Saturday, November 28, 2009

the travel itch.

A part of Lake Crescent
Olympic National Park
Washington, USA
Summer, 2007

itching to travel again, but too many things going on in december.

i miss road trips. i miss my crazy road trip days in US. where i can have a crazy idea, hop out and rent a car, plan the route, drive to safeway to buy food, pile into the car and just drive. and within hours, i'm surrounded by amazing views, a thousand and one things to see, do and explore.

when you live on an island of a small country, this is what you yearn for.

well anyway, thoughts this weekend:

#1 - new moon the movie was much better than i had anticipated. and the movie is 1000x better than the book, which i hated. so there it goes. sister and i were hoping we wouldn't run into our students in the theater. :)

#2 - just finished watching CNN heroes, the tribute. as always, anderson cooper is too cute in his head of silver-white hair. but more than that, the inspiring stories that showcase how amazing and how far a single person or a group of persons can go to reach out to those in need.

orphans in east timor, the homeless that go hungry in new york city, children in need of prosthetic limbs, iraqi children in need of wheelchairs, women and children in zimbabwe that are raped at 6 years old by 18 HIV-positive men, women without health insurance that need mammograms and SO MANY MORE.

this beats the nobel peace prize.

#3 - choices. and choosing wisely.

#4 - and recapping:

"I beseech you therefore, brethren,
by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice,
holy, acceptable to God,
which is your reasonable service."
- Romans 12:1

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

say cheese!

oreo cheesecake for dad's birthday

decided to post up my oreo cheesecake recipe after sam requested for it all the way from perth. :) since i have the soft copy, might as well share the joy right. christmas is coming is coming afterall. and i'm celebrating by listening to old bethany christmas concert songs and reminiscing about the good old days. and looking forward with much excitement and joy to this year's musical, and honouring the Lord and His tender grace upon me this year. :)

i had trouble looking for a reliable oreo cheesecake recipe - my usual suspects (nigella, hummingbird bakery, jamie oliver, and i even checked anthony bourdain! knowing full well he wouldn't have one in his les halles cookbook) didn't have one. so i decided to use nigella's new york cheesecake ('cos it was so successful everytime) and invent my own oreo crust.

Enjoy! :)

a 70th birthday oreo cheesecake

Ingredients for the base:
250g oreo biscuits, without cream (estimated)
150g unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons caster sugar (reduced sugar version: 2 tbsps)

For the cake:
23cm springform tin (from phoon huat)
250g caster sugar (reduced sugar version: 175g)
2 tablespoons corn flour
750g cream cheese
6 large eggs, separated
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (i usually put in 1 more teaspoon cos i love vanilla so much)
150ml double cream
150ml sour cream (can be replaced with another 150ml double cream)
½ teaspoon salt (just pinch)
zest of 1 lemon
icing sugar for dusting
strawberries, raspberries or blackberries to serve/garnish

The Baking!
1. Mix together the crushed biscuits, melted butter and 3 tablespoons of sugar
2. Press into the base of the springform tin
3. Leave in the fridge for ½ hour

4. Preheat oven 170 degree celsius
5. In a large bowl, mix together the caster sugar and corn flour.
6. Beat in the cream cheese, egg yolks, vanilla either by hand or electric beater
7. Slowly pour in both creams, beating constantly
8. Add the salt and lemon zest
9. Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, then fold into the cheese mixture.
10. Scoop onto the chilled base
11. Bake for 1-1.5 hours without opening the oven door, until the cheesecake is golden brown on top.
12. Turn off the heat and let the cake stand in the oven for 2 more hours.
13. Open the oven door and let it stand for a further 1 hour.
14. Serve chilled, dusted with icing sugar. Garnish with fresh fruits.

Serves 12-14

as always i would reduce the sugar amounts dramatically.

the first 2 times i followed exactly, but this time i was tired of having left-over sour and double cream. so i experimented doing away with sour cream and replacing it with double cream. so i used the entire 300ml cup of double cream, plus reducing the sugar a little more to combat the sweetness and it turned out well.

step #9 is something that nigella says will ensure that the cheesecake is less dense and light and fluffy. so be sure to whisk till stiff peaks. it really makes a difference!

I know the baking procedure sounds super troublesome. but i never questioned it, and following the steps ensured that my cheesecake turned out awesome.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

ray of sunshine.

rays of sunshine
view from the top of the spanish steps
rome, italy

*Sometimes the sun shines on other people's houses and not mine
Somedays the clouds paint the sky all gray it takes away the summer time
and somehow the sun keeps shining upon you while i struggle to get mine
if there's a light in everybody, send out your ray of sunshine*

i want to walk the same roads as everyone else
through the trees and past the gates
getting high on heavenly breezes
and making new friends along the way

i won't ask much of nobody
i'm just here to sing along

and make my mistakes look gracious
and learn some lessons from my wrongs

Sometimes the sun shines on other people's houses and not mine
Somedays the clouds paint the sky all gray it takes away the summer time
while the sun keeps shining upon you while i'm kindly standing by
a little light never hurt nobody send out a ray of sunshine

Ohh if this little light of mine combined with yours today
how many watts could we 'luminate
how many villages could we save
well my umbrella is tried of the weather wearing me down
well look at me now, look at me now

you should look as good as your outlook
would you mind if i took some time

to soak up your light, your beautiful light,
you got a paradise inside

i get hungry for love and thirsty for life
but much too full on the pain
when i look to the sky to help me
and it often looks like rain


you're undeniably warm, cerulean
you're perfect in design
i hope you hang around

so the sun it can shine on me
and the clouds can all roll away
and the sky can become our possibility

'cause there's a light in everybody
send out your ray of sunshine
- jason mraz