Monday, December 17, 2007

Mellow Days and Evenings

The days are short - 7.50am till 4.40pm -- and the sun shines like a shy maiden (now you see her, now you don't). Daily temperatures tell us winter is here but there's no snow on the ground yet.

(Right) The bakery round the corner from the apartment building where I live.

Many bakeries in Switzerland like to decorate the store facade according to the seasons and festivities. They sometimes remind me of the edible house in the story 'Hansel and Gretel'.

(Above) The children's books in German I borrowed from the library and have read. I love the illustrations.

Learning German is hard-going if one does not use it every day. However, I enjoy choosing and reading children's books in the language. My other half helps me with the vocabulary and turns of phrases.

(Right) Where the lake in Cham pours into a river, there is a fishermen's boat-house with a backdrop of a church spire.

Other than writing and reading, I take walks in the lake park. When the day is sunny, despite the cold, lots of people stroll about - mothers with prams and children, people with their dogs, and a motley crew of other folk.

At the beginning of winter, a flock of greylag geese made a pit-stop at the Cham lake park. What's the marching soundtrack?!

For me, the best part of the lake park is the wildlife, the many swans, ducks, geese and water fowl that change their feathers with the seasons - just like fashion!

(Right) This could be Small Duck, actually a female Common Pochard (Tafelente in German), all grown up now and probably has a mate (the rusty-headed chap below). There are around 20 of her breed, both males and females, on the river and lake these days - Small Duck is no longer one of a kind.

Nearby is a yoga school, the building of which is fronted by a restaurant that was probably a milk-collection place - hence perhaps the cow statue?

Now that this is such a mish-mashy post, tell me which recipe you want and I will blog it:

Lemon iced cupcake

Naked coconut-milk cupcake

English scone (below right)

Or, lemon curdy pudding (below)?

Here's the recipe for Coconut-Milk Cupcake as requested by Cynthia:

80g butter
5 tbs sugar
7g packet of vanilla sugar or 1/2 tsp of vanilla essence
1 egg
4 tbs coconut cream or coconut milk
3 tbs plain yoghurt
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Cream sugar into butter. Add vanilla, egg, yoghurt and coconut cream. Mix gently. Mix baking powder and salt into the flour and mix the whole lot gently into the butter mixture. Spoon 3/4 full into paper cups in medium cupcake or muffin tray. Bake in a preheated oven at 175 degrees C for 22 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Makes 7 or 8 cupcakes.

Note: To make it extra special, top each cupcake with a few chunks of white chocolate before baking.

For Wonda, the Lemon Iced Cupcake:

For the cupcakes, use the cupcake recipe above, except that instead of the coconut cream, use 1 more egg, 4 tbs lemon juice and 1/2 cup of ground almond or hazelnut.

For the icing, use a handmixer to whip up:

100g butter
1 cup icing (powdered) sugar
3 tbs lemon juice
(add a drop of food colouring if you like)

Ice cupcakes when they've become cool.


My old living-room

My old living-room
In Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

A cherished dream

A cherished dream
To live on a pale beach by a crystal clear sea. (This was taken on the east coast of Johor state, Malaysia.)