Fruit Cake 2013

Fruit Cake 2013!

The last time I made fruit cake was for my wedding in 2008. I kept the cake aside and never got to try it until nearly 2 years later when I moved back to Asia! The flavour was wonderfully awesome and rich which I was quite surprised with as I had half expected it to taste off (being as old as it was)!

I didn’t really plan to make a fruit cake this year but after a talk with some girls, I decided to give it a go. To be honest, I had forgotten all about the fruit & nut mix after drowning it with brandy, jam and honey! And then yesterday, I decided I had to make space in my fridge for other things apart from flour and fruit cake mix…so the oven saw some baking action.

The recipe below is adapted from the one by Good Housekeeping – a book that I bought recently. It is definitely easier to execute and has less ingredients compared to the first recipe I had which called for treacle, separating the eggs and so forth. Taste-wise, the hubs found this to be yummy – passed the taste test la! – despite the omission of allspice (I didn’t have any on hand).

We have wolfed down a third of this and the rest is now sitting in the freezer. The plan is that it stays there for at least four to six months to mature and develop its awesome flavour although I wonder if we can wait that long. Tehehehe.

Fruit Cake 2013

Ingredients

(A) Fruit & nut mix
900 g mixed fruits – red & green cherries, dried cranberries, chopped dried apricots
300 g mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts*) – roughly chopped
50 g orange peel – roughly chopped
150 g strawberry jam
2 tbsp honey
2 cups brandy

(B) Batter
275 g soft & semi-melted unsalted butter
350 g cake flour
225 g brown/demerara sugar
5 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essense
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (optional)
1/2 tsp ground allspice (optional)

* You can use other nuts like hazelnuts, pecans, macadamias.

Method

  1. Combine fruits and nuts in a container. Add jam, honey and brandy, and mix well.
  2. Cover and allow to sit for at least 7 days. Stir the mixture with a clean & dry wooden spoon every day. In this cake above, the mixture sat in the fridge for 1.5 to 2 months.
  3. Before use, add 50gms flour (deduct from the amount called for in the batter) to prevent the fruits & nuts from sinking to the bottom of the cake.
  4. Preheat the oven at 150°C. Grease a deep 8″ square or 9″ round cake pan with butter and line the pan with 2 layers of baking paper.
  5. Wrap the outside of the pan with brown paper and secure well. This is to prevent 1) the edges from cooking too quickly, and 2) the top to curve over (dome shaped).
  6. Sift the flour and ground spices into a large bowl. Add the butter, sugar and eggs (one at a time); using a whisk, beat for 1 minute until smooth and glossy.
  7. Fold in the fruit & nut mixture until the fruit is evenly distributed. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface. Tap the pan on the workspace several times to remove any air pockets. Press down lightly in the center to ensure that it doesn’t rise too much into a dome shape while baking.
  8. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for 3 to 3.5 hours. Cover the top with greaseproof paper after 1.5 hours. The cake is ready when it’s firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  9. Leave to cool completely in the oven in its pan. When the cake is cool, remove from the pan but leave the greaseproof lining around the cake on. Wrap the cake in a double layer of greaseproof paper before covering with foil. Leave to mature for a week in the fridge before serving. This cake keeps well; flavour improves with age – you can freeze this for up to 1.5 years!
Continue Reading

A Simple Fitted Sheet

A Simple Fitted Sheet

A Simple Fitted Sheet
Size | To fit a 60 x 120 x 9 cm mattress
Pattern details | 100% cotton fabric from Kamdar

We brought back Eva’s crib from Singapore but didn’t realize that all our sheets were too big. Since IKEA is in PJ and we weren’t going to my parents’ place any time soon, I decided to sew a fitted sheet. Kamdar – a local fabric supplier – is just around the corner and Christmas came early (yay to the new sewing machine – more on this in another post!)!

I couldn’t really find the right fabric at Kamdar; initially wanted to use printed fabric but the prints they had were either too “noisy” (or suitable for things like sexy lingerie – hmm) or just not quite appropriate for a kid’s room. In the end, I settled for a plain cotton fabric in turquoise. The fabric is quite decent for the price (the cotton is around RM4-5 per metre) so I might go back and get some other colours like olive and khaki…

It is easy to sew up a fitted sheet. I folded the fabric into quarters, measured out the width & length and cut out a square for the edging before serging and sewing up everything. Instead of sewing on the elastic, I threaded it around the entire sheet. All in all, I spent less than two hours on this.

The result is as per the picture! This is an easy, quick and simple project for beginner sewers and can even be sewn up by hand (if you’re machine-less and have a lot of time to spare).

Continue Reading

Our 2nd choy sum harvest!

2nd choy sum harvest

That’s our second choy sum harvest and boy o’ boy were the kids ultra excited about this! Yes, even Noah. One of the plants had already pushed out flowers so the kids got a stalk of yellow flowers to hold onto and Noah instantly demolished it. He plucked it, he pulled it…well, basically he had fun with it. After five minutes, there was nothing left but a short 2.5 cm green stalk in his tiny hand.

I cleaned this, separated it into 4cm long portions and then stir-fried this with garlic and some sea salt before serving it with steamed pork ribs and rice. The kids finished EVERY SINGLE thing! One thing that has reaffirmed my choice to grow my own vegetables and get the kids involved is that they get excited, they get curious and more importantly, they want to try food that they helped to grow!

As I’m sharing this, I have another planter box with choy sum, Hong Kong choy sum and bok choy seedlings. Am keeping my fingers crossed for a bountiful harvest next year! Tehehehe.

Continue Reading