Friday, October 31, 2014

Foodie Fridays - Wholemeal Bread, improved version

I shared in July the wholemeal bread that DinoPapa baked, you can see the post here, last weekend I decided to make this bread again but fine tuning the recipe a little bit.  In that recipe I told DinoPapa to mix 1.5 cups of wholemeal flour with 2 cups of bread flour, the texture and taste was ok but I couldn't taste the wholemeal portion.  Thus after getting advice from my facebook friend Granny Smith, a lovely grandma living half the world across me, I decided to do the bold thing of replacing more than half of the bread flour with wholemeal flour.

Before that, I did a little online research to find out more about wholemeal flour.  Wholemeal flours contain 100% of the wheat grain, meaning it has the bran and germ which also means it retains all the natural nutrients plus they also contain significant amounts of fibre, iron and vitamin B.  When used in bread baking, it has a denser texture and will give it a nutty flavor.

Then I read about "stoneground flour" which leads me to go deeper into searching about it. As the name suggested it means the wheat is being grind in between 2 stones.  And the benefits of stone-grinding preserves these nutrients so that the flour is more healthy.  You can read more about it here.

Interesting right?  So I set out to hunt for stoneground wholemeal flour which was not successful as the neighbourhood supermarket only carries local brands and those in the more atas area like Orchard have organic wholemeal flour.  One day I happen to see Waitrose Organic stoneground wholemeal bread flour, imagine my happiness!  However, despite my happiness it took me about 15mins walking aimlessly around the supermarket, having an internal debate whether to purchase it because it cost a whopping SGD7.50 for a 1.5kg pack because since I do not use wholemeal flour as often I was afraid that it may turn bad before I have another chance to use it.  In the end, I bite the bullet and marched to the cashier with the packet in my hand, paid for it and the rest is history.

As with the previous loaf, I used the 40mins bread roll recipe but replaced the bread flour with wholemeal flour; I used 2 + approx 0.25 cup wholemeal flour and 1 + 0.25 cup of bread flour.  Ok, don't ask me why the 0.25 cup, while preparing the half cup of wholemeal fhour, I just have this strong urge to mix half of each flour.  You can of course ignore this and go for 2 ½ cup wholemeal flour and 1 cup bread flour.

With the "mysterious" crack on the previous loaf, Regina suggested that I try scoring the bread dough before putting it into the oven, I did and perhaps cut it a little too deep *opps*


When I took out the bread after 25mins, the loaf was brown to perfection and smells was heavenly~ until I stick the cake needle into the centre of the loaf, it came out wet.  I inserted the needle into a few different parts of the loaf and got the same result.  I tried to survey the dough and see how under baked it is by cutting it open with a knife and to my horror the centre of the loaf is still uncooked.  So in it went to the oven, I lowered the temperature to 200C and set timer for another 10mins.  This is how my loaf looks like 10mins later, beautiful isn't it?


Not wanting to be deceived by its look again, I probed it with the cake needle and it came out clean.  Of course there is a less "invasive" way to check if your bread is done by using the "thumping" method.  Remove the loaf from the pan and hit the bottom with your hand, if it sounds hollow your loaf is done.

I waited patiently for the loaf to cool down to slice it, I popped a small piece into my mouth and instantly fell in love with it.  The crust is crunchy, the bread is sweet and tasty even on its own plus it's more of a wholemeal bread than the last one.  I'm not sure whether the stoneground wholemeal flour caused any difference on the bread, I'd like to think that it did but I will let comment again when I have the chance to use the local brands to make this bread again.


Well, it's still not the perfect loaf as you can see from the photo there are some slightly under cooked part.  I will have to work on the baking time and temperature till I get a 100% perfect wholemeal bread loaf.  In the meantime, I'm just happy with my success and enjoying my wholemeal bread neat with a cup of coffee as my breakfast and tea time snacks.

Wholemeal Bread - Improved version

by DinoMama (Adapted from YourHomeBasedMom & Domestic Goddess Wannabe)
Prep Time: 40mins
Cook Time: 35mins

Ingredients
* 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (280ml) warm water
 cup (83ml) oil
* 2 tablespoons (about 16g) active dry yeast (or instant yeast)
* ¼ cups (56.25g) sugar
* 1 ½ (9g) teaspoons salt
* 1 egg
* 2 ½ cup wholemeal flour
* 1 cup bread flour (seems to work better but all purpose flour will also work)

Instructions
1. Heat oven to 220C.
2. In your mixer bowl combine the water, oil, yeast and sugar and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Using your dough hook, mix in the salt, egg and flour.
3. Knead with hook until will incorporated and dough is soft and smooth. (Just a few minutes) The dough will be a little sticky. I oiled my hands, knead it one to two times, and it became really easy to shape.

