Saturday, June 30, 2012

Mini Pancakes 迷你烙饼

Hello! Do you feel like having a stack of warm and fluffy homemade pancake for breakfast?

Pancake is one of the cheapest and easiest choice for homemade breakfast. It's quick, requires little ingredients and allows the kids to be involved in the process of making.

When my little niece & nephew stayed over for the weekend, I prepared the batter and let my niece help cook the pancakes while her brother set up the table with my little boy. Me? Just have to supervise them while I play with my baby girl. ;)

Here's my stack... Sinful amount of wild honey with banana slices.

For my little handsome, mini pancakes with some wild honey, fresh jams or Nutella. Yum... He loved them all :)

Ready to make some? Let's go..

Preparation Time: 8 min
Cooking Time: 10 min
Servingfoot: 8 pancakes or 14 mini pancakes

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour, sifted.
3 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 cup fresh milk
1/2 table spoon sugar
A dash of salt
1 egg
3 table spoons butter, melted
Spoonful of Honey or Maple syrup

For Chocolate Pancake
200g unsweetened / semi-sweetened dark chocolate, melted

Step-by-Step Guides:
1. Melt butter in microwave by putting it on high heat for 30 seconds. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, sift in flour. Add in baking powder, sugar and salt. mix well using a spatula.

3. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture, add the egg, milk and melted butter. Mix well.

4. Heat up olive oil or a lump of butter in a frying pan, scoop 2 big spoonful of batter into the pan. It should form a round pancake of about 6cm in diameter. Cook each side for about 2 min. Set aside on a plate and continue cooking the rest.

To serve, stack up a few pancakes into a pancake tower on a plate, pour a generous amount of honey or maple syrup. Add drops of roasted almond nibs, raisins, banana, peaches pr whatever you fancy for extra fun :)

Making Chocolate Pancake
5. Melt the dark chocolate using same method in step 1 (3 min instead). Scoop a spoonful of melted chocolate on the pancake and spread out well, place another piece of pancake on top. Now you have a mini chocolate pancake. Decorate with strawberry or just serve warm as is! :)

Just take note that...
Honey is not recommended for baby under 1 year old due to potential allergic reaction, so when serving to my baby girl who's currently 15 months old, I just serve the pancake as-is and let her eat with her hands, without any syrup nor jam. She thoroughly enjoyed chewing the pancakes and being able to dine with us. Remember, a happy baby is a healthy baby... ;)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Moist Chocolate Orange Marble Cake 香橙巧克力蛋糕

This is a really moist and aromatic butter cake, fresh orange is the key that differentiates it from most store made butter cakes. When the cake is fresh out of the oven, the entire kitchen is filled with tangy fruity scent that even my little boy couldn't resist to ask for a slice of cake!

I have reduced the sugar used in this recipe to make it healthier yet without losing the sweetness. Brown sugar is also used as substitute for the castor sugar as it has added nutrient, molasses, and adds flavors too.

Preparation Time: 30 min
Cooking Time: 55 min (or 30-35 minutes if making cupcakes)
Serving for: 10 slices (or 12 cupcakes)

225g unsalted butter, soften
225g self rising flour
4 eggs
3 Table spoons milk
175g castor / brown sugar
2 table spoon orange juice (about 1/2 medium size orange)
1 teaspoon orange rind, finely chopped
2 Table spoons cocoa powder

Equipment Required:
1 Plastic spatula
1 20 x 4cm round pan or 20 x 10 x 6cm loaf tin
1 piece baking sheet

Step-by-Step Guides:
1. Preheat oven to 160C/180C (gas/fan). Grease the baking pan with butter, follow by a piece of grease proof baking paper (ensure it covers the sides too).
2. Beat butter and sugar in a bowl until creamy, add in egg, one at a time.
3. Then gradually sift in the flour, milk, orange juice and rinds. Mix well.
4. Scoop half of the batter into a clean bowl, add in the cocoa powder, mix well.
5. Pour the plain mixture in step 3 and cocoa mixture in step 4 into the baking pan, one after another. Example, a layer of plain mixture followed by a layer of cocoa mixture. Lightly tap the baking pan on the kitchen top to ensure the bottom layer settled well and is not filled with bubbles.
6. Using a cake skewer (alternatively, a chopstick), poke it straight into the cake mixture and run circles to form marble pattern on the cake.
7. Bake the cake for 45-55 minutes. To test that your cake is done, insert a skewer into the middle of cake and it should come out dry.

