Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas | Zalig Kerstmis | 圣诞快乐


This wasn't a cake which I baked in Singapore, but rather one that was bought by my cousin. Thank you dear cousin for the lovely cake. And yes, I happened to be born years ago in a not too distant past on silent night cos my mum I couldn't wait to get out before Christmas. Ironic as it is, but I have been quite used to having a christmas log cake as a birthday cake for nearly my whole life :)

Here is wishing everybody a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  Zalig Kerstmis ! 圣诞快乐 !


Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas Log Cake - Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet Say Hi !

Yesterday, 6th December was a very important day for kids in Belgium (and Netherlands). Yesterday was the day that Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) would come from Spain on a steamboat with his black assistant Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) and climb through the chimney with a bag of presents, and they would leave (maybe also by steamboat?) after they have deposited their presents for the kids. Only "brave kindjes" (not brave as in English, but well-behaved as in Dutch) will get a "cadeautje" (present) from De Sint.

So yesterday was a day of great excitement for my son at his kindergarden. Apparently, 4 Zwarte Pieten arrived in school and he got a packet of sweets and chocolates from them. We had already, oops sorry, I meant Sinterklaas had already come and left behind presents for my son at the fireplace in our house, earlier on 1st December. We told him Sinterklaas was very busy and would have to come earlier, otherwise he would not be able to return to Spain in time. Traditionally, Sinterklaas would come on the morning of 6th December to deliver presents to households with kids. But the truth is, we didn't want him to be overwhelmed with excitement and get too late for school or worst still, refusing to go to school at all, so we "asked" Sinterklaas to come earlier.


Last night, I specially baked and decorated a Christmas Log Cake with Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet (unfortunately he is white instead of black since I bought white chocolate!) so that my boy can bring to school this morning on 7 Dec, since today is his last day in school before he goes on long vacation with mama. And I also bought some smurf speculaas for all the kids in his class. Smurfs, by the way, originate from Belgium, and speculaas/speculoos is a typical gingerbread type of spice biscuit in Belgium and Netherlands.



But the weather forecast has already warned yesterday that there will definitely be a major snowstorm today starting from early morning, in fact the whole country will be greeted by inches of snow the moment we wake up. So it will be quite a humongous task for my hubby who has to conquer slippery, snow-covered, bumpy roads in order to bring an excited boy plus a delicate cake to school. I wonder if the cake will be well-received by the kids? Can't wait to hear the story from my son... :)

[Updated on 29 Dec 2012]
Finally I can afford to set aside half an hour of my tightly-packed schedule in Singapore to update the christmas log recipe, I am afraid that if I happen to forget updating the recipe, it will remain a mystery, and this won't do justice to the blogger who so kindly shared the recipe with the rest of us. ;p

Anyway, here it is. This christmas log cake recipe was adapted from Grace Kitchen Corner. I happen to have a copy of the same recipe book 孟老师的美味蛋糕卷 so I also referred to the original recipe in that book for reference. I made 2 sponge cakes, based on the sponge cake recipe and I cut them into 3 portions each, so that I got 6 sheets of sponge cakes. Then I spread some apricot marmalade jam onto the sponge cakes and rolled them up one by one just like a tree log. The white chocolate figurines were bought from ALDI supermarket in Belgium, they cost only 1.99 euro for 1 big bag! The Swiss Meringue Chocolate Buttercream was adapted from Baking Library, and the tree bark effect was achieved by using a fork to make imprints on the frosting. Just a small note, I realised that the chocolate buttercream melted too quickly even under (winter) room temperature of 20 degrees celsius, so I am doubtful if it is suitable for tropical weather like Singapore. In fact, I had to put the chocolate frosting and the cake outside in the cold (freezing zero!) a couple of times to harden it.

I am submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #26 - Creative Christmas Motive Bakes hosted by Alan of Travellingfoodies.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Homemade Kimchi with Instant Noodles


After just 5 days, I have already finished one small jar of kimchi! Today is the 3rd time that I cook instant noodles and pair it with kimchi. Forget about korean Nongshim instant noodles, nothing beats plain maggi mee (or indomie) with homemade kimchi!

Remember I told you I made enough kimchi to fill 4 jars (2 big and 2 small)? 1 small jar was already given to my chinese friend who lives nearby (she was very touched and asked if she could finish the whole jar that night!) and I helped myself to the other small jar today, so there are only 2 big jars left.


I dunno if my kimchi is well fermented or not. I think it is, after 5 days. It tastes a bit more sour and the flavour is more intense. This is my first time making kimchi, and I am a bit "kan cheong" (nervous).  After leaving them in the garage for 1 day, since I didn't see many bubbles in the jars (bubbles = fermentation), I had a change of mind and I decided to move them back to the living room again. In fact, I kept moving it in and out of the garage, so much so that my hubby was laughing at me. My garage was far too cold, I think it was about 1 to 2 degrees celsius since it snowed yesterday.  So instead of letting the kimchi ferment at room temperature for 24 hours, I did it for nearly 3 days, because even our room temperature is also quite low, maximum 20 degrees, and it is reduced to about 16 degrees at night when everybody is sleeping. But you can't do that in sunny Singapore, let it ferment for a few hours at room temperature will do, and then quickly store it in the fridge. :)


I promise myself not to touch the 2 remaining big jars (that will be a tough resolution!) as they are meant for my family in Singapore!


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