Category Archives: Teatime

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

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

Inexpensive Indulgence

Let me begin with a simple teatime treat that I religiously prepare every month – for the simple reason that there’s always bread leftover that’s near expiry and there aren’t that many stray birds to feed em to. The traditional Bread & Butter Pudding is an inexpensive excuse of creating an indulgent treat in less time than it takes to get dressed to head to the nearby cafe.

The recipe dates back to the Elizabethan era and was, in its previous life, called the Devonshire White Pot. It’s quite interesting to note that back then, recipes were written in paragraphs, with the ingredients and method included in the text – as shown in Hannah Woolley’s (1622 – 1675) book:

“Take two quarts of new Milk, a peny white Loaf sliced very thin, then make the Milk scalding hot, then put to it the Bread, and break it, and strain it through a Cullender, then put in four Eggs, a little Spice, Sugar, Raisins, and Currants, and a little Salt, and so bake it, but not too much, for then it will whey.”

I could never imagine how tough it would be, to decipher recipes if we had carried on in the same stanza-writing method. We’d probably be eating out more often, that’s for sure.

According to John Nott’s recipe in 1723, on the other hand, White Pot also called for bone-marrow in place of butter, or even to complement the butter in the recipe. Either way, there’s something so comforting yet divine about Bread & Butter Puddings.

Well no, I will be using neither butter nor bone marrow for this recipe. Instead, I’m opting for a crowd-pleaser:

Can never go wrong with Nutella – spread it on bread slices or on plain crackers or even in cup/cakes or even on its own (mm guilty pleasures!). Seriously, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love Nutella. Mother of all bread spreads, this cocoa & hazelnut spread is definitely a winner for everyone in my family. Explains why it needs replenishing so often!

Here’s a little (unrelated) baking tip: to make good chocolate chip cookies, do include ground or chopped hazelnuts, because it gives a heavenly Nutella aftertaste. Try it!

5 slices Leftover White bread

5 generous tbsp Nutella spread

250ml Fresh milk

50ml Evaporated milk

1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence

2 tsp Hot Chocolate powder

2 tbsp Brown Sugar*

2 beaten Fresh Eggs

Butter for greasing

* you may substitute Brown Sugar with 1 1/2 tbsp White Sugar

Cut the crusts off of the white bread and spread 1 tbsp of Nutella on each slice. See what I mean by generous. Cut the bread into quarters. In a bowl, whisk milk, vanilla, hot chocolate powder and sugar. Add in the beaten eggs.

Grease a 7-inch round pyrex bowl or ramekin with butter. Line the bowl with bread, strain and pour in the whisked mixture. Place the bowl in a slightly bigger tray and fill the tray with water. For baking noobs, this method is called double-boiling; great for custards and puddings.

Bake at 180°C for 25 mins and another 15 mins at 150°C (this time, partially cover the bowl).

Now wait (im)patiently in front of the oven.

Touch the top of the pudding; crust should be crisp and when you press it down, it should be springy. Springy means it’s custard-like on the inside (read: perfecto). Scoop a portion onto a plate, or shamelessly indulge out of the bowl.

You might wanna add a good heaping of vanilla or chocolate ice-cream, and drizzle more Nutella over it.

Mmmm, somethin’ about indulging warm-served dessert with ice cream that make your toes curl!

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

Recipe: Bread & Nutella Pudding

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, Facts, Muzlimbuzz, Recipes, Teatime, Tips

Sides at Swensen’s

I particularly recall fond childhood memories at the former Swensen’s branch at Changi Airport Terminal 2. Yes, the one with the indoor playground at their doorstep. Parents seated at dinner tables, with their heads outstretched occasionally to look out for their kids monkeying around at the play area. Swensen’s was the chosen venue for when parents get a fatter paycheck or strictly for birthdays only because it had Fish & Chips and Banana Split – which were the luxuries then.

Swensen’s today is a far cry from being a mere Fish & Chips and Banana Split restaurant. Being a synonymous household name means they’re constantly expanding their already wide array of Western, Asian and Dessert selections to suit our expanding appetite. You get seriously spoilt for choice when you’re seated holding up the 14-odd paged menu; focusing mainly on the Main Course and Sundaes & Sweet Treats pages. Probably needs about an hour to browse from cover to cover.

You’d think to yourself – hmm now, that Breaded Chicken Meuniere is definitely a must-have and mmmm, wash it down with a generous serving of Frosted Chocolate Malt.

And as you flip the menu to look at other food selections, Mr Waiter comes by with a warm smile and utters an amicable ”Hi Sir, may I take your order now?” Your order gets noted, it gets transmitted to the kitchen and… that’s when you start flipping to look at the sides.

And by then, you’ll think you’d be too full to add on the side orders. Swensen’s sides are severely under-rated, honest! Here are the 4 M’s in that page of 12 sides that never fail to make it into my order list:

Meatballs in Black Pepper Sauce

The dish is pretty self explanatory – succulent chicken with beef meatballs basking in richly seasoned black pepper sauce with a good dollop of kid-friendly mash.

Dare you say no to meatballs?

Deep-fried Mushrooms

I had tried incessantly to recreate this delish pop-it-in-your-mouths, but they’ll never turn out just like Swensen’s. Hot and tender shiitake mushroom in a light crisp coating of batter, dipped in trusty ole tartar sauce. The initial audible crunch of batter, a whiff of earthy mushroom aroma; and as you sink your teeth in further, feel the velvety texture of the shiitake, rolling around your mouth with tangy hints of sour tartar.


Mmm! Definitely a winner, this one!

Mozarella Cheese Sticks

There is nothing more sinfully gratifying than stringing warm mozarella cheese.
And when you break into these fried crisp mozarella cheese sticks, you get just that – warm ooze of pale yellow goodness!

*Gasps* Bet your jaw just dropped and your salivary glands just went on overdrive, right there.

Baked Mussels

Still on the topic of cheese, though this time baked – are piping hot green mussels under a veneer of cheese and cream and all things magical. The shield of cheese steams mussel on the inside so you get to savour the enticing mix of salty cheese and sweetness from the tender mussel. Use a fork to nudge the base of the shell to loosen the cheesy crusts and slowly slide the whole mollusc into your mouth.

Your tastebuds would flip in excitement, I promise!

4 M’s – Meatballs, Mushroom, Mozarella and Mussels that are definite Must-haves in your next Swensen’s order! Be sure to make some space in your tummy for it!

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

Sides at Swensen’s 

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 Dinner, Favourites, Lunch, Muzlimbuzz, Snacks, Teatime

4pm Caffeine fix

Thought I might share with you what a typical 4pm-coffee-break looks like in my home. No fancy-schmancy scone/muffin/quiche/croissant. I want it good and I want it fast, y’know?

Just pretty content with Old Town’s iced hazelnut white coffee & Helema Fourré biscuits (available in Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, Lemon & Banana – grab it at your nearest supermarket!).

And yes, I do dunk it in iced coffee. So wrong, yet so right.

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Filed under Favourites, FOTD, Teatime