Leave the cake to cool in a rack. It is good to keep for 3 days (provided it's not all grabbed! :)

Useful Tips!
1. Use premium grade cocoa to ensure you have a rich & aromatic chocolate marble cake.
2. Valencia orange is recommended as it's juicy and sweet.
3. You may sprinkle nuts on top on the cake before baking, such as walnut, which goes well with this cake.
4. If you are baking this using cupcake tray instead, reduce the baking time to 30-35 minutes.
5. Leave extra 2 inches of baking sheet from the edge of the tray, this will allow you to lift the entire cake easily by just pulling the baking sheet from both ends.

Fresh from oven..

Just ideal for breakfast or tea time

Tea break time... Again :)

Baked some orange chocolate cupcakes for little one to bring to bring to school, he simply loved them..

You can just mix the cocoa powder evenly for a rich chocolaty flavor. I added a few drops of chocolate chips into these little cupcakes, extra yummy :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mini Tuna Burger 迷你金枪鱼汉堡

I usually keep a few cans of tuna at home just in case I ran out of fresh ingredients to cook for the day. It's rather versatile, can be used for cooking pasta, sandwiches as well as burgers.

I made this tuna burgers for the first time today, they turned out pretty well and the soft buns with raisins gave extra points. I let little Ethan help to decorate each bun with the Santa sticks I bought during X'mas, that set him on a really excited mood and as expected, he happily finished his burger. :)

Preparation Time: 30 min
Cooking Time: 10 min
Serving for: 4 Burgers

4 round buns / burger buns

For Burger Patty (A):
1 250g canned tuna in mayonnaise
1 Egg
1/2 Onion, finely chopped
1/2 medium Tomato, finely chopped
Dash of salt and black pepper
4 table spoons of bread crumb
1 teaspoon of parsley / dill / basil
1 teaspoon of lemon

For burger Filling:
1 tomato, cut into slices
8 salad leaves - lettuce, butterhead etc

Step-by-Step Guides:
1. Mix all ingredient A together, make 4 patties using hands. Coat patty with a layer of flour then put in freezer for 30 minutes.
2. Cut buns into half, spread some butter. Lightly heat each side on a hot pan for 5 seconds. Set aside.
3. Heat up 2 table spoons of olive oil in a frying pan, fry each side of the patty until brown, about 3-5 minutes. Careful when turning the patty as it is rather soft.

To serve, assemble the burger with patty and fillings, add some ketchup if you like.

Toasted Tomato Egg Breakfast Wrap 蕃茄鸡蛋腌肉卷

This is similar with a previous post on veggies wrap, but this is a salty version with added hams. It's a filling breakfast that whole family can enjoy together. Little Ethan loves the ham, he calls it the "crunchy crunchy one". Serve with with fresh fruits and veggies will balance out the saltiness of the ham.

For a vegetarian version, just replace the ham with cheddar cheese slice. Taste great too ;)

Preparation Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 6 min
Serving for: 2 Wraps

For Filling (A):
2 Eggs
1/2 Tomato, finely chopped
1/2 Onion, finely chopped
Dash of salt & black pepper

50g Sliced Ham, room temperature

For Wrap:
2 pieces of Wholemeal Wraps

Step-by-Step Guides:
1. Preheat oven at 160C/180C (gas/fan).
2. Mix all ingredient A in a bowl, that's your egg mix.
3. In a frying pan, heat up a spoonful of olive oil, pour in the egg mix and form a big circle. Cook well and set it aside.
4. Put the ham in microwave oven, cook on high heat for 3 minutes (I use pork loin instead).
5. Spread out wrap on a plate, arrange a layer of egg (half) follow by the ham. Wrap up neatly like how you fold an envelope. Place the wrap on a baking tray.
6. Toast the wrap in the preheat oven for 6 min-8 min until crispy.

To serve, cut the wrap in half. Arrange with yogurt and cut fruits of your choice (optional)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Honey Roast Whole Chicken Thigh 蜜糖烤香鸡腿

This is one of the simplest family meal that everyone at home loves. The chicken meat is succulent and flavorful. I'll usually cut a drumstick for Ethan and watch him eat happily :)

With proper arrangement and decoration, this can be a decent gourmet meal to serve your guests too.

