Monday, April 21, 2014

Recipe: Healthy Olive Oil, Fruit and Nut Cake

I enjoy my baking sessions in the kitchen with Baby C. I always try to pick an easy recipe (mix-in-the-bowl type) so that she can do it herself from start to finish - I believe this is a great way to build up her confidence in the kitchen. 

Olive oil, fruit and nut cake

One of the bakes we made last week was this healthy olive oil, fruit and nut cake, which is pretty low in sugar, uses olive oil instead of butter and has a mix of dried fruits (raisins, cranberries and apricots) which my kids adore.It is worth using a good quality olive oil as this will determine the cake's flavour. Pine nuts are also added to this cake to give it a delicate texture and flavour to the cake. This recipe also calls for a few tablespoons of orange juice and I also added some of the orange zest, and the whole kitchen smelt absolutely wonderful when this was baking in the oven.

Although this is a healthy low-sugar cake, the kids loved it a lot. It is a dense cake, but with a moist texture. Great with a cuppa coffee or tea. :)

A big thumbs up from Baby C

Healthy Olive Oil, Fruit & Nut Cake
Recipe by Baby Sumo, adapted from Cook's Library Baking 
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 40-45 minutes
Serves 8

225g self raising flour
50g caster sugar
125ml milk
4 tbsp orange juice
Zest of 1/2 orange
150ml extra virgin olive oil
100g mixed dried fruit
25g pine nuts

1. Preheat oven to 180°C (no fan). Grease and line a 18cm/7 inch cake tin with baking paper.

2. Sift the flour into a large bowl and stir in the caster sugar. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the milk and orange juice. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon, gradually beating in the flour and sugar.

3. Pour in the olive oil, stirring well so that the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Stir in the mixed dried fruit and pine nuts into the mixture and pour the batter into the prepared cake tin. Smooth the surface with the spoon.

Our cake is ready for the oven

4. Place into preheated oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the cake is golden and firm to the touch.

5. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: For the mixed dried fruit, I used a mix of dried cranberries, raisins and apricots. If you do not have pine nuts, you can replace with almond slivers. Your child can help with Step 2-3 of the recipe.

Enjoying her cake with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice :)

I am linking this to the Little Thumbs up "Orange" event organised by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen from My Little Favourite DIY, hosted by Ann from Anncoo Journal. You can link your posts here.

I am submitting this to Cook-Your-Books #11 hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours .
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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Recipe: Grilled Zucchini + Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

Happy Easter everyone!

We had a great morning hunting for Easter eggs as well as eating chocolate eggs and hard boiled eggs, and we're looking forward to lamb chops for dinner :) 

For today's post, I want to share the recipes for the side dishes that I served with my slow-roasted leg of lamb - grilled zucchini and cheesy mashed potatoes.

Zucchini or courgette is one of my favorite vegetables, and we buy this every week, be it for a pasta dish or as a side dish. This time, I decided to slice it to about 1cm thickness and then grill it for 3 minutes each side. Make sure the grill pan is really hot, so that you get these lovely grill marks on the zucchini. Really simple and delicious!

I made too much mashed potatoes for dinner the previous night, so the leftovers were placed in ramekins and topped with mozzarella and cheddar cheese and baked until the crust is a lovely golden brown. Rich, fluffy cheesy mashed potatoes. :) 

My Easter Helpers :D

Grilled Zucchini
Recipe by Baby Sumo
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 6 minutes (per batch)
Serves 4

2 zucchini, halved then cut into 1cm slices
3 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp dried parsley

1. Place crushed garlic cloves, olive oil and parsley in a bowl and set aside for 5-10 minutes to infuse. Add zucchini and toss to coat and season with salt.

2. Place the zucchini in a very hot grill pan and grill for 3 minutes each side. Remove and serve immediately.

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes
Recipe by Baby Sumo
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time:  45 minutes
Serves 4

4 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
3-4 tbsp of butter
1 tbsp milk
Freshly ground salt and pepper
3-4 tbsp mozarella and cheddar cheese

1. In a pot of salted water, boil the potatoes for 15-20 minutes or until soft. Drain and mash (using a potato press) with some butter and milk. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Place mashed potatoes in ramekin, filling about 85% full (you should need 2), and bake in a preheated oven (210°C) for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden.

