Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Best Moist Chocolate Cake Recipe Ever!

*wipes drool off the table*

I am not going to kid you. This is hands down, the best moist chocolate cake recipe everrrrrr!

Simplest cake to make too, because you don't need a mixer, and it uses vegetable oil instead of butter!

I swear, this cake is great even when naked on its own, fresh out of this oven. Even better when drizzled with chocolate ganache. I have to warn you though, although it is an easy cake to make, it is NOT an easy cake to manage for fondant. It is so moist, that it takes a ridiculous amount of effort and patience just to lather a decent amount of buttercream on the cake. Since it is so moist, it also sags whenever you attempt to layer the cakes, and hard to maintain shape when draped with fondant. BUT since it so darn moist, I persevere every single time, hence this is my go to recipe for all my sons' birthday cakes.

Moist Chocolate Cake:

2 cups caster sugar
1 3/4 cups superfine flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Van Houlten)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Method of Preparation:
  1. Preheat oven to 180degC. Butter two - 9 inch (23 cm) round cake pans and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In another bowl, add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla extract. Whisk for one minute using a whisk. Add the dry ingredients and whisk together for two minutes.
  4. Lastly stir in boiling water. Batter will be tin, so do not use baking tins that have a removable bottom.
  5. Divide the batter equally into two 9 inch pans.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or so, until toothpick comes out clean.

Chocolate Ganache:
For thick chocolate ganache suitable for filling the cake, use two parts dark chocolate to one part cream. For smooth glossy fondant that is loose enough to flow but thick enough to drip over the edges of the cake, use one part dark chocolate to one part cream. You can increase or decrease the chocolate to cream depending on your desired consistency. I recommend Beryl's dark chocolate compound (not milk chocolate!) and Paul's whipping cream.
  1. Coarsely chop the chocolate and transfer to a heat-proof bowl.
  2. Bring the cream to just a boil over medium-high heat. Make sure it doesn't boil over!
  3. Start slowly then vigorously whisk the mixture in one direction until smooth and creamy. This may take a little while, so just keeping whisking.
For the beautiful drips, make sure that your cake is cool to touch. A super cold chilled cake from the fridge is most ideal. Pour your warm chocolate glaze into a piping bag and snip a small hole at the end. Pipe the chocolate ganache all over the top of the cake, with some purposeful drips over the top edge of the cake. And tadaaaaa you're done!

You can also top the cake with strawberries and Toblerone, and go crazy with the chocolate drizzle!

You simply must try this sinful recipe. And yes, you can thank me later. *chuckles*

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

My Awful Experience with 11Street MY

This is a rant post.

Remember the Handbag Raincoat that I blogged about early of the month? Hhhmmpphh...

After paying for it (and even blogging about it!), I eagerly awaited the arrival of my new 'toy'. Several days after the order, I received a call. I remember it just like it was yesterday. It was around Maghrib and I was in Pangkor with my in laws. I picked up the call and the lady on the other side introduced herself as from 11Street.my and then... her next sentence was a proposition for me to cancel my order. As she stumbled ahead, explaining how to do so,"Click on dashboard, click on bla bla, click on this and that...", I abruptly cut her off. "Why should I cancel my order?", I asked. She sounded very inexperienced, as she began to explain that the item was out of stock and she didn't know when it would be restocked.

I told her that I would be happy to wait for the restock, upon which she stammered that she would check how long it would take to be restocked.

As I ended the conversation, I wondered how many more items within the 11Street domain were out of stock unnoticed?

Fast forward to today, it suddenly occurred to me that 20 days had passed since I placed my order. I checked my order status online and it said "Processing for Delivery". Still unconvinced, I decided to call 11Street MY to check on my purchase. The first time I called, my call was abruptly cut off (that was frustrating!) but things turned up for me in the next call. I was handled by a very polite, apologetic and experienced call analyst. I explained to her my predicament while she looked back on my records. Well guess what? There was no log of them calling me to explain that the item was out of stock! She also clarified that she found no email trails between them and the seller saying that it was out of stock either. However, since the product was from New York, the seller claimed that it would take 20 working days to ship, so she told me that she would email the seller again to check on the delivery status; and she sounded very confident that I would get my order before Christmas. She even offered to email me once she hears from the seller. I ended the call, saying that I was looking forward to her email.

Oh I did get an email, alright! Three hours after that, I received an email, titled "[11street] Your order cancellation is complete, and payment has been refunded."

What the heck??? First you forget to check on the restock period, next you forgot entirely that you called me, then you promised that you would email me with the status of the order, but then you decided that it was easier to cancel and refund instead of giving me at least a courtesy call? What manners!

