Mommy's Blog

November 12, 2010

New Blog

Filed under: Uncategorized — mommy @ 11:39 pm

When a friend asked Ho why I didn’t update my blog, I realized that even after I announced my new blog address on FB, not many people are aware that I had switched to Blogspot.  I find it easier for me to organize my posts there.  However, it also caused me so inconvenience:

  1. WordPress stats are clearer and don’t count my own views as long as I have signed in as myself, while Blogspot counts your own visit from different computers unless you set codes on every station..
  2. I can’t get Tastespotting to change my blog address.  It’s very annoying to me.  When people search for my published posts, they’ll be taken to WordPress.  I may have to update both sites at the same time.
  3. For some reason, when I google some of the dishes I did, only my wordpress post address came up.  I still have to figure out why.

Anyway, for those who are interested in what I made and what my kids said recently, please feel free to visit me at



August 26, 2010

Lai Lai’s (Mother-in-law) Birthday Cake

Filed under: Baking — mommy @ 11:50 pm

Summer is a busy baking time for me.  Birthdays of Adrian, Livie, and Lai Lai are all in the summer. Ho’s is coming up in September too.  It’s Lai Lai’s birthday today. When  I asked her what she would like, her requirements were so simple that the gave me no clue of what the cake should be:: no mousse, more cake. She actually likes my chocolate zucchini cake, but I can’t use that as the birthday cake!  Since I made Black Forest for Livie, vanilla cake for Adrian, I’m running out of cake idea,.  So I went back to my blog record and saw the chestnut cream cake again.  Finally Lai Lai approved the flavour, so chestnut cake it is.

Last time I bought some canned chestnut puree made in France which was too sweet and the texture was too “jellyish”.  I ended up grinding some ready to eat snack pack chestnut to make puree myself.  I didn’t have time to do that again.  My sis recommended this expensive Hero canned chestnut puree.  Wow, $18 a can.   It better be good.  I spooned a little in my mouth, mmm… I don’t have to grind the nuts this time!

I also altered my sister’s sponge cake recipe by replacing some of the all purpose flour with cake flour.  The cake came out soft but dense enough to be springy.  Too bad my hand was not fast enough, some of the butter sank to the bottom.  Other than that, I consider the cake layers to be very successful.

Since I didn’t grind any chestnut, I toasted some almond slices to cover the side.  Everybody was happy with the roasted nutty taste.

Now what should I make for Ho’s birthday on Wednesday…?

August 24, 2010

Planning a trip

Filed under: Kids' Words — mommy @ 11:32 pm

Ho is taking the kids to Niagara for a night without me next week.  After our family trip to Hong Kong, I only have 3 vacation days left.  I have to save 2 for the kids’ field trip in the coming school year.  Besides, I can’t go anywhere because the office will be very busy in this planning time.

Me: Livie, Adrian, listen to mommy – when you go out with daddy, be very careful and stay close them him, especially when he’s shopping.  You don’t want to be left behind in the store.

Olivia: Then we’ll stay at the hotel.

Me: You go all the way to stay at the hotel?  Besides, who’s going to look after you?  Mommy is not going.

Olivia: Adrian will!  He’s older.  He can look after me.  We can, play, read stories, watch TV… We’ll have lots of fun… fighting!

August 23, 2010

Tang Zhong Toast 湯種吐司/ Tang Zhong Cinnamon Rolls湯種玉桂卷

Filed under: Baking — mommy @ 11:18 pm

The reason why I had been so busy these days was Tang Zhong (湯種) toast bread.  Ever since I had tried it, I couldn’t stop.  My kids love it.  My husband, for the first time, even said it’s comparable to those of J-Town.  So I don’t buy bread from stores anymore.  Yet the bread is so popular that I have to bake quite often to keep up with the demand. This recipe was written in Chinese.  Jennifer just reminded me that I hadn’t posted the English recipe yet.  Here it is:


A) Dough starter (Tang Zhong)

