Thursday, August 30, 2012

Toasted Banana Wrap 烤香蕉卷

This is such a simple breakfast that in fact no recipe should be needed. It's perfect for a rush rush morning. I made this for little one's snack box to school.

Simple breakfast

Preparation Time: 2 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Serving for: 2 toasts

2 pieces of wholemeal bread
2 ripe banana
Generous amount of Nutella spread
A few toothpicks

1. Preheat oven at 160c.
2. Lay out the bread on baking tray, spread with a generous amount of Nutella spread, follow by a banana on the edge of the wrap
3. Roll the sausage with the bread from the edge towards the other end. Use 2 toothpicks to hold the bread together to form a wrap.
4. Bake in oven (medium rack) for 10 minutes.

Remove toothpicks before serving. Taste best when served warm.

Hot from oven, smells do nice...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hotdog in a Blanket (Cheesy Sausage Wrap)

This is an ideal choice for a yummy quickie for little one and adult alike. We reached home late in the afternoon and was rushing off to the next visit, so I prepared these within 5 minutes, tossed them into the oven, took baby for a quick bath, came down and the hotdogs were warmly wrapped in their yellow cheesy blankets waiting to be bitten. :)

I added some sweet potato purée into the wrap for natural sweetness (I made those for baby snack earlier), taste even better!

My boy was totally hooked when I told him I've prepared him a hotdog wrapped in warm blanket, well, after all this will not go wrong for anyone who likes sausages. :)

Hotdog in A Blanket
On top: sausage wraps in cheddar cheese
On bottom: sausage wraps in cream cheese and sweet potato purée

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Serving for: 2 tortillas

2 pieces of wholemeal tortilla wraps
2 sausages, completely defrost
4-6 spoonfuls of cream cheese
Or 2 slices of cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven at 180C.
2. Lay out the wrap on baking tray, spread with a layer of cream cheese (2-3 spoonful, depends how much cheese you like) or a slice of cheddar cheese, follow by a sausage on the edge of the wrap
3. Roll the sausage with the wrap from the edge towards the other end. Put a tiny bit of cheese near the end of the wrap so the wrap will stick together after baked.
4. Bake in oven (medium rack) for 10 minutes until the tortilla turns crispy and the cheese melts.

Cut half and serve as is. Taste best when served warm.

By the way...
If you do not fancy wholemeal tortilla wraps, look for traditional or other flavors such as potato or garlic. Make sure you store the remaining unused wraps in the fridge with the sealed wrapper, can keep for 3-4 days.

While my boy likes to eat sausages, where possible I will avoid buying ready made sausage buns for him as I do not know what sort of sausages they used. According to a US-based documentary program I watched sometimes back, a lot of sausages in hypermarket contain less than 50% meat, main part of the ingredients are fats, intestines and starch. So whenever possible, I would choose to pay extra for gourmet sausages which has higher ratio of meat to fat ratio.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

No-Fuss Baby Porridge for Busy Mom 简易婴儿米粥


Being a full time working mom with 2 little ones, week day morning is always hush hush time, cooking mushy porridge for my baby girl seems like a real challenge if I need to be early and beat the morning traffic.

Instead of cooking in a rush in the morning, I decided to use slow cooker to slowly cook the porridge overnight. After trying for 2 nights, I finally find the right method that works.

Pumpkin and sweet potato porridge, soft and mushy

Here's how.

Preparation time: 5 min
Cooking Time: 6 hours
Serving size: 2 small bowls
Suitable for: 8 months onwards=

1 palmful or 1/4 cup of rice (adjust according to your baby's eating portion)
3 rice bowls of hot water
1 cup vegetables, cut into big wedges (refer below on possible choices of vegetables)

The Steps:
1. Soak the rice in water for 20 minutes so it's soften. Put the rice into the slow cooker, fill with 3 bowls of hot water. Add the cut vegetable, make sure they are covered with water.

