Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tomato Basil Bread

I was browsing through the Zojirushi website and came across a list of recipes. Found one that piqued my interest and I decided to try it at home. Tweaked it a little as I did not have dried basil or garlic powder, and used fresh ingredients instead.

3/4 cup tomato juice
1 tbsp olive oil
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp milk powder
1 tsp salt
10 basil leaves, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1 tsp instant yeast

Add all the ingredients to the breadmaker and let it do its magic.

One Year

It's hard to imagine how much my life has changed in the past year. I started dating +3. We bought a house. We travelled to London and Scotland. We got engaged. And now we are looking forward to the next phase of our lives together.

Looking back, it doesn't seem like only a year has passed, especially if you judge the passage of time by how comfortable you feel with your partner.  When I think about my relationship with +3, it doesn't feel like we have been together for only a year. In fact, there's a very "old couple" feel to our relationship, like we've been together for years and years.

But because it's still a relatively new relationship, there is still much to learn about each other and I guess that's what makes this so much fun. A combination feeling of old and new, of being so comfortable with each other yet learning and adapting to live together better.

I've definitely grown as a person in the past year. One thing I love about +3 is how he is always able to give me a different (usually more logical) perspective on things. I also love how we can be absolutely silly with each other, making up songs and dances (in the privacy of home, of course) and yet when it comes to serious business, we work well as a team and are generally on the same page on things.

We have our fights too, as all couples do. But we talk about the issues, work things out, and we have come out stronger and closer as a couple.


Thank you, dear, for loving me and my family and for being such a wonderful partner. I've been so happy and am excited about what the future brings us, knowing it will be good with you by my side.

The Pros And Cons Of Owning A Breadmaker

I don't really remember how my obsession with getting a breadmaker started. Perhaps it was a conversation with 222, I'm not too sure. But anyway, somehow it got into my head that I wanted one and +3 bought one for me to celebrate our first anniversary.

To be frank, I think he wasn't all that keen to get one but I kept talking and talking and talking about it. Thankfully, after waking up to the smells of freshly baked bread the next morning, he was sold.

I've been posting the pictures of bread that I've baked, plus incessantly yakking to anyone and everyone who would hear about the awesomeness of the breadmaker. And so I thought I'd summarise the pros and cons of getting my breadmaker (Zojirushi Home Bakery Mini -  BB HAQ10).

Pros- Yummy Smells + Timer Setting
I think one of the best things about  getting a breadmaker is waking up to the smells of freshly baked bread in the morning. I'm not sure if it is something all breadmakers can do, but mine has a timer function that allows you to set it up to 13 (I think), hours in advance.

Pros- Easy to Prepare
I usually prepare the ingredients before going to bed, set the timer, potter around the house and then go to bed. When we wake up in the morning, it's done! No need to knead and wait for the dough to proof, then punch it down and proof again before baking. Heck, I don't even need to mix the ingredients together. Just measure it out and put them in the pan (in the order stated in the recipe book). It's *so* easy.

Pros- No Preservatives
A big draw for me was being able to bake bread that had no preservatives in it. Because we bake the bread in small portions, it also means that we finish the bread sooner and do not need to keep it.

Pros- Environmentally Friendly
I didn't really think about this but +3 shared that one of the things he really liked is how we consume less plastics now since we don't have to individually wrap each loaf of bread in plastic packaging. A good point!

Of course, I have to be realistic and talk about the cons.

Cons- Space
One of the major reasons +3 wasn't so keen on getting a breadmaker is the lack of space in the kitchen. But eventually we found a space for it.

Cons- Not So Cost Effective
On top of the cost of buying the machine ($338 on sale), you have to keep buying ingredients. To start we bought a 1kg bag of bread flour ($3.50 I think), some yeast (5 packets for $2), and dried milk ($19.90 for 1kg -  why is milk so expensive!). We already had sugar and salt.

I'm assuming the milk powder will last forever since each loaf only requires about 2 tablespoons of the stuff.  A packet of yeast lasts for about 4-5 loaves, and the bag of flour about 3 loaves. So you will keep having to buy flour if you plan on baking bred regularly.

Cons- Hot Loaf And Slicing
Ok maybe this isn't really a con but being used to having room temperature sliced bread from the supermarket, it does get a tad tiring to have to deal with hot appliances when you just wake up in the morning. And we don't have a bread knife so I've been hacking at my loaves of bread with a chopping knife.  Lol.

Cons- The Mess
Again, this could be because of aforementioned hacking of bread but the crumbs make a mess. 
Anyway all in all I do think the pros outweigh the cons and would highly recommend getting one.