Baking

Sitting here alone at night in the conservatory, waiting for my matcha cake to be done, it suddenly hit me that it’s already the 9th of May 2017. The first ever time that I’ve baked something from scratch was 4 years ago. 1st May 2013. I still remember the date clearly because it was Labour Day and I was crazily obsessed over baking during my PMR year. I’ve never imagined nor saw myself baking few years ago because I didn’t have the legendary ‘my grandma was a good baker and I watched her in the kitchen hence I picked it up from her’ kind of story. I mean my late maternal grandmother was a very good cook and baker, according to my mum. I really wished I was born 40 years ago so I can learn and steal some recipes from my maternal grandmother but unfortunately, I never had the chance to meet her.

 

The first thing that I baked was a rainbow cupcake because rainbow cakes were THE thing back then. It still is, but not a very big hoo-ha anymore. My rainbow cupcake not only looked horrible, it tasted horrible as well. Actually, it was tasteless. Initially I thought that this whole baking this was just a one day thing or 三分钟热度 kinda thing but it wasn’t. I started from baking disgusting cupcakes to almost edible cakes to disgusting bread but I never gave up. I love eating Pandan Chiffon Cake and that is probably one of the very very few cakes that I eat so one day, I decided to buy a chiffon tin and bake myself some chiffon cake! Nope, failed terribly. I’m not exaggerating but I’ve tried baking Pandan Chiffon Cake for more than 10 times and all of them failed terribly.

I don’t even know what it is omg some very mega failed pandan chiffon cake and sometimes, not even edible because it’s just so dense. But after trying and trying and trying, I finally got it right! Here is the edible pandan chiffon cake.

That feeling of unmoulding the cake. That feeling of cutting the cake. That feeling of satisfaction. That feeling of wanting to make it perfect, not giving up until you get it right. Most people who bake probably can relate to this. It’s also weird how I’m never tired when it comes to baking even after a long day in uni. I guess that’s the power of love for baking?

 

To be honest, I baked a lot more when I was back in Malaysia compared to me being in the UK. I guess washing the dishes plays a huge role in me not baking as much as I did in Malaysia because I never had to wash up after baking. Not very proud to admit it but yeah. I used to bake an average 4 or 5 times a week in Malaysia. I even went on a chiffon cake frenzy. I think I baked more than 5 types of chiffon cakes? Japanese Pearl Chiffon Cake, Pandan Chiffon Cake, Milk Chiffon Cake, Matcha Chiffon Cake, Strawberry Jello Chiffon Cake, Lime Jello Chiffon Cake, Milo Chiffon Cake, Banana Chiffon Cake, Nutella Chiffon Cake, Butter Chiffon Cake, White Chocolate Chiffon Cake, and the list goes on. I need to do another chiffon cake frenzy when I’m back home but good luck to everyone who is eating it. Please do not blame me if you decide not to be friends with me anymore.

 

Back to topic, I went for 4 classes before. 1 demo and 3 hands-on classes, 2 in Miri, 1 in Kuala Lumpur and 1 in London. I really enjoyed all but it still scares me that every time I go for these classes, I’m always surrounded by older people. And by older, I mean older. There was once I went for a class in Miri and I exchanged phone numbers with an aunty, probably in her 60s. Awkward but yes, I have aunty friends.

 

I still remember when I was in Form 4, I went for an education fair which was going on in my school hall. I was actually there to only procure sponsorships and head back to class but I ended up at one of the booths which offered Culinary Arts. That was the first ever time that I actually looked into culinary schools that I brought back brochures to show my parents. My mind was practically set on going into culinary school after I finish my SPM but that didn’t happen. Upset and disappointed at that time but I understand everything right now. Culinary school can wait.

 

Having been in and out of my home kitchen for 4 years, sometimes I do wonder and ask myself what have I achieved all these years. Some may see it as a hobby only but some may see it as a potential business. Me? Maybe a little bit of both. Some people had already achieved great things at my age while some have not. Me? Most probably the latter. But I know one day I will. Hopefully.

 


 

This is a very simple butter cake with fresh cream and strawberries that I baked for Thivya’s birthday. We gave her a surprise before our meeting and the sound of the sparklers ruined the surprise because you can actually here it go off.

