[Recipe]: Parmesan Chocolate Cinnamon roll

I’ve finally came up with my own bread recipe! Another item ticked on my bucket list.

I’ve always been a big fan of cinnamon, and couple of days ago I had a craving for it. The cheese was added last to protect the surface of the bread, but I didn’t want to use any egg wash. The thought of cinnamon and egg didn’t appeal to me, but I wanted a savoury kick to the bread, and therefore the cheese.

Parmesan Chocolate Cinnamon Bread

Parmesan Chocolate Cinnamon Bread

This is a really simple bread recipe, and I used whatever was available at home. It’s not the perfect recipe, you can definitely play around with the measurements to improve the taste to your liking. What I did here was based on experience and estimates.

Ingredients:

Bowl A:

100g bread flour

1 1/2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp instant dry yeast

135 – 145 cc water (warmed to not more than 45 degree Celsius)

Bowl B:

100g bread flour

30g unsalted butter

1/3 tsp salt

Bowl C:

1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp chocolate powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon powder

Finishing:

Grated Parmesan Cheese (as desired)

Steps:

  1. Separately, prepare mixture for A, B and C.
  2. Warm water, and test for temperature. Make sure it does not exceed 45 degree Celcius, or it will kill your yeast. (I am happy whenever my water measures more than 40 degree Celcius. You only want to use the heat to help activate your yeast,)
  3. Pour heated water into A and mix with your spatula until the yeast is activated. You will see bubbles forming. Ensure there are no lumps in the mixture. (You can use your spatula to break up the lumps.)
  4. Pour B into A and mix. Do not break the butter with your spatula. You can scrape the dough mixture onto your kitchen top. (Scrape the bowl clean, you don’t want to waste any mixture.)
  5. Knead the dough for about 8 – 10 minutes. As you knead, you will realise the surface of the dough getting smoother. Once it is about 80% kneaded, spread the dough out and pour C onto the surface. Spread the mixture with your fingers. (When a dough is 100% kneaded, it does not break when you stretch it. Based on my experience, 80% is about 3-5 kneads away from it.)
  6. Roll up the dough into a ball and knead. Make sure you do not over knead it as you want to create a marble like design in the bread.
  7. Form a ball, and seal the bread, and place it into a bowl. Make sure the seam side is on the bottom. Cover the dough with cling wrap, and send it for proofing. This will be the process called “Bulk Fermentation”.
  8. After about 30 minutes, check on your dough. It should double in size. Take some plain flour, dip your finger into it. Using the same finger, punch a hole into your dough. You will know your dough is ready when the hole remains after you pull out your finger. Degas your dough, lightly make around 10 punches,.
  9. Then divide your dough into 8 parts. (Based on this recipe, you should get about 400g of dough at this point in time.)
  10. Mould them into balls, and set aside for bench time, for about 10 minutes. You want to let the gluten inside the dough rest after getting disturbed.
  11. Degas the dough again, and mould them into balls.
  12. Place them onto your baking tray. (or mould). I used a disposable cake mould because I wanted to make pull and tear bread. You can place the individual dough onto the baking tray and bake. It does not matter,
  13. After you have completed rounding your bread, cover the baking tray with cling wrap. Set it aside for second fermentation, for about 20 minutes.
  14. During the last 5 minutes of the second fermentation, preheat your oven to 160 degree Celcius. You might want to tweak the temperature accordingly depending on how hot your oven is. In my case, I used a convection oven.
  15. At the end of the 20 minutes, cut a cross on the top of each bread. Make sure the cut is at least 5mm deep.
  16. Take the cheese out from the fridge, you want to use super cold cheese, or it will get burnt during baking. Spread the cheese on top of the bread.
  17. Bake the bread for about 12 – 15 minutes.
  18. Remove from oven after baking, let it cool and you are ready to serve!
Ensure you do not overknead the dough if you want a marble like design bread. Once ready, you can send this dough for bulk fermentation.

Step 6, 7: Ensure you do not over knead the dough if you want a marble like design bread. Once ready, you can send this dough for bulk fermentation.

Dough after bulk fermentation.

Step 8: Dough after bulk fermentation.

Bench time. Allow the gluten structure to rest and come together after being disturbed.

Step 10: Bench time. Allow the gluten structure to rest and come together after being disturbed.

Spread super cold Parmesan cheese to cover the incision made, and you are ready to send it for baking.

