Chocolate Cake

Happy Easter! :) I had to work this weekend. It was busy but nice. We had an activity for food service employees- a mini "egg-hunt" where they get to keep oval chocolate wrapped in colorful paper that they find sporadically around the Kitchen and offices. Surprisingly, they enjoyed it. :) The MC cafeteria menu was: Quiche Florentine, Roasted Red Rose Potatoes Medley, Lemon Almond Asparagus, Raspberry tart, Spring Mix with Champagne Vinegarette.
Actually, it is sad to see how "commercialized" Easter has become- evolved to bunnies and eggs? When it actually is about the death and resurrection of Jesus! :)
These "peeps" are super cute and I was inspired to make it when I stumbled upon this picture at:  
Between the Chocolate sponge cake is chocolate ganache, and raspberry preserves.:)
Have a great week! Count down to the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton is 5 days! I am looking forward to it. :)


Artisanal LA Fair

"Smiling is good for the heart, Laughing is good for the soul and Loving will keep you living, laughing, and smiling" quoted from a tweet today. Life is short so live your fullest best, is what I constantly have to remind myself :) :)
The highlight of my weekend was visiting Santa Monica Place for the Artisanal LA Fair. It was not as big as some others that I have been to but it had a nice home-made touch from artisanal, local (100) vendors. 
I took lots of pictures but can't upload all of them here. So here's a sampling of what I saw. :)
Mini pies
I like these sugar pieces. There were many different shapes- sea-shells, heart, star...etc. It's a nice one to use for bridal showers, tea parties or weddings. 
There were many different flavors too. Vanilla sugar, organic sugar, cinnamon sugar....etc...
Kitchen Towels with inspiring words :)
Pie-Sicles, with rice in the bucket
Flower Arrangement workshop!
What I did, with the help of the demo instructor :)
 We had fun taking pictures at the photo booth! :)

 I'm looking forward to Uniquely LA fair on May 8...Apparently it has about 300 vendors. :)
 God bless!!  :)


Mango Cake

Recently, I find it easier to adapt to new recipes and create new creations from what I know. Eureka finally hit after making cakes for the past several years, and attending numerous baking classes. :) 
Feedback from the birthday girl, and other friends is that they love this cake! :) I guess I will be making this version again. :) To make this cake, use this basic sponge cake recipe. I do not have a recipe for the filling but it is basically a mixture of mango pudding, Greek yogurt, and manila mango chunks.
For a light cake like this it is best to use whipped cream instead of buttercream. For the first coat, I use the regular whipped cream and end it with "stabilized whipped cream". This whipped cream will not water out for 24 hours, and is excellent for frosting and  decorating the finner details of the cake.
Ingredients: 2 Tbsp powdered sugar, 1 Tsp corn starch, 1 cup heavy cream, 1/2 tsp vanilla.
Directions: In a small saucepan, place powdered sugar and corn starch and gradually add in 1/4 cup of the cream. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and simmer for a few seconds until the liquid is thickened. Scraped into a small bowl and let it cool to room temperature. Add vanilla. Beat the remaining 3/4 C heavy cream. Add the corn starch mixture and beat until stiff picks form.
For the glaze, I use these ingredients: 6 ounces apple juice ( frozen lemonade concentrate), 1 Tbsp cornstarch, 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1/4 cup sugar. 
Directions: Combine all the ingredients together in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until clear and thick, few minutes. Let it cook slightly and with a pastry brush, glaze the fruits. :)


Mangoes with Sticky Rice

This weekend will be a time for me to push my-brakes and slow down. Time for calm and quiet, and pause to take a look at things at a different angle. Time to catch up on housework, and reading....to step outside and get out of the rhythm I put myself in, which i have so gotten used to. It is ok to be out of sync, and just be free to do whatever I want, without being pressed for time. Ahhh, that feels therapeutic. :)

I just came back from a bible study vespers and the take home point from what I learned today was - every action comes with a motivation behind it. Sometimes we know the rationale behind our actions, but sometimes we do not. So the questions is, "What is my energy and motivation for the things I do? Why do I do the things I do? Am I using religion as a means to an end? I need to dig deeper within myself for these answers because I might have to sort through my depths of emotions to know the answers. It is good to have this awareness of intrinsic-motivation-behind-actions. Which brings me to the next thought. Why do I have this blog? :) Simple- I love food, and want to create a journal of my love affair with it. :) It also helps me keep in touch with family and friends in Singapore and around the world.

