Kiwifruit-Lemon Sorbet

Having baked a good many cupcakes and pies in the last week, I thought it would be a refreshing change to make some sorbet.

To be fair, it was Z who had suggested the idea of an ice cream, a sorbet to be exact, and after eliminating our original idea of a mango sorbet due to the small matter that there were no mangoes on hand, we decided on a kiwifruit sorbet. Thankfully I had some golden ones stashed away in the fridge, waiting to be sacrificed for a good cause, and what better cause than a a cool, refreshing, icy sorbet to chase away the heat.

It’s besides the point that the sunny weather that had initially triggered the need for a refreshing dessert quickly turned into a torrentially rainy one during the course of preparing it. Nonetheless, the cool weather did not affect our enjoyment :)

 

 

 

A sorbet is generally classified as an ice-cream that contains a large percentage of fruits/fruit juices and no dairy (i.e. milk or eggs). Hence, it’s not just delicious and refreshing, its also low-fat. Surely the perfect thing for those sweltering afternoons, or even as a palate cleanser in between meals. The kiwi fruits shine in this sorbet – The aroma and flavour of this delicious, Vitamin C-packed fruit really comes through and the lemon heightens the natural zestyness and tangyness of the fruit, making it the refreshing dessert of choice. To top it all, its super easy to make.

All you need to do is to dissolve about a cup of sugar in 1.5 cups of water and cool it in the fridge. Meanwhile, squeeze out the juice of about 3 lemons and add the grated rind of a lemon to this juice. Peel and purée gently about 6 to 8 golden or normal kiwi fruits in a food processer or a blender. Then, mix the sugar syrup, lemon juice and pureéd kiwis well. All that’s left to do now is to churn it well in an ice cream maker and then freeze it in the freezer for a couple of hours.

 If you do not own an ice-cream maker (I inherited one only very recently and up to now have been churning out my sorbets and ice creams the old fashioned way), do not fret. This sorbet can easily be made without the special gadgets. Once you have mixed up the sugar syrup and juices, pour the mixture into a container with a lid and freeze it for about an hour. Take it out and stir it to break up the icy mixture and then replace it in the freezer for a couple of hours. Your refreshing sorbet is ready to be enjoyed :)

 

 

Sunday at Vivo

We had a a fun day at Vivo today and despite the initial protests by the two darlings, everyone managed to have an enjoyable day. We loved our stroll along the bridge connecting Vivo to Sentosa island. The gentle evening breeze, the twinkling fairy lights embedded in the wooden flooring, the festive lighting on the swaying plants and trees and the sight of the cable cars moving gently from one end to the other over the horizon, the atmosphere was quite simply fabulous.

 

  

 

 

 

 

Birthday Party and Chiffon Cakes

 This past month seems to have been jam packed with birthday parties. Either more kids are born during October, or more kids born during Oct are friends with my Princess or more kids born during Oct throw birthday parties. Whichever the case, the kids have been attending parties almost every week this month and I must admit they are well pleased. Today was one of the princess’ friend’s party at the Children’s Park at the Botanic Gardens. Lovely idea really, it was a nice environment for the kids to run around and splash around (there is a little water play area within) and the scrumptiously sweet smell of pandan and lemon grass permeated the air. Pandan certainly reminds me of light-as-air chiffon cakes. Which brings us to the dessert of the day: Chiffon Cakes. Chiffons are very much like Sponge Cakes, differing only with respect to the addition of oil/fat. While sponge cakes are 100% fat-free, Chiffons contain some amount of vegetable oil which give them an extremely soft as well as a relatively moist crumb. Since oil is liquid at room temperature, the result is a cake that is far superior in tenderness than any cake containing butter. These cakes remain tender even when refrigerated so they can be consumed straight out of the fridge, a plus factor when the frosting of choice is whipped cream as cream doesn’t hold well at warm room temperature. Both sponge and chiffon cakes fall under the ‘foam cakes’ category and they certainly make for excellent layer cakes, especially when there is very generous amounts of whipped cream separating the layers. So, next time you are baking a cake, try using chiffon as the base instead and taste the results! Plus, its easy on your waist-line ;)

The Party

In today’s world, it’s all about the fastest, the tallest, the greatest, the smartest, the most cutting edge, the coolest…well, basically The Best. Our minds, and spirits even, have been conditioned to think and to accept that success is based on results. Yes, the talented have it easy, they are more or less gifted in a certain area and all they require is some guidance and a nudge in the right direction to excel. Ofcourse I’m not saying that they don’t have to put in hard work. They do, but usually very much less than an average individual. What about people who are less talented then? There are many talented people who are passionate about what they do. However, what about that group of people who are average in a normal sense but are bursting with a passion for what they do? Despite their great passion, they might not succeed in life, not in the sense of those born with talent. Should we then categorize this group as less successful? Passion versus Talent? So whats the verdict? Something to ponder on.

