Friday, 30 October 2009

Cherry Ripe Cheesecake

There is absolutely no reason why any of us shouldn't indulge in a spot of wicked eating from time to time, especially if it's your birthday. And there would be no excuses for not having your favourite chocolate treats, Cherry Ripes, more chocolate, cream cheese and more cream in your cake, if you were going to indulge anyways. You should do it the proper, wicked way!

So for my hubby's 34th birthday (and you think I wasn't going to reveal his age?), I made him a Cherry Ripe cheesecake, adapted from one of the Women's Weekly recipe book, Wicked Sweet Indulgences. This would be the second time I've made this cake, the first was also on his birthday some time ago.

Ripe Cherry Cheesecake
(Adapted from The Australian Women's Weekly, Wicked Sweet Indulgences)


125g plain chocolate biscuits/plain sweet biscuits
75g butter, melted
500g cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
200g dark chocolate, melted
170g Cherry Ripe bars, chopped coarsely
425g can seeded black cherries in syrup, drained


1. Grease 24cm springform pan.

2. In a food processor, blend biscuits until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add in melted butter and process until just combined. Press biscuit mixture evenly onto the base and sides of the pan. Refridgerate for about 30 minutes, or until firm.

3. Beat cream cheese and sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well in between additions. Fold in melted chocolate, cherry ripes and cherries into the cheesecake mixture.

4. Spread mixture into the prepared cake pan, bake in preheated moderate oven for about 50 minutes or until set. Cool in the oven with door slightly ajar. Cover, and refridgerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

5. Decorate cake with freshly whipped cream and Cherry Ripe bites.

To decorate, simply whip fresh cream in the mixer at high speed with a tablespoon of icing sugar and a splash of rosewater essence (which went delightfully well with the cake!). Spoon whipped cream into a piping bag, or a ziplock back with a small cut on one of the corners. Recently I bought some disposable piping bags from the supermarket, which was made by GLAD. It came with 3 small plastic nozzles and 5 disposable bags. It was fantastic! And costs next to nothing. I've used up all the bags, but kept the nozzles and have reused them over and over again with ziplock bags.

Top with bite size Cherry Ripe pieces.

In moderation, these wicked little indulgences are actually quite good for the soul. So, relax a little, live a bit more and immerse yourself in this decadent sweet treat! Best Blogger Tips

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Happy Birthday Babes!

Today is my hubby's birthday!

I know it was a little last minute, but the two boys and I spent half of yesterday shopping for daddy's birthday present. Yes, he does need new shirts, new pants, a new wardrobe, some new techy toys would be nice, a new lens for his camera etc. But I really really KNOW what he wants for his birthday! And even he knows that I knew what he wanted, and he knows that I would get it for him. And oh, we can share! :)

The trouble is, over the years, having grown in our relationship and matured into well... adulthood and parenthood, we somehow simply do NOT buy anything full-priced anymore! We would shop for the best bargain, search the internet for the best price, ask for a price match, use a coupon etc. So yesterday, I saw his shiny new toy at the shops, at it's full recommended retail price of $349 *gasp*, I left it there. Bugger it, we'll shop for it together another day... even if we could knock $20 off!

So we walked all around the shops, my boys and I, just wondering what we were going to do for our dear dadda. Surely, we have to DO something special at least, to honour and cherish someone that we love so dearly on his birthday! So, if lavish and pricey gifts are out of the agenda, we'll have to do what we do best.
Bake. It's gotta have Cherry Ripes in it. Because it's his absolute favourite!

A Cherry Ripe Cheesecake...yumm!

Make. A card, hand-crafted and hand-printed by all of us, with love.

Celebrate! We just HAVE to. What is a birthday without a party and lots of food and good company? We had takeaway pizzas and fizzy drinks and cake. It was a good party.

Happy Birthday our dear Dadda. We hope you enjoyed your day!
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Wednesday, 28 October 2009

A Church Wedding

A few weeks ago, we attended a friend's wedding at a church. It was a beautiful, simple and traditional ceremony, held in one of Melbourne's impressive and monumental churches. This was the first time ever that the boys have entered a church. Lachie was in awe, walking into this ecclesiastical architecture, with its blue-stone facade, high arched ceilings and ornate windows and walls.

The boys were dressed in their little tuxedos. Lachie's striped red tie extended to his mid-thigh when tied at its shortest length, and Lucas didn't wear his tie because it would've swept the floor if he wore it. I must say my boys looked so handsome, I was brimming with pride!

Throughout the ceremony, the boys were pretty well-behaved... except when Lachy discovered that along the rows of pews, there are kneelers in front of the seating bench. Comfortable, padded boards which are elevated about 15-20cm off the ground and they bounce! Just imagine his sheer joy, when he sat bouncing on the kneeler, giggling and laughing like he was at the playground, and my sheer horror!

