We had a thaw 2 weeks ago, the snow melted and we could see grass. Dead grass but grass nonetheless! The snow turned into slush and the roads were wet and dirty and the white snow banks practically turned black. It was also a glimpse of Spring-like weather. Late last week, however, the snow returned and again last night with about 10cm of snow. This morning the world was a winter wonderland again. Temperatures were at zero and above today so it was great. The boys wanted to play in the yard after church this morning and I let them as the snow season will come to an end soon. They volunteered to shovel the snow from the footpath but it’s more play than work at this age!
Monthly Archives: February 2011
It was Hubby’s birthday on Friday and he said he didn’t want a cake. Say what? No cake? On your birthday? And he has a person who loves to bake for a wife?? He said he didn’t want a cake because it’s fattening. I know where he’s coming from. We had been eating out more than usual lately and he’s feeling the effects on his waist!
Well, a cake doesn’t always have to be rich and calorie-laden. I looked for a simple cake to make and settled on Dorie Greenspan’s Marble Loaf Cake. Marble cake is one of Hubby’s favourite cake anyway. I brought it to our friend’s house where we had a simple dinner of pasta and salad and dessert was the marble cake with coffee. The cake was served plain – no glaze, no sauce, no ice-cream, no unnecessary addition of calories – just what Hubby wanted. There were also no candles and no song, just birthday wishes, as he likes his birthday quiet! Happy Birthday, babe. Love ya!
Basic Marbled Loaf Cake
(adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours)
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons/ 170g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled.
Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a loaf pan (I used a 9-x-5-x-2 3/4-inch loaf pan), dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess. Place the pan on two regular baking sheets stacked on top of the other.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. With a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Don’t be concerned if the batter curdles. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and alternately add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2, mixing only until each addition is incorporated.
Pour half the batter into a medium bowl and stir the melted chocolate in, mixing gently until combined.
Drop spoonsful of plain and chocolate batter randomly into the pan, then plunge a table knife deep into the batter and zigzag the knife through the batter, making 6 to 8 zigs and zags.
Bake the cake for 1 hour and 20 to 30 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it rest for about 15 minutes before unmolding, then cool the cake to room temperature right side up on the rack.
It’s been so long since I’ve baked on a weekend. I had time yesterday and really wanted to bake but couldn’t decide on what to bake. So I opened the question to the family. Hubby said, “Marble Cake” and Little Guy said, “Carrot Cake.” I chose Carrot Cake for I have a good one in my notebook of handwritten recipes that is quick and easy to make. As an aside, if I were to make a digital copy of this recipe in the future I still won’t discard this page. Big Kid scribbled on it when he was 3 or 4 and it’s a sentimental reminder to me of the time when he was a cute little preschooler just discovering a pen.
300g grated carrots
100g castor sugar
50g light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon Allspice
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup (240ml) vegetable oil
120g chopped nuts, toasted (walnuts or pecans)
120g dried fruit (dates or raisins)
Cream Cheese Frosting
250g cream cheese, softened
60g butter, softened
160g castor sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
1. Line a 8″ square cake pan with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350 degrees F / 175 degrees C.
2. Combine A in a medium bowl with a fork, making sure the carrots are not in clumps.
3. Combine B in a small bowl and, using a spatula, mix it into the dry ingredients (A).
4. Stir in C.
5. Scrape batter into pan and bake for an hour. Let the cake cool completely before frosting.
6. To make the frosting, cream the ingredients in a bowl with an electric mixer until the frosting is fluffy and smooth.
My Little Guy has started reading on his own. I’m marking this milestone with a blog post.
I didn’t have to do much to cultivate his reading interest as I’ve done that for Big Kid and now he’s just doing what his older brother loves doing. The Galaxy Books he’s reading is from the Sunshine Books company and they turned out to be a pretty good investment as he’s the fourth reader to ‘inherit’ the two book packs after his cousins and brother!
Did you watch the Grammy Awards on TV the other night? I watched it for a minute, there was a lady with a big dress performing. I didn’t recognise her or the song she was singing. Since only the big names are selected to perform at the Grammy’s I decided to not go on watching because it’s apparent I’m hopelessly behind in the music scene and would not be enjoying the show. (Reading the papers the next day, I found out that the lady was Rihanna. At least I know that name. And yes, I would recognise that Bieber boy too!)
Anyways, we have our own kind of awards going on here in the blogsphere. I had been awarded One Lovely Blog and Stylish Blogger by fellow bloggers! It is an honour and so exciting!
