Definition of Passion: a strong affection or enthusiasm for an object, concept, ect

Yesterday, I wrote out an extremely long post about my trip to the Fort Canning Park. Sadly, I assumed WordPress autosaved it for me, but alas, it was not so.

man's gold and nature's gold

Dirt lines

Dirt lines.

I enjoyed walking though Fort Canning Park (FCP). Even though Singapore’s touted as the “Garden City”, and has much greenery almost every where one goes, it is difficult to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and truly immerse one in nature. Unlike the Botanic Gardens, FCP is much quieter and gives one a sense of serenity, which is hard to find in our fast paced lives. I spent 3 hours there, walking, appreciating and snapping away.

FCP is where the engagement ceremony(is that what you call it?) takes place and many couples choose to have their wedding shots taken there. I did get to see a newly married/engaged couple posing for their pictures, but I was too intimidated by the professional photographers with their enormous and complicated lenses that I didn’t dare approach them.

The forgotten path

Path of the past

Oh, if you’re wondering about why is caption of the above picture is as such, it’s because on the right of the picture is a row of memoirs of those who died during WW2, each one faded and eroded.

Recently, I’ve noticed a gradual change in myself. I’ve become more observant and even when I go to a place that I’ve been to a thousand time before, I am able to see things that I’ve previously never taken note of. I though about it for a while and realized that it’s because of my new found in photography. Nowadays, I’m beginning to see things in a new light. The way the light shines through the trees; the man’s expression when he runs in the rain on a dark and stormy night; the geometrical pattern of the building’s windows… It’s really funny how your hobby can change and shape you into someone you had never thought you would become. I bought my first digital camera to take pictures of my friends and I only. At that time, I didn’t even think that I would actually use it to take pictures of food, of the grand trees outside my house or of the petite flowers that litter the grass patches.

Not only has photography allowed me see things in a new light, it has also caused me to view life differently. Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. Such a cliche term, but it expresses how I feel now. Everything around me, no matter how ordinary, looks more vibrant, livelier and more special. It makes me feel as if I’m not just going through the motions, but rather, I’m living.

I wasn’t sure how to phrase the title of my post. Passions? I was afraid to use that word. I love baking and photography, but is it right to call those my passions? I’ve been baking seriously only for 2 years, and started taking an interest in photography only 6 months ago. I considered using the word hobby, but thinking about how I sometimes have difficulty falling asleep because my mind is too preoccupied about what I want to bake or how to compose a picture, I’m certain passion is the right word. Moreover, I can be cetain that even when I’m 60 and wrinkly, I’ll still be sitting in the kitchen, my mixer whirring away. Gosh, what a cool grandmama I would be (:

[Note: if you’re reading this and you’re thinking, “Gosh, what is she taking about? Her pictures are soooooo ugly and boring”, please don’t curse and swear at me. I know I’m still learning&I’m not exactly there yet 😀 ]

What about baking? How it in anyway advantageous? Goshhh, I don’t even know where to start! Mhmmm, the most recent thing that baking has helped me with is to befriend my neighbour.

At the start of the year, a new family moved in two houses away. I asked my Mom whether it would be appropriate to welcome them to the neighbourhood with a freshly baked cake. Mum gave me a look that said it all. (she gave me the are-you-crazy-or-what look) One evening, I saw our new neighbour’s three kids playing in the backyard. On an impulse, I gave them two of my freshly baked banana muffins. I haven’t been able to ask whether they enjoyed the muffins, so I was quite afraid that they didn’t like it. This morning, I decided to give them cupcakes. Vanilla and chocolate cupcakes to be exact. The children were in school, so I apprehensively walked towards my neighbour’s backdoor and called out for her.

packed and all ready to go

” I hope you’ll like these. I was afraid that the other ones I gave last time weren’t sweet enough.” I’m usually not shy, but at that moment I was holding my breath, afraid of what she would say.

” Oh really? They loved them though! Thanks for the cupcakes.” was her reply.

Phew.

These cupcakes were really nice. Fluffy, sweet and chocolately. (Actually, I added chocolate chips in the centre, hoping that they would melt and I would get a molten chocolate cupcake. No such luck though:/ ) They’re more tender than the store bought type and you can actually taste the love in them.
Okay, that was an exaggeration, but you can still see the heart(s) I put onto them! 😀

When I first saw my neighbour, I found her rather intimidating. Nowadays though, she smiles at me whenever I see her

The recipe was made to yield one 8inch round cake, but I changed it into a cupcake recipe instead.

Vanilla Cupcakes With Chocolate Topping

yields about 10

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (i use vanillin powder)
1 cup minus 2 tbsp sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup and 2 tbsp whole milk
(about) 70g dark chocolate
1 1/2 tsp of butter
decorations

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together; set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar on medium to high speed for 30s. (The mixture will look very grainy and it will seem as if there’s not enough butter)
  4. Add egg and beat until well combined. Add vanilla.
  5. Add about a third of the flour to the mixture. Fold until just combined. Mix in 1/3 of the milk. Continue to add flour and milk alternately to the mixture.
  6. Fill each muffin tin(or cavity? ah, you get what I mean) 2/3 full. [I have learnt that it is better to under-fill than over-fill. 2 of my cupcakes spilled out and looked really odd]
  7. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until top is golden brown.
  8. Melt butter and chocolate together. Spread on top of cupcakes. Decorate with sprinkles ect.

 

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