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My Baking Diary - 5 Minutes Non-Chocolate "Mug" Cake

>> Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cooking (and now baking) is one of the many ways I de-stress. I find it therapeutic to just stir ingredients in a bowl/mug, cut ingredients into neat sizes, & watch the results of my labour coming to reality. As lunch breaks are a short, yet great time to catch a breather, I decided to fix myself a simple salad *bliss...de-stress time for 1st-half of the day*

Lunch is Served!
Toss together some Romaine lettuce, cubes of red tomatoes, mangoes, dry apricots, hard-boiled egg, & top the salad with some pieces of fragrant pan-fried chicken breast meat (marinated with a little salt/soya sauce, pepper, & corn flour). The dressing is just the simple mayonnaise with a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar, dash of pepper, & some mixed Italian herbs :)

Back to the main content of this post....

Since the day I decided to pick up baking, I've attempted many simple, fuss-free recipes that does not require a cake mixer/weighing scale. After a long day at work, I decided to unwind & try out a non-chocolate "mug" cake. "It only takes 5 minutes anyway", I thought to myself. But I've learned some lessons from my 1st attempt last week, so I ensured that I don't make the same mistake this time around, even if it takes me more than 5-minutes to get this simple 'cake' out.

I used my own tip in my previous blog post & mixed my ingredients in a bowl first before transferring the mixture into the mug. It's truly much better! :D It took me more than 5-minutes, no doubt, but the end result is a much smoother & well-mixed microwaved cake ;) Below is the list of ingredients used for this attempt (same recipe with some tweaks):

Cake 1: Vanilla + Mango
Cake 2: Banana + Coffee
Cake 3: Triple Choc - Cocoa powder, chopped blueberry dark chocolates, chopped white chocolates, chocolate rice (optional)

Ingredients:
* coffee mug
4 tablespoons flour - make sure you measure it right - or the cake is a lie!
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa (I just omitted this ingredient for non-choc cakes & used 1 tablespoon for the Triple Choc cake)
2 tablespoons whisked egg - 1 egg is too much, 1 egg white is too eggy, 1 yolk is too dense, but 2 tblsp is just right!
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips
splash vanilla or other flavoring - try peppermint or cinnamon
1 ripe banana (3/4 mashed & 1/4 sliced to top the cake)
3-5 tablespoons of mashed mangoes (I used the orange ones & you can add as much mangoes as you want into your cake. I have some diced mangoes as toppings too)
2 tablespoons of chopped dark chocolate (I used what I have in my fridge - with blueberries)
2 tablespoons of chopped white chocolate
1 tablespoon of chocolate rice (optional)
1 tablespoon of chopped almonds (optional)
Some coffee powder

* For a fudgier version, omit egg!

*****
Vanilla + Mangoes
Mix the flour (1), sugar (2), & eggs (3)...

Add in milk, oil, & vanilla essence (4 & 5), then add in the mashed mangoes, mix well, & pour the batter into the mug - top it with diced mangoes...

Banana + Coffee Cake & Triple Choc Cake
Banana: Same ingredients & method as above, except that I added some coffee powder after adding the sugar to the mixture. I also added some chopped almonds to give the cake some crunch, before adding the mashed bananas. I topped the cake with the banana slices & sprinkled some brown sugar on the bananas :)
Triple Choc: All the same ingredients as illustrated above, except that I added 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder + some coffee powder into the milk (coffee brings out a richer chocolate taste) & added the 3 tablespoons of milk into the mixture. After adding all the "wet" ingredients, I added the chopped chocolates & sprinkled  the cake with some chocolate rice.

Microwave it for 3-5 minutes


Check out how the Triple Choc bubbled WAY more than the other 2 non-chocolate ones!
Makes me wonder why my non-chocolate cakes didn't really rise...anyone has any clue?
video

Tadaa!!
My camera battery died, so I took the shots below with my handphone...colour ain't as nice, but oh well...they taste not too bad. MUST be eaten warm/fresh (if possible), lest the cake will feel dry, hard, & floury :S


Lesson learned: Unsweetened cocoa powder, when omitted from the recipe results in a flatter microwaved-cake! I've no idea why (yet to find out as I didn't use baking soda anyway, so I've no idea why the acidic cocoa powder does strange effects on my microwaved cake). Therefore, I shall only bother making chocolate mug cakes in future! :D

Stay tuned for more crazy attempts, recipes, & restaurant-recommendations as well!


