Thursday, December 26, 2013

Cooking for a 2yo on a vacation

It has been a daily habit for me to cook for Phin Zhe, even when we dine out or on a vacation trip. Few months back, we brought him along for our 14 days Aussie trip. It was a night flight to Aussie so I brought 2 homemade buns for backup. Return flight was a bit tricky as it was a morning flight. I need to prepapre 3 meals for him. He had breakfast at Melbourne airport, lunch on the plane and dinner at LCCT airport. However, we survived the long haul flights and the 2 weeks in Aussie. With some proper planning, I was able to prepare food for Phin Zhe and yet had an enjoyable trip. Let's see some of the meals we had.

Breakfast #1: Oat porridge

rolled oats and steel cut oats porridge with Elgaar farm organic milk, bananas and raisin

Oat porridge is a relatively simple breakfast to prepare. It is not easy to find organic steel oats in Penang. So I bought one pack once I landed in Hobart, Tasmania. I love to mix rolled oats and steel oats together. For me, fresh milk, bananas and raisin are must. I did add in walnut and other nuts for adult version.

Breakfast #2: Bread/Toast with spread/fillings

organic toast with baby spinach, mushroom and scrambled egg

organic toast with avacado spread and scambled egg

Another quick breakkie. It did not take up much time to mash an avacado, scrambled some eggs and stir fry some mushroom. Topped with wonderfully creamy Barambah organics yogurt, this healthy toast has made a smile on big boss and little boss.

Breakfast #3: Pancake

avacado, banana and egg

When I had a little bit more time, I made the simplest pancake. For the batter, I mashed the bananas and avacado first, then slowly added egg until it reached the right consistency. Served with blueberries and warm milk.

Dinner #1: Bolognese Spaghetti

beef bolognese spaghetti, blanched asparagus and orange juice

my boy enjoying his dinner

Dinner #2: Japanese Ramen in broth

On the night we checked into Cradle Mountain National Park's Cabin, big boss requested something warm for tummy. So I cooked this Japanese Ramen in broth. White potatoes, carrot, onion, shredded chicken and scallop have made the soup very sweet and tasty. In fact, I had to cook a second bowl for each of us.

Dinner #3: Rice with asian dishes

Some of the day, we reached our accomodation early, I cooked some dishes to eat with rice. First thing I did was to set the rice cooker and boil the soup. Then I will proceed to take a rest, have some fun time exploring the place and take a shower. When dinner time came, I just place one of the dish to oven and cook another plate of veggies.

baked pork cutlets, stir fry mixed veggies, toufu and seeweed in miso soup, rice with scallops

baked fish(two types), zhuccini toufu mushroom corn soup and stir fry green leafy

Dinner #4: Steak

angus beef and rosemary lamb cutlet

serve with potatoes, purple carrot and green bean

steak with pasta

 angus beef with tomato fettucine, stir fry green leafy and mushroom

Dinner #5: Seafood porridge

seafood porridge with prawns, scallops, salmon and chicken

Phin Zhe kept asking for more

Dinner #6: Seafood risotto

This trip I brought a rice cooker with me. Whenever I checked into a room that does not have enough kitchen equipments to cook, I cooked one pot dish. This dish used exactly the same ingredients as seafood porridge. It was a hit! We love the Jasmine rice texture which was a bit sticky.

On the go #1 Rice with Asian dishes

one of the airport meal(steamed fish, asparagus and carrot)

 On the go #2 Risotto

purple risotto(purple carrot, salmon, mushroom etc)

I did not manage to capture every single meals. But I hope this is enough to give you some ideas on preparing toddler food when you are travelling.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Crustless vegetarian quiche(with egg and dairy)

Merry Christmas everyone!

Today is Christmas and I did not cook any fancy dishes tonight. Thanks to my dear friend, Mun Ching who passed us her club house excess card. We went there at 5pm with my freshly baked crustless vegetarian quiche. Phin Zhe had a good time there, burnt all his calories and he ate a lot of the quiche, ended up papa and mama didn't have enough food and have to munch snacks at night. Next round must cook more food. :p

6 eggs
110g shredded cheddar
1 zhuccini(cut into bite size)
150g broccoli(cut into bite size)
150g cauliflower(cut into bite size)
1 medium onion(cut into bite size)
4 gloves garlic(minced)
some cherry tomatoes
1tbsp grape seed oil

1. Heat wok with oil.
2. Stir fry garlic until fragrant.
3. Add in all veggies except cherry tomatoes.
Stir fry until slightly soften. Don't overcook.
4. Season with some black pepper.
5. Oil a 8" tart pan.
6. Spread the veggies in the pan.
7. Mix the egg with half the cheese.
8. Pour the egg mixture into the pan.
9. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
10. Decorate with cherry tomatoes.
11. Bake in a preheated oven at 180'c for 35 minutes.

