Princess and The Rock

Parenting | Homeschooling | Food | Fashion

Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts

Friday, 15 May 2015

Banana Coconut Muffins

I've always preferred to cook rather than bake because I think baking requires more precision in measurement and technique, and I'm the "agak-agak" (it means "estimation" in Malay) kind of cook. Sometimes I post photos of my home-cooked dishes or bakes on Instagram and I get requests for the recipes. That often left me in a fix because, you guessed it, I agak-agak the amount of ingredients in my dishes.

That's why muffins are my favourite bakes because they are not so "princess-y" so as to speak. In my little experience in baking muffins, I found that the recipes are usually highly customisable. In fact I've often:

  • substituted fruits called for in recipes with fruits I have in my fridge, and done the same for nuts
  • substituted melted butter with another type of oil (Princess and I are not fans of butter),
  • substituted milk with orange juice (I don't always have milk in my fridge but I have oranges at home most of the time)
  • substituted plain flour with kamut or whole wheat flour

I find the results still sufficiently satisfying and palatable most of the time, so I have less fear of a failed bake and wastage of ingredients.

My most recent muffin attempt is the Banana Coconut Muffins. These babies are moist with a light tropical flavour. I've cut down the amount of sugar called for in the original recipe by a fair bit because the bananas I used were very ripe and sweet and we usually like our muffins less sweet.


Banana Coconut Muffin (adapted from CC Recipe)

by Felicia Tan
Cook Time: 15 -20 mins
Keywords: bake breakfast banana coconut
Ingredients (6 large muffins)

Dry ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups kamut flour (you can use whole wheat flour or plain flour)
  • 1 heaped tablespoon sugar
  • A small pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
Wet ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (or any type of light flavour oil)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 200 degree celsius. Grease or line a muffin tin.

2. Mix flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl.

3. Mix together coconut oil, orange juice, bananas, vanilla, and egg (beaten).

4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until combined. Fold in shredded coconut.

5. Fill muffin tin till 3/4 full and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.





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Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Maple-coated Coconut Crisps

Chinese New Year (CNY) is fast approaching and that means it's time for feasting and snacking again! There are many meanings attached to the different types of food that Chinese eat during CNY and sweets or sugary snacks are common features in every household we visit because they signify having a sweet life in the new year.

This is where my "headache" begins because I'm not fond of having my children eat food/snacks that contain a lot of sugar, salt or preservatives and most goodies belong to this category. So this year, I've decided to make a healthy snack pack for them to bring along during our CNY visits so that they can snack healthily.

This Maple-coated Coconut Crisps would be one of the items in their snack pack. I first saw this snack introduced by a friend of mine who's a vegan. However I felt the price was more than I was willing to pay so I decided to search for a similar recipe online and found this, which, I have adapted from. Try it, you may prefer it to your favourite popcorn!

Maple-coated Coconut Crisps

by Felicia Tan
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 15-20 min
Keywords: gluten-free vegan coconut maple syrup
Ingredients
  • 6 cups coconut flakes* or the whole package (approximately 200 grams)
  • 5 tablespoons maple syrup*
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon sea salt (Start with less and add more if needed.)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 150℃.
  2. Mix all the ingredients. Make sure all the coconut is evenly coated with maple syrup and sea salt.
  3. Spread the coconut mixture on a sheet pan and bake for 15-20 minutes or until it turns light brown. Remember to stir the mixture every 5 minutes so that it will be evenly brown and crisp.
  4. Cool and store in an airtight container if you can wait to have it!

Variations:
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon for a Cinnamon Roll flavour.
  • Add zest of 1 orange or lemon for a citrus zing.
  • Add a dash of cayenne pepper for some spicy kick!
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Thursday, 21 August 2014

Golden Curried Potatoes

Two days ago, I discovered that Bill's Kitchen was showing on BBC Lifestyle and I was salivating at his Indian Spiced Potatoes with Fried Egg. So I decided to make my own simpler version with the ingredients I have on hand. I've also made it as a roasted dish instead of cooking it over the stove simply because clean up would be easier! It turned out delicious nevertheless, in fact I think I prefer my crispier version. :P

As I wanted to make this dish kid-friendly, I omitted the chilli but if you like some kick, I think a finely diced red or green chilli, or even a sprinkle of cayenne pepper would do the job neatly. You can also use other types of potatoes, however, a waxy or creamy type would be more suitable than the floury type.

