Tuesday, 17 September 2013

A fire in one of the rooms

Tues, 10 Sept - I am preparing documents to take with me for our annual CEO conference. This year it is to be held in The New Forest - about 90 minutes drive from my house.

Then at about 12 noon, I get a call from Pat asking me to go home as he said that one of the rooms in our house had caught fire. We don't have a smoke detection unit at home but we do have a security alarm. The smoke was so bad that it triggered the burglar alarm which in turn called our key holder. He then came over to our house, walked round but found nothing amiss. He then called Pat to tell him about the call and asked if he should go in to have a look. When he told Pat there had been a fire, Pat thought he was winding him up. He eventually believed him and got Danny (the key holder) to call the fire brigade. By the time Danny came, the fire had burnt itself out and thank God the fire was contained only in one room! It was a miracle that the fire had not spread.

Good thing for us is that the station is 2 minutes away and then arrived soon after. They ran into the house with their hoses "blazing" but Danny managed to stop them from spraying water.

So to continue, here I was in a bit of a panic and trying to get all my papers ready .... managed to do it in record time and set off home.

As they say, pictures speak louder than words, so here are the pictures.

In the daytime in natural light, the damage didnt look too bad in our bedroom, but in the evening, when we thought of going to bed, that's when we realised that the smoke damage was worse than we thought !

Monday, 16 September 2013

Mango Mousse Cake

This is such a late posting. I made this cake on request of a friend for her friend's birthday last year and I just realised that I had not posted it yet. As this was a gift, sorry the cake was not cut to show the inside.


Chiffon Cake Base recipe:

4 egg yolks
1/4 tsp salt
40g castor sugar
drop vanilla extract
75ml corn oil
110ml warm water
150g cake flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
4 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
40g castor sugar

Method :
1. Preheat oven to 165C.  
2. Mix the egg yolks with sugar until smooth. Add oil and water and combine very well. Sift in cake flour, incorporate all ingredients well until you get a smooth batter. 
3 Use an electric mixer to beat egg whites first for a while until bubbles form. Add cream of tartar. Add one third of the 40 grams of sugar at a time. Combine well between the adds, until stiff peaks form. 
4. Fold in the egg whites into the batter. Add one third of egg whites at a time in order to easily incorporate the egg whites. 
8. Pour batter into clean baking pan and bake for 45 minutes or until cooked.
9. Invert cake and leave to cool. Then cut cooled cake into 2 or 3 layers.

Mango Mousse recipe
350ml Non Dairy Whipping cream
300ml Mango Puree, unsweetened
180g Mango, diced into cubes
1 tbsp + 2 tsp gelatin powder
60ml hot water

Mango Puree Topping Recipe
100ml mango puree, unsweetened
2 tsp gelatin powder
50ml hot water


Dissolve gelatin in 60ml hot water. Keep warm for use later.
Whip cream till 70% stiff or mousse state.
Add gelatin solution into mango puree and mix well.
Add mango gelatin mixture into whipped cream and combine well.
Prepare a cake ring or a springform pan or a cake pan with removable base.
Put 1 layer of cake on to cake pan and top it with mango mousse filling. Add in the mango cubes and top it with some mousse just enough to cover the mango cubes. Chill in fridge for 10 - 15 mins.
Put in the other cake layer and pour all the mousse over it. Chill for 45 mins - 1 hour.
In the mean time, dissolve 2 tsp gelatin in 50ml hot water for mango puree topping. Add gelatin to mango puree and mix well. Strain mixture.
When the mousse is set, arrange sliced fruits on cake and spoon the mango puree topping over fruits and cake.
Chill cake for 3 hours before serving.
I trimmed my cake to be smaller than the pan so that the mousse will flow down and cover the whole cake

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Mooncakes - traditional and snow skin with lotus paste

Homemade Lotus Seed Paste Recipe

500 grams lotus seeds (skinless)
½ tablespoon alkaline water 
4 cups water
300 - 400 grams white sugar
200ml sunflower oil
1 tablespoon maltose (about 15 grams)

How to make lotus seed paste
1. Place lotus seeds in a saucepot and cover with boiling water. Add alkaline water and cover. Steep for 20 minutes. Drain and wash lotus seeds well in clean water. 
2. Remove green centre then cook seeds with water till soft and tender.
3. Blend the lotus seeds (and enough cooking water) in an electric blender until very smooth
4. Heat up a wok or a non-stick frying pan, melt half the sugar amount until it turns light golden.
Pour half the oil in a nonstick wok, add half the sugar. Cook until the mixture turns a golden caramel. Add lotus seeds paste or puree. Stir continuously.

5. Then add remaining sugar and oil, a little at a time. Cook until thick and then stir in maltose. Mix well and continue to stir until lotus paste leaves the sides of your wok.
6. Take a tiny ball of paste and flatten out; if it does not feel sticky, the lotus seeds paste is ready. Remove the paste to a large mixing bowl and leave to cool completely.

 *from 500 gm of lotus seeds, I got about 2 kg of puree.

Ingredient: (made 9 mini mooncakes)- recipe from Do What I like

100g plain flour
30g peanut oil (I used sunflower oil)
65g golden syrup (Abram Lyles)
1/2 tsp alkaline water

lotus seed paste
salted egg yolks (optional)
roasted melon seeds (optional)

Egg glace:
1 yolk + 1 tsp water lightly beaten and strain

Method:1. Mix peanut oil, golden syrup and alkaline water together in a big cup and sit this cup in a bowl of boiling water. Stir till mixture is well combine. Remove and leave aside to cool till warm state but not cold.
2. Sieve plain flour into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the flour and pour in the warm syrup. Mix till a dough is formed. Cover the mixing bowl with a wet towel and rest the dough for 30 - 45 minutes.
3. Divide dough and filling according to the size of your mould. Shape the dough into a round flat sheet with sides thinner than the centre.

4. Wrap in the filling and mould it into a ball shape. Coat it with flour.
5. Divide dough into 15g pieces. Shape each dough into a ball. Roll each dough over some flour. Dust hand with flour and flatten each dough into a small disc (about 5cm in diameter). Wrap it around the filling and shape it into a ball. (always dust hand with some flour to avoid the dough from sticking).
6 Lightly dust the wrapped dough with some flour. Place it in the mooncake mould and press the mooncake out. 

7. Place mooncakes on a lined pan and spray the mooncakes with some water. Bake at 180C - 190C for 10 minutes.

8. Remove from oven, cool the cakes for 5 - 10 minutes then apply egg glace and bake for another 10 - 15 minutes or till golden brown. As every oven varies, please standby to check on your mooncakes. If you are doing standard size mooncakes, the baking time might be longer.

8. Store cooled mooncakes in an airtight container and serve only after 3 days.

 Snow skin 
150 gm fried glutinous rice flour [kao fun] - sifted
110 gm icing sugar - sifted
50 gm shortening
150 ml iced cold water
yellow, green, pink and chocolate colouring [optional], you can keep it plain or a single colour according to you own preference

1. Mix together sifted flour and icing sugar, then add in shortening.
2. Use rub in method to mix flour, sugar and shortening together into fine grains.
3. Slowly and gradually add in ice cold water.  Mix well and knead with hand till  smooth.  Cover and leave to rest for 15 - 30 minutes.  [Notes - If making different colours, divide into a few portions and add in colouring, knead till well combined then rest the dough for 15-30 minutes]
4. Take a portion each of the colours to weigh 20 gm. Flatten into a disc and wrap it around the filling and shape into a ball,.Dust the wrapped dough with kao fun and place in the mould and press out.
Place onto plates or containers and refrigerate before serving.