Friday, October 9, 2009

Fun Taiwan, "Deflated" Wheat Gem Loaf & Party Cupcakes

Hello again everyone! It's good to be back again! Have been away for a few days in case any of you out there is wondering what happened to HBS. Yeah, I just got back from a short vacation to Taiwan, Taipei to be specific. Want to share with you what I did in Taiwan in this post. Hope I don't get too long-winded though, so bare with me a little & hear me out. Have been wanting to visit Taiwan for quite some time, so this was truly a wish come true. ;) Overall, it was a great trip! Lot's of fun, food and also meeting up some good old friends there. To cut the story short, I shall only highlight some of the interesting things we did there. First, of all, we managed to visit some of the major places, and one of them is 台北101大樓 or famously known as Taipei 101 which is one of the tallest building in the world.
We went up to their visitors' observatory level to get a bird's eye view of Taipei. It was beautiful up there, but because we went at the time where Typhoon Parma was almost reaching Taiwan, so it was a bit foggy. That explains why the picture above looks "gloomy". :P

To experience their famous night markets (夜市), we went to both RaoHe (饒河街觀光夜市) & Shilin Night Market (士林夜市). Even though it was drizzling, the market was still going on and it was still packed full of people, eating and shopping...very "happening"!! There are 2 street foods that I particularly like is their 胡椒饼 (pepper buns) and their o-a-mi-sua, or Ah-Zhong Mian Xian (阿宗麵線).
Flavorful and with a kick, 胡椒饼 (pepper buns)
Unlike the ones sold locally, they served it with basil & pork intestine, very good!

You know I had so much delicious food in Taipei that it's kind of hard to tell you all all about it at one go. So I decided to show just a few of the snap shots for your viewing pleasure, heehee. ;DZa-jiang Mian (炸酱面)...another simple yet mouth watering noodle dish.
Shao Rou Zhua Bing (烤肉抓饼)
Shao Bing You Tiao (烤饼油条). So good with warm Soy Milk (豆漿) inexpensive and delicious breakfast. ;)
口福堂麻糬, best Muchi I've tasted! My girls waiting for theirs. They had banana green bean and peanut flavor while I had chestnut (栗子) flavor, yummy!

We also went to the National Palace museum (國立故宮博物院). Since no photography was allowed there, so I did not take any nice pictures to show you all. Due to the poor weather, we did not manage to go Yang Ming Shan (陽明山 national park) & National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (国父纪念馆). But we did plenty of shopping in 太平洋SOGO and 新光三越百貨(SHINKONG MITSUKOSHI). My favorite besides food, haha!! Even managed to buy a couple of Taiwan cookbooks...hopefully I can put into good use soon. ;)

The day before we left Taipei, we traveled up to Xin Beitou hot springs (北投溫泉親水公園). Beitou is the most mountainous and highest of Taipei's districts, it is very easily accessible using the public train service (like Singapore MRT). I managed to get a shot of a river of sulfuric fumes from the hot springs while we were driving up the moutains to our hotel.
We booked a private suite in 春天酒店 for 2 hours to soak ourselves in the hot spring to wind down and relax....very "siok"! And after that we got to dine at this nice Japanese restaurant which left us totally satisfied.

Seriously...5 days 4 nights wasn't enough, wished that we could have stayed longer. But it was a wonbderful trip and I am already looking forward to experience more of Taiwan the next time we return. Come to think of it, we even get to experience earthquake and typhoon too, hahah! Thank god we were in Taipei, so we were safe. All we experience were a few seconds of jolting and drizzing.