 

I’ve been really demotivated after my showcase ended because it feels like I am already done with first year of university when in actual fact, I have 2 more courseworks to complete and one exam to sit for. Deadlines for both my courseworks are approaching, one on Thursday and the last one on Friday. I’ll be pretty damn free after Friday because I only have one exam to sit for. Not to say I’m very prepared for the exam but still, I have a whole two weeks to revise and get my shit together. I really can’t wait to go home for summer because I haven’t been home for the past 6 months which sucks. Sick of the UK already. I need my family, friends, food and the weather back. It’s crazy how it’s already May. I don’t know where the time has gone or what I’ve been doing for the past 5 months.

 

My cake is gonna burn if I continue typing.

Matcha Strawberry Cake

A year-long project has finally come to an end. I still remember that day where I stepped into one of the rooms in University Place, feeling very awkward as I knew nobody on the course, and got separated into our own respective groups. We started off by doing the Spaghetti Challenge, not knowing what was going to happen ahead of me in the following months. Days passed, weeks passed, months passed. Here I am, almost done with the first year of my degree. This project has been a roller coaster ride and I definitely learned a lot. From screaming at somebody face to face for the first time ever in front of others to having really lame jokes among the group. From not knowing a single shit of coding (apart from HTML/CSS) to presenting a live working application. There has been countless of times where I feel like giving up but it’s finally over and done with. I finally don’t have 470 errors and got knows how many warnings to deal with anymore. 6 pitches went by really quickly and I’d say my favourite pitch was the one to Credit Suisse and IBM because they were the most responsive ones. Anyway, it’s finally over and done with and I couldn’t not have done it without the support from my family and friends.

 

I’m finally back in the kitchen after so long. It’s been about 2 weeks since I last baked, I think. I haven’t frosted nor decorated a cake in a long time so I decided to do something simple, which is a matcha strawberry cake! The pictures look shitty because I only took them after I got back from dinner, which was already about 9pm or so. Hence, lighting is just terrible plus my noob photography skills. Today’s my rest day and it’s back to work tomorrow. After everything ended yesterday, I felt so worn out that I went home early and went to bed early and only got up close to noon time. I also made it to the shadow committee election yesterday and to be very honest, I didn’t expect myself to get the position. Nevertheless, it’s going to be a long journey ahead and I’m excited for it.

 

Few weeks ago when I was having a group meeting at C10, I was casually checking my mails from my phone. It’s usually the normal emails that I receive. All the pointless subscriptions I have, occasionally emails from lecturers and recently a lot from my lab assistant, helping me to solve my never-ending programming errors. But this particular email had a different title. It wrote ‘Chinese Summer School’. I opened it and literally screamed with Zara in C10. I got a scholarship from my university to go to China for a summer school! It’s going to be really hot when I’m there but I get to travel for free so no complains! I don’t know if I can survive in China or not but I’ll try. I mean I speak fluent (I’d like to think that I’m fluent) but I can’t read nor write well. I also managed to convince my parents to let me go to Seoul for a holiday in June so whoop whoooop I’m excited.

 

For now, I shall finish up my assignments and prepare for my exam. And then it’s home time! 28 more days.

Late night thoughts

There are just days where you decide to give yourself a short break and sleep early but you end up staring at the ceiling for hours and hours, not able to sleep and then think about life in general. These few days have been very stressful, at least for me and probably everyone else that has to crack their brain from morning till night just trying to get things right and for the app to be working. Coming from a science background where mathematics isn’t my strongest subject and having no prior experience to coding, building an app can be very challenging. I know that I am not the only person who does not have experience in coding nor am I the only person stressed out about the showcase. But I guess this is my way of expressing my feelings, letting my stress out and giving myself a tiny short break. Penning down my thoughts.

I know for a fact that this is what I have chosen in the end, changing from pure Management to IT, and that I can blame no one but myself. On good days, I know that I definitely made the right decision of choosing this degree. The exposure I gain and the experience I gain through networking sessions, specially organised for my degree, doing showcases and pitching 6 times to big companies, are things that maybe I could never gain if I decided to go ahead with studying Management 9 months ago. The thought of changing to IT came into mind when I visited UoM during their open day when I was still in college but I never seriously considered until the very last minute, just before my finals started.

