Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2012 X'mas Wrap Up

This year is approaching to the end.. X'mas is over and New Year is coming.. so quick so fast .. It's unbelievable!  What did I do for this year X'mas?  I did some X'mas baking, ate too much .. and the rest was just lazing around ... 

I started X'mas baking as early as in mid Dec as I wanted to bake a X'mas cake for my sis-in-law's (hubby's sis) X'mas party.  She held it earlier because she was returning to London for good after 2-years work assignment in Singapore.  For this X'mas cake, it was stuffed with more than 1 kg of Mao Shan Wang durian fresh, the end result weighed as heavy as 2kg.  Glad that all guests who tasted this durian layered cream cake love it!  

I took up a challenge this year to bake for charity, it was a request from an ex-colleague.  She asked me to bake 100 gingerbread men but I only committed 50 pcs as it was my first attempt, I afraid I could not deliver.  Can you believe?  Before this bake, I had never tasted gingerbread man before.  I wasn't sure whether the texture should be hard or soft. I found a recipe online, it called for 10 mins bake@180*C but the texture turned out soft.  After verified with the organizer, I had to rebake to achieve a harder texture. 
For this recipe, it could only yield 15 pcs and to produce 50 pcs,  it took me two afternoons (plus rebaking), it has taken longer than expected.  If you are interested, please refer to this link.  To achieve a harder and crispy texture, you have to increase the baking time to 20 mins.

Not many  X'mas lunch with colleagues this year as many of them were away for holiday during the festival  period.  Although it was a simple lunch, it was a good company and catch up.

Simple X'mas Chocolate Ganache cake for colleages and daughter.  Initially, I wanted to bake a log cake or something more elaborate  but the gingerbread men took up most of my available time during that weekend.  I had to resort to something simple, therefore, I just spread the chocolate sponge cake with a layer of chocolate ganache, luckily, my colleagues and daughters liked it :)

As usual, we had the regular X'mas family party this year but my 3rd brother and family were absent, they were away for holiday.  Knowing that durian dessert is one of my sibling family's favourite, I baked the durian puffs for them.  For this bake, I used Sutan Wang durian, however, I still prefer D24 as Sutan Wang is less creamy and rich.   As I baked quite a lot this round, after the party and take away,  there were still 20 piece left and  my hubby brought to office to share with his colleagues. Hope they like it.

Eating is the favourite word during all these festive seasons...we all enjoyed the foods plus the company ....

This year, X'mas eve was very quiet for us, the elder daughter was oversea, the younger daughter celebrating with friends, only left with me and my hubby.  With kids growing up, we have to recognize that the time they spend with us will get lesser and lesser.  Two of us decided to go Plazza Singapore for a simple dinner to celebrate the X'mas eve.  We landed in one of the Japanese restaurant eating omelet pancake, it's our first attempt, I guess once is enough.  We ordered the fruit tart as dessert but were very disappointed.  The cream was so plain and the fruit was tasteless.  It's not worth for $7.   We wanted to hang out later but we felt so tired after past 9:30pm and eagered to go home.  We have to admit that we are no longer young, age is catching up!

Although X'mas is over, I hope it's not too late to say Merry X'mas to you.  If I will not be able to blog durng the new year period, here, I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Amazing Nara!

Serene and beautiful.. this is how we felt when we were there.   We spent a full day exploring the place. We were very lucky that a local voluntary guide offered to bring us around. The park was pretty big, everywhere, you could see deers wandering around and they could be very close to you without any fear.  Amazing! 

Many beautiful temples and shrines to see within proximity of the park ... not to miss!
Full of walking... It's very tiring after a long day of walking ...

 I love this place..  as if living in a heaven .. so beautiful!

Temple of Love ..

 Happy Belly@Nara

Autumn Osaka

Golden leaves falling everywhere in Osaka as the autumn season was ending ... here are some random photos that I took during my trip with my iphone.

We were so excited when we saw this beautiful scene, it likes living in a heaven .. how nice if we could have something similar in Singapore!

Osaka Castle in the autumn .. lovely!

One of the famous Raman in Osaka .. it's very delicious but I always feel the Raman soup is too concentrated, it's nice to take it occasionally, not a daily affair.

Monday, December 17, 2012

I Love Kyoto!

Do you like golden fall foliage?   I believe the spectacular sight of golden and colourful leaves will make you feel so wonderful and it'll make your day.  This is why I love to travel during autumn season... 

I visited Japan a couple of times but always ended there in the wrong season.  This year I was determined to materialize my wish, I spent a week in Osaka, Kyoto and Nara on a free and easy trip.  I would say it's extremely fantastic!   

These days, I really find time not enough, it's hard to keep this blog up, I feel so sorry.  Since I've some Kyoto photos ready on file,  I would like to share with you guys.  I shall let the photos to do all the talking here.  Hope you enjoy these amazing scenery ...

    Kiyomizudera Temple

Golden Pavilion


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