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It’s funny how sometimes conversation between friends can get you sit up and procrastinate no more but to make the said food the very next day.

I’ve been meaning to try making savoury scones, muffins.. for the longest, longest, longest time. Somehow, i just didn’t manage to do it. There are always other bakes to bake first.. until 2 nights ago, when the gf and i were chatting and she was telling me about her bacon and cheddar muffins that were baking in the oven. After all her oohs and aahs — post eating — i was like, that’s it.. I’m baking it tomorrow!!

I almost did, you know.. but the thought of the cream in fridge stopped me. I needed to use up the cream ASAP… thus, scones it is, and no regrets. :)

Bacon and Cheddar Cheese Scones

(makes 16 scones)
3 slices bacon, chopped
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup heavy cream, plus 2 tablespoons
Method
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.In a medium skillet, cook the bacon, stirring, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well on paper towels.Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Cut in the butter, cheese, green onions, and pepper with a pastry blender or fork, and work just until it starts to form lumps and come together.

Add the bacon. Add 1 cup of the cream and work just until it becomes a sticky dough, being careful not to overwork.Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and pat until it comes together.

Form into 2 large circles, about 7 inches in diameter and 3/4 inch thick and cut each into 8 wedges with a sharp knife. Transfer to baking sheet with a spatula, leaving 1/2-inch space between each wedge.

Paint the tops of the wedges lightly with the remaining 2 tablespoons of cream and bake until golden brown, 22 to 23 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly on the baking sheet. Serve warm.

(adapted from here)

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I think the family and the in laws love savoury bakes more than anything else. This one, sells like hot cakes!
Which is, quite a good news… because, it means, less sugar consumption. ;)

KSB

my post-yoga fuel

After baking so many kind of breads all these years, i finally found one that is truly captivating ~ Kyra’s seed bread. I love the ingredients, i love the chewy texture, i love the flavour, i love the slight crunch with every bite i take, i love the heaviness of the bread, i love how filling it is, i love the fact that i feel so good after devouring it. In short, i love everything about this bread. Best of all, it’s so easy to make!

There’s no need for bread machine or mixing with dough hook, shaping, de-gassing etc, all you need is a clean bowl and a rubber spatula. Now, did that get you sitting up right and paying more attention? ;)

Apparently, this type of bread is wildly popular in South Africa, where Kyra grew up – recipe’s adapted from Nick Malgieri’s bread. The seed bread makes wonderful morning toast. Alternatively, it’s brilliant as open-face sandwich for the boys’ lunch or as post-exercise-pick-me-up, slathered with cream cheese or salted butter. Shioookkk!

However, i do eat it plain, because i like the simplicity. :)

KSB2

 

Kyra’s Seed Bread

(makes 1 9-inch loaf)

280g warm water
10g active dry yeast
300g whole wheat flour
65g unbleached bread flour
15g wheat/oat bran
45g sunflower seeds
30g white sesame seeds
20g poppy seeds
12g sea salt
65g honey (orig 75g)
20g vegetable oil

Method

1. In a small bowl, whisk the water and yeast together, set aside.
2. Combine the whole wheat flour, bread flour, bran, seeds and salt in a large bowl. Stir well. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the yeast mixture, honey and oil. Use a larger rubber spatula to stir everything smoothly together. Cover the bowl and let the batter rest for 10 minutes.
3. Beat the batter for about 1 minute to make it slightly smoother then scrape it into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise until it reaches the top of the pan, about 1 hour.
4. Preheat the oven to 375F half an hour after you place the batter in the pan. Once the batter is fully risen, bake the bread until it is firm for about 30-45 minutes.
5. Unmold, set the loaf on its side on a rack, and cool completely. Wrap and keep until the next day before serving – both the texture and flavor improve with a day’s rest.

Moo’s note : obviously i didn’t exactly follow the instructions as usual. Grin.

1. i decided i could do with 1 lesser bowl to wash, so i mix the dry ingredients to the yeast mixture straight.
2. i didn’t cover the batter with oiled plastic wrap.

3. i didn’t wait till the next day to eat. i had it straight when it got out of the oven immediately. the crust, oh the crust.. made me wanna eat the whole loaf up! So, did the flavour and texture improve the next day? Hmm.. not that great a difference that will stop me from devouring it the moment it is out from the oven. :P

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I’ve been trying to minimize my usage of anything white in my cooking and baking eg : plain flour, white rice, white sugar etc. Whenever possible, i do try to get better ingredients for my food. After all, we’ve dined out so much lesser these days (i sorta lost interest in foods that are too fanciful *gasps* — however, i still love simple, good food wholeheartedly otherwise i would have stopped cooking and baking eh? ^^) so the extra coins go to the premium ingredients and new toys / gadgets.. :)

When i was in Kuala Lumpur recently, i was amazed by the variety of organic food found in their organic shops, which can be seen at almost every other corner in the city! One of my happy buys was this organic wholemeal flour which i used for this bread. My only regret is, “Why didn’t i buy more than a packet?!?!”. But then again, even if i did.. i don’t think i could have lugged them back because i took a bus back and had no proper luggage/suitcases/bags.