This savoury and fragrant Golden Curried Potatoes would be a good accompaniment to light-tasting grilled white fish or on its own, topped with a fried (or poached) egg as suggested by Bill.

Golden Curried Potatoes

by Felicia Tan
Keywords: roast side gluten-free potato curry powder

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 750 kg Nadine potatoes (You can get these from NTUC and 1 pack is 750g.)
  • 2 medium or 3 small onions
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (more or less)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • A generous pinch of Himalayan sea salt and black pepper
  • Chopped spring onions for garnish, if desired.
Instructions
  1. Scrub the potatoes if they are unwashed.
  2. Cut the potatoes into 1cm cubes.
  3. Dice the onions into 1cm cubes.
  4. Coat the potatoes and onions with the seasonings. I simply stirred everything together, making sure all the potatoes and onions are well-coated.
  5. Lay the seasoned potatoes and onions mixture on a baking sheet/tray, a single layer if possible, so that the edges of the potatoes would crisp a little.
  6. Roast the potatoes in a preheated oven at 180 degree celsius for 20-30 minutes. Check the doneness after 20 minutes. It is ready when the potatoes are golden and the edges are lightly crisped.
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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Chewy Granola Cookies

In my attempt to eat healthy and provide my family with nutritious AND delicious food,  I've been scouring for recipes that are tasty, nutrition-packed and easy-to-prepare. Top of the list are some snack recipes for Princess and The Rock. I feel it's important to have some healthy snacks on standby all the time so that when they feel peckish in between meals, they can nibble on these instead of snacks like donuts or store-bought cookies that can be high in sugar and fat but low on nutritional value.

These Chewy Granola Cookies (adapted from Coconut + Oat Breakfast Cookie by Flax + Honey) fit the bill for a flavourful and nutritious snack. I call them Granola Cookies because they are made from wholesome ingredients like rolled oats, dried fruits and nuts, not unlike what you'll find in a granola bar. Of course a smattering of chocolate chips just increases the satisfaction, right? The original recipe has no added sugar at all but I decided to sweeten these babies with a tablespoonful of brown sugar to make them more acceptable to Princess and The Rock and my husband won't label them as "horse-feed"!

Chewy Granola Cookies

by Felicia Tan
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 12 min
Keywords: bake snack gluten-free rolled oats shredded coconut pecans macadamia nuts cookie

Ingredients (Approximately 30 cookies)
  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats (use gluten-free oats if necessary)
  • 1 cup finely shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon 100% pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

1. Combine oats, almond flour, coconut, salt and cinnamon in large bowl.
2. Add dates, pecans, macadamia nuts and chocolate. Stir until combine, ensure dates are distributed evenly throughout and not clumped together.
3. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, coconut oil, and vanilla.
4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry.
5. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or baking mat. Use an ice-cream scoop to get similar-sized cookie. Pack the ice-cream scoop with cookie mixture and "release" the mixture onto the lined cookie sheet. Flatten each cookie slightly. Repeat with the rest of the mixture.
6. Bake in 180℃ oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden.
7. Let cool before eating or storing them in an airtight container, if you can wait, that is!

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Sunday, 16 March 2014

Practical Tips for Healthy Eating

I've been thinking about my food choices and what I feed my family after I see how REAL people (like those in my homeschool co-op) eat REAL food. I've read about eating real food some time ago and I thought, "Wow, eating this way is really good for the body." And I stopped at the thought but didn't take any action to change my (and my family's) diet. It was not only until I met the people at the homeschool co-op that I realised eating healthy is possible AND enjoyable too!