So, Lucas was also captivated by the whole affair, just a little jittery when the crowd stands to sing certain verses, and demanded to be carried. He wanted to follow what Lachie does. So up and down, they climbed on the pews and up and down, they bounced on the kneeler.

Up until bribery unfolds, a box of raisins for each of them (Hang on, are we allowed to eat in here?). And in return, they would sit quietly like angels. And then guess what? Lucas had to drop his box of raisins, and it went splatter across the aisle. Gaaaahhh! Yep, we picked up every single wrinkly raisin off the church floor. And now the boys are fighting over the last box of raisins. Gaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!

Thank goodness, the ceremony was short and sweet. The bride just stunning in her ivory gown, a perfect match for her handsome groom. It was over before we even know it. We enjoyed ourselves nevertheless. The boys attracted much attention, from their "activities" and also a lot of crooning and pinches on their cheeks especially from the ladies. There were all smiles, so it was OK... phew!

Oh, cheeky buggers!
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Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Pregnancy Diary: Week 6. Morning Sickness

I had morning sickness for ALL of my pregnancies and this one is no exception. In fact, this is the worst of the lot! I don't know, it's hard to describe. Unless you've been pregnant and had morning sickness, you might not know how it feels like. It's like feeling hungry ALL the time, and yet the sight and smell of some food can be off putting. And the moment I feel hungry, that's when I feel like throwing up. So it's a real tricky situation. Want to eat. Can't eat. Must eat all the time to avoid throwing up. Confused yet?

In my case, it is an ALL day sickness. It could strike at any time of the day. In fact it lingers on for most part of the day. Sometimes I get violently ill, a picture too ugly to paint. It's awful I know, and because of this, I'm now terrified of being pregnant all over again.

My boys distract me. I still roll about on the carpet with Lucas, despite the occasional stares I get from errr...relatives. I still take them swimming, to the park and all our usual activities. But I get so darn tired. I fall asleep ALL the time. I sleep when Lucas has his afternoon nap, on the floor by the cot, my darling Lachie plays or reads all by himself. In a flitting conscious moment, when all of a sudden I realised my responsibilities of my older child, I groggily drag my feet down and say "C'mon Lachie, let's go to bed" and fall asleep all over again, tucked into bed with him. I fall asleep folding the laundry on the couch... until Lucas crept up to me one day and gave my cheek a big bite with his chompers! Ouch!

I guess the upside to all these is that the little tadpole is healthy and progressing normally. That's important and knowing that is comforting. Best Blogger Tips

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Pictures for Papa

A little more than a month ago, my parents were here from Malaysia. It was almost the end of winter and the start of spring. My brother had just bought a property with a good sized backyard. My father got stuck in elbow grease, his carefree holiday project had turned into a mammoth task of clearing vast track of winter weeds, overgrown bushes and lopping down huge tree branches. He cleared a patch of land and planted lawn seeds, but sadly his holiday came to an end. Now Papa, this is what your labour of love looks like...

The patch of grass under the Magnolia tree has sprouted, still a little bit patchy, and still needing a little bit of work. Someone told me today they're feeding it with lawn food. :) The lone garden light with the broken pane is still there...

New grass... soft, squishy and lush.

Freshly mowed...head!

The Persimmon tree is thriving, leaves are sprouting.

The tree with the funny spiky "fruit" is now in full bloom. Does anyone know what tree this is?

Loquats aplenty!

And here's a video for your viewing pleasure.

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Friday, 23 October 2009

Pregnancy Diary: Week 5. Oops, We Did It Again!

When is it a good time to reveal to the world that one is pregnant? This has got to be my worst kept secret, as half of you has probably known or guessed it. Yep, I'm pregnant AGAIN! 3 babies in 4 years, now do you think THAT deserves a standing ovation or do you think we're just plain crazy?

I wrote this a little while back, when everything else is impossible to blog about.


I'm late. I'm never late. My menstrual cycle is as predictable as the modern day calendar. 28 days on the dot. The moment the unmistakably familiar wave of nausea hits me, I knew it. I'm pregnant. But if it's thaaaaat predictable, then how is it that I fell pregnant, I timed it "right" didn't I? *slap on forehead*. Alright, truth is it has been a cold winter... the rest is history.

I called it my pseudopregnancy for the first few days, as I was a little too busy to get it confirmed (C'mon, who has time for that?). But deep down inside I knew it. I was pregnant! Alas, Gary who could not withstand the suspense any longer, bought me a home diagnostic pregnancy kit. The positive sign was blinking even before I finished pee-ing!

