Category Archives: Desserts

Sweet Little Thing

I can’t really say I’ve been an advocate of healthy eating; having stuffed my face with starch, fats and sugar endlessly. Well, healthy eating aside, let’s move on to a delish dessert that you can prepare at home for Iftar…

… Hold it! Stop counting the calories off this sweet little thing, will ya?

The ingredients in the Banana & Granola Parfait needs no introduction about the great things they will do to your body. The best part is, they are common and inexpensive items that most would already have in the fridge or pantry.

A good foundation is to buildings what a good granola mix is to parfaits. I’m guilty of spending an insane amount on organic granola (for days when I feel like eating healthy hehe) off the supermarket shelves, until I stumbled upon a recipe book by the famed Rachel Allen, host of Bake! As I looked through the lengthy list of ingredients, I realise that I’ve been cheating my own moolah for buying something that I could make because all of those were readily available at home.

This simple recipe can be switched around any way you like, following your preference of grains, nuts and dried fruit. I’ll run you through the list for my homemade Granola Mix. It makes a small jar that would last me a whole week and it keeps pretty well.

2 tbsp Cashew nuts

2 tbsp Almonds

2 tbsp Walnuts

1 cup Rolled oats

4 tbsp Honey

2 1/2 tbsp Soft Butter

1 tsp Vanilla Essence

1 tsp Cinnamon powder

1 tsp Salt

2 tbsp Dried Cranberries

2 tbsp Pitted Medjoul Dates

1) Toast the nuts – cashew nuts, almonds and walnuts – in the oven at 150°C for 8 minutes.

Once theyre slightly cooled, you can either cut them into smaller bits or toss them in a Ziploc bag, seal it and crush them with a pestle or a rolling pin.

2) In a cup, mix honey and butter with vanilla, cinnamon and salt. It should be of a viscous consistency and pretty easy to work with.

3) In a baking tray that’s lined with a baking sheet, pour in the rolled oats and nuts mixture and then the butter-honey mixture joins the party!

4) Mix the ingredients well and pop it into the oven at 160°C for 30 minutes. Every 5 minutes, pull out the tray and toss them about. This process is important because the grains and nuts at the rims of your tray will burn fairly quickly. Once that’s done, pour them out on a cooling rack and pepper your granola mix with cranberries and dates.

There you go, your very own granola mix. I toldja it’s simple!

You could have it with breakfast cereal and milk, as an ice cream topping or in your crumble pies and cobblers or you could use it in a Banana & Granola Parfait:

2 tbsp Granola mix

4 tbsp Greek Yoghurt

1 tbsp Strawberry Jam

1/2 Banana

1 tbsp Butterscotch Sauce* (recipe here)

* You can replace this with Honey, Maple Syrup or Golden Syrup

1) In a small cup or a transparent wine glass if you must, start to layer all the ingredients: Yoghurt goes right at the bottom,

followed by jam,

sprinkle the granola mix,

arrange the banana slices and add a good dollop of butterscotch sauce.

2) The parfait is done,

but if you (like me) are a little greedy hehe, repeat the layers till you reach the brim of the glass.

I have been eating parfait everyday for the last 15 days of Iftar, at the start of my meal. And it has been bowel-friendly, no matter what I gorge on right after. Sure, you might be thinking:

“Aiya… Where got time to prepare this every day one?

Very busy you know?”

I’m aware of the vast majority who might not have time on their hands to neatly layer yoghurt, granola and fruits everyday, but it suffices to pack about 2 tbsp of the homemade Granola mix in your handbag, grab a small tub of yoghurt at any convenience store, and have em together.

Now, who said healthy desserts had to taste like hay? Taking a teeny step towards healthy eating this Ramadhan is a great way to start. This recipe’s a definite keeper well after the month ends; granola parfaits make a great lazy weekend afternoon dessert and doubles up on hectic weekdays as a great morning booster!