It is meatless, but then it is so delicious. Today we only had meat during lunch. Yeah, less meat is good. :)

Apple pancake and beet root pancake

apple pancake

beet root pancake 

Phin Zhe loves pancake. So I have tried to make all sort of pancakes, banana pancake, pandan pancake, avacado pancake, sweet potatoes pancake, pumpkin pancake....everything you can think of and you can't think of, I put them in pancake. I have posted easy pancake recipes that does not require flour and baking powder. But this time I am going to share my normal pancake recipe that uses flour and baking powder.

130g or 1 cup flour
1tsp aluminium free baking powder
1-2 tbsp brown sugar
1 egg
puree of your choice(1 apple blended into juice or 1 beet root blended into juice)
extra water

1. Mix flour and baking powder together. Sift twice.
2. Beat egg and brown sugar until sugar dissolved.
3. Add in puree and mix well.
4. Add in flour and mix well. Add more water if require. Do not overmix.
The batter should not be too thick or too diluted. Try to scoop a spoon and let it flow back to the bowl. It should be slow but smooth.
5. Let the batter sit for 15 minutes.
6. Heat pan with a little bit of oil.
6. Scoop 2 tbsp of batter into the pan, use the back of the spoon to spread it out. 7. Fry both sides and continue with second piece of pancake.
8. Continue until the batter finish. In between, add some oil to the pan if needed.
9. I like to serve my pancake with manuka honey. :)

1. I added 1tsp cinammon to my apple pancake. But it is optional.
2. After I pan fry Phin Zhe's beet root pancake, I added 1tsp cocoa powder and turned our's to red velvet pancake.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Molasses Oatmeal Cookies

The idea of this recipe comes from Barbara's Smackimals cookies. I bought one pack and found that it is too sweet so I decided to make my own. I like this recipe because oats and molasses are good. All my cookies recipes use minimum sugar, so if you find that store bought cookies are too sweet to your liking, you should try making your own cookies. Making cookies is fast and easy!

120g oats(I used rolled oats, instant oats is fine too)
120g flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
70g molasses sugar
1 cup/220g oil(I used grapeseed oil)

1. Put all ingredients in food processor and pulse until well mix. If you do not have a food processor, then just knead with hands.
2. Take out the mixture, knead into a dough. If too dry add a bit of oil, if too sticky add a bit of flour.
3. Keep in refrigerator for 20 minutes.
4. Roll out and shape with cookies cutters.
5. Bake in preheated oven at 150'c for about 10minutes.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas cookies

christmas cookies 

project 1: christmas tree felt activity 

It is really different with a toddler around. If you enjoy learning together with them, everything in life can be interesting and fun. :-) So this Christmas, I decided to have 3 projects at home. Since I made the first felt activity for Phin Zhe, I just loved it and bought more felt with different colors. It is so convinient because felt can stick to another piece of felt easily. The first project has to be a felt activity. I sticked an empty Christmas tree and passed Phin Zhe other shapes. "Can you hang the Christmas decoration on the branches?" He did it happily. And now everytime when I need a 10 minutes break, I will remove all the decorations and ask him to do it again.

project 2: real Christmas decoration

We have been talking about getting a Christmas tree since we moved in 5 years ago. Now we have a better reason to get it.

project 3: Christmas cookies 

Phin Zhe has involved in every steps of making the cookies. It took longer time compare to if I were to make it alone and it was a little bit messy. But I felt so happy when I saw Phin Zhe smiled to the gingerbread men cookies and shouted,"I made gingerbread men cookies!"

I only managed to make 10 packs because the rest was not nicely moulded. But nevermind, Phin Zhe will finish them.