Anyways, I made mango with Sticky rice. :) I have a whole box sitting on my counter top and need to find creative ways to use it other than eating it on its own. I love mangoes :)
It's my first time using this recipe but it seems like it came out good :)

1.5 cups uncooked glutinous rice
1/5 cups coconut milk
1 cup coconut cream
Pinch salt

Soak the rice for half an hour before cooking. In a pot, combine the rice with the coconut milk, coconut cream and salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the coconut mixture is absorbed and the rice is dry but sticky. Remove from heat and sprinkle some sugar over it. Top with mango wedges. 

TGIF...Friday is almost over. Looking forward to a lazy Saturday and Sunday. It was hailing just now and the temperature is 5C now. So cold...I will most likely be staying indoors, and work on some baking :)


The BMC T.E.A.M Award surprise! :) :)

( T.E.A.M =  Together Everyone Achieves More)
I went for a meeting, thinking that it was a discussion about menu change for one of the programs but the manager kept saying, " I want to let you know about your department's performance, and evaluate your performance..." For more than 5 minutes, she kept rattling about it without any specific direction, and I was wondering what the problem and issue was. Suddenly, an entourage of more than 20 people represented from all departments came into the room with balloons and desserts, with the camera clicking away.... 

Needless to say, I was surprised and shocked. "What is going on?" raced through my mind. But when they said, "Congratulations, and we want to present you an award..." that I realized what was happening.  

I wanted the Kitchen staff to hear it, and be a part of it and managed go back to the kitchen, to pull a few of them out to the cafeteria for a picture. :) We were right in the middle of lunch service when that happened... 
It is heart-warming to know that people recognize the work done by Kitchen staff because even though not many of them are highly educated, they are sincere people who work hard, and do their best everyday. 

The letter read: 

Dear Nutritional Services Team,

Congratulations!! Youth Outpatient Services at the BMC have selected your team to be the recipients of the BMC T.E.A.M ( TOGETHER EVERYONE ACHIEVES MORE) award.

Your team is an excellent example of positive teamwork with dedicated individuals working together towards a common goal. When people come together and set aside their individual needs for the greater good in support of our mission, positive and impossible goals can be achieved. Your team demonstrates that level of commitment, energy, and achievement on a daily basis.

You were specifically chosen for this award because of your consistent attitude of “how can we help” within your own team, throughout the BMC, the BHI, and the community. The daily maintenance and balancing the nutritional needs between the two buildings is a challenge at best. You have done it with Excellence. Your dedication to teamwork has a positive impact on all of us.

We invite you to display this award, share your good news, and be on the look out for another team to pass this award on to in the next six months. This can be any or team within the BMC.

 Thanks to all of you for your incredible work.

Sincerely, Youth Services Outpatient
 Success cannot be measured only in achievements, but in lessons learned, lives touched, & moments shared along the way. :) 
Thank you Lord for this award, and may you be glorified in everything we do! :) 
( pictures were taken on iphone so its a little blurry)


Strawberry Cake

just for Jayce!! She is my awesome friend, and I just want to take this time to say how much I appreciate and treasure our friendship. I am so blessed to have Jayce in my life! :) A month ago, we went through the 40 days prayer book. It was an amazing time, which brought us closer to God. :)
For this cake, I used the basic sponge cake recipe:
5 egg yolks, 100 gm sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup oil, 1 tsp vanilla essence, 170gm cake flour, 2 tsp baking powder. 
5 egg whites, 1/2 tsp cream of tartar, 100gm sugar
Mix ingredients (A) until smooth. Whisk (B) till smooth and then fold in (A), pour into a 9" round pan. 
Filling: Strawberry preserves, and cream cheese and whipped cream filling. 
For the Cream cheese whipped filling, add 4 ounces of heavy cream and 4 ounces of cream cheese mixture and beat it together.
For the strawberry preserves, add fresh strawberries to the pot, and allow it to boil with juice of a lemon, 1/2 cup of sugar, vanilla essence and corn starch. 

