Oatmeal Pancake with Poached Rhubarbs

>> Thursday, August 25, 2011

I'm grateful today that...

...a big genuine smile can make for a really great day :D

...not being always in control (as much as i'd like to be) humbles and frees us.

...i have a roof over my head and that i can wake up and not have to worry about soooo many things i take for granted. but it saddens me that i can just flick through the channels between devastating news around the world and the silly reality TV shows and feel...normal.

...in quietness and trust i get my my strength.

...no one saw me when i fell flat on my face at the station :P

...that people encourage one another. let's keep it going because we all need that!

...i have access to amazing produce which made up my delicious breakfast.

So one Saturday morning, we visited Sydney's Pyrmont Grower's Market for the morning grind and weekly grocery. Happy times!

I foresee lots of oven baked fries in the upcoming days...with lots of garlic and pepper!

Poppies are such cheerful and whimsical flowers, don't you think?

Despite the busy-ness of the market, my eyes turned to these vibrant dark strands of ruby red rhubarbs and recipes after recipes appeared in my mind about what I'd do with them. If I could, I would buy them all!

I love rhubarbs in crumbles, with cream cheese on tarts, but my favourite way of eating them is poached with a bit of lemon and cinnamon!

So for breakfast today, it's poached rhubarbs (prepared previous day) with oatmeal pancakes and a bit of greek yogurt! (I wanted to make some waffles initially...but then realised that I do not have a waffle maker! D'uh.)

But the good news is, this pancake is delicious - soft and tender as all pancakes should be! If you're an oatmeal lover, then this pancake is for you. Cooked rolled oats combined with some oat flour is used to make up this 'double oated' goodness!

You can prepare the poached rhubarb in advance as I did. They keep well in the fridge for up to a week and you can have them with everything (well almost!). My favourite is with rice puddings!

Don't forget to sweeten up your greek yogurt with some honey too, as you may find the rhubarbs slightly tart!

Oatmeal Pancakes
adapted from Kim Broyce’s Good to the Grain
makes enough for 4
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup of oat flour
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • about 1 1/4 cup of milk (more if needed to thin out the batter)
  • 1 cup of cooked oatmeal (not quick-cook or steel-cut)
  • 1 tablespoon of unsulphured molasses
  • 2 large eggs
1. Whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

2. Melt the butter and allow it to cool slightly before whisking it with the milk, eggs, oatmeal and molasses in a separate bowl.

3. Fold in the milk and oatmeal mixture into the dry ingredients, gently mixing until combined (don’t use a heavy hand if you’re aiming for tender pancakes).

4. If the batter is too thick, thin out with a little bit more milk.

5. Heat about a tablespoon of butter in a heavy cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and ladle 1/4 cupfuls of batter into the skillet once it’s hot (no more than 3 at one time).

6. Once the pancake batter starts to bubble, flip and cook for another minute or two before transferring to a plate.

7. Continue to scoop in 1/4 cupfuls of batter (re-butter the skillet as necessary) until you have used up all of the batter. Adjust the skillet temperature if you feel that the pancakes are burning or not browning evenly.

Poached Rhubarb
  • 600g pink rhubarb (~one bunch)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 500ml water
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
1. Trim the tops and ends of the rhubarb and cut diagonally into 3cm lengths. Put the sugar, water, lemon and cinnamon stick into a pan and stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the syrup has thickened slightly.

2. Tip in the rhubarb and gently poach for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pieces are just tender but still holding their shape. Transfer the rhubarb with a slotted spoon to a bowl.

3. Boil the syrup until reduced by two thirds to a thick, syrupy sauce. Pour over the rhubarb, leave to cool completely, then chill; the rhubarb will continue to stain the poaching syrup pink with time. This can be kept chilled for up to one week.

Weekend is almost here!


Tutti-Frutti Crumble

>> Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dear sixteen-years-old-me,

Take your head outta the books once in a while yea? There's so much more you can learn outside the books.

Play more basketball, there's still a chance you could grow taller.

