Coconut Berry Muffins

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I spoke about using left over ingredients. One of the things I do at the end of the week is to plan and create recipes that make use of what is left in our fridge. We have a HUGE fridge and generally, it’s emptied of vegetables and fruits by Friday. The shelves are stack full earlier and will slowly emptied by then too. I dislike wastage and try to make use of left over coconut milk or cheese if they are close to their use by date.

So on that day, I had coconut milk that I wanted to use. I ran out of almond meal and only have some coconut flour left. Thankfully, I have quite a few eggs left. The first batch was quite eggy, hence I reduced the number of eggs and added a little more coconut milk to balance off the ratio of coconut flour. Hence this recipe was created!

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Coconut Berry Muffins (Makes around 16)

2/3 cup of coconut flour

5 eggs

1.5 cups of coconut millk

1 tsp of vanilla paste

1 tsp of bicarb soda

2 tablespoon of lemon juice

1 tablespoon of honey or rice malt syrup

1 cups of frozen berries

Directions:

1) Preheat Oven to 180C. Prepare muffin cups.

2) Whisk wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients like coconut flour and bicarb together. Fold wet to dry, adding berries last.

3) spoon into muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes or so till golden brown.

Cream of Leek and Cauliflower Soup

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I’m a big believer of soups. Every week, I would prepare our food menu and soup will be included in there. It’s tasty, and provides a warm, fuzzy feeling whenever we have it. Soups are perhaps the grown up version of baby purees. Now that I’m cooking more for the family, soups are a great addition to Asher’s repertoire of dinners with us.

Coconut Milk is my new “Must have” in the fridge or pantry. In the fridge for those “oops, I need frosting” moments, and in the pantries for curries and soups. They add great flavour to everything- I even made a Tuna mornay the other night with it. A little goes a long way for us so I’m not afraid to use it in our meals from time to time.

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Soups are also a fantastic way of clearing the fridge of vegetables. Some nights, we have a “whatever we have left” in the fridge soups. Often, I’m surprised by how that extra carrot, or cabbage changes the texture and sweetness of the soup all together.

This one though, was planned. We haven’t been eating much cauliflower lately as it gave Asher too much tummy discomfort in my early days of breastfeeding. Now that he is alot older, and can tolerate it more, we have started re introducing cauliflower again. Cauliflower provides that lovely creamy thick texture to soups which I miss.

Our greatest joy of course is that Asher loved it too.

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Cream of Leek and Cauliflower Soup (Serves 4 and a baby)

2 leeks sliced

2 red onions diced

1 tablespoon of minced garlic

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

1 large head of cauliflower diced

1/4 cup of coconut milk (more if you like)

1 tsp of cumin spice

1 tsp of coriander spice

1 ltre of chicken stock

Optional- slivers of bacon pieces.

Saute garlic, leek and onions in coconut oil till soft and brown.Add in cauliflower with spices and stock. Simmer for 20 minutes or so and cool. Put a hand blender through it. Re heat it with coconut milk and serve warm with or without bacon pieces.

 

Ginger Chicken

Was it just last year that I was in confinement? Where my grandmother was present, fussing around me and Asher? I had a newborn in my arms and surrounded by family bliss?

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Those 12 weeks were the best weeks we ever had as a family.

My dear friend had her baby. She lost her parents years ago and with that means her immediate family are her husband and her newborn daughter. I wanted to do something close to our Cantonese heritage for her. I believe that food heals and the first month post birth requires extra nourishment. Confinement food is comforting. It’s how women in our culture tell each other we care. We cook and bring food. I hope it gives a little taste of home and where she is from.

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I re-tweaked this recipe given to me by my late grandmother. As I made this and taste, I smiled. She is here. Her blood running through my veins has perhaps influenced me more than what I thought it has. And there it was, the comfort wasn’t just for my friend. It was for me too.