NOTE
a) If your dough is too wet, add a little more flour and knead a few times.
b) IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A MIXER, just hand knead the dough for about 5 minutes.

4. Roll the dough and place in a greased 9 x 5 loaf pan.
5. Cover the dough and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Glaze with egg wash if you want.
6. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until golden brown. Stick a cake tester into the middle of the bread to see if its cooked.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Skyline Luge Sentosa “Race to 10 Million” Campaign

Once is NEVER enough!  And so we were back to the Skyline Luge Sentosa again recently after having such great fun during our visits in June 2014.  Knowing DinoBoy will be ecstatic I kept it till the last minute so that he can focus on his exam that week.  When he got to know it 2 days before our visit, he was so happy that he can't contain his excitement and of course asked me a gazillion times for the next 2 days if we are REALLY going.  Look at him gleaming and smiling when we finally reached The Luge.



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Observations of the Obstreperous Animals - Book Review & Giveaway


Celebrating

Stanley and Katrina von Cat the Master of Wisdom and Knowledge are celebrating the release of their second book, The Observations of the Obstreperous Animals, by hosting their very own "Book Blasty Tour". Thank you for taking the time to visit this special stop along their tour and be sure to enter the giveaway!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Parenting from the Heart Seminar by Danone Dumex

Since the day DinoBoy enters our life, I am always reading up on books about raising him right, to make sure that I am doing every thing the correct way so that he eats well, sleeps well, grow up strong & healthy.  No doubt it's a lot of reading but I benefited a lot from these books which made me adopted a balanced parenting style where I was mindful about DinoBoy's emotional and physical development.

Recently we chanced upon a seminar; Parenting from the Heart which we think would provide these useful information for parents, especially the new parents who are clueless or unsure where to start with this parenting thing.  How I wish I have attended such seminars during my time, it will definitely helped me in raising the boy and have some of my queries answered easily than taking time, sometimes days to search the books or web for the answers.

Parenting from the Heart is an initiative under Danone Dumex's Happy, Healthy, Gracious Singapore movement through which the company provides support to parents in raising a Happy, Healthy, Gracious next generation in the form of a parent education series with doctors and experts from Thomson Medical Centre and other established organisations sharing relevant information

Friday, October 10, 2014

Foodie Fridays - Homemade Crispy Bacon Bits

2 weeks ago I posted our Mac & Cheese where I shared that I added pan fried cod fish and bacon bits.  Today I am sharing with you how I made my crispy bacon bits.

While walking around the supermarket trying to think of ingredients to add to our mac & cheese, I chanced upon this fresh bacon bits.  I don't really like bacon bits on my food when dining out because I find that they are too hard and salty.  This is the first time I am seeing this fresh bacon bits as I rarely wonder into the cheese section in that particular supermarket,  Without thinking much I dropped a packet into my shopping basket.  Well, what I do not like usually does not mean that the rest of the family are deprived of them right?   

"Tender & Juicy" it says on the packet and Tender & Juicy these bacon bits are after frying them.


It is very easy to prepare bacon bits.  First, heat up your frying pan and add cooking oil.  Once the oil is hot enough, add in the fresh bacon bit to fry.  Stir them frequently to prevent the bacon from getting burnt.  Word of caution - the oil will splatter so be prepared for it.


Continue to fry the bacon bits till they obtained that golden brown color.  There are going to be a lot of bubbles but that's caused by the grease from the bacon bits, nothing to be alarm of. 


I am using my traditional cast iron wok so the temperature is higher than frying pan, my bacon bits were ready after 5mins, you may have to fry them longer in your frying pan.  Dish the fried bacon bits out on some kitchen towel to get rid of some extra grease.

Here's my tasty and crispy bacon bits, cooked to my liking, not too hard or salty.  I only cooked the amount I required that day, the rest of the fresh bacon bits are sitting in my freezer.  I read on the net that you could fry the whole lot and freeze the fried bacon bits in ziplock bag.


Of course, its's ok if you do not want to buy a packet of bacon bits, just buy some fresh bacon, dice them up (not too small pieces) and fry them.

Besides adding these crispy bacon bits to your pasta, you can add them to your salad, baked potato, omelette etc.  Which ever way you choose, remember to have fun making these and enjoying them after that!

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Foodie Fridays - Soft & Fluffy Pancakes

For months we have been going to Mcdonalds for breakfast before we head off to art class, every time I will order their breakfast deluxe that cost about SGD8+ and share it with DinoBoy.  While DinoBoy takes the 2 pancakes and the harsh brown, I will have the English muffins and the patty, we will share scrambled eggs and the milo.  If you split the price into half its about SGD4+ per person, slightly higher than a meal in the neighbourhood coffeeshop.  However, its such a heavy breakfast that usually we will skip lunch that is about 4hours away, which means more "saving" for us.

