Hummingbird Bakery Cheddar, Ham & Mushroom Muffins

Make & bake the muffins on the same day. It is very easy & quick to make: 30 minutes. I found the dough mixture very sticky & tough but the muffins turned out very well. It keeps for 3 days.

If you would like a vegetarian version, I reckon sun-dried tomatoes & olives are wonderful substitutes for ham.

Scrummy Savoury Muffins

Scrummy Savoury Muffins

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Hummingbird Bakery Green Tea Cupcakes

I baked these on the eve of Chinese New Year for a little dinner party hosted by Lady M. Baby M, Lady M’s niece demanded 2, that’s when I knew it was good.  The cupcakes had a nice little crusty top which led to an absolutely fluffy cake.

Note: Put the milk and green tea to infuse in the fridge overnight or for a few hours.

Frosting Note: I only used 200g of icing sugar in the frosting because I ran out of icing sugar. This turned out for the better because it wasn’t too sweet & had the slightly bitter taste of the tannins in the green tea. Lady M & I liked it because the flavours were more balanced. Although the icing did turn out a freakishly Frankenstein green shade because of the lack of Icing sugar compared to the shade of the green tea cupcake in the book that has a lighter shade of green.

Happy Chinese New Year!

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Hummingbird Bakery Nutty Apple Loaf

This Nutty Apple Loaf is crumbly & moreish. Its a quick recipe which takes about 30 minutes or less to assemble. Note: this recipe requires for an overnight refrigeration. Baking the loaf for breakfast is a brilliant start to the first meal of the day! The wonderful sweet scent a fresh loaf permeating from the kitchen is heavenly. Once baked, the chunks of melted chocolate & soft apple pieces form this delectable loaf. What a breakfast treat ♥

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Bea’s German Chocolate Cheesecake

Bake worthyCake Ingredients:

600g of Hobnobs/Graham crackers, 100g unsalted butter melted, 800g cream cheese, 225g caster sugar, 2 eggs, 50g cornflour/cornstarch, 250ml whipping cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

25cm/10-inch cake pan, greased and baselined with parchment paper
10-12 slices

Note: I took 2 days to make this cake.

This was a very big and rich cake. It was the pièce de résistance for the little tea party I hosted on the 4th January 2013. After the first attempt, I halved the size of the ingredients to bake a smaller cake for Lady J’s birthday party on the 19th January 2013. Both times, it was a hit. Have a go!

Note: you can make your own dulce de leche or purchase a jar from the store. I couldn’t find any dulce de leche in the supermarkets so I decided to substitute that ingredient with salted caramel.


1. Preheat the oven to 125°C (240ºF) Gas 1.
2. Make the Crust. Crush the biscuits until you get fine crumbs. To do this I put the biscuits in a bag & bashed it with a rolling pin or smack it with a wooden spoon. Then, I put the crumbs into a bowl and crumble the biscuits to a finer texture. This can take about 30-40 minutes. Be patient, put on a nice song and dance on the spot while your hands are busy. The texture feels like sand between your fingers. Just imagine yourself at a sweet beach!
3. Add the melted butter, the amount you will need varies. Test by grabbing the mixture and squeezing into your hand to make a ball, then releasing your hand. The mixture should hold its shape but also fall apart when touched slightly. If it doesn’t hold its shape, add more butter otherwise the biscuit will dissolve into the cheesecake and you will have no crust.If it holds the shape too well, add more biscuits to absorb the butter, otherwise your crust will be too hard.
4. Press the mixture down into a prepared cake tin & pat down until level.
5. Put the cream cheese and sugar in a bowl and beat until well mixed and the sugar has been dissolved.
6. Slowly incorporate the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until throughly combined before adding the next. Scrape the side of the bowl regularly to make sure that everything is incorporated. Sift the cornflour/cornstarch into the mixture and stir until throughly combined.
7.Add the cream and vanilla extract and mix until combined.Pour the mixture into the pan over the crust. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour until the middle is slightly jiggly and the top doesn’t look shiny or wet anymore.
8.Remove from the oven and and let cool in the pan for 1 hour. Note: Refrigerate overnight.
10.Unmould the cheesecake by turning it upside down on a plate or board, then uprighting it again.

yummy.

yummy.

Topping
Ingredients:
Fudge Icing + store bought caramel/dulce de leche + 5 tablespoons shredded coconut (do not replace with desiccated coconut) lightly toasted + 75 g pecan halves slightly toasted and crushed + melted dark or semi sweet chocolate for drizzling.
1. Spread a layer of fudge Icing over the cheesecake. Warn the dulce de leche/caramel slightly and drizzle over the fudge icing in generous dollops. Sprinkle in the pecans, coconuts & melted chocolate all over.
Fudge Icing
250ml whipping cream, 65g golden syrup, 350g dark chocolate (70% cocoa) chopped into pea sized pieces, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 75g unsalted butter cut into cubes and chilled.
Note: Do adjust the amount you need accordingly.
1.Put the cream + golden syrup into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
2.Put the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. As soon as the cream mixture comes to a boil, immediately pour it over the chocolate. Set aside for 1 minute.
3. Using a small balloon whisk placed in the middle of the bowl, stir with very small motions. Don’t stray from the middle of the bowl. You are making an emulsion by whisking a large amount of chocolate at the bottom of the bowl & slowly adding small amounts of cream to it. Stirring in larger motions will incorporate more cream than necessary and will result in a grainy texture. Do not incorporate air as, as that will result in shortening the life of the icing. Keep stirring in small motions-it will look like nothing is happening until eventually, a thick, glossy mixture forms. Gradually stir in wider motions to incorporate more cream into the emulsion until it’s fully combined.
4.Add the vanilla extract and butter & mix until it is well combined. Set aside to let the chocolate stiffen into a firm consistency before using.