125g melted butter
60g brown sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp ginger juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
300g unbleached flour

1. Mix flour, cinnamon and baking soda. Set aside.
2. Beat the butter and sugar until creamy.
3. Add in egg yolk and beat until creamy.
4. Stir in flour mixture and ginger juice. Mix well.
5. Put the dough on pastry mat or flat surface and knead until smooth.
6. Place in refrigerator for 20 minutes.
7. Roll out and cut with cookies cutters.
8. Bake in preheated oven at 140'c for 10 minutes.
Do note that different cookies thickness will need different timing.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

2 years old meal plan

I received requests to post Phin Zhe's menu on this blog. Now at 2 years old, this is his standard menu on weekdays. On weekends, I will be trying out new menu.

Phin Zhe's menu from Monday to Friday

Before breakfast
breast milk(direct latch)

Breakfast and Morning break
On weekday morning, we will have 15 minutes breakfast together. It will be one or two mains with one beverage. Then I will pack some for his morning break in daycare.

Bread(plain white loaf or cranberries white loaf or raisin wholemeal loaf or black sesame flaxseed loaf) with or without spread(avacado banana spread, black sesame spread, tahini spread, fruit spread) or
Bun(purple sweet potatoes bun or  green onion bun or hotcross bun or dinner rolls) or
Steamed Cakes(Purple sweet potatoes steamed cupcakes or millet raisin steamed cupcakes or pandan coconut steamed cupcakes or rice cooker version banana steamed cake)
Muffins/Cupcakes(orange sponge cupcakes or carrot muffins) or
Mantou(purple sweet potatoes mantou or  molasses wheat mantou or pumpkin mantou or flaxseed and ghee mantou) or
Oatmeal(similar version here) or
Pancake(I noticed that I have only blogged about banana pancake, but actually I have tried apple pancake, pandan pancake, beetroot pancake, sweet potatoes pancake, cheese pancake and many more combination)
Cooked breakfast (cheezy/mushroom scrambled egg, boiled potatoes in rosemary infused olive oil and cucumber/cherry tomatoes, similar version here)

Chinese sweet soup(Red Bean with lotus seeds and lily bulbs, Green Bean with sweet potatoes, barley with bean curd sheet, white fungus with red dates) or
Western soup(Potatoes Mushroom Soup and Pumpkin Carrot Soup) or
Chrysanthemum licorice root drink or
Honey Lemon drink or
Milk(Soy milk, oat milk, nuts milk) or
5 grains/10 grains drink

Nanny will cook porridge with the ingredients I provide. It is normally 1 meat(chicken or pork or fish) and 2 veggies and 1 misc(tofu or mushroom or egg or black fungus).

Before afternoon nap
4oz breast milk

Tea Break
Fruit(Apple/Kiwi/Avacado/Banana etc)
4oz breast milk
Cookies(optional) cheddar cheese cookies or italian cookies or oatmeal molasses cookies
Left over bread/bun/cakes from morning(optional)

Rice with Chinese dishes or
Pasta(Tomato Sauce, Pesto Sauce, Aglio) or
One pot ramen

Before sleep
breast milk(direct latch)

Busy Mom Kitchen Gadget #1: Panasonic Bread Maker BMS105-T

Panasonic BMS105-T, dimension 30.4cm(W)x24.1cm(L)x34.5cm(H)

At first, I was very skeptical about using bread maker to make bread. When I was searching for bread recipes early last year, I bumped into a few Taiwanese bloggers who have invested in Panasonic bread maker and able to make good bread out of it. Having visited Taiwan for a few times, I knew that Taiwan is very popular for their breads and buns, so I trusted their reviews. On the other hand, I am tempted by the bread maker preset timer where I can get fresh loaf every morning. In the end, I got myself the latest model, BMS105-T.
Highlights of BMS105-T:
1. separated compartments for yeast and nuts/dried fruit
This is very important as the yeast and nuts/dried fruit should be added at correct timing. Many bread makers in the market do not have these compartments or either they have only one compartment.
2. Controlled temperature for yeast proving/bread rising
After the kneading is done, the bread maker will provide a optimum temperature for the yeast. Therefore everytime the bread will turn out the same size regardless of the weather/temperature.
3. up to 12 hours preset timer
I use this function very often. I just need to place all the ingredients, preset the completion time and I will have a fresh loaf for breakfast.
4. thickness of the crust
There are 3 selection for the crust, which are light, medium or dark. I found that many bread makers produce a slightly thicker crust. So it is good to be able to select the crust thickness I like.
5. 30 programmes
Honestly I have not experienced all the programmes. But this bread maker really can make a lot of things besides bread, which I will explain later in this post.

