Category: Home and Family

The Christmas Countdown!

So it’s December and the countdown has begun.

We took out the Christmas tree from the attic last week (yes we use a plastic tree….we like to save the planet!)  and Ethan helped putting it up. Its only a little tree that I bought 10 years ago when I was a student and do not have the heart to replace it with a bigger tree (lots of sentimental values, I am a sucker for that).

Christmas shopping is nearly done, not decided if I want to encourage eating choclates for breakfast by getting Ethan an advent calender countingdown to Christmas (I am sure thats the first thing he wants to do when he is awake in the morning).

Ethan insisted that I take a picture of ‘Hippo’ with our Christmas three.



Making Sweet Custard Buns (containing TangZhong)

Mmmmm sweet custard buns, my all time favourite! Hubby was craving for them and asked if I could make some. I have never made the custard filling for buns before. Here is how I’ve done it, first attempt and it was scrumptious, definitely deserve a pat on the back.

I went for the solid (rather than runny) but soft custard filling. We dislike desiccated coconut so did not include any in the filling.

Spot the snowman!


Ingredients for custard buns (makes 12 large buns or 24 smaller buns)

For custard filling:

2 tablespoons custard powder

1/3  cup sugar

¼ cup corn starch

½ cup coconut milk

2 tablespoons condensed milk

2 tablespoons butter, cut

2 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For dough, refer to ingredients to make Pai Bao


For custard filling: Mix custard powder, sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Slowly add coconut milk to make a paste. Add the condensed milk and mix well. Heat the mixture over low heat stirring constantly until smooth. Add butter and mix well.  Keep the mixture stirring until it thickens. Whisk or use an electric mixer to beat the custard when it thickens, remove from heat. Add the vanilla extract to the egg yolk and add the egg yolks into the mixture.  Keep mixing to ensure the egg yolks are well incorporated. Returns to heat to thicken the custard. The custard filling is ready when it turns semi solid. This custard filling can be kept in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

 To make the dough, refer to the methods described for Pai Bao, with the following modifications to shape the buns:

1)      After first proofing, deflate to remove the air in the dough and divide into 12  equal portions to make large buns or 24 smaller buns to make smaller portions.

2)    Roll out each portion of the dough with a rolling pin into a circular shape. Shape the custard filling into a ball and place a custard ball in the middle of the rolled dough.  Make the dough into a ball.

3)     Roll the filled dough into an oval shape. Repeat with the rest of the dough and custard balls.

4)     Place it on a large baking tray to be covered with cling wrap or a damp cloth for 1 hours and 30 minutes.

5)    Lightly brush the surface with whisked egg (egg wash). Decorate the balls with sesame seeds (optional).

6)     Bake in a pre-heated oven at 150 degrees C for 10 to 20 minutes, until the buns  turn brown.

7)    Remove from the oven and transfer onto a wire rack. Let cool completely. I have a fan assisted oven, depending on your oven you may need to alter the temperature and time. As long as the top turns brown your buns should be ready. Only you know you oven best.

You can make heart shaped custard buns or ‘tear and share’buns: Refer to Heart Shaped Cinnamon buns on how to.




Save Money and Make Your Own Homemade Play Dough (cooked method)

All kids love play dough, mine is no exception. There is no cheaper way than making your own. These lovely homemade dough keeps Ethan occupied for hours while I make dinner or bake. They are made from ‘non-toxic’ food ingredients and preserved with salt. Just keep the dough in air tight containers and they can lasts for months. For budding artists, you can use them as modelling clays. My little artist would make little figurines, leave them to dry and harden, then paint the harden dough afters. They are loads of fun.

This recipe involves a little cooking. We prefer the cooked to the non cooked play dough as the cooked version has a better texture.  Have your little one make some with you and you can have limitless fun with your homemade play dough. As the play dough may smell like food, just make sure that your pets don’t gobble them up. Although they are not toxic it contains loads of salt, it will make your pets ill from salt imbalance. Having said that, Ethan had a bite of our homemade playdough, spat it out and asked for a glass of water, LOL, the little monkey!

Try making your own paly dough and save some money. Every penny counts and there is definately no lack of fun factor . Enjoy!


  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 2 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 table spoon of cream of tartar (this helps to make the dough more elastic, as cream of tartar changes the acidity of the dough)
  • Food colouring


Mix all the dry ingredients in a pan. add one cup of cold water and make into a paste to ensure there are no lumps, slowly add the rest of the water then oil. Heat the mixture in low heat stirring constantly to prevent burning. The paste will thicken into a dough. Leave to cool and your play dough is ready. Remember to store in an airtight container or the play dough will harden.

You can add food colouring into the water before you cook the dough or like me, you can make the dough first, divide the dough into a few portions whilst it is warm and add a different colour to each portion of dough. If you are adding the food colouring after the dough is cook, you will need to knead the colour into the dough.

With this latter method, you only have to make/cook one batch of dough whereas the former method you will only get one colour for each cooked batch.

Be careful, concentrated food colouring may stain.

p/s for the TangZhong addicts, this homemade play dough shares similar elastic properties as our beloved water roux started for bread.


My sous chef









When my 3 year old is at home with me, I love to make him my sous chef. He loves to ‘tickle’ flour and whatever ingredients we prepared which includes oil, milk, sugar, eggs and butter. He loves to get in there and get dirty.

A sucker for punishment you may call me as after we finish cooking, (as you can imagine) there is usually a lot of cleaning involved!

My sous chef at work!






Welcome to Settys Life @ Home

I love experimental cooking and baking, using hubby, Ethan, neighbours and work colleagues as my guinea pigs to test my ‘masterpieces’. Having said that I am not the best cook or the most organised person in the world and neither would I claim to be a professional cook.


I love kitchen gadgets and have gadgets from ice cream maker, stand mixer, multipurpose food processor, ‘forever sharp knife’ , induction hob to little rubber bottle openers.

Image from Flickr

On this website, I will do my best on documenting my experimental cooking, provide reviews on my gadgets and describe general topics about my life as a working mum with two young boys at home. I do hope that you will find it useful if not entertaining and do feel free to provide constructive comments as you see fit. Always room for improvements.