Honey Roast Whole Chicken Thigh

Preparation Time: 30 min
Cooking Time: 1 hour 15 min
Serving for: 3 persons

3 Whole Chicken Thigh
1 Carrot, cut into cubes
2 Large Potatoes, cut into cubes
1 1/2 cup rice, cook as usual
2 table spoon of honey

Marinate (A):
2 clove garlics, finely chopped
2 tea spoons rosemary, some fresh rosemary leaves
4 table spoon of teriyaki sauce
1 tea spoon of sesame oil
Mix all seasoning together

Equipment Required:
1 glass baking tray, with lid
1 brush

Step-by-Step Guides:
1. Wash the chicken thoroughly, remove excessive fats then rub each one with salt. Marinate the chicken with ingredient A and leave in a fridge for 30 min.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C/200C (gas/fan). In the meanwhile, cook the rice.
3. In a glass baking tray, pour in the carrots and potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper to taste. Sprinkle some olive oil and mix evenly.
4. Remove chicken from fridge, spread on the veggies evenly (avoid overlapping).
5. With the lid on, put the baking tray into the oven. Roast the chicken and veggies for 50 minutes.
6. Remove tray from oven, turn the chicken thigh to another side, mix the veggies to ensure they are coated with the chicken stock (these are the juice and fats extracted from the chicken during high heat)
7. Brush honey on the surface of the chicken skin. Roast the chicken for another 30 minutes. This time without the lid (the exposed portion will be crispy).

To serve, put the roast chicken thigh on the plate, with roast veggies on the side and a cup of rice. Sprinkle some fresh rosemary leaves on the chicken to decorate and pour some of the chicken stock (from the baking tray) onto the rice to add fragrance.

Useful Tips!
1. If you like your chicken thigh to be dry and crispy, roast it without the lid on. Personally I find it too dry, that's why first half I keep the lid on (meat will be tender & succulent).

Ready for roasting

The Rosemary, 迷迭香

Egg Sausage Breakfast Roll with Fruits

Both my big guy and Ethan love eating sausages, not being a meat lover myself, I always try to add greens and fruits into the meals for a more healthy serving.

As ready packed sausages selling at the supermarket often contain more fats and intestine, I would prefer to buy gourmet sausage from the specialized store, the ratio of meat to fats / intestine are generally lower. (they are generally available in meat section in most super market, otherwise my favorite is Sanbantou in SS2, it's non-halal store).

Interesting fact: the word sausage is derived fromOld French word saussiche and Latin word solsus, where both means, salted. :)

Preparation Time: 30 min
Cooking Time: 10 min
Serving for: 2 Person
Suitable for: 2 Years+

4 Gourmet Sausages, room temperature
4 Breakfast Roll (available from any bakery store)
8 salad leaves (lettuce, butterhead)
2 Eggs
2 table spoon of fresh milk (optional)
1 Red Apple, cut to 8 slices
8 Strawberries, cut half

Equipment Required:
1. Frying Pan

Step-by-Step Guides:
1. Slits 3 cuts on both sides of the sausages (about 2" long, this is to prevent the sausage from ballooning up while cooking then shrinks suddenly once it's removed from the pan).
2. Pan fry the sausage until well cook - approximate 3 minutes on each side. Cut the sausage into half.
3. Beat the eggs in a bowl, add the milk, then salt and pepper to taste.
4. Heat up olive oil on the frying pan, pour few spoonful of egg liquid on the frying pan, fold the egg into a rectangular shape using the spatula. Make 4 fried eggs. Set aside.
5. Slits the breakfast roll from the center (do not cut completely), spread with some butter on each side. Spread the salad leaves, follow by sausage and egg.

To serve, squeeze some mayonnaise or ketchup on top. Arrange the apples and strawberries on the side of the plate as deco. With 1 apple slice & 2 strawberries slice you can get a fruity butterfly pattern :)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Easy Almond Banana Toast 杏仁香蕉土司

This is a sweet savory suitable for nearly all ages.

We went to a nearby cafe for breakfast one weekend and I had an almond banana dessert. It looked rather simple and I thought I can try making this at home.

So I did and it turned out great. We had a warm breakfast served with brewed coffee for big ones & hot chocolate for little one at the comfort of our home. The total cost was only around RM10 (include drinks) but the stress-free family time was priceless. :)

Preparation Time: 10 min
Cooking Time: 8 min
Serving for: 2-3 persons

4 pieces of sandwich bread, remove the brown edges if you like
1 large ripe banana, cut into slices
Some almond flakes
2 table spoons of honey (I used Manuka honey)

Step-by-Step Guides:
1. Preheat the oven at 160C/180C (gas/oven).
2. Place the breads on a baking tray with some space in between, arrange the banana slices neatly, sprinkle with some almond flakes and follow by drops of honey.
3. Bake the bread for 8-10 minutes. Let it cool before serving.

The toasts came out really crispy and filled with natural sweetness, thanks to the honey and banana. Both honey and banana are ideal for easing constipation problems, I made this for Ethan after he had not passed motion for 2 days and the problem was resolved the very same day.

