multi-tasking on Easter holidays

this year i was fortunate enough to have 5 days of “holiday” right on Easter. and i didn’t even ask for it! 😀

before the holidays, i thought 5 days feel like such a long time, i would probably manage to do many things. but as always with holidays, when you’re actually in it, the days go by one by one and suddenly you’re at the end of it and when you think back of what all you have done… it turns out that you didn’t get to do anything much at all.

well, i was quite determined that that wouldn’t be my case, so when 4 days had passed, i multi-tasked to “save time”. :p


self-made dress & necklace, socks from Plaza Semanggi – Jakarta, Bianco shoes.

i had kept this Harlequin fabric (the print is called Twinkle Toes) for years without really knowing what to make from it. it’s 100% heavy weight cotton, the kind used for home interior stuffs. the top part of the dress is polyester jersey.


i used no pattern for this project, both the top and bottom part of the dress are basically just rectangles. for the pockets, i used the same technique that my co-worker J taught me when i copied a COS dress for my Moomin dress.

at first i thought combining these 2 fabrics is a great idea. well, in terms of colours and prints i still agree. this dress reminds me of cotton candies and little kids’ dreams of owning millions of pretty shoes & eating sweets.


but how silly of me for forgetting the fact that thick fabric & thin stretchy fabric just can’t get along that well… especially since i didn’t use any proper pattern. you can see on the picture above (side view of the dress) that because the bottom part of the dress is stiff & thick, the waist part (the seam between top and bottom) is hanging awkwardly.


well, the deed was done and me being me means i’m too lazy to fix anything. and anyway, silly & awkward suit me. :p


so as i was saying about multi-tasking, while sewing this i actually had the time to do some baking as well. yes, “some”. the first one was apple roses. 😀 i’ve been making improvements on it, as i now got the hang of it. they were requests from my husband who was craving for apple.

the second one was a new recipe from J’s brother (a professional chef specializing in desserts). i had never tried this super simple but super delicious recipe for mud/chocolate cake, but even so i managed to make this in under an hour. and it was a great success!mudcake1

it may not look that different from brownies, but this one is actually much softer & more sticky than brownies, especially if eaten right after it’s baked.


the next time we ate it, it had been cooled in the fridge for a few hours, giving it a more dense texture but still soft and just SO good. it’s also very sweet, which is why J suggested to eat it with whipped cream or some sort of less sugary icing. but my husband said this is just perfect already, and without any icing/cream it feels more lightweight (yeah, as if this actually supports my diet…).

seems pretty amazing now that i think of it, how a few years ago i was huffing & puffing & sweating when i first learned how to bake, and now i can even sew and bake at the same time! 😀 though of course it depends on the sewing project & the baking recipe, but i would say this is already a big improvement.

and there goes my long-but-short holiday! i think this time it went quite productively. 😉

egg tarts, egg f*rts

this is the second time i tried a recipe from a BuzzFeed video, and i should’ve learned from the first time (the apple roses) that i should never trust it… yet, here i was again, so sure that i could do it. :p

i think it must have been A’s blog post that made me think of egg tarts at first. i mean i’ve of course tried one or two versions of it, a long time ago, and not in Hong Kong. so when i went to Bali last December and we had a transit in Hong Kong for a mere 3 hours, i thought i would try getting my hands on one of those “original ones”. but in reality, we were so tired from the flight and there were long queues everywhere in the restaurants at the airport that in the end there was barely any time for us to hunt for an egg tart.

so when i came upon this recipe, i was delighted! i thought i was being smart and would just make them on my own. i even bought a new mould to make the tartlets.

already when i made the pastry dough, i encountered the first problem. i don’t know where i went wrong, but with the measurement according to the recipe, what i got was a very dry dough that could barely stay together. it’s like trying to make a ball out of dry sand. i mean, 2 tablespoons of egg sounds… very little. in the end, i added another slice of butter and a whole egg. NOW we’re talking. the texture of the dough finally became just like in the video.

then it was time to make the custard filling… and since the recipe said “evaporated milk”, i bought a can of that, remembering that the difference between evaporated milk and condensed milk is just that the other one is unsweetened (evaporated) and the other one is sweetened (condensed). however, after i did everything by the recipe i started to wonder if it was supposed to use the condensed milk instead, because…


