Saturday, July 20, 2013

A much healthier Banana Sponge Cake!



I've found a much healthier, fluffier and tastier banana cake recipe and couldn't resist sharing it! It has the texture of store bought but minus the oily feel some can have. I do especially like the round pan version too as it doesn't crack on the surface compared to the ones I bake on loaf pan. Why I said it's healthier as it uses vegetable oil (less too since 80 ml only) instead of butter.

But of course, this recipe as compared to my previous post on " simple banana cake recipe without a mixer" found here requires more work and a mixer. I was also rather confused with the steps at the mixing part initially so had to read a couple of times to make sense out of it! The outcome is still worth the effort. Family and neighbour love it. Will definitely use this recipe again.

Recipe as below :-
Ingredients:
(makes one 8" round cake)

3 large eggs, room temperature
100g caster sugar (original recipe uses 150g) - (I reduced further to 80g)
250g to 300g bananas (3 large ripened bananas, cut into chunks)
150g cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
80ml vegetable oil (original recipe uses 100ml)
20ml milk (I used low fat fresh milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Method:
  1. Grease (with butter) and flour sides of an 8" round pan, line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Sieve together cake flour, baking powder and baking soda. Sieve the flour mixture twice and set it aside.
  3. Place vegetable oil, milk and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl, set aside.
  4. Place eggs, caster sugar and bananas in a large mixing bowl. With an electric whisk, whisk the mixture at Low speed for a few seconds (to break up the bananas). Change to medium-high speed, and whisk the mixture till it becomes thick, pale and triple in volume. This should take around 7 to 8 mins. The batter should leave a ribbon like trail when the paddle is lifted. Test by lifting up the whisk/paddle, and draw an '8' with the batter. The number should stay for a few seconds. Turn to Low speed again, and beat for another 2 mins. This is to stablise the air bubbles in the batter. (Note: do not over beat the batter...it is not a good thing if the '8' doesn't disappear.) (Not sure if it's because I used a single whisk, my '8' disappeared within a second. I extended the whisk time a little but still couldn't get the '8' to stay for a few sec. I did not whisk longer since the batter volume seemed to have tripled) 
  5. Sieve over the flour mixture in 3 separate additions. Each time Fold In the flour carefully with a Spatula, making sure there is no pockets of flour being trapped at the bottom of the bowl. Do not stir the batter with the spatula, it will cause the batter to deflate too much.
  6. Pour a small portion (less than 1/3) of the batter into the mixing bowl in Step 3. Fold in with the spatula until the oil mixture is fully incorporated into the batter.
  7. Pour the mixture in Step 6 back into the rest of the batter (Step 5). 
  8. Fold in the batter with the spatula making sure the mixture is well combined. (By now the batter could be deflated by about 20% or so as compared to Step 4).
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, the pan should be about 3/4 full. 
  10. Bake in preheated oven at 160 degC for 40-45mins or until the surface turns golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. (The edges of the cake should pull away slightly from the sides of the pan.) Remove from oven, unmold and leave to cool (inverted) on a cooling rack. (Mine was still rather wet when I did my toothpick test so I up the temp to 170 degC and baked another 10 min before the test passed)
Recipe source: adapted from Happy Home Baking which she has adapted from Wen's Delight.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Year of Snake CNY 2013 craft

 
It was Shiranne's School's CNY craft competition and I'd decided (last minute!) to let her participate as she had requested and I didn't want to disappoint her. She mentioned that some of her classmates have been submitting their crafts and also asked when would she start doing hers. So in the midst of busy schedules, I'd made an effort to finish the craft with her in 3 short evenings. When I was a SAHM, we could finish such craft in a day! 
 
All our materials were readily found at home since there wasn't time to shop for them. Materials used :-
- toilet/napkin rolls
-red packets
- thick papers (for the top/base - as I did not have red thick papers, I got Shiranne and her big sis to cut red packets to smaller pieces and paste over them, something like collage)
- glue, scissors
- ribbon for handle
- heart shape washi tape (which i bought from "Typo")
- wire
- googly eyes.
 
Shiranne helped as much in the cutting, glueing and pasting. Efforts paid off her she got 2nd prize for the competition. I hoped this will give a little encouragement as she has been rather unwilling to go school this year. 
 
Anyway, also wanted to share that I was inspired to use washi tapes to make the snake from Corinna Wraps on her twist ties project. It turned out really cute! (twist ties picture adapted from her blog)
Washi Tape Twist Ties
 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Home-Baked Green Peas Cookies

 
Chanced upon a blog post with picture of the Green Peas Cookies that looked tantalizing enough for me to read further on the recipe. The recipe looked simple so I decided to give it a shot.
 
The green peas snack took me quite some time to look for initially. I was looking for the non-coated ones in NTUC, Cold Storage and Giant but only found flour coated, wasabi coated and garlic coated ones. So in the end, I settled for the flour coated.
 