  • Bread flour         20g
  • Water               80ml
  • Unsalted butter  10g
  • Salt                  ¼ tsp

B) Milk              130ml

C) Dough

  • Bread flour         300g
  • Milk powder       15g
  • Sugar                25g
  • Instant yeast     1 ½ tsp
  • Salt                  ¼ tsp
  • Water               20 – 30ml
  • Unsalted butter  20g (room temperature)


  1. Cook ingredients (A) in pot on low heat, whisk until a paste formed. Scrape it to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add ingredient (B) to cool the temperature.
  3. Add ingredients (C) excluding water and butter to the bowl.  Start mixing.  It will be very sticky.
  4. After everything well mixed, add water.  Keep kneading until the water is evenly mixed in.
  5. Add butter. After kneading in the bowl for about 30 times, all moisture should be absorbed and the dough should be smooth.
  6. Take it to a floured surface and keep kneading for 10 more minutes.
  7. Shape the dough into a ball, put it in a slightly greased bowl, seam side down.  Cover with plastic and leave it in a warm place.
  8. After 50-60 mins, size of the dough should be about doubled.  Punch it down and knead a few times on a lightly floured surface again to remove bubbles.
  9. Put the dough in a greased 9” x 5” loaf pan.  Press it down.  Wait for second proof rising up to about the height of the loaf pan.
  10. Brush with egg wash and put it in preheated 390F oven, middle rack for 25 mins.*

 *Check in 3 mins, cover top of the bread with foil.  Otherwise it will burn.

Recently from Happy Home Baking, I also found a different tang zhong recipe for cinnamon rolls.  My house smells like a bakery almost everyday!  They are so soft!  Oh no, I’m supposed to be on a low carb diet!

August 20, 2010

Breakfast Dessert – Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Filed under: Baking — mommy @ 11:10 pm

On Wednesday another team in the office brought in a feast of zucchini cakes.  I guess zucchini must be in season.  One of the cakes was so good that I had to make one myself.  This is not exactly the same recipe but it’s even healthier because I could use applesauce to replace most of the oil.  Thinking that this will be a good chance to sneak in some fibre for Adrian, I even used the new Nutri-Blend flour to make the cake.  The oatmeal and chocolate chips topping was an idea I took from Happy Home Baking.  They made the cake look very pretty.

One thing good about using zucchini in baking is that it just adds moisture to the cake but won’t affect the taste at all.  On the other hand, the whole wheat taste from Nutri-Blend was quite strong.  It completely failed what it claimed on the packaging “with goodness of whole grain but taste like white flour”.  It doesn’t taste like white flour at all.  The good thing is that it can be sieved through finely as white.  I will only use it for whole wheat recipe from now on.  At first I thought Ho wouldn’t like the cake because of the whole wheat taste but he said the cake was good and he could only taste the chocolate.  I guess I am the baker with picky taste buds.  Last night the chocolate smell filled the house and he kept asking me if he could have a slice. But he knew he shouldn’t because it’s midnight already.

Ok, breakfast time!  Adrian still refused to eat it because he could see bits of green colour in it.  I won’t give up!  I’ll peel the zucchini when I make this cake next time.  Livie loved it though, I guess it’s because it’s a chocolate cake.  All girls like chocolate, she is a typical girl in this case.

August 11, 2010

Livie’s Birthday Cake

Filed under: Baking, Kids — mommy @ 11:55 pm

Livie doesn’t like my cakes.  She’s just not a cake person.  Luckily she’s a fan of my bread.  However, I can’t bake her a loaf of bread for her birthday!?  Somehow chocolate cake and cheesecake are the 2 of her “better than so so” preference.  I decided to make a Hong Kong style Blackforest, i.e. with jello in the filling instead of cherries.  Since Ho did a good job in decorating Adrian’s cake, I let him do Livie’s too.  I think he did even better for this cake.  Now we can be a team!

