Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy birthday, MSLS!

We celebrated MSLS's birthday before we went for our trip. They just turned 2 years old on 28 Oct. As usual, they were so excited when they saw the cake. They were even more excited when we requested them to blow their cake. Mummy baked a carrot almond cake with cream cheese frosting for them.

We cooked country pasta with tomatoes and pork for the party.

Not forgetting, our favourite fruit pizza. This round we tried the Peach and cranberries pizza

The two birthday girls enjoyed their food very much...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Berlin Inn

Went to The Berlin Inn, a German restaurant last Saturday. Just a brief write up about the restaurant. The Berlin Inn is owned and operated by the Brauer family. Albert & Marianne Brauer emigrated from Germany in 1957. After settling in the Portland area, they raised two children: Karen and Brainard.

Karen, sparked by her mothers talents of cooking great food and desserts, chose to be professionally trained in the art of Pastries. In the fall of 1991, Karen and Marianne teamed up to open The Berlin Inn. They wanted to recreate the flavors of Germany for the people of Portland to enjoy. With the entire families hard work, the Berlin Inn Restaurant & Bakery was opened in April, 1992.

The Berlin Inn's culinary team is proud to recreate the distinctive flavors of the cuisine and pastries for which Germany is famous. The foods prepared at The Berlin Inn are made from scratch with only the freshest ingredients available. They use only non-cholesterol canola oil for all of our grilling & sautéing, and contain no MSG. Besides that, Vegan, Vegetarian & Gluten Free options are available throughout the menu.
Octoberfest.... Daddy ordered a glass of German beer
                            MS is enjoying her oranges while Ah ma is enjoying the beer

                                                                 Inside the restaurant...

                                         The view from our table... cloudy and cold day...

                                                 Some of the dishes that we ordered.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Raisin Whole Wheat Bread ( Water Roux Method )

Ah Ma made a bottle of grapewine with some fresh grapes three months ago. Yesterday, we opened the bottle and the wine tasted really good. The fermented grapes were used to mix into the whole wheat bread, and the bread was so yummy, with the aroma of wine...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Happy Birthday to Mummy!

We celebrated Mummy's birthday yesterday. Mummy baked a nectarie sponge cake. With the help of ES, We decorated the birthday cake with almond, nectarie and icing made from whipping cream. Of course, had to thanks daddy for the Wilton cake decorative set, just in time for decorating the birthday cake.

MSLS were so excited when they see the birthday cake.

 The girls waiting for their turn to blow the candles!

 Can't wait to taste the birthday cake!

 After cake cutting, we went to Red Lobster for more seafood...

Read All About Me!

Every month, ES will be working on a family project. This is what she did during last month. With the assistance of mum and dad, ES completed this task - including some fascinating facts regarding her, her favourite things, 3 things that is cool about her...

Fall colour

Fall is a special time when nature’s work transforms the landscapes into a natural patchwork of vibrant hues. This is the fall colour that we saw during  morning walk. Weather is getting colder and these were taken during sunny day ( as it ismostly cloudy  now, especially during morning ). We like the colours, as this is the nature's most spectacular season, with yellow, red, green leaves at the same time.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Whale Hunting....... from Depoe Bay

 Lincoln City - the best place on the Central Oregon Coast for whale watching. Whale - watching is year-round activities in Lincoln City.
Gray whales migrate South from their feeding grounds in the Bering and Chukchi seas around Alaska from mid-December through January. They are heading to their breeding grounds in Baja California, Mexico, where warm-water lagoons become nurseries for expectant mothers. Then from late March to June the whales migrate North back to Alaska. On each trip, approximately 18,000 gray whales pass close to the Oregon Coast.

Some gray whales do not continue on to Alaskan waters but stay off the coast of Oregon between June and November. These part-time residents number about 200. About 60 whales are seen repeatedly off the central coast and have been photographed and identified. Of these, about 40 hang out between Lincoln City and Newport each year because that seems to be what the food supply will support.
So while we were there for the kite festival, we took a boat, Morning Star, ride out from Depoe Bay... whale hunting. Morning Star is a full time fishing boat and part time whale hunting, with eyes, not harpoon :) While we were waiting to get on Morning Star, the fisherman were actually unloading their catch....

Pacific ocean wasn't in a good mood that day, it was pretty choppy. The boat was rocking from left to right. After 30minutes a few of the parties that got on the boat begun to feel seasick, with 2 of them deciding to return the clams from the chowder that they had before the ride back to the sea :)

Fortunately for us, the fishermen that manned the boat found 2 whales on 2 different location. The first one was quite a show whale, deciding to give us the tail.

Actual picture taken

while the 2nd one was pretty shy, just giving the whales spouting. At the end of the boat ride... most of the people on the boat were mostly sitting quietly... trying their best not to throw up :)

It was really a good experience to see the whale in their own habitat... can strike out one of the must do list before we bid life goodbye.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Kite Festival

Last Saturday, we went to Kite Festival at Lincoln City. It took us about 2 hours to reach there. Lincoln City Fall Kite Festival is held on the beach, in the center of Lincoln City, at the D-River Wayside.

