Tapioca Bobo

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Necessity is the mother of invention. Or the mother of DIY. I told my kids I was going to make sago gula melaka for dessert after lunch. But after lunch, I couldn’t find my sago. I knew it was somewhere in my larder. Probably hidden under some things. Or maybe I actually ran out! *gasp. Anyhow so sago gula melaka was out of the question then.

That got me thinking.  It’s just tapioca flour.  Why don’t I attempt to make my own?  We all love the bobo in bubble tea and that huge sago that takes forever to cook (FOREVER, I tell you!).  A quick experiment told me you can’t just use room temperature water and tapioca starch.  It goes all weird…like slime-like.  I cooked it anyhow and it tasted authentic.  However, it was impossible to shape.  So I figured if it’s not room temperature water, it must be hot water then.  With a few clicks on my iphone, i found out that I was on the right track.

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Tapioca Bobo

1/4 cup hot water

3/4 cup tapioca starch

Pour hot water into a bowl of tapioca starch.  Hold back that last 1 Tbsp of starch. It’s easier to add starch to a too wet dough than the other way round.   Knead it with your hands until it forms a nice dough (like play dough).  Warning: It will be hot.  If it’s too dry, just add a bit of cool water (it’ll be fine).  If it is too tacky, add in the rest of the starch.  Next, just pinch off bits and roll them into bobo size.  Dust with more starch if they feel too sticky.

Boil a small pot of water.  When the water boils, put in the bobo.    It will only take a few minutes before you see them floating.  Boil them for a few minutes then  scoop up the floaters and I just put them straight into a bottle filled with a couple of tablespoons of sugar.

To use, just pop them into your tea.  Or eat them as is.

They may be kept overnight in the fridge.  However, you will need to soften them up.  You can do this either by putting them into your hot tea, or just let them sit in a bit of hot water for a few minutes.

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Notes;

The ratio is 3 parts starch to 1 part hot water.

Pouring hot water into the starch makes it easier to mix than starch to hot water.

Tapioca starch is very fine, so be warned, it gets very messy very easily.

Fresh sago/bobo cooks very very quickly. I will never buy the dried ones again.

I later found my missing sago hidden under a stack of instant noodles. heh.

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Cornflake Crunchies

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Years ago, in Michigan, whilst I was grocery-shopping at Meijer, I saw this lady and her daughter contemplating a monster-size jar of peanut butter.  She said,”Let’s get this, shall we? ‘Coz we hate to run out of peanut butter, don’t we?” I was deeply amused that anyone would buy such a large jar. I don’t remember how large but it was huge.  I thought to myself that that jar is going to last FOREVER and then some.  Over the years, I have turned into the Peanut Butter Lady. As a SAHM,  I now understand why. ‘Coz we hate to run out of peanut butter!  I make at least 3 meals a day, everyday.  I keep buying food but the People in my house keep eating them up! LOL. So my grocery shopping is never done.  It helps if I can buy certain things in bulk and after that that would be one item I can cross off the list for at least a few weeks.

Check out my latest acquisition.  They were BOGOs.  You know I can’t resist a good deal.

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Cornflakes Crunchies aka Honey Joy

3 cups cornflakes

1/4 nuts

1/4 dried fruits

1/4 rolled oats

2 Tbsp butter

1-2 Tbsp fine sugar

2 Tbsp honey

Put butter, honey and sugar into a big pot.  Heat it up until sugar is melted.  Dump in the rest of the ingredients and stir till they are well mixed.  Scoop them up into muffin cups.  It should fill about 12-15 muffin cups.  Pop them into the oven and bake at 120c for about 5-7 min.  Leave it to cool before storing in air tight container.

As usual, this recipe doesn’t need any careful weighing/measuring. The honey is for the flavor and the sugar is to get them to stick together upon cooling. The only thing that can go wrong is when you bake it at too high a temperature and burn the sugar on the cornflakes.  Or forget to adjust the oven from grill to bake and go do some knitting instead of watching the oven… and failing to investigate the burning smell emanating from the kitchen.