… when the tarts were done, i tried it, and was disappointed with the fact that it wasn’t nearly as sweet as i remembered/thought it should be.


to give a little credit to myself, i guess i can say that the texture was otherwise okay. in these pictures the pastry just looked a bit burnt because i used regular butter to grease the mould pan.

eggtarts3out of politeness, my husband again said there’s nothing wrong with it. but i guess i had been imagining that it would be as sweet as Finnish Dallas bun and instead this was just… eggy. *sigh*

nevertheless, i ate a bunch of them already (while drinking some sweet blueberry juice). i might give it a second try one day.

also another “mistake” in the recipe (or maybe it was how i did it) was that even though i made 16 tartlets like the recipe said, i was still left with about 3/4 part of the whole custard filling after pouring it to all 16 tartlets. what a waste! okay, so i used the whole eggs, but the one who made the recipe said that it should work fine whether we use whole eggs or just the yolks.

so if there is going to be a next time i would just use 1 whole egg for the pastry dough and 3 egg yolks for the filling. i have now seen many other recipes of egg tarts, they all use evaporated milk instead of condensed milk, so i suppose that part is correct. ah well, there’s no way of finding it out for sure until i’ve tried it again next time (& hopefully succeeded!).

makin’ whoopee

if you ask me what my most favourite Finnish bun is, i would say, without a doubt: shrove bun! (laskiaispulla in Suomi.)

here’s a little fact about it. Shrove Tuesday, or laskiainen in Suomi, is a day in February or March preceding Ash Wednesday, and people in other countries might celebrate it by consuming pancakes, which is why its other name is Pancake day. it’s supposedly the last day of gorging/eating till you just can’t eat anymore, so we are all allowed to gain an undisclosed amount of fat. 😀

well, that’s what the shrove bun is all about: FAT.

up to this year’s Shrove Tuesday, i’ve always only bought ready-made shrove buns from the supermarkets & cafes. they’re always rather pricey, so i could usually only afford 2, which means one for me and one for my husband. in a way i guess it’s good because we don’t get too much fat. :p

but this year, when i was talking about getting some shrove buns, my co-worker J said that i should just make my own. remembering how well i’ve managed to make cinnamon buns aka korvapuusti, i decided to accept the challenge!

so basically i did the same mix of ingredients as what i used for the cinnamon buns, minus the cinnamon powder.


there, the buns are done! after letting it cool down, it’s time to part each bun to two, and add the fat! the most common shrove buns here are usually filled with either raspberry jam or almond paste (plus whipped cream). my fave is the raspberry jam version, so that’s what i added.


ahem, yes, i might have added a little bit too much of the jam. my husband said “that’s the most raspberry jam i’ve ever eaten–EVER–in a bun!”. well, but i don’t think he minded eating them. 😉

for the whipped cream, i used whipping cream (kuohukerma) and had my husband help me to whip it. this was my very first time seeing how it’s done (yes, you heard me right, i had never whipped creams before, nor have i seen it done, live), and i have to tell you… it’s like MAGIC! first it’s all liquidy and then you add a small amount of sugar and whip it… and ta-daaah! it’s suddenly all puffy and solid (well, almost) and it doesn’t turn back into its liquidy form! amazing!

back to the buns. after the filling, it’s time to put the heads back on and sprinkle the sugar for topping. usually people use sugar crystals for it, but i like icing sugar better. plus it’s the only one i had at home, so icing sugar it was!


now tell me how fatty those buns look? VERY. yep. time to eat them!


three days after i made them, they were all gone. all 16 buns of them! phew. i think i can live without shrove buns for a while now. that is, until my craving for fat comes kicking in.

snow came early

as i said a few posts back, i was looking for new baking recipes to try. preferably with ‘easy’ as the middle name.

this apple roses pastry is all the rage right now in Finland. it seems like everyone posts them, makes them, and wow, it looks easy! so i went with the flow and tried making some myself.

the recipe i tried was a Finnish one, using cinnamon and vanilla sugar instead of jam for the filling.

