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Daddy’s birthday 2016 | Sultana, almond and spiced crystallised ginger cake

As usual, I asked my dad what kind of cake he’d like. He initially said “plain cake.” After much pressing, he gave me three ingredients he would like on the cake sultanas (they are his favourite), almonds and crystallised ginger. 

Recipe adapted from: https://www.sanitarium.com.au/recipes/a-z/almond-and-sultana-spice-cake

Sultana, almond and spiced crystallised ginger cake

Ingredients

125 g butter

100 g sultanas

125 g self-raising wholemeal flour

125 g self-raising plain flour

½ tsp ground cardamom

½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

½ tsp vanilla esssence

125 g brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup skim milk

¼ cup flaked almonds

40 g crystallised ginger

1 TB flour

 
Methods

1)      Preheat oven to 180 C

2)      Grease springform pan with baking paper

3)      Melt butter in a saucepan, add sultanas and cook for 10 mins or until sultanas have softened

4)      In a bowl, sift flour, spices and sugar

5)      Add crystallised ginger, tossed with 1 TB of plain flour

6)      Mix eggs, milk and vanilla essence

7)      Gradually add egg mix into the flour

8)      Fold in sultans and butter mix

9)      Pour batter into pan

10)   Sprinkle with flaked almonds

11)   Bake for 35-40 mins or until firm, test with skewer

12)  Cool on a rack and enjoy!

Note: ideally, I would use margarine but I like to use butter for Dad’s special day cakes because that’s what he prefers 🙂 

~ A special note ~
Happy birthday to the most special daddy on the planet! You are my favourite man in the whole universe, and I cannot say enough to thank you for all the ways you continue to provide support for me. I may like to call myself an adult to the rest of the world (because I’m 23), but secretly I know, without you, I wouldn’t have survived a single day! Despite being a full-fledged adult, I can still be an immature child around you; maybe because I know I don’t need to be an adult around you and I take full advantage of expressing the inner-child in me and throwing all sorts of tantrums. But you always managed to remain calm and composed; I will never know how you can be so patient with me. It’s only because of you I’m able to maintain my sanity. If it weren’t for you, I would have sunk in darkness long ago. I cannot thank you enough for being my support and guiding light. It is true that I take you for granted most of the time, and don’t appreciate you enough. This is something I really need to work towards because a perfect daddy like you should never be taken for granted. I hope to be a better person one day, who can fully appreciate every little thing you do for me.

From your little girl,

Love you always and forever xo

Moong dal and pumpkin curry

Mum left some moong dal in the fridge, I’ve never cooked with it before so I wanted a recipe to use it. This was probably one of the easiest curry I have ever cooked! So simple yet so delicious 🙂

Recipe adapted from: http://www.steamingpot.com/pumpkin-moong-dal/
I modified the recipe as I did not have some of the mentioned ingredients.

Ingredients
1 TB EVOO
1 cup of boiled moong dal (1/2 cup raw)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp of garlic and ginger paste
Turmeric powder (sprinkled)
Curry powder (sprinkled)
250g pumpkin, finely chopped, skin on 
1 red capsicum, small cubes
1 tomato, small cubes 
Cumin powder (sprinkled) 
Few green or red chillies 
Fresh coriander

Method
1) Boil moong dal (refer to instructions above- easier if done beforehand)
I already had my boiled moong dal so I started from step 2

2) Add EVOO oil
3) Add onions, garlic/ ginger paste and turmeric powder once oil is hot
4) Stir for a few seconds
5) Add pumpkin, boiled lentils and chillies once onions are cooked 
6) Add half a cup of water after 5 mins of cooking
7) Add capsicum and tomato
8) Add cumin and chopped coriander
9) Reduce heat and simmer
10) Serve with rice or bread 🙂

Notes: 

EVCO: extra virgin olive oil
TB: tablespoon
Tsp: teaspoon

Brazilian passionfruit cake (bolo de maracujá)