This is our current favorite.  Each box of cornflakes can only make approximately 3 batches.  Not much.  So buying 5 boxes doesn’t sound so crazy after all, right??

I ❤️Durians

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During the height of the durian season this year, I must have bought about a grand total of 150 durians.  Yes, 150.  As you probably know by now, I don’t buy things in small quantities.  This is probably linked to my Michigan days when I used to stock up in summer, in case of tornado and blackout, and in winter, in case of blizzard and blackout.  As you know durians are seasonal. Thus I needed to stock those up as well, so that, let’s say, in December, when I feel like having some durians, I can just reach into my freezer and get some and smile smugly at the rest of the durian-deprived friends.

The picture of the durians here were actually physically sitting on my kitchen floor.  I counted about 130+.  This is how I got 130+ durians:  My good friend Dahlia and I went durian-hunting.  However, our timing was off.  The fresh durians from Malaysia had not arrived yet and there were these small durians from that morning.  The durian seller wanted to make room for the fresh ones so he made me an offer of $30 to clear his stock.  It took a good half hour just to bag them and carry them to the car (there were 8 or 9 bags)!  Mid way, a lady came along and asked about my durians and he sold her a bag of MY durians for $18! LOL

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I then spent the next few days opening all the durians.  It was a race against time ‘coz they had to be opened and ‘fridged within the next couple of days.  Then I proceeded to pit the durians, bag and freeze them.   Of course these were not the best durians but for 20c a pop, I’m ok with that.  Furthermore, when frozen, they taste very good.  It’s like eating durian ice cream that is pure durians.  I had also planned to make durian muffins and cheesecake and cream puffs…  So far, check to first and second items.

I can now open durians like a pro.  Just need a flat head screwdriver. Gloves welcomed but not necessary.

Chocolate Cheesecake (no bake)

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You know how it is that when you ask, let’s say, an Elderly Person how she cooked a certain dish, she would say vaguely add a bit of this and a bit of that?  I used to wish that they could be more exact coz I had a need to be exact.  I needed to know if it’s 1 tsp or 1 1/4 tsp.  I was obsessed with accuracy.  To the point of being uncreative ‘coz I was afraid of deviating from the recipe.  Oh the insecurities of my youth!

Over the years as I became a more seasoned cook and baker, I realised it’s true what they say: it’s not rocket science.  As long as I know the basic principles, my cake really won’t explode or be a total flop. (I have also learnt not to name my product until I see it.  When people ask me what I am baking, I will tell them,   “Wait, I let you know later, ya?”. “Is it chocolate cake?. “Er, you’ll see.” ‘Coz if it turns out looking more like lava cake, then that’s what I’ll call it!) LOL

Recently, it dawned upon me that I have become that “Elderly Person”. I find measuring everything accurately so tedious. But since I want to pass on my recipes to my kids, I am making the effort to keep a record, as precisely as I can. ‘Coz I understand the obsession of the youths for exact details.

Recently, I made a no-bake cheesecake without a recipe.  It is actually not complicated.  I had planned to make a Hazelnut Spread Cheesecake (I still have that one last 1 kg bottle of HS *see previous post).  When I opened my larder, there were those Oreos sitting there.  Lately my kids brought home a ton of Oreos from school.  So I decided to use them up ‘coz usually nobody eats them.  Then I spotted my new 1 kg bag of cocoa powder (yes, i buy cocoa powder by the kilo coz I am not familiar with the logic of buying in small quantities). As I took them out, I found my long lost gelatine. “Lost” ‘coz I had totally forgotten about it.

Armed with these, I then made it up as I went along.  No-bake cheesecake recipe can’t go wrong if you know the basics.

