Our annual Christmas sale is on! Hop on over to the store to get your fix of our handdyed goodies!
The week was a little crazy both at the office and at home; it didn’t help that my store’s upcoming sale is just around the corner and I had to get started on prepping the yarns for the weekend dye session (plus do some research on best treatment for adult acne). Along the way, since Nil was coming back earlier (yay to no OT), I decided to make more substantial meals – much to the disliking of my waistline (I’ve been lazy and skipping on my home workouts so will need to get back to that). Eva too is starting to enjoy having her meals with someone else other than me. *hah*
One of the dishes this week was some homemade rosti. We had a couple of potatos that were about to go so I thought why not. Much to my dismay, they had already “gone” so I had to rush out and get a fresh batch of potatos. The original recipe calls for Yukon Gold but I used Russet instead since it’s the most commonly available potato in major stores here. I might try this again with some Yukon Gold. I made this recipe without any salt since it’s for Eva and I must say that it’s quite alright as it is. Nil thinks it would be heavenly if I had used duck fat to fry the potatos but I like it just like that.
A note though – the amount of rostis you can churn out from this dish is deceptive. It is very filling! Eva had this with some pan seared salmon because sausages contain too much salt and preservatives, clearly not suitable for little kiddies, but you can serve it alongside other roast meats.
From Use Real Butter’s Hash Brown potato recipe
5 large potatoes (Russet is good although Yukon Gold, I heard, is better)
Oil for pan frying
Salt and pepper to taste
- Peel and shred the potatoes. Squeeze as much liquid from the potatoes as possible – I used a cheesecloth but you can use your bare hands if you like. Discard the liquid.
- Drizzled some oil onto a non-stick pan on medium heat. When the oil is hot (test by dropping a shred of potato on the pan – it should sizzle), add the potato shreds evenly over the skillet and press down with the back of a spatula firmly. Try to compact them as much as you can otherwise you’ll end up with a loose hash brown (bad for the next step).
- When the bottom begins to brown (around 5 minutes or more), sprinkly some salt for flavour (optional) and slowly flip the hash browns over (you can do it in sections if you’re having problems).
- You can add more oil if you want the other side to be crispy. Add another sprinkle of salt (optional) cook until the bottom has a nice golden color.
- Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream & mustard and accompanied by some smoked sausages for that traditional flavour
It’s a made rush trying to finish up toys, more yarn and some fiber dyeing this weekend, just so that I can run the pre-Christmas sale which I plan to start off on 1 December (more on that later!). That has left me very little time for anything else, like my nightly yoga-workout sessions or this blog. In fact, even things at work are going a little bonkers! It’s not wonder that I need to hunt (hand me those binoculars please!) for extra hours stashed away somewhere. I only hope I don’t collapse by the time my long awaited holiday comes!
Passionfruits were on sale of lately and so we ended up to our noses in the deliciously tangy yet sweet fruit. Eva enjoys the slight crunch (although I suspect she swallows it more than munches on it) and we thought why not put it in a cake. I came across this recipe in my usual search for toddler-friendly ones and decided to give it a go in between my diet pill reviews and spinning, shop stocking, etc.
While the result was a very fragrant and not sweet at all cake, I should have listened to my instinct and cut back on the amount of milk. One cup was a bit tad too much in my case as I ended up with a very fluffy and moist top but dense, ultra wet bottom – a sign that I have too much liquid in my cake. I wouldn’t recommend cutting back on the passionfruit pulp as it lends a lovely fragrance plus flavour to the cake. Perhaps 3/4 cup of milk would be better instead of the recommended one cup.
The original recipe calls for one to strain the passionfruit milk mix but I opted to skip this step as I wanted to incorporate some texture in the cake. If you prefer a smoother texture or dislike the idea of your toddler swallowing seeds (they end up in the poop anyway), you can strain the milk just before you add this into the cream mix.
Adapted from Passionfruit’s Passfruit Recipes
1/2 cup passionfruit pulp
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 to slightly less than 1/2 cup unrefined sugar
1 cup milk
- Preheat oven to 180 °C.
- Place the pulp and milk in saucepan. Heat to lukewarm, then add the baking soda.
- Cream the butter and sugar then add golden syrup and egg. Mix well and then add the vanilla.
- Pour the passionfruit milk mixture into the creamed mixture. You can opt to strain the milk before this step. Add the sifted flour and baking powder.
- Pour the batter into tin and bake for 40 minutes or until the cake is cooked (test with a cake tester or skewer).
- Serve as it is with some coffee or tea or just eat it on its own!
I love madeleines but unfortunately left the mould by mother-in-law gave me back in France. She was the first person to teach me how to make madeleines and enjoys making heaps of it for Nil – because it’s one of the few cakey desserts that he downs like there is no tomorrow.
Since the madeleine moulds here are pretty expensive (at SGD20 for six-mould-in-one pan), I thought I’d try another alternative by using up some kuih bahulu moulds. Kuih bahulu is the Asian (Malay, I think) version of the madeleine but comprises of different ingredients and cooking techniques. On hindsight, I should have buttered these moulds like crazy because if you look at the above picture, out of the 40 over cakes I made, only two came out looking perfect (one is seen in the picture below).
Be forewarned that brown sugar will make this more moist and stickier than the original madeleine (which uses caster sugar). So you won’t get that crispy outer shell that is typical of madeleines. I’d recommend cutting back on the amount of sugar used if you don’t have a sweet tooth. Because it was the first time dealing with a recipe like this – detailed measurements, etc, instead of the one cup, one egg, etc – I was a bit hesitant at cutting back on the quantity of the sugar. So it turned out to be a little sweet – for me – but Nil swears that it’s how a madeleine should taste.
