One awesome gift for this Mama from Kitchen Aid

[Review]:

[Photo Credit: Kitchen Aid Singapore]

My eyes did a double blink when I saw this email from the folks at Kitchen Aid. They first invited us to an upcoming Mother’s Day workshop and then asked if we would be open to reviewing their items as part of the collab. I was really quite excited.. “A Kitchen Aid! WOW!!!” But of course, I’m the sort who didn’t want to count its chicks before they hatch, so I just waited to see what they would offer and lo and behold, they did offer the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer from the Artisan Series in Empire Red. The pastel colours in the range are really to die for but the red did stand out and hold its ground. Plus, it would also look just as fetching when placed next to our Nespresso coffee machine also in red. So that was the one we received!

[Photo Credit: Kitchen Aid Singapore]

When I was aggressively baking years ago, holed up in a small kitchen in our apartment in Geneva, I did lem for a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. After all, it’s THE Mixer of all mixers and this gorgeous device is often seen in many gourmet kitchens and kitchens of aspiring home-cooks. But I got scolded by the Man for even harbouring the thought of purchasing one as we moved from place to place then. It would not be pratical to lug it from one country to the next. So I just relied on my handheld mixer for many of my bakes. Till this fantastic opportunity came along!

After the initial unboxing of this gorgeous device was done (the kiddo helped too), I wondered hard and long what am I going to start baking/ cooking with this helpful kitchen device? My baking skills have somewhat become dusty along the way and the kid doesn’t quite have a sweet tooth so she might not appreciate the sweets like cupcakes and muffins that I whip up for her. I decided then to try using the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer for another purpose instead.

We all have our fave dish that is reminiscent of our childhood. Something special that our moms have made that would warm our hearts along with our bellies. For me, it was always the oyster chicken with mushrooms dish and the salted vegetable duck soup – my mom’s speciality dishes. My mom was not a home-maker, she had a full-time job and in fact, juggled a few jobs when we were growing up but she did try to cook for us occasionally and now, she really does make it a point to cook for us at least once a week when we go back home on Sundays. Her meals are always simple but I really appreciate the time and effort that she put in to cook the many dishes to feed the entire family of 8 or more when the troop goes over.

For the Man, it would always be his mom’s Mee Hoon Kueh (hand torn noodles). My mom-in-law makes the mee hoon kueh from scratch, kneaded the dough mixture by hand and cooking the broth from scratch. The side dish to be accompanied with the Mee Hoon Kueh is a simple, broiled pork belly with sesame oil because growing up, they really didn’t have a lot so pork belly was considered a treat for the Man and his mom. Last but not least, the condiments such as fried shallots, pepper and ikan billis that will generously be sprinkled on this homemade and simple noodle dish.

This Mee Hoon Kueh dish is always the dish the Man would request for after a long trip away from home and this dish would also be the dish that Sophie would also request for from her grandma if she’s feeling poorly or as and when she wants her grandma to cook her a happy meal My mom-in-law would always oblige when it came to cooking for her son and granddaughter.

Years back when we were living in Geneva and because we were away from home, the Man actually recreated his mom’s Mee Hoon Kueh dish. Now that we are back home, we hardly have to make this dish from scratch but I did want to learn how to do this as my mom-in-law travels quite a fair bit now and on days when Sophie actually requests for this when she’s not around, I find myself telling her to have something else or to resort having to run out to the hawker centre to buy a bowl for her as we don’t have the ingredients stashed at home. Even though it’s the same type of noodles, the taste is not quite the same. Nothing quite beats the home-made “feels”,  if you know what I mean. Maybe it’s the way the noodles are rolled into small pieces of dough, mashed and then torn to make up little pieces of cooked and starchy goodness.

Well, it does appear that the recipe of making the Mee Hoon Kueh has been simplified and kneading the dough by hand would be a preferred method but having the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer do the job in half the time was this lazy mama’s hack in putting the meal on the table. We  started prepping our meal (together with the little one at 6.30pm) and made the hand torn noodles in under 20 minutes. The broth was prepared in advance and dinner was served at 7.10pm. To prep a meal with a kid in tow, I’d say we did well on time!

Mee Hoon Kueh (Hand torn noodles)

Ingredients:
For the noodles:
4 cups of rice flour
1 medium egg
1/2 tsp salt
250 ml of cooled water

For the topping:
Fried shallots
Fried ikan bilis

For the soup stock:
150g ikan bilis, rinsed and drained
1.5 litres water
A bunch of spinach, trimmed
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp deep-fried ikan bilis
Onion oil, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Method:
1) To make the noodles, mix the flour, egg, salt and water evenly in a mixing bowl. Using the dough mixer attachment, turn on Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer on low speed (ie: Speed 1) before gradually increasing it to a slightly higher speed. We used up to Speed 3.