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Five Easy & Fun Easter Crafts for Kids

This week, the kids and I made these crafts together for our Easter celebration this Sunday. Here are 5 easy and fun Easter crafts to make, which are suitable for kids aged 2+ and above.

1. Easter Egg Decorating

For us, Easter is not complete without some Easter egg decorating. For the past couple of years, we have been decorating the eggs for the kids to hunt on Easter morning, but this year, we got them involved with decorating the eggs too. I started "saving up" egg shells since 2 weeks ago - just make a small hole at the top of the egg (easiest way is to use a small spoon, tap and peel), then wash it well and allow it to dry before decorating. Once the eggs are decorated, you can place them in a recycled egg box, or place some dried herbs (I used rosemary) or shredded paper in a basket and place the eggs inside.

The kids really love the Penguin Easter egg ;)

For young kids, I find the easiest media for them would be water colour and glitter glue. Just let their creative juices flow. For older kids, you can see these two posts for inspiration: here and here.

Things you'll need: Water colour, paintbrush, 12-15 clean egg shells,glitter glue, marker pen.

Time required: 20-30 minutes

2. Mother Hen

And since we have Easter eggs, we gotta have a Mother Hen that laid all the eggs, right? I have provided a step-by-step pictorial tutorial to assist you. It's really fun to make!

First, you need to cut out a small part of the hen for the wing. Then, make the comb and beak, stick on the eyes and decorate the hen with some colorful confetti and glitter glue. If you do not have these, you can also paint or colour with crayon/colour pencils. Finally, stick on some feathers on its back.

Things you'll need: Paper plate(x1), Red art paper, Orange art paper, Craft eye (x1), Glitter glue, Colorful confetti, Feathers (x3), double-sided tape, scissors, glue stick.

Time required: 10-15 minutes

3. Hatching Chick

This is really easy to make - all you need is some art paper (preferably the thicker type). Draw an oval first on yellow art paper, and give your chicks some wings. Cut it out. Cut out some black round eyes and a triangle beak. For the shell, just trace the egg shape onto a white paper and cut zigzag down the centre. We also gave our chick a red ribbon to wear on its head.

Things you'll need: Art paper, scissors, glue stick.

Time required: 10 minutes

4. Easter Bunny
We've been reading a book titled "Henry's Hoppy Easter" lately and the main character of the book is a bunny. So of course we had to make an Easter Bunny each. For this, I have also included a step-by-step pictorial instructions.

We like white bunnies, so we wrapped our toilet roll with white paper and gave it white-pink ears. Stick on the eyes, nose and whiskers and you've got yourself a cute Easter Bunny. Oh and don't forget the stick on the pom-poms for its tail.

Things you'll need:  Toilet roll (x1), White paper, Art paper (white, pink and black), Eyes (x2), Nose (we used heart shaped confetti), scissors, glue stick, double-sided tape.

Time required: 15 minutes

5. Easter Basket (for your chocolate eggs!)

We decided to make mini baskets to store our Easter chocolate eggs (for eating after our Easter egg hunt on Sunday morning). We used cupcake liners, art foam, as well as some colored shredded paper to line the basket. And of course, remember to fill it with lots of mini chocolate eggs :)

Things you'll need: Cupcake liners (x1), Foam (x1 strip), Paper, scissors, double-sided tape.

Time required: 5 minutes.

Happy, Hoppy Easter from us all :)

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Recipe: Roast Lamb Loin Chops with Rosemary and Fries

Lamb is traditionally served during Easter in many households. Larger families can opt for a slow-roasted leg of lamb, which can feed at least 6-8 people, and for smaller families, you can go for lamb cuts such as roast rack of lamb or lamb loin chops. I know of two wee ones in my family who would be very excited to see roast lamb loin chops on the menu this Easter Sunday.

