Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Experimental Bread

Yes, I grew up in a house that is attached to a bakery. One would think I learned my baking skills there, and I can bake bread like a pro. But the answer is no. I am a self taught baker. I never had a chance to bake bread until last week. You see, I'm kinda afraid of the yeast and flour thingy. I've always thought it's complicated. All the kneading, proofing and letting the bread rise. I have all these fears - what if I don't knead it properly? How do I make sure I proof it correctly? And some other irrational fears of a newbie bread maker. :D

Yes, my friends, I have conquered my fear! My fear of baking bread, that is. I have tried last week during our playdate (it was my turn to host). It wasn't perfect because I forgot to knead it before letting it rise. Hah! But our guests said they were good enough. For me though, I wanted a softer and lighter texture. Time to practice some more!

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup milk 
  • 2 1/2 tsps instant active dry yeast 
  • 1/2 cup warm water 
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 to 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • egg wash (1 egg + 1/4 cup milk)
  • ham slices
  • cheese slices


1. Melt butter with milk in microwave oven. Let it cool to room temperature.

2. In a mixing bowl, mix the yeast and warm water and let stand for 10 minutes until creamy, thick and bubbly.

3. Whisk the sugar and eggs to the yeast mixture. Add the butter and milk mixture, mix well. 

2. In a clean, flat surface, dump the flour. Add the salt. Make a well in the middle and pour all the liquid ingredients (from steps 1-3). 
3. Knead the dough well until it becomes elastic. Transfer it to a large and lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise and develop the flavors for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

4. After letting it rise, punch the dough and transfer to a clean surface lightly dusted with flour. Knead very lightly and cut the dough equally into 16 pieces. With a rolling pin, roll out each dough and put the ham and cheese filling at the center. Carefully tuck the filling inside the dough.

5. Lightly grease a baking sheet and place the rolls in it. Cover with slightly damp kitchen towel and let rise again for 1 - 1 1/2 hours. preheat the oven at 350F, 10 minutes before the rising time ends.

6. Brush the top with egg wash, and bake 25 minutes.

Monday, 12 November 2012

The Vagabond Mom's Birthday Giveaway Winners

A big thanks to all who joined my birthday giveaway! Congratulations to Margaret Chan and Say Yap. Please send me your details so I can ship the items.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stay tuned for my Christmas giveaway! :)

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Bikanervala - Indian Vegetarian Restaurant

We had another Indian adventure last weekend. An Indian neighbor told me that the lights were up at Serangoon, so off we went to see them. But alas, it rained! That didn't stop us though. Good thing we brought umbrellas and the pram with us.

After we successfully passed the wet streets of Little India, we went to a small bazaar featuring Indian items. I was so happy seeing lots of Indian sweets, I automatically bought in every stall we passed by at. Good thing there were only 3 stores selling them, or else! :P

The husband ordered Raj Kachori. I'm not sure if he really knew what he ordered. Because I didn't like it. :( The round in the center is crunchy and when you cut it open, you can have a generous helping of beans and potatoes in the center. What I didn't like about it is the cold yogurt, I'm not a fan of cold savories.

Raj Kachori
Good thing the husband bought me vegetarian samosas. I love it, but I wanted to have at least 2 or 3 pieces!
Vegetarian Samosa
This is one weird dish, for me, that is. It's a chili dipped in flour batter and deep fried. The husband liked it. I didn't even attempt to try. :P
Mirch Pakora
Of course, it's not a complete meal without naan! I used to choose roti over naan. But the husband had me converted, I'm loving it. There's garlic, butter or just plain naan. All of them are delightful, especially when dipped in curry sauce!

Another dish we had was the daily special paneer. I liked it, primarily because of the cheese! :P It was really spicy, unlike the palak paneer that I have tried which wasn't peppery at all. 
Special Paneer
I was like a giddy high school girl when I saw their desserts! They were all delicate looking, actually too pretty to be eaten. It took me long to choose what to get. The husband was probably wondering what took me so long to get 3 small sweets! :P

Indian Sweets
I cannot wait to be back! I still miss tandoori and butter chicken though. Hah!

