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Archive for the ‘Experiments’ Category

So what happened was that I was putting together the ingredients to whip up basic Coconut Flour Blondies when I peered into my pantry and found that I still had some Matcha Powder that was waiting to be used up.

I wasn’t quite sure how Matcha and Coconut would dance together but tango they did once these blondies had cooled down enough for me to pop one into my mouth. It had the lovely bitter intensity from the matcha, that was sweetly balanced by the coconut and honey.

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The addition of Greek Yoghurt helped keep the blondies moist, hence, fewer eggs were used. That being said, the absence of more eggs means that these blondies are less on the fudgy side. What I enjoyed about them the most aside from their  flavour, was their dense texture. However, if your preference is for a more cakey blondie, definitely try my Basil and Walnut Coconut Flour Blondies. While these blondies may appear crumbly, they actually held very well together.

I’d say that if Shortbread and Cake had a love child, these Matcha Coconut Flour Blondies would be it! I know, it’s probably a hybrid that’s not easy to imagine but I actually found myself enjoying them more and more with every piece I scoffed down. So I suggest you give this recipe a go because I wouldn’t share it if I didn’t like these blondies myself!

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Coconut Matcha Blondies (1 6×6″ Square)
75g coconut flour
10g matcha powder
25g coconut oil
3 eggs
vanilla
110g honey
100g greek yoghurt

  1. Preheat oven to 170deg C and line a 6×6″ baking tin.
  2. Whisk oil, eggs and vanilla together. 
  3. Add honey and greek yoghurt. Mix well.
  4. Add coconut flour and matcha powder. Stir until just incorporated. 
  5. Pour batter into prepared tin and bake for 18-20min.

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So my love for baking brownies and blondies should be quite obvious now. I baked some Coconut Flour Brownies earlier on and this time, I decided to try and put them into making a blondie.

I had some fresh basil at hand, so usually, when I have more herbs than I can finish quickly, I think about how I might be able to incorporate them into one of my bakes. In my recipe below, I stated to have the basil chopped finely, but what I did was I whizzed it up quickly in the blender which worked just as well apart from the extra washing up. You can choose to omit the basil or use a different herb, perhaps Rosemary and Lemon might be a nice combination, or Bay Leaves with Almonds, or Chocolate Chips and Banana.

I enjoyed how refreshing a flavour the Basil brought to these blondies. And the crunch of walnuts was very welcome as well. These are certainly not your fudgy blondies. They’re more on the cakey side with a slightly rough texture due to the structure of the Coconut Flour when mixed in. I brought some of these to my family gathering and one of my Uncles took one bite and quickly tried to snag the rest home. So trust me, you might want to share these with friends and family, but be sure to hide some away for yourself because there won’t even be any crumbs left otherwise! 🙂

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Coconut Flour Blondies (8×8″ Square)

56g melted butter (or coconut/sunflower/olive oil)
50g honey
2 eggs
60g coconut milk
60g coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Bunch of Basil, Finely chopped (optional)
50g Walnuts, chopped (optional but recommended)

  1. Preheat oven to 170deg C and line an 8×8″ square tin.
  2. Whisk melted butter/oil, honey, eggs and milk together.
  3. Add flour, baking soda and salt, and stir until just mixed.
  4. Fold in optional ingredients if using.
  5. Bake 20-22min.

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I was interested in using Coconut Flour to make bread. I’ve made a Coconut Milk Oatmeal Sandwich Loaf before and quite liked the subtle flavour of the coconut milk in it. I find however, that coconut flour carries a strong coconut aroma and taste.

I’m not going to lie though, Coconut Flour Bread should in no way be compared to normal bread because it’s gluten-free to begin with. That means that the chew factor will definitely be absent. That being said, it is perfect for those who are on a paleo diet, or have celiac, or are looking for something that is high in fibre and protein, but low in carbs.

This bread is a breeze to make because there’s no need for proving. Just mix everything together, throw the batter into the oven (inside a loaf tin please!), and you get a beautiful loaf that’s a perfect canvas for just about anything you choose to eat it with.