Best part of it all? "Reason of Cancellation: Item Out of Stock (Applicable to All Options) / sold out we noticed"

Yeah right you noticed! *sarcasm*



Sorry 11Street MY. You just lost a customer here.

Rant over, thanks for reading! (And I guess it's back to plastic bags for my handbags!)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Monday Beach Blues

Happy Monday peeps!

Today's my first day back at work. As usual, sorry for the week long hiatus. I was too busy breathing the warm, salty air at the beach, basking under the sun, frolicking in the sand, and of course stuffing myself silly with good food.

After such a great experience at our first YTL resort in Gaya Island (I know, I know, I still owe you a blogpost for that holiday), we were so impressed with the resort and its hospitality, that we vowed to try all other YTL resorts for our future vacations. Hence this time around, we decided to visit Pangkor Laut Resort for the year end holidays.

As expected, we loveddddddddd the resort. The kids enjoyed themselves and we were more than happy to let them run, swim, snorkel and eat to their hearts content. If you ask us to compare between Pangkor and Gaya. Hubby and I are probably on the fence. But from the top of my head, here are the pros and cons of both:

  • The size of the resort for Pangkor Laut Resort was bigger, hence more turf to walk and explore. Despite it being bigger, everything was accessible by shuttle, even their private beach - Emerald Bay. On the other hand, Gaya Island had scheduled boat transfers to their private beach - Tavajun Bay. Therefore if you missed one, you had to wait for the next.
  • We experienced a more personalized service in Gaya Island. Perhaps because we were there during the low season? However, the dining concierge at Pangkor Laut Resort more than made up for it, by arranging for a private gazebo for our anniversary dinner.
  • When we celebrated Ian's birthday, Pangkor arranged for the waiters to bring him a cake and sing Happy Birthday. For Aiden's birthday, Gaya arranged for that plus more. We had a guitar serenade too!
  • Our Hillside Villa at Gaya was bigger, and it had a more modern layout. Our Beach Villa at Pangkor was smaller with tired looking furniture... but it was at an awesome location with a killer beach view, and an outdoor bathtub too. Gaya had a significantly bigger kids bed in the room. At Pangkor, the kids struggled to sleep together, and Ian actually fell off the bed on our second night!
  • The waters in Gaya were better than Pangkor. (Well, Sabah waters are obviously better than Pangkor waters.) At Gaya, we were able to do some pretty decent snorkeling even from the beach right in front of the resort; better if at the private beach. Pangkor on the other hand just didn't have that luxury. You would have to pay a bomb (~RM250 per person) just for a boat ride to the Pangkor public snorkeling area. (We went to the public snorkeling area just the week before, for just RM70 per person!)
  • The nature walk at Gaya was not suitable for kids. Pangkor on the other hand, allowed kids to join the nature walk, and even allowed us to turn around half way in case the kids couldn't handle it. (But we did finish the whole course.) Their nature trail is safe enough for you to track on your own too.
  • Pangkor's spa experience wins, hands down!!! It wasn't just about the massage (I swear, Tari has the hands of an angel), but also the complimentary 45 minute 4-step preparatory Bath House ritual - I'll blog about it in a separate post! As a memento of the experience, I was also given the kain batik that I used for the massage, as a keepsake.


Pros and cons aside, I don't think I can do justice to Pangkor Laut Resort with just one post written over the Monday blues. So let me just start by sharing a couple of select photos we took over the course of our holiday.

Check out Ian's happy grin!

My three boys.

Gang spec hitam.

On the left was the beach, and on the right was our Beach Villa!

The jetty in the background.

While waiting for our room to be ready.

Checking out the Sea Villas.

Officiated my kicks.

Our beautifully decorated bed.

Cute elephant, for Ian's birthday. (Our bed was decorated again the next day, for out anniversary, with two swans!)

Beautiful Emerald Bay.

Photo taken by Aiden!

Our private gazebo in the background.

No candlelight dinner for us. It was a loud dinner for four instead!

Decadent chocolate cake, courtesy of Pangkor Laut Resort.

Nature trail walk.

We all made it out in one piece!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Digestive Health

Right after Ian weaned off, I scratched my head mercilessly about which formula milk was best for his toddler years. Transitioning Ian to formula milk was no walk in the park. His biggest struggle was constipation, as his body tried to adapt to the more complicated protein structure commonly found in formula milk. Since his bowel movements served as a major clue to how his digestion was going, we became quite worried every time he fails to do number two. I’ll save you from the gross details, but it was definitely not going well.

Several dramatic bowel movements and numerous formula milk brands later, Ian finally settled comfortably with Friso Gold. With Friso Gold, not only does he have a good appetite, but all those previous constipation drama, flatulence and fussiness went out the window! 



