Tiramisu …. on a lovely Sunday

I had a very nice Nutella chocolate cake with a friend at Melur and Thymes on Friday, as our dessert with latte and flat white. My friend asked me “Do you still bake?”. Hmmm … hardly, except for simple butter cake.

On the same evening, my sister bought for us kuih bahulu. Immediately, tiramisu came to my mind. Kuih bahulu is a nice substitute for sponge fingers in making tiramisu.

On Sunday morning, after simple coffee breakfast and housework, I made Tiramisu, the way I like it. After a few years of baking, to me, the secret to a successful cake is in our mood. We must be feeling relax, calm and not rush over time. And that is just how I felt this morning while making this tiramisu.

WP_20150419_010

Assembly station.

 

WP_20150419_011

2nd layer of Kuih bahulu soaked in coffee flavored liqueur, Kahlua.

 

WP_20150419_014 (2)

Almost done. Need to refrigerate several hours until set.

 

6tag_190415-125630

I chose Kahlua over bailey for the coffee flavored liqueur.

I finished making them just in time. Still have some time to wash up all the utensils and clean up the kitchen, before freshen up for lunch with family.

Phototastic-19_4_2015_8526c6d0-6f0e-4431-b833-3db4b73c897e

Very nice timsum and seafood lunch with family at Unique Seafood.

 

We had very nice lunch with parents, sisters and families at Unique Seafood.

WP_20150419_036

Dusting cocoa powder over set tiramisu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6tag_190415-155817

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Presenting to you my tiramisu. It has been a long, long time since I last made them. Gave 6 cups to sister and we had them over tea time. Everyone is happy to enjoy my tiramisu again.

I feel extremely good to have time to bake and now to blog about it … to do things that I’m passionate about and to spend quality time with family and friends. It matters to me.


When the Cat’s Away

My colleague asked me “When is your next post?” By that, he meant my post here in LinkedIn. It’s nice to know there is someone looking forward to read my post and it motivates me to write.

The year-end holiday season started and office colleagues are going away for holiday for the next 2 weeks. This reminds me of when I first started my career with professional accounting firm, most of the seniors and colleagues went on long annual, study and exam leaves at year end too to prepare for their professional accounting exams.

I started my career in auditing and I was lucky to join one of the Big 8 audit firm then. Alfred and I were the most junior staff in the department in terms of age and working experience. Obviously, we had the lowest time cost and charge out rate. Our seniors used to ask us to get them audit files from filing room which was located a floor below our office, to get documents photocopied, filing of documents and to return files to filing room, to name a few of them. All these activities required sign in and sign out of file cards or forms. Not something that I enjoyed doing.

In terms of work, I was asked to analyse petty cash on A3 columnar papers. Computer was not popular back then. All the work was done on manual basis, including writing and casting. When the total for all the columns do not tie to the rows, we had challenging time in figuring out the errors. This experience built up a strong determination in me and have eyes for details.

I went to work every day with a wish. A wish that I would have a new assignment to do, something that I could learn and develop, something which was far more interesting than analysing petty cash. I used to envy other new staff, who were graduates and exposed to audit assignment and could follow their seniors to customers’ premises for projects and assignment.

It was during the professional accounting exams period at year end, when almost all of the seniors went on leaves to prepare for their exams that things changed. When the cat’s away, the mice didn’t get to play but worked hard, learned and was much happier too. When my senior went on leave, her manager came to me directly to follow up on outstanding audit matters and get work done among the few of us left in the office.

I was eager to learn, I put in a lot of effort and extra hours to deliver task assigned to me ahead of time. Inside me, there was a fire to learn, to perform and most importantly, not to disappoint my manager who gave this golden opportunity to me. It was the busiest time and yet the most satisfying few weeks.

Guessed the manager was pleased with my work. When my senior returned to work after her exam, her manager told her to expose me to new task. Life was busy thereafter. I looked forward to go to work and there was a rush in me to make up for the wasted few months of my first job. It was the start of an amazing career for me.

After a few audit assignments, I started to lead audit assignments. On a few occasions, I was called back from existing assignment to move on to a larger and tight deadline job. My manager had confident and believe in me in handling the higher profile job.

Now that I’ve been in rat race for more than 20 years, where I’ve been an individual contributor, a manager, function head and in senior leadership team, I believe it is extremely important to have a manager who recognises your strength, work with you on your weaknesses and believe in you more than you believe in yourself.

See opportunity in every problem, not problem in every opportunity.

Bak Kut Teh

We had guest from China in our office few weeks ago. One of the items that she bought home as souvenir is our famous Bak Kut Teh herbal pack. I bought the following 3 different brands for her to try.

