On The Menu :: Chocolate Chip Muffins

I’ve been on a muffin baking spreeeee because these beauties – they’re so easy to bang out and always always ALWAYS taste yummy! Best thing is knowing that I have our “on-the-go” brekkie sorted for the week! 😀 If you know me, my car is where I eat and where I used to make/answer phone calls. It was the only time I didn’t have to sit in on a meeting or reply an email! A no phone zone it definitely wasn’t… Before I get stoned, please know that I used a hands-free set! 😛

Anyways, back to muffin baking! So, in my research to DEFINE the act of not overmixing, I chanced upon Michael Ruhlman’s culinary ratio and by golly, it all just made perfect sense!

Now:

For every 200g of plain flour, you will need 200ml of milk, 100g of eggs (beaten), 100g of oil/melted butter, 100g of caster sugar and roughly 2.5 teaspoons of baking powder.

Which means that the ratio is 2:2:1:1:1 🙂

In addition, the main “ingredient” should be about the same as the amount of flour. You can also replace all or a part of the milk with tea, coffee or any other flavoured liquid.

So now, we have a GREAT standard muffin recipe that we can adapt any way we so please 🙂 I know, I know – this probably isn’t NEWS to you, but it is to me! I love that I will ALWAYS have great muffins, as long as I work with THE RATIO.

With regards to not overmixing (which was what I’d set out to DEFINE in the first place), make sure to only combine all the ingredients in just 15 – 20 strokes. I could probably have settled for 15 but after biting into one of my muffins, I don’t think the extra 5 strokes hurt at all. As long as your batter looks lumpy and gross, you’re on the right track 😛

Bake muffins at 180 degrees celsius for about 15-20 minutes and when done, turn them out onto a tea towel to cool (as per Alton Brown’s muffin method man) or simply use a wire rack. Because I made mahooosive muffins, I only got 8 out of this recipe.

I have to state that my preference is for the muffin method – that is, one bowl each for wet and dry ingredients. I’m happy to skip creaming the butter and sugar because that just means less to clean up! What about you? Are you for the muffin method or the creaming method?

Can’t wait to try out other (sweet) muffin flavours! Gah! Bon Appetit mes amis! xx

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My mahoosive muffin!

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New Build :: Design Elements

A year and some months ago, A and I decided that it was time to move out of our apartment and look into buying a block of land somewhere in the suburbs. We wanted a little more space which would accommodate a growing family. As luck would have it, we found a good size block in a great location within a matter of weeks – we’re literally a stone’s throw away from the shops (which includes the likes of KFC, Maccas and Hungry Jacks) and a mere 3-minute drive from A’s parents’ house.

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It is by no means a vast expansive block of land but we figured we’d start small and work our way to our dream home later on in life.

The first hurdle we had to cross was of course, the house plan. We had visited heaps of display homes and requested for plans from a lot of different builders but they were all just very… standard. They just didn’t maximise use of the space that we would have – it’s a SMALL block which means we can’t afford dead spaces in the house. At the same time, we didn’t want to be restricted to any old run-of-the-mill layout JUST BECAUSE we have a smaller than average block.

Anyhow, it really is to A’s credit that we’ve got something different to look forward to because he spent night after night designing and re-designing the house plan until finally, we had something we loved and that we knew best suited our needs. I’m super proud of him and am always telling people (who would listen) that he designed it himself. Pretty much 🙂

Fast forward a year later and the builders are almost ready to lay down the slab. This means that our house could be ready for us to move in to come January/February 2014! As a result, we’ve had to work doubly hard at consolidating our ideas – no more “Maybe this might look nice…. or that…???” Also, as we aren’t hiring colour or design consultants, I really have to bring my A game to the (interior design) table. We know we don’t want to play it too safe but the house still needs to flow. Here are some of the elements that we will definitely be incorporating into our house:

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Lucky for us, we’ve been really in sync with each other, so fingers crossed furniture buying and even choosing elements such as interior wall colour shouldn’t be too tricky. It helps that I’ve done enough bar/club renos for A to trust that I know what I’m talking about. Most of the time 😛

Anyhow, have you any design advice for our new build? I’d love to know! Any little tip helps 🙂 xx

Battling Acne – Day 3 of the Regimen

Battling Acne - Day 3 of the Regimen

It’s my third day on the Regimen and I think my skin’s looking so much better, yes? 🙂 It’s dry and flaky because of the Benzoyl Peroxide – I’m using Galderma’s Benzac AC 2.5% – but the moisturiser is helping to combat the flakiness somewhat.

