Today and tomorrow is my DS’s birthday. Puzzling? It’s hardly a great mystery but it tickles me every year. Haha. My DS was born in Michigan on July 27, 10 pm. At the same time, it was July 28, 10 am in Singapore. Isn’t that brilliant? haha. Happy birthday, my dear BB.
School reopens today. So I got to baking again. Hearty, low GI-ish stuffs that will sustain The Kids longer as they don’t get home for lunch till about 2.30. I don’t like that our school kids are having lunch at past 2.30 when everyone else is already having their afternoon kopi (coffee) by then. So I try and make their breakfast and recess count.
The muffins are quite moist and tender. They are not too sweet, just right for me. In this blueberry muffin recipe, I used dried blueberries instead of fresh ones. I find them easier to use and store, so I always have those on hand. They puff up when hydrated in the batter, so you get nice puffy blueberries and nobody will suspect that you didn’t use fresh ones. The flax seed meal and almond flour adds heartiness to the muffin. You may leave out the flax seed meal and sub the almond flour with plain flour if you don’t have almond flour. Or you can replace the plain flour with wholemeal flour. This is a rather versatile recipe. The key is this: Just keep to the amount and switch around. i.e. 1/4 cup of coconut oil can be replaced with 1/4 cup vege oil or melted butter etc. I love this recipe for that. Oh and also coz at the end, I only have to wash one bowl and one spoon.
Blueberry Yogurt Muffins (makes 7)
3/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup almond flour
1/8 cup flax seed meal
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 large egg
1/2 cup plain yogurt (no added sugar)
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
3 handfuls of dried blueberries (dusted with 2 tsp cornflour to prevent sinking)
Mix everything together, adding in the blueberries last. Do not over mix, otherwise you will overdevelop the gluten in the flour and the muffin will be rubbery.
Pour into 7 muffin cups and bake at 180c for about 20 min or until cooked.
Whenever I can, I avoid cooking elaborate meals. Usually my meals involve only one pot of meat + vege and rice. I don’t believe in slaving over the hot stove for hours on end. It means time taken away from more important things in life like my family and my crafting. But chicken pie…we all love chicken pie. For that I will slave.
That’s because it’s not easy to get good chicken pie. It usually tastes of pastry margarine *yuk, and contains minuscule amount of chicken. And I am not the sort to commute long distance to get yummy food. If it’s not within 1 km, or not on the way, I wouldn’t bother. Like I said, not easy to get good chicken pie. ;P
Thus the need arises for me to make it myself (M.I.M.). However, I can’t make real puff/flaky pastry using real butter. The few times I tried, it resulted in a messy oily… thing. I blame it on the weather, of course. It’s too hot and humid here to make puff/flaky pastry using real butter. Heh heh. The only solution is to compromise by using short crust pastry instead. It’s still very good and way less work! Nevertheless, this recipe is still quite lengthy and involves quite a bit of prep work.
My pies look rather on the “rustic” side. That’s coz at the end of it, I had already kind of lost my patience due to the amount of prep work involved. So making them pretty was the last thing on my mind. But hey, tasty they are!
Chicken Pie Filling
350g diced raw chicken
1 diced onion
250 g potatoes
200 g diced carrots (or frozen mixed vege)
1-1.5 tsp salt
1/4 cup water/stock + 1 tbsp flour (=Slurry)
Stir fry everything together until cooked. Season with salt and pepper. Then thicken with the slurry. Leave to cool.
Chicken Pie Dough (makes about 6-7 muffin size pie)
125 g salted butter
250g plain flour
1 tsp sugar
1 egg + water = 80-90ml liquid
1/4 tsp salt
Rub the butter into the dry ingredients using your finger tips until they resemble breadcrumbs. Add in the liquid and knead to a smooth dough. Leave it to chill and rest for about 1/2 hour.
Divide up into 50 g and 20 g balls. 50 g balls will be for the base and 20 g for the caps.
Roll the 50 g dough balls to a circle and fit into muffin pan holes. Fill them with chicken pie filling. Really heap it up.
Then taking the 20 g dough balls, roll it lightly and place on top as a cap. Gather the sides up and press the edges to secure the cap. Make a few slits at the top to allow steam to escape.
At this point, glaze it with egg wash if you wish.
Bake at 190c for about 25-30 min.
Serve hot with lots of ketchup. That’s the way we like it.
I like simple cakes. Satisfaction level from eating simple cakes (cakes made by one bowl, one spoon method) for me is about 80%. Satisfaction level from eating elaborate cakes (involves electric mixer) is about 90-100%. Given that the difference is quite little, all things considered, I think I’d prefer to choose to make simple cakes. Ha ha.
Steaming cake is another way of “baking” for those who do not own an oven. Think of it this way: instead of using dry heat, you’d be using moist heat.
One doesn’t need a special electric steamer to steam food. You just need a big pot. Fill it to about an inch or two of water. Put in a steamer stand or if you don’t have one, make do with a bowl and then a plate on top of the bowl. That’ll work too. Steamed food is healthier too as baking is one of the cooking method suspected to cause cancer.
This steamed coconut muffin is local fare. We call it huat (read as ‘what’) kueh. It’s basically a steamed muffin with a characteristic split at the top. There are various varieties and this is just a rich coconut version I came up with over the years.
Steamed Coconut Muffin (makes about 4-5 muffins)
130 g self-raising flour
130 ml coconut milk
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp pandan essence/vanilla/coffee
A few drops of coloring
Mix everything together until well blended. Then scoop batter into muffin cases. Fill it up almost to the brim. Then steam in rapidly boiling water for about 10 min.
It’s a really simple steamed muffin, easily put together with minimal fuss. If you are craving for cake pronto, this is the one for you. One bowl, one spoon and ready in about 15 min from start to finish. Satisfaction level, 80%.