WP_20140619_001

Today, I feel like cooking Bak Kut Teh for dinner as it is relatively easy to cook.

I bought the Bak Kut Teh packet (the middle in the above picture) and only use 1 packet of the herbal pack and reduced half of the ingredients, to as follows:

  • 1.2 liter of water
  • 4 whole garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of black soya sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of light soya sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of oyster sauce
  • pinch of salt to taste
  • 1 packet of Bak Kut Teh herbal pack
  • 1 kg of meats – pork rib, pork belly
  • 10 mushroom
  • Fuchok (bean curd skin)
  • Lettuce
  • “Yau Cau Kwai”

 

WP_20140810_001

Lettuce head

Bean curd skin and mushroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooking instructions:

  1. Rinse meat, remove fat
  2. Pour in water to a pot and wait for it to be fully boiled
  3. Add in garlic, black soya sauce, light soya sauce, oyster sauce, salt and a packet of Bak Kut Teh herbal pack (do not open the filter bag)
  4. Add in meat and use medium heat to cook for 30 minutes.
  5. Add in mushroom
  6. Simmer for another 1 hour until meat is fully cooked and tender
  7. Add pepper, fuchok and lettuce to boil before serving
WP_20140810_006

Simmering Bak Kut Teh in the pot

Jared likes the smell of the Bak Kut Teh while it was simmering and requested for some to taste.

WP_20140810_011

We had the Bak Kut Teh as dinner, together with steamed tofu.

 

It feels good to be recognised

Few weekends ago, I read article on 7 Things You Can Do on Friday to Make Monday Awesome. I’ve been doing some of them, not on weekly basis but now and then. I like to organize the week, get one thing off my desk before weekend kicks in and reflect on the week. My colleague guessed my favourite is #5 as I always put on music when work gets tougher.Occasionally, I end the week on a high by planning to show someone my appreciation.

On the next Monday, I did just that. I shared the article with my colleagues whom I worked closely with on company’s FY15 Planning and invite them to try the coffee butter cake that I baked and brought to office. I sent The Little Things Count to my manager for her support and for being such a great manager to us. I responded to performance review feedback requests from colleagues as part of end of year check in to help them to develop further.

Before I joined my current employer, I used to admire my Auntie and friends who received awards and recognition from their employers for job well done. Not that I’ve never done a good job throughout my career, it’s the way the recognition been given to staff which is usually just a thank you note or emails. Somehow, US companies have a more structure and formal way of giving award and recognition to staff. There are Kudos, The Little Things Count, APAC CFO Award and many other awards given out by Subsidiary and Corporation.

Finally on 5 Jun 14, I experienced the feeling of receiving such award. In APAC Finance All Hands today, I received FY14 H2 APAC CFO award, under the category “Giving to Others”. I received as Subject Matter Expert (SME) for subsidiary on our new forecasting tool, shared best practices and provide Helpdesk to colleagues in the office and peers in APAC region to support them in using the tool.

After the announcement from our APAC CFO, several instant messages popped out on my notebook screen. I received congratulatory messages from colleagues all over APAC … “Congratulations”, “Well done”, “Very much deserved”, “Great stuff”.

I was so, so happy and truly enjoy the moment. It was a pleasant surprise, it was a great feeling and it surely motivated me further to help others and to do great job. Of course, I did not forget to thank my manager for her recognition too.

Today, my boss shared the announcement with the local Subsidiary leadership team and also with my key stakeholders. In a few hours, I received more than 30 “feel good” congratulatory emails from the team. I was overjoyed, simple thing like this made me feel over the moon. It was really a GREAT feeling and something that I truly treasure the memory!

Summerset Greens with Duck Breast and Roasted Pine Nuts

Teambuilding and cooking … seem to go in pair nowadays. More and more companies are organizing cooking classes or cooking competitions as a form of teambuilding. It’s easy to organize as there are so many culinary schools that offer such activities. The price is reasonable too. Most of all, at the end of the day, there will be so much fun, laughter, noise and good food to satisfy the hungry stomachs.

When our team decided to have cooking class as teambuilding, I suggested Food Studio and Bayan Indah which are my favourite culinary places. Bayan Indah has higher minimum pax requirement. As there were only 8 of us, we signed up with Food Studio for our teambuilding.

WP_20140618_003It was nice to see Chef Paul again, our chef for the day.

WP_20140618_16_11_26_Pro

It was also nice to be back to familiar place … a kitchen fully equipped with Electrolux appliances.

We learned to make Smoked duck salad as appetizer, herb crusted filet of salmon for our main course and Pavlova for our dessert.