September 29, 1979 was the date of the very first Fall Kite Festival in Lincoln City. Many of the original organizers still participate in stunning aerial displays and exquisite kite ballets. Several featured fliers say their passion for kite flying started in Lincoln City.

This year’s theme is “Rockin’ the Rokkaku!” The festival included kite flying demonstrations by experts, including Connor Doran, a finalist in 2010 on the top-rated NBC series, America’s Got Talent! Connor auditioned along with 90,000 people and brought indoor kite flying to the world.

The weekend includes featured flyers, family-friendly activities like kite-making, a kid’s kite parade, a Rokkaku (six-sided kite) aerial battle with past national champion.

22 kites flying at the same time and "dancing" along with the music

The kids enjoyed playing sandcastles more than the kites.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Raisin & Sunflower seeds bread ( Water Roux Method )

Bake another bread with Water Roux Method today. As we almost finished one loaf of bread everyday, therefore, I tried out this - Raisin & sunflower seeds bread, add in with whole grain ( 10 grains - wheat, rye, triticale, oats, oat bran, corn, barley, soybean, brown rice, millet, flaxseed ) from Bob's Red Mill.

Tomatoes from our garden

Ah ma had planted some tomato plants in our little garden. The plants are full of green tomatoes now and we just hope it will turned to red colour before the weather getting colder.

Had read through some articles, and had learned more on planting tomatoes and how the green tomatoes can turned red. 
Standard sized tomatoes require 40 to 50 days after blossom set to reach maximum green size. Newly setting blossoms, small and very green fruit won’t mature in the remaining growing season and are best pruned off.

New, vigorous shoots also may be clipped back. Don’t prune off an excessive amount of fully formed leaves as these supply nutrients to fruit. Pruning directs plant resources to fruit that has a chance of maturing.

When the fruit set is heavy, it can work against gardeners. Ripening numerous fruit takes a lot of energy from the leaves and tends to delay the whole crop turning red. If there are only a few weeks before frost and fruit is not ripening, try removing some of the mature green fruit to ripen what’s left on the vine.

Cooler September temperatures help fruit to ripen because the red tomato pigments, lycopene and carotene, are not produced above 85 degrees F nor lycopene below 50 degrees F.

As late September approaches, gardeners often try to extend the life of their plants by covering with cloth or plastic. Covering plants works well for nearly red tomatoes, but not as well for mature green ones. Though foliage may sometimes be saved, research shows that chilling injury on green fruit occurs at temperatures of 50 degrees and decay losses rise markedly on fruit exposed to 40 degrees F. Red ones well on their way to ripening tolerate colder temperatures.

Before frost hits and plants go down, pick and bring fruit indoors to ripen. Extended exposure to cool temperatures interferes with ripening and flavor development. Clip fruit with a very short stem piece left on but one that’s not long enough to punch holes in other tomatoes. Stems ripped out of fruit will open them to decay.

Eliminate green fruit, as research shows it’s more likely to spoil than ripen and never develops the flavor consumers want anyway. Mature green fruit will develop good flavor. Mature green tomatoes are well sized and have turned light green to white. If cut open, seeds are encased in gel and no empty cavity space is present.

In addition to mature green, sort and store fruit by these groups as they will ripen at similar speeds. Fruit may be "turning" with a tinge of pink color showing, "pink" with 30 to 60 percent color showing, "light red" with 60 to 90 percent color present, and others "fully red" but not soft.

Store mature green tomatoes at 55 to 70 degrees F. Once fruit is fully ripe, it can be stored at 45 to 50 degrees F with a relative humidity of 90 – 95%. Recommended refrigerator operating temperatures of 40 degrees are certainly too cool to ripen mature green tomatoes and are colder than desired for ripe ones. Ripening enzymes are destroyed by cold temperatures whether in the garden or in a refrigerator.

Ripen tomatoes in well-ventilated, open cardboard boxes at room temperature checking them every few days to eliminate those that may have spoiled. Mature green tomatoes will ripen in 14 days at 70 degrees F and 28 days at 55 degrees F.

How to Make Tomatoes Turn Red
Getting tomatoes to turn red is not difficult. There are several methods that can be used for making tomatoes turn red.

One way how to turn green tomatoes red is to ripen mature green tomatoes in a well-ventilated area at room temperature, checking their progress every few days and discarding unsuitable or soft ones. The cooler the temperature, the longer the ripening process will take. For instance, mature green tomatoes will usually ripen within a couple of weeks in warmer temperatures (65 ºF – 70 ºF) and about a month in cooler temperatures (55 ºF – 60 ºF).

One of the best ways for getting tomatoes to turn red is by using ripening bananas. The ethylene produced from these fruits helps with the ripening process.

