Banana Bread + Tofu with Kimchi and Avocado

>> Wednesday, May 25, 2011

This is going to be a short  post (of polaroids) today.

Things have been rather repetitive over here.

I guess everything's...just calm. And I like that. 

Same faces, same routine, same dreams.

Being repetitive isn't necessary a bad thing, right?

Take this banana cake for example. It's a recipe I've been making over and over again and comes from Kate (check out her stylish blog too for other recipes.)

What's different about this bread is that it uses all whole wheat flour, and still tastes as good as my usual go-to recipe! Score. The texture is moist and soft and I love sweetening it with honey and the sprinkling of cinnamon on top. Oh, big chunks of bananas is a must in my bread. How about you?

Then there's this tofu with avocado and kimchi dish which has been making multiple appearances on my dinner table.
Call it an entree if you like. It's pretty much one of the fastest thing you can whip up as it requires no cooking. Just some chopping and slicing of ingredients that are almost always in my fridge.

I fell hard for kimchi (pickled vegetable, usually napa cabbage) at the tender age of 8 when I first stepped into the home of my Korean neighbour. And it's great to see it named one of the healthiest food in the world by Health magazine too. 

The best thing is if you normally find kimchi a bit too spicy for your liking, the tofu and avocado make it milder to the taste and the texture is a bit of everything in your mouth - crunchy, smooth and velvety soft. They make for a delicious trio.

I'm so addictived to this that sometimes it replaces my cheesy toast or cereals as the new midnight/TV snack.

Oh, and before I go (although it's something on my mind before I began this post)...

I just found out that Green Cilantro was mentioned in Saveur's 50 More Food Blogs You Should Be Reading recently. And all I want (and need) to say is THANK YOU - to those of you who made the effort to vote for this blog. I really appreciate it as I definitely didn't expect anyone to do so and can think of at least 7853 other blogs which should have been mentioned instead.

So thank you thank you thank you. You made this cold day a little bit warmer today and put a smile on this face here :)

Here's a doggy picture and I hope he makes you smile too. He's another four legged friend that I've the pleasure of bumping into these days. Turned out he's a bit of a softie and licker too. Who would've guessed.

Banana Bread
Adapted from AllRecipe
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more to swirl on top
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup hot water
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl, beat oil and honey together.

3. Add eggs, and mix well.

4. Stir in bananas and vanilla, then stir in flour, salt and cinnamon.

5. Add baking soda to hot water, stir to mix, and then add to batter.

6. Spread batter into a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan.

7. Sprinkle with cinnamon, and swirl with a toothpick for a pretty marbled effect.

8. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Be sure to check that the bread is done baking by inserting a toothpick in the top. It should come out clean.

9. Cool on wire rack for 1/2 hour before slicing.

Tofu with kimchi and avocado
Adapted from Masa

Note: The quantity of the ingredients are rough estimates. It is entirely up to you how much of each of the main ingredients you want to add.
  • 1/2 packet silken tofu
  • 1/2 cup Korean kimchi
  • 1 medium sized avocado
  • Some chopped spring onion to sprinkle on top
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds
  • ~1tbsp Japanese style soy sauce
1. Slice the tofu into even square/rectangular pieces. Slice the avocado into even wedges as well. 

2. Chop up the kimchi finely. Chop up the spring onion too.

3. Plate up - place alternate pieces of tofu and avocado on a long plate and place the chopped kimchi and spring onion evenly on top.

4. Squirt some soy sauce on the top and don't forge to sprinkle wth some sesame seeds too.


Tuiles aux Amandes (Almond Tuiles)

>> Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Random Wednesday....

zero Number of wisdom teeth I have left as of last week. 

one Sensation - painful (especially when you've forgotten to buy the painkillers after the anaesthetic wears off!)

two Words - Thank you! For your lovely comments in the previous post (and sorry that some of them were removed in the recent blogger stuff up that you probably know too well). 

three Mums with blogs which I follow (and meant to have shared in the last Mother's Day post!) I don't have kids myself but I always look forward to reading what these ladies have to share.

Stefanie from Ni Hao Y'all

four Number of sewing and wrench/hammer-like tools I saw my dentist putting into my mouth. Dentists are not in my good books, y'know?

five Years since I visited Paris - I've been daydreaming about it all day today. Not that I particularly have itchy feet for traveling at the moment, but listening to Le Festin from Ratatouille makes me want to fly to there right now. 

six Things that take my breath away. 

- Andrea Bocelli's voice
- Orange sunsets
- Photographs which evoke certain emotions which cannot be put into words
- Undeserved kindness and understanding
- Running (although it's more like panting)
- Pleasant surprises (like a box with a puppy inside *hint hint*. I'm not sure who I'm hinting at sadly!)

seven Number of times I've listened to Le Festin since the beginning of this blog post. You see, I don't get bored very easily. I'm about to click replay now. 

Ok, so you don't need me to tell you that almond is good for you. Lots of vitamin E and good fats for a healthy heart. What's not to love about it? Try and have a fist sized amount of almonds a day but don't over consume them or you might have problem fitting into that pair of pants. Just being frank!

So seriously, go nuts for them!

These almond tuiles were made on a whim on a weeknight. I wanted something without too much flour and butter. Nothing too heavy. Something crispy. Something light. Something to go with a cup of tea. 

And these are the perfect answer.

I would recommend that you make these tuiles thinner than mine (as photographed) so that they'd be even crispier and bake faster. Don't be afraid to break the almond slices into small pieces too with the back of your fork.

Almond Tuiles
Adapted from Pierre Herme
Makes 25-30 (I only made 20 because mine were thicker)
  • 70g granulated sugar (I used 50g)
  • 40g egg white
  • few drops vanilla essence
  • 125g almond slices
  • 15g melted butter (around 1 tbsp)
  • 10g cake flour (around 1tbsp)
1. Combine the sugar, egg white and vanilla essence in a large bowl. Stir with a rubber spatula.

2. Add the almond slices into the bowl and mix gently as to not break the slices.

3. Add the melted butter into the mixture and stir to combine.

4. Leave this mixture at room temperature for 1 hour (remember to cover in plastic wrap!)

5. Sift the flour into the mixture and stir gently to incorporate fully. Leave this at room temperature for 30 minutes. 

6. On parchment paper (or any baking paper), spoon the almond mixture into a circle as thinly as you can, about 6cm in diameter. I made a stencil (6cm diameter) to ensure that the tuile is as round as possible.

7. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 160C.

This is probably the first time in a looong time since I didn't blog on a weekend or start of the week. So I don't have to say hope y'all have or had a good weekend.

But can I just say - I hope you smile today :)


Happy Mother's Day + Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

>> Sunday, May 8, 2011

Today especially, I love all mothers. Any mothers. Your mother and my mother

I smiled at mothers in the mall and helped a mother drag her crying/screaming boy out of the bus.

And who doesn't love the word, Mother. The first proper word out of most of our mouths!

So, my sunshine in the rain, and my oasis in the desert. She exudes unconditional love and infallible encouragement in my life.

And I will forever be unable to write down in words her worth to me. 

Recently, I flipped through old family albums and stumbled upon pictures of Mother's younger days. Days where I didn't exist...days where Dad wasn't even in the picture (don't worry Dad, there weren't any other boys). And I slowly came into a  shocking realisation...she had a life before us! (Thanks to generation ME upbringing).

So, here we go. Things I didn't know about Mother (in all colours and shades).

1. She sported a 70's hairstyle. I only got to see her 90's shoulder pads (eek!) Either way, she was up with fashion (unlike the girls she gave birth to.)

2. She's adventurous. I mean, do people actually do this kinda thing back in the days? She tells me how she had no money for food or piano lessons and here she is parachuting? I need an explanation. 

3. Mother's a gambler good at maths. I suspect she might have been one of those card counters. That'll explain why she can do crazy multiplications/divisions in her head. She denied these statements but I don't know.

4. She's creative and likes to be different. Mother cut out the original collar of her uniform and sewed her handmade collars on. 

5. She loves home renovation. Actually I already know about her artistic side but this confirms she doesn't knows how to paint. At all. Or hold a paintbrush even. But she does know how to make a home, a home. Or how to make that ugly cushion work with the sofa. She adds that kinda magic to anything.

Being someone who can't do any maths in her head and will probably pass out before being pushed out of a plane with a parachute, it looks like I didn't inherited much of Mother's genes. Hmmph, surely my sister was kidding when she said they found me in a garbage can, right? Or what was that story about being left outside the doorstep as a baby?

Heck, it doesn't matter. Because she loves me all the same. And that's why we celebrate Mother's Day.

Anyways, like most mothers, my mother is not someone who appreciates fine dining or expensive presents on special occasions, but she much more appreciates a daily phone call or a note, just to say hi.

So this Mother's Day - I've nothing extravagant prepared. Except some flowers and cookies. Rustic whole wheat cookies. Not dainty or pretty I'm afraid, but healthier (just slightly though, with whole wheat). Practical. Mums'll love that.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Good to the Grains
Makes 16-18 cookies
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 sticks cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar (I halved this and recommend you doing so too)
  • 1 cup sugar (I halved this)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces chocolate, chopped into bits (recipe calls for bittersweet, I used semi-sweet, because it was what I had)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment or Silpats.

2. Whisk the whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl in which you can use a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugars. Once they are creamy, add the eggs and vanilla. Beat to combine.

4. Add the dry ingredients in two batches and mix. Finally, add the chopped chocolate and just stir to incorporate.

5. Scoop balls of dough that are approximately 3 tablespoons worth. I used a quarter cup scoop to make it easy. Bake for 16-20 minutes, rotating the pans so that they each spend half the bake time on top and half the time on the bottom.

5. When the baking time is up, remove the cookies from the sheets and let them cool.

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mother's in the world. 

Thank you for showing me what unconditional love is.


Pineapple and Papaya Crumble

>> Monday, May 2, 2011

Hello Monday, hello May and hello You!

_______ makes me happy.

- Snuggling on the couch watching a movie.
- Reading e-mails from friends.
- Listening to oldie songs (and dancing to it like a dork.)
- Walking on fallen leaves....crunch!

- Finding a heart shaped stone (out of approx. 1 gazillion stones on the path!)

- Discovering a new fruit crumble using my favourite fruits.

Isn't there a phrase, a crumble without ice-cream is like a sky without stars? Or a chow-mein without noodles? Or a nerd without braces? There isn't?

Thankfully the ice-cream to the rescue at the last minute....

There you go. A complete crumble.

You may already now I'm a huge fan of crumbles...they're one of my ultimate comfort foods. And this crumble is second to my all time favourite apple crumble. Yum!

Anyways, I hope you a nice Monday today :)

Pineapple and Papaya Crumble
Adapted from Joy the Baker
I halved the recipe to make 2 small casserole dish.
  • 1 papaya, peeled and diced into cubes
  • 1 medium diced fresh pineapple
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar (I omitted this)
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch
  • sprinkle of ground cinnamon (just because it's autumn).
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177C).

2. Toss diced fruit together in an 8-inch square baking dish (I used 2 small casserole dish). In a small dish, whisk together 3 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, 1/4 cup of flour, cinnamon and pinch of salt. Toss the mixture with the diced fruit. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add the cold butter cubes. Use your fingers to break up the cold butter cubes into the flour mixture. Add the oats and toss together until the butter bits are about the size of the oat flakes.

4. Pour the oat mixture over the prepared fruit. Place in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until juices from the fruit bubble up around the sides of the pan.

5. Remove the crumble from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Crumble is delicious served warm with vanilla ice cream.

6. Crumble can we wrapped and refrigerated for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or wrapped in foil in a low oven.

______ makes you happy today?

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