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Ginger Chicken (serves 5-6)

1.5 kgs of chicken drumlets

250 grams knob of ginger

1 cup of ginger wine

1 cup of DOM liquor

1 cup of water

2 tsp of sesame oil

1 generous spoon of minced garlic

50 grams of black fungus re hydrated with water

Directions

Saute garlic with sesame oil till brown. Brown ginger and chicken drumlets. Smell and inhale the ginger. Add all liquid and simmer in a pressure cooker for 30 minutes. Let the pressure go and cool a little. Open the lid and continue to simmer the chicken for another 10-15 minutes, adding the black fungus as well.

 

Lemon Almond Cake with Coconut Milk Frosting

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I have often said that this blog have watch me grown. As a person, and in my experimentation of food. Behind me though, are great friends and family who support me by trying out and giving me feedback on my experimentations. Some aren’t too pretty, and others are average. Funny enough, when something worked out, it surprises me.

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I have a few friends close to my heart. I made this cake for this girl whom not only do I think is super sweet, caring, fiercely loyal but also one of the first who embrace our change in clean living. In fact, I think she was one of the first who got me going on it too. We exchanged recipes, motivate each other and just did mini cheer dances when the other hit a milestone whether at a workout, or mastering a recipe.

Another friend who I think is one of the most creative people I know suggested a surprise party for her. Excitedly, we came out with a “Bringing New York to Perth” theme. That one afternoon, we had New York theme street signs around the house, complete with a cut out of the skyline of New York. Well, I can’t help myself but to bake a cake can I?

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She loves lemons. I thought, alright! Why not a multi layer cake with lemon curd and coconut frosting? I aimed for 6 layers (jumbo size? America? got the connection? ha!) and thank goodness I did because I ended up with 3! The remainder were cracked and wasn’t usable but they were yummy test cakes.

I learned a few lessons from this cake. Like how to make whipped coconut frosting (It’s super yummy!), how to frost a cake and how to make a healthy lemon curd.

Teresa Cutter is where the cake inspiration cake from. She was a contributor to House and Garden Magazine before and I tore some recipes to keep. I adapted and changed a few things but mainly stuck to her ratios because it works!

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Lemon Almond Cake with Coconut Milk Frosting (Makes around 4-5  9 inches cake)

4 cups of almond meal

4 tsp of baking powder

1 cup of lemon juice

zest from 2 lemons

8 eggs- separated

2 tsp of vanilla paste

1/2 cup of honey

For the Lemon Curd

3 eggs

1/2 cup of lemon juice

zest from two lemons

1/4 cup of coconut oil

1 tsp of arrowroot flour (if needed)

1/4 cup of honey

For the Coconut Milk Frosting 

4 cans of Ayam Brand Coconut Milk

1 tsp of vanilla paste

First to make the cake:

1) Preheat Oven to 170C, Line baking cake tins with baking paper.

2) Whisk egg whites till soft peaks appear. Spoon into another bowl and clean bowl.

3) In another bowl, mix almond meal and baking powder together.

4) Back to the mixer, whisk yolks, honey and vanilla together.

5) Add in the almond meal and mix till combined well. Separate equally into bowls. Spoon the first into the baking tin. (I bake 2 layers at once).

6) Cool cakes completely.

To make the lemon curd (make it the day before frosting the cake):

1) Whisk eggs and honey in a saucepan over low heat. Gently add in the lemon juice and keep whisking. Add in zest.

2) Slowly add in the coconut oil till it becomes nice and shiny. It should thickens as it continues heating.

3) If it is still very liquid after 15 mins, sprinkle some arrowroot. But beware as the mixture will thicken after cooling.

4) Strain the curd, refrain from licking fingers.

5) Fridge it to thicken further.

To make the Frosting (Make frosting when cake is cooling):

1) Fridge coconut milk at least 24 hours.

2) Spoon top layer of cream out and reserve the rest for soups or smoothies.

3) Whisk on high with vanilla paste till it becomes whipped. Fridge it to thicken it further.

Assembling the cake

1) Make sure the cake is completely cool.

2) Spread a thin layer of coconut frosting on top of one layer and a few tablespoons of lemon curd. Repeat for remaining layers.

3) Do a crumb frosting first. Roughly frost the whole cake with coconut frosting till it is covered. Fridge it. This step means the frosting thickens further and stops crumbs from showing in your final frosting.

4) Frost cake after 15 minutes.