Roast lamb loin chops with rosemary and fries

Baby C adores lamb chops, and her eyes always light up whenever it's served for dinner. She requested for lamb chops for her birthday and on any other occasions that she can. Her favorite accompaniment to the lamb chops are oven-baked fries. The lamb loin chops are placed in the oven with some rosemary and roasted for approximately 15 minutes (we like our meat slightly pink). If you want to get the skin/fats really crispy, you can cut them off and further grill them for another 5 minutes - they become some crispy and melt-in-the-mouth yum. 

What will you be serving up this Easter?

Happy Easter to you all!

Roast Lamb Loin Chops with Rosemary and Fries
Recipe by Baby Sumo
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves 4

8 lamb loin chops (approx. 150g each)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, cut into 1/8th
2 sprigs rosemary
Salt and pepper

For the sugar snap peas
200g sugar snap peas, trimmed
A knob of butter

For the gravy
300ml water
1 beef stock cubes
1/2 - 1 tsp cornstarch, mixed with a few tbsp of water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve
Fries, store-bought or homemade

1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Wash the lamb loin chops and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Place in a tray with rosemary and onion tucked underneath and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.Roast for 15-18 minutes. Allow the meat to rest for 3 minutes before serving. If you prefer the lamb (fats) to be more crispy, you can serve the lamb with the fats side cut off and then grill the fats (high) for about 5 minutes (watch it closely though) - please use a new sheet of foil. I prefer not to use a griddle pan for this as there can be quite a lot of oil splatter.

2. In a pot of salted boiling water, blanch the sugar snap peas for around 1 minutes. Drain and then add a knob of butter to the pan. Toss and season with some salt.

3. For the gravy, bring the water to a boil, then lower to medium heat and add the beef stock cubes. Once dissolved, stir in the cornstarch to thicken. Season with salt and pepper as necessary.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Recipe: Japanese Steamed Cakes (Mushi-pan) in Egg Shells (Cute Easter Chicks)

Since Easter is just around the corner, we have been making Easter-inspired cakes in our kitchen. I bookmarked this recipe from Mich sometime ago but never got around to making it. I thought these little chicks hatching from the egg shells would be perfect for Easter!

Steamed Chick Cakes in Egg Shells

For this, you need about 5 or 6 egg shells and they are filled with a Japanese mushi-pan batter and then steamed for around 8 minutes. This mushi-pan recipe is taken from Nami's page, and we made the basic version for "yellow chicks". A very easy recipe - I did all the measuring and Baby C did all the mixing and pouring into the egg shells.


We did some Easter egg decorating earlier in the week :)

The cake has a nice soft texture. We also like how healthy it is - very little sugar and oil. Best of all, the kids loved how adorable the chicks look. You can decorate using fondant, chocolate chips or raisins for the eyes and almond slivers or sliced dried apricots for its beak.

Perfect for Easter!

Great job Baby C! She definitely put a smile on our faces with these adorable chicks

Steamed Cake (Japanese mushi-pan) in Egg Shells
Recipe adapted from here and here
Preparation time: 5-10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Makes 5-6

1/2 cup (75 g) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp corn oil

To decorate
Fondant, raisins or chocolate chips for eyes
Sliced apricot or almond slivers for beaks

1. Make a small hole on top of 6 egg shells (easiest way is to crack gently using a small spoon and peel off some of the egg shell) and pour out the contents into a bowl. Rinse the egg shells well with washing detergent and water and pour out any excess water. It is better to do this in advance and allow the egg shells to dry briefly before using. You will only need 1 egg for this recipe, keep the rest for other cooking/baking.

2. In a medium bowl, sift the flour and baking powder twice. In a separate bowl, place the one egg, milk, sugar, and oil and mix together using a whisk. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix until smooth.

3. Pour the batter into a measuring jug. Carefully fill each egg shell with batter until it is 2/3 full. 

4. If you have egg cups, place each filled egg shell into a cup. Otherwise, you can use a muffin tray and stabilise the eggs using some rice. 