2) Once the dough mixture comes together to form a ball, transfer the dough mixture into another mixing bowl.

3) Place some rice flour on your fingers and continue to knead the mixture in the bowl until it doesn’t stick to the hands.

4) Peel the dough into small balls of about 1 to 2cm. Press and flatten each ball till about 2mm thick. Set aside till ready to cook.

5) To make the soup, add the ikan bilis to 1.5 litres of water and bring it to bowl. Simmer over low heat for about 20 mins. Remove the ikan bilis and then add in spinach and egg (if desired).

6) Add the mee hoon kuey. When the noodles rise to the surface, scoop out noodles and broth in a bowl and serve.

This simple soup dish is extremely versatile and you can also add additional ingredients such as mushrooms, prawns and even minced meatballs to accompany the noodles.

Seriously, it is quite simple to make the mee hoon kueh with the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer using the dough attachment. Even my kid could do this as you can see. Well, you may ask why even bother using a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer to do something that simple? True, but if you are going to be investing in a piece of machinery only to use it for rare occasions then is this a worthy investment? The idea is that this device is supposed to help you around in the kitchen and to help put out dishes quick and fast for the family. That’s my rationale of a worthy investment.

Thanks Kitchen Aid Singapore for sending this lovely Stand Mixer to us. It really is a beautiful piece of machinery which is now a permanent fixture on our kitchen counter. Can’t wait to try out other recipes with this. So stay tuned!

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Disclaimer : We received the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer with Meat Grinder attachment to test and review.  No additional monetary rewards were given.  All views expressed are purely of my own and written according to my experience in using the product. Any queries on the product  should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

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!

Simple Fluffy Pancakes

It’s easy for us to head to the ‘hood during the weekends and just enjoy a nice cuppa with some simple breakfast with the Bub. But last weekend, I was feeling under the weather, so instead of heading out, I was inspired to make some pancakes for the Bub using a new Mickey Mouse Silicone Pancake Ring that I just got online.

So I went online, found a relatively simple recipe that I adapted and viola, 30 minutes later, we had piping hot pancakes in the shape of Mickey Mouse on the table.

img_2981The Bub took a stab at those pancakes which were indeed very light and fluffy and ate a couple of bites off her pancake. She’s kinda picky when it comes to breakfast food with little love for waffles, pancakes, french toast and hot cakes. Sigh, one day perhaps she will learn to love them. For now, I take those few bites as baby steps and validation that she would even eat them.

img_4639Simple Fluffy Pancakes (Toddler-approved and Daddy-approved)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup self-raising flour (we love using self-raising flour as it really does make the pancake rise, you can omit using baking powder if self-raising flour is used)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons of caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted melted butter (we didn’t have this, so we swapped for 2 tablespoons of olive oil)
  • Olive oil/ butter for cooking

Method:

  1. Sift the flour, salt and caster sugar into a large bowl. In a separate bow, lightly whisk together the milk and egg, then whisk in butter/ oil.
  2. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and, using the fork, beat until you have a smooth batter. Any lumps will soon disappear with a little mixing. Let the batter stand for a few minutes.
  3. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat and add a knob of butter. When it’s melted, add a ladle of batter or two if frying pan is large enough (we used about 2 ladles of batter to fit into our Mickey mould). It will seem very thick but this is how it should be. Wait until the top of the pancake start to bubble, then turn it over and cook until both sides are golden brown and pancake has risen to about 1cm thick.

Note: use really low heat / fire to cook the pancakes. Our first 2 pancakes were slightly burnt because I hadn’t expected it to cook so fast. Thereafter, lesson learned and the rest of the pancakes looked much better (to be eaten, of course).

To serve, pour maple syrup over pancakes or we served it some jam as well was blueberries for the Bub, just the way she liked it.

Fluffy blueberry pancakes for toddlers

Blueberries are one of Bubba’s favourite fruit. So here’s my feeble attempt to whip up something nice for her breakfast over the weekend when I was home. This time round, instead of getting her to sit and watch television while I work on the pancakes in the kitchen. I decided to enlist her help to stir and mix the batter. After all, how difficult can it be?

IMG_2888Well, it did prove to be challenging. She happily chanted “I stir!” while helping me to stir the batter. Obviously that only kept her occupied for all of 2 minutes, thereafter, she wanted to just lick and eat the raw batter which I managed to stop her in time.

Presenting our really simple Blueberry Pancakes recipe which we adapted from the Banana Pancake recipe.

