Pancakes Pancakes!

Every Friday, R brings back a school bag with his school work and a book that the school loans out for the weekend. I was quite impressed by the idea of allowing the child to read a book with the parent because I believe not many schools do such a thing. As a mum whose always on a lookout for good reads, I get very excited when I look in his bag every Friday. So on this particular day, I peeped into the bag and was surprised to find Eric Carle’s Pancakes Pancakes book. 

If you know Eric Carle, he’s famous for his collage like pictures in his books. We’ve got the popular The Very Hungry Caterpillar book that R and I have read countless times. Pancakes, Pancakes is no different with a simple story line of a boy who wanted to eat pancakes but his mum didn’t have the ingredients and set him out to get them. 

So after reading the book before R’s nap, we made pancakes together using the recipe at the back of the book. It’s truly a simple recipe with 5 pantry items. For a toddler of about 26 months, he was able to whisk, mix and stir the ingredients together. I spoke a lot about the ingredients we were adding, the actions that we were doing and the various types of cutlery and utensils we were using. I also believe that lots of talk is necessary to keep the learning going and for the toddler to pick up vocabulary in an active manner. 

Essentially the recipe in the back cover of the book is really simple. Apparently, it’s Eric Carle’s mother’s recipe and that’s what we followed. (The book has since been returned and I forgot to note the ingredients however based on memory and until I can confirm it, they were:

  1. One cup of plain flour
  2. One cup of milk
  3. One egg)

Mix it all up, put a dollop of butter in the frying pan and pour a ladleful of batter when pan is heated. 

This makes another good activity on a rainy morning or afternoon where pancakes are good for breakfast or tea. And why not get your little assistant to help you along. 

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Three Ingredients Nutella Brownies

Lately I’ve been trying to include my toddler in my cooking and baking adventures. I try and do this about once a week and since he doesn’t go to full school yet, he’s rather free in the early evenings after his nap. 

So I’m regularly on the hunt for simple and easy recipes that the little one can manage without much assistance. I help with measuring the ingredients, occasionally pouring the ingredients into the big bowl and putting the batter or mixture into the oven. And like all mothers, I give lots of instructions and reminders during the process. 

Anyway, this recipe is not mine so credit goes to Kirbie Cravings and here’s the link http://kirbiecravings.com/2013/02/easiest-3-ingredient-nutella-brownies.html

 Essentially, this is all it requires. 

  1. Half a cup of plain flour
  2. One and a quarter cup of Nutella (which works out to the 350g jar)
  3. 2 eggs

Preheat the oven at 180°C, mix all the ingredients together and bake for 15 minutes. The toothpick should come out dry when it’s cooked. These brownies don’t come out really thick plus I cut them into bite sized pieces so they were really easy for little hands to handle. 

The best part is that it took less than half an hour from start to end. Of course with a toddler, it may take a little longer but it’s long enough to sustain his interest. 

They were so delicious I must admit I popped way too many pieces in my mouth. Will I be making these again, you bet!

Cornflakes Cookies

Another one of those rather addictive cookies that I tried were cookies with cornflakes. I had lots of excess cornflakes plus my father in-law had given me another box (which I’ve yet to finish) so I had to look for an easy and fast recipe. This did not require the mixer as long as the butter was sufficiently melted and soft. 

Ingredients:

100g unsalted butter, melted for easy mixing 100g caster sugar                                            175g self-raising flour                                            1 cup crushed cornflakes                                      1 egg

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven at 160°
  2. Cream the butter and sugar
  3. Add the egg to the batter and mix well
  4. Add in the flour and mix well
  5. Using a teaspoon, scoop out a small part of the mixture (I measured each scoop. I initially tried 16g but the cookies spread out to be rather large. For a bite size cookie, try 6g.)
  6. Coat with cornflakes
  7. Place each scoop on the baking tray lined with baking paper otherwise grease the tray
  8. Flatten them lightly with a fork
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes depending on how brown you’d want it
  10. Cool on the rack and serve or store in an airtight container. 

This was rather fast but it is troublesome if you’d want each cookie to be of similar weight to even out the baking. 

Recipe ref: http://eatapieceofcake.blogspot.sg/2013/01/corn-flakes-cookies.html?m=1

Honey Cornflakes Cups

At one point blogging took a back seat not because I wasn’t doing anything much but I got hooked onto baking. To be precise, baking cookies and some sweet treats. And once I was hooked onto something, it was very difficult to pull me away unless I got bored of it or I’ve gotten interested in something else.

It was also rather coincidental that I chose this snack to start with considering the Chinese New Year was fast approaching. I never intended to bake goodies but rather snacks for R for more variety other than his usual biscuits.

This was super super easy. I was also reminded of the activity that I did in school with my pupils prior to writing their procedural text. The children had fun making their own honey cornflakes cups but many of them burnt because the honey was poured directly onto the cornflakes instead of being mixed with butter. So, this recipe that I adapted from http://www.noobcook.com is much much better.