As I did not have any stone type pounder or coffee grinder, I used my mini wooden type pounder and grinded my peas for more than an hour. My hubby helped and the grinding gave him a perspiring good time! We would definitely go for the green peas powder the next time we bake the cookies again. I found out that Cold storage at Centrepoint sells and somebody blogged that Sun Lik sells it too. For  those who has effective grinder, it would be still good to grind as you can control how fine to grind. If you want the tiny green specks to be visible in the cookies and  have a little crunchiness, do not grind too fine. Personally like the visible greens specks on the cookies!
 
My girls loved to help though it took much longer for us to complete. We managed to spend a good afteroon with this.  We spooned up some of the mixture and flattened between the baking sheets with the rolling pin. My mixture did not form a smooth dough that detaches from the mixing bowl, but do stick when compressed between sheets. For smoother dough, can add a little more oil. I didn't want to add too much oil for health reason. Mine still cuts easily with the cookie cutter.
 
The cookies tasted good though not melt in the mouth type. I'm glad to be able to munch into some of the green peas nibblets.   
 
Recipe adapted from My Kitchen blog and made reference from Happy Cup
Ingredients: (Mine yielded about 60-70 cookies)
120 gm green peas, snack type (grinded) (I bought Tai Sun's Coated Green Peas 140g and grinded the whole pack while eating some as we grind)
100 gm icing sugar (I reduced to 60gm)
¼ tsp salt
180 gm plain flour
100 gm vegetable oil

Glazing: (I omitted glazing coz didn't like the brownish look on top)
1 egg yolk
½ tbsp milk

Methods:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, bring together all ingredients and mix until a dough is formed.
  2. Roll out dough between two sheets of plastic, about 1cm in thickness.
  3. Cut dough with cookies cutter and place onto baking tray lined with baking paper.
  4. Glaze with egg yolk mixture.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven at 170ºC for about 15 mins or until the surface is browned.
  6. Cool completely on rack before storing.
 
 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

kids' little DIY 3D art piece using clay

My neighbour's kids had art lesson using clay and created very beautiful 3D art pieces. I decided to conduct my own lessons for my kids. I had no clue what type of clay to use but decided to pop by Rivervale Mall to check out Diaso. It sold some paper clays and coloured ones. I wasn't sure of the quality as the clays looked rather dry. Our finds ended at another shop on the same level. The packaging looked more air tight and clay felt softer when pressed. Also the clay pack looked bigger and selling at S$2.50 per pack. Didn't notice the weight though. Also bought a box of acrylic paint for S$9.50 a box. As I write about this, out of curiosity, did some search and the difference in Clays can be found from http://familycrafts.about.com/cs/clay/a/playclay.htm

Materials we used :-
Paper Clay - 1 Packet (don't have weight but measured about 16cm (L) x cm (B) x 3-4cm (D)
Acrylic Paints
Glitter Glue
Cardboard or wooden planks - 2 pieces. My cardboards are taken from some packaging, not bought. Kaylene's Cardboard measured 28cm (L) x 22.5cm (B). Shiranne's Cardboard measured 25cm (L) x 23 cm (B)
Small bowl of water and brush - If clay gets to dry, can apply for sticking or smoothing out some little cracks
Hot Glue/Super Glue - Handy as we did have a couple pieces not stuck to the base securely after the clay dried.
Hair Dryer - if kids too eager to paint and can't wait for clay to dry out  

note -  have to spread the clay onto the board surface using the thumb or base of palm by pressing down clay. Can be tiring for kids. Kaylene managed 60% of the base on her own. Shiranne only managed maybe 10% of the base on her own. Not sure if it is due to nature of clay. This projec takes time so good to spread out the works. We spread out to 3 days.

I made the kids come up with their own theme.

Kaylene wanted her theme to be Rapunzel so that she can braid the hair using clay




Shirannes wanted her theme to be birthday cake

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Lunch at The Coastal Settlement

We got to know 'The Coastal Settlement' from yesterday's Channel 8《我爱公开!》Share Something . The restaurant looked interesting so we decided to check it out. We were greeted with Outdoor dining layout first with some kiddy play things. Not sure whether they are from old time kids amusement world?! As we were early, around 11 plus, there weren't any crowd outdoors.

We moved indoors to catch the attention of the servers. As I only have an Iphone to take pics, I didn't manage to take any pics of the interior. More pics on their website though. I liked the furnishing as they have different sets of dining tables/chairs, some high, some low, some couches, some round, some squarish etc There are even vintages displayed. Unfortunately, indoor sittings were either occupied or reserved already. This is a popular place!


 My kids were happy there were things to play with. The elder mainly played with this log, to do her balancing act, and the swing. The younger preferred the cute stuff.


 Kaylene especially loved this swing.


We got a seat outside and didn't mind the alfresco as the weather was good. We were seated originally as this table with a shelter above us but we decided to move to another where there was fan oscillating.

 The restaurants had nostalgic biscuits prepared for diners! Self service on this.


 I liked this outdoor table/chair set but decided not to move since we were all seated comfortably.

 from left : Kid's Fanta which came with kid's meal (my kids didn't drink as it was gassy). Portabella Fries (crisp on the outside, juicy on the inside - yummy and my favourarite - eat while warm is the best) , Kid's Bolognese pasta (not bad as my picky kids did slurped them up)

 Five Cheese pizza. Good too and topped with some healthy greens!