Here is a summary of the bread functions:
1. Bread loaf(fully auto)
2. Steamed bread(semi auto, will need to move the dough to steam bowl)
3. Breads and Buns(semi auto, will need to shape the dough, put in filling or toppings and bake in oven)
4. Cake(fully auto, do note that the texture is more like muffins as there is not beating involved) 
5. Dough kneading(it can do all kind of dough kneading, example pizza, noodles, udon, mantou, chinese pao etc)
6. Fruit jam(fully auto)
7. Chocolate truffle(semi auto, need to shape it with mold)
8. Muaci(semi auto, need to shape and coat with peanut powder)
9. Read bean paste(fully auto)
10. Home made yeast(fully auto)
11. Home made yogurt(fully auto, using the yeast function)
12. Fish Ball(semi auto, using the bread dough function, still need to shape and cook)
13. Meat floss(semi auto, using bread dough function) Yes! Meat floss for Chinese New Year! :)

Function #1 to #10 are provided in the user manual. From #11 onwards, these functions are tested by either me or other bloggers. I hope to see more wild ideas that this wonderful machine can do. :)

Shark's fin melon and dried longan sweet soup

Yesterday when I saw shark's fin melon in organic shop for the very first time, I put it in my recycle bag without hesistation. Shark's fin melon tonifies Qi and blood, expels cold, harmonises the blood, induces bowel movements and has many other wonderful benefits.
It is very easy to boil shark's fin melon sweet soup. Just cut the shark's fin melon to smaller pieces, remove seeds and boil in water. After about 30 minutes, take out the shark's fin melon, use a fork to mash it, it will turn into shreds easily. The shreds look like the real shark's fin, that is where it gets its name. Put the melon shreds back to the pot, add in dried longan and slow cook for another 15 minutes. Add sugar to taste and it is done.
I packed the sweet soup into few thermos for everyone to bring to office/school. Then I filled two ceramic stew pot and kept them in fridge. Phin Zhe's daddy will love this after his badminton tonight. :)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Carrot Muffins

the one without pecan on top is for Phin Zhe

My mum used to make tasty and healthy carrot cake for me and now it is my turn to make for my son. :) I would not want to bake a whole cake on a working day morning, so I tweaked the recipe and changed it to muffin recipe.

I measured everything the night before(step 1 done and sugar in a separated bowl) and kept the grated carrot in fridge. This morning I just need to mix and bake. What a lovely morning with carrot cake fresh from the oven and a glass of homemade black soy milk.

I passed one to Phin Zhe's teacher. She has a cupcake project for the kids and they will bring the end products to old folks home. Before I could reach office, I received her watapps message saying that it is very delicious and feel like getting an oven to pick up baking. Please try the recipe and tell me that she is not trying to be polite. ;)

This recipe makes 8 muffins.

1 1/4 cups(150g) all-purpose flour(sifted twice)
1/2 cup(50g) chopped almonds/walnuts/pecans(I used walnuts)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups(195g) grated carrots
2/3 cup(68g) vegetable oil(I used grape seed oil)
1 cup(145g) brown sugar
(I used 75g only)
3 eggs
** I might further reduce the sugar to 70g because now Phin Zhe can finish one muffin on his own. I do not want him to develop a sweet tooth.**

1. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon together. Set aside.
2. Whisk the eggs and sugar until mix well and sugar are almost melted.
3. Add in carrots, vegetable oil to the egg mixture and mix well.
4. Stir in flour mixture and mix well . Don’t over mix.
5. Scoop into cupcake liners and bake in preheated oven at 160’c for 15 to 20 minutes or until tester/toothpick comes out clean.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Purple Sweet Potatoes Buns

I have a bun recipe that I keep repeating almost every Sunday. The recipe makes 12 buns and I will normally make 6 with fillings or toppings, and make 6 plain to keep for Monday. Today I just want to finish up the left over purple sweet potatoes from yesterday mantou. I added 2 tsp brown sugar to the hot mashed sweet potatoes. Once cool down, they are ready to be used. I just love the way they are, organic and real. I can put as much fillings as I want, and they are not very sweet so I won't feel guilty eating them. :)

Purple Sweet Potatoes Mantou(Bread machine version)

To save time, I am trying to pass all the kneading and proofing job to my bread machine. My bread machine proofs bread in a temperature control environment, so the timing is more consistent. Since it is easier to make mantou with bread machine, now I have more time to shape the mantou. :) This post is just to record the measurement needed for bread machine.