The support I gain from my family and friends are definitely what keeps me going at this point of time. Even though the showcase is in 5 days, nothing seems to be going right nor left. What I expected to do in the beginning didn’t really work out well. Not that it is completely impossible to do but I guess not putting a 101% of effort into it is what makes it completely impossible for me. Things are gonna get tough along the way but I just have to tell myself that it’s part of growing up and part of maturing. The funny thing is, it’s not that I have nothing to present on the showcase itself nor am I completely not prepared. It’s just that the expectations I have for myself is far beyond what I actually am capable of doing.

It’s definitely nerve-wracking having to figure out why there is an error with the app itself at 3am in the morning and you just sit there wondering and wondering. And by the time you notice the time, it’s already 5am in the morning. Sometimes, I don’t know if setting a standard/goal for myself is a good or a bad thing. Occasionally, it acts as a motivation for myself in order to stop procrastinating and actually start concentrating on work. But sometimes, it’s like cancer. It’s bad because I keep thinking and thinking, putting more pressure on myself to do well.

When I started university, I started off with sort of a happy-go-lucky mindset. I told myself that as long as I am able to graduate from university, regardless of whether it’s first class, 2:1, 2:2, it’s fine. Because this isn’t the industry that I want to be in in the future. This isn’t what I want and this definitely isn’t what I want to pursue in. However, as time passed, this mindset started to change. From looking at people around me to speaking to so many people, I start to realise that it really isn’t always all about me, myself and I. If given an opportunity to study abroad like this, shouldn’t I be working my ass off and aim for a first instead of wasting my time when so many people out there are dying to study abroad? Spending thousands and thousands of money, shouldn’t I be making my parents proud? And the be very honest, this is actually a huge reason why I pressure myself so much so that sometimes, it starts to feel as though as I am suffocating myself.

There are days where I ask myself, what if 1.5 years ago I managed to convince my parents to let me pursue culinary arts? What if 9 months ago, I chose to stay in pure Management? What if 9 months ago, I fought my way to university in another city? What if until this point, I am still happy-go-lucky? There are so many what-ifs but there’s no answer. If I really pursued culinary arts, would I be very happy? Would I regret not going to a university? There are so many uncertainties but I believe that since I’ve made my choice and have already started my journey down this path, it’ll all be worth it at the end. What has been done is done and what has been decided is decided. There is no turning back and I can only move forward.

5 days till the two biggest events for the second semester and also the last few weeks of first year, happening on the same day. I don’t know what to feel, I don’t know if I’m prepared for any of this, I don’t know if I am able to do it well or not. I don’t know if sending that email 2 minutes before the deadline was a great decision or not. Even if I successfully get it, will I be able to execute what is expected of me well? There was a short conversation between the few of us today and it made me very sceptical. Even more sceptical than sending that email 2 minutes before the deadline. If I successfully get it, does that mean that Mumubakes will have to wait even longer? To be honest, if you think long and hard about it, baking is something that can be done at anytime I want. Be it when I graduate or 10 years down the road, I can still do it. But opportunities like this only come in university. It’s really a now or never thing. Which was part of the reason why I clicked ‘Send’.

Regardless of what the outcome on the day is, I know for a fact that I made an effort, I took the first step and I tried. I have nothing to lose. Regardless of how my showcase turn out to be on the day, I know that I have tried my best and I did all that I could. For the time being, I’ll just have to continue trying and trying because that’s the only thing I can do now. I constantly try to remind myself that everything will be worth it in the end and that I am doing this for my future, for my own good. As much as I hate ITP, coding and the showcase, I have a tiny feeling that I’ll miss it at some point in my life. A year long project that is coming to a close, very happy yet a tiny bit sad because it took up so much of my time and that I’ll feel a teeny weeny tiny bit empty after everything ends. (And when second year comes, I’ll probably hate it again fml).

5 days left. Until then, goodbye.

