Zzz’s attempt at bento making.
A convenient way to bring home cooked lunch out.
And a useful distraction when you have a curious, short attention span toddler trying her every way to sneak away from boring meal times.
Steamed brown rice as canvas, asparagus stalk as tree trunk, broccoli florets as canopy, broccoli stalk as grass, carrot as house frame, roasted tomatoes as roof tiles, mashed potatoes as house facade, hard boiled egg as Sun, cod fish as cloud. Completed with a bowl of hot soup (not shown in pic)
Greenies kind of reminds me of pots of plants or even erm Martians?
So that was what it was. Cake. Brownies actually, except that its literally green. Not in a bad way of cos. But because its full of awesome bitter sweet matcha amd white chocolate! Matcha and chocolate never goes wrong.
The product is a very nice melt in your mouth combination that leaves a lingering matcha after taste. Goes well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream too.
225g unsalted butter
220g white chocolate
175g raw sugar
4 eggs (cold)
160 grams all purpose flour
40g ground almond (a by product of my homemade almond milk!)
1/3 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
15 g matcha powder (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tsp vinegar
Melt butter, white chocolate and sugar over very low heat or in a double boiler. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven at 170 degree Celsius.
Put all the dry ingredients together and mix well.
Add the eggs into the cooled butter-chocolate mixture and whisk by hand for a minute or two.
Add vinegar and the matcha flour mixture.
Transfer to a 9 by 9 inch (or 9 by 12 inch) pan. Bake for 25 mins.
When we were little, pork chops were considered a special treat dish. Or was considered as a non economical meal compared to our usual meals of more vegtables than meat.
So whenever the occasion (or her greedy children asks persistently) calls for it, mum would take special care to make sure that the pan grilled porkchops are made to perfection. She would first prep the pork loin by hammering it with a heavy meat tenderizer while we gleefully arranged the table with forks and knives instead of the usual chinese style chopsticks/fork & spoons.
And the pork chops were always accompanied by warmed (canned) beans and fries. Actually, it’s quite typical of what we get from the ‘western food’ hawker stalls in Singapore. Western food, be it pork chops, fish & chips or grilled chicken are almost always accompanied by fries/coleslaw salad (very KFC-ish) and canned beans. Ahh childhood food!
Anyway, I’ll always devour the mains and end up mixing the tomato sauced beans with the pork chop brown sauce, something like mashed beans. Yumms.
2 thin cut (0.5 inch) pork chops seasoned with salt and pepper, and lightly dusted with corn flour
[Can also use a tender part of pork shoulder, (look out for even marbling!), sliced to 0.5 inch thick]
1 apple, cored and thinly sliced
1 fennel. Quarter the bulb, thinly slice the harder stalks.
Sage/basil (I used basil)
Apple vinegar, 1 tablespoon
Apple cider/white wine/vermouth, half a glass
Butter 1 tablespoon
Heat a large skillet. When hot, add a generous amount of olive oil. Add the quartered bulb of fennel to one side of the pan, the thinly sliced stalks to a corner at the other side and basil/sage to the remaining corner. Add more oil if necessary. We are doing 3 things in the pan: pan-grilling the quartered bulbs till slightly caramelized (turn when necessary), sautéing the sliced fennel stalks till it’s soft and frying the herbs till it’s crispy.
Add a touch of salt and pepper to each. Remove each item when it’s done.
Transfer the fennel bulbs and stalks to a low oven to keep warm.
Add a little olive oil to the hot pan. Add pork chops and pan-grill for 2 mins a side or till it caramelized slightly and can be easily released from the pan. Remove pork and transfer to the low oven to keep warm.
Add alcohol of choice and vinegar to the hot pan and scrape with a wooden spatula to deglaze. Add apple slices. Cook for about about 3 minutes over medium heat. Remove the apples and set aside.
Turn off the heat and whisk in butter to complete the pan sauce.
Plate. (I need to work on this..what I did was: lay a bed of sautéed fennel stalk slices and a few slices of apples, sit the pork chop on the bed, arrange 2 fennel quarters on the chop, scatter remaining apple slices and crispy herb. Finally drizzle the pan sauce over).
Singaporeans born on my era would remember those pandan used to be served by our mothers for a quick breakfast or snack.
The soft moist chiffon cake that simply melts in your mouth and you just can’t stop at one piece (but I learnt to, its a deceivingly light cake)
Although the pandan cake was made from bottled pandan extract and food colouring, I kind of missed it, especially now that we don’t get the same quality nowadays from the bakery franchises here.
Zzz made a version with pure pandan juice extracted with the hurom slow juicer. And oh my! The pandan smell is heavenly! Oh and xiaoliang loves it too!
Homemade pandan extract
1 large bunch of pandan leaves (abt 20 leaves)
Water for washing
Hurom slow juicer
Wash the leaves thoroughly. Snipe of the white parts. Remove the center veins(this is probably optional, didn’t want to stress my machine too much). Cut the leaves into 10cm strips. No need to dry.
Feed the wet leaves into the slow juicer fitted with the fine sieve and juice cap on.
Yields about 2 tablespoons of pandan extract.
It can be used immediately or may be kept in fridge for up to 5 days.
Depending on recipe, it may be used as-is, or leave to stand in fridge for 2 days, so that the suspension separates. If left to separate, remove the top almost colorless liquid layer to obtain a more concentrated extract. (Heston and friends, use the centrifuge machine!)
Pandan sponge cake/cupcake
100ml fresh milk
About 1 tablespoon concentrated pandan extract from above
3/4 cup raw sugar
1 cup cake flour
1/3 tsp baking soda
A pinch of salt
2 tsp vinegar
Heat milk and butter together until butter just melted. Turn off heat and allow to cool.
Preheat oven 165 degC
Sift flour, baking soda and salt into a bowl and mix well.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs by hand or with machine for 4 mins. Gradually add sugar and continue to whisk for another 4 mins.
Add flour mixture and stir to just combined.
Add pandan extract into milk and butter, stir to mix. Add vinegar.
Add the pandan milk mixture into the batter and mix to just combine.
Transfer into cupcake moulds or cake tin.
Bake for about 20 mins, depending on the mould, or till the kitchen smells of pandan, or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Transfer to a rack to cool 5-10 mins after removing from oven.