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Savoury Coconut Flour Bread (7×3″ loaf):

6 eggs
15g honey (optional but I like that slight hint of sweetness which also makes the bread more aromatic)
110g coconut oil or melted butter
90g coconut flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder

  1. Preheat oven to 170deg C and line a baking tin.
  2. Whisk eggs, honey and oil together.
  3. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt until just mixed.
  4. Let mixture stand 5min.
  5. Bake 35-40min. If top gets too brown, cover with foil until cooked through.
  6. Allow to cool before removing from tin.

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The loaf may be on the smaller side but trust me, with so much fibre in each slice, a little goes a long way. It’s the kind of bread you can eat plain simply because it’s flavourful on its own. I use it more for open-faced sandwiches because they don’t quite hold as well as bread does, but that just means double the filling! Well, the filling will really become the sandwich topping in this case but you already knew that!

Also, these can be sliced up and kept frozen up to a month if you happen not to be able to finish it within 3 days. Likelihood though, is that it’ll be gone before then – even the crumbs. 🙂

 

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I’ve been dabbling in quite a bit of healthier baking recently aside from my usual cake orders that I’ve been getting on top of since returning from my Lonburg holiday. I prefer to use the term healthier as opposed to healthy because everything sits in a relative continuum don’t they? So while I might consider these bakes healthy, someone who bakes raw and vegan might consider this unhealthy. Or unethical. Haha.

Technicalities aside…

I had a few fail attempts while playing with coconut flour resulting in frustration and binned goods. I tend to feel so annoyed whenever I bake something new but it fails to come out as I hope. And unless I can have a do-over straight away, I usually end up spending the night tossing and turning, thinking about how I could have baked them better.

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So here I am, sharing with you 5 of my favourite bakes using Coconut Flour. None of these contain refined sugar either – I used Coconut Sugar, and if not, then I’ve used Honey.

I initially thought of sharing all 5 recipes here in one blog post but I figured that it might be a little too overwhelming. So one at a time it is. That will also create some suspense!

One thing I learned about Coconut Flour during my trial and error phase was just how very absorbent it is compared to say, Spelt Flour, or Wholewheat, or simple Plain, All-Purpose Flour. Hence, don’t be surprised at the wet to dry ingredients ratio being quite skewed towards the more liquid side.

Also, don’t worry over the number of eggs in the recipes because the are key in creating moistness and they also bind the ingredients together. Recent studies have also shown that cholesterol in food doesn’t have quite the big impact on blood levels of total cholesterol and harmful LDL cholesterol as previous thought. Just remember – everything in moderation!

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Now, these Coconut Flour Brownies are heavenly! I kid you not. I’ve tried way too many ‘healthied-up’ brownies that have turned out dry, overly mushy or too grainy. These were ever-so-slightly on the cakey side, and exceptionally moist and chocolatey. The minute I took my first bite, I surprised myself at how well this recipe turned out. It was everything a Brownie strives to be, and had that aromatic whiff of coconut.

Coconut Flour Brownies (8×8″ Square)

75g butter, melted (or coconut oil)
50g cocoa powder, sifted
6 eggs
160 coconut sugar 
60g coconut milk
pinch of salt
60g coconut flour
Handful of Chocolate Chips.

  1. Preheat oven to 170deg C.
  2. Combine butter/oil with cocoa powder and mix well.
  3. Stir in eggs, coconut sugar and milk. Mix well.
  4. Add flour and salt until just incorporated.
  5. Sprinke chocolate chips on top.
  6. Bake for 20-25min until just set. 

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I could spend all day gushing about these babies but… I’m too busy stuffing them into my mouth! Looks like I’ll be baking up a new batch sooner than I thought!

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I’m back from our two-week trip to Europe and OMG! It was the best. We were so very blessed as well in that Flo and I were in Borough Market/London Bridge just the day before the attacks. I was quite shocked when I landed in Singapore to receive texts from friends wondering if we were ok. I checked the news immediately only to read about what had happened while I was on the plane.

It saddens me a lot to think of how man can kill man in the name of what they claim is their religion. I don’t like to step much onto political or religious issues even though I have my own thoughts about them, but I have lots of Muslim friends and I know that Islam does not preach violence. So in my opinion, I think that the people who are attacking the innocent in the name of Islam really aren’t real Muslims. They use the guise of being Muslim in order to carry out these attacks, whether consciously or unconsciously.

It’s easy to then think that it’s safer not to travel. But that gives these kinds of people the satisfaction in knowing that we are afraid. Life cannot stop because no matter where we are, something can always happen – anything.

Anyway, to happier things…

Before I dive into my Hamburg/London trip, I had to share this recipe with you. I had quite a fair bit of fresh fruit left in the fridge the day before I was set to leave and with whatever I had left in the kitchen, I whipped up these loaves.

Summer Fruit Loaf Cake (Yields 2 Small Loaf Cakes)

3 Eggs
75ml Corn Oil
135g Greek Yoghurt
100g Caster Sugar
120g Brown Sugar

250g Plain Flour
7.5g Baking Powder
7.5g Baking Soda
10g Ginger Powder
5g Cinnamon Powder

1/2 Mango, Cubed
4 Strawberries, Cubed
Bunch of Blueberries

  1. Preheat oven to 175deg C and line two small loaf tins.
  2. Mix eggs, oil and yoghurt together in a bowl. Then whisk in sugars.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients.
  4. Add fruit into flour mixture to coat.
  5. Fold dry ingredients into wet mixture until just incorporated.
  6. Pour batter into prepared loaf tins and bake for 45min or until golden brown and springy to the touch.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool before removing from tins.

I gave a loaf to Mum and Dad for church and kept one for myself. I loved the lightness the yoghurt brought to the cake and because the fruits were sweet, I didn’t need to add too much sugar to the recipe either. These loaf cakes scream of summer and with a dollop of mascarpone cream on top, they’d be perfect for tea time.

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… And almond cake.

But before I get into the nitty gritties of my latest kitchen experiment, I had the privilege of baking Kim’s birthday cake albeit a little early since I’ll be away on her actual birthday.

She requested an Apple Walnut Cake with Peanut Butter Cream but as she’s pregnant and currently having to watch her sugar intake, I made this with 60-40 Coconut Sugar to Caster Sugar ratio, and refrained from adding sugar into the cream since peanut butter already has some of its own. I did drizzle more plain, melted peanut butter on top since peanut butter is love and who doesn’t want more of it?!

Kim’s special in that she was the one who recommended Dr. A to me. She’s a real inspiration to me and is someone I love and admire. Kim and her husband are both outstanding people not just in their accomplishments, but also in character. I know that both of them have gone through challenges in their lives, individually and as a couple, but God is faithful and they are now being blessed with a soon-to-be-born daughter whom I cannot wait to meet!

Now, this is actually a scheduled post and right now, I’m probably biting into a Currywurst and walking around Planten um Blomen in Hamburg with Flo. I’ll definitely be writing about my virgin trip to Hamburg as well as my 3484239th trip to London (first trip there with Flo though!) when I get back. In the meantime, I wanted to share this Date and Almond Cake recipe with you.

The Muslims are about to begin their fasting month and it is often the case that they break fast by eating dates. I have never fasted for religious purposes before, and I won’t even try to compare my ED days of extensive restriction to what my Muslim friends go through annually. I respect their steadfast dedication to their beliefs so what better than to demonstrate that than by baking a cake using dates!

Also… I just wanted to bake something different.

The beauty of this cake is that you get crunch from the almond nibs, a bit of chew from the dates, a hint of spice from the cinnamon, all smacked in the middle and on top of fluffy, vanilla cake!

Date and Almond Cake (Yields 1 8″ Round)

150g Finely Chopped Dates (I find it easier to cut them using a pair of scissors)
100g Almond Nibs
90g Brown Sugar
5g Cinnamon Powder

250g Butter
180g Caster Sugar
Vanilla Extract
3 Eggs
290g Plain Flour
7.5g Baking Powder
125g Milk

  1. Preheat oven to 170deg C and line an 8″ round baking tin. 
  2. For the filling and the topping, mix dates, almond nibs, brown sugar and cinnamon powder together and set aside. 
  3. Cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Then add in vanilla and eggs one at a time. 
  4. Add dry ingredients and milk alternately, starting and ending with the dry mixture. 
  5. Pour half the batter into prepared tin, then sprinkle half the date and almond mixture on top. Pour the second half of the batter on top to cover, before topping with the rest of date and almond mixture. Gently press the mixture down into the cake batter so that they ‘stick’. 
  6. Bake for 75min. If the top starts to brown too much, cover with foil for the last 15min. 
  7. Allow to cool before removing from tin. 