Ten minutes of piano and violin just before the lessons ain't the way to go. You will find that music will stay with you for life and become one of your escapes during the times you're down.

Matching jeans and denim jackets? No!

Slow down, stop worrying - you're doing fine. You can't be everything you want to be...but you'll eventually see the bigger picture in life that's found in your faith in the Lord Jesus. 

You don't hang with the cool kids and you'd rather hang in the library at lunch time. But deep down, you wish you could be less awkward and fit in. Guess what, one day you're actually going to laugh at all this and think, who'd want to 'fit in' when you can be...you? You'll get me one day.

Don't be scared of talking to boys. They might seem like another species right now, but they aren't as scary as you might think and one day they will actually shower instead of pile on the cologne (most of them anyways).

Everytime you want to roll your eyes at your parents? Don't. They might not always be right. But they're probably just scared about raising a teenager and are still learning. So be nice. And one day, you'll come to understand the all sacrifices they made for you to be where you are.

Put more effort in Chinese School (and don't cheat in tests!). You'll find the importance of the language as you grow up and ponder about your culture and identity.

What are you doing to your body? Those potato chips, choc chip cookies, snicker bars and ice-cream every day ain't gonna help you fit into that dress for your cousin's wedding (true but sad story). A fruit crumble would've been a better choice perhaps.

Cherish your friends. Some will stay with you for years to come.

Be grateful everyday. 

And when in doubt, pray.


twentysomething me.

So the other day I made a fruit crumble using all the fruits that I have in my fridge....

Pineapple, apples (I used both Granny Smith and Fuji), cherries and frozen blueberries.

Maybe I'll call it the clean-up-your-fridge crumble.

And I couldn't wait to try the healthier crumble idea from Heidi's cookbook Super Natural Everyday, which uses spelt flour, oats and poppy seeds! I also added in some walnuts just because...nuts are good.

Toss all the fruits together with a little bit of corn starch. Depending how sweet the fruits you are using, I didn't add any additional sugar to the fruit mix and it was sweeeet as already!

A good idea is to make the crumble mixture into patties and freeze them slightly before you break them into different sized pieces!

Bake away until bubbling and golden brown...


I am just realising now that I didn't add a scoop of ice-cream as usual...I actually forgot. I must've been side-tracked. Because eating the fruit crumble by itself was...so good. It was like having a delicious fruit party in your mouth. And the poppy seed/oat crumble? It's crunchy, it's light and addictive. I will be using this for many more future crumbles in my life.

I have also realised that I have more crumble recipes on this blog than anything else! Five in total! I guess then if there's a type of dessert that describes me, it must be a fruit crumble :D

Tutti-Frutti Crumble
Adapted from Natural Home and Garden
Serves 8 to 10

  • 3/4 cup / 3 oz / 85 g spelt flour or whole wheat pastry flour (I used spelt)
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup / 1.5 oz / 45 g rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (a handful)
  • 1/2 cup / 2.5 oz / 70 g natural cane sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1/3 cup / 2.5 oz / 70 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon all-natural cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup / 1.5 oz / 45 g natural cane sugar or muscovado sugar (I omitted this because the fruits are already so sweet!)
  • 11/2 cups / 6 oz / 170 g blueberries (frozen)
  • 1/2 medium sized pineapple, diced
  • 2 Granny Smith apple + 1 Fuji apple, diced
  • 11/2 cups / 6 oz / 170 g sweet cherries, halved and pitted
  • 1/4 cup / 1 oz / 30 g dried currants (omitted)
  • 1/4 cup / 60 ml Beaujolais wine  (omitted)
Note: The original recipe calls for strawberries, raspberries and dried currants as well as cherries.

1. Preheat the oven to 375F / 190C with a rack in the middle of the oven. Butter an 8-inch / 20cm square baking dish.

2. To make the crumble, mix together the flour, poppy seeds, oats, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Use a fork to stir in the melted butter. Divide the mixture into three portions and use your hands to form three patties. Place the patties in the bowl and freeze for at least 10 minutes, or until you’re ready to bake.