Useful Tips!
1. Include some prunes onto the toast if your little one has constipation problem, it adds sweetness and fiber too.
2. Some people may be allergic to nuts, if this is the first time your little one is having almond, do watch out for allergic syndrome, such as skin rashes, nappy rash.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Easy Fruity Yogurt

Days where I got lazy, yogurt is a great choice for quick breakfast or healthy snack on for a hot & sweaty afternoon.

This can be prepared ahead of time and keep in fridge for later consumption.

Fruity Yogurt Cup
Preparation Time: 5 min
Serving: 2 persons
Suitable for: 2 Years+

2 cups of plain yogurt (you can used flavored yogurt too)
1 cup of fresh fruits - grapes, strawberries, apples, prunes, kiwis cut to bite size (wash thoroughly)
1/2 cup of wholemeal cereals
A table spoon of raisins

Step-by-Step Guide:
1. In a clear glass cup, adds the ingredients layer by layer in following sequence:
- yogurt
- cereals + raisins
- yogurt
- fruits
If you are serving in a tall glass, repeat the layers in sequence.
2. Serve immediately or chill in fridge if you are eating later.

End result? A cup of wholesome yogurt that looks too good to resist! ;)

Useful Tips!
1. Use fruits of different colors to achieve a beautiful visual effect and mix of nutrient.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Frozen Mango Popsicles 芒果冰棒

Living in a country where we get summer all year round, it is no wonder that cold drinks, ice creams, ice desserts sell like hot cakes among the locals. Instead of letting Ethan takes those of-the-shelve ice creams which are overly sweet and full of preservatives, I decided to make these mango popsicles one night and they turned out pretty well!

Homemade Mango Popsicle

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Waiting time (freezing): 4 hours
Serving: 6-8 popsicles

2 cups mango cut into 1" cube size (1 large size mango)
Some mango or strawberries cut into small chunks
2 cups plain yogurt
1/4 cup white sugar (this is optional, I didn't use any sugar as I like my Popsicle as natural as possible :)

Equipment Needed:
1. Blender
2. 6-8 Popsicle sticks / kid size plastic spoons (as seen here)
3. 6-8 popsicle holders / paper cup (used for baking cupcakes)

Step-By-Step Guides
1. Using a blender, blends the cut mangos, sugar and yogurt into puree - I make it slightly chunky but you can make it watery smooth too according to your preference.
2. Add the mango / strawberries chunks, mix evenly.
3. Pour the puree into a paper cup or popsicle holder until about 3/4 full. Poke in a popsicle stick.
4. Put the popsicles in a big container and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.

The frozen Popsicles can store up to a month.

Useful Tips!
1. To remove the paper cup/ Popsicle holder easily, run the Popsicle under running water for a few seconds.
2. Put the popsicles in a container to avoid cross contamination with other meats / fish.
3. Replace or mix mango with other fruits, such as strawberries, blueberries.. I have yet to try out dragon fruits but I would think it is suitable too.

Pan-Fried Salmon Cake 香煎三文鱼片

This is a healthy yet delicious meal that is suitable for kids & adults.

Easy Hearty Meal - Pan Fried Salmon Cake
Kiddie Meal - Pan Fried Salmon Cake

Preparation Time: 30 min
Cooking Time: 20 min
Serve: 3-4 persons

(A) For Salmon Cake
200g salmon block (fresh or frozen salmon pack from hyper market)
1 table spoon Chopped garlic
1/2 chopped onion
1 tea spoon lemon juice
1 egg
4 table spoons bread crumb
1 tea spoon parsley / dill / basil
Salt & black pepper to taste
All purpose Flour (for coating)

(B) For Sauté Veggie
chopped garlic
Cut french beans & carrots into stripes (or any veggies you like)

(C) For Dressing
1/4 canned tomato puree
1 table spoon Chopped garlic
1 table spoon Chopped onion
Some herbs of your choice (optional)

Step-by-Step Guides
For Salmon Cake:
1. Remove salmon skin, blend roughly then mix all ingredient A together in a big bowl.
2. Make the salmon patty into desired shape of about 1" thick (using your hands or cookies cutter), coat with a thin layer of flour, then freeze for about 10min.
3. Heat up the pan with 2 spoons of olive oil. Fry each side of the patty for about 3-5min on medium heat (depends on thickness of your patty), or until it turns golden brown.
4. Set the salmon cakes aside.

For Dressing:
(feeling lazy? Just serve as-is or put drops of ketchup)
1. Heat up the pan, stir fry garlic, onion using olive oil until fragrance.
2. Pour in the tomato puree, bring to boil. Add a bit of water.
3. Add a dash of herbs (optional).
4. When the sauce is thickened, your dressing is done.
Note: You may add salt or sugar to the puree according to your liking.