YAAYYY for the Regimen!

Battling Acne – An Update

 

 

 

 

 

 

So some two weeks ago, I posted about my battle – past and present – with acne. I had, at that point, gone for a facial and honestly, the state of my face looked a lot worse in the picture than in real life.

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| Photo taken on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 |

I expected to be pretty spotty after my facial… I usually am. But what I didn’t expect was to break out EVERY SINGLE DAY following that facial. I’m talking a couple of ugly, nasty, pus-y pimples that I have never ever had all at the same time. EVERY. DAY. I’m just thankful, I SUPPOSE, that they were just around my chin/jawbone and not all over my face but OMG. What was happening??!! My face was disintegrating and so was my self-esteem…

I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong; I mean, I hadn’t been washing my face with hot boiling water… I made sure to work my facial cleanser in to my skin every evening, to “lift off” all the dirt and grime… I was also using a washcloth, as opposed to “scalding” my face with super hot water when in the shower. I just didn’t get it. Why was I breaking out like I’ve never broken out before?!

And then last night, I chanced upon “The Regimen” and a light bulb went off in my head – it wasn’t just because of the harsh facial cleanser I was using or the way I washed my face… It was EVERYTHING! Remember I said Mummy told me to be gentle with my face? Well, I didn’t realise HOW gentle I was meant to be. But now, now I know and it’s all thanks to acne.org.

So last night – or rather, early this morning at about 1am – I started on The Regimen. And when I woke up, I saw and felt the difference! Of course I still had them blasted spots but they weren’t as red and angry as they had been the last week or so. It also didn’t hurt as much when I washed my face and I actually left the house without any makeup on. I just didn’t want to throw makeup in the mix and disrupt my progress so early on.

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| Photo taken on Sunday, 21 July 2013 |

Have you ever tried The Regimen and what kind of results have you experienced? I really am going to have faith and persist with this. I mean, what do I have to lose, especially since I feel like I’ve hit rock bottom with the state of my face right now. Perhaps The Regimen is the solution that I’ve been searching for all this time.

Wish me luck! xx

On The Menu :: Blueberry Muffins (Updated)

It wasn’t too long ago that I baked a batch of blueberry muffins, using the recipe I found on Brown Eyed Baker. The recipe was an absolute godsend and pretty much perfect but I just wanted to tweak it a little to suit me.

For one, I decided to measure out most of the dry ingredients in grams since I found the batter the last time a little too dry. There were still “spots of flour” as advised by Brown Eyed Baker but at least my batter looked a little more “normal”. To me, that is. The weight conversions I found here on Taste were soooo helpful!

I also used two eggs instead of just one, to give the muffins a little more lift. And I only added 165g or approximately 3/4 cup of caster sugar as I feel this makes the muffins sufficiently sweet.

This time round, I definitely only got 12 muffins out of the batter because I made sure to fill the cups right up to the brim so that I get lovely little domes 🙂

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Having used this recipe a second time around has cemented its place in my “Go To” list of recipes! I can’t wait to sink my teeth into yet another muffin… I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, MMMM YUM YUM! 😀

What is your “go to” cake recipe that has never failed you? Please share it with me!

Just looking at the picture above is making me hungry! Bon appetit! xx

On The Menu :: Pressure Cooker Hearty Lamb Shanks

Winter and I – we’ve got a little love/hate relationship going there. Having grown up in the tropics and not a fashionista by any means, I’ve never really known HOW to dress for winter. I remember living in Sydney and feeling really daggy, much like Selma Blair in “Legally Blonde”. All my law classmates looked hip and chic; I just looked very… warm.

