Sunday, 31 August 2014

Out And About

Day out with the family
Moments to cherish

Where we love is home ~ home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts
Oliver Wendell Holmes

Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action.
Mother Teresa - See more at:
Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action.
Mother Teresa - See more at:

Friday, 29 August 2014

ChocolateEspresso Layer Sponge

Making my daughter's favourite dessert - Tiramisu with a twist

Well, not really a twist, just that I was too lazy to drive down to the shop to buy them Savoiardi biscuits... thought it might be much easier to just bake a batch of sponge cake for the cake layers

Bake a sponge cake using a swiss roll tin (13" x 9")
You may use any sponge recipe - Genoise, Victoria. I'm using the basic no-butter swiss roll recipe (trying to reduce the calories whenever I can).
Remove cake from the parchment and divide into 3 portions.

Making the cream cheese filling:
combine 250g mascarpone cheese, 200g Philly Light cream cheese, 50g icing sugar and vanilla extract.
Beat the daylight out of them to make a creamy, spreadable frosting.

Make an espresso concoction by dissolving 1 tbsp of pure espresso instant coffee in 1/2 cup of hot water

Place one layer of sponge onto parchment paper. Spoon over one-third of the coffee mixture. Then spread one-third of the mascarpone frosting over the soaked sponge.
Sprinkle over one-third of the cocoa powder.

Repeat the process with the second and third sponge.
Chill for at least one hour in the fridge before serving.
But if you're willing to wait, the cake tastes best after chilling overnight in the fridge!

Oh, btw, thanks Elsa for being my photographer while I was baking.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

A Summer Posy

Garden work is never done. Every season comes with a different task.
Midsummer is the time where maintenance is at the utmost; watering, feeding, pruning, harvesting soft fruits and deadheading.
Deadheading is particularly important if you want to keep your garden continuously flowering. By removing the flower, it stops the plant from taking seeds.
Instead of throwing the flowers into the compost bin, why not make them into a posy - they probably won't last long but it doesn't cost anything!

A posy I made out of cuttings from my herbaceous border

 They consisted of Nepeta (catmint), Scabiosa, Antirrhinum (snapdragon) and Veronica (speedwell)

Monday, 25 August 2014

Nature's Larder

Last week, a group of friends were out foraging in the nearby wooded area.
As the weather was quite bad, I decided to forego this little adventure and prepared lunch for them instead.
They didn't come home empty-handed; each of them had a huge stash of porcini mushrooms enough to last them forever!

Thanks Azah and Nadia for our basketful of porcini

To clean the mushroom, simply scrape any dirt you may find off the stalks and wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth

To prepare mushrooms for drying:
Slice them into 1⁄4–⁄2inch thick slices. 
Arrange on trays, making sure they don’t overlap. 

Place in the oven on the lowest setting 30–40°C for 24 hours. 
Leave the oven door slightly ajar

To air-dry the mushrooms, leave the trays above a stove radiator, boiler, Aga or warm airing cupboard overnight.

The mushrooms are ready when they have shrunk to at least half their original size, but are still pliable. 
Remove from the oven and leave on the trays until they are completely cold.

Put in glass containers. 
Add a few grains of rice, if you wish, as an extra precaution to help keep the mushrooms dry. 
Store in a cool, dark place. 
If properly dried, they will keep for 9–12 months.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Raya a la Kampung

A late entry. This event happened 3 days ago, and I'm being pedantic as usual :)

Whilst the rest of the world celebrates Eid for two days after the month-long Ramadhan, the Malaysians find it hard not to prolong the celebration... any excuse for a get-together is as good as any. So, 22 days into the month of Syawal, we're still at it!
But then again, there wasn't much celebration to begin with... Enough rambling, let's get on with the juicy bits

3 days ago, Elsa and I were invited to a Raya Kampung-stylie with Azah and her lovely daughter, Nadia

large conservatory-turned-dining area for the party

traditional kuih from Malaysia

Traditional food from south Malaysia - Johor, to be precise

kak Zahara making sambal kicap the old fashion way

my contribution to the dessert table - Courgette Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting