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GRANOLA

 

 Breakfast ideas

When I was a little girl, while living in a kampong, the Bread Man comes in a bicycle laden with bread on a huge box. When he opens the box, one side of it will become his cutting board.

He will take out loaves of French bread and long loaves of brown and white bread.

The brown bread apparently is not made from whole-wheat flour, which I had thought previously, but it gets the colour due to the use of brown sugar.

Normally one can buy slices of bread spread with one side margarine and the other side kaya. (Egg jam)

He also has a huge tin with red coloured jam, which is basically a mixed fruit jam.

There were times when we buy the bread and the spreads separately and he would place a dollop of each in pieces of a square tracing paper (now it is the Baking paper) and scrunches to make a small parcel, this is considered take-away, I wonder how many readers of my blog can reminisce this!

Another popular local breakfast item is the pancakes with peanuts, known as the banh chang kueh. The fun is watching him doing it. It is just like “Performance.” We the little ones will make OOHs and WAHs sounds while watching him.   Now this peanut pancakes are available at most places at all times. This clearly declares that this is not just a breakfast item anymore.

I have evolved from my childhood days and now my breakfast is so important that I include a combination of protein, carbohydrates and fruits to have proper nutrition, as this is the first meal of the day.

So much goodness is said about oats so I have made it the main ingredient for this recipe.

Granola is a boon for people in a hurry as it is ideal to eat on the go. If you have time, you can add milk and eat it like cereal as part of a breakfast meal or it can be eaten as a cereal bar if you woke up late and don’t want to miss breakfast.

A great breakfast for anyone, which provides some health, benefits which also tastes so delicious. So lets to go to the kitchen to make this easy breakie!

My friends usually snack on it when they come over to my place! I do too while watching TV! Its like eating peanuts – just can’t stop!

Raw Almonds, pecans, cashews and walnuts

 

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CHOCOLATE PUDDING

 

The majority of us love chocolate. Chocolate to me is a symbol of love and care. I give chocolates whenever I visit someone or for that matter anyone. There was a time when I carried bars of chocolate in my handbag just to give to children. People around me love chocolate and there is always chocolate in my home. I am also adventurous when shopping for chocolates. I love dark chocolate and pure choc nibs. Of course it is bitter but you eat little at a time. I have eaten various types of chocolates from various countries; recently I tried some from Nicaragua and Belize. They were good!

                                                          Chocolate buttons with different flavours

Chocolate had been my go to support whenever I was low and I tend to overeat it.

There have been occasions when I have completed 1 whole bar of 200g chocolate and I have also gobbled 1 full tin of chocolates at one go. Just can’t imagine how did I do that!!

But that’s the past and I have become sober now but nevertheless I do love a nice cup of hot cocoa or hot chocolate – somehow reminds me of my childhood days. I guess I have to blame my Mum for it. She madly loved chocolates and drank hot cocoa or chocolate quite often. I love the way she did my hot cocoa but really I don’t know her method. I learnt to do it by reading from various books and came up with my own recipe. Watch this blog – I will reveal the secret of making a hot cup of steaming rich cocoa!

But now I want to share another chocolate recipe, which is a chocolate pudding. This is one pudding that my mum had made. I wished I had her recipe but nevertheless my recipe is so chocolateee and delicious!

It is easy to make, a recipe for chocoholics, and can be dressed up to serve to guests.

Pure moulded chocolates

You may also serve the warm pudding as chocolate dips for fruits and biscuits or bread sticks.

I have made this pudding several times but each time I made different toppings to depict the occasion. For example for a child’s birthday party I put a dollop of homemade ice cream in a pudding cup for each child to enjoy!

I taught this recipe to my residents at a community club in my monthly baking class lesson and I topped with crunchy maple cornflakes and pecan nuts.

So experiment and enjoy this wonderful pudding.   Love to hear from you of course. If you have other combinations kindly feel free to comment. You are so welcome!

REN’S CHOCOLATE PUDDING

INGREDIENTS

1 cup sugar

3 tbsp cocoa powder (pl use good quality)

100 g dark chocolate – melted

½ cup corn flour

½ tsp salt

6 cups milk

4 tbsp butter

2 tsp vanilla extract

For topping, use any of the following:

Strawberries/nuts/granola/cranberries

Chocolate pudding served in cups

METHOD

Sieve all dry ingredients.

Blend the corn flour in 1 cup of milk. Keep aside.