Ho wowed me when he emailed this picture to me after finishing the decoration…

Can you see the jello in betwen the layers?

August 3, 2010


Filed under: Kids — mommy @ 11:54 pm

Tonight I was alone with the kids after dining with their grandparents.  There were some tree branches left in the front yard from Sunday.  After I had set up the shower for Adrian, I told Livie to stay with him for a minute so I could go out to pick the branches up.  I guess it was more than a minute until I returned to the washroom.  I saw Adrian driving up himself and Livie in the shower.

Adrian: Mommy, were you surprised?  Olivia and I cooperated.  I left the shower on when I came out and she went in.  Aren’t we smart?

Yes, they’re very smart.  I always set the shower to the right temperature before the kids go in because they may burn themselves if they move the handle (whatever that’s called) too far.  They know not to turn it off so the next person can go in.  I was so touched that they would work things out to ease up my workload.  Suddenly I felt that my kids are growing up.

August 1, 2010


Filed under: Kids — mommy @ 11:50 pm

Our neighbour has 2 boys.  One of them is about Adrian’s age.  They used to play well together a couple years ago.  However, we’ve been so busy going out that we seldom get out in the back yard to play anymore, so the kids don’t see each other as much.  Tonight, Ho and I needed to do some gardening before the sun set, our neighbour had a party at home and they invited Adrian and Livie to their house to play with all the kids.  I thought this would be a good opportunity for the kids to catch up.

After a short while, Livie ran out and told me, “Adrian is fighting with Ivan.”  I asked her, “What do you mean?”  Then she ran away saying, “Oh, never mind.”  Since Adrian had never got into any fight before, I thought a minor verbal argument was what she meant.  Finally our neighbour brought Adrian back and said he and her son had a big argument.  I could see Adrian’s face, he’s really mad.  He started to say bad words and when I tried to stop him, he got more upset and went in the house.

I asked Livie what happened.  She told me,

“Adrian was very brave.  They were playing well at the beginning.  Then Ivan started to use his sword to poke on Adrian.  He (Adrian) didn’t move, he was so brave!  Ivan was teasing him saying, ‘poking a baby, poking a baby.’  That’s when Adrian started to yell at him.”

This situation is first of its kind and I’m so glad to see Livie standing up for her brother.  As you can tell from her words, she loves and respects her brother a lot.  I took her upstairs to see Adrian.  Once he heard that Livie helped us to understand what went wrong, he calmed down a lot faster than usual.  At the same time, we reminded Adrian that he needed to love his sister as much as she loves him.  Livie adores her brother.  They do fight sometimes, as all siblings do, but sometimes when Adrian cries, Livie will bring him tissue, pat on his back, or kiss him on the face.  Even though Adrian is not as good as Livie in comforting others but he will also try to make Livie smile when she’s sad.  Hope they’ll love and support each other like this forever.

July 26, 2010

Baby Shower Cake

Filed under: Baking — mommy @ 11:13 pm

I’ve been waiting for a baby shower to come ever since I saw this from Canadian Living long time ago.  It is so easy to wow the group with it.  The only mistake I made was using blueberries puree to colour the buttercream instead of using food colouring.  The colour was light and peel of the blueberries was showing as dots in the cream.  The mommy-to-be was still happy to see the cake though.  She quickly took pictures of the cake with her iPhone and emailed them to her husband.    Too bad I didn’t have good lighting in any of my pictures.  Her iPhone pictures are even better than those I took with a regular camera at home..

July 14, 2010

Adrian’s Birthday Cake – Vanilla, No Fruit Please!

Filed under: Baking — mommy @ 11:29 pm

It’s Adrian’s birthday today.  He hates eating fruit and vegetables.  He usually scrapes out all the fruit I have on my cakes before eating them.   Therefore while encouraging him to try eating fruits and veggies whenever there is a chance, I’ve been blending them in drinks and soup for him.  Yet since it is his birthday, I made the cake exactly the way he requested – Vanilla buttercream with NO FRUIT!

