Lunch for the Broken Soul

I am exaggerating. I do not have a broken soul. I just have a sprained ankle. I was walking to the bus stop with a friend and suddenly the next thing I knew, I was on the ground. Thank god my friend was there to help me up. I suppose this is God’s way to remind me that I need to rest and not exert my body. I’ve been working out 5-6 times per week since the year started, and surprisingly, I’ve not had a day to myself despite being self-employed.

Speaking of which, my friend Munirah from Snaprolls recently join the self-employed/unemployed/taking a gap year club. I jokingly told her over twitter we should get a new hashtag going on instagram called #unemployedbakes. She totally bought the idea! Check out #unemployedbakes on instagram and join us in the fun. I mean, we need some excitement especially since we found ourselves out of a job for the time being.

Today, I forced myself to sleep in on such a lovely Sunday morning. Ibu came in to check on my ankle and made sure I could walk a bit before leaving for her class. I dozed in and out of sleep while trying to watch The Book Thief. It’s 130 minutes, guys. I forgot how draggy and long war-based films can get. When the film ended, I finally decided to grab a bite so I used whatever leftovers I had in the fridge, which included sausages, milk from 3 different cartons (I really don’t know why my brother has a habit of drinking milk halfway and not finish the carton), a small knob of butter (leftover from one of my baking sessions) and some cheese.

This is a fairly simple recipe. Give it a go if you feel like you need some comfort food.

Image

Mac ‘n’ Cheese

1 and a half cups of macaroni

2 cups milk

2 tablespoons butter

1 heap tablespoon plain flour

1 cube of chicken or beef stock

1 cup of sliced sausages, at room temperature

1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided

salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat oven to 200 deg centigrade.
  2. Boil water in a pot, add 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook pasta as instructed on package. Drain and place inside a pyrex dish.
  3. In a medium sized saucepan, melt butter and add in flour as butter is melting. Whisk quickly.
  4. Add in milk, half of the cheese and beef stock. Whisk until all is well-combined.
  5. When the cheese sauce is starting to thicken, switch off the fire and add to the macaroni. Add sausages and use a fork to mix everything together. Ensure the pasta is well coated with the cheese sauce.
  6. Top the pasta and sauce with the remaining cheese.
  7. Bake in the oven for 30 mins or until the top is golden brown.
Advertisements

There’s Always Room for Cake

Last Thursday, I turned 24 years young. The week leading up to my birthday was a bit crazy because I was busy with my 24hourselfie project. If you haven’t seen it already, do drop by and take a look. It’s my interpretation of what self-portraits are.

cake2website

Of course, I squeezed in time to bake my birthday cake. This year, I decided on Pick Yin’s Ombre Pandan Cake with Gula Melaka Frosting, although I decided on a cream cheese based frosting. Meringues still scare me. Sigh. Anyways, the cake is best eaten at room temperature, or heat it up in the microwave for about 30 seconds if you’ve placed it in the fridge for a while. I still have difficulty in convincing my family to eat it because they are hardcore chocolate lovers, and they were expecting a Red Velvet Cake (which is so 2012). Another sigh. But trust me, I’m a true PBG at heart. This is for you non-chocolate lovers.

cakewebsite

Pandan Ombre Cake with Gula Melaka Frosting

For the extract

  • 15-20 pieces mature pandan leaves, washed and snipped into 1-inch pieces
  • 5 tablespoons water

Whiz everything up in a blender. If you’re feeling rajin, you may use a pestle and mortar. Sieve the liquid and let the extract settle for a an hour. The dark green extract should settle at the bottom of the bottle and that’s what you need.

For the cake

  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup/2 sticks/227 grams unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated/castor sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk (if using canned/boxed coconut cream, thin out slightly with milk to make 1 cup)

Heat oven to 180 deg C. Grease and line 3 8-inch round baking tins with greaseproof paper. Sieve flours, baking powder and salt, set aside.

Beat butter and sugar till creamy. Add eggs, one at a time. Then add coconut milk and dry ingredients alternately into the batter. Roughly divide batter into three different bowls. I added 4 teaspoons of green extract PLUS a teaspoon of green coloring (I wasn’t happy with the intensity) into the darkest layer, then 2 and a half teaspoons into the middle layer, and finally 1 and a half teaspoons into the lightest layer. Make sure all batter is well combined.

Pour batter into the prepared tins and knock the tins on your countertop to knock out all the air. This will help you to get a flat cake. Bake in oven for 30 minutes, no more, no less.

For the frosting

  • 2 blocks Philly cream cheese (softened at room temperature, cut into cubes)
  • 1 cup heavy cream (I used Red Man)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 100g Gula Melaka
  • 1/4 cup water

In a heavy-based saucepan over medium low heat, melt the gula Melaka with the water. Stir till all the sugar has melted, then let it reduce slightly, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely to room temperature. The caramel will thicken more as it cools.

Beat cream cheese till fluffy, add in vanilla essence and cream. Whip until stiff peaks. Add in gula melaka and whip till well combined.