For Sauté Veggie:
(or replace with chips :))
1. Heat up the pan, pour some olive oil & stir fry garlic till fragrance.
2. Add in the carrots & French beans, stir fry for about a min then add some cold water. Add a pinch of salt & Lee and Perrin's sauce (optional).
3. Continue stirring for about 1 min before turning off the stove.

To Serve:
Place the salmon fish cake on the plate, scoops few spoonful of dressing on top and sauté veggies on the side. Bon Appetite!

Useful Tips!
1. Use butter instead of oil if you like a richer taste.
2. Coat the patty with bread crumb (after flour) if you like a really crunchy coating.
3. The veggie only requires short cooking time so it remains green & crunchy.

Happy Kiddie Sandwich

Having headache wondering what to prepare for your little one's lunch box or breakfast? Simple sandwiches can be made real attractive, just put on your creativity cap and you may amaze yourself and your little ones. :)

Below are just some samples that I have made, the outcome of the sandwich really depends to what cookie cutters you have, so be flexible and change according to your available resources.

Say Hello to Little Cheesy Bears :)

Preparation Time: 10 min
Serving for: 1 Kid

1 slice sandwich bread
1 slice cheddar cheese
1 cube unsweetened or semi sweetened chocolate
1 table spoon chocolate rice
8 Cherios wholemeal cereals
2 large fresh strawberries.

Step by Step Guides:

For Cheesy Bear Sandwich:
1. To prepare melted chocolate, heat up a small cube of cooking chocolate in microwave on high heat for 3 minutes.
2. Place a slice of cheddar cheese over sandwich bread, cut into desired shape using a cookie cutter. Dip 1 side of a cherios into melted chocolate then place onto the bear shape as buttons, add 2 drops of melted chocolate as eyes.

For Chocolate Ball:
3. Gather all remaining bits of the bread and cheese (from step 2), finely cut them then roll into a ball shape using your palms. Coat with melted chocolate then sprinkle with colorful rice chocolates. Let chocolate harden before serving.

For the Heart:
4. Cut strawberries into slices, arrange into heart shape. Using a cookie cutter or kitchen knife, cut the cheddar chess into heart shape and arrange on top. Add a drop of melted chocolate or fruit jam.

Ethan was excited when he saw these cute little sandwiches, he happily ate up all while watching his favorite TV programme. Hope your little ones will too love these too. :)

Visit here for more Snack Box Ideas for your little ones. .

Fluffy Almond Cupcakes 松软杏仁小蛋糕

I have always fancy soft and fluffy pastries and desserts, be it chiffon cake, pudding, tiramisu or taufufa (sweetened bean curd), so I have always been on the hunt for such recipes. After trying various different recipes from cookbooks & online websites, I finally found one cupcake recipe that is exactly to my liking, my little boy actually had 4 in a day!

This is a really simple recipe with easy to find ingredient, just skip the almond flakes if you do not fancy or can't find it.

Fluffy Almond Cupcakes in Colorful Molds

Preparation Time: 25min
Bake Time: 18-20min
Serving: 12 medium size cupcakes
Suitable for: 2 years+

- 3 egg yolks
- 1 whole egg (I use A grade egg)
- 50 gram cake flour (or super-fine flour), sifted
- 50 gram vegetable oil
- 3 egg whites
- 50 gram castor sugar or brown sugar
- a pinch of salt

Equipment needed:
1. A 12-hole baking tray line with cupcake paper
2. A hand whisker or mixer
3. A rubber spatula for folding the egg mixture (flat surface)

Step-by-Step Guides
1. Heat up the oven at 160C / 180C (gas/fan).
2. Whisk egg yolks & whole egg in a large bowl until fluffy, add in the sifted cake flour and oil gradually until well mixed. Set aside.
3. using a clean bowl and whisker, whisk the egg whites in a quick circular motion until it is really stiff (in white foam & will hold the shape even when you turn the bowl upside down). If using electric mixer, make sure you set to high speed.
4. Add in salt & sugar gradually into the egg white, continue whisking to mix well and till stiff.
5. Using a rubber spatula, slowly fold the egg white into the flour mixture. Take a big scoop one at a time and fold really slowly into the flour mixture. Slow & steady motion is the key, you don't want to create any bubble now.
6. Once the mixture is done, scope them into the baking tray. Fill up to around 60% full.
7. Sprinkle with some almond flakes or chocolate chips on top (or any other nutty toppings of your liking).
8. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes until the cupcake has risen with a nice golden top.
8. Done!

Let the cupcakes cool on a rack before serving, it is so aromatic and I simply love the crunchy roasted almond!

