Food, Recipes from the Heart

Fudgy Jumbo Chocolate Muffins

Since being married, there’s two things I miss a lot – the oven at my mom’s place and my cat Chad. I live for the oven. A decent oven placed strategically makes cooking and baking a lot easier. It’s the star of the show when you’re preparing a few dishes on the stove – make something wonderful and stash it in the oven, time it and come back when it’s ready and voila! A meal or dessert done.

I always had a stash of cafe-style muffins in the fridge back when I was living with my mum. My mum, being obsessed over bananas, used to have plenty of overripe bananas which I forbade her to throw out. Mash them up, save it in the fridge or freezer, then chuck in into your chocolate muffin or chocolate cake batter. Ahh life’s simple pleasures, me thinks.

If there’s one thing I’m navigating through married life is that I’ve had to restart the process of making myself comfortable. You see, I was set on living a life at my mum’s place till I can afford and am eligible to get my own place (that’s when I hit 35 years old as a single woman). Then one day cupid came and I got myself married to a lovely man, and hey, I’m not complaining!

It’s difficult sometimes, but what is marriage without troubles, am I right? I do miss the kitchen I built with my mum, but in the mean time, allow me to scroll through Pinterest and plan our new house way in advance.

I was looking through my Instagram one day and I realised it’s been a long time since I baked muffins (also, I miss having a stand mixer ready and waiting on the kitchen countertop to be used). I remember bringing them to class one day, and my classmates went crazy. I remember bringing them to work and my colleagues hating me for spoiling their diet. And now, I have a memory of feeding them to Faeez so he won’t want to spend $5 at a cafe for a muffin I make at home.

Anyhoos, the secret to delicious chocolate muffins is in the cocoa. I only have Valhorna cocoa powder stocked in my pantry, and if I do run low on them and can’t swing by my go to place to get them, Ghirardelli chocolate cocoa powder from NTUC works perfectly fine.

Fudgy Jumbo Chocolate Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cocoa powder (Valhorna)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 125g unsalted butter melted
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chunks or chocolate chips

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 160deg.
  2. In a mixing bowl, add butter and sugar. Beat until sugar granules have dissolved and mixture is a pale yellow.
  3. Add vanilla and yoghurt then beat using a wooden spoon until incorporated.
  4. Add in all the dry ingredients and fold in to make sure the batter is well combined.
  5. Add in chocolate chunks or chocolate chips, then fold in to evenly distribute the chocolate to the batter.
  6. Using a muffin tray, line tray with muffin liners. Spoon batter into liners.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a cake skewer comes out clean.
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Food, Recipes from the Heart

Pesto Pizza with Arugula

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If you have a sweet basil plant growing ridiculously out of control somewhere on your corridor, the easiest way to preserve all that precious delicate basil leaves is to make a pesto sauce out of it. And no, pasta isn’t the only thing you can make with that pesto sauce. One of my favourite dishes to make with the pesto sauce is actually pizza. It’s unconventional, but trust me, it’ll make your home made pizza experience a mind blowing one.

You could use store bought pizza crust, or simply a loaf of bread lying around somewhere in your pantry waiting to be used. No one is judging you for using store bought stuff! We’re not The Pioneer Woman raising cattle on a farm with no convenience store within 2km. But if you do decide to spend some time making handmade pizza dough, this recipe adapted from Laura Vitale is my go-to recipe. Again, don’t feel pressured to make your pesto from scratch. Jamie Oliver’s pesto sauce is the best alternative to a freshly made pesto.

Pizza Dough (Adapted from Laura Vitale)

3 ½ cups of All Purpose Flour
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Sugar
2 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/3 cups of Warm Water, 30deg
1 Envelope of Yeast

  1. In a mixing bowl, add yeast, sugar and water. Mix lightly with a fork and set aside for 10 to 15 mins to allow the yeast to activate.
  2. Add flour and knead until it comes together slightly.
  3. Add in olive oil and salt, and continue kneading until everything comes together.
  4. Using a dough attachment, knead using a standing food mixer for about 15 minutes on medium. Alternatively, you can hand knead for about 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. Form dough into a ball, then place it in an oiled mixing bowl before covering using a plastic wrap or cloth. Let the dough rest for 1 hour.
  6. In the mean time, you can prepare your pesto sauce.
  7. Preheat oven to 200deg.
  8. After an hour, divide the dough into 2, and shape into a ball before rolling the dough out into 8 inch rounds.
  9. Cover with the used plastic wrap or cloth, and let rest for 15 minutes.
  10. Assemble the pizza by slathering the pesto sauce onto the pizza base and adding cheese of your choice. You could use vegan cheese to make this pizza entirely vegan.
  11. Bake in oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is browned and cooked.
  12. Serve with fresh arugula which has been rinsed and dried with a kitchen towel to remove excess water.

Pesto Sauce

2 cups fresh basil
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (or any nuts of your choice – almonds and walnuts are nice too)
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

  1. In a food processor, add all ingredients and pulse.
  2. Blend until all the ingredients are fine and well combined.
  3. Keep in a jar and seal the pesto with a layer of extra virgin olive oil, or freeze into cubes for easy access to cooking.
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Recipes from the Heart

Kurious Kravings for Kway Teow Goreng

I have this bad habit of just cooking whatever I am craving for instead of buying it off from a shop somewhere, just like a normal person does. But you know what, it’s worth it and it has paid off because as tedious as it is to cook it on my own, there’s an immense sense of satisfaction when it gets in my tummy. Call me crazy, but trust me when I say there are other people worse than me.

As of late, a few of my friends who just got their new homes or recently changed their status to being a wife or having to manage a household have requested that I share or teach them how to cook because I seem to make cooking so easy. Not forgetting the few friends who have personally requested that I live with them just so I can cook for them on a daily basis. I make a great Couchsurfer by the way cos I’d be willing to wake up early just to make a delicious breakfast for y’all.

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So for you guys who don’t follow me on Instagram, here’s my twist to Kway Teow Goreng. Nothing fancy, but really just enough to fulfil them cravings and keeping it at bay.

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Method:

  1. Boil a kettle of water. Place kway teow noodles in a big bowl. Once water has come to a boil, pour the water over the kway teow and let it sit for about 3 minutes. Drain the water away and set aside.
  2. Heat about 5 tablespoons of oil in a wok on medium heat. Add in onion and fry for about 3 minutes.
  3. Add in ginger and garlic and fry for another 3 minutes.
  4. Add in chilli paste and continue frying until the spice mix is tempered for about 5-8 minutes.
  5. Add in chicken, let it cook for a further 5 minutes before adding the squid and fish cake.
  6. Add in the drained kway teow and oyster sauce, light soy sauce and kicap manis.
  7. Stir well. Add in chives.
  8. Serve with fried egg and limau kasturi.
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