I learnt practical ways to better our eating habits. At first, it was a bit daunting for me as The Rock is not a huge fan of vegetables and Princess is quite a picky eater but after some persistence and creativity, we managed to take some baby steps together. I'll share some ideas here:

healthy eating

Tips for Healthy Eating

  1. Include more vegetables in dishes that your children/family already like. E.g. Princess and The Rock love Korean rice cakes in soup, so I would double the portion of vegetables they usually consume and cut back on the commercially processed rice cake.

  2. Give fancy names to dishes that are usually not popular. E.g. The Rock would usually not eat asparagus but if they are called "Grilled Snakes", he would try some of them.

  3. Opt for whole-grain products if possible. E.g. Replace semolina pasta with whole-grain pasta, eat whole-grain bread instead of white bread.

  4. Encourage healthy snacking. I keep a pantry of dried fruits like unsweetened coconut flakes (Princess's favourite), dried dates, unsweetened dried mangos and dried raisins. These snacks not only provide the pepper-upper needed (due to the natural sugars), they are also great sources of fibre. Dried seaweed and nuts are also firm favourites in my family. (I get these snacks from iherb.com, you can use code "RVD687" to get $10 off your first order of $40 or more OR $5 off your first order of less than $40.)

  5. Try steaming or roasting meat and vegetables instead of frying. They taste surprisingly good with the right (light) seasoning. The best potato dish I've tried was steamed sliced potato with olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper with shrimps; the natural sweetness of the ingredients just shone through! My mum's steamed chicken wings rivals any fried chicken wings. It must be her heady concoction of fresh ginger, garlic, chilli padi and fermented bean paste that she used as the marinade.

  6. If vegetables aren't your kids' thing, try putting them in soups. The Rock would not swallow even a tiny piece of pumpkin, whether steamed, grilled or stir-fried, but he would lap up a bowl of pumpkin soup any day.

  7. Introduce healthier dessert alternatives. Instead of a slice of cake laden with cane sugar and cream, give your children konnyaku jelly with fresh fruits instead.

  8. Use aromatics like garlic, ginger, vegetables and herbs to create flavour instead of depending on salt and sugar.

  9. Increase nutrients intake by consuming more whole foods instead of processed foods. Be concerned about the amount of nutrients your children/family takes in instead of the quantity of food. Knowing this 'rule' is liberating to me as I was almost obsessed with how much or rather how little Princess was eating. Now I'm happy with her eating enough fresh vegetables, fruits, grains and protein-rich meat even if she eats less in terms of quantity. In fact, it's better for her to eat half a portion of unpolished brown rice than a full portion of polished white rice and since she loves her green vegetables, she can fill herself up with that instead! The interesting thing I realised is that Princess' appetite has increased significantly since I made these subtle changes to our diet! 

  10. When eating out, avoid the children's menu as it is usually made up of unhealthy options like mac-and-cheese, fried chicken nuggets and fries. It is far better to have your children eat off an adult's plate of real meat and a side of steamed vegetables or a bowl of soba noodles and Teriyaki chicken or salmon.

As with any change, there's the usual challenge or two. I've got comments from my mum like "Don't make them into skinny children ah!" and "No noodles? But they love noodles!" This kind of remarks can be discouraging (especially when I thought this is a positive change) but I'll press on in our journey towards healthier eating and living!

I've tried making a few healthy snacks and dishes and some have been a hit with family and friends so stay tuned for these recipes in my future posts!

Useful links:
3. How Do You Eat Real Food?


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Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Fruity Jelly Pops!

Since I started homeschooling Princess and the Rock, Princess has been affectionately referring to her school as "Work, Art, Cooking School". She tried to include all components of her favourite activities into the name of our homeschool, as you can tell. So cooking has to be featured once in a while in our curriculum to be true to the name of our school.