2. Set temperature to "High" and let it cook for 30 minutes.

3. Turn to "Low" temperature, let porridge cook overnight for about 6 hours (note: "Low" is different from "Auto" mode).

A soft and mushy porridge will be waiting for you the next morning. Just lightly crush the vegetables with the back of the ladle. I usually cook the porridge at around 11:30pm, switch to low temp 30min later and by 6:30am - 7am I'll just turn off the cooker.

Store the porridge immediately into vacuum food jar and it shall be good to keep for 6-8 hours, depending what type of food jar you used. Rinsing the food jar with hot water before storing the porridge helps to extend the keep warm duration. 

When feeding, scope just enough in a clean bowl, do not reheat unfinished portion or overnight porridge to serve to baby as you won't want to risk feeding your little one contaminated food.

You can mix and match the following (remember to apply the 3-days rule when introducing new food). All portions are roughly chopped unless mentioned otherwise:

  • Pumpkin / butternut

  • Broccoli stem (finely chopped)

  • Sweet Potatoes

  • Carrots

  • Potatoes

  • Sweet Peas (finely chopped)

  • Asparagus stems (peeled and finely chopped)

  • Onion (finely chopped)

  • Green or Red Cabbage (finely chopped)

  • Celery (peeled and finely chopped) - use sparingly

  • Long beans (finely chopped)

  • Tofu (bean curd), finely chopped

  • Note: above are the vegetables that I had tried personally hence I add them in the list, you may include other ingredients of your choice, for example I have friends who add mushrooms, corns, butternut, peas etc for their little ones' meal.

    I usually mix 2-3 vegetables of different colors in a single cooking for mixture of nutrition, no salt or sauce added. If you would like some natural flavoring for the porridge, you may add pre-washed anchovies when cooking or add half a tea spoon of this homemade anchovies powder when feeding. Do avoid using ready stock cube as those usually contain preservative and MSG.

    You may read here to understand why adding of salt and sauces are not recommended for young infant.

    For first time parent, do read about the Feeding Essential for Little Ones before you start your shopping spree... :)

    Lesson about Fish Porridge...
    After baby past 8 months old, I introduced fish into her diet. I have tried adding fish into her porridge and cook with the above method, and I would advise DO NOT USE  this method for fish. Firstly, fish only requires short cooking time (about 5 minutes) and by storing it in food jar it has a fishy smell that I really dislike;  I doubt babies would like that too.

    So I have changed my approach. Instead of cooking the porridge for baby everyday, I prepare the ingredient for daily portion and past it to the care taker. This way, I know exactly what my baby is eating and can ensure she has balance intake of nutrients.

    On The Go?
    When bringing baby to the care-taker's house before work, or bringing her out for a short visit, I'll just pack everything i need into a keep warm food carrier, simple and sleek looking! 

    As seen here: Food jar, BPA safe food container and feeding spoon and bib, all in a trendy looking, insulated food carrier.

    This Fuel food warmer carrier with all the feeding stuff I need

    Sharing with Parents and Caretaker...
    I will always taste the porridge to find out if it taste nice and if the texture is just right for baby. Don't just follow books or advices blindly, find out for yourself what works best for your precious little one (at least this is what I believe).

    Feeding variety of food in earlier age will avoid a picky eater, this will also ensure your little one absorbs balanced nutrients during their growing years.

    Besides, some wonder why I only used the broccoli stem and not the florets? Well, I avoid florets for my baby due to the fear of any pesticide residues. You may choose to include the florets if you are certain on the  source of broccoli. It's probably just me being extra cautious. :)

    Happy feeding!

    Wednesday, August 22, 2012

    Simple Dory Fish Nuggets 香煎鱼块

    Ethan loves McDonald's chicken nuggets, well, me too. Instead of going to McD for breakfast, I decided to prepare some homemade nuggets for breakfast. Since I'm out of chicken fillet, the frozen dory fish fillets came in handy.