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Dubai Desert Safari

An overnight stop in Dubai en route to London seemed a sensible excuse for a stopover. I had a comfortable stay at Ramee Hotel & booked the desert safari through them.

Desert safari experience: we were cruising along the highway when the driver stopped the vehicle to deflate the tyres of the 4WD. We were strapped into our seat belts & ready for some off-roading or dune bashing! It was exhilarating & I giggled uncontrollably. If you are toying with the idea of dune bashing, I suggest to eat nothing before the safari because you just might feel a bit queasy during the rumbly ride.

We were driven to an area in the desert designated for more activities such as riding camels, quad biking and so on. I got on the camel & when it stood fully on its legs, I squealed like a piglet because I didn’t expect to get up so high. Then I decided on a whim to go quad biking. I was a bit apprehensive at first so I rode the quad bike quite slowly but I felt confident & drove a lot faster.  Wrong move! The bike flipped & I sprained my ankle. Boom!
The next day I was wheeled into breakfast & around the airport in a wheelchair. It was worth the bravado, though.

Belly dancing

India Illuminates

I had a great time in India. As we travelled up north, I loved how the people, language & food changed. On the Indian train, we befriended some locals & they offered us food. People were friendly & warm. The multitude of different cultures which unites India makes it beautiful & unique. I loved the music & there was a rhythm to India.

Poverty was a novel & difficult experience which made me feel helpless. It was hard to see child beggars & groups of children picking up rubbish at the crack of dawn. It made me think of my grandparents & the reason they left India for Malaysia to seek a better future. I loved my grandparents & they always spoilt me even though they didn’t have a lot. I thought of my mother & how life was difficult for her. My life is a stark contrast to everything they had & I have grown up knowing this. I suppose, the extent of poverty never really registered in my life in such close proximity until I saw it in India. A mother came up to Subhen, asking him to buy her milk for her child. He went to the shop with her & was surprised to find that milk formula costs a lot of money. Although he put on a brave face, I know poverty affected him equally. Most of the time, I was handing out biscuits & sometimes money. I don’t know if what I did was right, but what stayed with me was their faces. I still remember them: that girl who boarded the bus asking for money.

I am usually an extremely paranoid person but I felt safe in India. Probably due to the fact that I had Subhen for company who sometimes joked that he was my body guard & occasional bag porter. I am grateful to have found an awesome travel companion. I could not have asked for better. I learnt about Indian culture history & Hinduism from him. He taught me how to hike by telling me to “trust my feet”. Encouraging me to go white-water rafting when I was having doubts. Making me eat when I really didn’t feel hungry because I was scared or exhausted. He was always there, keeping me grounded & taking perfect care of my well being. Such a friend is hard to come by & I remain grateful.

awesome friendship in jeep to Leh singing Hindi songs.

Awesome friendship in jeep to Leh singing Hindi songs.

Travelling India was a revelation: different facets of my personality I never knew existed surfaced. I learnt that I often underestimate my abilities, I love the thrill of bargaining, I enjoy hiking & that I am tough. I can deal with dirt as long as I have antibacterial wipes. I wear a hoodie in public transport because I don’t want to touch anything. I only sleep in my sleeping bag or cotton liner. I don’t use any pillows. I deal with uncertainty by laughing it off. Hiccups are part of the journey. I can be present & look for beauty in unexpected places. I’m great at packing & organized. I always have food, a head torch, chapstick, plasters & perfume with me.I am brave & real growth happened when I stepped out of my comfort zone. I am finally moving towards the things that I wanted to do, disregarding fear.

Heroine seeking adventure.

Heroine seeking adventure.

A random stranger I met before my trip said, “India beckons when you need it the most & it will be revelatory”. He was right.

India illuminated my life- gave me perspective about myself & the lives of others. I felt connected & curious about the culture. Since then, I have read a short book about the brief history of India & I am completely fascinated with Indian history, art & culture.

Book: 

A far cry from learning repetitively about  “Tamadun Islam” also known as Islamic Civilization & only 1 year to learn about world history. Don’t misinterpret, I do not mind learning about Islamic civilisation but we spent a disproportionate amount of time on it. Ah, I’m just pleased I’m free from mental torture, time to educate myself about the world.

Malaysian History Syllabus.

Malaysian History Syllabus.

After travelling India, I felt ready to start the next phase of my adventure, to travel solo in Europe.

Delhi: Goodbye India

Our time in Delhi was short, so we decided to hop on the metro to Akshardam temple which is an opulent temple. We sat a boat ride which gave us some strange commentary & irregular facts. It was good to visit for a few hours.

That evening, Premji taught me to cook a chicken curry, unfortunately I misplaced the recipe! But I remember that he put Amchoor powder (mango powder) in the delicious salads he prepared. He makes the most refreshing Nimboo pani (lemonade) too. They had adorable dogs in that house.

Thumbs up delicious!

Thumbs up delicious!

After dinner, we went to India Gate to hang out with the locals. There were a lot of families.

Subhen loves dirt, coke & kids.

Subhen loves dirt, coke & kids.

Subhen left early the next day for his flight to South India & I decided to go shopping alone in Janpath. I bargained for the auto price & I eventually found an elderly auto driver to take me home for a fair price but I had decided beforehand to give him more money. I just like the thrill of bargaining and this elderly driver delivered me home safe. I was grateful for that & really, a few rupees contributing to someone’s income in India would make a bigger difference to him than to me.