Sensory Play with Barley

Friday, 10 April 2015

I have been reading up on sensory play for the little one, but I had no courage to try till recently (lol). On one hand, I really wanted her to try out textures and explorations in her play, however, I am really afraid of the mess and her putting EVERYTHING into her mouth - erm, including kitchen paper towel rolls and chomping on it like the most delicious food ever lol.

#truestory

Sensory play is any kind of activity that stimulates the little one's senses: touch, smell, taste, sight & hearing. These activities can facilitate exploration and encourage the kids to use processes while they play / explore / create. It will help them develop cognitively, linguistically, socially and emotionally. 


So I tried something very easily put together recently (@ 15 months).

I originally read about colored sand on parenting sites, but too lazy to color the rice (oppps) and let them dry. Furthermore, I am sure the little princess is going to throw the rice around, which will make cleaning up really difficult. So I decided to replace the rice with something more manageable.

I bought this set of toys from Ikea at $3.90. Seems like quite fun to bring her to play with sand as well! I then filled the box with Holland barley, so it's easier to clean up. 

Psss, see the kitchen paper towel rolls at the back haha! I was supposed to tape them to the wall and play some pom pom balls. But, err lazy mum :p



I first showed her how to "play" with this by scooping the barley and placing into the little container. Then I passed the toys to her for free play. It's amazing that she knew how to play as soon as she got her hands on them haha!

Her "aiming" with scooping and emptying the barley got better with each try. However, we need to watch her closely while she played because she did try to swallow the barley repeatedly lol!

I probably want to try the kitchen paper towel rolls thing or edible play dough next!

Chocolate Macarons + Some Tips

Thursday, 9 April 2015

So, the baby has been at the infant care centre for a while. And I had been busy with photo taking as well as making items for my menu.


I sandwiched these macaron shells with chocolate SMBC!


I am also currently trying to work on a "website", and not having much knowledge in IT is seriously very nerve-wrecking. Haha!

While I work during weekdays, sometimes it is just so difficult to pull myself away from the computer screen, and do some chores like washing, sweeping / mopping the floor, clearing out the fridge. So most of the days, my (messy) stationery is out on the dining / living area.

Thank goodness the hubby is less particular than me. Haha!!

I finally tried making macarons again! My first attempt is here



This time round, I opted for no food coloring. I sort of grew to be more conscious of what I eat - though it's still quite controversial as to what food colorings and additives do to our bodies - so I chose to do just the original macaron shells!


I dusted the surface of the shells with some cocoa powder, so it wouldn't look too plain.


Sorry that the picture quality is not that great. I forgot to adjust my camera settings, only to get these over-exposed pictures. And then these macarons were already in my tummy when I got to edit the pictures on the computer.

Oppssss.. :p

* * * * * * *

Tips for Making Macarons

Well, I am not an expert in making macarons, but just some tips for the beginners!

I was quite afraid of making these very finicky little cookies initially. However, as I managed to get the "feets" in my first attempt, I was feeling very happy that it's actually really quite simple to make these sweet cookies!

Tip #1: Search Youtube for macaron making videos. I watched those videos over and over again, till I could memorise the steps!

Tip #2: Get those super-fine almond flour, otherwise, remember to give yours a blitz in the food processor.

Tip #3: Add some meringue powder into the egg whites while you whip them up. Meringue powder helps to dry the egg whites.

Tip #4: Make sure your equipment is oil-free! Do not over-fold the meringue either.

Tip #5: Let the piped out macaron shells rest for a while before you bake, if you prefer taller cookies.

SMBC Chocolate Fudge Cake

Saturday, 4 April 2015

I had been procrastinating for the longest time to start baking and taking photos for my cake portfolio.

Though I had been testing out various recipes, sometimes I am just too lazy to frost them the right way for photo taking hee hee.

So I am quite happy with this cake and the pictures! Took the pictures in the morning and had that slice of cake for breakfast haha :p







This is a 6-inch cake, with 3 layers of chocolate fudge cake, smoothed and filled with chocolate swiss meringue buttercream.

SMBC my favourite buttercream so far, because it simply tastes so silky and smooth, minus the large amounts of butter and sugar (American buttercream). However, SMBC seems to still be a little "melty" in our hot and humid country, if I were to use butter only. Shortening would be able to stabilize it more, which I usually don't like to use, except if the cake needs to be displayed in parties. 



It's a cake with its texture between dense and rich chocolate cake VS fluffy and light sponge cake. The buttercream tastes like milk chocolate - I suppose is sweet, but not cloyingly sweet :)





EDITED:

I made another 6-inch chocolate fudge cake over the weekend for an order.

A friend of hubby wanted to order for tasting - which surprised me because not many people would actually bother to order a cake to taste :) For that I am thankful!



This time round, I provided a more refreshing option for decorating - fresh, sweet Korean strawberries! I love how when the Korean strawberries are in season. Hehe.

(Speaking of this, how I miss the Kyoho grapes!)




We are able to provide customization for the decorating part. To place order for cakes, simply email us at petitejoybakes@gmail.com

Also, like our facebook page here! :)

5 Star Soft White Bread

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

I was browsing around for bread recipes (as always haha) because most of the time the little one is having bread for breakfast. So I wanted to try out different flavors or textures for variation.

I came across recipe by this Japanese author, 荻山和也. I wanted to try out at least one recipe before buying his book hehe :)


The bread looks a little out of shape, probably because it's really soft! I super love this texture over the Wu Pao Chun's milk loaf. Not too rich or dense, and super soft!

I am surprised that even selecting Rapid Bread mode, this loaf came out so soft!


五星級濃郁吐司 - Recipe adapted from 荻山和也×麵包機魔法60變
Ingredients:
-  230g bread flour
- 25g butter
- 25g sugar
- 3g salt
- 3g yeast
- 25g egg, beaten
- 125g cold water

Method:
1.  Place ingredients into bread pan.
2.  Select menu on your bread machine. Press start.
3.  Remove once done and let cool on cooling rack.

*I used salted butter because I had that in my fridge, so I omitted the salt. I also cut the sugar to 20g.



*I am using Panasonic SD-P104, Menu 2 for Rapid Bread, Light Crust. Takes about 2 hours to complete.

Baby Table Food - Black Pepper Beef Stir Fry

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Ever since the little one started on table food sometime back, it's been quite difficult to think of different dishes and soups that are suitable for her lol. (She's 15 months now! Been 3 months of table food!)

I used to like adding soy sauce, oyster sauce and what-nots into my cooking. Now, although we are not totally salt-free (I use dried scallops, ikan bilis and shrimps now), but it's quite a refreshing, healthier change.

I quite appreciate that now I hardly follow recipes, just go by "agar-ation". Thankfully the dishes came out to be quite nice!


ABC soup, black pepper beef stir fry, french bean omelette.


Black Pepper Beef Stir Fry
Ingredients:
- Beef (about 250g), sliced
- 1/2 onion, sliced
- Baby bok choy, chopped
- 1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 slices of ginger
- Black pepper

Marinade:
- 1 tsp corn starch
- 1 spoonful of sesame oil (table spoon for eating)


Method:
1.  Marinade beef. Set aside for at least 15 mins.
2.  Heat oil in frying pan. Sautee garlic & ginger till fragrant. Add onion. Stir fry till softened.
3.  Add in beef, sprinkle black pepper. Stir fry till cooked on surface.
4.  Add bok choy stem and stir fry. (You might want to dish up the beef to prevent over-cooking)
5.  Add in bok choy leaves and stir fry.


*You might want to add green capsicum for better taste.
* If you are not comfortable with using corn starch to marinade, use some ginger juice instead.


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