WP_20140618_026

Ingredients for Smoked Duck Salad

WP_20140618_18_11_15_Pro

The presentation of the Summerset Greens with Duck Breast and Roasted Pine Nuts by Paul Chef. Beautiful! Love the different bright colors of the salad been presented on a white plate. We had to repeat and present the smoked duck salad in the same way.

WP_20140618_038

These were presented by all of us on our dining table. I think we did a good job. They all looked presentable.

A few days later, we were planning for dinner to celebrate Mom’s birthday. SC suggested to have dinner at home and she would roast chicken and grill lamb. Since it was a Western dinner, I volunteered to try to make this newly learned smoked duck salad.

The following are the ingredients:

  • 50 g  mixed and washed salad greens
  • 50 g Smoked Duckbreast
  • 15 g Pinenuts
  • 1 pc Orange
  • 2 Tbs Olive oil
  • 2 Tbs Orange Juice
  • 2 pcs cherry tomatoes
  • 1 mango, cut into small cubes
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Onion Sprouts
WP_20140621_020

The ingredients prepared by me

First, slice the duckbreast into thin slices. I bought this sliced, frozen smoked duck from Isetan. No need to slice, just need to warm them in oven.

WP_20140620_007

Remove skin from orange and cut out filets.

a8b1f5ad-1c27-4529-8f02-bd4e2dac944d_jpeg

Whisk together olive oil with orange juice and dash of salt and pepper.

WP_20140621_014

The whisked salad dressing.

WP_20140621_016

Roast the pinenuts in a dry pan until golden brown.

Mix salad with dressing in large bowl.

Slice tomatoes in half. Cut mango into small cubes.

Arrange salad nicely on a plate and add sliced duck.

Top with onion sprouts and roasted pinenuts.

Decorate with tomatoes, mango cubes and orange filets.

WP_20140621_050

My contribution for Mom’s birthday dinner. Successful.

This is how I presented it.

Guess we had teambuilding at home too. I organized it like a factory line, assigned duties to my siblings and nephews. Even Dad has to cut mango into small cubes. Each person was in charge of one item and presented it on each plate the way I showed them. It was fun, with lots of noise and laughter in the process.

WP_20140621_054Our table setting for Mom’s birthday dinner and it was a success!

 

Blueberries Muffins

Two weeks ago, when I came home, I saw a packet of Kirkland dried blueberries on our dining table. Hubby told me it’s from Auntie Jenny. She bought for me as she knows I love to bake.

I was excited and posted on my facebook “What should I bake with this?”

The suggestions that I received were blueberries pie, tartlets, cheesecake, scones, ice-cream, yoghurt, muffin, cupcakes, cookies, waffles, etc. I knew blueberries are good for cupcakes and muffin but these are dried ones. So, I wasn’t sure.

I asked my aunt and she suggested for me to soak the blueberries with pure orange juice and I did.

I searched on the internet for blueberries muffins recipe and this “To Die for Blueberry Muffins” pop out on top of the search. It was a simple recipe and with 4.5 stars by almost 7,000 reviews. In addition, I’ve been using several recipes from All Recipes and they turned out well.

I decided to double the recipe as the original recipe only makes 8 large muffins.

For muffins:

  • 3.0 cups (380g) all purpose flour
  • 1.5 cups (300g) white sugar
  • 1.0 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups (290g) fresh blueberries (if using dried blueberries, to soak with warm water or fresh orange juice)

Crumb Topping:

  • 1/2 cup (100g) white sugar
  • 1/3 cup (40g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (55g) butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
  • Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.
  • Place vegetable oil into a 2 cup measuring cup; add eggs and enough milk to fill the 2 cup.
  • Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries.
  • Fill muffin cups right to the top.

 

To Make Crumb Topping:

  • Mix together sugar, flour, butter and cinnamon with fork
  • Sprinkle over muffins before baking.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

WP_20140504_003 (2)

When those muffins were baking in the oven, the smell of muffins, especially the cinnamon were really nice.

WP_20140504_017

When those muffins were out from the oven, Jared instantly wanted to eat it.

WP_20140504_013

Later in the evening, Hubby ate one muffin. After finished eating, he said “Your muffin is excellent”. He said it has all the things that muffin should have … crisp topping, moist muffin, a dash of tangy from the orange juice, a little of sweetness, etc. He just know how to motivate me to bake more often.

My instinct tells me the muffins will taste even nicer if I were to use fresh blueberries. Will take some to the office tomorrow for my colleagues. Glad that I bake them today before our crazy yearly planning activity kicked in over the next few days. All of us need all the tender, loving, care during this period. Hugs will be great.