on my first try, i soaked the apple slices in the lemon juice, heated them up in the microwave until they were easy to bend & then arranged them onto the ready-made pastry sheet. first problem encountered already at this point, the fact that i cut the apple the wrong way made the slices became too thin that they broke in the lemon juice. and i put too much apple slices in one sheet, that even when i was using more apples than what the recipe said, i was left with no more slices after filling in 5 sheets. darn it!

so i stole some apple slices from the previous 5 sheets. ergh. whatever, just let me finish making this!

when they were done, i thought they looked okay… except after i took my first bite, i noticed that not all are what they seem. so the third problem was that i stupidly put too much lemon juice when it could have been just a tiny bit of the juice plus lots of water, and i let the apple slices soak in it for too long. should have taken the slices out of the water as soon as they were able to be bent. needless to say, the first batch was a disaster because they were too sour!

i couldn’t get over the fact that i couldn’t do something that looked so simple, so the next week i decided to try another batch. this time, i didn’t use lemon at all. instead i used salt and water. also, thanks to my co-worker’s advice who’s more experienced in baking, i used a LOT of vanilla sugar–a lot more than just 1,5 tablespoon for the whole batch, as written on the original recipe.


and since i love icing sugar, of course i just used a dollop of it, too. it looked like snow came early this year! 😀

the second batch was actually edible… and delicious! okay, so since i was a bit impatient, some of the apple slices still got broken as i didn’t warm them up long enough in the microwave. but other than that, the taste was just great!


if you decide to try this recipe (there’s plenty around the internet… choose your fave one!), remember to not put too much lemon juice. seriously, the apple slices will turn darker anyway when you bake the pastries, so what if they’re brown? also remember to be generous when it comes to adding the sugar. apples are naturally a bit sour so it doesn’t hurt to add sugar to the pastry. after the apple slices can be bent easily enough, immediately take them out from the water.

lastly, even with the ‘easy’ recipe and all, i must say that it’s just a tiny bit too much work for such a small amount of delight (even if i use the whole pastry sheets in the package, i only got 10 pieces… and about 2 hours of preparation from washing the apples till the whole pastry was done!), so i don’t think i’ll be making this any time soon. it was a nice experience, but unless i’m having a tea party which requires a nice looking pastry to go along with the tea, i think i’ll stick to making brownies. :p

nutella vs baking chocolate

if you’ve been following my blog for years now you would know that i really am no expert in baking. in fact, i just started about 2 years ago, baking Rotiboy buns.

well, now it was time for me to try other recipes. and since i’m basically such a laaaaazy lazy person, i preferred of course super easy recipes. the theme this time is chocolate cakes.

the first super easy recipe was so easy, i nearly didn’t believe it would work at first. it’s called Nutella Brownies – Three Ingredients. instead of brownies, i made it into muffins.


the only thing i added was baking powder, because frankly, i couldn’t bear the thought of the dough failing to rise just because it’s missing baking powder (especially since Nutella is quite pricey here… i needed to succeed!). i only added half a teaspoon of it.

the result was good, although since i couldn’t calculate how many muffins the dough would make i ended up pouring too little amount into each mold, hence the mini looking muffins.

however, my husband wasn’t quite satisfied. he insisted that i try the old-fashioned recipe, using a regular baking chocolate. well, of course my initial reaction was to groan and moan, thinking that it involved lots of other ingredients and swearing words.

but then i found this recipe, called Easy Double Chocolate Chip Brownies. it looked easy enough, i dared myself to try it. i changed the “Nestle” chocolate parts with any kind of regular baking chocolate that i could find in the nearest supermarket, preferably a dark one with minimum amount of sugar. also, i didn’t add any nuts.

the preparation was incredibly easy and guess what: not one swearing word came out from me! whoopee! 😀

the first time i made it, i did everything by the “book”… and ended up with super sweet brownies. also, i made a mistake of cutting & eating them when they just came out from the oven, so the choco chip were all melted and the surface was all ruined and stuffs. not such a photogenic result.

so i made it a second time with less sugar (half the amount of what is written in the recipe), and waited patiently till it’s cooled down, and then we even put it in the fridge for a while before finally eating them.

browniessmall2and the verdict: the old school baking chocolate recipe takes the cake! it was just delicious & super chocolatey, so if you’re looking for a true chocolate brownie recipe, i suggest you use regular baking chocolate instead of Nutella. (especially if you don’t really care for the nuts, like me.)


