Archive for May 2014

Mixed Noodle Salad Bowls

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

This is a really easy and delicious dish that was created when I was about eight years old. We had leftovers that had to be used up, and I really loved grating things.

It became a staple for many years, until somehow we forgot about it and it wasn't included in any meal rotations while I was in high school. I think this was because when we moved to Australia, chilli oil was not as readily available as it was in Malaysia, and my mom couldn't be bothered making it from scratch. 

But one day a few years ago, my chilli plant had an abundant flowering and fruiting one summer, and we had an overload of chillies. So I made some chilli oil and it was delicious, and sparked memories of these noodles. So they're a frequent and much loved staple now. 

(And yes, I do realize now that you can just buy chilli oil at an Asian store or at some fancy delis. But home made is always better!)

You can basically add whatever you like to these bowls, depending on what you have. The staples are the noodles, cucumber, carrots, some kind of protein, and the sauce - particularly the chilli oil and garlic. In a dire situation, you can just use these, and it will still be delicious.



Almond, Cranberry and White Chocolate Chip Muesli Bars

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

When I was in school, I was always really excited to go away on school trips - especially camping. Not because I love camping (I do) but because I was allowed to buy whatever I wanted for snacks, and it would be that single, rare occasion where I would be allowed to buy all sorts of junk food/unhealthy treats that I wouldn't usually ever be allowed to have. 

Instant cup noodles? As many different flavours as I liked! Pringles? Why not! Marshmallows! To make s'mores, of course! It was fantastic. I also used to get Uncle Toby's Yoghurt Topped muesli bars when I went camping. Strawberry. And I really loved them, but they were, very decidedly a "treat". So once every year (or maybe twice, if I was lucky) I could have all these treats and it was a really exciting moment for me. 

Strangely, even now that I am an adult, I avoid all these "treats" (except, they're not, really) unless I am going camping. Or on a road trip. I seriously just bypass them in the grocery aisle, although it is one day my desire to go to an Asian shop and try all the flavours of instant noodles. 

I guess it's because I just prefer making my own food (cooking for me is ultimately the best form of procrastination. Because you have to eat, so why not do it in the most excessive way possible? .... Right?) and maybe a little bit of classical conditioning due to my mom's strictness when I was little. 

Anyway these muesli bars are definitely not a "treat", but they are a treat! Super easy to make and very delicious, and customizable! This batch is almond, cranberry and vanilla, but you can use whatever nuts and dried fruit you like. They are also no-bake, which is always nice. So once they are set, you just slice them up, and then grab them whenever you need. I love them for breakfast on the run, or with steaming cup of tea for an afternoon snack.

Almond, Cranberry and White Chocolate Chip Muesli Bars

- 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats, toasted*
- 1/4 cup desiccated coconut, toasted*
- 1 cup whole almonds, toasted*
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted*
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup goji berries
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup peanut butter 
- 1 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla essence
  1. Heat the honey, peanut butter and vanilla in a small saucepan on low heat until it is runny. Set aside to cool.
  2. Put the oats, coconut, almonds, white chocolate chips, chia seeds, sesame seeds, goji berries, and cranberries into a large bowl.
  3. Pulse the dates in a blender until it can be shaped into a ball.
  4. Mix the dates with the remaining ingredients in a bowl and then press loosely into a slice or brownie pan lined with baking paper. 
  5. Pour the honey mixture over and then let it set in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight.
  6. Cut into bars and wrap in baking paper. Store in an airtight container for up to a week. 
*I just throw the oats, coconut, sesame seeds, and almonds onto a baking sheet and put it in the grill for about 5-10 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, or I put them into a large frying pan and heat. 

xx gee 


Mini Chocolate Malt Cakes with Salted Dulce Du Leche

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Once, I was making banana bread, and was really distracted so I made a very silly and very rookie mistake. I forgot the eggs. So I'd creamed the butter and mashed up the banana with the cinnamon and nutmeg, mixed everything up, and it was in the oven in a nice little loaf tin, when I turned around I saw the eggs just sitting on the counter in a bowl. 

I didn't know what to do, so I just left it in the oven to bake. And you know what? It was surprisingly okay. 

Anyway. This cake is eggless - on purpose. It's called a Crazy Cake or Depression Cake, which I found on Pinterest, and it is also dairy free. No milk. No butter. I still don't understand how. And I guess, makes it vegan.... ? The ingredients: Flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, cocoa powder, vinegar, vanilla, oil and water. 

This recipe was created during the Great Depression with minimal ingredients as they were difficult to come by. I have no idea about the science behind this - how does it work? Does the vinegar somehow do something to make up for the egglessness? Who knows. This is delicious, and its super simple, and you can bake the entire cake from start to finish in a single pan. Amazing. 

I decided to make mini cakes, so I cut out 7 cm rounds with a cookie cutter to make them tall and skinny. 

I used Milo because 1. It's delicious; and 2. I thought we were out of cocoa powder (found two tins as soon as I put it in the oven, typical), but I thought it was even more delicious. Since we always have a jar of dulce du leche on hand, the icing was really easy to whip up, and extremely delicious. Here's how I make mine. 

Depression Chocolate Malt Cake
Adapted from Sweet Little Bluebird
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 cup Milo
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  1. Preheat oven to 180C and grease your cake pan (unnecessary, but I felt strange not doing it).
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in the cake pan and mix thoroughly. Make three wells in the flour and then add the vinegar, vanilla, and oil in their own wells. Pour the water over and mix until combined well with a fork. 
  3. That's it. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Salted Dulce Du Leche
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 cup dulce du leche 
  • 3 teaspoons rock salt or sea salt flakes
  1. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the dulce du leche and combine well. Stir in the salt and then dollop onto the cakes.