I didn’t make from-scratch pancakes today, and with today being Pancake Tuesday, that is a tiny bit of a travesty. I will make my cheesecake pancakes on the weekend though. Although, I am slightly hesitant because I do worry about the sugar element of having a pancake weekend! It will need a rethink and a recipe retweak! Ah to have a sweet tooth and be a diabetic! What a life of contrariness do I lead, eh?
I am, however, baking blondies today. A friend who has had a hip operation is visiting the office tomorrow and she mentioned on Facebook that she was craving blondies. So I thought I’d send her home with my almond blondies.
It’s not going to be a surprise because she knows about it. But I thought it would be a good thing to do!
Tomorrow, I’m thinking of baking whoopie pies. Peanut butter and jelly whoopie pies. Let’s see how that works out, shall we?
I bring this brownie to work all the time and, more often than not, the brownies go, within minutes. Sometimes people are taken aback at the “beetroot” element of the brownie and I always say that this is a “healthy” brownie and I always joke that beetroot that’s in it can count towards one of your five-a-day. But there is a large element of truth in that statement because there is a considerable amount of beetroot in the recipe — and beetroot is a vegetable! I know that most people are pleasantly surprised at how good the brownies taste. I think they expect the traditional beetroot taste to hit them, but in this recipe, you can’t really taste the beetroot. If anything, the beetroot enhances the taste of the chocolate.
I tweaked a recipe that I found in a supermarket’s magazine. I added more beetroot and reduced the amount of sugar in it. The brownies come out very moist and very fudgy.
- 200g dark chocolate
- 200g butter
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 250g sugar
- 200g self-raising flour
- 300g vacuum packed cooked beetroot, grated
- Break the chocolate into sections and together with the butter, place in a heatproof dish and stand over a pan of simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl didn’t touch the water. Leave to allow the chocolate and butter to melt, stirring occasionally. Once the chocolate and butter are melted, set aside and allow to cool.
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- In a bowl, mix together eggs, vanilla and sugar. Beat until the eggs are light yellow in colour. Beat in the melted chocolate until well-combined. The mixture will thicken slightly as you mix the chocolate into the egg and sugar mixture. Gently fold in the flour and beetroot..
- Spoon the mixture into a prepared pan (greased and lined with parchment paper) and bake for 40-45 minutes. It is done when a toothpick inserted comes out relatively clean. Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then remove from the baking tin and cool completely on a wire rack.
- Will make 16-24 squares, depending on how big you slice your squares.
I used to buy salt and chilli belly pork from the supermarket prepacked. The pork was lovely, and the flavours were simple, uncomplicated and delicious. There is nothing more enjoyable than straightforward goodness. I looked at the ingredients list one evening and though I could actually make the ingredient list a bit simpler. The taste reminded me of rotisserie pork that was readily available in the Philippines, so I started from there. Salt and pepper were the mainstays of this lovely Filipino “fast food” option.
There are only 5 ingredients to this lovely no-fail recipe. Of course you can change the herb of choice added (I’ve tried dill and it works!), remove the chilli and replace it with just pepper, add soy sauce instead of salt…the permutations can go on forever! Feel free to customise this recipe according to your tastes! The beauty of this is that you can make it ahead of time and just store it in the fridge and take it out when you’re ready to cook it.
- 500g pork belly strips, rind removed
- 1 heaping teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1-2 teaspoons chilli flakes (depending on how spicy you want it)
- 3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Mix salt, spices and oil together in ziplock lock bag (other brands of resealable bags are acceptable!). Add the belly pork slices and marinade for at least 2 hours, even better if marinated overnight.
- Preheat oven to 200C.
- Line a baking tin with parchment paper and lay the belly pork slices. Place in the middle of the oven. Bake the belly pork slices for 30 minutes, turning the belly pork slices halfway.
- The belly pork slices will come out lovely and brown. Cut into bite-sized chunks and serve.
- This is great with rice and greens — or if you’re watching carbs like me, just greens (like wilted kale or cabbage, or steamed pak choi or choi sum).
I’ve been looking back at the first 53 days of the year, I haven’t really baked much.
