Making Pizza Express’s Dough Balls

One of the few things that probably was sold out the fastest in most supermarkets during the Circuit Breaker was flour and yeast. I guess with so much time spent indoors, making bread from scratch was one of the things that you could slowly do to while away your time at home.

And we did just that! We bagged home 500g of yeast and the Man was fixated on perfecting this wholemeal bread recipe that our friend Kirk had shared with us.

As for me, I went for the easiest bread recipe that I could find. Messing it up was not my intention and if it was going to be my first time making bread, I hope to achieve near perfect results!

Well, the first time I made these dough balls. They ended up sticking next to one another instead. But I have to say that the result was actually pretty good. They were soft and fluffy – kinda like a normal bread recipe.
This was my second time making the recipe and it turned out much better. I guess the trick was to really knead the dough well and even longer this time. I let it rest for a longer period before working the dough again.

These little morsels of carb balls went really well this olive garlic spread that I’ve learnt how to make years back. 

If you are keen to learn how to make this simple bread recipe that’s quite the crowd-pleaser, no harm giving this a go! 

Good luck!

Kid-friendly chicken stew (with puff pastry)

I’ve been quite encouraged to head back into the kitchen to cook for the little one. I guess there is something memorable about a mother’s cooking and I hope that she will remember the dishes that I have made for her when she grows up.

We had some leftover cream and I was quite inspired to make a creamy chicken stew for her. A new dish that I could introduce to her, I thought. The chicken slices that I got from the supermarket run was quite a lot so I made a creamy chicken stew done in 2 variations that she could enjoy both for lunch and dinner.

I usually steer clear from having too many flavors simply because she doesn’t like pepper and other types of herbs. So this chicken stew is really a mish-mash of what I think would work for a picky little eater.

I marinated the chicken slices with some mushroom powder overnight. To cook the chicken stew, I simply stir-fried some white onion slices that were minced pretty finely. Once the onions were slightly browned, I threw in the chicken bits and continue to stir-fry the chicken. When the chicken was partially cooked, I added the cubed potatoes and continued to cook them. Thereafter, I added edamame and corn into the mixture and continued to stir-fry all the ingredients. Add chicken stock and let the stock simmer with the ingredients. Cover pan for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add corn starch to thicken the sauce and then 2 tablespoons of cream for added taste.

As you can see, I don’t really have the exact measurements for this recipe. Like I said, it’s a mash-up of what I have been researching on and decided what would work for the girl. The portions were quite generous for a child so I divided them into two and let her have half for lunch with rice.

The remaining was left for dinner. I got some frozen prata in the fridge and thought she would like to try out this puff pastry chicken pot pie (an old dish I used to love ordering from Country Manna). It was pretty simple to replicate. All we needed to do is to just slap on the frozen prata on an oven-safe casserole dish and brush the prata with egg-wash.

It was really that simple and she enjoyed having this dish for dinner too! Another recipe for keeps. Let me know if you do try this for your fussy eater and hopefully it will yield the same happy results too!

 

Savoury waffles for lunch

Introducing our new kitchen device – the Vitantonio Multi Baker! I guess one of the perks in starting a lifestyle and home appliances e-store is that I do get to try out a new kitchen tool/ device before sharing it to the rest of my readers/ followers. That said, the Man isn’t quite pleased with another kitchen device popping up in our home but the saving grace is that these appliances are usually very compact and easy to store after use. FYI, this is not sponsored, it came out of my own pocket. 🙂

Had to work over the weekend and by the time I got home, it was nearly lunchtime. I was craving for some waffles after seeing the waffles whipped up by Libby using the same device. But I wasn’t in the mood for having sweet waffles so decided to create these savoury waffles which filled up my belly as a lunch treat.

And if you are as lazy as I am to make waffle batter from scratch, then the pre-mixed waffle batter from Tott Store is one that you should definitely stock up for your pantry. All it took was one cup of the pre-mix, along with an egg and half a cup of water did the trick of making the batter within minutes. For the savory portion of the waffles, I pan-fried some bacon bits, caramelised some chopped red onions and threw these into the waffle batter after it was cooled down.

And making these waffles are really quite simple too! All I needed to do was to turn out the waffle maker, ensure that the green light turns on (this means that the waffle maker is heated up), popped the batter into the waffle maker, close the clasp and wait for about 4 mintues before I opened up the clasp. Viola – waffles are done! That was all it took! No need to flip nor turn the machine and alternate the plates to see if the waffles are cooked through.

You can’t see the bacon and onion bits but trust me, it was perfectly nestled into the crispy baked waffles. This was best served warm and with a side of maple syrup drizzled all over the waffle.

So pleased with our new toy for the home and the best part? The Multi Baker comes with interchangeable plates so if variety of baked goods is what desire, this device is perfect for you! We got the pizelle plate and will be making some crunchy waffles as a snack soon. Can’t wait to share them with you!