"Mug" Cake Crazy,

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My Baking Diary - 5 Minutes Chocolate "Mug" Cake

>> Friday, February 24, 2012

Yes, it's past midnight & I'm still too excited about the latest success that I had - a 5-minutes microwaved "mug" cake a.k.a. "cake-in-a-mug"! I'm a baking-noob/newbie, so experienced bakers out there, please forgive me for my over-excitement with such simple recipes :P

I stumbled upon this super-duper simple recipe around half past 11p.m. & decided to try it out since it only takes like 5 minutes to "bake" a cake! It worked!! Here's the recipe that I used & some photos of the "midnight" snack that I fixed, which I'm gonna eat as tomorrow's breakfast (I hope it still tastes good!).

TIP: Stir ingredients in properly (or mix the ingredient separately before pouring it into the mug). If not, you'll end up getting clumps of baked flour that's not mixed together with the rest of the ingredients.

http://www.instructables.com/id/5-minute-Chocolate-Cake/#step1

Ingredients:
* coffee mug
4 tablespoons flour - make sure you measure it right - or the cake is a lie!
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 tablespoons whisked egg - 1 egg is too much, 1 egg white is too eggy, 1 yolk is too dense, but 2 tblsp is just right!
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips
splash vanilla or other flavoring - try peppermint or cinnamon
* For a fudgier version, omit egg!

Here's a photo collage of my success!

Check out how the cake-in-mug rose slowly to perfection! :D
video

Are you motivated to try this simple dessert out for yourself now? :D I am! Gonna make it again - and will serve it with warm with either some cold vanilla ice cream & warm chocolate sauce + fruits + chopped nuts, or just eaten like that! *woots!!*

TRY IT OUT!! :D


The baking newbie,

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In some baking frenzy...my baking diary

>> Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The mad PerutBesi has gotten into some mad craze of late (it may be the stress)...since she knows how to cook & is quite creative in coming out with her own dishes (at times strangely good), she decided to pick up baking (straight from recipes taken from the internet!). It's her little way of destressing since experimenting can be quite fun ;)

*****
Here's a short account of my madness:

1 Feb 2012 - 1st attempt in baking - I baked some peanut butter, chocolate chip cookies & gave it out as an early Valentine's Day gift to my boyfriend, my family & some colleagues :) I merged/mixed & matched the recipe below from several sources in the internet, of which I forgot! So erm, below is the recipe that I used...



14 Feb 2012 - 2nd attempt in baking - I baked 2 types of chewy cookies this time. First type: mint chocolate chip cookies. Second type: mint (using extract), white chocolate, dark chocolate chips, & green tea (I pounded the green tea leaves/powder from the tea bags myself, k? No joke man...loads of effort) cookies. These batches are slightly too sweet & not as yummy as the 1st batch's...but on the overall, it still tasted not too bad. One tray of the green tea ones didn't turn out :( So I scraped it off the baking pan & kept it aside 'til I found a way to use it. Recipe is a mix & match between these 2 from http://rebelwithoutasauce.wordpress.com & allrecipes.com.

[Update 22nd Feb: I just remembered I have 1 piece of cookie each that I've kept aside for JL - she hasn't redeemed her cookies yet, so here's how the cookies looked like]

16 Feb 2012 - 1st attempt in "saving my flopped cookies" innovatively - The flopped mint, green tea, white chocolate & dark chocolate chip cookies (6 cookies) were crushed & stored aside at the "corner of shame"...hahahaha....but thanks to my crazee brain, at 12+am this very day, I thought of something "interesting" to save my cookies & make it pleasing to the palette.

1. Crush the cookies 'til it's fine, yet not 'til powderish.
2. Add some green tea to moisten it up...but never add too much liquid!
3. Melt some white chocolate in a bowl placed in a pan of slow boiling water on the stove.
4. Sliced up some fresh strawberries (my housemate said she didn't know what to do with the strawberries in the fridge since it's a sourish)
5. Roll & pat the crushed cookies into balls.
6. Dipped cookie balls into the melted white chocolate to coat it.
7. Top the cookie balls with a slice of strawberry.
8. Sprinkle coffee powder over the cookie ball.

Walla! You'll have a sweet cookie ball with some sourish strawberry & bitter coffee powder to take away the overwhelming/"jelak" feeling of the sweet white chocolate cookie ball. Yums :) Cookies didn't have to go to waste!


21 Feb 2012 - 3rd attempt in baking - 1st attempt in baking cupcakes! - I baked 10 moist chocolate cupcakes (with added chocolate chips that's not part of the recipe & I topped the cupcakes with some chocolate rice & chopped almonds!) without eggs, without butter!! FUH!! I was amazed at the successful result! :D *bliss* Recipe taken from simplyrecipes.com.