Thank you Auntie Jenny for the blueberries. I can feel the TLC 🙂

 

 

Christmas Tree, Lightings, Presents, Celebrations and All

Christmas is coming and I’m loving it! I like the Christmas decorations in shopping malls and hotels, Christmas songs, Christmas presents, Christmas celebrations and the spirits of sharing and giving.

Auntie YC has been buying Christmas presents for Jared and Jaden every year. A few weeks before Christmas, she would remind and ask the boys what would they like to have for Christmas presents. Even today, Jared remembers that she got for him a PSP when PSP was just launched and he was only 3 years old.

This year, Auntie YC gave them budget of RM200 each for their Christmas presents. Jared and Jaden had been discussing among themselves every day and finally came out with the following list of toys they wish to have as their Christmas presents. We enjoyed watching the both of them discussed and calculate the total costs of toys selected by them and adjust the lists to be within the budget given.

WP_20131210_004

On the Christmas presents shopping day, Auntie YC wanted to buy Christmas tree and ornaments. It was so fun deciding on the size of the Christmas tree, the theme and then the ornaments to match the theme. Auntie YC decided on Red and Silver theme for the Christmas tree. The entire family chosen so many ornaments that the sales girl told us we had too many ornaments and would be too heavy for the tree. We spent almost RM700 on the Christmas tree.

WP_20131208_032

The 3 boys set up the Christmas tree while I was in-charge of putting up all the ornaments. This is the first time that we put up a Christmas tree.

WP_20131208_022

This is my first … and I felt good and satisfied that we managed to put a pretty decent Christmas tree :).

altAj0kzyDQJgwUfEMvSnJHHl7vkYTl63_4703lOgZmp1Dz_jpg[1]In office, my new boss wanted to get Christmas presents for us and my colleague suggested Starbuck’s tumbler. After lunch, we went to Starbucks to choose our water tumbler. The tumblers were quite expensive at RM65 each.

WP_20131212_004

Nicole invited Susan and I to her house for tea party today. Both of them are good bakers. As I have to work and without maid now, I told them I would not be able to bake anything. In return, we got Christmas presents for the kids. These presents were chosen by Jared and Jaden. We asked them to choose presents for Claire, Colin, Jayde and Jayden based on their sex and age.

WP_20131206_005

When we reached Nicole’s house today, we saw this impressive table setting with lovely food on her dining table, filled with Christmas atmosphere.

WP_20131214_002

She made this lovely, cheesy quiche. Claire helped her with the sausage.

WP_20131214_006

She also made tortilla with roasted turkey meat, mushroom and cheese.

WP_20131214_007

This chocolate cupcakes and coffee frosting were moist and decorated with Christmas liners and toppers.

WP_20131214_008

Susan made these chocolate and orange macaroons. They looked so perfect and even. Other than these, Susan also gave us a box each to bring home.

WP_20131214_005

Strawberry, marshmallow, grapes and banana with chocolate fondue.

WP_20131214_004

Nicole’s house is also decorated with Christmas decoration and I like this purple theme Christmas tree.

WP_20131214_010

Just before we went back, Nicole gave us this mince tart made by her personally. Look at the details and thought that she put in decorating this container.

WP_20131214_012

Not only that, we also have the following from her to take home. Nicole is a good party planner and we can expect lots of “Wow” from each and every of her parties.

WP_20131214_018

Next, I’m looking forward to my office’s Christmas party next week and roast turkey dinner at Auntie YC’s house on Christmas day!

Career and Family

2 weeks ago, I received an email from my company’s New Employee Assistant titled “Happy 1-Year Anniversary”. How time flies, I’ve been with the company for a year now. Honeymoon period is over, no more excuses and can’t say “I’m new” anymore 🙁

The ride so far has been (very) bumpy and definitely not quite straightforward. I had the set of challenges while I also have set of opportunities. I’m no longer a people manager, instead I’ve to report to a manager who is younger than me. sighhh.

Looking back, I think this is good for me. While I was climbing up the corporate ladder, this allows me to step back, experience, reflect and learn from it. I understand staff feeling better, I knew the frustration of staff and the expectation of staff from their manager as I certainly have expectation from my manager now. I promised myself that I will be a better manager when I become one again 🙂

There’s lot of opportunities to learn in this company, especially the rhythm of business and the way we communicate and share as a community. In the span of one year, I’ve attended so many conferences inclusive of conference in Atlanta, training in Singapore twice, trainings in local office, townhalls, online trainings, etc. There are so many community calls and learning circle in the company. The word “leverage” and “share” are keys here.