This post was written for Muzlimbuzz (Travel&Food):

Ramadan Recipe: Banana & Granola Parfait

Muzlimbuzz is an e-magazine that caters to the modern, active, socially-engaged and spiritual Muslim. We aim to document and articulate the Muslim experience, particularly of those in Singapore and in the region.Apart from News and opinion pieces, we have daily columns that cover a wide array of topics from Health to Marriage, Spirituality to Technology, Travel & Photo Essays. In a nutshell, there’s bound to be something that would interest you here at Muzlimbuzz.

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Filed under Breakfast, Desserts, Favourites, Iftar Recipe, Muzlimbuzz, Recipes, Snacks, Teatime

Golf Ball-Sized Cakes?

Unbeknownst to me, my Dad has been following my blog. Lol, as if it is not already enough of a shocker that I have guy friends reading about recipes (whot?!), I discovered my Dad does too. This is how I found out today:

4.30pm in the living room while watching Food Network Asia

Dad: Dah lama tak buat kueh yang coklat Hershey’s tu eh.

[It’s been a while since you made a kueh with Hershey’s chocolate.]

Me: Kueh apa sey pakai Hershey’s? Kek eh?

[Which kueh uses Hershey’s? Cake, you mean?]

Dad: Macam kek tapi yang bulat kecik, size golf ball. Yg hari tu buat, tapi dalam ade apple dengan kacang.

[It’s similar to a cake but golf ball sized. You made some the other day, but with apples and nuts.]

Me: *ponders and recalls the Apple Almond Muffins I made earlier this week* Oooohhh Muffin eh?!

[Oooohhh Muffins, you mean?]

Dad: A’ah buatkan Abah untuk buka boleh? Dah buat boleh share recipe kat your website masak-masak tu.

[Yeah, could you bake some for me? Then, you can share it on your cooking website.]

WHOT!?

Can I just say that I have the most awesome Dad in the world? LOL! I found myself giggling in the kitchen while preparing these Oatmeal & Chocolate Muffins for Iftar today.

Well, anyway, this muffin recipe is one that I stumbled upon a few years ago in a book for which I have no recollection of the title nor the author. But I’m indeed grateful for it, because I’ve stopped my seemingly endless hunt for the perfect muffin recipe.

Believe me when I say, when done right, it makes;

The most moist and softest muffins evuh.

Here are the ingredients:

1 cup Quick-cooking Oats

1 cup Buttermilk

1/3 cup Vegetable Oil

2/3 cup Brown Sugar

1 Egg

3/4 cup Flour

2 tsp Hot Chocolate Powder

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp Baking Powder

½ tsp Baking Soda

1 cup Hershey’s Semi-sweet Chocolate chips*

* You can add a few broken pieces of Hershey’s Dark Chocolate if you’re a chocoholic. A few more tiny bits of choc wouldn’t hurt right?

Mix oats and buttermilk in a bowl. Let it sit for about 30 minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine oil, brown sugar and egg. Stir with a fork till the sugar dissolves. Add em to the oat & buttermilk mixture.

Lastly, sift all the dry ingredients in (flour, hot chocolate powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda). Fold the dry into the wet ingredients with a wooden spoon. Sprinkle the chocolate chips just before carefully spooning dollops of batter into muffin cups.

The mixture makes about 12 standard-sized muffins, but today I made only half a portion. Bake them at 180°C for 20 minutes and then sit patiently in front of the oven. Trust me, you’d want to.

Frankly, baking anything Hershey’s transports you into a Willy Wonka-like chocolate-infused fantasy. Needless for an elaboration but… oh, the heavenly aroma and that first bite: oh-oh omg the chocolate is still warm mmMmmm.

In other news, there’s only 1 and a half muffin left in my tray, where there once was 6. Oh, the plight of competing with other Hershey’s-crazed chocoholics in the house.

PS: Dad, if you’re reading this, HI ABAH!! I LOVE YOU!! xx

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Filed under Cravings, Desserts, Iftar Recipe, Recipes, Teatime

The Problem

I have a problem.