Weekend breakfast ideas

I wish I could spend more time in the kitchen coming up with creative ideas for Bubba’s meals but I admit, I do get a little lazy when it comes to the actual cooking. So I try my best to only whip up any meals over the weekend. Not all weekends of course but we or rather the Man had an inspiration to make breakfast so lucky us all. 🙂

The MIL had just returned home from Perth and had brought home a box of avocados. So the inspiration for our breakfast was to use up all these avocados before they go bad. There was a recipe for an Avocado Bomb that had been circulating around Facebook but deep-fried avocado does sound a little funky so we went back to basics. This meal was a simple baked avocado cup with egg some rosemary, thyme, cracked pepper, salt, grated cheese and some parma ham.

You may be wondering why didn’t we just place an entire egg in the avocado cup instead of scooping a beaten egg into the avocado. Well, according to the Man, the halved avocado isn’t huge enough for the entire egg so he decided to improvise the recipe a little plus the baked beaten egg will apparently rise during the baking process so one can expect a light and fluffy texture. Let’s see…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe final baked product! This could possibly be my simplest easiest plated meal for the Bub along with some cheese cut-out stars. You could get this tool from Daiso.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhile the baked avocado looks pretty, does it actually pass the picky little eater’s taste-test?

Well, sort of! She noticed the stars for a bit, picked one up to play with it before deciding that poking the baked avocado was much more fun. She took a couple of tiny bites of the baked egg along with the soft avocado but after that was whining to get out of her high chair to watch Peppa Pig instead. At times like these, I can’t help but feel a little exasperated and defeated at my attempts to why even bother to beautify her food. But I guess one just needs to keep trying. One day (HOPEFULLY), all this will be appreciated.

Note, this meal can also be just as yummy for adults. We had the same for our breakfast but with more cracked pepper and salt added to it. Oh, with some baked mushrooms and cheese added to make it a power-pack breakfast.

Milk boosters? Lactation Cookies?

It’s been 6 months since I’ve embarked on the breast-feeding journey. I didn’t imagine going this far and the Man had wanted me to stop when I went back to work. But I persisted, I wanted to try to breastfeed Bubba exclusively for at least 6 months and then 1 year if it’s possible.

It has been rather challenging of late for I find my supply taking a sharp dip. I did what I possibly could – downed Green Papaya and Fish Soup, Nursing teas, Fenugreek, etc – but to quote what Miss Ene shared ‘It’s really stressful being the sole food source provider.’ I could totally relate to it.

So out of desperation, I now turn to eating Lactation Cookies.  It seemed to work for some this miracle cookie but how does it work in reality?

IMG_1541 It all boils down to the ingredients! Lactation Cookies are jammed packed with these ingredients that’s supposed to help boost milk supply:

  • Oats – they are not only filling, gives us energy but also packed with iron that is a key ingredient in boosting milk supply.
  • Flaxseed meal – Flaxseed is filled with Omega Fatty Acids that’s beneficial both for mother and baby. That’s not all, Omega is critical for the brain development as well as growth in little ones.
  • Brewer’s Yeast – This is high in B-Vitamins, which are important for energy.

It’s a combination of all these ingredients that help boost the milk supply. Out of desperation one day, I decided to try this recipe out.

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Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies
[Recipe found online but I can’t remember where I got it from – blaming it on Mumnesia]

Prep time: approx. 15 minutes

Makes approx: 14-16 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Plain Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 cup Virgin Coconut Oil
  • ½ cup brown sugar or sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Flaxseed Meal
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 tablespoons of water (depends if you prefer moister cookies)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1-2 tablespoons of Brewers yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 & 1/2 cups oats (get the thicker cut oats if you can)
  • 1/2 cup of your fave biscuit ingredients : Chocolate Chips [Or Nuts, Cranberries, etc]

Method:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix oil and sugar then add the egg and vanilla. Mix well.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the flaxseed and water, let sit for a few minutes before adding to mix.
  3. Add the dry ingredients (apart from the oats and your additional ingredients) and mix well again.
  4. Finally, stir in the oats and your additional ingredient. Chocolate chips in my case.
  5. Make the biscuits (I use an ice-cream scoop as a rough size guide) and place them onto a lightly greased or lined baking tray. Flatten them a little with your fingers or a spatula – if you like a soft centre, don’t squish them down too much.
  6. Bake for around 10-12 minutes depending on how well cooked/crunchy you like your biscuits.

Verdict? I took about 2 of these cookies occasionally since they were baked but haven’t seen a remarkable increase in my milk supply. I wonder is it because I haven’t diligently been pumping or what. Will continue to monitor for supply and perhaps take more of these cookies. Regardless of whether it boost supply or not, these cookies do make for a healthy treat as they really do taste pretty yummy.

If you are looking to purchase some of these ingredients that are not readily found in Singapore, you can get them on iHerb.com.

Shop iHerb.com. You can save $10 off your first order of $40 or more; or $5 off orders less than $40! just by using my Rewards Code CJV852

 

Easy banana muffins

We are going bananas here in the household!  I kid you not!  I have been on this banana craze baking up first the Banana Nutella Bread and because we had some riped bananas that will go bad if we didn’t use them, we baked up a batch of banana muffins just the other day.

