Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Soap Like Food -- Jajan Pasar !

We are in Week 17 of 2015. Some of you may have noticed that I am not quite up-to-date with my blog posts on Soap Like Food. Last checked, I am at Week 11. *yikes*

I was all excited about this lil project when I first started. I drew up lists of soapy ideas, one for each week of the year and more. What happened? Well, to be honest, I got B-O-R-E-D. It felt like I had an endless list of homework! Ha! It was starting to become a chore. And because I am making these soaps as samples and in teeny weeny quantities, I always had to say 'no' to all the enquiries to purchase my creations. That wasn't very nice either. 

So I have been pondering for the last few weeks. Should I continue with this project? How can I make myself feel better? I needed a little motivation, something for me to look forward to.

And this happened...

Jajan Pasar Kueh Soaps 

A week ago, a friend and regular customer requested for some food soaps as a present for her colleague overseas. To be specific, she wanted Indonesian kueh soaps...and fast. *gulp* My heart was racing, I could feel the adrenaline rush as I pottered in my lil workshop. I loved it! The best part was seeing the sparkle in V's eyes when I placed the box in her hands. I have not felt this good in a long time!

That was the Aha! moment. No more struggling with the weekly blog posts. No more whining. 52 food-like soaps, one for each week of 2015 as envisioned. More importantly, I will be able to make my soapy creations available to you!

I decided to shake things up a little in Soap Like Food. I am going to put aside that 'homework' list and go with the flow. Each month I will present a soapalicious set of food soaps like the one above ... and I will handcraft them in limited quantities.

My Jajan Pasar Kueh Soap set is made up of different traditional kuehs categorised under jajan pasar ( "market buys" or "market munchies" )  in Java. Although jajan pasar are of Indonesian origin, they are very much a part of our lives in Singapore due to our multi-ethnic culture and heritage. These are the 5 kueh (kue) soaps that I handcrafted for V: 

Jajan Pasar Soaps

Kue Ku  is derived from the Chinese Ang Ku Kueh (紅龜粿; Red Tortoise Cake). Made of sticky glutinous rice flour skin with a sweet filling in the centre and moulded to resemble a tortoise shell; it is presented on a piece of banana leaf. The Chinese believed that eating tortoises would bring good fortune and longevity. This kueh was traditionally coloured red and considered a auspicious item during important Chinese festivals, baby's first month celebrations and birthdays in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and in other countries in South East Asia.

Kue Ku Soaps

Kue Lapis Sagu , also popularly known as the 9-layered kueh ( 九层糕 ) in Singapore. It is a layered colourful cake made of glutinous rice, tapioca or sago flour, coconut and sugar. I loved this kueh as a kid and it is still one of my favourite kuehs today. Best way to eat this kueh? Peel off the different coloured layers one at a time and slowly savour the 9 sweet soft chewy layers!

Kue Lapis Sagu Soaps

Kue Dadar Gulung  -- think crepe roll with sugar and coconut filling. The soft thin crepe is made of flour, egg and coconut milk and the distinct green colour and light aromatic fragrance is derived from the pandan leaf. Freshly grated coconut is caramelised in gula melaka and this juicy mixture is rolled and sealed in the crepe. The flavours and texture of this kueh is heavenly. Must try!

Kue Dadar Gulung Soaps

Bolu Kukus  -- "bolu" means "cake" and "kukus" means "steamed". This Indonesian steamed cake is very soft, moist and fluffy with a fine texture. Delicious! It is also known as the "laughing cake" due to its unique shape formed during the rising and cracking of the cake top. Interestingly, this cake does not contain any butter or margarine - the perfect excuse for me to indulge myself!

Bolu Kukus Soaps

Kue Onde Onde  are small round balls made of sweet potato and glutinous rice flour to give it a soft and chewy texure, and beautifully flavoured and coloured green with pandan. Filled with melted gula melaka and rolled in freshly grated coconut, these sweet lil bombs 'explode' when you pop them in your mouth and bite down into them!

Kue Onde Onde Soaps

Handcrafting these kueh soaps brought back nostalgic memories of my childhood. It made me feel comforted. Happy. Hhmmm...I am in the mood to have some kueh for breakfast tomorrow!

Handcrafted Kueh Soaps

Jajan Pasar Kueh Soap Set will be available from  See you soon! :)

Jajan Pasar Kueh Soap Set

Sunday, April 19, 2015

2015 Soap Challenge Club -- Spinning Swirl Technique

I have been quite the scatterbrain recently. Totally forgot about this month's soap challenge until I checked my email and found out that the link up has been opened -- for the past 3 days! Yikes! I checked the timer on the link up and it yelled to me that I had 1 day and 7 hours before the link up closed. Good luck to me!

Crazy colourful saccharine art by Tanya Schultz of Pip & Pop.

These are the colours that I have chosen for this soap challenge: Bramble Berry's Fired Up Fuchsia colourant, Hydrated Chrome Green pigment, 1982 Blue mica, Ultramarine Lavender pigment and Fizzy Lemonade colourant; and Orange Heaven mica from The Conservertorie. I did not use a slow-tracing recipe as I wanted to be sure that I would be able to unmold and cut the soap in time. I used Blackraspberry Vanilla Fragrance Oil from Bramble Berry as I knew that this fragrance oil would help slow down trace in my soap batter and give me sufficient time to complete the swirl.

The fragrance oil was first mixed together with the oils so that I will not forget to do so later on. I gave the stick blender 2-3 short pulses to combine the oil and lye mixture to a slight emulsion. The emulsion was then divided equally into 6 pitchers with the prepared colour pigments. I used a whisk to gently incorporate the colour pigments into the soap batter.

The coloured soap batter was poured into the slab mold at 6 different points.  The colours were alternated randomly. I was pretty pleased that the soap batter remained fluid enough for me to complete the pour, although it did thicken to a medium trace towards the end. I then spun the mold clockwise, following Amy's slight jerking motion. I found that this really helped to push the soap batter around in the mold. By the time I was satisfied with the swirl, the soap batter had thickened significantly and I had difficulty removing the air bubbles. 

(Photo was taken at 3am with a camera phone. Apologies for the poor lighting)

I managed to unmold and cut the soap after 15 hours. Phew!

Candy Swirl Soaps

Candy Swirl Soaps

Candy Swirl Soaps
I really enjoyed the spinning swirl technique and will definately use it again, but with a slow moving recipe. It is a very fun soaping technique and produces amazing results. Thank you Amy! I am already looking forward to next month's soap challenge -- dessert soaps! My favourite! YUMMY!