300g unbleached flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp yeast
70g purple sweet potatoes
140ml water

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

orange sponge cake with greek yogurt frosting

One week before his birthday.
"Mami, I want to CELEBRATE my birthday in school."
I was stunned.
Actually last year when Phin Zhe was still in the infant care group, the nanny hinted me that I can celebrate his birthday in school with the youngest playgroup(He was the only baby back then). But I chose not to. I do not want him to feel left out, but at the same time I do not want him to feel too special. Being parents are not easy, huh? Now that he has been in playgroup for ½ a year and attended a few birthday celebrations, I am sure that is where the request came from. **sweat**

Ok, story finished. Since the kids are at the age of 2-3 years old, I opted to make cupcakes for them, less messy. I have few organic oranges from Australia, so it has to be orange sponge cupcakes(香橙海棉小蛋糕). It was a popular recipe among cooking bloggers for quite a while. You just have to google “orange sponge cupcakes” or “香橙海棉小蛋糕” and you will find many posts on it.

I doubled the recipe below and managed to make 20 cupcakes. The usual cupcake liners has coating that might leak into the cake. I made tulip liners with parchment paper, placed in cupcake tray, baked and transferred them into the beautiful cupcake liners. It was time consuming to make the tulip liners, but I did not want to feed the kids with toxic.

The next day when I was in the daycare, I used a spoon and placed a dollop of frosting on each cupcake and decorated with DIY cupcake toppers. Actually I could have put the frosting at home, but I am worried that it will get spoilt during the journey. As for the cupcake toppers, they are very easy to make and you could have your own customized and themed toppers. My son loves the big red dog, Clifford. So I printed out Clifford, Cleo, T-Bone, Mac and Emily Elizabeth pictures, cut into round shape and stick it on a bigger and harder round card. I used coffee straw to hold it on the cupcakes. Last step was just to place the cupcakes on the 3 layer tiers. Needless to say, the kids are fascinated with the cupcakes.

So, what is for 3 years old? We shall see. :)

Orange Sponge Cupcakes Recipe(Makes 10-12 cupcakes)
25g grape seed oil
35g freshly squeezed organic orange juice
3 organic eggs
55g organic brown sugar (The original recipe calls for 100g sugar. I have tried 70g and it was too sweet to my liking. Now I always use 55g sugar. Do not try to reduce further, else the cake texture will be dry.)
100g organic cake/low protein flour(sifted twice)
¼ sea salt
1 organic orange rind

1. Mix grape seed oil and orange juice together. Set aside.
2. Mix the cake flour with sea salt. Set aside.
3. Beat the egg(cold from fridge) and sugar until pale and thicken.
Tips1: I prefer to put the brown sugar at the center of the mixing bowl, then only add the egg, so the sugar won’t stick to the side.
Tip2: I beat with hand mixer at highest speed(speed 5) for 4 minutes, then medium speed(speed 3) for 2 minutes.
Tip3: If you use a better stand mixer, you will get better result. But I am satisfied with it for now.
Tip4: You need to beat until when you try to write a “8” with the batter, the “8” won’t disappear immediately. The picture below was not well taken but at least it shows the concept. :)
4. Add in the orange rind and 1/3 flour and mix well. Continue until all the flour has been added.
5. Add in orange juice mixture and mix well.
Tip5: Fold gently. Do not overmix.
6. Scoop into cupcake liners and bake at 160’c for 25 minutes.
Tip6: Every oven works different. You might want to adjust the temperature a bit.

Greek Yogurt Frosting Recipe:
1 tube of greek yogurt(strained for 6-12 hours to remove excess liquid)
30g unsalted butter
4-5tsp organic brown sugar

1. Melt butter and brown sugar in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Side aside and let it cool down a bit.
2. Stir in greek yogurt.
Tips6: Do not add the whole tube in. You might not need the whole tube, add until the consistency you like.
3. Put in refrigerator for overnight.

