Friday, 9 September 2011

Tipsy Friend - Alison of Mama Wants This!

My Tipsy Friend today doesn't need an introduction but how can I not give one, it's only polite as the host.

I chanced upon Alison's blog when I was browsing through a Malaysian parenting site, Parenthots, looking for new Malaysian blogs to read and be friends with. I think it was divine intervention when I clicked her site out of the hundreds of sites listed in their directory. I fell in love with her (blogwise) instantly upon reading her first post. She blazed the trail for me in a blogging sense and helped me discover blogs out of Mloggyland (that's Malaysian blogosphere). I owe her a lot for helping me, directly and indirectly, improve myself as a blogger. And do y'all know we're both from the same hometown, Ipoh?! 

I'm so happy to have Alison here as my Tipsy Friend today to talk about baking. She makes awesome desserts I was told but have never tasted and here are some of her tips to make sure you don't get into a baking disaster. Welcome to my bloghome Alison!


How To Avoid Baking Disasters

When Germaine honoured me by asking if I'd write a post for her Tipsy Friend feature, my first reaction after oh wow, thank you, was yikes, who am I to give tips? Especially when she suggested it could be about baking, something I do, and occasionally write about.

That, may have led her to believe I actually know what I'm talking about when it comes to baking.

Pssst - a little secret? I don't.

So my tips today? Is how to avoid baking disasters for the sometime baker.

Use a recipe
Unless you're Donna Hay, chances are you won't remember the proportions of flour, butter, sugar and all the other ingredients you need. Guesswork is not going to fly here. Baking is chemistry, you need the right amounts of each ingredient to ensure your carrot muffins do not turn out rock hard.

Get organized
Before you start weighing, sifting, mixing, whisking and pouring? Always preheat the oven first. Next, prepare the muffin tray/ cake tin/ cookie tray. Then make sure you have all the tools you need at hand - weighing machine, mixer, mixing bowl and so on. Next, line up all the ingredients you need.

Read the instructions
Okay, you have the recipe. Read it. Read it again. Then read it a third time. When you face a slightly more complicated recipe than 'Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, then mix', chances are you WILL scramble around if you don't read the recipe correctly.

Case in point: I made honey cake a few weeks ago, and assumed (hah! NEVER assume anything in baking) that it was a simple mix wet with dry method. I then read the instructions again and realized I had to heat the honey with sugar first in a pan, THEN let it cool for at least 20 minutes, before I added it in with the egg. If I'd known that earlier, that would have been the first thing I started on. Instead, I wasted time standing around impatiently waiting for the honey mixture to cool, with nothing to do.

Also? When you read the instructions properly, you'll be less likely to measure out the ingredients wrongly. 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract is very different from 2 tablespoons.

Make sure you have your computer on and Google as your homepage
There have been instances when I was just seized by a desire to bake, and I look for a recipe. Then I find that I'm missing one or two ingredients, such as turbinado sugar (which I'm not familiar with at all). What do I do? Give up? Not bake that yummy cake I really want to eat?

No!! I turn to Google to look for a substitute ingredient. There are a million suggestions offered out there. Be careful to look through a few before you decide on a substitute, some sources are just not reliable. I usually look up baking sites.

Google is also helpful for converting quantities. I have recipes from all over the world, which use their own system of measurement. I always find out the recipe source, then convert the quantities to a measuring system I'm familiar with (that'd be metric), BEFORE I start baking.

What are you waiting for? Go forth and bake!

(And yes, I've made ALL of these mistakes before!)

Thank you Germaine, for having me here today. It's such a thrill!


Now you know the secrets behind Alison's baking success! Thanks so much for being my Tipsy Friend today Alison!

Please head over to Mama Wants This! to get to know more about Alison. She is a wonderful mom of one and a great bloggy friend. She also spends a lot of time on Twitter and could probably give you some pointers on how not to be a Twitter Disaster as well. Alternatively, go like her on Facebook, she is very likable!

Linking Alison's wisdom here to Theresa's


Yes, I've lost track of time.
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