Cooking, baking, & eating makes The Ruthless Eater happy :D I think food just makes PerutBesi happy! :D I'll continue trying out new recipes & will share it here whenever I come across any successful ones! Up next, I think I wanna bake brownies or cupcakes again...hahaha...ANYTHING that doesn't require a cake mixing machine/electric hand mixer will come into my wish list... I've yet to bake bread too, but it takes too much time & effort...heehee...

Oh, don't you just love a nice, delicious smelling kitchen & home? I do :)


Chef in her "lab",

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Short Trip to Ipoh for JS2012 Graduation

Another year has passed; I just came back from an extremely short trip to Ipoh (a 1 night trip) to attend the Jeremiah School 2012's Graduation/Commissioning Service at Ipoh Wesley. It feels as if it's just yesterday that I attended the JS2011's graduation!

Seven of us packed up in an MPV & left PJ around 9pm, after our youth meeting (MYF). We bought McD's for dinner, then headed straight to Fung Hao's house in Ipoh. It was quite a noisy trip when Mel was awake & excited, but when she's asleep, I had the priceless opportunity to chit-chat with Ben & got to know him better! Lovely :D Ahahaha...I'm so mean to Mel...but I love Melo! :P *huggies to Melo*

Life without Mel would be soooo quiet & probably dull :P

We arrived in Fung's house around midnight & were greeted by his dad :) "Thanks for waiting, uncle!" We even had a cup of barley as the "welcome drink"...hahahaha...it was quite cute. After all the "briefing" on the plans for Sunday, we headed off to our rooms - ah, so comfy. I slept through the night 'til Chris' sms came through & the rooster started to crow THREE times! I'm not kidding!! That rooster crowed around 6:40am when we had to wake up! Hahahaha....

Church service started at 8:15am & went on smoothly with the commissioning of the JS 2012 students. It's amazing to witness their graduation & listen to some of their testimonies. I knew some of them from camp & it's just awesome to know that they've experienced God in a deeper & probably different way ;)



Each road trip would not be complete without a meal or two, right? At least not for the PerutBesi....ahahahaha...we were introduced to Sun Seng Fatt at Jalan Market for their "Ipoh Sar Hor Fun" (kuey teow soup with chicken shreds), "Pak Chit Kai" (steamed chicken), "Nga Choy" (bean sprouts), & their Dry Curry Noodles.

Caught some funny expressions on my camera! :D

Food here was not excellent, in my humble opinion. I somewhat remember Kum Kee at Pasir Pinji area as the one where I enjoyed more - it's a little different though. Kum Kee's does not have prawns, but the soup is nicer/sweeter because of the soya/yellow beans that they used as the soup's base - not so bland. Since I'm no steamed chicken connoisseur, I can't really tell the great difference of the chicken here compared to other great places. It's certainly fresh, but the meat is slightly difficult for me to bite off! Hahaha....sort of too springy for me :P Oh, I'm reminded of my Ipoh trip last year, which I really enjoyed!


 Dumpling (RM1.00/dumpling)
The dumplings tasted more like chicken than pork...with some bits of spring onions & turnips finely chopped & mixed with the minced meat. It's not too bad, really. If they put some "jor hao yue" (literally translated as left-mouth-fish), something like dried anchovies/ikan bilis, into the dumpling, it would have tasted MUCH more fragrant!

 All noodles (RM4.50/bowl)
Eating in Ipoh is quite expensive already, eh? Gone are the days where a bowl of noodles is below RM3.50 :(

Funny Mountain Tau Fu Fah (around RM0.90/bowl)
This is like a must-have when you're in Ipoh, even when the crowd is large - you can just do a drive-through & order/eat in the car. Extremely smooth tau fu fah with concentrated ginger sugar syrup...so good...*bliss* I think the price went up by RM0.20 since last year, if I'm not mistaken.

On the overall, although this trip is a very short one, I'm still thankful to have made it to Ipoh for the JS2012's graduation with this bunch of youths. Four of them are from the TRAC MYF committee, while 3 of us just buat tumpang :D I enjoyed myself loads & had tremendous fun, loads of laughter, & was very much amused & irritated at the same time, thanks to the energetic & always-loved Melo :D


I ain't really a youth already, but I'm looking forward to more of such trips with a bunch of crazy & exciting people like these!!


Young people are fun people!