Meanwhile, the Halloween party at the princess’ school was a huge success. Being the nosey parent that I am, I had signed on as a volunteer at the school. Well, in my defence i have to say that there are very few instances when I get to see my princess in action and when an opportunity comes by, I don’t let it slip by me. So there, I had the task, along with another parent (who has become a firm friend), of conducting the game of musical statues. We went from class to class and during that 2 hours I didn’t get to hear my voice. One loud me against 25 three to six year olds. Who do you think was louder? Yeah of course me….as if. Somehow I managed to shout/scream/explain the rules of the game and got the kids dancing. Then there was the task of pacifying those kids who weren’t happy that they were out of the game. The solution: stamps and stickers for these little ones. Nicely done, *pat on my back* :). Well otherwise, everything went very well. Oh, the princess did try to manipulate me into staying in her classroom and not leave by crying buckets at the end of the game but mummy was not tricked. Mummy 1, Princess 0. Oh, forgot to take the heartache into consideration. Adjusted score: Mummy 1, Princess 10. But was I gonna let her know that?

 

Halloween Cupcakes

A picture speaks louder than words. So I thought today I should babble less and instead leave you with the photos of my afternoon’s work. These are Chocolate Chip and Vanilla Cupcakes and I have frosted them with Buttermilk flavoured Buttercream and decorated them with an assortment of candies, marshmallows and raisins to befit the occasion they’ve been prepared for : A Halloween Party for little kids at school. Enjoy :)

The Long Ride Home

It has been ever so long since I last took the train. A hop on quickly made it apparent that I hadn’t missed anything much, or so it seemed at first sight. The long ride from the Expo gave me ample time to read the interesting information staring at me right ahead. Oh wait, it was the route map and it sure looked alot more confusing than I last remembered it, with more lines depicting new routes. I read and re-read the names of the stops, in a subconscious attempt to commit them to memory. Soon enough I got bored of that, it’s tiring business this memorizing thing. My attention took a different turn. This time I surveyed the passengers, discreetly of course. How many of them were carrying the IPhone? About 50%. What were they doing? Mostly playing on their mobiles or catching two winks or pretending to look occupied. The 50 mins trip didn’t feel long at all, soon enough I was at my destination. Do I love the quality and efficiency of the Singapore public transport? You bet! Will I give up the convenience of our car? Not a chance.

What do you do when you are on the bus/train and will you give up your car if a better public transport system was available to you? Share your thoughts :)

Potato Gratin with Sausages and Mushrooms

It’s the eve of a public holiday, yup friends, for the uninitiated its Deepavali tomorrow! And no, just because I’m ethnically Indian does not mean that I celebrate Deepavali (or Diwali as it’s known in the Northern parts of India). Most people don’t really understand the difference between race and religion. I guess I don’t really blame them because its human nature to assume things based on our preconceived notions. Well, in any case, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my Hindu friends and readers a very Happy Deepavali in advance! I shall try to eat as much muruku and cookies as I possibly can too, that would be my way of joining in the festivities, hehehe.

Okay so the day went by pretty normally until evening time when my 13 year old niece, Z, asked me to prepare dinner for her. Well, dinner was already prepared by my mum, and a jolly good dinner it was too: Mutton Biryani! Alas, my teenager will have nothing to do with meat, or even chicken with bones or bananas, or seafood or bread or…but I digress. So there you go, I had hardly anything in the fridge (read as hardly anything that Z would deem fit to be consumed) and I had the tall task of getting her dinner done in 30mins.

Hmmm, but then something ticked in my mind and a few minutes later I had a plateful of thinly sliced potatoes. I quickly poured some cream and milk in a bowl and mixed it up with a dash of black pepper and some salt. Then, all there was to be done was to defrost and cut up some sausages and slice some mushrooms. The layering ensued: I placed half the potato slices in the base of a casserole, added half the mushrooms and sausages and covered them with most of the cream mixture. Then I layered the remaining potatoes, mushrooms and sausages and added the last of the cream mixture. A generous handful of mozarella cheese on top and in the dish went into the oven. Oh, i had forgotten the dried parsley so halfway through the baking, I opened the hot oven and gingerly sprinkled some on top. Thankfully I did not burn my hand (which I always seem to do in such circumstances). Phew, dinner done and within 30 mins too!