One that’s going to haunt me well into my fifties and sixties, I reckon. One that’s probably going to lead into unwanted health boo-boos later on in my life. One that’s gotten my Mum nagging at 2am, about how I should be in bed already.

The problem: Late night sweet-toothed indulgence.

As much as I know the dire consequences, late-night baking to me is extremely therapeutical. Apart from baking already being my sole source of stress relief, the thought of getting caught in the act narrating my own cooking show in the kitchen to an imaginary audience and trying to keep whisking at its quietest in a deafeningly soulless house is just too exciting!

Here is a recipe that I’ve made over and over again, for its simplicity of accessing ingredients and for the simple fact that all you need is a bowl, a hand whisk (no bulky, noisy electric mixer yeay!), a grater, a few cups for measurement and a rectangular ramekin. This one; I call the omg-my-Mum-is-up-and-I-thought-she-was-gonna-nag-but-she-too-is-having-a-slice-with-me-at-2am Orange Walnut Teacake. Haha yes she LOVES this!

90 g Butter

2 tbsp Butterscotch Sauce*

1 cup loosely-packed Brown sugar

2 Whole Eggs

2 Egg Yolks

1 tsp Vanilla Essence

Pinch of Salt

3/4 cup Plain Flour + 1 tsp Baking Powder

1 Orange (Zest, Juice and Pulp)

10 pcs Walnuts

* I have not tried substituting it with anything else. But I guess you could swap Caramel / Toffee Sauce for this.

In a microwaveable bowl, add butter and butterscotch sauce. Pop it in the microwave on High for 30 secs. From this point on, your whisking starts. Quick but quiet strokes if you’re baking this at ungodly hours like me!

Whisk one at a time, in this exact order: brown sugar, eggs, egg yolks, orange zest, vanilla and salt. Fold in the flour and baking powder gently with your whisk. Lastly, squeeze the orange with your hands, scraping out all the pulp into your cake batter. Give it a final brief stir.

Pour in half of the citrus-scented batter in a greased ramekin. Arrange 8 pcs of whole walnuts in 2 neat rows, before pouring in the rest. Top it with the last 2 pcs of walnuts, broken into generous bits on the teacake. Add a dash of orange zest and in the oven, this baby goes!

Bake at 180°C for 12 minutes. The centre will be slightly gooey – I like it that way, but if your baking insecurities kick in, extend the baking time for another 5 minutes at a slightly lower temperature and leave it in the oven.

Let it cool for a bit, before inverting it onto a plate and thick slices please, people!

It ought to be a crime not to have this immediately, with a cuppa hot tea to boot.

To my new Instagram friends, @rumaisa and @nbucket, this is for you babes! You could bake this simple teacake for Iftar or the coming Aidilfitri, or you could enrol in the Late Night support group with me?

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Filed under Desserts, Iftar Recipe, Recipes, Teatime

Carnivore’s Dream

It all started with a Whatsapp message from my mister some weeks ago, it read:

“BBBBBB, CHECK OUT MEATWORKS! OMG WE HAVE TO GO TRY IT PLS. LOOK AT THE MENU ON THEIR SITE!”

Yes, in caps, no less.

My almost immediate reaction after checking out their menu? The carnivore in me exclaimed “What time do they close tonight?

Wanna know why?

Let me just begin with delectable starters served at MeatWorks.

Beef Carpaccio

This starter is cleverly-crafted to combine the fresh flavours of greens and mushrooms, sitting pretty on finely-sliced tenderloin, drizzled with wasabi emulsion and sparingly topped with shaved gran padano.

Definitely a yes-please as an appetiser.

I personally love having a little of everything on my fork!

Avocado & Mushroom Salad

I’ve always fancied the creamy texture of avocado in salads, so quite naturally, this one appeased my palate.

It resembled the yu sheng (Teochew-style raw fish salad served during Chinese New Year); only this platter was filled with greens, sundried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, mushrooms and avocado; finished off with a slight tang of vinaigrette.

My mister has a hate-hate relationship with greens so these 2 starters were 90% mine! So there I was, grazing like a cow before I got the cow on my plate lol! Ok, now let’s move on to the real deal.

