Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cakes and Coconut Wine

It was my youngest sister's birthday on the first weekend of March. I had every intention of baking her cake and appearing at her doorstep, greeting her with a loud & cheery birthday greeting.

BUT I ended up exhausted from goodness knows what (a trail run and other things I cannot for the life of me recall!) and I delayed my intentions by a week.

In fact, I cracked my head long and hard, not knowing what she would like. I gambled with a Vanilla Cake with Lemon Frosting.

 I stuck to my favourite cake recipe, previously tried and tested, and made 2 layers.

The lemon frosting was one I had also previously used together with the cake recipe above at my first attempt at cupcakes. This time, the lemons I purchased were not as zesty as the ones I used previously.

It wasn't lemon-y enough!
How frustrating.
I kept adding lemon zest to it but I only had 2 lemons, you see.

The cake was not moist and fluffy either and you can see the bubbles there. Argh!

I am, however, thankful, that it wasn't a total write-off as I had worried it would be. In fact, it's so tame that I *think* my dad-in-law would be sweet enough to say it's a lovely cake. ;D

Last Saturday, a friend invited YB and I to her place for a house warming gathering. I didn't know what to bring / contribute!

Sure, YB and I brought a bottle of wine.

Instead, she opened her bottles of premium coconut wine which turned out to be interestingly delightful. I mean, it wasn't too coconut-y as I would have expected.

Check out the alcohol content in this one!

I decided on Espresso Brownies, a recipe which I have been meaning to try but hadn't managed to.
I admit it was risky to bring something I was making something at the first attempt but I kept flipping through my folder and really didn't know what to bake to bring!

Honestly, carrot cake without cream cheese frosting just doesn't sound mouth watering, right?

They weren't as fudgy as I was hoping they would be but they were still nice and moist.

I forgot to snap a picture before I left home so I only managed a picture of the last 2 slices that night. Heh.

And a picture of the sides I kept for myself.
And YB.

Uhm, I needed to taste the brownies before bringing them over, y'know. Had it failed, I wouldn't have brought it over!

I can't wait to make them again.


But ooh, I would love it if I could find a recipe for a super fudgy one!

p.s. Yes, they look dry but I swear that they weren't!
p.p.s I know, I know! I'm supposed to stop baking and focus on cooking but ...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Batu Dam Trail Run

The best thing about running in the jungle is that you'll feel pretty much alive and one with the greens that when you're running on the road, you'd wish that you were back in the jungle. 

These days, running on the road for me is more of a chore (ie training!) than for pleasure. Yet when I'm in the jungle, I forget that I'm supposed to "run" because I'm too busy enjoying the surroundings and I end up dilly dallying. =) 

Our Batu Dam trail run on 3rd March 2012 was inspired by this blog, and we had a pretty OK turn out that day, with 9 of us.

 (picture taken from Andrew's album.)

The 'before' picture.

There were some people fishing.

Honestly, we took the wrong way in. This entrance is usually kept locked as it leads to the National Rowing Club's premises.

We were however granted access by someone (I'm not sure who), who told us that we'll reach another gate where we'd have to find our own way through.

Or across.
Or over.

 (picture from YB's album)

Indeed, we had to do the unexpected - climb over the wall! Argh, I was the slowest because I am hopeless in things like this. I mean, ask me to climb over a fence, I think I can do that. But a brick/cement wall? Heh.

Raymond doing a fancy looking hop over.

When we were finally inside of the Batu Dam area, we were awed by the sight before us. We couldn't help play the part of a tourist and snapped pictures as much as we could.

That quiet morning was probably broken by a bunch of noisy runners. ;D

Once we were in the trail, we thought we might as well run properly.

But we still couldn't help but to stop and enjoy the view.


Would you rather whiz past Nature's beauty in order to complete your run as fast as possible or take it slow to enjoy the view? ;)

We stumbled upon someone's backyard and a man (possibly the landowner?) was walking towards his motorboat in his white briefs (we giggled!) while we oohed and aahed over his turkeys.

They're quite ugly upfront, I must say. Pity them.

Besides swatting leeches off our legs, we had to cross some streams as well. David (on the right) took off his socks and shoes so he could keep them dry as he crossed the stream.

The rocks are slippery and there's no way to avoid getting your feet wet. Andrew slipped and cut his hand!

The 3rd and last stream crossing!

I was running fast to catch up with the others when a branch whipped my bandanna off my head so quickly that it caught me by surprise.

The leech on David's ankle was the fattest of the day.

Leeches were aplenty that day. Everyone would stop to check their shoes and calves every now and then and shriek, "AAAAAHHHHH LEECH! LEEEEECH!!!!!!!" that I couldn't help but to laugh at them.

And then I'd shriek when I find some wriggling up my shoes or calves. Ugh.

I brought a small tub of salt but unfortunately it fell out of my bag during the last 1/3 of the run. Everyone looked so dejected when they heard the news.

I had to tell them to hurry up and not stop in the middle of the jungle for goodness sake, or they'll come after us.

We finally came out of the jungle and headed towards Riverstone Eco Resort. Boy, were we glad to be out of the leech-infested jungle! ;D

Leech counting began. We were trying to keep a statistics but eventually lost count. David won the Fattest Leech of the Day award and the Most Leeches of the Day ward went to Yloon.

Coming out of the jungle and to run back to our car was not a pleasant journey. With the roads so narrow and the cars whizzing by, we had to make sure we were out of harm's way.