2 year old birthday cake(Cheddar Cheese Cake)

Time flies. Yesterday was Phin Zhe's two years old birthday. This year I decided to bake him a real cake. Last year I did a trick by just assembling a fruit cake(post here).

Since he is only two years old, I want the cake to be as healthy as possible. The cake can not use any unhealthy ingredients, so fondant or icing cake with artificial coloring or essense is definitely a big NO. I haven't introduced him chocolate yet, so I have to stay away from many tempting chocolate cake recipes for now. With so many restrictions, I started to google. Then one day I decided that I should bake him something with cheese since he loves cheese so much. But I don't want to use cream cheese. So, I continue to google...until I came upon Cheddar Cheese Cake recipe from Nasi Lemak Lover.

Last Saturday night after dinner, I started to make the cake. Knowing that the cake will take an hour to bake, so I wanted to speed things up. While I go ahead to beat the egg white, I assigned the egg yolks mixture job to Phin Zhe and his daddy. Phin Zhe was so excited and he did pretty well in combining the ingredients. Then I brought over the egg white mixture, folded in, mix well, pour into the baking pan and it is ready to be baked. I was so happy, partly because I got everything done in such a short time, but mainly it was because Phin Zhe has involved in the cake baking. He helped in his own birthday cake. Wasn’t it something cool and special? ;)

Ok, now on the cake texture and taste. We sang birthday song to Phin Zhe the next morning before we left for Bukit Merah’s Eco Park.  You could see that we did decorate the cake  a bit by placing a puppet on a bed of nuts and seeds, and we managed to surprise Phin Zhe. Well, it might be still too plain for a birthday cake. But it was definitely delectable, with a soft and moist texture.

I followed the recipe from Nasi Lemak Lover, with some minor tweaks to the ingredients. The biggest adjustment I have made was to reduce the sugar to half. The rest was just to make use of whatever is available in my kitchen.

Ingredients: (make 8x8 square pan)
120g Lye Cross Farm Organic Cheddar
100g Pure Harvest organic oat milk
100g Organic Times unsalted butter
7 organic egg yolks(cold from fridge)
7 organic egg whites(cold from fridge)
50g organic brown sugar
100g organic unbleached cake/low protein flour(sifted twice)

1. Melt butter and cheddar cheese in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir occasionally with a spatula.

2. Add in milk, and stir until mix well. Set aside and let it cool down a bit.

3. In another bowl, beat the egg yolks with a manual whisk.  Add one spoon of the cheese mixture into the egg yolks and mix well. Continue until all the cheese mixture has been added.

4. Add 1/3 of the cake flour into the egg yolk mixture and mix well. Continue until all the cake flour has been added .

5. Preheat the oven to 150C with a water bath. I placed one tray of water at the lowest rack.

6. Grease and line the baking pan with unbleached parchment paper.

7. In another bowl, beat egg white till foamy. Gradually add in sugar and beat till stiff peaks. When it is done, the mixture won't fall even you turn the bowl upside down.

8. Gently fold in 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the cheese mixture and mix well with a spatula. Continue until all egg white mixture has been added.

9. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the surface.

10. Bake the cake in the oven for 60 minutes at second rack. The cake is done if a cake tester come out clean.

11. Let cake sit inside the oven for 5mins with oven door ajar.

12. Remove cake from cake pan and let it cool on wire rack.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Taiwanese green onion savoury bun

Life is busy with a toddler around. But whenever I can squeeze out an hour or two, I like to try out new recipe. Today I tried to make taiwanese green onion savoury bun. I used the dinner roll recipe, form ball doughs and add green onion topping to it. I have made the bun recipe many times, so I know it will be soft and fluffy. But the green onion topping gave the plain bun a new and attractive look, wonderful smell and taste. Each of us took 2 buns and Phin Zhe took one for tea break. Daddy said he will finish the remaining two at night. :)

Green onion topping:
green onion
half egg
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Growing bean sprouts at home(using sprout bag)

I wanted to let Phin Zhe try bean sprouts but I did not feel comfortable with the growth hormones used in the commercial bean sprouts. A chinese article explained that bleaching agents, preservatives and growth hormones are widely used in growing bean sprouts. (read this)

After consulting Mr google, I figured out that there it is not that difficult to sprout beans at home. You can sprout them in a jar or in a colander.(read this) But as a full time working mum, I need to save every minute to do other stuffs. So I tried to google and see if there is any gadget that can help to ease the job. First i found the bean sprouter, then I found the sprout bag. And I decided to get the latter.