MeatWorks Burger

If you, like me, enjoy watching American or British cooking shows on tv, you’d have watched chef after chef preparing a homemade patty with ground meat and spices, leaving you salivating for one right after.

The MeatWorks burger is exactly that.

Humongous grilled succulent beef patty, topped with fresh salad and finished generously with mayonnaise-based dressing. And you have got to believe me, the patty was the size of my hand! I had mine with foccacia, but you can choose what you’d like the patty to be sandwiched in.

Hanging Tender

So I’ve read that this cut of beef comes from the cow’s diaphragm and is not conventionally served as a dish or main course; but I applaud MeatWorks for taking the road less travelled. The dish embodies its name and is truly tender to the mighty carnivore’s bite.

We had ordered it well-done (I’ve got a bad case of bloodophobia hehe), and to my amazement, it was neither dry nor tough which was usually the case if you insisted your meat well-done.

This one’s a definite timeless classic of deliciousness.

Wagyu D Rump

Drumroll please while I introduce my favourite main course to date (I say to date, because without a doubt, I will sit on those red seats again & diggin in on a Bronto.) Wagyu, the tenderest of steaks, owes its form to the marbling of the meat. According to Steve (our well-informed & thoughtful waiter), the cows were fed the finest of grains and basically had a great life before they became steak.

As the plate descends on the table before me, I could already steal whiffs of char-grilled goodness!

Oh gosh, the steak was a gorgeous mass of latticed brown crust with a slight glisten of pink that lies beneath.

The phenomenal piece of meat on my plate was a breeze to cut due to its delicate marbled pink structure and it being succulent with aromatic juices.

Well done indeed.

I had mine accompanied with Bearnaise sauce (sans any traces of wine) and what a pair they were! If I go on to describe the Wagyu D Rump, I could well use some expletives to tell you just how &%$!-ing good it was.

Just try it, you’ll thank me later!

Now, what’s a happy meal without sweet treats?

Desserts

Twice, my Mister had the Tiramisu.

The first time was fate, I’d say, having had the waitress come to us twice saying that his dessert choices were unavailable. But now, I’m pretty certain that it’s his ultimate choice at MeatWorks.

The little shot of Tiramisu, had the right balance of sweet, creamy and coffee decadence.

Having always enjoyed crème brulee, there was no question what I was going to order after catching a glimpse at the dessert menu. And this one, peeeeerfect. Just the right amount of not-too-sweet but oh-so-creamy custard, under a veneer of crystallised caramel which glimmered under the chandeliers.


Oh gawd, this was heaven, I thought.

Downside though, frankly, who was I kidding – one ramekin is enough for a crème brulee fan like me? I’d have 6 if I had my way!

Mocktails and Smoothies

With quirky names like C&M, Cape Sunrise, L&P and Very Berry, I know that you’d be quite skeptical to even pick any. But really, their mocktails and smoothies rocked my socks! If I had to pick one though, it’d be the C&M Smoothie, over and over again. I’ll give you 4 reasons why – Caramel, Macadamia, Orange juice and Yoghurt.

Enough reasons?

MeatWorks is perfect for special occasions, like anniversaries or birthdays, or days when you think Hey I’ve done great for myself and I deserve a treat! And my sincerest thanks to Ms Wahida from MeatWorks@ION Orchard for listening to our beef-starved voices and for making our dining experience simply flawless.

Till my next Brontosaurus Steak indulgence,

xoxo T-Rex

MeatWorks Restaurant

#04-12, 27 to 32, ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn

Ramadhan buffet: $38++/adult & $19++/child

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Filed under Desserts, Dinner, Favourites, Iftar Venue

ChocOrange Toast

The past week has been merciless mugging for me. With one exam down just yesterday, another one is drawing closer by the day. Barely had time to update this space but I’m seeing new visitors on Countless Plates, so a big HEY and a warm welcome to you!