If want to know how to turn green tomatoes red but only have a few on hand, using a jar or brown paper bag are suitable methods. Add two to three tomatoes and one ripening banana to each jar or bag and seal closed. Place them in a warm area away from sunlight and check regularly, replacing banana as needed. Tomatoes should ripen within one or two weeks.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cinnamon roll with Apple & Raisin ( Water-Roux Method )

The tangzhong method has been circulating in the Chinese baking community since Yvonne Chen's "Bread Doctor" from Taiwan (陳郁芬。《65C湯種麵包》。臺灣) was first published in 2003 or 2004. The secret to the success of this method lies in the tangzhong, or the water-roux starter (湯種). It was an ancient Chinese method used in the making of Chinese steamed buns (e.g. bao 包 and mantou 饅頭), dumplings (餃子), glutinous rice balls or tongyun (湯圓) and so forth. The Japanese recently revived the method, and it later became very popular in Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia and other Asia regions.

In Japanese, tangzhong means either a warm or thin starchy (flour-based) starter. Bread that's made with tangzhong is called tangzhong bread. So, how does it do the magic of producing bread that stays soft and fluffy longer without the addition of any "artificial ingredients?" As you cook the flour-water mixture for the tangzhong over gentle heat, the starch begins to react with the water via gelatinization. The mixture will subsequently thicken up as the starch traps and locks moisture from the water. The cooking will have to be stopped once the mixture has reached 65C.

I had been tempted to try out this method, but as it's time consuming to try somrthing new, therefore I keep on delaying the plan. This afternoon, while the three girls were taking their nap, I tried out this method and made some cinnamon rolls with apple + raisin today. The bread turns out to be really soft & fluffy.

How to prepare Tang Zhong? We just need 1 part of bread flour in 5 parts of water to 65°C. The tangzhong can be stored up to a few days as long as it doesn't turn grey.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Basic Scones

When we do not have enough bread for tomorrow's breakfast, this is what I will be thinking of - Scones. I first tasted it at Cameron Highlands. And I do enjoyed having tea with scones at David Brown Restaurant at Bukit Bendera too, the scones really taste good when add on with butter and jam.

What you need: ( makes 11 scones )

375g all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
one pinch of salt
75g cold unsalted butter (cut into small cubes)
45g caster sugar
2 (large) egg plus enough fresh milk to make up to 210ml

What you do:
1.Lightly beat the eggs and add in fresh milk to make up to 210ml.

2.Sift all purpose flour and baking powder. Add in salt and sugar and mix the dry ingredients together. With fork, mix the cold butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. If the butter starts to melt  during this process, stop and place the mixture in the freezer for 10-15mins to prevent the butter from melting further. Continue the process when the mixture is well chilled.

3.Keep the mixing bowl (with the flour-butter mixture) in the fridge for at least 30 mins.

4.Remove bowl from fridge. Add in egg & milk mixture and stir until just combined. The mixture will be sticky, moist and lumpy. Give a few light kneading (not more than 10 seconds) so that it comes together to form a dough.

5.Cover the dough with cling wrap. Keep dough in fridge for about 30mins. This step is to keep the dough cold in order to prevent the butter from melting. During baking, the heat will cause these tiny bits of butter to melt into the dough and leaves pockets and layers in the biscuits for them to rise nicely. If the butter melts before baking, the scones will be hard and flat.

6.On a lightly floured surface,  cut out the dough ( into 1 inche - height ) with a lightly floured  biscuit cutter . In order for the biscuits to rise evenly, press the cutter directly down and lift it straight up without twisting. Dip the cutter into some flour after each cut.

7.Place cut scones on baking tray . For soft-sided biscuits, place them close together on the baking sheet so that the sides are touching. For crisp-sided ones, place them 1 inch apart, these will not rise as high as biscuits that are baked close together. Brush the tops with some milk.

8.Bake at preheated oven at 200degC or 395 F for 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Insert  a toothpick in the center of the biscuit and if it comes out clean, means the scone is ready. The texture of the interior should be light and soft. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack.

Ray's Boathouse

After pike place market, we went to Ray's Boathouse for dinner. Widely regarded as a "must visit" by locals and travelers alike, Ray's Boathouse is world-renowned for its impeccably fresh Northwest seafood. Their culinary professionals hand select the best products from local purveyors and then prepare them simply to enhance the naturally fresh, clean flavors and succulent textures. The menu changes weekly to reflect what is seasonally and locally available. .

We were sitting upstairs, and the view was superb. As it was quite cold, we prefer to had our dinner indoor.

They provided crayon and coloring paper for the kids, which kept the three girls occupied before the food arrives.

Clam Chowder

Beer Clam. This is really delicious. As we had just finished up the only bottle of sake at home, instead of using sake in my daily cooking, now I started to  add in beer in some of our dishes.

Alaska Salmon

Dungeness Crab Cake

Overall it was a great dining experience, only thing was the food was a little pricey... But we will go again.