Vanilla Crepe Cake

It’s crepe cake again! I’ve been on a crepe cake frenzy kinda thing recently? I don’t know. Just trying out different things, tweaking here and there and hopefully sell it soon? This crepe cake was for Derek’s birthday. We celebrated his birthday today because we’re all not free on Thursday, which is the actual date of his birthday. The surprise was well, successful. I pictured it to be like a very loud happy birthday to you song but nope, it was only a line of ‘happy birthday to you’ and everyone burst out laughing at his hair because he literally just washed his hair and was still in his home clothes. So yeah, that was that. I spent like half an hour trying to take pictures of the cake and even brought my DSLR out. Dedication bruh.

 

My initial plan was to go to the library to do some work after celebrating his birthday but we ended up having lunch together and roaming around Arndale/NQ. So conclusion, not productive at all today but I’m so sleepy. I slept at like almost 4am yesterday and got up at 9am.

 

We were all in Derek’s room and we came up with an idea of what we’re gonna do together next academic year. I’m not sure if it’ll work out or it’s feasible or not but it’s worth trying so I’m quite excited. We still need to come up with like a proper plan first though but when you come to think of it, I’m not sure if we’ll be able to juggle uni and this whole idea kinda thing. At the same time, we don’t really have much to lose so hopefully everything will work out and start to fall into place when we actually do it.

 

Few days ago, I went to Dalton to meet up with my friends to study together so I thought I’d just bring my memory card along to transfer pictures and update my blog. I didn’t get to transfer any pictures because I was listening to podcasts and we went to the music room after and then I went home. So there really wasn’t much time to do what I wanted to do. When I got home, I decided to transfer my pictures but I couldn’t find my memory card anywhere. I emptied my entire bag but I still couldn’t find it. It may have dropped out somewhere or something but sigh my pictures are all gone, including my most recent pictures which I was gonna use to update my blog with.

 

Anyway, Easter break is ending real soon and I’m off to Bristol this Friday for a short trip. It’s gonna be all work when uni starts so yeah, chill first.

Pandan Chiffon Cake

Spring is here, flowers bloomed but the weather here in Manchester sucks. It’s been cloudy ever since I got back to the UK. Thankfully, it isn’t that cold but still a tiny bit chilly. I kind of regret not going back to Malaysia for my spring break but I try to convince myself that if I go home, I won’t be able to finish my assignments nor prepare for my showcase.

 

It’s the 13th day into my spring break and it has been great so far. Well, at least I think it’s going great. I’ve been catching up with work for the past two days because you know, this is the result of neglecting work for too long. I actually didn’t want to do my work yesterday but I asked Zara to knock some sense into me so I left home for my second home, C10. I initially wanted to stay there till night but I got so lazy by 5pm so I ditched Zara  and went home.

 

Same thing today, I set my alarm at 8.00am, hoping to leave at 9.00am but I ended up getting up at like 10. I went to C10 alone today and Ali came with Krispy Kreme doughnuts! So many years of being in school, I’ve only met 1 teacher/lecturer that I’m so thankful to and 1 fav teacher, which is no other than my Economics lecturer in college. I mean, not many teachers are willing to mark like 5 essays a day, from a single student. I think I’ve written more than 20 essays for him to mark within a week? I was a bit crazy back then during my college days but when you’re desperate for good results, you gotta do what you gotta do. Ali’s probably my second fav teacher/lecturer.

 

I baked Pandan Chiffon Cake today because Aunty likes it. She’s so good at everything, especially cooking. I didn’t know the proper way of making wontons until today omg. My wontons are usually just minced pork, prawn, soy sauce, bit of salt and pepper and that’s it but I didn’t know you need to put egg into the mixture to make it smoother or something? And you need to ‘throw’ the meat to make it bouncy, if that’s the word to describe it. Anyway yeah I finally know the proper way of making wontons.


 

PANDAN CHIFFON CAKE

Adapted from Christine (I made some changes)

5 egg yolks

20g caster sugar

100g cake flour

1 tsp baking powder

100ml coconut milk

2 tbsp pandan juice

few drops of pandan paste (optional)

3 tbsp corn oil

 

5 egg whites

60g caster sugar

 

Preheat oven to 170C. Beat the egg yolks with 20g caster sugar. Add coconut milk, pandan juice and pandan paste. Combine well. Sift in the cake flour and baking powder in three batches into the egg yolk mixture. Mix well and add in corn oil.