The sprout bag is designed to sprout beans or seeds the easiest way, just dip and hang twice a day! I put 4tbsp of organic mung bean in the bag and on the third day, I have half bag of bean sprout. Do note that naturally grown bean sprout will have longer root than the commercial bean sprout grown with chemicals. (check comparison image here)

My first plate of home grown bean sprouts, with some greens and mushroom.

Banana Steamed Cake(rice cooker version)

Thank you to Phin Zhe's daddy who helped to take care Phin Zhe last night so that I can try out the rice cooker version of banana steamed cake recipe. He read books to Phin Zhe and made him a paper boat with a man and his paddle(drinking straw). I heard them singing"Row row row your boat....." :)

This recipe is definitely a keeper. I had a few pieces even though it is meant for the next day. So the recipe is enough to feed 2 adults+1kid for one tea break and you can still quietly eat some when you cut and pack them. ;) I forgot to take the picture of the whole cake. Will definitely take one when I make this cake again.

Recipe adopted from everybodyeatswell and 亲子厨.乐.

160g organic unbleached flour and 1tsp aluminium free baking powder(mix well)
3 free range eggs
110g unsalted butter
60g brown sugar(original recipe is 110g sugar, you make your own judgement)
200g banana(over-riped and mashed)

1. Melt the butter and sugar in a big bowl. Mix well with a manual or electric whisk.
2. Add in eggs, beat lightly with manual or electric whisk.
3. Add in mashed banana, mix well.
4. Shift 1/3 of the flour mixture to the bowl and mix well. Repeat until all flour mixture has been added to the bowl.
5. Grease the inner pot of the rice cooker with some butter.
6. Pour the cake batter into the inner pot, press CAKE function.
**I am using Buffalo smart cooker, the cake function takes 45 minutes. If your rice cooker does not have CAKE function, you need to press the COOK again and again. The total cook time will vary from one rice cooker to another. It should be +/- 1hour.
7. Once it is done, remove the inner pot from the rice cooker. After a few minutes, flip the cake on a rack and allow it to cool down before cutting it.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Italian Cookies

savoury cookies with tomato and mixed herbs

I bought one pack of organic tomato powder. It can be used in the recipes that require very rich tomato flavour but do not allow too much liquid. I created my own version of tomato cookies. While baking the first tray, I was thinking of discarding the second tray if the taste is horrible. Luckily it turned out nice. So I moved on to bake the second tray.

70g low protein flour
60g rice flour
30g potato starch
1/2tsp baking powder
2 tbsp lemon juice
1tbsp tomato powder
1/4tsp sea salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
italian mixed herbs
black pepper
extra virgin olive oil

1. Mix all the dry ingredients.
2. Add in lemon juice.
3. Add in some olive oil and knead into dough. Just add olive oil until it can bearly stick together to form a dough.
4. Roll out into thin layer of about 0.5cm thickness.
5. Cut into desire shape with cookies cutter.
6. Bake 10-15 minutes in preheated oven at 180c.

Hot Cross Bun(Healthy version)

Hot cross bun, hot cross bun. One a penny, two a penny, hot cross bun.

This is one of Phin Zhe's favourite nursery rhyme. When I made him the dinner rolls, he told me,"not hot cross bun." Then he requested me to make hot cross bun. I modified the original recipe so that it is more simple and healthy. My recipe does not use the normal custard batter for cross decoration.

280g flour
2.5tbsp sugar
0.5tsp salt
0.5tsp yeast
130ml water
1 medium egg
30g unsalted butter
0.5tsp cinnamon powder

1. Knead all ingredients except cinnamon and raisins into dough.
2. Add in cinnamon powder and raisins.
3. Let the dough sit for 20minutes.(I used bread maker for above steps, bread dough mode).
4. Divide the dough into 9 equal portions, roll into ball shapes and place on parcement paper, slightly apart from each others.
5. Let the balls sit for 10minutes.
6. Brush a layer of egg(not in ingredient listed above) on top.
7. Mix some flour with water until thick batter is formed. Use this batter to draw the cross.(You can use a piping bag, but I just used a chopstick).
8. Bake 15minutes in preheated oven at 180c to 200c.