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A starry starry bake

I seem to have a knack for tedium; the recipes or craft projects I want to make require either many steps or more effort each step. The higher amount of satisfaction is a most probable reason for these choices although I almost always feel sorry at half point. And then I will simply do it again.

While browsing the latest issue of ‘Lust auf Genuss’, a photo of bright orange stars dusted with desiccated coconut wouldn’t leave my eye alone. I decided they have to appear on this year’s Christmas cookie table. Each year, my mother-in-law prepares a whole range of sweets for the Christmas period besauss we tend to stay home throughout and snack with only breaks made out of real meals. It’s high time I make a contribution too. Continue reading

My kind of Jawbreaker – Espresso Cantuccini

I have never been fond of baking cookies. Blame it on Famous Amos. There were countless futile attempts to make these small hard little molds of dough without them spreading to form a giant plate of a cookie. Big flat cookies were not at all in those days. (Ok, we have SubWay to blame as well then.) Deeming myself a cursed cookie baker, I devoted all of my oven time to cakes instead. Continue reading

Banana Oatmeal Cake

Growing up having always a tin of Quaker Oats on standby in the kitchen, I cannot and refuse to understand why my daughter rejects oat. Oat milk goes down the drain; oatmeal porridge gets poured into the bowl. Sigh. And just the other day, I read about how oat is such a super food for our well-being. I must get this girl to eat her oats. So today’s inspired bake was banana oatmeal cake. I picked out a recipe randomly from a blog and modified it a little to accommodate my pantry supply and taste likings. The core of the recipe is great: the amount of fat and sugar is proportionally small while the good stuff like bananas and oats make up the cake. And, it’s more than a cake; it’s a oat crumble-topped cake. Now, whoever thought of putting this much oats into a cake is a genius.

Continue reading

Vitamin bombs – Honeyed Lemon Slices

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I remarked to A., my best friend here in Bremen, that I’m getting tired of the taste of the honey I have at home. It’s a huge tin, a good litre! She suggested that I should use it up by making honeyed lemon slices. According to A., female fans of sportstars prepare this for their sport idols. They purportedly provide an extra boost. I suppose it’s not difficult to understand why. Honey is simple sugar and lemon is full of vitamin C.

Initially I was hesitant because I’m not a sour foodstuff person. Even now that I’m pregnant, I don’t crave anything sour. But these lemon slices are sweetened significantly by the honey. Yet, they retain their original tanginess. I eat a slice or two as a snack almost everyday and realise that they disappear fast! So if you decide to make them, make enough to last you till you have the mood to repeat the process. Nonetheless, the minimum curing time is only a day or rather a night. The lemon slices taste best, in my opinion, after two to three days. They don’t get better after. I haven’t had the chance to keep them long enough to know if they will spoil.

Also, the remaining liquid mix of lemon juice and honey can be diluted with water to make a refreshing honey lemon drink for the shopping break.

Add a piece of brown paper and string to the lid and it makes a nice preserves gift too!

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Ingredients

  • Lemons (preferably with thin skin and organic because the skin is not removed )
  • Honey, any type you prefer

Method

  • Cut lemons to make 0.5cm slices. If they are too thin, the centre portions will disintergrate too much. If they are too thick, you’ll be eating more skin than you like.
  • Coat lemon slices generously with honey.
  • Place slices in jar and refrigerate overnight.
  • The next day, the lemon slices would have released juices. Shake up the jar to ensure that the liquid coats all slices.

Domo Arigatou A.!

Liquid protein snack – Soya bean Milk

Organic soya beans are readily available in Bio Supermärkte or Reformhaus, if you are living in Germany.

I grew up on soya bean milk. A week doesn’t pass without a serving from the hawker centre. After feeling deprived for months, I finally decided to try and make some at home. It isn’t as difficult as some make it sound. In fact, I take less than an hour to grind, squeeze, cook and clean up.

Leading from my high(er) protein diet, soya bean milk is now used as an in-between meal ‘snack’. I’m not a vegan but I believe substituting soya based products for some meat is always a good idea because soya is fat free.

This is the recipe for 1.2 litres of soya bean milk, which is what I would finish within a week. It doesn’t keep longer than that so don’t make more unless other family members enjoy it too (The Mister makes a face.) It also doesn’t freeze well. I’ve thawed a bottle before. It separated but came together again after some vigorous stirring. Nonetheless, the texture is not that smooth.

Ingredients

1 cup (organic) soya beans
9 cups water
1 pandan (screwpine) leaf, optional
6-8 tablespoons raw sugar, to taste

Kitchen Equipment

Blender
Muslin bag
Sieve
Large pot

Method

  1. Soak the beans in water the night before. The beans will expand significantly and become brighter in colour. The one cup of beans becomes three cups by then.
  2. Blend one cup of beans with one cup of water. If you have a bigger blender, you could blend all at one go.

    The resulting mixture of blended soya beans with water

  3. Pour the mixture into a muslin bag and squeeze the milk into a large pot.
  4. Tie the pandan leaf into a knot and place it in the milk. The pandan leaf imparts a subtle sweet smell and masks the ‘beany’ flavour. It doesn’t otherwise change the flavour of the milk.

    If you can't find pandan leaves, don't use (artificial) pandan flavouring/paste/extract. That would then alter the flavour of the milk.

  5. Add the remaining 6 cups of water and bring to boil on medium heat.  The amount of water can be adjusted to how thick you like the milk to be. The 1:3 ratio gives the thickness I prefer. Now, here, patience will save you time and an unnecessary mess. Do not be tempted to use higher heat. The milk boils and foams like a science lab volcano when the boiling point is reached abruptly.
  6. Remove foam as the milk heats so that you can tell whether you need to lower the heat. Stir from time to time to prevent a layer from forming at the bottom of the pot.
  7. Allow milk to boil gently for 15 minutes.
  8. Sieve milk.
  9. Add sugar to taste.

Okara is the Japanese term for the leftover bean pulp

What to do with the leftover bean pulp? Ask google! There are plenty of recipes online, incorporating them into cookies, vegatable patties, etc. I’m thinking of using it to make the filling for a lasagna. I’ll report in the next recipe post!