Would like to talk more and show you more pictures about my trip..but I worry some of you guys might be bored and doze off, haha! So let's get back to my food post now. But I was really careless yesterday when I was baking this Wheat Gem Loaf. I was actually multi-tasking again, which is very normal for me. I was baking 60 cupcakes for my girls' school party today, cooking dinner and baking the bread. So while the loaf was baking, I wanted to place an aluminum foil to cover the top to prevent it from burning and at the same time rotating the tray.....I accidentally "dropped" the tin to the bottom of the oven door!! The next moment is like baker's nightmare....literally...I saw the loaf deflating right in front of my eyes! *sigh* There goes my 2hrs of proofing the dough. :-P Nevertheless I left it to finish baking and here is what I have:
It doesn't look that bad in the picture....but I swear it was at least 2 inches taller then this. :-P Good thing it was still soft but just slightly more dense at the bottom.The slight sweet taste from the wheat flour and wheat gem is really nice. This time round I used Billington's Natural Molasses Sugar, so the loaf yields a deep mellow scent but not overpowering at all. As I mentioned before, unrefined sugar contains more useful minerals then processed white sugar. So I always try to use unrefined cane sugar whenever possible. Besides that, the wheat gem I used was from Taiwan. Yeah, I know, you can get wheat gem here...but not my local bakery store for sure. :-PDue to the length of this post, I will not be posting the recipe this time. Will probably bake it again but with slight changes to it. Interested bakers please go ahead to try this recipe first.

Also like to show you guys the 60 cupcakes I "rushed" out yesterday for my girls' school party today. :P My elder daughter requested for butter cupcakes with butter cream while my younger one asked for chocolate cupcakes with M&Ms. Yeah, they do that to me a lot, asking for different things. ;-P Anyway, managed to did what they asked for in time. Although nothing fantastic, but enough to keep them happy. :)
Did a simple butter cake from this cookbook of mine and pipped grass and flowers over it. Had thought about putting fondant flowers but did not have time to let it dry had to abundant the idea. :-P BTW, the tiny brown dots are Valrhona chocolate balls. ;)As for these chocolate cupcakes are the Ultimate Chocolate cupcakes that I did before which never fail to please. ;)
Both was delicious and glad that my girls liked them. *Phew* I am so glad that I finally got through this post and I'm sure you do too, hahaha! Hope you had fun reading it as much as I had enjoyed writing it down for you all. Till next time, have a great one!


Pinjing said...

Glad to see you had so much fun in Taiwan! The black pepper biscuits and oyster noodles are some of my favorite street eats as well . . . that earthquake was pretty scary (I am in Taichung, it seemed to rock back and forth for a very long time)

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Hi Pinjing,
Welcome to my blog! Yes, I had so much fun in Taipei...and the endless good food! Yeah, I was awaken from my sleep while the quake happened...thank goodness nothing serious happened. :-P

Kitchen Corner said...

WOW! You must have experience lots of good food in Taiwan. Can you discover how to make the 胡椒饼?I miss it a lot but don't know how to make it. Well, your cupcakes look very pretty and again the healthy loaf is perfectly baked! Thanks for sharing!

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Hi Grace,
I do have the 胡椒饼 recipe, but that doesn't mean anything, hahah! Perhaps will try it out when I get some free time. ;)

Carol said...

Hi! Honey Bee Sweets,

I will be going to Taipei with my daughter in Mid Dec. Can u advise which hotel did u stay in and much does it cost a night? Since I'll not be driving, is it easy to access the hotel from the airport and is it near shopping areas? Thks in advance. Carol

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Hi Carol,

We stayed at Fullerton Hotel East. The usual rate for their family room cost ~NT9900, but because our friend is a Taiwanese, he was able to get special rate of NT3688 per night, very big difference. So I am not sure if you still want to go with Fullerton. But indeed it is a good location. Actually you don't have to worry about traveling around since there is an abundance of taxis around and it's quite inexpensive too. And yes, the train service there in Taipei is cheap and very accessible. Hope this helps. :)

Carol said...

Hi! Honey Bee Sweets,

I have tried replying twice but failed to get through to you. Just wanted to thank you for your prompt response and advice. Really appreciate it. Carol

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Hi Carol,
I'm sorry to hear that you are having a hard time to post a comment on my blog. :P Hope this problem won't occur again. Don't mention it, I love getting and replying comments! Have fun in Taiwan with your daughter. ;)