Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pink Ribbon Cupcakes for Pink Ribbon Day

I haven't been on blogger for over a week as I have been busy organising the Pink Luncheon for this Thursday.  We have about 23 guests so far and we are running a mini silent auctions with some great lucky door prizes.  Monday, 24 October is Pink Ribbon Day and I am baking this cupcakes to the school office ladies who have been helping me to promote this event.

When I look at the recipe of the cupcake, I suppose to separate the egg yolk and egg white, beat the egg yolk with butter and sugar, then fold in the stiff egg white.  Well, I am just not in the mood to beat the egg white till it is stiff.  So the recipe has been changed according to my mood.  I added in some white chocolate and raspberries and surprisingly the sourness of the raspberry balance the sweetness of the white icing.  And I can tell you that the cake is really delicious!

I take the chance of Pink Ribbon Day to wish for those people who have been suffering from this disease with great recovery and starting a new journey of life.  With hope, life is alway sweet!  Hopefully, one day there is a cure for it.

Pink Ribbon Cupcakes with White Chocolate and Raspberries

130g butter, soften at room temperature
140g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 1/2 cup self-raising flour
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons milk
white chocolate (cut into chucks)
frozen raspberries
ready roll white icing
pink food colouring
1 heap tablespoon apricot jam


  1. Preheat the oven at 180c.  Place paper case at muffin tin. 
  2. Beat butter with sugar until fluffy, add in one egg at a time, then add in vanilla essence.  
  3. Sift flour in the mixture then add in 2 tablespoons of milk.  
  4. Fold in with white chocolate and raspberries until well combine.  Spoon in mixture into the muffin tin.  Bake for 25 minutes.  
  5. Heat the jam in the microwave for 20 seconds.  Brush the hot jam onto the hot cake.
  6. When the cake is cooled.  Decorate it with icing.
Note:  for the method of decorating with ready roll icing, please check for my recipe of cupcakes with dots and bows

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Strawberry Jam - Bread Machine Method

On every strawberry season, I'll make some jam using the bread machine.  The good thing for making jam is that you don't need very nice looking strawberry.  The odd one, such as the small one that may be too sour, or the one that is a little bruised and funny shaped are the best to making jam.  As I find that the jam made from the bread machine is a little too runny (that can be a good sauce with ice-cream).  I will bring it back to the stove, adding extra jam setta if needed until it becomes thicker to ready for bottle.  You can make it using the traditional method, cooking at the stove and stir until it is set if you're prepared to stand for an hour or two at the kitchen.  But just let me warn you that you'll need a big enough saucepan and get yourself cover so that the hot jam won't spat at you.  After all this work, homemade jam really taste the best!

It is overwhelming for the local businesses sponsoring the Pink Luncheon I'm holding for Breast Cancer.  For every business that I approach, they are all willing to donate some gift or gift voucher.  I think many of us will have be affected or know somebody that are affected by cancer and that we would all like do to our small part to make a cure for it.  We have raffles for fuel voucher, Gift Cards and door prizes ranged from baby goods, gym membership, dinner voucher and beauty product.  Now I just need people to come along and have a great time as well as bringing up the awareness.

Strawberry Jam
(make 2 small bottles)

500g strawberries (hulled and chopped)
1 2/3 cup white sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons Jam Setta, 1/2 tablespoon extra if needed
1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)


  1. Put strawberries, sugar,jam setta and lemon juice into the bread machine, select to "Jam" and press "start." 
  2. Clean the glasses with soapy water.  Turn the glasses and lid upside down into the 120c oven for about 10 minutes or until all the water is dried out.  This process sterilise the bottle.
  3. Pour the jam into a medium size saucepan, add in 1/2 tablespoon of jam setta if needed and let it boils for 5 minutes and stir ocassionally.  To test the jam is set by placing 1 tablespoon of hot jam over a very cold plate, if it crinkle within 30 second then the jam is set.  (If the jam is already set from the bread machine, omit the extra jam setta and pour the jam into bottle straight away)
  4. Brush the transparent preserve cover with lemon juice or vinegar, place the wet side up and seal the bottle.  When the jam is cold, put the jam in the fridge for a longer shelf life.
Tips:  You can add a teaspoon of vanilla essence into the bottle and then rinse off to get rip of the odour. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Cranberries Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

I have been searching for good oatmeal cookies with nut and fruit for a long long time.  Every time when I try a new oatmeal cookies recipe (except the anzac biscuits), none of my family like it!  I end up eating them all by myself.  When this happen, I just feel that I am the lousy garbage bin!  Finally, I find this at Ina Garten's cookbook from the library.  Like me, she has been looking for good oatmeal cookies recipe for a while.  In her recipe, she uses pecans and raisins and I substitute them with walnut and cranberries because I have none of them in my pantry.  This time, I don't need to eat them all by myself as my family all grab a few and the cookies are gone in a flash!  