Great deal for us right?  Except that there are 2 things that I dislike; 1. waking up early so that we will have ample time to have our breakfast AND make it to class on time, 2. I'm actually sick of eating that tough English muffins and the salty patty.  Good enough reasons for me to try to make breakfast on Saturdays isn't it?

I found this Good Old Fashioned Pancakes in allrecipes.com and set out to make the pancakes last weekend.  It's easy to make, its soft, its fluffy and we love it, even me, who is not a pancake fan.  This photo really does not do justice to the recipe, you seriously have to make the pancakes and taste them on your own. 


The recipe states that it will make 8 pancakes, I am not sure the size of the pancakes but I decided to reduced the ingredients so that I can make lesser pancakes; I used 1 cup each of plain flour & milk, 3 teaspoon of baking powder and the rest of the ingredients based on my feeling at that moment.  Then I used the ice cream scoop to spoon the batter onto the pan and I  made 10 palm sized pancakes which are the right size for DinoBoy though he said they were "kinda thin as compared to McDonald's but taste much better than that.".  Enough said!  This recipe is definitely to keep and I can foresee that I will be using it very often.

Soft & Fluffy Pancakes

by DinoMama (Adapted from allrecipes.com
Prep Time: 10-15mins
Cook Time: 15-20mins

Ingredients (8 pieces)
* 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
* 3 ½ teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 tablespoon white sugar
* 1 ¼ cups milk
* 1 egg
* 3 tablespoons butter, melted

Instructions
1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
2. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.
3. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat.
4. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. (I used an ice cream scoop)
5. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Children’s Day Weekend Extravaganza @ City Square Mall

Its a long weekend with Children's Day tomorrow and Hari Raya Haji holiday next Monday.  The kids will have the last bit of fun before they jump into the serious work of tackling their year end exams.  We are definitely not going to miss out any chance of having fun and this weekend is packed full of activities.  One of the places we will be going is City Square Mall, here's the reasons why.

Photo Credits : City Square Mall


October the 3rd is Children's Day in Singapore and I guess City Square Mall decides to give the kids a treat for the month of October! They have prepared a variety of exciting live performances, exhibitions, competitions and fairs put together over the Children’s Day weekend as well as enjoy exclusive privileges and discounts available from 3 October to 2 November 2014.  It sure Pays to be Small!

There are 2 shows happening this weekend and we are definitely not going to miss them.

Show #1
Put aside the "I know how he do that" thinking and enjoy not one but TWO magic shows by two great magicians, Tricky Patrick and Uncle Jimbo.  Laugh along with Tricky Patrick as he selects volunteers from the crowd to join him in his tricks. Witness how he turns shredded paper into a hat, Superman's brief or make a bottle vanish into thin air!  

This will be followed by a special performance by the students of LEAP SchoolHouse, Genius R Us, Perfect Pitch and UBO Bilingual School. Uncle Jimbo would then continue the fun with his special magic and puppet show to keep the fun going.

Oooo~~ I'm excited just thinking about the magic shows, its been a long time since I watch one, I am sure it will be filled with laughter and surprises.

Magic shows with Tricky Patrick, Uncle Jimbo and our very own young performers
Show Date: Friday - Sunday (3-5 October)
Show Time: 3-5pm
Venue: Level 1 Atrium, City Square Mall

Photo Credits : City Square Mall
Show #2
I remember Mat Yoyo, or rather the earlier generation, from my younger days.  At that time it was aired in Malay, it hosted by veteran actor-comedian Mat Sentul and the male cat character Yoyo.  In 2012 the show was revived in 2012 as Mat Yoyo — The New Generation, running in English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil.

Come enjoy a special 20-minute live show featuring Yoyo and Yaya through an interactive song and dance performance which also include mini games with the audience. There are 40 exclusive Meet & Greet passes available after each show so be sure to have your picture taken with Yoyo and Yaya!

Mat Yoyo 'Live' on Stage
Show Date: Friday - Sunday (3-5 October)
Show Time: 5pm
Venue: Level 1 Atrium, City Square Mall

What's more!  During the weekend 03 to 05 October 2014 from 3pm onwards, City Square Mall will be giving out 100 goodie bags including a non-woven bag, a pair of chopsticks and an umbrella to serve as your ultimate outdoor companion.

For more details on the activities and promotions at City Square Mall’s celebration of Children’s Day, please visit www.citysquaremall.com.sg or check out City Square Mall’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/citysquaremall.

Disclaimer : This is not a sponsored post nor we are affiliated with the management of City Square Mall. We simply love the eco-friendly City Square Mall and its family focused activities.

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