Apam Polka Dot - the amateurish way
Ever since I saw pics of apam polka dot that people uploaded in FB, I have been intrigued and teringin nak buat. So, I surfed the net for its recipe. Most sites displayed the same recipe so credit to all the sites that posted a recipe that works.

Here's the recipe:

275 gm wheat flour.
I translated this to 3 cups of flour. Sebab tak kuasa nak keluarkan weighing scale dari dalam almari setiap kali nak buat. The cup which I used is this Claytan cup. So, may not be the same size as your cup.


220 gm castor sugar.
Using the same cup, it's 11/4 cup.

180 ml fresh milk.
If you don't have a measuring cup, you can always use your child's feeding bottle or drinking cup. That's what I did.

3 eggs.
The sites that I refer to mentioned that the eggs should be the one chilled in the fridge. The reason? I have no idea. Follow je la.

3 teaspoons of baking powder.

1 tablespoon of ovalette.

Few drops of vanilla essence.

Filling.
These are my options. Nutella for filling eh? My kids love anything chocolatey.

Food colouring.
Ikut suka nak kaler apa.

Here's how to do the apam:

Mix flour, sugar, eggs, baking powder, ovalette, milk and vanila essence in a bowl using a mixer, at maximum speed, until fluffy.

Divide the batter into few portions (number of portions depend on the number of colours you have).

Add in a few drops of colour in the batter.
These are the colours that I have. Nice eh... Feels like in an art class.


Using a piping bag, pipe the batter into paper cups/mould until half full.
Since I don't have piping bag, I use these plastic bags nipped at one corner.

But if things got too messy, just spoon the batter into the paper cups/mould.

Put in the filling and pipe in the batter until full.

Then do the dots. Since my hand-made plastic bags-cum piping bag were a little bit out of control, I resorted to the use of syringe instead.


Finally, steam for 10-15 minutes.

Note:
The choice of what color to use for the apam and its dots is entirely up to you.
And of course, not necessarily dots. I saw pictures of apams with smiley faces and names written on them.
I still need to look for the perfect filling. The Nutella sank to the bottom instead of staying put in the middle of the apam.
Some sites that I refer to gave these tips: When steaming the apam, use medium heat. Or else the apam will crack and ternganga. I have a few yang ternganga macam tu. Sungguh tak comel. And also wrap the cover of the steamer with cloth to prevent the evaporated water to drip back onto the apam.

Here's the end product. In terms of looks, hodoh la jugak. Ha ha... But in terms of taste, not bad. The kids love it. Dah bawak pergi sekolah and their friends like it. Dah siap pesan suruh buat lagi...

Update 7 May 2012:
I have since improve on the techniques. I used paper cups and acuan kuih lompang. Put the paper cups in the acuan and piped the batter inside. Then steam. Better looking. :)




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The maths of maternity leave
One of the perks as a government servant, is the fully-paid maternity leave. However, there's a catch. (There's always a catch, huh?) One can only take maximum 300 days of maternity leave throughout service. So, considering 2 months of maternity leave, the maximum no of kids you can have to be able to get full pay during your maternity leave is 5. Ok la kan... 5 considered big family dah tu.

I had my first kid in 1999. I was a student. So, basically, no maternity leave at all. In fact, as a postgraduate student, I was allocated only 2 weeks of leave every semester. However, with kind consideration from my supervisor at that time, dapat jugak la cuti.

Then I started working and had my second child. 60 days of maternity leave and I still have 240 days remaining.

3rd child - 60 days of leave again - 180 days remaining.

4th child - another 60 days taken from the bank - 120 days remaining.

Recently, the government decided to allow its servants to take maternity leave up to 90 days. But the catch is, the maximum total days remained 300. So, maximum no of kids reduced from 5 to 3 if someone fully use the 90 days allocation. Well, of course you can still opt for 60 days maternity leave. Pilih la, nak anak banyak ke nak cuti lama...:)

My timing was just perfect because I had my 5th kid soon after the government made the decision. Since I still have enough maternity leave remaining, dengan sukacitanya I took 90 days. Well, as of now, 1 month already gone. Time sure flies.

Doing simple maths, I still have 30 days remaining. Maybe just enough for another kid. Not!! :)