Blueberry Pancakes (makes 5 mini pancakes)

Ingredients:

  • 8 – 10 blueberries (washed and dried)
  • 1 egg (we used the small organic farm egg)
  • 4 tablespoons of self-raising flour
  • 3 tablespoons of milk

Method:

  1. Mix egg, self-raising flour and milk into bowl and stir till smooth batter is obtained.
  2. Fold in blueberries into the batter (be careful not to smash the blueberries).
  3. Heat pan with some unsalted butter.
  4. Pour batter into pan, fry up and serve.

We served our blueberry pancakes with some maple syrup and also strawberries plus more blueberries for the little one. No guesses what she loved from the plate the most!

These pancakes also made for a fast breakfast for me too! Helps kill two birds with one stone if you are ever in a hurry.

 

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.

What to prep for snacks?

Bubba takes about 4 meals in school namely breakfast, lunch, milk and then tea-break at about 3.30pm. We pick her up between 6 – 6.30pm so the school did say that the kids would be hungry just before dinner, so if we’d like, we could pack a snack in for her.

I think I’ve shared before that there is a weekly menu that gets rotated so I know what Bubba will be having for her meal-times. On some of the days where I know she won’t eat her breakfast or the tea-break served, I usually prepare a small snack for her so she won’t go hungry or go round eating her friend’s snacks. That said, I also realised that once she takes a snack before dinner, she wouldn’t really polish off her dinner that readily. So, I guess I need to try and strike a balance with that.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ve seen what some parents prepped for their little ones. These include items like Hello Panda biscuits, Meiji Plain Saltine Biscuits, pacakged sponge cakes and fruits. I haven’t quite gone the easily packaged biscuits route yet for I am still trying to introduce  her to commercially available snacks/ biscuits in moderation. So here’s what I usually prep for Bubba for breakfast and/or her tea-break:

  • Bread with her fave home-made strawberry jam (courtesy of Chef Julien from Odette)
  • Wholewheat Cereal O’s
  • Kellogg’s® Disney Frozen cereal – she loves this and it was nearly impossible to find it in the supermarket. We get ours from NTUC. I suspect the sugar content is quite high which is why this cereal is a hit with her.
  • Sponge cake from local bakeries near the office (sometimes a hit-and-miss, she would only eat this when she is super duper hungry and nothing else is available for her to pick)
  • Annie’s Homegrown Cheddar Bunnies, All Natural Baked Snack Crackers
  • Fruits such as strawberries, grapes, blue-berries (fruits that basically won’t oxidise so quickly as the school doesn’t keep them in the refrigerator)

I’m trying my best to give and introduce healthy snacks so as to instill good eating habits. I know the picture above probably not the right one to accompany this post but in my defence, it’s an organic Vitamin C lollipop. As you can tell,  it’s really quite challenging so if you have any tips on what sort of healthy snacks this Mama can prep for the Bub, please do leave a comment and share them here! 🙂

 

Kid-friendly Japanese Curry

Bubba takes over her father’s character and can be quite the fussy eater. She doesn’t take to new flavours immediately but once she likes something, she doesn’t have a problem eating it every day. Current things she loves to eat:

  • Eggs! Especially steamed chawamushi!
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Chocolate marble bread
  • Bread with strawberry jam
  • Cheese
  • Steak
  • Cod

I love to try and introduce new flavours to her just so as to break the monotony of eating the same thing almost every other day for dinner at home or lunch over the weekends. Saw this amazing kiddy curry rice bowl that Mama Libby whipped up for little foodie – Sophie Rose, so I decided to try and recreate this for my fussy little one.

This is our second time making the dish. The first time we made this, Bubba was about 14 – 15 months. She took a couple of bites of the curry then and then decided it was more fun playing with her food rather than eating it. I also realised we didn’t quite do it right the first time round. We basically got too excited in making the curry that we threw in all the curry cubes into the pot. Well, didn’t help that the instructions were all in Japanese and I don’t read Japanese.

This time round, thanks to a couple of tips shared by Mama Libby, making this kiddy Japanese curry was a much better experience. Also helped that the Bub was hungry and I managed to convince her it’s really yummy!

img_3645Here’s the main star of the kiddy version of the Japanese curry! You could get this from Japanese specialty stores or at the Japanese supermarket. We got ours at Parkway Parade.

img_3647Here’s my attempt at creating this Japanese curry bowl and playing with this cute food cutter that I bought at Daiso. Must say, it’s quite a lot of effort fashioning stars, hearts and bears for her carrots and pumpkins. Needless to say, guess who was more excited about the way it looked? And who paid probably at best 5 seconds on the overall appearance before digging into the meal?

At least, I tried! 🙂