Head over here to join my birthday giveaway that's ending on the 10th!

No. 1, Dalhousie Lane, Singapore, Singapore 209664
Contact Number: 6396 4138
Operating Hours: 10:00 - 22:30
Facebook: Bikanervala.SG

Monday, 5 November 2012

Yahoo! Din Tai Fung!

When my in-laws were here last week, we brought them to Din Tai Fung. As always, it didn't disappoint. Even my mother-in-law who's not into Chinese food liked the food. Of course, they weren't awarded with one Michelin star for nothing!

I'm not in the mood to say anything. I'll let the photos do the talking today :)

Fragrant Pork with Crushed Garlic

Steamed Pork Dumplings

Pork Chop with Fried Rice

Wonton Noodles

Chicken Noodles
Lemongrass Juice
A few more days and my birthday giveaway is ending! Click here to check it out!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Homemade Waffles

For the longest time, I've wanted to make homemade waffles.  I have tried making pancakes and crepes at home but never waffles. I always dream of breakfast waffles or having it as a dessert with ice cream on top and chocolate shavings. Ooohh!

I tried looking up for a recipe on how to make waffles without the gadget (waffle maker) and ta dah! I found one that only requires you to use a grill pan! Thanks to www.alwaysorderdessert.com and I was finally able to have my waffles at the comfort of our home. :)

I actually didn't follow the recipe from the site. I got mine from allrecipes.com.  But I tweaked it a bit. Instead of using butter, I used vegetable oil and used yogurt to replace the eggs. My waffles turned out really good!

By the way, my giveaway is ending soon. You still have time to join and you might win kitchen stuff. Click here to know more!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

A Homemade Treat

There are times my little girl would just blurt out -- Mom, I want ice cream! How can I say no if she screams and throws a tantrum in a public place? Eeep. So if I can't really convince her to stop, I'd have to tell her we'll have ice cream at home. Cheaper for me, since I have stock of vanilla ice cream in the fridge most of the time. Plus, I can add fruits or what nots I have in the cupboard!

My giveaway is still on going! Click here to find out more.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Playdate's Dessert

We usually have our playdates on Fridays. Yesterday, it's my turn to play hostess. :D Since the husband doesn't like bananas, I thought of having Banoffee Pie so I won't end up gobbling down the whole thing by myself. Hah!

  • Graham pie crust (2 cups crushed graham crackers, 1/2 cup melted butter, cinnamon [optional], 1/4 cup sugar [optional])
  • 4pcs bananas, sliced
  • 3/4 cup dulce de leche
  • whipped cream (I used store-bought in can)
  • chocolate syrup

  1. Prepare the graham pie crust by mixing the crushed graham crackers and melted butter in a bowl. 
  2. Press on to prepared pie plate. Bake for at least 10 minutes at 400 degrees Celsius. Let crust cool.
  3. Take the cooled pie crust and arrange the banana slices and pour half of the dulce de leche. Make another layer of bananas and the remaining dulce de leche.
  4. Top the pie with whipped cream and chocolate syrup. I used a store-bought whipped cream in can so I would suggest if you're using the same thing as I did, just do so before serving to avoid having a melted topping. :)

Crushed graham crackers plus butter (eeekk!)

Bananas! Oh Yum.

One layer of sliced bananas slathered with dulce de leche

Topped with whipped cream and chocolate syrup

By the way, there's three weeks more before my birthday giveaway ends! If you like baking and cooking stuff, click here. :)

Monday, 15 October 2012

Honeycomb Crunch

Baking soda
Light corn syrup

Last week, I was craving for a coffee crunch cake.  I'm not quite sure where I have tasted one. Eeek. So I tried scouring the internet for a recipe. It was a bit hard to look for one because it seems that there are several terms for it - honeycomb crunch/crunchies/candy, toffee crisp, butter and honeycomb crunch. Good thing I was being patient that day and I found the easiest recipe to follow. 