So what makes Friso Gold so easy to digest? Scientifically, here is how it works. If you had paid attention during chemistry class, you would be able to imagine how a protein native structure looks like. If you didn’t… *chuckles* the protein structure looks like a spiral molecular arrangement. Friso Gold with LocNutriTM is designed to protect this spiral structure from being damaged caused by heat from the formula production process. If unprotected, the protein structure will be damaged from high heat, causing its spiral molecular chain to increase. This makes the protein harder for toddlers to absorb, leading to protein indigestion and stomach discomfort.




So did my scientific narrative crash course make sense? *giggles* If not, the video below will probably explain it way better than I ever can. Watch it for yourself:


When your child has good digestive health, they can easily absorb all the nutrients they have taken, which ultimately makes them stronger from the inside. For more information about the importance of good digestion, you can refer to: http://www.friso.com.sg/health-and-digestion/about-tiny-tummies/the-roles-and-functions-of-the-digestive-system.html.




Two years and counting - that’s how long Ian has been with Friso Gold; the brand that finally survived our grueling digestion criteria. The Friso Gold brand is soooo engrained in our family, that every time the familiar Friso Gold advertisement jingle comes on TV, Ian enthusiastically points to it and says “Ian’s milk!” Thanks to Friso Gold, I am confident of his strong digestive system, which in turns allows me to tolerate Ian being adventurous and exploratory with his daily meals.

To be part of the Friso Gold family, request for your free sample at http://www.frisogold.com.my/try-friso-gold.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Our 11th Anniversary



Eleven years ago today, Hubby and I got hitched.

I'm not one to get mushy and such on this public blog. Instead, I wanted to share a few photos of our wedding for this blogpost. Well imagine my shock when I looked into my computer directory and found that all my wedding photos had been wiped out! There must have been a fatal error when saving files due to moving hard drives over the years.

Thank god I remembered burning our wedding photos into a CD over a decade ago. Turned my house upside down to look for the said CD. Oh the irony - in a world of USB sticks, cloud sharing and such, it took a piece of CD to save the day.

Anyway, I finally found the CD *ohthankgod* so here are some photos from our wedding reception in KL. (I had my nikah, khatam Quran and then a reception in Ipoh as well, but that was mainly attended by my Dad's friends, hence have been excluded to save you from the agony of scrolling through photos of random old people!) *chuckles*

First photo in the VIP room.

OMG check out my stick thin figure.

The beauty of having so many siblings *giggles*

Makan beradab.

Pretty Misha Omar.

Hey, dummy cake!

Sultanah Nora graciously allowed me to use her diamond encrusted tiara for the night.

One with my Papa.

Mini BBGS reunion!

Last but certainly not least, my girls for life. *hugs*
Happy 11th Anniversary dear Hubby. Here's to celebrating many many many more anniversaries in the future. Love you always! 

Aladdin Reloaded - A Musical Comedy



So yesterday, I brought Aiden out for his first night out to the theater. Well truth be told, I didn't buy the tickets. I actually won two tickets via a competition organized by Tiara Jacquelina on her Instagram. (It was one of those late nights when I was scrolling lazily through IG trying to fall asleep, then I found her post and was the last lucky #10 to answer some questions and scored those tickets.)

I used to love going to the theaters. I haven't been to one for quite a while (blame the post-babies syndrome). My favourite show was Actorlympics (with my favourite being Jit Murad & Rashid Salleh). However, bringing Aiden out to the theaters was a whole different ball game. I had my reservations i.e. Would he understand the show? Would it get too complicated for him? Would he get bored and fall asleep?

Well, guess what??? I'm extremely glad I took the plunge and took him to the show. He enjoyed himself so much, he requested for me to buy more theater tickets for a repeat experience!

Here are some photos that I took during the night. (Photos are okay, but no recordings allowed.)

Aiden got so excited when they announced at the start of the show, that kids were allowed to act rambunctious and be as loud as they wanted. 

Aladdin on the flying carpet.

Bravo to the Genie of the Ring.

Striking a pose during intermission.

Finally, Aladdin gets to marry the princess after The Genie of the Lamp gave him a cheque for 2.6 billion.... (and I'm not kidding you, it was actually part of the play)! 

Simple set, but the catchy songs and slapstick comedy made up for the lack of it.

I must say, I enjoyed myself as well. I came with medium expectations, but left feeling so fulfilled and impressed with the cast. Their jokes were utterly hilarious, I laughed my head off; references to Bersih, GST, 1k hairstyles, 2.6 billion debacle... you've got to appreciate the humour! Although Rashid Salleh was remarkable as Widow Twanky (and I'll always have a soft spot for him!), my favourite was The Genie of the Ring, played by Tria Aziz. Their younger cast members were especially talented, and they delivered their jokes and punch lines so effortlessly, that even Aiden laughed his head off too! He especially loved that the show was so interactive, with the cast members asking questions to the audience, and even coming down from stage to interact with the crowd. Super proud that Aiden was captivated from start to finish. He was so pumped up after the show that despite it being close to midnight, he was wide awake enough to ask for a photo with the cast and then supper!