One Lovely Blog was passed on to me by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours some time ago. I was a brand new blogger then and didn’t know what to do about an award. I’m very glad I discovered Joyce’s blog as she’s a wonderful baker and cook who features a variety of food and sweets on her blog. She also has a blog on gardening!
The Stylish Blogger Award was given to me by Yummy Chunklet and Frolicking Night Owl, both are fellow members of French Fridays with Dorie (FFwD). Yummy Chunklet is one humourous lady with tons of energy for baking and cooking and who always manages to make her FFWD posts even though she’s busy with her trials! Frolicking Night Owl is another talented baker who blogs about food, life and her family including her 3 adorable children.
As part of receiving these awards, I have to do the following:
First, thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award. So here’s a shout out to you, Kitchen Flavours, Yummy Chunklet and Frolicking Night Owl!
Second, share seven random things about myself:
- I love desserts. No matter how full I am at the end of a meal, if I’m offered dessert, I’m ready!
- One of my favourite TV shows was ‘Gilmore Girls’. The show’s theme song was my phone’s ringtone for years.
- A good movie can make me cry. The last time that happened we were watching Toy Story 3!
- I love a good laugh. Last week, while at a dinner party with friends, I laughed so much I developed a headache!
- I wish I have time to read more food blogs and try every delicious recipe that I see.
- I know how to ride a bike and swim.
- I think I’m too old for it but I do wish I know how to snowboard.
Third, award 15 recently discovered bloggers. This is easy because being new to blogging, almost every blog I visit is ‘recently discovered’, most of them FFwD-ers, although I’m not sure if I know 15! I’m combining both awards and forwarding them to these other blogs that have inspired me, apart from the 3 mentioned above!
One Wet Foot
Scrambled Egg Hen
Mary Mary Culinary
My Baking Heart
Dessert by Candy
One Perfect Bite
Sis. Boom. [Blog!]
Kudos Kitchen by Renee
Barefoot Kitchen Witch
(Note: Because I’ve combined the awards, things can get a little confusing. You can either award them to other bloggers combined like I did or pick just one to award or award both separately.)
Fourth, contact these bloggers and tell them about the award. I’ll have to leave that for another day as I can barely keep my eyes open now!
I’m not being too cynical about the Valentine’s Day celebration. I think it’s fine for people to celebrate love and affection with people they cherish. It’s the school celebrations that I’m having some problems with, especially the ones with the younger children. My younger son comes home with a name list of his Kindergarten school friends so they can have a “Valentine card exchange.” It can be viewed positively as an opportunity for the child to practice his printing as he writes the names of his friends and his own on twenty-odd cards. Half the time, however, the parents will print the names on behalf of their child because it’s going to be faster and neater.
Now, the plan is to have a card exchange activity. In reality, the teacher takes the Valentine cards that the children bring in to school on the day of the celebration, sorts and puts them in individual bags for the children, along with treats that some parents would bundle with the card. All the child knows is Mummy got Valentine cards for his friends, he brings them to school and he comes home from school with a paper bag full of Valentine cards and treats from his friends. The child doesn’t experience the pleasure of giving to his friends the cards he has personally picked and signed. The child doesn’t experience the pleasure of receiving a card personally from his friends. The child doesn’t get to practice good manners by saying, “Thank you.” for each card he receives! The treats detract attention from the cards too. At the end of the day Little Guy will probably just think Valentine’s Day is like Christmas because he got pencils and chocolates and other fun stuff from school. So like I said, it’s a waste of time.
We had ‘Yee Sang’ at RC’s house today together with her family. She makes this every year as part of the Chinese New Year (CNY) festivities and traditions. ‘Yee Sang’ is a salad made of shredded vegetables and mixed with some condiments and plum sauce. Slices of raw salmon or other kinds of fish is commonly added to the mix. After the sauce has been poured over, everyone at the table picks up his or her chopsticks and begin tossing the salad to mix it up, the ‘Prosperity Toss’.
This is a shot of the toss during last CNY, again at RC’s house. She had more people over then.
Before coming to Canada, I didn’t know Yee Sang is a CNY tradition only in Malaysia and Singapore. The Chinese restaurants here don’t serve or sell this. I heard that a Malaysian restaurant in Markham makes this but it’s selling for $100 a dish and upwards. I suppose it has a high price tag for a salad because it’s a labour-intensive dish but still…! RC prepares this dish all by herself, shredding and slicing the vegetables and deep-frying the shredded yam and sweet potato. Even the sauce is homemade! If not for RC, I wouldn’t be able to having Yee Sang during CNY. Thank you, RC!