Ingredients:
50g of unsalted butter
3 tablespoons of honey
150g of cornflakes
Colored sprinkles known as hundreds-and-thousands

Method:
1. Heat the butter and honey in a saucepan. There’s no need for it to boil. The idea is to get a frothy mixture.
2. In a big bowl, pour the mixture over the cornflakes and mix it till the cornflakes are well coated.
3. Spoon the cornflakes into cupcake cases and sprinkle with the hundreds-and-thousands.
4. Bake in a preheated oven of 150° for 10-12 minutes or until the cornflakes are golden brown.
5. Cool and serve or store them in an airtight container.

Trust me, these would all disappear quite quickly coz its oh-so-yummy!

Ham, Spinach and Cheese Muffins

I’d love to have R help me in the kitchen. I’m certain that kids take great pride in their work when they are actively involved in the process. The outcome may not be the best, great if it is but if not it’s alright. However, the learning process is more important.

With that I decided that he could help me in making his tea time snack that day. I figured that if he liked it, I could freeze a few and when I was short of time or had no idea on what to feed R, I could easily pop this in the microwave for a quick and fuss free meal.

The preparation is a little tedious as you’d need to chop the spinach and ham otherwise, the combining of ingredients is very fast.

Ingredients:
2 cups of grated cheese (I used cheddar)
2 cups of self raising flour
2 eggs
1.5 cups of milk
0.5 cups of ham (I added about 1 cup)
A large handful of baby spinach
Half a teaspoon of salt (for taste especially if the ham is not salty enough)

Method: (makes 12 muffins)
1. Preheat oven at 180°.
2. Chop the ham and spinach.
3. Sift the flour.
4. Whisk the eggs.
5. Make a well in the flour and combine all the ingredients together.
6. Mix well.
7. Spoon the mixture into a greased muffin tin.
8. Bake for 25 minutes or till the top is golden.

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R helped me with whisking the eggs.

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And with combining the mixture.

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I think he enjoyed greasing the muffin tin the most.

The end product was a little too bland for my liking. I didn’t add salt to the mixture but the next time, I would for more taste. R wasn’t so interested in eating the muffin although he managed to dig all the pieces of ham and that was really what he wanted.

Cooking with a toddler also means there’s a little bit more to clean up like when the mixture spills on the floor or when he gets a little curious and sticks his finger in the mixture. Nevertheless, it’s really the process that counts and the fun of making something together. I was glad he understood my instructions and I definitely enjoyed having him help me.

I must add that I’m really no expert when it comes to baking. So, giving credit where it’s due, this is the site for the recipe http://www.learnwithplayathome.com/2014/06/ham-cheese-and-spinach-muffins-cooking.html?m=1

Chicken Rice (my husband’s recipe)

I’m very lucky to have a husband who cooks and bakes pretty well. I don’t know many men who can do both quite well though so I count myself very fortunate.

Sometimes we are so bored of eating that we just have no idea what to cook or eat. And if we were to eat out, even though there are so many options, we still can’t decide. Yes, sounds like first world problems.

The past weekend I requested for chicken rice and listening to how hubby cooks this while in Japan meant that he was quite an expert in it. He was trying to recreate the famous hawker dish. So did he succeed?

I would think so. He used chicken breast which I’m not quite fond of. I prefer chicken thigh because it is juicer and not as dry. As for the vegetables, it’s was different from the usual green vegetable and oyster sauce that we get if we order a set meal. Here he cooked beansprouts with cabbage, shiitake mushrooms and carrots for some colour. Toss it in a pan with salt and black pepper and it was delicious.

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Baked Seabass

I enjoy using the oven primarily because all I need to do is prepare the ingredients and the oven does the job with, of course the right temperature and time. Occasionally, you’d just need to peep to see that it’s doing its job well.

I’ve been longing to bake fish for awhile especially since I’ve been eating a fair bit of fish lately. However, it has always been the same few ways of cooking it that bored me. I was excited to try baking a whole fish. I chose seabass but I reckon it should work well with other types of fish too. I’ve tried baking a slice of salmon and I should be putting the recipe here one day.

Ingredients:
A whole fish (the size is up to you and depending on the number of people eating)
3-4 cloves of garlic minced
A stalk of coriander roughly cut them into thirds
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Several cherry tomatoes halved
2 limes or half a lemon
A teaspoon of salt
A dash of pepper

Preheat oven at 200°C.
Ensure the fish is scaled and cleaned. Marinate it with the oil, garlic, juice from the lime, salt and pepper.
Add the tomatoes onto the casserole
Bake the fish for 20 to 25 minutes or until the meat is flaky.
Once baked, add the coriander on the top of the fish and serve.

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Before going into the oven

We enjoyed this dish that this was a repeat and I’m sure there will be days when yummy food like this will make its appearance again.