Weekend Roast -  the truffle fries came with a little red bowl, cute! My kids loved the crispy fries. Not sure they didn't mind the truffle flavour or couldn't detect. Roasted chicken was great too! 

 A final walk round the casual dining

 3 wheeled truck!


I Spy a snail on a branch! Now we know snails are not restricted to ground only

 There are fitness spots near the restaurant. Kaylene and dad couldn't resist the climb.

 as well as swinging on the hanging vines and shouting like Tarzan! 





Friday, September 7, 2012

Busy mum's activities for kids

Sometimes thinking of things to keep my kids occupied can be tiring. Though they can play on their own, I will prefer to engage them in different activities. At times I'll google to see what other parents do, at times I'll think of activities on the spot. I've gained from reading other bloggers and hope I can share my own here. Will try to update from recent ones that I did from time to time. Below will be my first batch.

#1

Get them some wall stickers and find a corner for them to DIY. Though there is a complete pic to follow, the kids probably would still need supervision, provided you do not mind the outcome.  It's not expensive. I bought 1 set for $5 sometime back and I've did a post here and here. Depending on the design, the one below took about 15 min. Others may take longer and may be more challenging.



Our new thinking corner

#2
Find a friendly pet for the day. We made a friend who visited. The kids played with a cute orange with black spots ladybug for about 30 min or so. Got to let go if not for lunch. Kaylene let the ladybug walked on her fingers and even wanted to find food for it. This ladybug looked harmless hence it being poisonous didn't cross my mind. We have even gotten lizard and grasshopper as our house pet who drop by for short visits.

#3
We saw an advertisement with the person doing a jump shot. I was inspired that my kids probably would like to see themselves in a jump shot. I fished out my iphone, which i knew would take blurry jumpshots, but decided to still give it a try. My kids simply enjoyed jumping for that perfect jump shot. They laughed at the way they were in the pictures. This fun lasted as long as it could as i left them to take jump shots for each other. It was great listening to their laughter and giggles! After a few days later, they still reminisce their jump shot pics and will do them again with each other.




#4
Simple symmetrical paper craft. Fold paper half or quarters and cut shapes which are symmetrical or the same. Pasted them to form pictures such as below. Did the following with my kids to keep them away from the TV.



#5
I bought a set of Helicopter Balloon from SKP shop at telok ayer. They had so so much fun seeing it floating up to the ceiling and then falling down. I would give this toy four half stars out of five for entertainment, if not for the blade which made me worried a little as they can be a little dangerous on the eyes. I told my kids to keep the blades away from the face when letting go.  It cost $1.90 each set. The instructions from the packing didn't mention a balloon pump is required but we all found it difficult to inflate it by blowing. Only after umpteen times of inflating that manual blowing is possible due to more elasticity.


Kaylene fixing the helicopter blades on after inflating the balloon.


It went all the way up to our ceiling as balloon deflates, with the air from balloon propelling the blade. There might be some noise nuisance as the toy does make a sound when air is coming out of the balloon. Try them outdoor, should go pretty high. I've yet to try though.

This game can be quite educational as you can explain how the mechanism works like what makes the blade spins, why it makes sound as well as spelling on words like 'helicopter' and 'balloon'.
However, each balloon (there were 2 in a pack) didn't last more than 3 days as it burst due to numerous usage.


I've have been procrastinating to check whether my small balloons at home fit the toy. Will probably do so tomorrow, if there weren't other more interesting things to do..

Anybody has interesting ideas do drop me a note. :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

kaylene rides with no training wheels after reviving the bicycle!

We almost wanted to throw away Kaylene's Aleoco brand 14inch bicycle as it's so slow and not moving fast enough for Kaylene to go without the training wheels. This almost killed kaylene's interest to cycle without her training wheels.

Got to know my neighbour's dad, a retiree who worked in a bicycle shop before, and got his help to revive the bicycle.

The helpful uncle managed to fix up Kaylene's bicycle and also another 2nd hand bicycle which my MIL picked up from somewhere. It was meant for Shiranne but it was difficult to ride too. Even the bicycle shop which we sent in attempt to fix it didn't want to fix it. (I think the bicycle shop deliberately want us to buy a new bicycle as he said no point fixing). I was so glad that the uncle gave the 2 bicycles their second lives. He changed the chain, replaced damaged internal tyre lining, repainted rusted parts. I don't even mind paying uncle much more than the cost of the parts used for the effort put in.  All are happy in the end! Not forgetting, we should reuse as much as possible for a sustainable society!

Kaylene couldn't get the hang on how to balance on the bike initially. She kept tilting and leaning to one side. Me and my hubby took turns to hold on to her the 1st couple days of her learning but gave up because she seemed to depend to much on our holding. As i knew how to cycle, I tried to let her realise that if she felt that the bike is leaning one side, she had to turn the front wheel gently to the same side, which can keep the bike from leaning. She tried and realised she can control her balance better. Slowly, she got the hang of it! :)

Kaylene at her 4th attempt the day video was taken below. Not bad ! Shiranne happily ride her re-new bike!