This cake is perfect for sharing amongst friends and family. Have it as it is, or if you’re feeling indulgent, drizzle some salted caramel sauce or honey on top. This cake has so many different textures and flavours that work incredibly well with each other. Definitely stick to the dates but if almonds aren’t your thing, switch to walnuts or pecan nuts. Not into cinnamon? Try ginger or cardamom!

Chances are, this cake isn’t going to last you through to when I return from my little Eurotrip. I’ll be back though so don’t you forget me!

And a quick update:

I saw Dr. A one more time last Monday because I wanted to get a little ‘booster shot’ before leaving for Europe. After a couple good weeks, ED is trying to hit on me again which is expected since that’s what bullies do. I’m anxious about how meals will be while I’m away but apparently, our body reacts to fear and excitement in exactly the same way. The only difference is how we perceive the situation. In other words, I may actually be excited about the different foods I’ll get to try especially in Hamburg – tasting things that Flo grew up with. Will I fall in love with them? We’ll just have to wait and see…

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Friday night, Flo left for Hamburg and in merely a few hours’ time, it will be my turn. He’s supposed to pick me up at the airport upon my arrival and while I’m excited, I’m also a little apprehensive about meeting his good friends and family.

I had some RenneKookiesDark Chocolate Cranberry Cookies, baked and packed for some of his nearest and dearest. I also made sure to keep a box for Mum and Dad to pass to Grandma and Grandpa since they’ll be in London middle of next week.

Flo’s family have had these before and loved them so how can I deny them the pleasure of having these cookies once more?! With the baking frenzy I’ve been in the last week, I think I’ll be happy to keep away from the mixer for two weeks anyway. I think. I usually start to get a little antsy after a week.

Before Flo’s red-eye flight, we managed to have dinner together before he packed to go. Something simple but yummy – Raw Pea Shoots, Garlic Shimeiji Mushrooms, Roasted Red Peppers, Tomato Avocado Salsa, Not-very-mashed Japanese Sweet Potato, and Grilled Prawns. 

My favourite was the salsa although I was too lazy to clear the chilli padi of its seeds so it had quite the fiery kick. All I did was cut up a tomato, 3/4 of an avocado, half a red onion, one bird’s eye chilli, half a lime – zested and juiced. I forgot about coriander but it wouldn’t have made sense to buy a bunch for just a small portion of salsa. Moreover, with Flo and I being away for two weeks, there’s no point stocking up the fridge.

Speaking of avocados in salsa, I also used up two of my very ripe looking ones earlier in the week to make a super-healthful Avocado Bread.

I’ve been having fun experimenting with healthier flours and super dark chocolates the last couple of weeks as you may know – Spelt Blondies, Rye Brownies, 90% Cocoa Dark Chocolate Brownies

This bread however, is by far my healthiest bake to date. I had no idea what to expect from it in terms of taste, and have never used ground flax in any of my baking before, but there’s a first for everything isn’t there? Also, since I had some fresh mint and lime at hand, I made sure to add those in since avocados generally do go well with the other two greenies.

Avocado Bread (Yields 1 small loaf):

2 Small Ripe Avocados (or 1.5 large avocado)
3 Eggs
75ml Sunflower Oil (You may use Olive Oil or Coconut Oil or any other flavourless oil if you prefer)
100g Ground Almonds
60g Ground Flaxseeds
Black Pepper
Sea Salt
Bunch of Fresh Mint
Zest of 1 Lime
Pumpkin Seeds and Sunflower Seeds

  1. Preheat oven to 180deg C and line loaf tin. 
  2. In a bowl, use a hand mixer to blend avocados with eggs, oil, pepper, sea salt, mint leaves and lime zest. 
  3. Fold in ground almonds and ground flax. 
  4. Pour batter into baking tin and top with pumpkin and sunflower seeds. 
  5. Bake for 45-50min. Allow to cool before removing from tin. 

Remember, this is more of a savoury bread/cake so it does taste like a whole lot of healthy. Gluten-free, Egg-free, Sugar-free as well as being packed with a good dose of healthy fats, this avocado bread promises to give you a boost to your day with a simple egg on top and a drizzle of honey, or spread on a pat of butter and you’re good to go.

 

 

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