Useful Tips!
1. To get a successful egg white whisk, ensure you use eggs at room temperature (soak them in warm water if you used them right from fridge). Besides, your whisker and bowl must be clean from water & oil.
2. Replace almond flakes with chocolate chips if you have little ones with a sweet tooth. They will love this :)
3. Some kids maybe allergic to nuts, if this is the first time your little one having almonds, do watch out for potential allergic symptom, such as rashes.

Some "ice cream" cones for you? ;)
My little boy enjoys helping me in the kitchen so lining up the cones is one fun task for him...

Easy Butter Cookies 可爱牛油饼干

Butter cookies are so simple to make and the ingredients are easily available. Invest with a few cookie cutters, you can create interesting cookies that any kids would like, from alphabets to cartoon characters to funny shapes.

Given nice packaging, these cookies can be made into party door gift or festive cookies too ;)

Ethan's Cookies :)

For Cookie Dough:
200g unsalted butter
300g all Purpose flour, sifted
120g brown sugar / castor sugar
1 egg
2 tea spoon vanilla essence

For Decoration:
Chocolate chips

Step-by-Step Guides:
1. Using a hand mixer or electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until creamy smooth. Add in egg and vanilla essence, and mix in the flour.
2. Shape the dough into a ball shape, cut into half and wrap using a cling foam and chill for 1 hour.
3. Preheat oven to 160c/180c (gas/fan).
4. Spread a palmful of flour onto a clean worktop, roll out the dough using a rolling pin until about 1cm thick. Using cookie cutter, cut the dough into desired shape and move to a tray (laid with a layer of baking sheet).
5. Decorate the cookies with chocolate chips.
6. Chill the cut cookies dough for another 10-15min.
7. Bake the cookies for 10-12min. Leave on a rack to cool. Once cool, store in an air tight container. Good to keep for 1 week.

Useful Tips!
1. Unused dough can be chilled up to a week, so it is not necessary to used up all dough in one baking.
2. If the dough gets too sticky, coat the worktop and your hands with more flour, alternatively, putting some cooking oil on your hands will make it easier to handle too.
3. Do not roll out the dough to too thin or it will break easily.
Doraemon, Doralin, Mickey & Minnie Cookies. All my favorite childhood characters.
Butter cookies as CNY gift set
Alphabet cookies, with chocolate chips. Yummy!

Healthy Crispy Wraps

I call this the healthy fast food - it takes less than 30 minutes to prepare a wholesome breakfast for the whole family, its oil free, fuss free, and the combination is (nearly) limitless!

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

4 wraps, either original, potato or garlic flavored

For Fillings:
*4 slices of hams
*2 eggs, beaten, add a pinch salt.
1 carrot, cut into stripes of 1cm thick
1 large apple, cut into stripes
1 plum, cut into stripes
12 leaves of lettuce or butter head

* skip first 2 ingredients and you get a vegetarian wrap.

Steps-by-Step Guides
1. Preheat oven to 150c/170c (gas/fan).
2. Cook carrots in boiling water for 5 minutes.
3. Heat up butter / olive oil in a frying pan, fry the egg and cut into long stripes.
4. Spread out the wrap on chopping board. Lay 1-2 pieces of leaves, follow by other fillings in the center. Fold the wrap from 4 corners (like an envelope)
4. Place the wraps into oven for 10 min.
5. To serve, cut the wrap into half. This taste best when serve fresh.

See pictures below for serving suggestions ;)

Helpful Tips!
1. Replace fillings with any fruits or veggies you like such as pear, pumpkin.
2. Add mayonnaise, ketchup or fruit jam into the wrap if you like a richer taste.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Frozen Chocolate Banana Popsicle 巧克力香蕉冰棒

Banana is easily available in Malaysia and all of us at home loves it. Problem is, it ripe too fast, often turns bad before we can finish the entire bunch.

Instead of throwing the over ripe bananas away, I made the excess ones into Popsicles. It's delicious and no extra sugar nor flavoring required. It's a dessert suitable for all ages! ;)

Frozen Chocolate Banana Pops on a sunny afternoon... nice!

Preparation Time: 15min
Waiting Time (freezing): 15min
Serving: 6 persons
Approximate Cost: ~ RM12

3 large bananas, remove skins & cut into half. Poke on Popsicle sticks.
1 table spoon of olive oil
200g of unsweetened / semi-sweetened chocolate

For Decoration:
Roasted almond nibs
Chocolate Rice

Step-by-Step Guides
1. Preheat the oven at 160c/180c (gas/fan). Prepare a tray with a layer of baking sheet.
2. Poke the cut bananas onto Popsicle sticks and freeze them for 10min (so it's easier to work on)
3. Cut the cooking chocolate into smaller cubes, melt them in the microwave on high heat for 3 min. Add in the olive oil to avoid it from clogging up.
4. Spread up the almond nibs on a tray, bake in oven for 5min.
5. Dip the frozen banana Popsicle into the hot chocolate.
6. Sprinkle roasted almond nibs, chocolate rice onto the popsicle; Rest the coated banana stick onto the prepared tray.
6. Freeze the tray of banana popsicle for 15min. Ready to serve!