If I had to make this again, I’d oil the moulds more and cut back on the sugar. But otherwise, it’s was well-received by both the hubs and little bub (Eva likes it but it’s not a favourite as compared to the Very Berry Muffins I made earlier). Now back to my Reebok Easy Tone research and later, a workout!
Lemon-orange brown sugar madeleines
From Taste Buddies’ Making Madeleines
120 gms flour, sift
120 gms butter, melted
120 gms egg, lightly beaten
120 gms brown sugar*
Rind from half an orange and one lemon
- Preheat oven to 190 °C. Oil or butter the mould (be warned that brown sugar makes this moist and sticky so you may need copious amounts of butter/oil when preparing your pan) and place aside.
- Place the whisked eggs, sugar and lemon-orange zest into a metal mixing bowl. Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the hot water. Gently whisk the egg mixture for several minutes until it warms slightly but don’t let it cook (takes about two to three minutes – test using your finger, if you’re adventurous). Remove bowl from saucepan.
- In the same bowl, whisk the egg mixture until light, foamy and thickened. This process took me about 8-10 minutes and I used a hand-held electric beater with a whisk attachment.
- Sift a little flour onto the egg mixture. Use a spatula to gently fold the flour into the mixture. Fold in the flour by gently stirring the spatula on the outer rim of the bowl being careful not to overmix. Slowly fold in the melted butter – 2 tablespoons at a time.
- Repeat the process until the butter and flour are properly combined and the batter is consistent and thick. So the steps are — add flour, then fold, add butter, then fold and so on. Don’t add too much of either otherwise the batter will deflate and don’t stir like a barbarian either. This is one recipe that requires much gentleness!
- Fill the moulds till it’s just a little below the brim. Don’t overfill as they will expand when baked. Once done, immediately put the tray into the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until they become golden in colour. Leaving the batter sitting around will deflate it. If you don’t have enough trays, you can place the batter in the fridge – my subsequent batches were still quite airy.
- Remove tray from oven and turn cakes onto the counter. You may have to give the tray a bit of a tap to release the cakes.
- Serve as it is with some coffee or tea or just eat it on its own!
* I’d reduce this amount to around 80gms or 100gms max to make it less sweeter.
This is actually more for Eva and I was sort of inspired by the idea of a potato gratin. I used pumpkin instead because I wanted something with some colour in it plus it has been a while since Eva last had some orange coloured food. Yes, her diet is much healthier than mine or Nil’s and thanks to that, she hardly gets sick and is ultra active. After scouting around for a recipe online, I finally decided to wing in by adapting a few recipes with what I have observed in Nil’s family whenever they prepare certain gratins.
The result is a very lightly flavoured, no salt, cheesy gratin that has pumpkin bursting with flavour…not to mention a certain melt. Eva loved this and finished quite a large portion on her own. I reckon it’s the cheese and bacon as well. It was not too hard for her to manage at all since the pumpkin and bacon is ultra soft so makes for a good toddler meal that is both healthy and yums! Oh, feel free to make this for adults as well by adding onions, more herbs and even other vegetables like zucchini and yes, potatoes!
1 medium-small (1 1/2 to 2 cups) butternut squash, cubed
4 strips streaky bacon, roughly cut
1 to 1 1/2 cup cheddar & Colby, grated
4 tbsp flour
3 tbsp milk
A pinch of pepper and mixed herbs
Some olive oil
- Preheat oven to 200 °C. Oil a small loaf pan and place aside.
- In a large bowl, toss the butternut, bacon, pepper and herbs together with 1 cup of cheddar and the flour until well combined.
- Pour into the prepared loaf pan and spread out. Sprinkle the remaining cheese onto the mixture and drizzle the milk over the gratin. Finish with a light drizzle of olive oil.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until the surface is golden brown and the pumpkin is soft.
- Serve warm as is or as a side dish.
I was inspired by the corn bread served up by the folks at Kenny Rogers – a country-western styled (for lack of a better word) restaurant – and went hunting in my recipe books for the equivalent (I should establish some form of document management system at home when it comes to my hardcopy recipes) and found one. Unlike the others, I never made any changes to the recipe – something I should have because the resulting muffins were, well, not quite up to what I am used to. Nil swears it’s still delish but I feel that it’s lacking in a number of ways.
It lacks that certain softness to it and feels more “mealy” than smooth or moist. Perhaps it was because I used self-raising flour instead of normal plain flour or cake flour (which is what I normal use for my muffins). I also cut back on the sugar which I shouldn’t have because it turned out to be nearly tasteless. Hm, perhaps next time, I should add some drizzle of flavour in the form of honey, an essence or a fruit rind. Still, it makes for a good breakfast meal when taken sweet or savoury, eg jam, butter or ham.
From Betty Crocker Cookbook’s Corn Bread
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups cornmeal (yellow, blue, white is fine)
1 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup brown-black sugar
- Preheat oven to 200 °C.
- In a large bowl, beat milk, butter and egg.
- Add dry ingredients to mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until just barely combined. Do not overmix as it’ll result in dense, dry muffins.
- Fill paper cups halfway and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. If possible, put a small ovenproof glass of water in together with the pan to keep the muffins moist throughout the baking process.
- Serve warm/cool as is or with some jam, butter, honey or ham.