I tried to separate the process into 2 days so that I wouldn’t need to stay up all night to make the cake.  The vanilla bean sponge cake was baked 2 nights ago.  I left it in the freezer for easy cutting. The buttercream was a challenge to me since I had never successfully made one before. Last night, thanks to Jennifer’s support over the phone, I finally made it right.  However, when I cut up the cake from the freezer, I found lumps of flour in the cake because I was too rushed that night and didn’t fold it in the batter properly.  Sorry Chef Amjad, I should have followed your instructions step by step.  I had to bake a new cake.  At the end I was so tired that I couldn’t even space the chocolate rosettes properly on the cake. I had planned to put Smarties and marshmallows on it for decorations but I decided to clean up the kitchen instead and let me artistic husband to do rest of the design, because it was 3a.m. in the morning already!  I think he did a great job!

I had cut the sugar in buttercream to half.  5 cups of buttercream with only half a cup of sugar, too bad I think.    The thin buttercream layer kept moisture in the cake very well too.  Next time I’ll add more vanilla bean though.  I have increased the amount in my recipe below.


Vanilla Bean Sponge Cake

225g bread flour

225g sugar

7 extra large eggs

1 ½ vanilla beans

1/8 tsp salt


1. Spray a 9” springform pan with cooking spray then line with parchment paper.

2. Cut vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds out.

3. Use paddle attachment with your standmixer, beat eggs, sugar and seeds from vanilla bean on high speed for 12 mins to ribbon stage.  The volume should reach at least as high as what you see in the picture  shown below.

4. While waiting for the batter to be ready, preheat oven to 380F.

5. Fold in sifted flour in 3 batches.  Be careful, the flour sinks fast.  Make sure you reach to the bottom when you fold.

6. Pour batter into lined pan, give it a little shake to level it.

7. Bake for 30-35 mins or until cake tester comes out clean.  Cover with foil midway if it gets too brown on the top.  The top will be cut out anyway but you don’t want any burnt smell in your cake.

8. Put the cake in freezer until day of assembly.

Martha Stewart’s Swiss Meringue Buttercream

5 large egg whites

½ cup  + 1 tbsp of sugar

4 sticks butter (454g) cut into 1 tbsp size cubes

1 ½ vanilla extra

50g semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

  1. In the heatproof bowl of standmixer set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine egg whites and sugar. Whisking constantly, until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch.
  2. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg-white mixture on high speed until it holds stiff peaks. Continue beating until the mixture is fluffy and side of the bowl is cooled.
  3. Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low speed, add butter several cubes at a time, beat well after each addition. (If frosting appears to separate after all the butter has been added, beat on medium-high speed until smooth again, 3 to 5 minutes more.)
  4. Add vanilla and beat just until mixed.  You should have 5 cups of buttercream here.  If you want to make some of it in chocolate flavour, put 2 cups of buttercream aside and beat for 2 more minutes on the rest to remove any bubbles left.  Scoop out to separate container.
  5. To make  chocolate buttercream:
  6. Melt the chocolate chips in double-boiler or a heatproof bowl set on simmering water.
  7. Once the chocolate has melted, wait for it to cool, about 30 mins.
  8. Mix melted chocolate and the reserved 2 cups of buttercream in the original standmixer bowl (less washing to do!), paddle for 2 mins until mixed.
  9. Keep all buttercream in room temperature if using it in one day.  Keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days, in freezer for up to one month.


  1. Cut top of the cake and discard.  You can save it for decorations which need cake crumbs.
  2. Cut the cake into 3 layers.
  3. Brush sugar syrup on bottom layer, then cover it with chocolate buttercream.
  4. Put second layer on top and repeat step 3.
  5. Put the top layer on.  Cover it with vanilla buttercream.
  6. Pipe chocolate rosettes on top and add other candies if you like.

Livie did her own design by adding more Smarties on!

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