Asian Cooking Demo :)

Someone twittered this morning...

The meaning of friends suddenly struck me, and what it means to be a friend. I am so blessed by many awesome friends. :) :)  It is kudos to a few of my many awesome friends, whom I asked for advice, that I managed to pull off the nice health presentation. ( sometimes it is hard to listen to too many people's comments so I only asked a few people....) They took the time to listen to what I had prepared, critiqued me, and helped streamlined the presentation to a short and sweet version before the actual thing :) Thank you guys....Couldn't have done it without you!!. :)

 Basically I shared about NEWSTART, and how it gives us good health through the natural ways God has given us. And this is the handout:

  1. Eat a wholesome and balanced breakfast large enough to provide 1/3 to ½ of the day’s nutrient requirements
  2. Limit Refined and Snack Foods . Choose fresh and dried fruits, for wholesome desserts that provide vitamins and minerals for good nutrition.
  3. Drastically reduce meat, fish, fowl, replacing them with fruits, grains, nuts and vegetables. 
  4. Choose Healthy Fats
  5. Eat Nuts and Legumes daily, as part of your balanced meal.
  6. Choose Whole Grain Bread and Cereal.
  7. Choose Healthy Protein Foods
  8. Choose Healthy Carbohydrate
E - EXERCISE :Regular exercise 30 minutes at least 4 or 5 times a week will help you to feel better and learn your lessons more rapidly.  Time spent in exercise is not lost.  “There is no drug in current or prospective use that holds as much promise for sustained health as a lifetime of physical  exercise.” Journal American Medical Association  248:1203,1982
Drink 8 to 10 eight ounce glasses of water daily - one glass for each 15 pounds of body weight.  If you drink enough water your urine will be relatively clear. 
S - SUNLIGHT: Check your vitamin D levels with the doctor. Studies have shown that Vitamin D help with numerous diseases. 
T - TEMPERANCE Balance in life is important, and moderation in all you do.
(This picture shows us doing breathing exercise)
A - AIR:Take several deep breath of fresh air several times a day. Spend time in nature to get more negative ions. 
R - REST : Tips to get a good night rest:
1.       Wake up with the sun
2.       Eat a balanced diet rich in plant-based complex carbohydrates and tryptophan
3.       Find time for moderate physical exercise
4.       Avoid sleep-depriving substances, like caffeine
5.       Have an established, early bedtime
6.       Sleep in the dark
7.       Leave your worries behind J

T - TRUST“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and learn not on your own understanding” Proverbs 3:5. Learn to trust in God who can heal and restore you.  A spirit of gratitude and trust opens the heart to the healing power of God and the whole being is revitalized and rejuvenated as one looks on the bright and positive side of life.  Involve yourself with family, friends, and the community to be a part of a network who supports each other. Remember, “I” = Illness and “WE” = “Wellness”   


Health is a wealth that cannot be stolen. Why not make that NEWSTART in life today? To help you make that NEWSTART which will improve your quality of life remember that each letter of  NEWSTART stands for an important Health Rule.  Make these rules a part of your life­style and you will benefit each day.  Make wise choices and God will bless you and give you the strength to carry out these choices.

 Esther Choo made 3 dishes:
 PENANG LAKSA, using the healthy NEWSTART way
 Picture with Ben Vassantachart, the community services director, and Esther Choo!
All the ladies who worked behind the scenes, cooking their day away, to make it happen! :) Team work and commitment to the cause is so important for anything to succeed. It was fun and glad everything went smoothly! We had about 100 people and the food was just enough. Praise the Lord! :) 

More pictures can be found here

Healthy Asian Cooking Demo Flyer 
Disclaimer: All the recipes posted are for my personal references and/or adapted from mentioned instructors or books. They/I reserve the rights to it. Please remember to cite your sources! Thank you.