I’ve now learned the hard way, when making cakes/breads/muffins with bananas in them, it’s best to use bananas that are really ripe as that will help make your bakes taste a lot sweeter.

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Easy Banana Muffins with Pecans (recipe adapted from Eating Richly)
Makes about 6 large muffins

Ingredients:
– 2 brown bananas (mashed)
– 1/4 cup of sugar
– 1 egg
– 3 tablespoons of melted butter
– 1 teaspoon of baking soda
– 1 teaspoon of baking powder
– 1/4 teaspoon of salt
– 1 cup of all-purpose flour
– handful of pecan nuts (chopped)
– additional butter softened to line muffin tin with or just use cupcake liners like we did

Method:
1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Peel the bananas and mash the bananas in a medium sized mixing bowl.  Add sugar, egg, and butter and mix well.
2) Stir in baking soda, powder, salt, flour and pecan nuts.  Mix well with a fork.
3) Use the softened butter to grease the cups of a muffin tin or simply line muffin tin with cupcake liners.  Fill 3/4 full with batter and bake 13-15 minutes, until just golden.
4) Turn the muffins out onto a cooling rack and enjoy the afternoon treat!

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I’m really amazed how simple and amazingly quick the recipe took to whip up a fresh batch of banana muffins.  What’s great about this recipe is that you can play up the creativity if ever needed.  We threw in pecan nuts because we had some lying around.  If you fancy chocolate chips, nutella, almonds, walnuts, I bet you could put those in as well.

IMG_5158The banana muffins were so moist and I really liked it because the sugar content used for this was also kept to a low.  If you are watching your waistline or do not have a sweet tooth, this recipe may just be for keeps!  It’s definitely a winner in my books and looks like it will be making quite an appearance on our breakfast table.  🙂

What I did with Avocado [Recipe]

The sis recently came back from her travels and gifted me with a giant Avocado.  Sounds like a stange gift but fitting for I have been on an avocado trip – trying to eat healthily for the sake of Bun and hoping that if Bun ‘ingests’ avocado in-utero, then perhaps she will enjoy it next time.

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And when I say ‘Giant’, I really kid you not.  The avocado was huge!!!!  Check it out!  I’m wondering how long this will take us to finish since no one at home really enjoys avocado anyway.  Oops!

I went in search of a friendly avocado recipe that would at least excite the taste buds for the folks at home and chocolate somehow hits the right spot with the helper who also shares my love for baking.  🙂  A couple of recommendations from friends on Instagram included Avocado Gula Melaka Milk Shake, Guacamole and Avocado Gula Melaka Cake.  Thanks for the ideas and I probably will embark making some of these with the 3/4 of the avocado that I’ve left.

But during my search for recipes involving avocado, this particular recipe from Ovenhaven stood out.  I had all the ingredients at home and it looked fairly simple so I decided to make it one evening after work before dinner.  🙂  I must admit, the thought of Chocolate with Avocado does sound a little strange and when I suggested baking it, the Man threw me a look accompanied with a face that went, ‘I’m not sure if I want to eat it and are you sure you should be feeding that to Bun?!

Well, the end result?  It didn’t turn out as strange as it sounds.  In fact, I think it was pretty okay.  I followed the recipe closely but the cake turned out to be a little dense.  Nevertheless, the hint of avocado in this bread / cake was really light because the use of the cocoa powder and chocolate chips did help to mask the flavour.  I particularly enjoyed the cake and looks like will be the only being eating this whole loaf up in the household.

If you ever need to use up your avocado because they are nearing their shelf life, this could be one of the ways you could do it.  As for me, if I’m going to be making this again, I may just increase the proportion of chocolate chips to make the cake a little richer.  Hehe…

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 presetChocolate Avocado Cake with Chocolate Chips (recipe adapted from Ovenhaven)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup soft avocado, well mashed, about 1 medium avocado
1 cup milk
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Method:

1) Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.  Grease your loaf pan with some olive oil and set aside.
2) Sift together all of the dry ingredients except the sugar.  Set aside.
3) Mix all the wet ingredients together in a bowl, including the avocado.
4) Add sugar into the wet mix and stir.
IMG_38925) Mix the wet with the dry all at once, and beat with a whisk (by hand) until just combined.
6) Stir in the chocolate chips.
7) Pour batter into the greased pan.
8) Bake for 45 – 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

IMG_3891Okay, we did encounter some problems during the mashing of the avocado simply because I under-estimated the ripeness.  Even though it looked ripened on the outside, when we cut it up, the flesh of the avocado was just about ripe and not soft.  So in order to ensure that the avocado would blend in well with the batter, we had to mash the avocado using a blender.  Thus, the above step halfway during the mixing process.

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IMG_3896All that’s left to do is to enjoy this seemingly healthy baked treat!  🙂