Le Gratin

 

Strawberry Buttermilk Cupcake

Monday. And so it’s the start of another week. Recently, it seems to me that the weeks are becoming shorter and shorter and before i realise it, the week would have ended. Well, time really does fly. But frankly, and don’t hate me for this, I kinda like mondays. After two days of having to entertain the kids (princess plus nephew and nieces), being deafened by their screams, playing mediator countless times when they ‘fight’ and occupying their tireless minds and coping with their boundless energy, its nice to have Monday with a few hours of peace and quite to recharge while they are at school. And my favourite way of recharging is baking up a batch of muffins! Not to mention the fact that it means that i have a ready snack for the kids when they get back from school. The baked goodies sure put a smile on their adorable faces, and that, to me, is quite simply priceless. So today’s pick of the day: strawberry shortcake cuppies! Well, a couple of days earlier I had made some thick strawberry sauce simply by slicing thinly a couple of fresh strawberries, sprinkling some sugar on it and adding a squeeze of lemon and finally baking it on a low oven for an hour or so to reduce and thicken the juices. Pretty simple and it makes your whole house smell divine. I mixed up the usual cupcake batter but replaced the quantity of milk asked for with an equal quantity of buttermilk and stirred in the strawberry sauce at the end. Believe me, the aroma and taste of the strawberries is so much stronger and richer doing it this way as compared to just mixing in some chopped fresh strawberries. It works both ways but I much prefer my cupcake with the buttermilk and roasted strawberries  because it produces a cake that is heavily parfumé, practically melting in the mouth and oh-so-irresistible.

Sunday at the Beach

It was sunday again, and I had made plans for the family outing. It would be Vivocity, mainly because I had run out of options and I had been there only once before so it was basically a place that I didn’t mind visiting. I am not a shopping-obsessed individual, its just that malls tend to be air conditioned, which is a BIG plus in our tropical climate. So there you go. Well, it was supposed to go that way except while were in the car, my little princess proclaimed to S that she wanted to go to the beach. S looked at me and said, ‘So the beach it is?’ I told him about my plan for VC and he gave me that ‘mall again???’ look and said that we will go the beach as suggested by the princess. I was not keen on the beach at all so I continued to persuade S and we finally settled on Orchard since it was just a 5 minutes drive from our home (thats how men function: If its convenient, its ok). On the way there, I glanced at the princess’ face and looked at her shiny eyes. The poor child had tears in her eyes but still compromised by saying, ‘Its ok mummy, but can we go to the beach later?’ That was enough, I told S to change directions and head to the beach. The open joy on her face was enough to nullify the fact that I would have to brave it out under the sun. Interestingly enough, the outing was enjoyable. We rented one of those quadcycle things where the whole family can sit and cycle together and it was fun, somewhat tiring but still fun. After having used up most of our energy, we rolled out our mat under a shady tree and rested our tired legs while our tireless little girl had her fun on the sand. Not a bad day at all, we came back tired but happy. Another successful family outing.

Summer Berries Pie

 

Lashings of whipped cream over the tangy-sweet berries sauce makes for a decadent pie.Having baked up a batch of banana muffins two days back, I felt like making something different this afternoon. A peek in my fridge revealed four small containers of berries, 2 of them containing fresh blueberries, one raspberries and the final one some very sad looking blackberries (they had been in the fridge a couple of days already and if you know anything about these particular type of berries, it’s that they don’t keep well at all). I knew that it was time. For a mixed berries pie! So out came the butter, Lurpak unsalted ofcourse, because it is essential to use the best quality butter when making crusts as that is about the only ingredient used, other than flour, which also means that the distinct taste will be that of the butter. After making the dough, rolling it out and lining the pie dish, I put it into the oven to bake. Then it was time to take a closer look at the berries. Alas, the blackberries were not salvagable so there went my $6.50 into the bin. The rest of the berries were still very fresh so after giving them a quick rinse, I put them into a pot along with a few spoonfuls of sugar and a squeeze of lemon and a dusting of cornstarch to thicken the juices. Barely 5 minutes on the stove and they were ready. As was the blind-baked pie crust. So in went the tangy-sweet sauce into the crust and another half an hour of baking ensued. After cooling the pie and spreading lashings of softly whipped cream and a sprinkling of blueberries on the top, Voila! The pie was all ready to be devoured.The PieThe PieThe slice of Pie