I’ll make this update a really quick one – as quick as I fixed this Chocolate Orange French Toast for my study break. Here’s what you need:

For Egg Mixture:
2 Eggs
1 tbsp Heavy Cream
1 tbsp Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Orange Zest
Pinch of salt

2 slices halved White Bread

Handful of Chocolate Buttons
1 tbsp Butter
Orange Zest

In a plate, beat all the ingredients for the egg mixture. Make sure they’re well mixed, before letting the bread to sponge it all in. Let it sit about 30 secs on both sides.

Prepare a slightly hot pan & baste it with enough butter to fry the toast. Rescue them from the heat once they turn golden brown on both sides.

In a small bowl, drop a handful of Marks&Spencer’s chocolate buttons (I replenished my inventory yesterday yeay!) with a teaspoon of butter and pop it in the microwave, on high for about half a minute.

Stack your golden toast in a plate, add the rest of your butter and pour the melted chocolate over em. Grate orange zest over that beautiful mess and eat it right away! Right away!

Steal whiffs of citrus as you bite into the irresistibly warm french toast, and mmm… glazed with melted chocolate topped with zest.

I trust you’ll be sneaking into your kitchen now as I head back to my books?

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Filed under Breakfast, Desserts, FOTD, Teatime

Amirah’s for all Occasions

Middle Eastern cuisine has set a strong foothold here in Singapore. And needless to say, restaurant owners are taking good advantage of this by setting up theirs at locations beyond Arab Street. Albeit, the calmness of Medina-like Arab Street still captures the true essence of dining amidst the aroma of rich spices & puffs of flavoured sheesha.

Amirah’s Grill at Bussorah Street remains a staple go-to for me.

The restaurant interior is heavily-decorated with all things authentically Arab – beautiful embroidered surahs in bright gold on a black velvet canvas, tinted glass lamps, capped swords, camel figurines and intricately woven carpets hung on walls.

Though the restaurant doesn’t exactly boast gold and porcelain sophistication like others do, their top-notch Middle Eastern-Western fusion platters just quite cuts it for me. After all, I am paying for the latter, no?

Food is justly-priced, given the portions are fit for a king. Here’s an example – For $30, you get a delectable meal that is scrumptious all through; from appetizer right up to dessert:

A plate of yummy-to-the-last-swipe hummus with warm pita bread

Chicken or mushroom soup with garlic bread

A main course platter of your choice

Hot/cold drink and Dessert

Enough with the narratives, let’s get on with the feast (for the eyes), shall we?

Hummus with Warm Pita Bread

Remember that hummus I just talked about – it is as good as hummus gets.

Smooth, mild nutty notes, fragrant olive oil and slight tanginess of lemon; warm pita makes the perfect spoon!

Soups (Chicken or Mushroom) with Garlic Bread

The soups are decent-tasting and it definitely whets your appetite for the monstrosity of a plate that comes right after.

After umpteen visits to Amirah’s Grill, these 2 main courses keep appearing in my order list. Mysterious.

1) Turkish Mixed Tenderloin Kebab

Nothing screams Mediterranean more than Kebabs. Quite frankly, this one’s for the fickle-minded who can’t decide the irresistible chicken, lamb and beef selections in the menu. Expect a mixed plate of grilled skewers of boneless chicken, grilled beef tenderloin & pieces of kofta drenched in savoury spiced sauce (read: quadruple YUM); accompanied with choice of Arabic fragrant rice or roasted potatoes.

2) Grilled Lamb Chops

If you’re a die-hard lamb fan, please don’t give this a miss. Please. The fragrant blend of spices that go into this platter does justice to the tender cuts of lamb. The well-marinated fresh lamb is soft and juicy to the bite; is cooked to absolute perfection. Based on experience, I’ve never had the lamb chops reek of any unpleasant mutton odour. Just yummy, juicy, tender chops, dipped in aromatic sauce so good, you’d request for a ladle more!

Drinks & Dessert

When you’re done lapping up your main course, down it with a glass of fresh Alexandria Mango Juice, salty or sweet Labaan, or you may even opt for teapot of hot Morroccan Mint Tea. Refreshing!

