Recipe: Oatmeal Rose Biscuits

30.3.15

I owe this recipe to the Brits. Couple of weeks ago I had this need to treat myself to some lovely vintage English bone china sets. After some online browsing and shortlisting, my laptop battery beeped and went right to sleep. Apparently I was way too engrossed in all that prettiness to have noticed all those pop-up notifications.

Okay, I'll admit. I noticed that alright. I just chose to ignore them. Sigh. Anyhoos, I took it as a sign that it wasn't a day for shopping online. So I did the next best thing I could. I went into my kitchen to bake something with rose in it.

I've been on an oats craze these days. Using freshly ground oats to experiment with my bakes. So after a quick check in with my fridge, and clock [I didn't have much time on hand that day] I knew biscuits were in order.

Tender and delicate, these biscuits are very subtly flavoured with rose syrup. The recipe below makes about 2 dozens of them.

INGREDIENTS

¾ cup plain flour
¼ cup ground oats

85g butter, at room temperature
¾ cup icing sugar
½ vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons rose syrup
1 egg, at room temperature

About ¼ cup icing sugar, for dusting


METHOD
  1. Sift together the plain flour and oatmeal. Set aside.
  2. Cream butter till pale. Gradually add sugar, vanilla, and rose syrup till well combined.
  3. Add egg and beat slowly until fully incorporated. Do not overbeat.
  4. Slowly and gradually add in the flour mixture. Stop as soon as the batter is properly mixed.
  5. Wrap the dough in plastic and pop it into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Position your oven rack to the lower third of the oven. Pre-heat to 175℃.
  7. Line your baking tray with parchment paper.
  8. Flour your hands - this is important, otherwise the batter will stick to your palsm. Keep re-flouring as your roll small balls of the dough onto your tray. Pat the balls slightly before gently placing them on the tray. Lay them about 1 inch away from one another.
  9. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until lightly golden around the bottom edges.
  10. As soon as you remove your tray from the oven, cover them liberally with sifted icing sugar.
  11. Let cool completely before transferring to an airtight container. 

Tip: You may substitute oatmeal with almond meal if you'd like to.

The end of an era

28.3.15

I spent the morning at my parents' place, and conversations were dominated by their memories of Lee Kuan Yew. Death has been part of conversations recently. The older I become, the more I realize how important it is for my to live a meaningful life. I've also been waking up to the realization of the importance of sifting through friends and acquaintances. 

Since late last year, I've been extra careful with whom I share my time and conversations with. I've come to be more intentional with my relationships, surrounding myself with the few people in my life who bring encouragement, positivity and honesty. People who help shape me into the best version of myself. 

Somedays I miss being surrounded by people all the time. Starting over can get rather lonely at times, but somedays, I just want to breathe.

The City in a Garden

27.3.15

Often I find myself loading my days up with projects, new ideas, and crossing things off my to-do list that I forget to live in the moment. Which ironically contradicts my initial purpose of wanting to work from home - to spend as much time with the little one as possible.

Through the years though, I've learnt that spending quality time is far more precious that the amount. We mostly have a rather bad day when I choose to [or somedays really am left with no choice, but to] run my errands and chores around him.

This year I promised myself to be more present in the present when I'm around him. This of course includes me educating him on understanding to respect my personal time. Easier said than done with a 4 year old, but I'm beginning to see small positive changes from him. On my part, I try spend at least a block of quality time with him. Even if it only last a couple of minutes, I try my best to ensure it was meaningful and memorable in some ways.







Yesterday we took a midday trip to the park. There's nothing quite like large open greenery to relax your mind. Beautiful grand trees provided shade when the clouds parted briefly, as the sweet afternoon breeze wafted through the the plants and shrubs. 

"Let's go home," I said. "What's home?" he asked with a pretentious poker face.

"Home is where your heart is."

"Kiki's heart is in the park, mummeh."

Oh, my sweet darling.

Copin' with the Crazies

26.3.15

Do you ever those crazy days? It's probably a ridiculous question to ever ask. Most of us can relate to those crazies, and yet they always seem to top their predecessor every time. When the crazies hit, I try to lay low as much as I can. Avoid human contact, and binge on some good ol' comedies on the telly.

Seinfeld's been gracing my tube this week. I love how relatively child-friendly it is, especially compared to most shows on the telly these days. *poker face* Keith's picked up the names of the characters. George was his initial favourite, though these days he says "Kramer's so farnnniiii!"

Wednesday was pizza night. Which meant I was excused off sink duties - fantastic news. I don't mind cooking, as much as I mind the clean up. Keith's taken a liking for home cooked meals these days. As great as that is, somedays I'm just not in the mood to face the hot stove/oven after a day of running errands in the noon sun. 

I really have got no excuses to be whining away about the noon sun though. We get some wonderfully strong breeze here in our new estate as compared to where we used to live. I know it's short-lived joy, and as soon as the new construction behind our home is completed, the wind strength would be half-ed and the heat might possible get more unbearable. 

I chanced upon some organic strawberries from Driscoll at the supermarket the other day and decided to give it a try. The berries aren't as large or sweet as Driscoll's usually are [or perhaps my pack wasn't the best?] but it was really good just as it was! There's still a bunch of them leftover in the fridge and I'm half-tempted to get off my couch and find a reason to bake with them. Half-tempted only, really, cos it's an extremely sunny day. 

xoxo,
Ann

Of rose cakes and losses

25.3.15

It's been a numbingly quiet week on our island. This Monday, most of us woke up to the news of the passing of our founding father. I wouldn't call it a surprise, as he's been hospitalized since early February and was at a ripe age of 91. We knew the time was nearing, yet the news struck a very painful chord. The feeling caught me by surprise.

That morning as I went around my morning chores, I was suddenly aware of every little thing I've taken for granted which he worked hard to provide. Over the next many hours, I began to see him more and more as what they refer to him, a father. A father who has worked tirelessly for decades to provide me [and really, millions of others] a prosperous home, an enviable safe garden city, education, comfort, ease of living, and so much more. Over the years, we've grown much accustomed to comfort, and have groaned over lot of changes and policies. How spoilt and spoon-fed have we been?

So I gave in to that deep stillness in the air and the forced slow down of time. These seasons are silent urges to reflect and grow - I know he'd want us all to move forward. 

On a lighter note, I went a little crazy over the delightful flavour of rose last week. The rose biscuits were such a hit with Keith, and amazingly this rose madeira cake was perhaps the best thing that ever made it's way out of my oven. 

Note to self: I really ought to start penning down the recipes of my impromptu bakes.

 

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