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Lao Gang Restaurant Strike Out

>> Saturday, February 18, 2012

Venue: Lao Gang Restaurant, Puchong
Occasion: Coupon redemption & gathering of friends
Overall comment: One word - disappointing. I've read quite a number of positive reviews of this place & would want to give it another chance, but this 1st impression just left a scar that puts me off from making another visit to the restaurant.
Halal: No

p/s: I'm hoping that we're just unlucky to get such bad quality food today. Let me know if you've just tried it recently with the coupon deal & it was acceptable/good/just different from what we got tonight.


Pictures indeed speak a thousand words. At times, you don't even need nice words to "lure" (or to put it nicely, "attract") customers to your restaurant. All you need is a good photographer/photos & you're on your way to excellent marketing for your outlet! CR bought a coupon deal from Everyday coupons for RM162.50 - the sight of the roast pig's trotter on the deal's page was enough to convince her to get the coupon & gather a group of us to give this place a try. The meal was apparently worth RM325.00 (I emphasize, "apparently").

Here's what we'll get from the deal that we bought:
7 course meal for 8-10 pax
Dry Scallop with Beancurd Soup (Large)
Yam Chicken in Claypot (Large)
Deep Fried Garoupe with Pineapple (1.8kg)
Crispy Golden Butter Prawns (600g)
Crispy Trotter
Stewed Vegetables (Large)
Dessert (Wedding Pancake) (Medium)


The restaurant is tucked right at a corner of Bandar Puteri Puchong, on the Giant hypermarket side. If you know where Tenji2 is, Lao Gang is right behind the row of shops where Tenji2 is located. It's at the other end of the Sekinchan Ikan Bakar restaurant. If you're not familiar with the roads there, you'll end up going in circles & making u-turns as most roads are one way streets *sigh*

The restaurant didn't seem to resemble a typical Chinese restaurant. It didn't look posh & classy, nor did it look like the usual "dai chow" coffeeshops kinda restaurant. Literally translated, Lao Gang means "old port", so the interior of the restaurant & some of the dishes take after its name. The entire concept is largely based on the classic look of a small town in Negeri Sembilan called Pasir Panjang in the olden days. Reminds me of the mushrooming kopitiams with the word "Old" in front of the kopitiams' names (Old Town, Old Coffee, Old this & that...)


The package did not include tea, so we had to pay around RM10 for our tea.


We also ate some of the snacks, oblivious to the fact that we will be charged (yes, it's also not part of the package - I didn't purchase this package, so I'm not aware of what's included). Rice was also excluded...hmm...


I couldn't make out of the soup...the dry scallops just dried up & evaporated :S


Okay, when this dish came, it was only warm - how can there be no steam/sizzling when a dish is served in a claypot??! *sigh* We didn't know what it was (didn't take notice on what the deal offered), but it sure didn't look appetizing at all, what more when it's cold. We ended up asking the waiter to reheat this & it came sizzling after that...but still the taste wasn't up to expectation. The chicken wasn't fresh - can taste that it's frozen chicken that has been kept for a while, & it was really fat (skin, fat, oil...everything as if it wasn't cleaned properly). To add to the disaster, it was somehow fried with some super thick batter. If it wasn't fried, then somehow the dish was clottish with some batter of sort, which was really geli :S

The deep fried garoupa with pineapple "kononnya" was missing with pineapples. I didn't know it's supposed to come with pineapples! Where were they?? If I knew, I would have made noise. Sigh. The fish was certainly not fresh. For one, it's deep fried (most fish that's used for deep frying aren't very fresh already). But this one has flesh that wasn't flakey like fresh tuna, but it was powderish. I just can't accept overloaded-with-batter+powderish-flesh fish. Fail. How can a restaurant serve such quality dishes? Won't the name of the restaurant be at stake? *sigh*

I was just too disappointed. When I saw one of the articles framed up on the wall of the restaurant, straight away I told the rest, "Yup, strike out from my list of restaurants to revisit for sure!"

Chicken was not appetizing, fish was powderish, now the prawns were also a goner. Tak banyak pun...telur lebih drpd udang :S The only thing that's "nicer" & acceptable is the egg shreds in this dish.

I call this a "discounted" piece of pig's trotter. I've never had pig's trotter that's served HALF. Where's the meat?? How come the top part of the pig's trotter is gone? The skin wasn't nice & crispy as well - it was hard & dry. Most roast pig's trotter are juicy/tender & the bones have a nice, fresh colour. This one looks "expired" as the bones were dark-coloured & dull :S What happened to the standard of food here?

Meat-hunting...no meat, no meat...