Kudos to the extremely talented cast and crew.

The cast taking one last photo before they left the stage.

A photo with the main cast members. After the photo, The Evil Wizard Abanaza (Peter Davis) pointed to Aiden and asked in his 'evil' voice, "Who stole your tooth?" *chuckles*


I highly recommend the show for kids in primary school and above. Good thing we left Ian at home, because he wouldn't understand a thing. The show isn't about beautiful sets and costumes, but rather about the comprehension of the story line and admiring the cast in delivering their lines.

Would I do this again? A resounding yes. But with better seats, of course! (Aiden wasn't happy with our balcony seats as he couldn't get any candy that was thrown from the stage to the audience.)

If you're struggling to find activities for your kids to do during this school break, and you feel that this show is your cup of tea, you have TWO days left to catch it. Go get your tickets now! (Yes, you can thank me later.) ;)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Three Generations



It's exactly a week after my birthday!

It was certainly a wonderful week of celebrations. I was celebrated a grand total of four times; with my dad and my extended family, with Ian at his birthday party, with my SPK girls and last but not least, an intimate dinner with my better half. So blessed to turn a year older in the company of my fantastic family and friends... but as much as I love being celebrated, I don't think I can stomach more cake!

Anyway, this post is dedicated to my birthday celebration with my dad, my stepmothers and step siblings. A week before the actual birth date, my dad had lamented quite sadly about how his children were too busy to balik Ipoh to celebrate his birthday. Little did he know that we had planned for a surprise party in KL. We went to great lengths to keep it a secret from him, and it was certainly impressive to see how all the siblings rallied together to organize the party. One was in charge of bringing him to KL, one for smuggling a tuxedo into his suitcase, another for booking the hotel, one for balloons and decorations, and yours truly for the birthday cake.

So that fateful night (3 days before the actual birth date, mind you!) we all gathered at my dad's hotel. Meanwhile, my father thought he was going out for dinner with my stepbrother. Unfortunately, he wanted to leave the hotel for dinner right after Maghrib hence my stepbrother had to tell a number of white lies to stall him. (Hujan lebat, KL banjir, kereta tak boleh jalan, bla bla bla oh my poor brother *giggles*) My dad got quite agitated and cranky at having to wait.

Aiden and I posed for photos while Ian, the other birthday boy, was fast asleep.

Us sitting in the darkened private room, waiting for the guest of honour to arrive.

By the time everyone arrived, my dad had waited for nearly an hour in his hotel room. We finally gave the go ahead for my stepbrother to bring my dad down to the private room where we were all waiting. We all sat quietly in the darkened room and watched anxiously as he finally arrived... Our plan was nearly busted as some of the hotel staff gleefully wished him a Happy Birthday as he walked past. As soon as he walked in, we all yelled "Surprise!!!" The look on his face? Priceless!

My big fat happy family.

Waiting for food to arrive.

Ian woke up and refused to put on his bow tie.

We had a fantabulous four course meal that night. Well at the very least, my lamb was good but Hubby's steak was tough.

Caesar salad (Aiden complained that Ian did number 2, but actually it was the tangy smell of the dressing) and mushroom soup.

Roast lamb, and apple pie with ice-cream for dessert.

Mat Melayu had nasi goreng kampung.

Ian playing with helium balloons while we were feasting on our dinner.

Birthday girl and boy.

Three generations share the same birth date! Yes, in case you missed it in all my previous posts, my Dad, Ian and I share the same birthday.

Then, cake cutting session! I chose my favourite cake for my Dad - Salted Caramel cake from One Serambi. As for myself, I made my own Red Velvet cake. (Birthday sendiri pun kena bake birthday cake sendiri!!!) Absolutely love the personalized cake topper from Akudankraft. It made my simple cake look so professional!


The cakes.

Ian, you will never be able to blow the candle out with pursed lips!

We struggled to get everyone into the frame!

After cake, we all played a game. We were all given a piece of paper with several questions to test how well we knew our Papa. It was an absolutely hilarious session, not only because our answers were wacky (favourite song - Madu Tiga) but because my Dad's answers didn't make sense too (favourite food - lamb shank, when nearly everyone knew how often he requests to have KFC)!

Last but not least, what dinner would be complete without a thank you speech?

Thank you speech from my dad.

Family photo.

A photo with my better half.

Thank you siblings, for the great birthday celebration! Now stay tuned, for Part 2 of my birthday week - Ian's birthday party!
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