So the first bake for 2014 is banana muffins. I love banana loaves and treasure my banana bread recipes. My favourites are those that translate into wonderful muffins. Most cake recipes will be great cupcake or muffin recipes anyway, with a little ingredient tweaking and oven watching as cupcakes and muffins, obviously are smaller and will bake quicker. I’m sharing another one of those “tweaked” recipes. This recipe happened because I was a little too enthusiastic with random inclusion of ingredients. I was a bit worried about how the spices would work with the dark chocolate, but according to my lovely taste-testers at work, the chocolate studded spiced mixture works! Hurrah!
Now, if you’re brave enough to give my little concoction a try, here’s the recipe! What’s great about this recipe is it’s a little lighter because I don’t use butter but vegetable oil. This also makes exactly 12, count em, 12 regular sized cupcakes.
- 220g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3 bananas (preferrably at least medium sized), mashed
- 100g chocolate chips
- 150 g chopped pecans
- 150g caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 75ml vegetable oil
- Preheat oven to 190°C (180°C fan).
- In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt together and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, mix oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla and the mashed banana together until the mixture is smooth. I love my mixer (my nearly 3-year old Kenwood Chef) because I can just bung everything in (including unmashed bananas! the lovely machine does it all for me!) and it gets mixed beautifully! Add the chocolate chips, pecans and the flour mixture and mix until well-incorporated, scraping the sides of the mixing bowls occasionally.
- Spoon the mixture into a muffin tin lined with muffin cases. For more evenly sized cupcakes, I use an ice cream scooper. Bake for 18-20 minutes. The muffins will be ready when a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Take the muffins out of the oven and leave to rest in the muffin tray for 5 minutes before letting them cool completely on a wire rack.
- Makes 12-14 muffins, depending on the size of cupcake cases that you use.
The last entry on this blog was a post for the New Year. And then nothing.
I haven’t written anything on the blog for 52 or so days. Mind you, it’s not as if I’ve had nothing to write about: I’ve had gripes about commuting, stresses at work, an interesting phone call (that’s all I’m saying about it because that particular phone call must remain a secret! Ha!) a trip back to Manila (yes, I finally went home for an awfully short 11-day vacation!), Korean food discoveries, a weird tummy illness and other health issues and several beauty freebies! Yes, I’ve had a lot of things to write about. But I’ve been too lazy to switch on the ‘puter and start tapping on the keyboard to write about them.
I could actually take myself off the hook and say, “Oh well, you know, real life gets in the way of blogging!” but that’s a major cop out. I used to work a full time job in the Philippines but managed to write entries at night! In hindsight, which we all know is 20-20, I probably should not have deleted any of my old blogs. It might have been a good writing exercise to look at an old blog entry and rip it to pieces! I am, after all, my worst critic!
I’m certainly glad I haven’t written a New Year’s resolutions list. One of the things on that list would be to blog more — and we all know what a rip roaring success I would’ve been on that one! Ha!
I’ve got loads to catch up on…so I guess I’d better get typing eh?
May Light always surround you;
Hope kindle and rebound you.
May your Hurts turn to Healing;
Your Heart embrace Feeling.
May Wounds become Wisdom;
Every Kindness a Prism.
May Laughter infect you;
Your Passion resurrect you.
May Goodness inspire
your Deepest Desires.
Through all that you Reach For,
May your arms Never Tire.
I injured myself yesterday and Spam was to blame. No, not that spam, not the one of the emailed variety.
Yesterday was all about turkey (yes, I’m still trying to rid myself of the leftover turkey that was languishing in the fridge and not preserved cryogenically in the freezer) fried rice and Spam. All my joy and anticipation (turkey fried rice was a favourite) melted away when my forearm was splattered with hot oil from the frying Spam. It hurt. A lot. And if I’m honest, I was more worried that my arm will look more speckled than usual because of the Spam battle scars! My mom warned me yesterday to take care of the blisters as they might be infected. So I will be careful…or at least, I will TRY to be careful!
But there it is. Me injured (again) in the name of food and cooking!