Sunday, June 12, 2016

the forgotten joy

As expected, being an officer at the Oral Maxillofacial Surgery dept of Hospital Tuanku Jaafar Seremban isn't easy. I have a lot of unlearning and relearning to do. I guess serving at a general dental clinic for almost two years desensitised me to certain things - things I shouldn't have missed in the first place. There, quantity is our pressure point, rather than quality; but at my current workplace, it's the other way round.

Being just another human, I'd reach my limit now and then - stress-wise. I learned from experience that the first step is to acknowledge my stress and understand that at times, to withdraw myself from the stressor is wiser rather than just clinging on. Of course, I learn from my mistakes, but I also know that pushing forward non-stop would only mean putting myself at breaking point - which would be a grave mistake.

Thanks to my colleague who came over and officiated my humongous mixer, once again, I tasted the joy of cooking - or in this case, in the form of baking. I took a day of leave just to bake cupcakes. Whenever I get extremely stressed, my escapism would be food. A little stress would require just enjoying good coffee. Extreme stress would require cooking food instead. I often try my hands on elaborate recipes under such circumstance.

I remember feeling so lonely and stressed when my parents were away for two years and there I was, during eid, recalling recipes my late aunt left me. And I cooked Johorean laksa. We, Malaysians, have so many varieties of laksa. I have cooked almost all of them, except for Sarawakian Laksa. And hands down, Johorean laksa is the toughest one to cook if you're a rigid person like me and happen to be born into a large Johorean family. Preparation alone consumed an hour while cooking it to perfection took me three hours in total.

Once, I had a bad fight, so I started searching on the net and there I was. I made nasi kerabu with ayam percik, ikan kembung celup tepung, kerabu, sambal budu, and sambal kelapa.

So a few days ago, I gathered enough courage to try baking hazelnut sponge cupcake with custard topping, chocolate ganache, and almond croqan. I had this mindset of  'I can't bake' because my mother doesn't bake much because she's not good at it. She's amazing when it comes to Asian cuisine, no kidding, though. I baked once during highschool, and what supposed to be a butter cake turned out like a brick of vanilla-flavoured shortcake. This time, it turned out fine! My sponge cake was so fluffy and not too sweet, even my parents ate them happily. Still, I guess I screwed up on the chocolate ganache. Should've cut on its sugar because that, was on the sweeter side.

"Awak tak nak try buat marble cake ke, Ira? Umi suka marble cake", my mother said to me. 24 hours later...
Right after tarawih, a freshly-baked marble cake was ready for her. She ate a lot of it, smiling all the way. 

"So, Umi, I can bake, can't I?"

"Boleh sangat. Haha, senang aku tak payah order kuih raya dah", she answered.

This Ramadhan, apart from my usual missions, I have a new one - which is to bake one type of eid cookies each weekend. My sister, Wani, requested for corn flake cookies. There's a story behind it:

During our time in Subang, we had a neighbour who we fondly call Aunty Dillah. She used to bake corn flake cookies and the best curry puff (with home-made puff pastry) I have ever tasted till this very second. I used to go to her house a lot, playing with her cat, reading her son's comic books, and growing fatter eating things she cooked and baked. If there's any neighbour I would remember till I die, it'd be her. Since my parents were always busy working, she sort of became my second mum. To whom I told whatever that had happened at home and at school. 

So this afternoon, I read through about 12 recipes of corn flake cookies I found online (may God bless all these generous people for sharing their knowledge at zero cost). If you're used to cooking, you'd acquire another skill which is you can pretty much guess the taste of food from their recipes. So of all 12, one caught my eyes, although it didn't convince me a hundred percent. I did a little tweaking with it here and there and...

Flour explosion - first time using a paddle attachment

And my mother's verdict on it:

I'm a happy daughter.


Edited on 14th June 2016 (as requested by Farah):

Here's the recipe:

Crunchy Corn Flake Cookies (Tweaked)
Originally by: Azie Kitchen (I tweaked here and there and omitted a few ingredients here)

250g unsalter butter (I increased it to 270-280g)
180g castor sugar (You may adjust this during the creaming process to suit your taste)
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 egg yolks
180g Kellogs Cornflakes - crushed lightly

Ingredients to be sieved:
210g corn flour (I reduced this to 190g)
150g general purpose wheat flour (I reduced this to 130g)
1/2 tsp baking powder

1. Cream butter and castor sugar well
2. Chuck in egg yolks and vanilla essence and continue creaming for awhile just to mix them well
3. Chuck in sieved ingredients and fold it over with the mixture above
4. Chuck in lightly crushed cornflakes and fold it along with the mixture
5. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius
6. Bake the cookies on a baking pan lined with baking paper for 20-25 minutes till they are light brown in colour
7. Once freshly-baked, they'd feel quite soft. So let them cool down. They'd crisp up in about 10minutes

1. During step 3 and 4, do not overwork your dough. Fold it over just for the mixture to blend well. The more you work on the dough, the denser and harder your cookies will be which we do not want
2. Unsalted butter is ideal for this recipe, but you may use salted butter too, but that'd result in having to add more castor sugar to achieve ideal sweetness
3. To cream butter and sugar means mixing them both with a mixer until mixture fluffs up, you don't really feel those sugar grains, and the colour of the butter becomes pale yellow
4. If you don't have a baking paper, you may opt for a greased pan. Just thinly grease your pan with butter
5. Egg yolk is the yellow part of the egg


farah farhana mohamad sanusi said...

share lah resepi biskut cornflakes kak z hehe

zahirah ardy said...

Done, ma'am!

farah farhana mohamad sanusi said...

Tq kak z! Weekend bole try buat hehe

zahirah ardy said...

No prob. All the best!