The frozen Popsicles is good to keep for up to a week.

Useful Tips!
1. if you are working a bigger batch, heat up the chocolate in batches as the melted chocolate may thicken up if left exposed for too long.
2. If you are having a party, cut the bananas into bite size - about 1" wife each. You have a pretty impressive looking frozen banana dessert (see pictures below) to wow your guest!
3. Some kids may be allergic to nuts. If this is the first time your little one having almond, do watch out for potential allergic symptom, such as rashes.

Frozen Choco Banana Dessert, best finger food for party.
Frozen Choco Banana popsicle, made with love :)
Simple love these cute looking popsicle sticks!

Fun Alphabet Pasta 趣味字母面条

I came across organic alphabet pasta in the supermarket and just couldn't resist buying it for Ethan, he was 2 years old then. Instead of canned pasta sauce, I made everything from scratch and he absolutely loved it! We had a whole lots of fun hunting for alphabets during his meal time :)

When having friends and their kiddos come over for gathering, I'll cook about 1.5 cup of this pasta and all the kids enjoyed it.

Preparation Time: 10min
Cooking Time: 20min
Serving: 2 kiddos


A) For Pasta
1/2 cup organic Alphabet pasta

B) for Pasta Sauce
1/2 canned tuna flakes in water (discard the water), or a palm size of dory / salmon fillet.
1 whole XL size tomato, finely chopped (or substitute with 1/2 canned tomato puree)
6 baby carrots (or 1/2 a normal carrots, roughly chopped)
2 gloves of garlic, finely chopped
A pinch of brown sugar
Few leaved of fresh basil, finely chopped (optional, not all little one likes herbs due to the strong scent)

Step-by-Step Guides
1. Boil a pot of water, add the pasta & baby carrots once the water boils. Cook the pasta & baby carrots according to the cooking time indicated on the packaging (usually between 7min-13min).
2. Once cooked, drain the excess water using a strainer. Put the pasta & carrots aside.
3. Heat up a spoonful of olive oil in a frying pan, sauté the garlic until it turns light brown.
4. Add chopped tomatoes into the pan, add some water and let it shimmers on medium heat for about 5min.
5. Add tuna flakes & stir for about 5min.
6. Seasoned with salt and brown sugar according to your liking (sugar not required if you are using canned tomato puree, I did not add any salt for my little one's pasta)
7. Toss in the cooked pasta & baby carrots, mix evenly.
8. Add the fresh basil and mix well. Once the sauce is thicken, your pasta is done!

Useful Tips!
1. You may add flavor to the pasta by sprinkling some bacon chips or parmesan cheese on top. Just be sure your kiddo is not allergic to cheese.
2. Most little ones may not like herbs, so you may leave it out or avoid herbs with strong aroma such as rosemary.
3. If you are not serving the pasta right away, let the sauce be more watery so it will not be too dry when served later.
4. If you are feeding the pasta to younger baby, you shall blend the tomatoes and carrots until you get a fine mushy paste texture before cooking them with the pasta

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Baby First Food - Vegetable Puree 婴儿初食

I created this post to keep track of the puree I prepared for my baby C. These puree are added to the rice cereal where I introduced a new veggie/fruit on every 3 days gap (some suggested 4 days rule but I decided to observe for 3 days as per what the pediatrician advised).

For babies above 8 months old, they are ready for non pureed food, you may refer to this post instead - No fuss baby porridge for busy mom.

Soft and mushy rice cereal

The veggies are introduced in the following sequence,you may choose to vary. However, do avoid citrus fruits (e.g. Orange, kiwi) and eggs for baby under 1 year old. As baby was 7 month old when I first wrote this post, I will update from time to time:

Day 1-3: Plain rice cereal
Day 4-6: Carrots, steamed
Day 7-9: Pumpkins, steamed (mix with carrots)
Day 10-12: Broccoli stems, steamed without florets (mix with pumpkin)
Day 13-15: Potatoes, steamed (mix with carrots)
Day 16-18: Sweet potatoes, steamed (this is really tasty! However, some mommies reported their little ones had constipation problem after consuming sweet potato while it was alright with my baby)
Day 19-22: Apple, steamed (for snack time)
Day 23-25: Banana, uncooked (for snack time)
Day 26-28: Pear, steamed (baby had watery poo 4 times within same day so I have stopped this the next day)
Day 29-31: Fresh Avocado with milk, uncooked (for snack time)
Day 32-34: French beans, steamed
Day 35-37: Melon, steamed (for snack time)
Subsequently: Asparagus, steamed (used stem portion only)