Step 16: Spread super cold Parmesan cheese to cover the incision made, and you are ready to send it for baking.

Fluffy bread. Yums.

Fluffy bread. Yums.

#mavcbakes: the joy of making breads

I’ve never had much experience in making breads until May 2015. I’ve just finished shopping at Kinokuniya Ngee Ann City, and I was on my way down the escalator. I saw this place “ABC Cooking Studio“, and I was drawn to it. At first glance, I saw well-organised cooking stations in a brightly lit environment.

I walked up to the counter and saw some brochures. I saw brochures for bread, cakes and cooking lessons. I stood there for a while, looked through the brochures over and over again. I remember they were running a promotion for their trial classes, and it was the last few days to the end of the promotion. I looked at the prices of the classes, and they were rather pricey. I thought I would just take the trial class for fun, because the package was just too expensive. Since it’s the trial, maybe I should try the bread, and see if I can pick up a skill or two from this lesson.

So the day came, and I had my first bread class. My first breads at ABC Cooking Studio turned out really well, and got me interested in taking a few more lessons.

Left: Cinnamon roll Right: Ham and Mayo bread

Left: Cinnamon roll
Right: Ham and Mayo bread

Me with ham and mayo bread

I first took up the bakers lover package. That consisted of 8 breads and 6 cakes lessons. As I moved on with the different lessons, I began to fall in love with making breads. I was curious in finding out the different ways on making breads. I asked a lot of questions in class, and thankfully I have had very patient instructors to explain to me. Overtime, these instructors became my friends. I am always so happy to be in the studio.

Honey Cinnamon Bread

Honey Cinnamon Bread

The curriculum is such that students must finish all the classes in the basic module, before progressing to the master module. After that, students can decide if they want to take a test to get a license.

Pari Pari Curry Bun I overloaded one of the bread with filling, so my instructor and I got creative. The pig is so cute!

Pari Pari Curry Bun
I overloaded one of the bread with filling, so my instructor and I got creative. The pig is so cute!

me with piggy pari pari

So far I have finished my basic bread classes, and I have just started on my master course. It’s been a wonderful journey with ABC Cooking Studio, although there were minor hiccups along the way. But I know the school is trying their best to meet the needs of all the students, and we need to give them a bit more time.

Practising at home: Earl Grey Bread

Practising at home: Earl Grey Bread

There are a total of 24 breads in the basic module, and it’s impossible for me to list all them here in this post. If you are interested to see what I have done, feel free to search for them on Instagram with the following hashtag: #mavcbakes. Besides bread, you can also find cakes that I’ve learnt with ABC Cooking Studio. I have also signed up for all their basic cakes, all 18 of them, however I still have a couple more to go before completion.

I am so thankful to have started on this bread making journey. I’ve not only picked up a new skill, (which I think I am quite good at!), I’ve also made many new friends.

First bread for master class; Plain Loaf

First bread for master class; Plain Loaf

I am now deeply in love with making breads, and constantly experimenting new recipes on my own. I am always looking for people to exchange recipes with, if you have a love for breads too, please connect with me! I would love to exchange tips and recipes with you!

I shall leave you with a picture to make you drool! 🙂

I made my own breakfast with the plain loaf I baked. :)

I made my own breakfast with the plain loaf I baked. 🙂

#GlennChelseaWedding: Wedding of the year

This is one of the happiest things that happened to me this year, or maybe even lifetime, to attend Glenn and Chelsea’s wedding in Jakarta.

Both Glenn and Chelsea are well known celebrity couple in Indonesia. They dated for 8 years before tying the knot.

I’ve known Glenn and his family for 17 years. Glenn was still a primary school student when I knew him. I have always been close with his family in one way or another, though there was a period that we lost touch. His family used to be based in Singapore, but they have gone back to Jakarta, while Glenn’s sister is now in Australia!

One day by chance I caught up with him and his mum (Auntie Linda) again. I was so happy for this reunion, we had so much to catch up. Since then, I have flown to Jakarta a couple of times to spend time with Auntie Linda. I’ve grown very close to Auntie Linda, so much so that she’s my Indonesian mama.

Earlier this year, Auntie Linda told me Glenn was (finally) getting married. I was shameless and asked for an invite! Everyday I was counting down to 1 Oct. His church wedding was on 1 Oct, and wedding reception on 3 Oct. However due to work commitments, I had to give the church wedding a miss.

Wedding invite!