 

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until bubbles form. Add the 60g of sugar in three batches, about one-third at a time and beat well between additions. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form or just when about stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of beaten egg whites into egg mixture. Fold in the rest until just combined. Bake for 45 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and invert the pan immediately. Allow it to cool completely before unmoulding.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

This is a long-overdue blog post. Transferring of the domain and moving to a new hosting ground was a pain in the ass. On top of that, I was travelling so I haven’t had the time to post my Sticky Toffee Pudding!

I made sticky toffee pudding last week a day before I left for my trip. I suddenly craved Sticky Toffee Pudding so why not make one myself since I have the time? I had a look through a few recipes and settled with the one from Krumpli. I had to soak the dates in boiling water first for about an hour before mashing it with a fork. I don’t have a food processor so I had to do it manually.

One of sticky toffee pudding’s main ingredients is the black treacle. I’ve never used black treacle before so I didn’t know how it tasted like. I’ve always seen it in supermarkets but never bought them and worked with it before so this is my first time.

The sticky toffee pudding is already sinful as it is with the toffee sauce but since it’s already sinful, why not make it more sinful? I served the sticky toffee pudding together with some custard as well.

 


 

STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING

Adapted from Krumpli

250g dates

175ml boiling water

Seeds from 1 vanilla pod (I used vanilla bean paste as I didn’t have vanilla pods)

100g softened butter

150g brown sugar (I used dark)

2 eggs, beaten

2 tbsp. black treacle

100ml full fat milk

175g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

 

50g butter

150g brown sugar

200ml double cream

1 tbsp black treacle

 

Pour the boiling water over the dates and stir in the vanilla bean paste. Allow to steep for an hour until cool. Preheat the oven to 180C.

When the dates are cooled, mash it with the back of a fork. Place the softened butter in a bowl and cream with brown sugar. Slowly add the beaten eggs. Mix together the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a separate bowl. Slowly mix in the milk and flour, baking soda and baking powder mix until a thick dough is formed. Mix until just combined, do not over mix. Finally, mix in the dates and black treacle.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Pour in the mix and bake for 60-75 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.

For the sauce, heat the butter, sugar and half of the cream over a medium high heat until a sauce is achieved, stir continuously. Stir in the black treacle and the rest of the cream.

 

Berlin and Prague

Hello and welcome! You may or may not notice that all my previous posts are now gone (boohoo). The reason being I transferred my hosting and domain so there was a 99% risk of losing all my previous contents. I couldn’t back up through the previous hosting etc so yeah it’s gone. I did copy and paste all my previous blog posts and saved it on Word but guess it won’t work either way. The transferring process took almost a week and finally, the status became active today. The whole transferring process wasn’t that easy as I expected but thankfully, the new hosting company is so helpful and quick in solving all my problems. I even received a phone call from China (I was like wtf before I answered the phone call), telling me how to solve the problem.

Anyway, I was on travelling for the past few days since the 5 of April. I went to Berlin and Prague for 6 days 5 nights and then I stayed in Liverpool for a night before coming to Manchester today. I flew to Berlin first and it was a night flight. By the time I arrived, it was already close to midnight but we still decided to take the train to city centre anyway. However, shit happened. We couldn’t understand anything and we didn’t know how the trains work. It was also late at night so there wasn’t any staff to ask so we decided to take the cab instead and paid €41. FOL.


DAY 2 – BERLIN

The night before, we planned to leave the hotel at 10am but we ended up leaving at 1030am instead cos ya’know, Malaysian timing. We went to Distrikt Coffee for breakfast which was about 10 minutes walk away from our hotel. Link can be found here!

 Our first tourist attraction was the Berlin Wall Memorial because it was the closest from the breakfast place. There really wasn’t much to see there but we went just for the sake of going. The second tourist spot we went to was the Reichstag building. We wanted to take a group picture and the only people that was around us at that time were Chinese so of course, we went to ask in Chinese. Picture turned out……well, kinda awful. We went to Brandenburg Gate next and then Soviet War Memorial. After that, we went to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe where we took looaaadddssss of pictures. Next stop was the Topography of Terror and then to Checkpoint Charlie. We had Burgermeister for dinner. It was nice but it wasn’t that great. I personally think Five Guys serve better burgers but that’s just me.
After dinner, we went to a pub for drinks and then we took a train to somewhere that I can’t remember the name to have a look at Berlin’s night view but guess what? There was no night view.