Today we decided to make a refreshing and healthy fruity jelly pops. This activity is perfect for little ones as it is really as easy as A-B-C! All you need is one pack of Konnyaku jelly powder (premix, don't even need to add sugar), 1000-1250 ml of water (less water makes firmer jelly) and fruits of choice (I peeled and cut them to small cubes). Then Princess and the Rock helped to put them into the jelly moulds while I combined the Konnyaku jelly powder with water and cook them till it boils over the stove (stirring constantly). Once the "jelly liquid" has cooled slightly, or all the bubbles have diminished, pour it into the moulds and chill it!

Serious on their job...

Cool Jelly Pops perfect for a hot day!

Time to enjoy the fruit of our labour!
How many ways can you eat jelleeeee...

Sensory Play

It ended up as a medium for sensory play as well as the Rock could not resist squishing it and exploring the "bouncy" texture of the jelly! 

Have you cooked anything with your children lately? I'll love to hear about them in the comments!


Friday, 24 May 2013

Wimbly Lu: Environment - 4/5, food - 2/5

Wimbly Lu
The famous "Beetle"

I hope I don't get readers "unliking" my blog or Facebook page after this blog post as I know Wimbly Lu has quite a following. I was also full of anticipation on my way there as I read quite a few good reviews about the cafe.

"Open" dessert kitchen concept

Lovely ceiling lights

We were greeted by a friendly waitress when we arrived and were quickly brought to an empty table. The cafe was about 3/4 full when we arrived at past 6pm. I looked through the menu and was disappointed with the food offerings, there was hardly anything to get excited about. There were only a few options like lasagna, baked rice, melts and deep fried items like fries and nuggets. We initially wanted to head somewhere else for dinner before coming back for desserts as there was nothing that Princess would fancy (knowing her preferences), but we decided against it in the end as we did not want to spend too much time moving around nor risk having to stand in the long queue for desserts (no reservation allowed).

I ordered the lasagna, cheese melts and fries and the taste of the food was really as uninspiring as I thought it would be. My only consolation was that the Rock seemed to enjoy the lasagna but then again, he liked every lasagna he's come across.

Desserts displayed on the "open" dessert kitchen counter top

Wide array of chocolate truffles

The dessert menu was the main draw, I guess, as the choices were aplenty and the names sounded more enticing. We decided on the Rootbeer cake, the waffles with salted caramel ice-cream, a rum and raisin truffle and a milk chocolate truffle. My husband and I also ordered black coffee to balance out the sweetness of the desserts. Ok, please don't hate me for saying this, but we only fancied the waffles with ice-cream. It IS one of the best we've had, seriously. Crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside. Not too sweet; it has a salty slant to it that I loved. The salted caramel ice-cream was also a winner. Can you tell that I like my desserts slightly salty?

waffles
Sorry for the "half-eaten" photo, we were too excited
and dug in without snapping a picture.

The Rootbeer cake was served with vanilla ice-cream or was it gelato? It certainly tasted as the name suggested - cake with Rootbeer, and it just didn't delight my palate. The ice-cream also tasted like the name; it was icy, kind of like a marry of ice-cream and Taiwanese shaved ice. If you like your ice-cream uncreamy, you may like their version.

rootbeer cake
Rootbeer cake with vanilla ice-cream

The chocolate truffles and coffee were mediocre as well.

Rum and raisin truffle

On the whole, the standard of the food did not meet my expectation but the environment, on the other hand, is a winner! Whimsical decor and most importantly, it has a children's play corner tucked below the staircase! In that play area, we found a chest of toys, mini armchairs and a book shelf full of "retro" books. Just right for families like us as with young children, as you can see from the photos below:

Play corner below the staircase

"Cluck cluck cluck!"

The Rock was pretending to sleep.

Will I plan a revisit? Yes, but only for the desserts and drinks as there many others to choose from and most importantly, the play corner can keep Princess and the Rock entertained while my husband and I enjoy some couple time.


