Distractions from everyday life.

Archive for October 2016

Waterlilies (updated)

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I went painting on Sunday and finally “finished” the previously-WIP painting.



I say “finished” because it was very difficult to declare it “finished”… I felt that I could keep going on trying to make it better because it can never be perfect. =_=

Decided to add some fishes into the empty space because (1) there was an empty space, and (2) who doesn’t like fishes? bloop.


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October 31, 2016 at 2:25 pm

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Daring Kitchen (Oct 2016): Horse Roll

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I can’t believe I missed the posting date for this (27th) – I was looking forward to and couldn’t wait to post about it!

I joined the Daring Kitchen last month and received my first challenge this month. The rule is that a challenge is issued at the start of the month and all the members have to post their attempt at the challenge attempt on the 27th of the month.

Korena from Korena in the Kitchen set the challenge in October and got everyone to make decorated Swiss rolls. (Hers look incredibly pretty.)

…And what a challenge it was. I had been hoping for something a little bit more familiar (like…bread) but I guess the whole point of joining these challenges is to try something new.

Making a cake is certainly more fiddly to me than baking bread, and it felt like an endless step by step process. But at the end of it, I think I managed to produce something half-decent.


A horse roll, in honour of the Mongolian horses I love (especially “my” horse!) and who really love rolling on the grass. :p

It is a chocolate sponge made with Korena’s recipe (with the addition of cocoa), although I reduced the sugar by a little bit. My house was utterly devoid of any cream or even milk, so I had to look for alternative recipes for the filling. Luckily we had some cream cheese lying around, and I found a recipe for a cream cheese filling. I added chopped walnuts, raisins/sultanas and chocolate to the filling.


I was not very good at rolling, and the roll also got a little squished/deformed as it was chilling in the fridge, so there isn’t a very noticeable roll. It turned out to be pretty tasty though. 😀

But in terms of aesthetics, I rather prefer how the baking paper turned out after peeling it from the cake… rather like a piece of cave art.


I’m still really happy with how it turned out though. I think I still much prefer baking bread, but I enjoyed the challenge and I’m looking forward to the next one!

Written by dratn

October 28, 2016 at 10:41 am

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I thought I would post about one of my current distractions – baking bread (which, irrelevantly but interestingly, is the total opposite of breaking bad).

I got interested in bread only because I thought that it was something I might enjoy, having had no prior experience with it. (Currently having the same thoughts about wood working…) So I picked up a book from the library and gave it a go. My first attempt wasn’t too bad – it was a 100% whole wheat loaf. But neither the process nor the outcome felt like something I would be addicted to.

And then a whole other set of circumstances got me sucked in entirely.

First, my dad started subscribing to Netflix, where I watched the documentary series “Cooked”. One of the episodes related to bread and specifically, baking using sourdough instead of commercial yeast. That reminded me of something Wan Ting had mentioned to me (about how she only used sourdough for bread baking, because it’s better) but which I had shelved in the back of my mind. And then, I went after the book on which the documentary was adapted. After reading material after material about sourdough (and also feeling entirely disgusted by today’s commercial practices) I couldn’t stop reading and watching various posts and videos on sourdough methods and recipes.

And so my first attempt at sourdough:


Total bread failure (TBF).

I could not figure out what was wrong at the time, but the dough did not rise, and neither did it rise when in the oven. I only figured out later that it must have been my sourdough starter that was the problem – it was emitting the most sickly smell for days on end, and there must have been an excess of bacteria and insufficient yeast in that colony.

After many days of frustration, somehow it all worked out. I can’t quite remember whether I decided to make a new starter afresh, or whether I chucked the old one in the fridge, or tried a new starter out of the old one, or a combination of all of the above. Long story short, I now have 3 tubs of yeast population in the fridge, probably too much for someone who bakes only 2-3 times a month.

Since the TBF, I have had many more successes (with a smattering of minor failures):

From left to right, top down: walnut bread (yeasted) (taking a break from sourdough attempts), my 2nd and successful sourdough loaf, a whole wheat sourdough loaf, a pumpkin and walnut sourdough loaf, another wholewheat sourdough loaf, a rather badly shaped but still delicious sourdough challah, a better shaped and delicious sourdough challah, mini pizzettes (yeasted), and whole wheat croissants (yeasted).

(I have a few other attempts recorded in my old phone, which I have yet to upload.)

I’m itching to try yet another new loaf soon. 🙂

Written by dratn

October 11, 2016 at 12:33 am

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