This recipe is directly taken from http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/brazilian-passionfruit-cake-bolo-de-maracuja (I have not made any changes except for recipe modifications listed below)
Ingredients
Cake
4 eggs, separated
330 g (1½ cups) caster sugar
100 gunsalted butter, softened
300 g(2 cups) plain flour
2 tspbaking powder
250 ml passionfruit pulp (about 12 passionfruit)
Passionfruit syrup
60 ml passionfruit pulp (about 3 passionfruit)
220 g (1 cup) caster sugar
Method
1)      Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 20 cm round ring cake pan.
2)      Using an electric mixer, beat egg yolks, sugar and butter for 6 minutes or until mixture is pale and fluffy. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and clean the bowl of the electric mixer.
3)      Sift flour and baking powder in a large bowl, then working in batches, fold through yolk mixture, alternating with passionfruit pulp. Place egg whites in the cleaned bowl of the electric mixer and whisk to soft peaks. Gently fold egg whites through passionfruit mixture in 2 batches.
4)      Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake for 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in the pan.
5)      Meanwhile, to make passionfruit syrup, place passionfruit pulp, sugar and 125 ml water in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Cook for 5 minutes or until passionfruit mixture becomes thick and syrupy. Set aside to cool completely.
6)      Turn out cake onto a serving plate and drizzle with passionfruit syrup. Cut and serve.
Healthy modifications
·        1 cup plain and 1 cup wholemeal flour (for low GI and fibre)
·        Used 190 g sugar for the cake and 70 g for the syrup (it still turned out really sweet)




Oatmeal omelette

Easiest brekkie ever! I learnt this while I was on holidays 🙂 
Ingredients
* 2 eggs 
* 2 tablespoon oatmeal
* 3 tablespoon powder milk
* 1.5 tablespoon water
* Spices (black pepper, cumin) 
* Any herbs you like (coriander/ parsley)
* Tiny amount of butter (1/2 teaspoon)
Method
1. First combine oatmeal and powder milk together
2.  Add water so the mixture binds 
3.  Add in the eggs, plus all herbs and spices you wish to add
4. Combine well
5. Heat a frypan, spread the butter and cook in pan for 10-15mins

Kale chips

I’ve been thinking about making kale chips for a while now; it was one of those things I thought would be too complex. Normally, I use kale in a smoothie or a salad but I can never get through a whole bunch without it going yellow.

Recently, I’ve had a go at making kale chips. It’s actually not that difficult, but it’s just very delicate. You need to have the right temperature and time setting. Otherwise, you end up with burnt or soggy chips (like I did for the first few times!)

I’ve adapted this recipe from some recipe sites and personal experience 🙂
Recipe is as follows-

Ingredients
1 kale bunch
Paprika
Cayenne pepper
Lemon pepper
Sea salt
4 Tb Extra Virgin olive oil

Method
 Preheat oven to 150 (fan-forced)
Remove stems from kale and tear leaves into bite sized pieces)
Wash kale thoroughly
Dry kale with a salad spinner (this step is important!)
 In a bowl, mix olive oil and herbs/ spices (amount to your liking)
Line tray with baking paper
Using your fingers, massage oil and herbs into the kale leaves
Place chips on tray as a single layer
Bake for 7 mins and rotate, bake until edges are brown (total cooking time should be between 10-12 mins)
Cool on tray for 5 mins
Enjoy on its own or with a dip 🙂

Handy tips
Make sure kale has been dried thoroughly. Otherwise, you’ll end up with soggy chips if water tends to steam out from the chips if there is too much of it.
Oil needs to be massaged well into leaves otherwise chips will not be crunchy.
Don’t overcrowd the tray, spread kale onto a single layer on a baking sheet for chips to be cooked well.
Rotating the chips halfway is fine, there is no need to flip the chips.