    With a little decoration, my little boy thoroughly enjoyed his homemade Happy Meal and he actually thank me after finishing his breakfast.. :)

    Kiddie Meal for Ethan, decorated with mini cucumbers and cherries. He absolutely loved this :)

    Preparation Time: 10 min
    Cooking Time: 10 min
    Serving for: 10-12 nuggets

    500 gm dory fish fillets, completely defrost and pat dry
    1 cup bread crumbs
    1 egg, beaten
    1 teaspoon of fresh or dried basil leaves
    Dash of salt and pepper
    Dash of worcestershire sauce (I used Lea & Perrins)

    Step-by-Step Guides
    1. Put the beaten egg in a shallow bowl and bread crumb spread out evenly on a plate. Set aside.
    2. Cut the fish fillet into long rectangular shape, season with basil leaves, salt and pepper. Coat the fish nuggets evenly with egg, follow by bread crumbs.
    3. Heat up 2 spoonful of olive oil in a frying pan, put the nuggets one by one. Make sure they do not overlap. Cook each side for about 3-5 minutes or until golden brown, refrain from turning the nuggets too soon.
    4. Absorb excess oil from the nuggets using a kitchen paper and serve as is or with your favorite sauce.

    For little Ethan, I assembled the nuggets into tree trunks with some cherries and baby cucumbers as fruits and leaves. Aren't they looking cute? :)

    Suggestion: Toasted Cheesy Fillet Sandwich
    Add fillet to the sandwich bread with a slice of cheese, toast it on 160c for 8 minutes and you get a yummy sandwich. :)

    Useful Tips!
    1. Before coating the fish nuggets with eggs and bread crumb, make sure to pat dry using kitchen paper so you won't get oil splashing all over when frying.

    The breakfast for me and my Big Guy. Dory Fillet served over omelette and fresh fruits.

    Toasted Cheesy Dory Fish Sandwich for a full breakfast.

    Marinating the fillet with salt, pepper, fresh basil leaves and worcestershire sauce.
    Put the 2 plates of eggs and bread crumb side-by-side, easier for coating.
    Pan frying the fillet.

    Monday, August 20, 2012

    Quiche Lorraine 奶酪蛋饼(西式蛋挞)

    I have always love quiche for it's combination of creamy, flavorful egg filling with flaky crush. It reminds me of Chinese egg tarts, only more rich in filling and is served as main dish.

    My brother in law made a really nice Quiche Lorraine recently and I was thick face enough to ask for recipe, so here is my version of the Quiche Lorraine, with cheddar cheese, roasted tomatoes, basils and sausages (I ran out of ham). I made some cup size quiche for my little boy too. He helped me throughout the entire process, accidentally burnt his fingers when he touched the oven thermometer (just minor burnt, thank God!) and he really likes his mini quiche. Worthy effort after all :)

    Miniature quiche for my Little One
    The filling of the quiche

    Preparation Time: 30 min
    Cooking Time: 45 min
    Serving for: 1 Large 25cm pan size or 12 cup cake size

    Original recipe adopted from BBC Good Food


    (A) For the Filling
    300gm cherry tomatoes (I used about 15)
    olive oil for drizzle
    50g shredded Parmesan cheese (I replaced with Cheddar cheese)
    2 large eggs (I used 3 mediums)
    Palmful of ham or sausage, cut to slices (skip this for a vegetarian quiche)
    284ml pot double cream (or fresh milk)
    Handful of fresh basil leaves, shredded, plus a few small ones left whole for scattering

    (B) For the Pastry
    280g plain flour , plus extra for dusting
    140g cold unsalted butter , cut into small cubes
    8 table spoon of cold water (about 120ml)