A bread guru once said, A good flour makes a whole lot of difference to your bread, be it flavour or texture wise, and i don’t doubt that. :)

KSB1

* photos taken with Samsung Note II. I sure hope to find my prime lens soon!

20130701_162552_2

Suddenly, i have a few posts in a week. That’s quite something in my book. Well, it’s because my car is still in workshop after 1 plus week! :(

You see, i was in Kuala Lumpur for 2 weeks last month and the car, parked less than 50m away from the security guard post was nearly stolen. Thank GOD it didn’t, otherwise i will not be able to get a single cent back since the insurance does not cover for any accidents/theft in Malaysia. The ignition, the alarm, basically everything that needed to be opened up, was opened and ripped apart. So what stopped the thieves from driving the car away?

The steering wheel was locked. Miraculously. Because for once, i carelessly didn’t lock it. So, I have no idea what happened, but it was locked. When i think back, i’m not sure if i was lucky or unlucky. Lucky because the damn thieves didn’t manage to steal the car, or unlucky because my car nearly got stolen. But. I would like to think it’s the former. Well, mainly to make myself feel better! :P

You know, they even stole my precious sunshade (which i cannot find anywhere anymore! *sad face*), my soft toys (1 cow + 2 sheep!!!) together with other valuable items. Madness!!

fig

I’ve been trying to cut down my sugar intake tremendously since last month. I was given strict instruction by the doctor to stay clear of all sweet things, including some fruits too. It’s rather depressing. You know how much i heart desserts and my tea breaks. :(

Since i couldn’t bake any desserts for the time being, well, i could if i want to but i refuse to torture myself this way, heh, so i’ve been channeling my energy to bread making. Not too shabby isn’t it? After all, the boys love my homemade breads like crazy.. and though i don’t eat much of them these days, i love breads too!

When i came across this recipe on this fab cookbook ~ Home Baked Comfort by Kim Laidlaw, i knew i had to attempt it. It doesn’t sound too difficult except for the braiding part. I can’t even braid my own hair to begin with, what more breads? — i know right, what kinda female am i!?! Cannot braid my own hair?! Grin. But *ahem*… whaddaya know , looks like braiding bread is easier than braiding hair eh? ^^

Figgy Cardamom Bread

Ingredients

 

  • 1 cup milk, warmed (110°F)
  • 1 package (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
  • 1/3 (90g) cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 3 1/2 cups (545g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom
  •  2 eggs
  • 6 Tbs. (90g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups(260g)  quartered dried figs

 

Directions:

In the bowl of an electric mixer, stir together the milk, yeast and the 1/3 cup sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cardamom. Add the flour mixture and 2 of the eggs to the yeast mixture. Attach the dough hook and knead the dough on medium-low speed until it starts to look shaggy. While continuing to knead, add the butter. Knead until the dough is fairly smooth, about 10 minutes. Dump the dough onto a floured work surface and flatten into a disk. Scatter the figs over the dough and gather it into a ball. Knead the dough gently to incorporate the figs. Gather the dough into a ball, transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dump the dough onto the lightly floured work surface and divide it into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 16 inches long. Lay the ropes next to each other, touching, on the work surface. Braid the ropes together, tucking the ends underneath the braid. Place on the prepared pan, cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let rise until puffy, about 45 minutes.

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before slicing. Makes 1 large loaf + 2 medium size boule.

(optional : brush the loaf with 1 egg, sprinkle some sugar and sliced almonds just before baking to make it more decadent!)

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fig2

Confession : I actually used 3 eggs for this bread. Not intentional of course — a case of not reading the instructions properly. No wonder the dough was so sticky! Heheeeee!

I quite adore this recipe. The bread is almost brioche-like except that it’s not that rich. Still, when lightly toasted, it’s so good! Fluffy, buttery and so tear-able. I had it plain but the boys loved it with cream cheese / butter/ jam. As for the cardamom, i couldn’t taste it at all. Perhaps i added too little of it. Instead of using 1 tsp of ground cardamom, i grounded just 5 cardamom which came up to just 1/4 tsp?

This braided loaf makes a stunning presentation and it’s based on the traditional cardamom-spiked breads from Sweden and Finland, with luscious dried figs for some sparkle. If you have guests over, i’m sure they’ll be thrilled. I know i will. ;)

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