Pantry Basics: Play Dough

play dough recipe

Regular readers may have noticed that I really enjoy making the odd children’s amusement from scratch. I think even CH didn’t fully comprehend my love of working with my hands until our toddler T came along. After almost a dozen years of marriage, it only recently dawned upon him that I’m a “crafty kind of girl” (I’m not quite sure if the pun was intended). I simply don’t believe that children ought to only discover things through pre-packaged stimuli that come out of a box. Of course, T receives plenty of toys, I don’t shun them, and he loves technology. But I try my best to throw in simple things like squishing play dough (yes, that’s a burger made out of play dough pictured above), touching grass with your bare feet, playing with ice cubes, finger painting, threading pasta, counting soybeans, and learning to tear sheets of paper into the mix.

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The vanilla cupcake – utterly classic, absolutely yummy

6 cupcakes edited

When I finally got around to procuring the Kitchenaid mixer (in red, of course), one of the first things that I made was the vanilla cupcake. It would be my first cupcake attempt, and I was super excited. Using the recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook, the first time I made it, and the multiple times afterwards, I’m always happily surprised by how soft, airy and fluffy the sponge is, and how the frosting just lovingly complements the concoction. Continue Reading →

Pantry Basics: Kinako Latte

kinako latte

I recently stumbled upon the joys of kinako latte at a miniscule cafe in Arashiyama, Kyoto called kyo no cha no nagomi. We had stopped to taste their fluffy little squares of fat-free green tea and soy milk cakes (incidentally, our toddler, T adored their strawberry version). And since I was slightly obsessed with tasting matcha lattes on this trip (mostly thanks to my culinary goddess of a sister-in-law’s frequent mentions of how she loves having them at Starbucks in Tokyo), I decided to be adventurous and try a kinako latte. Before I knew it, I was hooked! Continue Reading →

The Elvis sandwich

elvis with bacon

Riding on the wave of my last post, where I disclosed my hubby’s peculiar fondness for dolloping peanut butter in his cheeseburgers, I decided to explore more deeply, this pairing of the saltiness of meat together with peanut butter. It brought me back in time, to a possibly better time when bell-bottoms were très chic, when there was glory in the excess, when Elvis sang, and dearly loved a peanut butter, bacon and banana sandwich.

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Bun thit – cold Vietnamese vermicelli noodles

bun thit

Like most people who love eating, I also love reading about eating. And sometimes, a particular chapter from a book or an article would trigger a very specific craving, one that begs to be scratched. So when I came across this article last year about bun thit – cold Vietnamese rice noodles – it became the immediate trigger for more research into this healthy and delicious recipe that can be easily adapted to whatever meat, seafood or veggie option you happen to have in your fridge.

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Family Food: Buttermilk Pancakes

buttermilk pancakes

Fluffy and tasty even on their own, these are our house pancakes. I’d even pack a whisk into my suitcase just to be able to serve these buttermilk pancakes when we’re travelling.  They’re that easy to make. And they’re that good!

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Power Breakfasts: Peanut Butter Pancakes

peanut butter pancakes

A very bizarre thing about my hubby, is that he slathers peanut butter onto his cheese burgers, nestling it between the lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mayonnaise, melted cheese, ketchup and pickles. It’s apparently the way things are done in a family diner called Triple XXX in West Lafeyette, Indiana (where he spent six years, as a young and impressionable student). The Duane Purvis All-American is a house favourite among Triple XXX’s avid followers, and after all these years, the hubby still deems it the best burger in the world. We could be eating the most sumptuous Waygu burger, and he would still woefully lament that it lacked creamy peanut butter (never chunky!), preferably a ¼-inch thick.

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Spinach, cherry tomato and garlic pasta

spinach cherry tomato garlic pasta

Popeye owes much of his strength to spinach, and I fondly remember my three young nephews scarfing down entire plates of sautéed and creamed spinach after watching the cartoons. If spinach was absent from dinner, they would collectively rain hell and fury like you’ve never seen. I don’t blame them, and their allegiance is well-justified, because apart from being delicious, spinach features on most superfoods lists. Continue Reading →

Pantry Basics: Kinpira Carrot (金平人参)

kinpira

Kinpira carrot, stir-fried grated carrot seasoned with soy and sugar, was one of the dishes I learnt to cook at the Haru Cooking Class on our last trip to Kyoto. I know it probably isn’t high on your list of dishes to master, but it’s a delicious, quintessentially Japanese vegetable side dish which has opened my eyes to how home cooked Japanese meals are actually put together. And I simply love it. Continue Reading →

Root Vegetable Patties

root veg patties

Root vegetables are a firm favourite with my kids. My son particularly loves parsnips and raw carrots, and the baby girl adores beetroot and sweet potatoes. I usually cut an assortment into batons, toss in olive oil and simply roast in the oven until crispy and crunchy (best with parsnips), and they really enjoy them that way. But with my little ones, it’s important to keep things interesting so they don’t get bored and start rejecting the food (as much as they liked it before). Cooking the humble but nutritious veggies this way is a fun and novel alternative, and my cheeky daughter thoroughly enjoys getting dirty and messy eating the patties with her hands. Continue Reading →

Quick and easy snack: baked doughnuts

Baked doughnutsI have a weakness for baking pans. Whenever I am in a kitchenware shop, I will invariably wander over the baking section, staring at and being in awe of all the baking pans that could be mine. For a couple of years now, I have wanted a doughnut tray. I love doughnuts–fried dough and sugar–what is not to love? However, for the following reasons, I don’t really want to make doughnuts at home. Continue Reading →