Oh no! Oh great! This came a little sooner than we expected. We were planning baby no. 3 for end of 2010, not April/May again! A dear obstetrician friend told me my ovaries have been programmed for babies in the same month at interval years! O.o

Lachlan will turn 4 when the baby arrives, Lucas will be 2. I will be 31. We will have birthdays within a week of each other. Now, our birthdays are going to be BIGGER, better than ever!

Come to think of it, the timing can never be better. My parents and grandmother have booked their trip to Melbourne next year, the same time as when Baby No. 3 is due to arrive, coincidentally! I can just imagine how thrilled my grandmother will be when she gets the news!
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Monday, 19 October 2009

Japanese Sponge Cheesecake

I have been searching for a Japanese Cheesecake recipe for a little while, you know the soft and spongy type, almost like a chiffon, not the usual dense and rich cheesecake. Anyways, I came across this recipe from The Little Teochew. This is my second attempt, but I have yet to achieve a perfect result.

The cake is lovely and light, the sweetness is just right and I love the slight lemony tang, it's great combination with cream cheese. Just what I wanted in terms of taste and texture.

Here's the recipe:
(Or hop over to The Little Teochew - the picture of her cake looks fabulous!)


140g fine granulated sugar
6 egg whites
6 egg yolks
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
50g butter
250g cream cheese
100ml fresh milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
60g cake flour
20g corn flour
1/4 tsp salt


1. Melt cream cheese, butter and milk over a double boiler. Cool the mixture. Fold in the flour, the cornflour, egg yolks, lemon juice and mix well.

2. Whisk egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Add in the sugar and whisk until soft peaks form.

3. Add the cheese mixture to the egg white mixture and fold well. Pour into a 8-inch round cake pan (lightly grease and line the bottom and sides of the pan with greaseproof baking paper or parchment paper). Wrap the base of your cake tin with aluminium foil if you are using a springform tin, to prevent seepage.

4. Bake cheesecake in a water bath for 1 hour 10 minutes or until set and golden brown at 160 degree celcius.

Both times however, my cake collapsed a little when cooling down. Even when I cooled it in the oven with the door slightly ajar. What did I do wrong? Does anyone has a similar cheesecake recipe I could try?

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Sunday, 18 October 2009

Vintage Overalls

Would you believe this is daddy's overalls from the 70's?

My mother-in-law passed them on to us when Lachlan was born, along with a few other treasured items like his uber cool uber vintage potty, a few jumpers in mint condition and a few children's books, a little tattered at the edges but still good. I just thought how wonderful it is that she has kept those items all these years, to be passed on to her son's sons.

Now Lucas is wearing daddy's overalls. I hope one day we will be able to pass them on...

Lucas is doing a little dance called the "monster dance", along with the Hi-5's. At almost 18 months, he is very well steady on his feet, but he doesn't walk. He runs! He loves dancing to the Hi-5's or the Wiggles, and would bob his little bottom up and down with the rhythm. Or sometimes do a little "head bang" with a more up tempo music.

Oh, he's got the groove this one! Best Blogger Tips

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

A Birthday Cake for a little King!

Little-e celebrated his 1st birthday real grand! He had a kings and warriors themed party. His birthday cake was made by yours truly.

Oh, just another one for the collection!

Wishing you a wonderful birthday little-e. May your days be filled with grand promises and magnificient surprises. We hope it had been a memorable birthday for you.
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Pictures from the Weekend

On the weekend, we attended not one, but three birthday parties! We drove up to the picturesque Mount Martha on Saturday for a dear friend's 30th birthday (pictures will follow in another post), and on Sunday, we went to a pirates and fairies themed party AND little-e's 1st kings and warriors birthday. It was definitely grand. There were lots of dressing ups as you can imagine.

Arrr me hearties..... too handsome to be a pirate, Lucas doesn't like anything on his head! Half his pirate gear has already been taken off even before we got there.

Shivers me timbers, bless me soul, talk to my hand cos my face ain't understand! This is pirate Lachy spotting land ahoy!

It was a lovely lovely day, the weather was just brilliant. I wished the sun would stay for a while...
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Saturday, 10 October 2009

Little Cupcakes by Little Hands

So our friendly neighbour came over one afternoon while I was baking. I told her, go on, go play with Lachie. She looked at me and my baking for the longest time with pleading puppy eyes. Please please please may I lick the spoon when you're done? My nanna let me do it at her house. I thought, why not. It's a yummy lemon butter cake, who could resist?

So she started with the spatula, scooped every last bit from the bowl and then moved on to the K-Beater. And then she declared she needed some more! I thought... alright. Let's make a fresh batch of batter and you could eat it all you want.