This is supposed to be a large portion of vegetables, but 1-2 persons could finish it up. Perhaps this is the best dish overall? The presentation was out though...usually ppl place the vegetables in the "rice noodles basket", but this looked erm...spilled?

The pancake the pancake...it came with the rest of the dishes before we completed our meal *faints* Thick-skinned pancakes - I was moodless to bother already. Another flop.

I don't know how else to positively comment. I'm just wondering if the quality of the food has dropped drastically or it's one of those days where the chefs are just not in the mood to cook? Professionally speaking, there's not such thing as mood - work is work, unfortunately. I hope other customers aren't getting the quality of food that we got tonight. It's really disappointing. I haven't had such disappointment with a restaurant's food since perhaps the Rak Thai experience. This experience costs us around RM21.00/person - for the dishes, rice, snacks, tea, & tax.

All the best, Lao Gang.


Two of the reviews that I've read (which were positive!):



Lao Gang Restaurant Sdn Bhd 老港家乡小厨
G-48, Jalan Puteri 1/8
Bandar Puteri Puchong
47100 Puchong
Selangor Darul Ehsan.
Tel: (+603) 8051 3126 (For Reservation)
Business hours: 11:00a.m. - 3:00p.m., 5:30p.m. - 11:00p.m. (Last order 9:30pm)
GPS: N3 01.588 E101 37.187




Ratings:
Presentation: * *
Price: * *
Environment: * * 1/2
Taste: 1/2
Service: * *


Overall





Terribly disappointed,

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Valentine's Day Set @ Nihonkai, Sunway Mentari

>> Sunday, February 12, 2012

I'm a few days early, but HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

February is like a month for love (although you can express your love to your loved ones any time, any day!). Many restaurants & hotels are taking the opportunity to celebrate this much-commercialized occasion by offering set meals with some extra touch of love ;)

While most places offer Valentine's Day set meals for more than RM50/person/set, Nihonkai, Sunway Mentari offers a delicious & satisfying set dinner for only RM38.80/set! So if you're still wondering where to go or if you're craving for Japanese food lately, it would be a nice change to celebrate this Valentine's Day with some good Japanese food from Nihonkai, Sunway Mentari :) Why spend so much money & get stuck in a shopping complex's car park trying to find a parking space when a good Japanese restaurant like Nihonkai offers you a deal that cares for your stomach & your pocket too? There's ample parking space around the restaurant.

Photo provided by Nihonkai, Sunway Mentari

Read more about my dining experiences at Nihonkai, Sunway Mentari below:

*****
I've somewhat celebrated my Valentine's Day for the year 2012 with some fresh, self-baked chocolate chip cookies...I gave out some to colleagues, kept some for my family, & gave a box to AP :D My 1st-ever self-baked cookies! (Yes, I've never really baked cookies/cakes before) I'm currently in a new craze to bake cookies of sorts! Time to experiment & get the kitchen smelling lovely :D

How would you celebrate yours this year? ;)

Have a LOVELY Valentine's Day :)


Nihonkai Japanese Restaurant
2, Jalan PJS 8/18
Dataran Mentari
46150 Petaling Jaya
Selangor Darul Ehsan.
Tel: (+603) 5630 1368
Business Hours: 12:00p.m. - 3:00p.m. & 6:00p.m. - 10:00p.m. daily


Happy Valentine's Day,

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Chinese New Year 2012 - Day 2 onwards

>> Monday, February 6, 2012

Every other day of this Chinese New Year has been about food, food, & more food (and yes, people as well). I've probably been too busy eating that I ran low of motivation to blog! :D I can't even form proper sentences as there are too many distractions around! Hahahaha....oh well, here's a very short account on what the PerutBesi has been up to since her last post...I hope to blog more in the days ahead, so stay tuned :P

*****
I started work on day 4 of the CNY & since then, work has continued to pile up. But thank God for some breaks in between, where I could continue in the spirit of CNY to catch-up with family & friends in PJ & also in Kuantan :)

Loads of food, family, & friends :)

I'm currently in Kuantan & I think it's my 1st time spending part of the CNY here. We had a family & friends gathering at a church member's house yesterday, where more home-cooked food were served! I felt SO blessed :) It's just awesome to be with a bunch of good friends to share some laughter, chit-chat, & get to know each other better. Me likey.

Today is the last day of the Chinese New Year already & I'll have to head back to PJ tomorrow. I'm SO looking forward to another break!

CNY in Kuantan & early Valentine's Day from PerutBesi


In holiday mood,

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