Kale chips served with homemade tzatziki

Wholemeal date and walnut loaf



Happy Monday everyone!
It has been a while since I baked a loaf so thought I’d make one 🙂

Recipe adapted from http://daa.asn.au/recipes/wholemeal-date-and-walnut-loaf/

Ingredients
2 eggs, lightly beaten
100 g pitted dates, chopped
45 g margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
40 g walnuts, chopped
1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoon LSA
oil to spray


Method

1) Preheat oven to 180°C.
2) Combine dates, margarine, sugar and water in a saucepan. Stir and boil gently. Set aside to cool.
3) Sift flour, baking powder, LSA.
4) Add in walnuts and eggs 
5) Add in date mixture and mix well.
6) Lightly spray a loaf tin pan. Line with baking paper.
7) Pour mixture into pan
8) Bake for 45-50 mins. Skewer should come out clean. 
9) Remove from oven and cool for 10 mins
10) Turn out on a cooling rack. Slice and serve with yoghurt, if desired.



Daddy’s birthday 2015 | Buttery fruit cake

Happy birthday daddy! This perfectly describes how he continues to inspire me!
And he always is! 

In the past, I always used to purchase cakes because I did not trust my baking skills enough to be able to pull off a fancy cake for a special occasion. But this year, I’ve been a bit of an experimental baker so I thought I’d give it a go. 

I asked him what he wanted for his birthday. Initially, he said plain cake again (probably because he did not want to trouble me during my final days of thesis writing). After I pressed further, he gave me buttery fruit cake as an answer. 

I was happy with this because I had never baked one so it’d be fun to do one. I started my recipe hunt. Most traditional recipes use alcohol but because I don’t drink, I had to look harder to find one that didn’t so I could eat it too 😀

Eventually I found this.

I’ve followed this recipe pretty closely with some little changes. Normally I would not use as much butter but I was determined to bake precisely what he wanted so I used the stated amount.

Ingredients

·        1/2 cup unsalted butter
·        1/2 cup dark brown sugar
·        1 large egg
·        3/4 cup mixed fruit ( I used dried pineapple, papaya, cranberries and sultanas)
·        1 tsp vanilla essence
·        1/4 cup almond flakes
·        1 cup wholemeal flour
·        1/4 tsp baking soda
·        1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
·        1/2 tsp salt
·        Juice and rind from 1 orange
·        2 tbsp skim milk
Method
1.       Juice an orange and make rind.
2.       Chop all fruits into small pieces and cover in orange juice. Soak for 30 mins.
3.       Combine the butter and brown sugar until fluffy.
4.       Add in the egg.
5.       Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt into a bowl.
6.       Fold in the fruits until each fruit is covered with flour.
7.       Combine dry and wet mixture.
8.       Add milk and almonds.
9.       Pour into round cake pan ( line the bottom with baking paper).
10.     Bake at 160C for 40-45 minutes.
11.     Remove the cake from oven, the skewer should come out clean.
12.     Decorate if you wish and enjoy!



Now I’m off to work on thesis. I’ll be away in hibernation over the next couple of days, it’s due in five days so it’s crunch time!
Hope you all have a great Sunday, enjoy the Sunshine! 

Oat bars

As a kid, breakfast was never my favourite meal. I think it was because I was never a morning person and I always woke up too late so left home in haste for school. To be honest, there have been many days where I skipped breakfast as a teenager or even younger.  Of course, back then I wasn’t into nutrition and just failed to understand the importance of breakfast. But hey, this gives me an excuse to blame some of my not-so-good grades on breakfast haha! 😛
Safe to say, I got more serious about brekkie as I got older; now I have no days where I go without breakfast! But I am still quite time poor in the morning (because I still continue to maintain my laziness in the morning), I usually prepare my breakfast the night before. If this fails, I grab my Belvita biscuits or reach for a banana!
Anyway, I recently tried out oat bars to have for my brekkie. To my surprise, it turned out pretty amazing. It’s actually pretty nutritious because it combines everything you’d normally have for breakfast in a slice. I myself found that they tasted better with topped with yoghurt but it tasted pretty good just on its own as well.
Serves: 6
270 g wholegrain oats
1 large ripe banana mashed
 2 apples, (skin on), thinly sliced
1 cup of mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
3 tablespoons apple sauce
2 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons flaked almonds
Instructions
1)      Preheat oven to 180⁰C
2)      Line 20 x 30cm  pan with baking paper
3)      Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well combined (in no particular order)
4)      Bake for 25-30 mins or until golden brown
5)      Cool for 10 mins
6)      Cut into slices and serve