5) Add finishing touches like toasted coconut as a garnish.

 

Kale and Carrot Frittata

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I served this at Asher’s 1st Birthday party as well. This is a quick and easy breakfast or lunch idea for babies and us.

I used baby kale for this. I find baby kale to be milder in taste and not as fibrous to chew- good for little teeth. Carrot adds a sweetness that babies can’t resist. This freezes well too so I like to have some in the freezer for those “I can’t believe it’s lunch time already!” moments.

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Baby food- are you in the camp of cooking fresh daily or freezing food? I’m the latter for sure. Although I have been experimenting and cooking family meals for everyone, there are some nights when we just want to have a curry, or sashimi which means Asher will have something from the freezer store. It takes the pressure off and at least I know he has a variety of food.

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Kale and Carrot Frittata (around 12 fingers)

6 eggs

100 grams of baby kale chopped finely

1 carrot grated

1 tsp of coconut flour

(Optional- handful of grated cheese and nutmeg)

Directions

Preheat Oven to 180C. Line slice tray with baking paper. Whisk eggs. Fold in vegetables and coconut flour. Bake slice for 20-25 minutes.

Mixed Berries Orange Tea Cake

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Once in a while you experiment and discover recipes that are worth keeping. This is one of them. Finding the balance between coconut flour and almond meal seems tricky at times but this cake just…takes the cake. It’s very cake like and light to eat. Again, I serve it to friends who would not have guessed it’s an no added refined sugar and certainly gluten free, and paleo
cake. Hubby is also loving the citrus flavours. We love the citrus seller at our local farmers market. Oh, and for the first time, I used rice malt syrup just so that Asher gets to eat this too.

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I really enjoy being at home and having the time to think about experimenting with different ingredients. Someone commented that I always seem to have a lot on my plate. I view it differently. I do like living life to the fullest- BUT I am also aware that there are some times that I need a little chill time as well. This is a lesson I have to learn.

It’s what I think makes me who I am. A mum. An experimenter. A wife. And a whole lot of roles in between. However, I have to remind myself…

It’s ok to have a cup of coffee and eat a slice of cake too!

Mixed Berries Orange Tea Cake 

1 cup of almond meal
1/2  cup of desiccated coconut
1/4 cup of coconut flour
juice of 1 whole orange
zest of 1 orange
4 eggs
1 tsp of vanilla paste
1 tablespoon of rice malt syrup or honey
3/4 cup of frozen berries
1 tsp of baking powder
pinch salt

flaked almonds to sprinkle

Preheat Oven to 180C. Line an 9inch cake tin with baking paper. Using a cake mixer, I whisked eggs, orange juice, zest, vanilla and rice malt syrup. Then I added all the dry ingredients. I fold in the berries last. Pour into the prepared tin, sprinkle flaked almonds and bake for 50 minutes.

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A VERY good for you Zucchini and Olive Loaf

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I have posted this before but I would like to update this recipe. After a few other experimentation, I found the addition of other ingredients really lift this loaf up to be a nutritious and delicious bread. In fact, I made this so many times that I need to re think what to bring for friends and picnics. The embarrassing moment when they start to associate you with “oh, the girl with the zucchini loaf!”

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Hubby likes this because it is so versatile. Toasting it up for breakfast, or having it with soup- the choice is yours. I kept some in the freezer and found that it freezes well too. I would even let Asher have some as a snack from time to time.

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I think it is a “Very good” for you loaf because it has a good mix of protein from the nut meal and heaps of vegetables as well. A good way to sneak in more goodness to your body I say! You can choose to omit the cheese for a strict paleo meal plan but I prefer a little cheese in mine.

A VERY Good for you Zucchini and Olive Loaf 

1.5 cup of almond meal

3/4 cup arrow root starch

1 tsp bicarb soda

1/2 tsp salt

5 eggs

1.5 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup of zucchini grated

2 carrots grated

1 capsicum finely chopped

1/4 cup of chopped up sundried tomatoes

1/4 cup of chopped olives

1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
Pepitas and Sunflower seeds to sprinkle on top

Lined loaf pan with baking paper. Whisk dry ingredients together and wet (excluding veges, olives and cheese) in another jug. Pour wet to dry and fold through. Fold through all vegetables, sundried tomatoes and olives last. Pour in pan, sprinkle seeds on top and bake for 35-40 minutes.