DAY 3 – BERLIN

I can’t remember the reason why we wanted to wake up and leave earlier today but yeah, we left at 10am. Good job to us! We had breakfast at a place called Schwarzwaldstuben (don’t even try pronouncing it). So my usual breakfast drink would be hot chocolate so of course, today is no exception. The menu wrote ‘big cup of hot chocolate’ and I thought you know, how big could it be? I had the shock of my life when it came. It was the size of my hand. Not kidding, not exaggerating. It really is a BIG cup of hot chocolate.Since we knew that today was gonna be cloudy, we left Museum Island for today. Our first museum was Bode Museum. They offer student tickets but you need to show your student ID. Me being me, I left my student ID at the hotel but thank God, they accepted my BRP because it says ‘student visa’. Nobody is surprised because it’s just me being me. Anyway, I’m not a big fan of museums because they’re well, boring. We went to another museum after that but left for lunch at Emma’s after awhile. There was 5 museums on Museum Island I think but we only went to 2 museums. We took at train to East Side Gallery after that and then headed back to the hotel to rest. At night, we went to a local pub place and it was huge! It’s much much bigger than Albert Schloss and the food was awesome. We had late dinner so by the time we finished, it was already quite late. We headed back to the hotel after that because I felt unwell. I’m a 두부, no doubt.


DAY 4 – BERLIN & PRAGUE

We had to check out before 11am so we got up early. I received a missed call at 6am so I called back at around 930am. The wifi in the room sucked so bad that I had to talk outside the room, barefooted. The conversation had so much insults I can’t even. Like bruh I just woke up and got insulted 10 times in a row. We had breakfast at Factory Girl and the food was pretty decent.

Our train was at 1pm and we got to the train station very early so we just roamed around the train station because it was huge. The train to Prague took about 4 hours and we arrived in Prague at around 530pm. By the time we got to our Airbnb, it was already about 6pm. We struggled to open the door that we had to call our host to ask her how to open the door. Dumb moments sigh. We headed out for dinner at Vinohradsky Parlament and the beef tartare was so good omg. We went back to our accommodation to have an early rest because we have a full day the next day.


DAY 5 – PRAGUE

Our day started at 9am and we had breakfast at Café Lourve, recommended by my friend. After breakfast, we headed to Old Town Square to see the Astronomical Clock. We went up to the tower and the view was amazing.

Lunch was at Kolkovna Cenice where bird shit fell on my dress and my bag. When the waiter was passing me my spaghetti, my phone fell into my spaghetti. Damn embarrassing but oh well, what’s new anyway. After lunch, we went to Charles Bridge where we took a zillion pictures but some turned out meh because the sun was scorching hot. After that, we walked up to the Prague Castle and climbed 287 steps, 56m high to see the view again. Prague is so beautiful I’m not even kidding. It was getting a bit late so we decided to leave and have dinner. Dinner didn’t happen after that. We stayed at Charles Bridge to take an extra zillion pictures because they evening sky was so pretty. It was like a gradient of pink and blue. I have no idea how much time we spent on the bridge taking pictures because by the time we went to have dinner, it was already close to 9pm. We had dinner at Plzenska Restaurace at The Municipal House. After having dinner, we went back to our Airbnb and I knocked out. After climbing so many stairs today just for the view and walking god knows how many miles, I was knackered.

 


Day 1 and Day 2 were pretty much just flying and eating so there really isn’t much to say about it. Overall, it was a great trip. Really loved Prague but as for Berlin, not that much. Definitely gonna visit Prague again one day! Now that I’m back in Manchester, it’s all work work work work. I have so many deadlines coming up and not forgetting the showcase and exam too sigh. I was sick throughout the entire trip which sucked but I still enjoyed myself. Was supposed to be in Brighton today till Friday but our trip got cancelled boohoo. A sign for me to rest I guess?