In a pot, stir together cocoa powder, sugar. Stir in remaining milk. Add the salt.

Once heated, pour in slowly the corn flour mixture and continue stirring constantly till mixture is thickened.

Remove from heat. Add in the melted chocolate, butter and vanilla extract. Sieve this mixture.

Serve in individual small glasses or in a large bowl to be the centerpiece in a dinner table.

Top with nuts, granola or cranberries or fresh fruits such as strawberries as preferred.

Chill in the fridge if serving cold.

Notes:

You may substitute cocoa powder totally with your preferred dark chocolate.

This pudding can be served warm or cold.

You may reduce the sugar or use other types of sugar such as raw or brown sugar.

You need to thoroughly mix quickly when pouring the corn flour mixture. Use a whisk for easy stirring.

You may add brandy or rum instead of vanilla extract if serving to adults only.

I have used treacle rum and it was fabulous.

You may substitute other flavorings instead of vanilla extract but make sure it is a compatible flavour to chocolate, e.g. banana and chocolate or raspberry and chocolate or caramel and chocolate etc

Keep all the ingredients and utensils ready. The mixture will thicken quite quickly especially when you remove from the stove to sieve the mixture. You need to work fast here.

If it thickens, put back on the stove and add a little milk and whisk it quickly.

It is a great pudding for children’s parties and to anyone who loves chocolate

 

Work tools all moulded in chocolate at a private chocolatier in Genoa, Italy

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AVOCADO SHAKE

AVOCADO SHAKE

 

The first time I had avocado was in Jakarta many years ago. I had gone on a 7 day cruise in Leisure World (Now this ship is no more) with a friend, Ms Mandy and she introduced the avocado as a miracle fruit. And this fruit was made into a shake which can be found in many cafes. street corners as well as restaurants in Jakarta. Her favourite way of saying something so shiok is “Shokudu”   Sometimes I  use this word when something is so out of this world in taste.

Yes I agree with her so much that this avocado shake is so shokudu in taste especially when gula Melaka (palm sugar) is added.

Back in Singapore then, hardly  could I find avocado except in specialty fruit shops and later the avocado shake was in the menu in Sanur Indonesian restaurant at Centrepoint, Orchard Road, Singapore. They used to make a fantastic avocado shake. Now somehow this drink has been so commercialized and I guess the ingredients are not authentic.

Now practically all kinds of fruit is available all year round due to imports from various countries.   We are very lucky too because I have seen the prices are sometimes much lower than the countries they have been imported from – could be due to economies of scale.

Avocado itself is so versatile. It grows in many countries. The common ones we find here are from South America, USA, Australia , Vietnam, and Indonesia. I have tried Sri Lankan varieties. They are much smaller but the Thai and Vietnamese variety tend to be the size of our palm. In Asian countries it is known as butter fruit. This is quite a suitable name because you can substitute mashed avocado for butter in your toast. Sometimes I sprinkle demerara sugar on my toast or even spread honey with it.  Because of its bland taste and the creaminess, butter can be substituted with avocado puree in cakes. I have tried some cakes and it did turn out well. So you can eat more cake as it contains no butter which is all fat. No need to feel guilty after eating cake!  I have done pancakes and waffles with avocado.  Do find time to check them out  in my blog.  Extremely delicious.

In my home, avocados sit on my fruit basket. Used daily for breakfast, shake and many times in salads.  I also make a Mexican dip known as guacomole.

As in most fruits, avocados ripen best off the tree. But here in Singapore I haven’t seen that so you’ll find that a lot of them are unripe when you shop. Choose avocados that feel heavy. The skin should be dark, with a hint of green, and taut, with no dents.

If a little ripe, when you hold an avocado, it will give a little give.

If avocados at the market are green and unripe, you can ripen them at home. Put them in a brown paper bag out of direct sunlight. Within three days they’ll be ripe and ready to eat. Press the skin gently. It will be tender but not too soft.

 

As for the shake you may put all the ingredients and blend and pour it into a glass, or if you want restaurant style, then the ingredients can be layered to make it so inviting. Of course you can stir and not stir too much to avoid too much of a certain ingredient.

Some may not like too much sweetness or too much coconut cream. And this can be decided if the shake is layered accordingly. For me I prefer to mix all and drink it chilled or slurp it slowly so as to maximize the joy of tasting my favourite fruit shake.