3. Make the filling by whisking together the cornstarch and sugar in a large bowl. Add the blueberries, apples, pineapple, cherries and toss until evenly coated. Wait 3 minutes, add the Beaujolais, and toss again.

4. Transfer the filling to the prepared baking dish. Remove the topping from the freezer and crumble it over the filling, making sure you have both big and small pieces.

5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the topping is deeply golden and the fruit juices are vigorously bubbling. Let cool a little before serving, 20 to 30 minutes.

Happy weekend ahead :)

What would you say to your sixteen-years-old self?


Curry Sweet Potato Fries

>> Sunday, August 14, 2011

Remember my two little visitors from last week?

Here's some snapshots from our second encounter when I was on my way to the park...

There they were, hovering over a piece of bread and eating again. Completely unaware of the danger lurking around (not me!)

As the unfriendly intruder came to view and approached them, the couple looked up and were completely shaken by size of their enemy!

Errrr c'mon honey, let's get outta here before he chews us into pieces! *runs*

I imagined the magpie was gleefully thinking, mine mine mine, as he sprinted over to his dinner! 

Bullies are totally uncool, right?

Well, what happened next...to this day, I still don't understand.

Before my eyes, the couple bravely yet cautiously walked back to the bread and the magpie, seeing their return, took off without any fuss.

You know what I think?

They must've put a dumbing spell on the magpie. Or not. I know from previous experiences that magpies still adore carbs despite being meat lovers. Guess this will remain a mystery to me...unless someone knows anything about these strange behaviours!

So perhaps the moral of the story is this: Size does not matter. You can beat the Goliath in your life!

Bye bye Mr. Magpie!

He was pretty much in a trance-like state as he made an exit from the scene.

Happy at last with their dinner. 

Or so you think...

Apparently the lady wasn't impressed. She suspected that the boy cared more about the food than her so she left. 

And I don't think he even noticed!

Me gonna rip this piece 'o bread like a man!


Hang on, something doesn't seem right?

Ok, let me think...

Is someone missing? I'm pretty sure I didn't leave the nest alone this morning...

*looks around*

Oooops! Honeyyyy...where are you?

By the way, while I'm in no way claiming to be a mind-reader of these creatures with wings, I will however claim that these curry sweet potato fries I've been making will mostly likely have you hooked!

They have graced my dinner table at least a dozen times as there seems to be an overflowing supply of sweet potatoes in the fridge lately. And this is now one of our favourite ways to indulge this vitamin-A rich food in my home. Crunchy, spicy, sweet...yum!

Oh and learn from that silly lorikeet - don't forget to enjoy your food with your loved ones this week!

Baked Curry Sweet Potato Fries
Adapted from Joy the Baker
Makes 1 potatoes worth of fries. 
  • 1 plump sweet potato/yam/orange-fleshed potato, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large egg white (I omitted this and used another tbsp of olive oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

3. Peel sweet potato and slice off the top and bottom points of the potato. With potato positioned north to south, use a large knife to slice potato into 1/3-inch potato planks. Stack planks in two piles, and slice, north to south, into 1/3-inch sticks.

4. Place potato sticks onto prepared baking sheet and toss with olive oil. Set aside.

5. In a medium bowl, whisk egg white until foamy and frothy (if using egg whites). Add curry powder, cumin, turmeric, and crushed red pepper flakes and whisk to incorporate. Pour the egg white mixture over the potato sticks and gentle toss to coat the potatoes.

6. Place in the oven and bake to desired doneness and crispiness, my fries took about 40 minutes. While the fries bake, stir together yogurt, cumin, olive oil and salt. Place in a small serving dish.

7. Remove fries from the oven and serve immediately.

Have a lovely week ahead!


Coffee Crème Caramel

>> Wednesday, August 3, 2011

While making this coffee crème caramel in my kitchen one afternoon, I overheard some screechy conversation and realised that I had some visitors out on the balcony.

They were pretty loud. And I gathered they might've been having a bit of a disagreement out there.