Cranberries Walnut Oatmeal Cookies
(make 35)

1 1/2 cups walnuts
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter at room temperature
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon brown sugar
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon castor sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 cup rolled oats or old-fashioned oatmeal
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries

  1. Preheat oven to 180c/350F.  
  2. Place the walnuts onto a paper lined baking tray, bake for 5 minutes or until crisp.  Let cool then chop coarsely.
  3. Beat butter, brown sugar and castor sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs to the mixture one at a time, then add in vanilla essence.
  4. Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in another bowl.  Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture.  Add oats, cranberries and walnuts until just combined.
  5. Place a heap tablespoon of dough onto the paper lined baking tray.  Flatten slightly with a fork.  Bake for 20 minuted or until lightly brown.  Cool on the rack.
Source: modified and adopted from "bared foot contessa - back to basic" from Ina Garten.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fresh Fruit Salad and Strawberry Smoothie

These fruit salad and smoothie are my favourite for breakfast or snack.  The strawberry season is nearly over so I have been adding blueberry and mango into my fruit salad instead.  By having a glass of smoothies in the morning, it gives me full energy to start the day.  It has been over a month since I have started going to the gym.  I've got my nice legs back and my bum is getting shaped.  But I have put on weight!  My trainer told me that muscle actually weight 5 time more than fat.  Some of my friends started training earlier than me, they all told me that they didn't lose weight but I could see that their figure were toned.  

October is the month for fundraising for breast cancer research.  I'm holding a pink luncheon at my restaurant for the parents at my kids class.  I am busily asking for donations for door prizes and getting people to come along.  The research indicates that 1 in 8 women are affected by breast cancer and early detection and regular examinations help increase survival rate.  For more information on Pink Ribbon Day, please click here.  You may know someone suffer from this terrible disease.  Maybe you would like to hold a fund raising and hopefully this can help to find a cure!
Fresh Fruit Salad

Apple, orange, kiwi fruit, strawberries, passionfruit pulp (or lemon juice)

Cut all fruit except passionfruit into cube, then drizzle passionfruit pulp and stir through.  Serve with yoghurt and toasted muesli.

Strawberry Smoothie
(make 1 tall glass or 2 small glasses)

3/4 cup organic milk
1-2 tablespoon organic yoghurt with wildberry
1 tablespoon honey
4-5 medium strawberries, hulled

Place all ingredients into the blender and blend for 15 seconds.  Pour into glass and serve straight away.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Apple and Celery Salad

This salad is also called Waldorf salad as it is named after the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York.  I couldn't remember when was the first time I had this salad but I knew I didn't have it before migrating to Australia.  The only salad I had back then was potato salad and we still had that every time when we had a family BBQ.  You won't be surprise seeing that older Chinese won't touch any raw salad as they like their vegetable cooked.  My dad loves salad, considering him having his first raw salad at 50.  One time I was reading the book, Mao's Last Dancer and I couldn't stop laughing when the author mentioned that he was invited to have dinner with some western friends after coming to the US for dancing.  As he couldn't read English, for good manner sake, he only ordered the cheapest food on the menu and that was a salad.  He had never had salad before and it was not a filling meal for a young man.  Imagine going to a foreign place and you don't know the language, we can only use sign language and pictures to express ourselves.  The last time when I went to Japan, we went to a noodle house for dinner.  Even though I brought a traveller dictionary with me, I had to point to the picture of the menu and tried to tell the waitress what we wanted.  We ended up having 3 noodle soups for 4 people so we had to order one more later on.  I didn't think I got the noodle I wanted but I had to eat what I'd got by seeing the hopeless face of the waitress not understanding me.  Anyway, it was a nice dinner after all!  Have you got any interesting travelling story due to language barrier?
Apple and Celery Salad

1 apple
1 stalk of celery
1 tablespoon sultanas
a handful of walnut
few lettuce leaf
2 heap tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Cut apple and celery into small cubes.  Squeeze some lemon juice over the apple to prevent discolour.  Add in sultanas, mayonnaise and salt to the salad.  Spoon salad over the plate with the lettuce base, then sprinkle some chopped walnut over the top.

Tips:  Use a vegetable peeler to peel off the tough bits from the celery.