bee's birthday cupcakes. While it was a success back then, it was a disaster this time around - not the recipes - they were still as great. But Ive learned some valuable lessons about them that I surely will remember for a long time.

First, the first cake layer crumbled over the weight of too much frosting! That was lesson number 1: this cake is maybe not the best one if you plan to layer it. After I've dapped too many frosting, the top layer just cracked! Thats why I ended up with just a single layer cake, *sigh*.

Second, while I adore the frosting recipe - there were two problems I encountered. First, it wouldnt turn the immaculate white that I wanted because there were just too many butter in the recipe that even if I added the maximum allowed powdered sugar, it still remained yellowish. I had to tint the frosting a bit of green to mask the butter-like color. Lesson learned: try another frosting recipe with a lot of egg whites ( Im guessing that would create the good white color I wanted).

Secondly, it was too soft for a two-layer frosting and actually was dipping to the side of the cake! In a hot summer temperature like ours, it was practically melting!

Nevertheless, I enjoyed making the cake and appreciate the lessons that came with it. It still tasted good, and the cute sprinkles hid whatever deformities the melting frosting did. Happy birthday to my sweet sweet nephew V!