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AVOCADO WAFFLES - A BREAKFAST TREAT

Avocado Waffles

BREAKFAST. We need breakfast daily. Not simply bread and toast all the time, or our favorite local prata, nasi lemak, chee cheong fun, etc. Once in a while make it special and different.

Lately I am experimenting with different types of whole grain and nutritive flours. I did the following breakfast on a Sunday morning which I know my family members will enjoy.

It is so simple once you have your ingredients on hand.

Avocados are always in my house, it is a staple for my daughter who eats it daily with one of her meals at least.

I told her I will make avocado pancakes the night before, but decided to do waffles instead.

At first I thought the buckwheat flour will not marry with the avocado well but I tell you, it happened to be a good combination. If you like buckwheat and avocado then please go ahead and make it because it gives a satisfying and fulfilling breakfast without the feeling of “Oh dear too much of a flour meal first thing in the morning”

The waffles were perfectly cooked, crisp on the outside and soft inside.

I gather this can be an all day breakfast meal if you include a piece of roast chicken or ham etc. Include a green salad and it becomes lunch or dinner.

That’s what I did with leftover batter. So enjoy a different kind of meal for a change, albeit a nutritious clean meal!

 

Avocado waffles

INGREDIENTS

1 cup self raising flour

1 cup buckwheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 cups milk

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

2 avocados

 

METHOD

Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend to a batter . It is alright to have some lumpy avocado.

Heat a waffle iron, brush with butter.

Pour half a cup of batter into the waffle iron and cook till desired crispness or softness is reached.

Serve with maple syrup, strawberries or blueberries and sunny side eggs.

Notes:

You may replace oil with any other preferred oil or melted butter.

You may use half cup self raising flour and 1 ½ cups buckwheat flour.

As this is not a cake recipe, you don’t need to be exact in the measurements.

Please reduce the salt if desired.

Use ripe avocadoes if possible and if you use another 1 more avocado, you don’t need the eggs.

You can make pancakes if you do not have a waffle iron. Add half a cup of water to dilute the batter if necessary.

 

ROAST TURKEY – TANTALISING DINNER FEAST

christmas-30

 

Christmas and the  New Year  comes once a year and turkey is also allowed once a year into my house!

Usually we will have a formal sit down dinner. When my daughters were younger I used to put up a Christmas tree and they will decorate it with ornaments and wrap up the presents. Now my girls assist me with some of their favourite dishes. My elder daughter loves pate and makes it excellently. So it will be part of the first course.

Many friends have told me they don’t like turkey because it is dry and tasteless.

So I have decided to give a Christmas/New year  feast menu  and to roast a turkey which is moist and full of flavour.

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TOFU PANIYAARAM – A VILLAGE TREAT

tofu-paniyaaram-2

I tend to cook with whatever I have in my pantry or fridge.  So if friends drop by I will just do a quick snack, and this is one of them.

Tasty, easy and savoury!

If there are some vegetarians in the group, then I omit all meat/egg etc and make it totally vegetarian for all to enjoy.

I vaguely remember my mum making these but she had chopped long beans and some salted whitebaits in her paniyaaram.  Her vegetarian ones had cooked dhall (lentils) and vegetables.

If you are wondering what  paniyaaram is,  this is a tamil word for a food made of small balls of batter either fried or steamed.

Again there are so many versions, variations, sweet and savoury and all equally delicious.

My favourite is the Milk paniyaaram which I ate for the first time in a remote village in South India when I visited India as a tourist some 20 years ago.

The lady villager was so hospitable and refused to let me  go until I ate her milk paniyaaram and drank a cup of Indian coffee. I remember her serving me with a baby on her hips and with a wide smile on her face. This meal has been very  memorable for me, sometimes when I recollect, I think I can taste it again.   It was so so delicious. So it only shows that a  simple dish can be unforgettable till today. I will post her recipe sometime later.
Coming back to the paniyaaram, it is called  thus because you need a paniyaaram pan, it is similar to the Japanese takoyaki pan. Or for Malaysians similar to the older version of the Kueh bahulu pan.  The fried balls will retain a circular shape if using the paniyaaram pan.

takoyoki-pan

Japanese  Takoyoki panpaniyaaram-pan

Indian paniyaaram pan

 

If this pan is unavailable, don’t worry too much, just use any pan that you have which can be used to fry small balls of dough.  Use 2 spoons to form a ball and put it into the hot oil gently to fry.