Wedding invite!

Wedding invite

I flew in to Jakarta on 1 Oct evening, straight from the office to the airport. On the way from office to the airport, I was scrolling through Instagram for their wedding photos. There were so many of them with the hashtag #GlennChelseaWedding. I had to control my tears in the cab, I was so happy for them.

Auntie Linda was so sweet, she arranged for a makeup artist to come to the hotel and help me do my makeup and hair for the wedding reception. I stayed at Hotel Century this time because it was near the wedding hotel. Room rates in Mulia were too crazy for me to afford.

Ibu Mavis!

Ibu Mavis! Dressed in my favourite Ong Shunmugam cheongsam

I was told by the makeup artist Alvania that Hotel Mulia has a huge ballroom, and the makeup can’t be too light, or I will look too pale. It’s definitely the heaviest makeup I’ve had in my life, with 2 layers of fake eyelashes!

The whole wedding was carefully planned. Everything was so fairytale like! No wonder Singapore newspapers lollipop picked up Glenn’s wedding to compare it with AngelaBaby’s one! White roses, sparkling crystals, unicorns, swans soft music, you can feel the love and romance everywhere!

Large TV screen showing their prewedding photos

Large TV screen showing their prewedding photos

Glenn Alinskie

A selfie against the romantic backdrop

A selfie against the romantic backdrop

Inside the ballroom, everything else was spectacular too. It was my first time attending a wedding in Indonesia, and I’ve learnt that it’s a buffet standing fashion. I quite like it actually, you are free to go around the place, and pick the food you like! Food stations are set up everywhere, each time you meet someone and you like to mingle, you
can just stop anywhere, grab a bite, and chat.

Inside the ballroomHot food stationFoodCakes

The tradition in Indonesia is the couple and their family will be standing on stage to receive well wishes from the guests. I queued for more than an hour to go up! Chelsea is soooo pretty!

A wefie with the couple!

A wefie with the couple!

It was a busy night for the couple and their family, however they provided good entertainment for the guests. The couple had their march in, first dance, video recap of their church wedding. Besides having a good band whom sang whole night, Chelsea sang that night too! Too bad it was in Bahasa Indonesian. I didn’t understand a single word of it.

Awesome band who sang whole night!

Awesome band who sang whole night!

Although I was in a foreign land, but I felt very much at ease. And I was really glad to find some time to catch up with the Alinskie family. I entered the family area to catch up with Quenby (Glenn’s elder sister).

Quenby and I

Quenby and I

A group shot with Quenby's family and relatives. And the little boy is Quenby's son!

A group shot with Quenby’s family and relatives. And the little boy is Quenby’s son!

Auntie Linda and I

Auntie Linda and I

Before I left, I managed to grab a photo with Auntie Linda. Although we didn’t get to talk much that night, but I am really thankful to Auntie Linda for inviting me. It’s such an honour to share their joy. Weeks later, Auntie Linda messaged me to apologise that she couldn’t talk much to me at the wedding because there were so much going on. She really didn’t have to. I am not sure when I will meet her again, but I know we always have each other in mind. Thank you for your love, my Indonesian mama.

Purrrrfect!!!!

Cat cafes have been the talk of the town for a while in Singapore. I’ve never been to one, until today.

I used to be scared of cats, and it takes a while for me to warm up to them now. (Especially when they have super long nails!)

Out of curiosity, I went to The Company of Cats in Chinatown. (Yes, it’s so near my office, why go on a Sunday and not lunch time during weekdays you ask. I wanted to go with my colleagues last Friday, but we scratched the idea. I reckon it’s more relaxed to go on a weekend, after a photoshoot in Chinatown Heritage Centre. Took some photos for work.)

The first thing that caught my eye when I entered the room: Totoro mat! (the cats camouflaged themselves)

The first thing that caught my eye when I entered the room: Totoro mat! (the cats camouflaged themselves)

One of the cats Lily was hiding below one of the chairs next to this mat, she just stood there so quietly!

This is Lily, looking at the cats outside.

This is Lily, looking at the cats outside.

She is a mama cat, and her son is Harry. He is such an active boy, climbing up and down, running everywhere. Of course, he has his quiet moments, when he’s taking a rest. He enjoyed the stroking and massage I gave him!

Meet Harry!

Meet Harry!

We went at 3pm. The cats are rather quiet, because it’s nap time. Some of them slept throughout, some just woke up, and some just got to sleep.