Oh, Lucas helped a bit too by the way. He literally stuck his head into the bowl and licked the sides.

Little Cupcakes by Little Hands
by Grace, Lachlan and the girl next door.

2 cups of Self Raising Flour, more or less.
3/4 cups Milk
3/4 cups Castor Sugar
2 eggs
125g butter, melted in the microwave by big hands
A pinch of salt
A handful of choc chips or 3 little handfuls. Beware of missing choc chips that will strangely disappear into little tummies.

Mix all ingredients in the mixing bowl. With big hands, turn mixer on low speed and mix until well combined. Turn up the speed to medium and beat for a minute or two.

Meanwhile, use little hands to put little cupcake cases in mini cupcake pan.

Spoon batter into cupcake cases, wiping up spills with little fingers and cleaning it in their mouth. Lick bowl and all other utensils clean.
Bake in a moderate oven for 15 minutes.
Eat more cupcakes and just pray little tummies are OK.
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Friday, 9 October 2009

Ready or Not, Here I Come!

Lachlan goes to kinder with our friendly neighbour, the girl next door. Sometimes after kinder, she would pop over for a play, and sometimes he would go over. Ahh... it's a wonderful arrangement! Having an extra hour to put the washing out, or get dinner ready with a little less interruption. It is like a bonus hour for the day! I'm sure my neighbour would agree.

Anyways, today they played hide and seek. And I couldn't help myself but to snap a few pictures of them playing. Just because they are so so darn cute!

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7... 100! Ready or not, here I come!

This is Lachlan, counting with his eyes semi-closed, half-peeping. Skipping all the numbers from 8 to 99! Cheeky monster.

And this is the girl next door, hiding in the tunnel and then scrambling away from the cheeky monster.

Found ya!
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Saturday, 3 October 2009

Princess Fiona

I was dressed up in a long green dress one night, getting ready for a wedding. Just before leaving the house, Lachie asked me...

"Mum, are you Princess Fiona?"

"Why no Lachie, Mummy's not an ogre!"

"Princess Fiona is NOT an ogre mum, she's a PRINCESS and she is very very pretty!"

"So is mummy pretty then?"

Nods his head. *giggles*

Hmmm... I wonder. Best Blogger Tips

Friday, 2 October 2009

Spaghetti Chimichurri and Walnuts

I was browsing through a food magazine (ABC delicious, October 2009) and came across a recipe called Chimichurri, a vibrant green Argentinian sauce made with fresh herbs. This recipe is adapted from acclaimed Sydney chef, Matt Moran's latest recipe book, When I get home. Right away, I thought of the herbs growing wild in my back garden. I could whip up something like that with the abundance of green, herby leaves in my garden, and toss it with some pasta, a bit like pesto with pasta. Hmmm... just the thought of it makes my mouth water.

It's been a little while since I tended to my vegetable garden and herb patch and just the other day, when I took the washing out, I saw the bunches of flat leaf parsley, coriander and mint bobbing up and down with the wind. There were also thyme, sage, rosemary, spring onions, vietnamese mint and lemon balm. I love springtime. Things tend to grow, exponentially.
Chimichurri sauce


1/4 bunch coriander, leaves picked
1/2 bunch basil, leaves picked
1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
1 tsp ground cumin
5 confit garlic cloves
1 eschalot, chopped
150ml olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar


Combine all ingredients in a food processor, whizz until smooth.

I made little adjustments to the recipe, like substituting basil with mint and 1/2 a red onion instead of an eschalot. I saute the onion in a hot fry pan with a splash of olive oil and cumin seeds, just to soften the taste of the onion and bring out the aroma of the cumin. And I omitted the red wine vinegar. I also doubled (or maybe tripled) the quantity of all the ingredients and made a large batch to keep.

To make the garlic confit, bake whole garlics in their skins in an ovenproof dish for about 20 minutes at 150 degrees Celcius. I tossed in some walnuts in the last 10 minutes to toast. This is for the final dish that I was making the sauce for. (It's becoming more and more like pesto, no?)

Cook the spaghetti in salted boiling water until al dente. Drain. Then in a separate fry pan, heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil, add 2 cloves of thinly sliced garlic and saute until toasty.Throw in a handful or two of the cooked spaghetti and 2 heaped tablespoon of Chimichurri sauce. Stir until well combined. Toss in some cooked green peas and walnuts. Serve with shavings of pecorino or parmesan.

It was quite a simple and cheap meal to throw together, with all ingredients from the backyard or pantry staple. And the boys didn't even know they're munching on green, leafy, herby goodness. All they know is that it's green spaghetti!
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