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Thursday, 28 February 2013

Dark Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting


This dessert is inspired by
another of Elsa's favourite chocolatey snacks
If you're a chocolate junkie like she is
you'll know which one I'm talking about




What better way to test out the recipe
than to have it with my friends for lunch
And by some good fortune, I was invited to Pauline's for a spot of potluck lunch



As usual, the table was full of yummy food,
Gaye's Curly Kale and squash in coconut gravy
Cecilia's Shredded Carrot, Tomato, Papaya and Lettuce Salad
Pauline's Okra and Salmon Curry
Pauline's Sambal belacan with Ulam
Mary's Curry Puff and Mochi filled with peanut and green bean paste (not together, of course!)
Deliciously crunchy keropok from ...  oops, I forgot to ask, just stuffed my face as they were so good!




The ritualistic group photo before the meal



Yours truly decided that she doesn't want to be left out of the picture
and constructed this cockamamie doolally contraption
word of advise... DO NOT do this at home
unless you're expecting a brand new camera as a gift!


Didn't managed to get there in time!

Phew! made it the second time


Anyways, here's the recipe
but BEWARE
it is truly an immensely decadent and rich dessert
you have been warned





Dark Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

For the cake base
1 2/3 cups flour
3/4 cups cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 oz butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs

1 cup icing sugar
3/4 peanut butter
2 oz butter




For the peanut butter frosting
6 oz cream cheese
1/3 cup icing sugar
4 oz smooth and creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
juice from 1/4 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt



some photos courtesy of Ms Mary Moh

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Inducted


























The National Honor Society (NHS) is a recognition program for high school students in the United States and several other countries.
NHS honours those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, and character.
A student is nominated based on academic achievement.
Once selected, a student is awarded membership at an induction ceremony. With induction, each member assumes obligations as outlined by the chapter and the national constitution.





Monday, 25 February 2013

Home in the Country


The countdown has began ...
To be honest, the countdown began for quite awhile already
I'm just too excited to be moving again
I hope for the last time
I just want to settle down
but then again, who knows what lies beyond the horizon
I wouldn't want to be the one to say "NO" to more adventures!!

Anyways...
We did look at a lot of houses. TOO MANY!!
It was not an easy task; there are things that we would really rather not compromise on.
Things like privacy, space and storage, to name but a few

Our long search for a home led us to these two  houses.
For a long while, they were on our "POTENTIAL" file pile


House 1
A period detached cottage which oozes charm, and sits in a landscaped gardens in a picturesque setting.

The original slate-roofed granite cottage was built in 1730.
The cottage sits in a landscaped grounds which extend to some 0.8 acres,
comprising a large lawn, mature shrubs including roses, lilac, rhododendron and viburnum,  and established trees, including apple and hazlenut.



Some of extension was later added around 1930's.
The glazed conservatory provides additional living space with a lovely garden aspect.





The entrance hallway with double doors, flooring is Victorian terrazzo tiles


 Two of the public rooms have a private leafy outlook to the front, and both feature decorative fireplaces, and beech flooring.




 The kitchen extension was built in 1998


 The kitchen is fully- fitted with loads of storage and counter-top spaces,  and a dual fuel range cooker with an extractor hood.










 Set within the grounds is a detached garden house, suitable for overflow guests, or as a self contained granny annexe.








 It has a very large reception room and a well appointed kitchen, a toilet/powder room off the hallway, and another  room which is accessed from the kitchen as well as from outdoors.
 Upstairs, there are three rooms, and a bathroom.









Reasons for us not choosing this property....
We were informed that a major highway/bypass will be built quite close to the house!!





House 2
The original building was a farmhouse built of harled stone under a slate roof probably dates from the late1800s
The garden extends to about 0.84 acre. Most of the garden is in grass with a beech hedge, a small woodland area, and an area of fruit trees and has been designed to be low maintenance.











Reasons for us not choosing this gorgeous house...
The layout of the house doesn't quite work for us
and, we could do with more storage spaces


“The body can endure compromise and the mind can be seduced by it.
Only the heart protests.
The heart. Carbon-based primitive in a silicon world.” 




Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Chocolate Malt Cake


Elsa requested for a PLAIN chocolate cake
stressing on plain every time she mentioned her cake
she knows her mom all too well
her mom doesn't do plain very well
she's a complicated woman

Since Elsa loves her Maltesers (Mom's more of a KitKat girl herself)
Mom decided to bake Elsa a Malteser-inspired cake
that turns out to look like a Dalek
It's an Extermicake... lol





Chocolate Malt Cake

180g unsalted butter, softened
180g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
180g self-raising flour
30g malted milk powder
30g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 160C fan.
Whisk together the flour, cocoa, malted milk powder and salt.
Grease and line baking tin of your choice, in this instance, I'm using a heatproof Pyrex bowl.
Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 portions and the buttermilk in 2; mix only until it's blended.
Bake for 40 minutes or until the cake feel springy to the touch and start to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Invert and cool to room temperature.









Chocolate Malt Buttercream

6 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup malted milk powder
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup boiling water 
8 oz unsalted butter, softened
Pinch of salt
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups icing sugar, sifted


Melt the chocolate with half the brown sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.
In another small bowl, whisk the malt powder and cocoa together, pour over 3 tablespoons of the boiling water and whisk until smooth.
Pour the melted chocolate into the hot water- malt-cocoa mixture and stir to blend. Set aside.
Working with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and fluffy. Add the remaining brown sugar and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until well blended.
Beat in the salt and vanilla extract, then reduce the mixer speed to low.
Add in the chocolate mixture and mix until smooth.
Gradually add the icing sugar.
When all the sugar is in, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for a couple of minutes.
Lower the speed and add the remaining tablespoon of boiling water, then increase the speed and give the frosting another quick spin.