Elliot just woke up, and he was grooming himself. Couldn't bother himself with me!

Elliot just woke up, and he was grooming himself. Couldn’t bother himself with me!

I asked my friend who has a cat, he went with me to meet the cats, whether these cat cafes will survive. One such cafe, Cat Cafe Cuddles in Orchard shut down because it was said some cats died before the opening. So now there are 4 such cafes still in operation, and 1 cat museum- The Cat Museum.

Friend said most cat lovers would already have cats at home (like himself!), he thinks such cafes are just novelty, though he hopes they will survive. I do hope he is right, that these cafes will survive. Because I don’t have a cat at home, but I would love to have one. And for some people, they love pets but they cannot commit to taking care of them, especially for parents with kids asking for one. These cat cafes (or maybe dog cafes one day!) are places to spend some intimate cuddling time. But due to high overheads, and some for donations, the entrance fee to these cat cafes are not cheap. For The Company of Cats, it’s $14 for the first hour, and comes with a drink. There are food as well, but nothing too fancy. Yes, there is a loyalty card given, but that means having to spend $300 first, and you will get a free entry. For most families in Singapore, $300 is a lot of money, especially the middle class, which are often called the new poor.

Sandwich in the lunchbox

Sandwich in the lunchbox

I wouldn’t mind bringing my nephews or nieces to these cat cafes one day for outings. But I don’t think I can afford to do that every week, my pockets will bleed tremendously!

Meringue was the most active today, and he has the naughty look even when asleep!

Meringue was the most active today, and he has the naughty look even when asleep!

But these felines are sooo cute and sweet, which I might drop by whenever I need to take a break from work! (since The Company of Cats is so near my office, and cats get closer to you after they warm up to you. I guess with repeat visits, they will remember me.)

Satisfied Saturday: Adonis Hotel/ Argo Restaurant in Purvis Street

The biggest hype of Purvis Street now is the cat museum, just newly opened yesterday, Friday, 9 Jan. I walked past it today, but I decided not to go in. I had plans for the day.

It was nearly 1.30pm, and I was really hungry. I wanted to go to my favourite porridge stall in Albert court food centre, but it was so packed, that I gave up. So I continued walking, past Bugis, nothing caught my eye. I walked and walked. Then I thought of Purvis Street, maybe I should go to Chin Chin and have a traditional Hainanese dish, 韭菜冬粉. (It’s a dish using chives and cellophane noodles. I haven’t had this dish for a few years!)

Before I reached Chin Chin, I saw a sign- Adonis Hotel. I walked past it, took a double take. I stood there for a second, the front looks like a restaurant to me. No way it’s a hotel, I thought! So I pull open the door and went it. I asked for their menu, and was told the set lunch is at $25++ for a 3 course. I was SUPER hungry, and the place looks really pleasant, so I found a seat and sat down.

Lavendar flower in cafe

Each table has a small pot of Lavendar.

The restaurant is called Argo. (I learnt about it after finishing the meal, when the staff came up to me to find out how I find the food.) It’s fairly new, just opened about 3 months ago, and they are currently in the process of beefing up their menu, therefore the current choices are rather limited.

I took a seat by the back. A shot from my seat of the entrance.

I took a seat by the back. A shot from my seat of the entrance.

As you can see from the above picture, the front really doesn’t look like a hotel concierge! It’s quiet business for a Saturday, because it’s too new. There are too many places with awesome food in this area.

The 3 course meal comes with a soup as appetizer, a main, dessert and a drink. There are only 2 options for the main course, either Fish & Chips, or Prawn Aglio Olio. I chose the latter.

I asked for a Sprite for my drink.

I asked for a Sprite for my drink.

Creamy Pumpkin Soup with bread

Creamy Pumpkin Soup with bread

It was Creamy Pumpkin Soup as starter. Because I love pumpkins, so I have very high standards of pumpkin dishes. The soup served had a silky texture. The soup was dense, but you won’t find it hard to stomach with too much cream. Bread was soft and yummy too! The olive oil spread on the bread was good!

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

SMOOTH texture!

SMOOTH texture!

To be honest, I had my doubts about the place at first. But the soup started off on a right foot. Still hungry, I couldn’t wait for my pasta.

Prawn Aglio Olio

Prawn Aglio Olio

At first sight, I started drooling at those prawns! They look nearly transparent, and SO fresh!

Look at those prawns (and chilli padi!)