have a chocolatey weekend, everyone!

roll, roll, cinnamoroll

it’s official: for baking, in my mum-in-law i trust. 🙂

i wrote here that rumour has it that the infamous cinnamon roll/cinnamon bun originated from Sweden/Finland (= korvapuusti). prior to my moving here, before i even dreamed of going steady with my husband (let alone marrying him), i used to go out with 2 of my closest girl-friends from college. we would go window-shopping, and then go to a small cafe just to talk about absolutely everything and anything. and our faithful company had always been, you guessed it, cinnamon rolls.

so when i heard the rumour of its origin after moving here, i had a secret dream that i would be able to make it myself one day.

last November, instead of making gingerbread cookies (we usually make Christmas cookies at the end of November or on the Finnish independence day here, which is in early December), my mum-in-law agreed to teach me how to make cinnamon roll instead.

i mixed the ingredients as per her instructions, and then when they came out from the oven, they were ‘A’ perfect!

naturally, i asked for the recipe. didn’t get it until some weeks after that (and yeah, i’m a newbie in baking, so i’m the kind that holds on very, VERY tight to recipes), but with all the business at work and then my winter holiday, i didn’t get to try it until today.

we were grocery shopping and i smelled a whiff of bakery stuffs… and got reminded of buns. asked my husband if he’d like some home-made cinnamon rolls (of course he would), got the missing ingredients and hurried home.

this time i did it all by myself, occasionally asking my husband for suggestion (because i’m an amateur, and he had seen his mum making it since he was a toddler!) for the things that i remembered doing when his mum instructed me but i couldn’t find in the recipe. well, my mum-in-law did say that she has been doing it so long that she doesn’t even have any recipe in mind, so what she wrote down for me is basically just a guideline.

but anyway. after being nervous when i thought the dough didn’t rise… and finding out an hour later that it DID rise, and it’s become so big (!!), quickly finishing it and putting them in the oven… my smile grew wider when i finally took the tray out the oven.

it was a success! my lovely cinnamon rolls, from my own hands!


cinnaroll2they were soooo good, like no other cinnamon roll i’ve eaten before! (okay, if you don’t count the ones my mum-in-law makes.) since we ate them right after i baked them, they were still warm and puffy, not at all hard and dry. the texture inside was so soft, and it did not make us feel too full after eating a lot of it. i would probably just add a tiny bit more cardamom next time, but otherwise this was such an achievement for me already. 🙂

the best thing about learning to make this is that the recipe can be used to make dozens of other buns. it’s basically the same ingredients that you need to make other buns, so once you ace this, you’ll be able to try making other Finnish buns, and even pies.

next one for me to try: shrove buns (laskiaispulla)!

green, not with envy

couldn’t help noticing the repetitive colour scheme in our house lately: green, combined with a hint of pink.

the top pic is an IKEA fabric that’s been in use in our house for around 4 years. second pic is my towel, bought at Hemtex. the bottom pic is our newest fave home-made dessert: green tea/matcha sponge cake + matcha ice cream.

yep, i’ve been baking again, and this one was quite successful that i’m about to make another batch right now. 🙂 the matcha ice cream was made by my husband.

i got the recipe for the sponge cake here. since i don’t have baking soda lying around the house, after trying to find out about it from the internet i finally decided to replace the baking soda by baking powder. despite the fact that people around the world seem to think that they can not replace one another, but it turned out okay for me, because by putting in baking powder instead of baking soda all i had to do was to triple the amount and take out the acidic ingredient, which in this case was the yoghurt. so baking soda = (3 x baking powder) – acidic ingredient. something like that. :p

the only minor unsuccessful thing was again the slightly burnt surface of the cake (it’s supposed to be all green, mine was brownish from the top). but the taste was heaven. it was so good that my husband couldn’t stop eating them. (well, neither could i.) and the good thing is that since it uses no yeast at all, i don’t even have any tummy problem after eating this delicious cake! now i just need to practice more to get the feel of exactly how long i should let the dough be in the oven, since i seem to always let them stay there for a bit too long.

yep, we’ve certainly been a bit green lately. greenful of matcha, not with envy. 🙂