P.S. Have you entered the Museo High Tea Giveaway? Do not miss this fantastic chance of winning dining for two at Museo, participate here.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Go-to recipe when I need them to eat FAST


Do you have a go-to recipe for times when you need to cook fast, have your children eat fast and get out of the house fast? I'm sharing one here that is a breeze to make and nutritious to boot!


I poured some braised mushroom sauce over the porridge here.


Ingredients:

1. 1/2 cup rice
2. Water as needed
3. 1 small carrot, cut to small pieces
4. A bunch of spinach leaves, chopped finely
5. 4-5 tablespoonfuls minced meat*, pre-seasoned
6. A handful of goji berries

Instructions:

1. Add carrot to rice.
2. Cook porridge as per normal (with carrot added).
3. Just before serving, add spinach and minced meat, simmer till spinach and meat are cooked, stirring at all time to prevent the porridge from sticking to the pot and burning.
4. Stir in goji berries.
5. Enjoy!


The exact same ingredients can be made into a soup, which can be poured over rice or small shaped pastas for a quick meal too. The only changes would be to add some ikan bilis powder to the soup for more flavour and to cut the spinach into bite-sized sections.

*I usually season minced meat, whether it's pork, chicken or beef with a bit of low sodium soya sauce, sesame oil, pepper, fresh ginger juice and cornstarch.


Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Butterless Apple Crumble

Oops! Forgot to take picture until half of it is gone!

What do you do with too many apples and too little fridge space?

I usually turn them into apple crumble, the butterless and nutty version. Those who know me will know my aversion to butter. I can already hear echoes of "what? You don't like butter? You are really missing out on something in life!" I blame my mother for that, she too disliked butter, thus I have hardly tasted butter or food with butter in her cooking. For this reason, my relationship with butter didn't get a chance to develop properly.

Now, back to the apple crumble, I have used this recipe from Chocolate and Zucchini numerous times and it has never failed me. Though I usually double the topping and cut down on the amount of sugar, as we prefer our desserts less sweet. In fact, it can pass off as breakfast if it is made with less sugar (rolled oats, nuts and apples)! I also use a mixture of apples and always with Grannysmiths as I love the tanginess of those. Don't like apples? The crumble recipe is good over any fruit too, although more sugar is needed if using slightly sour fruits like plums and cherries.

This recipe is highly adaptable. Basically, you can use almost whatever is available in your pantry. It can also be tweaked to the liking of those with food allergies or specific dietary requirements. I would, however, recommend keeping the ratio of flour to grains to oil consistent with the recipe.


Butterless Apple Crumble Recipe (adapted)

Ingredients 
  • 1 1/2 cup flour (I usually use a mixture of white and whole wheat flour) 
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (or any grains of your choice, spelt, quinoa, rye or a mixture)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 3/4 cup sugar (I use 1/2 cup brown and 1/4 cup white)
  • 3/4 - 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup oil (I use macadamia nut oil to enhance its nuttiness)
  • 8 apples (a mixture of is preferred)
Directions
  1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a mixing bowl (stir to mix well).
  2. Drizzle oil into dry ingredients. Stir well with a fork to make sure all dry ingredients are moistened.
  3. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  4. Peel apples if desired and cut them into chunks. Bigger chunks if you prefer to retain some bite and smaller if you like them softer.
  5. Arrange apples over the bottom of your baking tray (I use a 13x9 inches baking tray).
  6. Sprinkle topping evenly over apples.
  7. Insert into oven and bake for 40 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender. (I find that I need to cover loosely with aluminium foil 10 minutes into baking to prevent the topping from browning too fast and removing it the last 10 minutes.)
  8. Eat warm on its own or with good vanilla ice-cream. It is also delicious served chilled!

Monday, 28 January 2013

A picnic in the afternoon...indoors

Tantalising pies on display
Windowsill Pies is a cafe that has been reviewed many times by food bloggers, if not, on a dessert lover's radar. I tried two of their pies at Penny University (upon Sara-Ann's recommendation) last week and loved it so much that I wanted to taste more of what they have to offer again, this time at the cafe itself.