Preparation Time: 30 min
Cooking Time: 30 min
Equipments Required:

  • Food blender/processor
  • baby food containers (BPA Free, can stand -4c to 100c)
  • covered ice tube tray
  • If you are first time parent, check out my article on Feeding Essentials for Little Ones before you begin your shopping spree.. :)

Step-By-Step Guides:

  1. Cut your choice of veggies into approximate 1"x1" cube size, wash thoroughly. Put in a small porcelain bowl. Fill the bowl with just enough boiled water to cover the veggies. Only 1 type veggies in each bowl.
  2. Place the bowls of cut veggies into a steamer, boil on high heat then change to medium heat once water is boiling.
  3. Steam the veggies for about 20min. For carrots, steam up to 30min for softer texture.
  4. Let the steamed veggies cool to room temperature. Then put the veggies plus a bit of water into blender, blend till no lump observed (about 10-15 seconds on high speed).
  5. Pour the puree into a clean ice cube tray / baby food container. Store in freezer with lid covered. 
  6. When serving, take the cubes out and thaw with the container on the bottle warmer or a bowl of hot water (need at least 30min so prepare ahead of time). Mix well with the rice cereal.

Happy Feeding! 

Methods to Prepare Rice Cereal:
  1. I cook the porridge (1/6 - 1/4 cup rice with 3 rice bowls of water) for 30 minutes (the porridge should be slightly watery), let it cold down and blend it for about 10 seconds on normal speed. This method is as per suggested by Asian Parenting Guide and I find it easy.
  2. Another common method is to grind the rice / brown rice into powdery form using a food processor, store the rice powder in air tight container. To cook, add 1/4 cup rice powder into 1 cup of boiling liquid, whisk constant and cook for about 10 minutes. Refer for more info on wholesomebabyfood website.
  3. Alternatively, you can buy instant rice cereal available in supermarket which only requires adding of water or milk. When going on a short trip with baby, I bring along few packs of instant rice cereal (individual packs) from Happy Bellies, it is convenient and hassle free.

Notes to Parents / Caretaker..
  1. Make sure your equipment is thoroughly cleaned, use separate chopping board and knife for baby food if possible.
  2. Avoid storing your puree with raw meat to prevent contamination.
  3. To ensure freshness, I usually prepare portion enough for 4 days feeding (young baby only take 1 cube in beginning, then gradually increase to 4 cubes, or more).
  4. You may mix up 2-3 puree with rice cereal in a single feeding; however only if confirm your little one is not allergy to that veggie.
  5. 8 months onwards you may introduce meat / fish in the porridge. It is also not necessary to blend the veggies anymore, just cut them into small cubes and cook till really soft; or press the veggies with the back of a spatula/spoon when feeding.
  6. Always prepare the following before feeding your baby:
  • ensure baby is seated securely
  • feeding spoon
  • bib
  • wet hanky or tissues

Useful Tips!

  • To save time, I steamed veggies in a steamer on top tier and cook porridge in the bottom tier. After removing the steamer about 20 minutes of cooking, I continue cooking the porridge for another 10 minutes so it is muddily soft.

  • When preparing puree, you can make extra to serve as dip for fresh cut veggies (pumpkin, sweet potatoes which are naturally sweet) or smoothies (banana and avocado are excellent choice, refer to avocado recipes here for ideas 

  • Watch out for allergy reaction...

  • Whenever you introduced a new food to young baby, best feeding time is around 11am as it may takes several hours before any allergy symptom shows up and you would not want that to happen in middle of the night.

  • Possible allergy reactions: skin rashes/itchiness, nappy rashes, swollen skin, diarrhea, constipation etc. Stop the newly introduced food for a few days before re-introducing it to baby (best to consult your pediatrician on such matters).

  • Important ReminderAny information obtained from Internet, including this blog, shall be used as reference only and not taken as actual medical advice. Always seek advice from your doctor when in doubt.

    Steaming 2 veggies together.

    I used Electrolux hand blender, no mess and easy to clean.

    Thaw the puree in a bowl of hot water.

    Storing the puree before freezing. Seen here are broccoli, potato and rice cereal puree.

    Apple Puree, I didn't add any lemon juice nor salt so the puree looked brownish, but it tasted nice and baby C loved it. .

    Seen here, I steamed 4 different types of veggies at once for more variety. .