    Steps By Steps Guide:
    1. To make the pastry, mix flour and butter into a bowl, then rub together with your fingertips until completely mixed and crumbly.
    2. Add cold water bit by bit until everything is well combined and you can roll it into a ball.
    3. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a round about 5cm larger than a 25cm tin using a rolling pin. Lift up the pastry with your hand and the help of a spatula. Drape it over the tart case so there is an overhang of pastry on the sides. Using a small ball of pastry scraps, push the pastry into the corners of the tin. Trim the edges of the pastry using a spatula.
    4. Chill the tart case in the fridge or freezer for 20 mins. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas.
    5. In a roasting pan, drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put the tomatoes in the low shelf of the oven.
    6. Lightly prick the base of the tart with a fork. Blind-bake the tart for 15-25 minutes or until it turns brown. Once done, remove the tart case and tomatoes from the oven.
    7. While the tart is baking, beat the eggs in a large bowl. Gradually add the cream while stirring, then add in the basil, season with salt and pepper.
    8. Once the tart base is ready, remove it from oven (keep the oven running). Sprinkle half the cheese over the base, scatter over the toasted tomatoes, bacon / sausages, pour over the cream mix, then finally scatter over the rest of the cheese on top.
    9. Bake for 15-25 mins until the egg mixture is set and the tart is golden brown. Leave to cool in the case then remove from the tin.

    To serve, scatter over the remaining basil leaved and serve in slices.

    Suggestion for Vegetarian
    Replace bacon/sausages for baby spinach, and you have a yummy vegetarian quiche.

    Heart shape quiche for lunch, filling and healthy.

    1. Use silicon cupcakes to make a miniature quiche, it looks just like Chinese egg tart and your little one can just hold it and bite.
    2. You may make the tart base way ahead, as suggested by the recipe, it can chill for up to 2 days or be frozen for up to a month.

    Heart shape tart base, before and after baking. I should have trimmed the edges before baking, that's where I made adjustment for the recipe.

    Oven toasted tomatoes, before and after. I love the vibrant color.

    Cupcake size quiche, see how they transformed

    Ethan was busy doing all the tasks assigned. We were a good team :)
    Ethan learnt to use a butter knife for the first time, he was so excited and was determined to do a good job.

    Wednesday, August 1, 2012

    Sauté Vegetables Oriental Style 脆脆炒杂菜

    Some of my friends often complain that their kids do not like greens, so getting the little ones to complete his or her meal can be quite a challenge. Thank God I do not really have this problem with Ethan as he generally likes his veggies.

    To spice up his liking for vegetables, I usually cook veggies that are crunchy and of contrasting colors so they are pleasant to the eyes. This tactic has worked well so far an I seldom have to force him to eat his veggies.

    This is a quick dish that can be served for the entire family in under 20 minutes.

    Preparation Time: 10 min
    Cooking Time: 8 min
    Serving for: 4 person

    2 clove garlic, chopped
    1 thumsize ginger, finely chopped (optional)
    1/2 red bell pepper, cut into long stripes
    1/2 fresh carrots, cut into round shape
    12 french beans, cleaned
    1/2 cup fresh broccoli, cut length wise
    1/2 cup cauliflower, cut length wise

    For Flavoring:
    1-2 table spoons of light soy sauce (reduce the usage of soy sauce if serving for young infant) 酱油
    Few drops of worcestershire sauce (急汁)
    Few drops of sesame oil (芝麻油)
    A dash pepper (胡椒粉)

    Step-by-Step Guides:

    1. Heat up 1 spoonful of cooking oil in a wok, sauté the garlic and ginger till they turn light brown, add  all the veggies except french beans, stir fry the veggies for about a minute, then add light soy sauce and worcestershire sauce. 
    2. Add 2 table spoon of water, spread out the veggies evenly then close the lid and let it shimmers for about 3 minutes.
    3. Add french beans, mix well and shimmers the veggies with lid close for another 2-3 minutes.
    4. Turn off the heat, add a dash of pepper and a few drops of sesame oil before serving.

    Useful Tips!

    • French beans, broccoli and carrots are among the ideal finger food for baby to self feed, my 18 mo really enjoyed chewing these crunchy veggies and finished the entire bowl I served her. :) 
    • Alternatively, you may use a kitchen scissor to cut the veggies into bite size to avoid chocking.
    • Do not over cook your veggies or they will lose the crunchiness.
    • You may include prawns or chicken strips (after 3rd step) into this dish for added flavor. I just like my greens, green. :)

    The ingredients

    Love the vibrant colors