5. Place in a steamer over medium heat for 8 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly before peeling.

6. To decorate, form little beads for the eyes using the fondant. For Easter, you can peel off half the egg shell only if you want it to appear as if the chick is "hatching" from the egg.

Hatching :)

Will you be decorating Easter eggs with your family?

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Recipe: Tom Yum Pasta with King Prawns + WORLDFOODS Giveaway

I love creating fusion pasta dishes in my kitchen. This time, I making tom yum pasta with king prawns, using WORLDFOODS Thai tom yum paste. I have cooked with this paste before (made seafood tom yum soup) and I really like how spicy, tangy and appetizing it is. 

Whenever I create a fusion pasta dish like this, I will work out the best ingredients to pair it with. I am using king prawns (with their tails intact), as well as some roasted cherry tomatoes, and the sauce base includes fresh ingredients such as onion, lemongrass and kaffir lime to further enhance the flavour of the paste.For those who prefer their tom yum tangy, you can serve some calamansi lime (limau kasturi) halves on the side which they can squeeze over just before eating.

This was a successful creation - the al dente spaghetti is nicely coated with slightly spicy and tangy tom yum sauce and it is especially fragrant, thanks to the finely sliced lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. The sourness of the sauce is nicely balanced by the sweetness of the king prawns, and the mint leaf garnish leaves a nice, fresh aftertaste. Also love how quick and easy this is to prepare!

Yum yum, says Baby D


Once again, thanks to WORLDFOODS, I have 2 bottles of this Thai tom yum paste to giveaway. All you need to do is leave a comment below stating "I want to enter this giveaway" with your name and e-mail address. This giveaway is open to Malaysia only. 2 winners will be drawn (1 bottle each) at random on 21 April 2014 (after 12 noon) and notified via email. Those who have entered previously can enter again :)

Note: WORLDFOODS products are food allergens free, trans-fat free and gluten free with no artificial preservatives, coloring or flavouring, as well as being suitable for vegetarians, vegans, coeliacs and Muslims. In KL, WORLDFOODS products are available at Village Grocer (Bangsar Village 1, Sunway Giza, Mt Kiara), Jaya Grocers (Intermark, Empire Shopping, Plaza Jelutong) and Hock Choon @ Ampang.

Tom yum pasta with king prawns
Recipe by Baby Sumo
Preparation time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves 2

150g spaghetti
40g chicken, minced
8-10 king prawns, peeled and deveined, with tails intact
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 lemongrass,white part only, finely sliced
2 kaffir lime leaves, cut a few slits with scissors (daun limau purut)
2-3 tbsp WORLDFOODS Thai tom yum paste
1 tbsp cooking oil
150ml water
1 tsp fish sauce

To garnish
Mint leaves
6 cherry tomatoes
Olive oil
2 calamansi limes (limau kasturi), halved (optional)

1. Cook spaghetti according to manufacturer's instruction in a large pot of salted water, until al dente (about 8 minutes). Drain and put under cold running water to stop the pasta from cooking further. Set aside.

2. In the wok, heat the oil over medium high heat. Once oil is hot, add the onion and fry for 2-3 minutes until softened.  Add the chicken, and cook for a further 1 - 1 1/2 minutes, then add the tom yum paste and fry for another minute until fragrant.

3. Add water and bring to the boil. Add the kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass and simmer gently for 2 minutes. Season with fish sauce.

4. Add prawns and cook for about 1 minute, until cooked through, then add the pasta and give it a quick stir, to coat each strand with the sauce.

5. For the roasted cherry tomatoes, preheat oven to 200°C. Place tomatoes in a tray and drizzle with some olive oil and place into preheated oven for about 4-5 minutes until the skin looks slightly wrinkled. If you do not possess an oven, you can add the tomatoes into the pasta in step 4 (along with the prawns) to let it gently heat through and soften slightly.

5. To serve: Using a two-pronged carving fork, swirl some of the pasta around the fork. Slide the pasta off the fork and mound it in the center of a plate. Repeat for each serving. Divide 4-5 prawns per plate, then garnish with mint leaves and 2-3 roasted tomatoes per plate. Serve immediately.

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