Look at those prawns (and chilli padi!)

The amount of garlic and olive oil in the pasta was generous! (Aglio Olio uses alot of oil by the way! If you are on a diet, then I advise you don’t eat Aglio Olio. It’s okay to have calories from YUMMY food!) And because I love spicy food, the chilli padi was SHIOK! (it’s not that spicy if you are worried, just don’t eat the chilli.)

I was really happy with my pasta. I didn’t expect it to be so good. The prawns are fresh (you can remove the shell easily) and springy, and you get quite a lot of them. The pasta was done al dente, and you get the aroma of garlic in a good aglio olio. The service staff did ask me if the serving of the food was sufficient after I finished my meal. I told her it’s just nice for me, because I am not a super big eater. I suspect it might not be enough for the guys.

The only way for me to eat fruits- Give me berries and a dessert.

The only way for me to eat fruits- Give me berries and a dessert.

The panna cotta was okay- really okay. It was quite dense, just like the one I had previously in Otto Ristorante, a famous Italian restaurant. (It’s fine dining- note your budget.)

Really glad that I found this place. I am already tempted to do a staycation at this place. They have a total of 19 rooms, and 6  types of them. Apart from the smallest one, the Quaint Queen having more rooms, the other 5 types have only 1 room each, and they are all themed. I saw pictures of the Suite Artist, which has an outdoor bathtub, I so want to do a staycation there!

Adonis/Argo- I will be back!

It was so much fun today, to discover Adonis Hotel, before my planned trip to the Peranakan Museum. Till next time!

Reading this book in Argo: Peranakan Museum guidebook

Read this book in Argo: Peranakan Museum guidebook

Shoot. Shoot. Shoot.

I think I took more than 500 photos today.

My creative designer told me she needs some high resolution image of Kinder Bueno chocolate, so I went out to get some today. Once I got back, I started shooting and uploaded them to Box for her to use. (It’s 100+ photos for this batch, so it took a while to upload.)

While it’s uploading, I went to Bras Besah to look for flipboard. (It’s for office, my boss Zoran told me to get it. Thank goodness it will be delivered to my office the next day, so I won’t have to lug it up 3 storeys of stairs! Office is in a shophouse, there’s no lift!)

Came back, and continued with the shoot. Making use of whatever I can find at home, from yoghurt, granola, transparent glass cups and bowls and of course chocolates, I made up whatever I can and snapped pictures.

It’s just so me, once I start, I can’t stop.

Though it’s work, but I do love photography. It was good fun today with my oh so bimbo camera! And this is how I #thrive!

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My oh so bimbo Samsung NX1000

Thank you for this cup of water!

It’s a cup of water. A special cup of water.

I was reading my book in the cafe Pies & Coffee at Centrepoint, and my cup was empty.

Too engrossed in my reading, I wasn’t aware of the surroundings. A fresh cup of water was placed in front of me, and empty cup taken away. Nice surprise. That’s a sweet gesture, and showing we can have good customer service in Singapore.

Give compliment when it’s due, this is one of the small ways we can encourage Singaporeans to take up jobs in the service industry and not rely on low wage foreign workers.

Thank you! To the special one who served me this cup of water.

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Goodby 2014! Hello 2015!: Digital Detox

It was a spontaneous decision. Grabbed a hotel under best deals in Hotels.com, and redeemed a free night at Days Hotel (with minimal top-up).

Given the nature of my work, I’m wired most of the time.

But I also subscribe to Arianna Huffington’s third metric of success. #Thrive

What is the best time to go on a #digitaldetox? So I kept my phones and Ipad away after posting a last picture onto Instagram and Facebook, and declared the start of my digital detox for a night.

I am supposed to go off the TV, but I watched a bit before switching off. There was an interesting programme “Talking Business” on BBC, hosted by Linda Yueh, speaking to the Chief Executive of Huawei. She interviewed a few brand strategists on their take on Huawei, and that’s some food for thought. Sales of Huawei is third after Apple and Samsung, but results are disappointing in America. Is it possible for the Chinese brand to become the next mobile phone/tablet giant globally?

Then I continued reading my book by Donald Low, Hard Choices. Very thought provoking, but yet disturbing. Where is Singapore positioning itself in the global economy? And who are we, fellow Singaporeans?

We need to make the effort to change, and make things better. That’s how we can bring hope into our lives. Slow down, you will look at things in a different perspective.