Generally, the quantity of gelatine is about 1/2 to 1 Tbsp per 2 blocks of cream cheese.  If you plan to add things like yogurt or cream or hazelnut spread/peanut butter, then use 1 Tbsp.  Bloom the gelatine in hot water for a few minutes before using.  Use sugar to sweeten if needed. Then just whisk everything together until smooth.  As for the base, it’s just crushed biscuits.  If the biscuits are plain-ish, add in a little butter for richness.  If you are using Oreos, it already comes with fat (the stuffing in the middle) so you don’t need to add anymore.  Just crush them any way you like. Finely or coarsely, it doesn’t matter.  I just whack them with my pasta sauce bottle straight from the packet.  Then I cut open the packet and pour it straight into the pan.  Less washing up is always encouraged in my home.

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Crust:

5-6 individual pack Oreos,

2 heaped spoonfuls of hazelnut spread (optional)

Cheese:

2 pkt cream cheese (room temperature)

1/4 cup cocoa powder (dissolved in 1/4 cup boiling water)

1 Tbsp gelatine (sprinkled into 1/4 cup boiling water to bloom)

4- 6 heaped spoonfuls of hazelnut spread (depends on how sweet you like it)

Extra Oreos for adding into the cheesecake and for topping.

Line an 8″x8″ pan.  Put crushed cookies at the bottom of the pan with 2 spoonfuls of hazelnut spread (optional). Mix them up and press them onto the pan. Put aside for later.

Beat cream cheese with cocoa mix, bloomed gelatine and hazelnut spread until smooth.  Stir in Oreo chunks if desired.

Pour into prepared Oreo base. Sprinkle top with Oreo crumbs.  Chill in the fridge until firm.

Simple and quick to prepare.  No need to weigh ingredients carefully, thereby getting to the end product sooner.  The only thing that takes up so much time is the waiting part.  Which you must.  ‘Coz eating it when well-chilled is totally worth the fat space.

Very Easy Hazelnut Spread Popsicle

imageI did it again. I bought too much of a particular popular brand Hazelnut Spread during this year’s Chinese New Year frenzy shopping.  I think I must have bought about 6 huge (1kg) bottles. What was I thinking?! I’ll tell you. “No such thing as too much HS.”;”Ooh, BOGO (buy one get one)!”;”We don’t wanna run out of HS, now, do we?”; “Expires in October. Let’s see, one bottle per month…so I’ll need…”. Huh.  Guess what?  We didn’t consume one per month after all. And there is such a thing as TOO much. Who knew?  AND then I found out my kids aren’t that into HS after all! Who woulda thunk it?!

Anyhow, since I am rather desperate, I have been putting in my milk. Just warm up the milk, add in a generous scoop of HS and stir.  Quite delicious.  I can drink it all the time.  Whilst drinking that, I had a light bulb moment and decided to freeze the HS milk.  Just milk and HS.  But after freezing that, it seemed a bit like frozen ice…it lacked the smooth mouth-feel. Then out of the blue, I started thinking about the 4 bags of potato starch which I bought on an impulse (yes, 4 bags of potato starch, don’t ask me why). That led me to think about using a thickener for the popsicle.  I decided to add in a tablespoon of corn flour into the milk and brought it to a boil with the HS.  Then I left it to cool before pouring it into my popsicle molds.

That did it!  It is now smoother.  When you bite into it, it is not so ice-y.  You just have to try it yourself.

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Very EZ HS Popsicle

300 ml Full cream milk

2 heaping scoop of HS

1 to 2 Tbsp corn flour

Stir cornflour into room temperature milk until dissolved.  Add in HS. Cook the milk and stir to dissolve the HS.  Turn off the fire when it comes to a boil.  Leave it to cool.  Pour into popsicle molds when cool.  Freeze over night.

So easy that that’s all I have to say.  Except that, my dear Friends, the next time there is another HS sale, please stop me! And oh ya, if any of you need potato starch, call me.

Easy Groats & Steel-Cut Oats

imageYou haven’t eaten oats until you have eaten steel-cut oats or groats. Then you can never go back. That is if you know how to cook it.  It’s very simple, actually. Of course. As a sahm, I don’t have the time to cook dishes that require a hundred ingredients and involve a thousand steps.