And it was a 4km run back to our cars.

David's pet leech.

Check out the size of its mouth. Ugh!!!
(picture from Wei Li's album)

We thought we could clean up and take a dip in the lake/dam but the National Rowing Club weren't too pleased to see us.

Oh well, we decided to call it day and went back to Batu Caves area to look for some food!

With our casual pace, the run took slightly less than 2 hours for 11.5km. On map, our route looked like this.

We may just go back there for another run as some of the DR peeps missed this.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Yeast Free Wholemeal Bread

Last Saturday, I offered to bake YB some bread.

I searched high and low for a recipe I liked, and very much hassle free. After 15 minutes or so, I felt that I was wasting too much time (with my research! You know how yeast needs time!) so I quickly chose one.

Which happens to be yeast free. =D

I modified it as follows:
2 Cups of wholemeal flour
1 Cup of bread flour
1 Tbsp of brown sugar
1 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of bicarbonate soda (baking soda)
1/4 tsp of salt
1 Cup of miscellaneous (1/2 cup rolled oats, topped with 2 Tbsp wheat germ, 2 Tbsp of wheat bran, 2 tsp of flaxseed, 2 Tbsp of sunflower seeds - something like that!)
1 1/2 Tbsp of butter
2 Cups of milk

1. Preheat oven at 200'C. Grease loaf pan.
2. Combine all the dry ingredients, leaving butter and milk last.
3. Add butter and mix with fork.
4. Pour in the milk and combine well.
5. Pour batter into greased loaf pan.
6. Bake for 50 minutes.
7. Remove bread from pan and cool on rack.
*cross fingers*

The verdict? A bit too dry for me, or I must have baked it too long, am not too sure.

Probably too much ingredients, too. ;)

Correct me if I'm wrong, in my humble opinion, I think yeast free breads are more dense than normal and almost cake-like.

It was nice when toasted with cheese and topped with a slice of tomato and a sausage. And trust me, because of the fibre goodness, I was quite full after 2 1/2 slices!

The bread only lasted for less than 4 days so thankfully we ate it all in time!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Aspiration 2012

 (source: Born To Run)

How awesome is that!
Hopefully I'll be able to achieve toned legs, tummy and arms by, let's say, September perhaps? Oh, I don't know.

I got pretty excited thinking of how to achieve my target (I don't need 6-packs, thanks!) and I'm really hoping that kickboxing will also help me with it. *big grin*

I've also decided that bugger-it-all, I can't 'quit' running. Somehow it helps to stabilize my weight. I'm not sure how I can squeeze in 3 runs a week but I sincerely hope that with badminton, aerobics, kickboxing and running in the picture, I will soon be able to lose that 2kgs I gained post-wedding. Boo.

Oh, this one.
Yeah, I really should quit. Like seriously.

But I can't.
I'm cursed with a sweet tooth.

And fried stuff. Tsk tsk.
Can't help it because they taste pretty good!

Did I tell you that work is the shitty-shit-shit? Urghhhhhhhh I wish I had more time, less distractions and that bosses wouldn't be breathing down my neck every single minute, asking me to do this and that, that and this!

(Like hello, I can't do so many things at one time lahhhhh.)

I have been trying to get into office early this week but traffic hasn't been kind. 
Uhm, yeah, I kinda dilly dally a bit too.

I mean, I need to do my stretches in the morning ok!

Oh, did I tell you that I enjoyed my 2nd kickboxing class today? Despite the fact that it poured heavily and I had to walk through puddles to get to my car, I enjoyed the workout tremendously. 

Last week, my butt hurt for 2 days in a row after my first kickboxing class and I'm not sure what's the damage going to be this week. My abs are sore right now, and so are my shoulders. ;D

I have not signed up for a single running event this year, and I honestly don't think Tom, Dick & Harry's Konfirm Mou Man Tai 3.0 counts.

Running events are just too pricey these days. I find it a major turn off. Somehow running in the jungle is more enjoyable and less stressful (you don't need to watch out for cars!)

OK, I'm going to try to get into work before 8am tomorrow so I'm off to bed.

Good night!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I Was Wrong About The Cake

Did I mention that I was wrong about the cake

You see, I tried one of the corners of the cake after the cake had cooled, the same night I baked it and it wasn't tasty as I had hoped it would be.

Nevertheless, I brought some to work the next day and had a small slice with my coffee.

The slice I took was from near centre of the cake and somehow, it didn't taste so bad.

This cake seems pretty healthy, with wholemeal flour used. *giggle* You can see bits of white in the picture above and it gives the cake a bit of a chewy texture, which I don't really mind.

And hey, no butter. ;D

Then on Wednesday, I tried to get creative by baking them in a muffin tray.

Which kinda flopped. Tsk.
My bad.

Never fear, I still had them for tea this evening. They still tasted OK.

I'm so glad the week is finally over, but I still have tons of backlog of work to clear! I'm torn between going in to the office this weekend to get some of it sorted but I KNOW it's not going to happen. 

I spent the entire week working on one particular account and there's more to come. Bugger.

OK, YB has The Thing playing right now, and I can't help but to laugh at certain scenes. The graphics (or is it effects?) is just hilariously silly, and I can't wait for the movie to end.

And crap. It's already the weekend I still don't know what I should bake for my sister's birthday. Crap crap crap.

Just a simple vanilla cake with lemon frosting, perhaps?

I'm off for a trail run tomorrow morning and I pray there'll be no leeches, cross my fingers!