I still struggle to dress appropriately in winter but thankfully, my husband, he’s quite the fashionista, so even though I hate that I sometimes have to change out of something because he doesn’t quite “approve”, I’m glad I have him to sorta point me in the right direction.

What I do love about winter? All the hearty one pot wonders I can whip up in minutes. MMMMMM… osso bucco, lamb shanks, beef brisket – COME TO MAMA! I’m so very grateful to the person Denis Papin, who invented the pressure cooker, for without that lovely contraption, I would have to leave my stews on the stove for hours and hours… and not be able to put my legs up as soon. Merci Monsieur Papin!

Pressure Cooker Hearty Lamb Shanks

Ingredients

4 lamb shanks, chopped in half (I asked the butcher for help with this.)

4 bay leaves

2x 400g cans of crushed whole tomatoes

500ml beef stock

125ml white wine

salt, pepper and flour (used to coat the lamb shanks)

3 medium carrots, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced

Method

  1. Marinate lamb shanks with salt and pepper. Coat with plain flour and dust off excess.
  2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in pressure cooker and brown lamb shanks, one at a time if necessary.
  3. Deglaze the pot of lamb shanks with white wine.
  4. Add in the crushed whole tomatoes, juice and all. Throw in beef stock, bay leaves, chopped carrots and sliced garlic.
  5. Add a little more liquid to ensure that most of the lamb shanks are covered in water but not totally submerged.
  6. Add some cracked pepper before covering the pressure cooker.
  7. Bring pressure up to high. Lower the fire and allow to cook for approximately 30 minutes.
  8. When the pressure has completely dissipated, open the pressure cooker carefully, taste and add more salt and pepper as you like.
  9. Serve on steamed white rice, if you’re Asian like me! 😛

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Do you love a good feed in winter as much as I do?? 😛 Please give this recipe a whizz and let me know if this warmed up your cold wintry night like it did mine 🙂 And hit me up with some of your favourite recipes too!

Bon appetit! xx

Battling (Adult) Acne

If you’ve met or know me, you’d probably be surprised to find out that my mummy is actually a beautician – only because I always have some kind of breakout happening for me. I get particularly stressed out when I’m about to see my mum and it’s been this way for years because I hate getting my face scrutinized by her. Absolutely. HATEIT.

If memory serves me right, I really only started battling acne when I was in Uni. Why, oh why, did I bloom so late?! It was a horrible horrible time and I can still remember pictures of red, blotchy ol’ me 😦 I put it down to hormones and the change in environment since it was in that time that I had moved and was living in Sydney. I was pretty successful in keeping the acne at bay when I began taking antibiotics but because I didn’t want to rely on antibodies forever, I then switched to taking the Pill. The Pill was fantastic especially because my breakouts are largely hormonal.

Since getting married, however, I’ve stopped taking the Pill and once again, BOOHOOHOO, my hormonal acne has returned. I have breakouts so often, I sometimes dread going out because I know my makeup does absolutely nothing but sit on top of my spots. Siigghh… I am certainly no TROPHY WIFE.

A week ago, I decided that things have to change. I booked myself in for a facial and have vowed to go regularly, that is, at least once a month, if not once every two months. Yes, my face now looks like the picture below, post-facial, but no pain, no gain right?

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😦

My mummy’s been nagging me for years to have facials regularly but have I listened? COURSE NOT. She’s also told me to be gentle with my face and not wash it as if I’m trying to scrub my dishes clean. Again, I heed not her advice because what does she know right?! She’s just a beautician *grumble grumble*

Therefore, as of today, I vow not to place my face under the hot running water in the shower and I will not scrub it like its my toilet floor. I will slather on serums and moisturisers because I don’t want to look old before my time and I will drink lots of water, in addition to going for facials regularly. I will also start taking vitamins such as milk thistle to improve my liver function, together with my daily multi-vite.

So help me God… And I suppose the right products, like the ones from Janesce that my beautician used on me today, couldn’t hurt 😛

Do you battle adult acne too? If you have ANY suggestions to keep skin clear of adult acne, please feel free to share them with me! xx