Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Korea Autumn Trip (Part 1)

It was both a great holiday and wonderful experience during my recent trip to Korea in late Oct.  I would say I was very satisfied with everything during the trip, weather was perfect, the autumn foliage was breathtaking, service from the tour guide was excellent, the itinerary was interesting, etc.  Glad that I have made the right choice!

I visited Korea once in 2002 but had a bad experience with their food previously.  To prepare for this trip,  I brought some instant noodles and biscuits hopping to satisfy my hunger if needed. However, to my surprise, Korea has improved their tourism services so much over the year, the food was unexpectedly delicious!  

Here are some collections of memories during my trip to share.
Songan Sunrise Peaks is an extinct volcanic crater on the eastern tip of Jeju island.   It was a good morning exercise for us as we had to climb about 300 steps before reaching the tip.  Although we were almost worn out when we reached,  the effort was definitely worth it as the view was so spectacular!  The weather was fantastic, the sky was so blue and clear, the air was so fresh!

O'Sulloc Green Tea Museum allowed us to experience Korea tea culture and see displays related to tea and tea related tools.  My daughter and I indulged in their green tea swiss roll and ice cream as they tasted great!  The green tea plantation was so neat and greenish which made us feel so relaxed. 

Song-up Folk Village had a lot of thatched roof houses with stone and clay walls in which we were told that many villagers still live there.  A brief introduction of their culture was provided by the tour guide there and from her, we realized that the houses had no doors and  it's a safe place under protection.  Understand that this place was also the filming site  for 大长今.  Wow, my favorite Korean drama!

Horse Riding had been a memorable and fun experience for us!  We never thought we could ride the horse without someone bridling it.  No doubt it's quite thrilling for us as the horse trotted pretty fast especially most of us weren't an experience rider,  I could tell everyone enjoyed the game!  My daughter wanted a second round, unfortunately, only one chance was given.  Shame that it was my first horse riding experience!

Lotte Windmill was a beautiful place for photo taking, however, it was under direct sunlight during the evening, the photo wasn't turned out as nice as expected.

Teddy Bear Museum is a place where we can see different types of teddy bears in collection including the smallest which is at 4.5mm to the most expensive "LV bear". I believe most kids will like to cuddle teddy bear and they will like to bring one home. Fortunately, my daughter has outgrown them. The number of teddy bears they have collected here is astounding.

Yong-in Everland supposed to be the biggest theme park in South Korea and the Korean version of Disneyland.  Since visited couple of Disneyland and Universal theme parks in other countries, I didn't have the excitment of looking forward to it.  Nothing surprising me, there wasn't much changes since the last time I visited.  The park looked pretty old and I think it warrants an upgrade.  Since my family wasn't keen in thrilling games, we only watched a 3D show but with some disappointment as nothing can compete with Universal studio or Disneyland.  We spent more time on photo taking rather than trying the exciting rides.

Yong Pyong Resort is the most popular ski resort in Korea and held quite a couple of the international events before.  If you're the fan of Winter Sonata, I believe you will be excited to see the place with the setting of the staring actors, Bae Yong-jun  and Choi Jiwoo everywhere. We supposed to take cable ride to the mountain but didn't make it as it was under maintenance and not operating that day.  So unlucky!

East Sea Train Ride provided us a romantic ride along the beautiful seashore with fascinating sight and scenery of the  sparking blue sea. We couldn't wait for the train to stop to enjoy the cool sea breeze and beautiful beach...

To be continued ...stay tuned!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Moist Chocolate Cupcake

Since returning from Korea, I was so tied up with catching up the accumulated backlog of office work after vacation, I felt so fatigue and tired.  It has taken me two weeks to recover, this seems to take longer than expected as normally,  a week or lesser was sufficient.  I have to admit age is catching up, I'm no longer young with full of energy like before :(

Away from work is always a nice and happiest thing but it's so painful after back and having to face the "reality".  I really wish I could retire now so that I don't need to worry about work after returning from  break,  I can totally slow down and relax ...   However, I guess such dream can only come through after both of my daughters become independent.    This, at least,  will take another 10 years or longer.   It'll be a long wait ...

Since abandoning my baking for a while, I had finally returned to my kitchen and started to explore new recipe again. I came across another Moist Chocolate Cupcake recipe which was posted by Amy of Cooking Crave, she commended so much about it and agreed with its name  of "A Must Try", this caught my attention and pushed me to give this recipe a shot. 

This indeed is a good recipe.  It's chocolaty, moist and soft.   Yummy!  I prefer it without icing as the cake itself is already very rich.  For me, this recipe is just nice to make 12 cupcakes.  Probably, I use a bigger case. 

Ingredients: (Makes 12-18 cupcakes depending cupcake case size)
  • 100g Butter, softened
  • 200g Sugar
  • 2 Eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 3/4 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk (125ml)    } premix together
  • 1 tsp Baking soda          }
  • 110g Boiling water (with 1 tsp Nescafe Classic Instant Coffee powder)
  • 190g Flour                                 }
  • 1/4 tsp Salt                                 } sift together
  • 3 tsp Baking powder                  }
  • 40g Cocoa powder                     }
  • 60g Semi Sweet Chocolate Chip
- Sift flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa powder in bowl.
-  Dissolve baking soda in milk.
- Preheat oven ta 160*C for 15 mins.

  1. Cream butter and sugar until light. Add essence and eggs, continue beating.
  2. Add in the rest of the ingredients (milk, coffee liquid and flour ingredients), mix till smooth.
  3. Pour in chocolate chip and mix well.
  4. Spoon batter into cupcake cases to 3/4 full.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven at 160C for about 20 -25 mins or until skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.


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