And be sure to reserve some space for dessert. You could have a scoop of good ole ice cream or the creme caramel, that is a real treat for a sweet tooth!

All in all, Amirah’s Grill is definitely a great dine-in choice for any occasion – be it bridal showers, boys night out, weekend family lunch or for birthday celebration with your loved ones.

This post was written for Muzlimbuzz (Travel&Food):

Amirah’s for all Occasions 

Muzlimbuzz is an e-magazine that caters to the modern, active, socially-engaged and spiritual Muslim. We aim to document and articulate the Muslim experience, particularly of those in Singapore and in the region. Apart from News and opinion pieces, we have daily columns that cover a wide array of topics from Health to Marriage, Spirituality to Technology, Travel & Photo Essays. In a nutshell, there’s bound to be something that would interest you here at Muzlimbuzz.

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Filed under Desserts, Dinner, Favourites, Lunch, Muzlimbuzz

Chocolate is a Vegetable?

So word got around on the www that 7th July is Chocolate Day. Not that there is any reason to have a day to consume these supposed aphrodisiacs in unimaginable quantity, but hey, I’m totally chocolate-biased so:

HAPPY CHOCOLATE DAY, LOVELIES!

*sprinkles chocolate rice*

Here are a few chocofacts that every chocoholic ought to know:

Chocolate is derived from cacao beans. Then, sugar is added. Since both cacao and sugar are from plants, thus placing them in the vegetable category. Ultimately, chocolate is a vegetable. 

Milk chocolate was discovered by Daniel Peter and Henri Nestlé in 1876 by adding chocolate to sweetened condensed milk.

White chocolate is not chocolate. It contains ingredients such as cacao butter, cream, milk, skim milk and buttermilk.

A whole year’s harvest from one tree makes half a kilo of cocoa.

And in my desperate bid to celebrate at home, I rummaged the fridge in search of the basics of a chocolate molten lava cake. Butter, check – Sugar, check – Flour, check – Eggs, check – Baking chocolate…….. Err.. I had only 3 oz left and the recipe called for 6oz! *hangs head in shame* And na’uh, no way was I gonna half the proportions in the recipe.

I searched the fridge so hard, I could literally climb right in. Nope, still no sign of any plain chocolates. All I had were heaps of Toblerones, M&Ms, Kinder Buenos, Ritter Sport, Ferrero, Snickers and that was it?

So here’s an improvised recipe to bake my lack-of-chocolate molten lava cake:

For Cake:

100g Melted Butter

4 tbsp Caramel Sauce

8 tbsp Powdered Sugar

2 Whisked Eggs

2 Additional Egg Yolks

6 tbsp Flour

For Filling:

1 tbsp Butter

2 oz Baking Chocolate

In a bowl, whisk melted butter with caramel sauce. Add sugar and mix well. Slide in the eggs and egg yolks into the mixture. Once well-incorporated, introduce flour while whisking it. Cake batter ready!

I’m a real sucker for cakes that don’t need me to pull out too many gadgets and gizmos. Naturally, this has to be my ultimate favourite.

In a double boiler (glass or metal bowl that sits atop a pan of hot water), whip butter and chocolate until smooth – the kind of smooth you just wanna stick your finger right in for a ‘taste-test’. I took a tablespoon of this mixture and added it to my cake batter, to darken the faint brown and also to give it a faux chocolate aroma (to hush my insufficient-chocolate conscience I guess).

Now that you’re all set, butter a ramekin – I used my impulsively bought ramekin from Daiso. Cmon, it’s just $2 and it works just as well as any other. I mean, why not, right?

Pour in half of your cake batter, then spread the chocolate&butter mixture in the centre, and top it off with the rest of your cake batter.

Bake at 180°C for 12 minutes, or more if you have to. Once it’s out of the oven, leave it for a minute before inverting it on a flat plate. Grab a slice and serve with ice-cream, like I needed to tell you that!?

Time to bake some, lovelies!

You still have about 7 hours till the end of Chocolate Day today!

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