Let me give you a brief 101 on oats.

GROATS is the whole grain.  Looks like a fat brown rice.  Not everyone knows what to do with it. Perhaps that’s why they invented STEEL-CUT OATS.  It’s groats cut into 3-4 pieces.  So that it cooks faster than groats as it now has more surface area. However, it still requires some cooking. To hasten the cooking process, they decided to flatten the thing.  That would be ROLLED OATS. Rolled oats require way less cooking time. But it’s not instant enough for some busy people. Thus, next, you have INSTANT OATS. I’m not sure how instant oats is made and I don’t care coz I will never touch it, even with a 10-foot pole.

Cooking groats is really easy.  Just a cup of that with 2 cups water, put into a rice cooker with a pinch of salt.  Press cook. Wait for rice cooker to work its magic. Then eat.  Or you could turn it into Singapore fried rice.  Except that it’s fried groats.  It’s really good. The grains are what you would call well-made pasta – al dente.  Every bite is interesting because each grain will go pop as you chew.

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Steel-cut oats are not difficult to cook either.  Just 1/4 cup of SC oats to 3/4 cup water.  Put into a pot and bring to a rolling boil.  Let it boil a few minutes.  Cover the pot, turn OFF the heat and leave it for half an hour.  Go feed the hamsters, make coffee, take a shower and your SC oats are done.  Sweeten it if you wish or add milk powder or chia seeds, fruits etc.

How about rolled oats and instant oats?  I wouldn’t bother.  I would just save those to make oatmeal cookies one day.

Attap Chee Ice Cream (no-churn)

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One of my favorite childhood ice cream is attap chee ice cream.  It’s light pink and has tiny pieces of precious attap chee inside…There’s also usually precious little attap chee inside. It is only available from the traveling ice cream man on his motorcycle with a mini freezer. To get this ice cream, we have to be on a constant ice cream man alert. When we hear the ling-a-ling-a-ling, that’s when we drop everything, grab our money and run downstairs to look for him.  The ice cream that he sells comes in  five flavors – durian, attap chee, cocoa, corn and red bean. Just so you know, our local traditional ice cream is not the rich and creamy type. It tastes more like diluted flavored milk. But it has its charm. You may have them either on a piece of rainbow colored sweet bread, a cone or in a cup. They are about a dollar each. I found out lately that the traveling ice cream man can be found hanging around outside school gates. So in an ice cream emergency, we can always look for them around schools at dismissal time.

I have always wondered why it is that we can get all the other traditional ice cream flavors in our supermarket except attap chee. How come it never occurred to anyone to sell attap chee ice cream at supermarkets?

Ah… Guess I just have to make it myself until someone else does. I tried looking for the recipe but couldn’t find it (I am beginning to suspect I might be the only one who likes attap chee ice cream!). Thus I have to make it up myself. I did find out that there is such a thing as no-churn ice cream. That’s good. I certainly don’t need another uni-tasker equipment in the kitchen.

So here is my take on attap chee ice cream based on my family and good friends’ feedback. This recipe follows the easy no-churn method.

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Attap Chee Ice Cream

300 ml whipping cream

100 ml coconut cream

1/4 cup condensed milk

1.5 Tbsp rose syrup

1 tub attap chee (chopped)

Chill whipping cream and coconut milk in the freezer for about 1.5 hours.  Working quickly, whisk whipping cream until fluffy.  It shouldn’t take long.  Then add in coconut cream and continue whisking for another few minutes.  Add in condensed milk, rose syrup. By now it should look quite fluffy.  Lastly, fold in the attap chee.  Pour it into a container and freeze for at least 6 hours.

Yes. Must wait 6 hours.  If you can’t wait then….er…..Nothing. You just have to wait.  It will be the creamiest, smoothest, chockful of attap chee attap chee ice cream you’ll have ever eaten. It will be totally worth it.

This post is linked to the event Little Thumbs Up (October 2015 : Coconut) organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of My Little Favourite DIY, and hosted by Jess from Bakericious.