Enjoy this simple recipe, my dear friends.  Do comment and subscribe so that you can receive all my recipes. (more…)

SO VERY REFRESHING…….

Still on Vietnamese food,  this is  another  favourite dish of mine and my family loves it too.  It is wholesome, fresh and so very easy once you prepare the ingredients.

It is a way of eating fresh vegetables in a palatable manner and it is  good for communal eating and sharing .  I like to do this for a party as it can be prepared in advance and not much cooking is required.

Besides it is great for hot summer days as it is so very refreshing.

I taught this dish in my cooking class recently and everyone raved about the simplicity of the fresh ingredients and the delicious sauce that came with it.  It was also deemed to be so easy to do by everyone.  So give it a try, my friends!

This sauce recipe is so very special as it came from a Australian friend  who knew this Vietnamese lady who whipped up this sauce.   I simply love this sauce.  I make more than enough each time and use it for other dishes as accompaniment.  The most easiest way is to pour this sauce onto Chinese rice rolls – chee cheong fun.  Simply divine!

vietnam rolls 1

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Prawn Briyani

prawn briyani 2

I simply love to cook and eat briyani.  Once I told my close buddy that I can eat it every day and she gave me a startled look! I guess she was worried about all the calories in a plate of briyani!

I have to agree with her if it is not made by me.  There’s every reason to make a   briyani which can be nutritious with lower calories and most importantly not compromising on the taste.

The spices that I have used give a beautiful and heavenly aroma to the dish and of course adding lots of nutritious properties.

Briyani itself is a one-pot dish and can be very easy if you follow my steps to do it.

Briyani was introduced to India by the Persians and in India alone there must be hundreds of versions of briyani!

Every part of India has its own version. And yet you have the middle-eastern, African, Egyptian and south east Asian versions as well.  I ate the Egyptian goat briyani when I was there about 15 years ago.  I was invited by the chef into their huge kitchen and I was surprised to see huge pots being used as it is eaten everyday by many of their men.  1 goat can get into 1 pot! So imagine that!  The ladies do the bread – and I remember that I had some practice to make their flat bread in their charcoal stone ovens.  More of this later – please look out in my future posts.

Even in homes, each will have their own version of briyani.

I must say I have eaten briyani in most Indian restaurants in Singapore, and when I go overseas, always ordering briyani if it is in their menu.  Sadly yet to find the briyani that I want to eat again and again!

The best compliment came from a friend who lives in Melbourne (his family are all in Middle East and his wife is a fantastic cook).   He said the briyani that I cooked that day was the best he had eaten in all his life! I was very happy not because of the compliment but I could see his joy of happiness on his face. That was enough for me to cook for people who enjoy my food!

The Rice is the most important and is actually the hero ingredient.  Using Basmati rice gives a beautiful aroma, and its fluffy texture once it is cooked.  By the way in Sanskrit, Basmati means fragrance.

Today I have cooked Prawn Briyani .  It is slightly spicy – you can always increase or decrease the degree of spiciness.

My family members and I kept going for seconds and thirds as it was really flavourful and rather tasty.  So let’s start cooking or in my case continue eating!!

prawn briyani 1

 

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Mushroom and Vegetable Curry

mushroomvegcurry 1

 

I do love simple vegetarian food,  I cook lots of vegetarian dishes almost daily and have a wide repertoire of recipes.  And each time I cook, it becomes a new dish as I tend to modify or add some new ingredient.

This  vegetarian dish is so simple, interestingly tasty and can be eaten on its own with a glass of wine.   Yes, I didn’t make a mistake here…..

This dish was cooked on a  day when I returned from a trip and I couldn’t bear to go out and eat lunch.  So looking at what I had in my pantry, came up with this dish.   As I didn’t feel like eating rice, I made prata to go with this vegetable dish.

I am not into mushrooms as in itself they taste very bland even though mushrooms can be meaty.   This adds a new dimension to simple potatoes and carrots to create the meatiness in a vegetarian dish.

I used Indian spices as the vegetables need to be cooked for  a little longer than other greens. So the spices tend to gel very well with the longer cooking time, thus giving a lovely curry.

As I said earlier, this dish can be eaten on its own or with any bread,  chappati, or prata.

It is a good accompaniment to rice with some soup or other gravy.

Once in a while it is a nice change to eat simple food.  So try this out and one might not miss any meat!

 

mushroomvegcurry 2

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