  • 100 grams sugar (I used caster sugar)
  • Golden Syrup (I used light corn syrup and a bit of maple syrup)
  • 1 tsp baking soda (I suggest to use 1/2-3/4, and make sure to sift it)
  • cold water (to test a "hard crack")
  • saucepan
  • fork
  • shallow bowl with parchment paper
How to do it:

1. In a saucepan, mix the sugar with syrup. No definite amount, according to the recipe. Try to get as much as you can by twirling the fork. Do this twice. Mix the sugar and syrup before bringing to a slow boil.

Sugar mixed with corn syrup
Bring to low heat
2. After a few minutes, this is how your sugar will look like the photo below. Try to stir the mixture with the fork to make sure everything melts evenly.
After a few minutes

Sugar will slowly change color
Until it turns brown
3. Once you notice that the all the sugars have dissolved, test a hard crack. Dip the other end of a teaspoon in to the sugar and dip into the cold water. If you hear a crack while it cools, it means you're good to go. Or bite the hardened syrup (which I did heh!) and if you get a crack on the first bite, that means the syrup is set for the next step. Quickly remove the pan from the heat.
Test if the syrup has a "hard crack"
4. Mix the baking soda into the syrup. Stir it as fast as you can as the candy would quickly harden.  And while you do this, move nearer to the bowl with the parchment paper.
Sift the baking soda

Mix the baking soda quickly
Stir well to incorporate everything
5. Once you feel that you have stirred everything completely, pour everything into the bowl.
Carefully pour into prepared bowl
6. Let it cool for an hour or so. Fill the pan with water and let it stand for an hour before scrubbing it clean.
Use parchment paper to avoid having the honeycomb stick

Let honeycomb sit for at least an hour or so
7. Crack the candy and use them for cake or cupcake toppings. Store in a covered container in the fridge to prevent it from going sticky.
Crack with something hard - a knife or spoon
Now you can use this for a Coffee Crunch Cake!
My birthday giveaway is still on going! Join my giveaway and click here! :)

Source: http://www.instructables.com/

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The Vagabond Mom's Birthday Giveaway!

It's been 10 months since I started to become active on my blog again. And I'm thankful for my visitors and I appreciate all the comments. I know I'm still a starter on cooking/baking and I would like to capture my food journey on this blog. 

As my first giveaway, I am giving 2 prizes to two lucky winners.

First prize:

1 set spice jars (4 pcs)
1 set fruit garnishing set

Second prize:

1 silicone spatula
1 silicone round mold
1 silicone pound cake mold

Spice Jars

Fruit garnishing set - baller, zester, corer

Silicone stuff

Silicone spatula

Silicone round mold

Silicone pound cake mold

The contest ends on November 10. Open to all contestants with a Philippine address. :) Please leave a comment with the following details:

GFC Name

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 5 October 2012

What to Do with Old Bread?

I can remember my childhood days when my Nanay bakes bread pudding and my sister and I would eagerly wait for it to come out of the oven. It's my earliest memory of baking with my Nanay and my manang. 

Last week, I had several slices of bread in the fridge that I wasn't too keen on eating, neither is my little girl. So I thought of making it into a bread pudding with blueberries! 

  • 4 slices day-old bread
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (optional)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Soaking up

1. Cut up your bread into 1 inch pieces. Arrange in your gratin dishes. Sprinkle the blueberries around them. Preheat oven at 170 degrees Celsius.

2. In a bowl, mix milk, well-beaten egg, and honey. Add vanilla.

3. Pour the egg mixture into the bread pieces. Allow the bread to soak the liquid.

4. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the bread turns brown and all the liquid has been absorbed.

Source: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/bread-pudding-ii/