 

Asher’s 1st Birthday Bash- Mostly a Paleo Party

Well, 90% paleo! There were some items that were not, but overall, most of the food was healthy and nourishing. All photos are taken by our friend from Steins Photography. I think he did a fantastic  job! He was gentle and non-intrusive and has a keen eye for details. It’s like he knows what  and how we would like to remember the party. We were busy hosting and now looking at these photos brought us some lovely memories.

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We decided on an aviation theme because 1) Asher loves pointing to the sky and saying “ane” whenever we go for walks. 2) He has been on the plane 10 times in 6 months. 3) We want him to grow up knowing that his immediate family members are only a flight away (and facetime).

IMG_0700 (640x427)This celebration is for us just as it is for him. We wanted to thank everyone for supporting us in this journey of parenthood. It was also a shout out to say Hooray! We survived the first year! But more importantly, for Asher to know that he is well loved and cared for.

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The decorations were easy. We ordered and put up balloons and buntings. A friend who started her own business “Little Merry Go Rounds” provided a personalised banner and inflatable planes as decorations. I spent some time on Word and printed out food tags and personalised name tags for the kids party bags. The pompoms were there already as the play room’s decoration.

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We have the following for mains

1) Red Cabbage and Carrot Salad with Lemon Coconut Dressing (Yes, corn is not paleo, but we can tolerate a little corn)

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2) Prawn Quinoa Salad with Cherry Balsamic Olive Oil Dressing

3) Stir Fry Vegetables (Brought by our cousins)

4) Curry Chicken (Brought by our cousins)

5) Rojak (A fruit based Salad)- (brought by our cousins)

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6) Sushi (We ordered)

7) Roast Duck, BBQ Pork and Roast Pork (We ordered)

8) Kale and Carrot Frittata (Kid friendly)

9) Indian Inspired Meatballs with Cherry Tomatoes Skewers (Kid friendly)

10) Miso Sirracha Drumlets

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Desserts

1) Gluten Free Orange and Almond Cake made with Coconut Sugar (We ordered from Rainbow Designsbykez!)

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2) Chocolate and Avocado Mousse (Kid friendly)

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3) Airplane Cookies (Kid Friendly)

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4) Fruits

5) Kuehs (Brought by our Auntie)- They are sweet little Asian bites made with glutinous rice and coconut topping.

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All in all, a simple menu. I was very happy with the cake as it was made without any refined sugar (the cake itself not the fondant!!!!) and it was a HIT! I would have love to make it but I really didn’t want the stress for his first party. I made all the salads, frittata, meatballs, chicken, airplane cookies and mousse. The mousse was an interesting one because I received mixed reviews. Some people loved it, and of course, some people wasn’t quite convinced.

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We had a little hiccup with the cake. The fondant had a huge air bubble! While it was noticable, the cake still received great reviews- it was moist and not overly sweet. I was afraid we would have heaps of cake left but many took second helpings. The vendor was so sweet and apologetic about it too. I feel for her as I think she was more gutted than we were. We had a few slices left which we gave to our friends and hubby had his in his snack box for the next few days. I’m glad it wasn’t overly sweet and is semi healthy YET delicious.

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Hubby feeding Asher some of the Kale and Carrot Frittata

Hubby also made his signature “Lemon Lime Mint and Honey Drink”. For the 10lt beverage dispenser, it contains 2 tablespoons of honey but heaps of plain no sugar added sparkling water, lemon, lime juice and mint.

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If you are wondering what did I pack for the little kids to take away? Keeping to our goals of wanting the party to be as healthy as possible, I packed little gift packs of tiny toy planes, bubbles, mini clappers and a party blower. My bargain hunt was the vintage luggage case that cost me $10! I’m using that to store some of Asher’s toys now.

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As for us, we are just simply still in love with our little family. Yes, there are many challenges and life has changed but we wouldn’t exchanged it for anything.

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So there we go! Our first kids party!

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