Friday, December 12, 2008

build your own minibar

i like woodworking a lot too but haven't done as much as baking bread. making your own furniture makes a lot of sense as store bought furniture typically won't fit 100% into your existing deco as well as space.

ever bought a bookshelf with gaping space at the top? can't seem to find a bookshelf that goes all the way to the ceiling? i really hate seeing the little gap there between the bookshelf and the ceiling. and the top of the bookshelf does nothing but collect dust!

hence i strive to build as much as possible.

furthermore, if you ever bought furniture from IKEA, you'll notice that assembling them isn't that difficult. the difficult part is designing them right, cutting and gluing to right measurements and sizes.

to that end, you need appropriate tools. now power tools don't come cheap but over here in malaysia, we are lucky to have so many china made power tools which are not only cheap but perform very well too! i bought a rm200 mitre saw before and using this mitre saw, with some help from friends, managed to saw off the ultra hard resak wood for our staircase. the savings from asking someone to saw for you more than made up for the price of the mitre saw.

anyway, showcase here is one of my more satisfying "handiwork".

it's supposed to be a minibar but at the end of the day, this furniture only holds 2 bottles of liquor and all sorts of other stuffs! it has become something like a food storage furniture (there's supposed to be word for it...).

notice that the sides store the glasses/mugs. the side door is detachable should you decide to change the look one day...
it's supposed to be a minibar you see. the wood is finished with polyurethane.
it's supposed to be a safe material but then to be absolutely sure, i'd rather have a layer of plastic film between the polyurethane and my mugs. also, with the plastic layer under the mugs, even if you slam the side door, the glasses won't even clatter.
doesn't look like a minibar anymore right? my wife hijacked it and now we store all our food stuffs here.

the top is not glued down. this way it's "modular". you never know one day when your wife says "this is too small for our needs now"!

credit goes to gabriel for helping me complete the unit. i built it over several months as i got stuck couple of times. in the end, gabriel helped me get "unstuck".

Monday, December 8, 2008

multi-seed rye with pics

when i bake bread, i don't think along the lines of baguette, ciabatta etc. i just do it without much of an expectation. whatever bread turns out, i'm delighted it turned out well! this way i'm never disappointed. and because of this, every home made bread is a great bread.  :)

okay, this is similar to the multi seed wholemeal baked last week except i used more rye and less bread flour this time.

overnight starter
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 3/4 cup water
  • less than 1/4 tsp instant yeast
12 hours later, we get this mess. smells nice though.

if you wait till 16 hours, it's fine too, but i haven't tried longer than that.

on baking day...

mix with
  • 2 cups wholemeal flour
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 3/4 seed mixture - flaxseed, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
  • adequate water until the dough feels sticky.

 2 hours later...

i could have waited longer but can't wait to start the next process.

well, take it out, proof and shape for another rise before baking.

another 2 hours after shaping it. the dough has grown a lot more.

you could wait longer but i had enough!

remember, slow rise = great bread. teaches us, the new generation of instant gratification spoiled brads, the value of being patient...

before baking, put more sunflower/pumpkin seeds on top. you could put raw ones here as once baked, they'll be delicious!

simply delicious!

they grow a bit more in the oven.

what do you call this? ciabatta?

i couldn't be bothered. i call it a great bread!

dipped in thick stew, soup or butter, all taste good!

oh yeah, someone asked what does the chinese characters below the title mean? literally translated, it means "an idiot making biscuit". meaning someone who doesn't know what he's doing but making a go at it. sounds like me baking bread! ha ha!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

multi-seed wholemeal with more pics

told you i can't have enough of those multi-seed bread...

this time i made 4 loaves, using the same method but with different ingredients.

multi-seed wholemeal
overnight sponge
  • 1 cup of wholemeal
  • 3/4 cup water
  • slightly less than 1/4 tsp instant yeast
i mixed this about 9pm saturday nighte.

this is what it looks like 9am sunday morning.

it has risen and collapsed. it has a faint sweet smell.

on baking day, mix with
  • 1 cup wholemeal
  • 2 cups of white bread flour
  • 3/4 cup soaked in warm water mixture of flaxseed, pumpkin seed and sunflower seed
  • 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • and suitable amount of water until dough "feels sticky"
after kneading for about 20 minutes, here it is in a dusted plastic container.

 2 hours later...

you could see the dough has grown quite a lot!

so take it out, proof it, shape it... you should know the drill by now. otherwise click on the "basic bread recipe" tags on the right.

baked at 180c for 20-25 minutes, or until desired "golden browness". 
bread baking is so easy!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Work harder on yourself than you do on your job

i was reading some articles when i came upon this quote. attributed to jim rohn who is a motivational guru, i couldn't agree more!

most folks' personal development come from their day job. i'll say most are unplanned for, just "follow what my boss has for me".

it's fine if you want this approach but not everyone is so lucky to have a boss who sees to it your personal development. most are just tied up meeting company goals (and not to mention their personal goals). if you want to be sure you are making the right progress, you just got to take matters into your own hands.

you want to learn something? why wait for the opportunity? search for online articles (wikipedia is wonderful), grab a book, network with friends/associates...

besides, learning on your own, at your own pace, fueled by your interest, gains a hell lot more mileage than learning from a classroom. learning by doing, making mistakes... that's all part of learning and you only come out stronger from it.

thus jim rohn's words is so true. work harder on yourself than you do on your job!