On personal side, I suddenly realized we’ve been eating out a lot since Moch went back. I felt like cooking (not baking). Must focus on “must have” and not “nice to have” when time is not on our side.

Early morning, I went to my favourite TTDI market for groceries shopping. Have not been to the market for a while and I saw two Porsche in the car park. Is this the new trend now, driving sports car to market or TTDI market become so high end already?

It was good to catch up with the aunties from the market. I bought some roast pork as I intended to fry rice for lunch. Bought pork ribs to boil soup, prawns (small and large for pasta, fry with vegetables, etc), cod fish to steam for dinner, dory fish for fish and chips, chicken, vegetables, mango, etc. Stopped at Soya bean stall and Bake with Yen to buy bread crumbs and self raising flour.

When I reached home, I quickly cleaned up all the seafood and meat that I bought. I cooked fried rice for lunch and this is my first time attempting to cook fried rice.

WP_20131027_006[1]

Fried rice with prawn, roast pork, long bean, onion and egg,

The taste was not bad actually.

After lunch, we went to Parkson to get running shoes for Jared. He has outgrown his current pair. Ever since the advice from Jaden’s food podiatric, we are very particular when selecting the right pair of shoes for our boys.

WP_20131105_003[1]

Adidas running shoes that cost RM199.

 We always end up buying Adidas shoes.

After a short stop at MPH, we went home and it was time to cook dinner.

WP_20131027_007[1]

Tumeric Chicken

Jared requested for his favourite Tumeric Chicken and it wasn’t hard to cook this.

WP_20131027_009[1]

Steamed White Codfish with Ginger Garlic Sauce

I got this steam codfish recipe from The Star Kuali, Amy Beh’s recipe. Hubby said the fish was nicely done, not overcooked. The flesh was fresh and tender.

WP_20131027_008[1]

Hubby’s famous Steamed Egg

This is by Hubby. Our family love the steamed egg by him as it’s smooth and soft. We always don’t have enough to go round among us despite him steaming 3 eggs. I told him to steam 4 eggs but he refused to listen. He just love us fighting over his steamed egg.

WP_20131027_012[1]

Kou Gei with Fish Ball Soup

This Kou Gei Soup is Jaden’s favourite. In fact, all these dishes are dishes that Moch used to cook for us and the boys have been missing them. I’m glad that we can cook pretty close to the food that we used to eat at home. Everyone was happy. I’m not a bad cook after all.

After dinner, it’s time to wash up all the pots and dishes, threw away rubbish and mop the floor. I was so tired at the end of it. My weekend was gone and it’s not easy to have Career and Family in our life. It’s not impossible but lot’s of choices to make and sacrifices in between.

And this is the choice that I made!

Myopia

Myopia (short sighted) in kids are getting more and more common and it is a concern for parents like us with growing up kids. While kids may look cute and adorable in their glasses, I always feel heartache when I see them wiping their tears underneath their glasses, when they are playing outdoor activities (running, playing football, badminton, etc) with glasses on. It is so inconvenient and they cant enjoy the outdoor activities fully.

Today, Hubby went to see ophthalmologist. The ophthalmologist told Hubby that there are 4 causes of myopia:

  1. Genetics
  2. Too much of near vision activities – read too closely, video games, etc
  3. Lack of outdoor, natural lights. Study in Australia of group of children shows that the rate of growth for myopia is much lower for those kids with outdoor activities of 2 hours a day
  4. Type of glasses/lens that we wear. Recommended to wear Bifocals, varifocals or myovision lenses with approximately 30% reduction in myopic progression.

Recently, a daughter of our friend has stopped wearing glasses. Her mother told us that her daughter was wearing Orthokeratology, also known as Ortho-K, Overnight Vision Correction and Corneal Refractive Therapy. This hard lenses will temporarily reshape our cornea to reduce refractive errors such as myopia, farsightedness and astigmatism. However, this requires lots of discipline in terms of eyes hygiene.

 

Love and Respect

Jaden will get 50sen rewards from his Daddy for every week that he does his Ejaan and Spelling well ie all correct.

Last week, Hubby asked Jaden to do something.

Jaden asked “What will I get?”. He was expecting the same 50sen reward.

Hubby replied “Love and Respect”.

Disappointedly, he said “That’s nothing”. What he meant is the rewards are not something that is tangible.

Hubby laughed over it.

283744_10151051350049881_2109304143_n

“Let’s go home” … Hubby and Jaden at KPJ Damansara Specialist Hospital.

Few days ago, for Hubby’s birthday, we asked Jaden “What are you going to give to Daddy for his birthday present?”.

Jaden replied “Love and Respect”.

All of us laughed.