Maybe I could ameliorate this awkward situation by offering them some food? Afterall, I've been told that good food sometimes has the effect of lessening the severity of arguments! (And I'm guessing bad food would have the opposite effect.)

So what do birds eat? Seeds right?

I immediately went to the health food section of my pantry and brought some chia seeds out. Surely they will love this superfood as much as I do!

Ugh not really. They just looked at me as if I was sprinkling invisible food onto the ground. What are you, crazy? We want real food, they seem to be saying to me.

Okay, then how about my favourite snack - dried dates?

Yay, think we've got a winner here!

After these visitors filled themselves up, they flew away amicably as if they had no recollection of their previous tiff!

(They also showed me their appreciation by coming in to the apartment and leaving some poop on my carpet as I found out later on....)

Little did I know that I'd later run into this couple again days later...

This time, it was another nail-biting story which will have you at the edge of your seat. Ok, not really. But I can't wait to share about it in my next post because this post is getting a little bit too long and I'd like to talk about the delicious crème caramel now.

But here is a preview:

Who's going to win that piece of bread and who is going home hungry? Oh, the suspense!

Hint: Think David and Goliath!

Anyways, so I made this coffee crème caramel because:

1. I love eating it and it's been years since I last made it.

2. I was recently given a bag of freshly ground coffee which I have no use of (being a Nespresso person). So, why not cook with it? (You might be seeing a lot of caffeinated recipes coming up!)

3. I wanted to try steaming crème caramels (instead of baking them) because I know steaming is faster (well, you save the time pre-heating the oven + an extra 10 minutes cooking time!)

The result is a silky smooth crème caramel with a slightly bitter caramel sauce! Perfecto!

I couldn't wait until it chills in the fridge and ate them while they're still slightly warm and velvety soft! So addictive and delicious! Despite it was already late in the afternoon and the smallest amount of caffeine keeps me up all night, I 'uncontrollably' gobbled down more servings than I really should in one go.

Yes, totally worth it!

I hope you'll give this recipe a go. Chances are, you have all the ingredients right now in your kitchen.

And best of all, you don't even need an oven for this! 

Coffee Crème Caramel
Inspired by Cooking with Dog
Makes 4

You will need 4 pudding moulds/ramekins.
  • Unsalted Butter (to rub the sides of your ramekins) 
  • 4 tbsp Caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp Water
  • 1½~2 tbsp Hot water
  • 2 Eggs
  • 200ml Milk
  • 50ml strong espresso coffee
  • 3 tbsp Caster sugar
1. Place water in a heavy saucepan. Add 4 tbsp sugar, pouring into the centre of the water so it doesn't touch the edges. Cook over a medium heat for around 5-7 minutes. Do not stir. The caramel will slowly colour from blonde to brunette, to a dark, rich colour. Take off the heat immediately and add the 1-2 tbsp of hot water into the caramel (I added the water using a long ladle to prevent being burned by the sizzling hot caramel! Be careful here as it's extremely hot and bubbly!)

Pour into each of the 4 ramekins/pudding moulds.

2. Whisk eggs gently in a large bowl until mixture is slightly frothy. (We don't want too much froth here.)

3. Put milk and coffee into a saucepan and add the 3tbsp of sugar and cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir into egg mixture (do not over mix).

4. Pour this mixture through a sieve into a jug to pour into each of the 4 ramekins/moulds.

5. Cover the ramekins with aluminium foil. Place them in a large flat pan (I used a 29cm fry pan) with a piece of folded towel/cloth at the bottom (to prevent overheating the moulds). Fill half way up the sides of the ramekins with boiling water and cook for 18-20 minutes with the lid covering the pan. Cook on low heat (small boils - we don't want rapid boil as the custard will be overcooked and eggy!)

6. Check to see if the custard has set and then rest for ~15 mins before putting into the fridge to chill. Run a knife around the edges of the ramekins before turning out onto a dish.

Bible verse of the day...

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 

-Philippians 4:8

Have a blessed week ahead! :)

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