I’m sure everyone has had their fair share of one of those days when you feel uninspired and perhaps too busy and overwhelmed to spend hours to whip a complete meal in the kitchen, pored over the counter and stovetop, chopping and stirring and mixing and sweating and tasting (no wait, tasting is the best part actually). I for one have had perhaps a little too many of such days, particularly with an active and inquisitive toddler who never fails to be at my tails like a shadow, opening supposedly sealed drawers and cabinets in between exclamations of “Oh my!” and “What is this?”. And when those days come knocking by when all you want is minimal prep yet maximum foodie satisfaction, the oven’s your best bet.
With the beautiful amalgamation of flavours courtesy of the sweetness of the sweet potatoes balanced by the nuttiness of roasted broccoli and asparagus, and the sweet-sour zing of the cherry tomatoes, I must admit this dish to me is more about the roasted vegetables than the salmon itself. Though in its defense, the salmon baked to its dreamy pink hue, was juicy and moist, proving to be a favourite of lil A, who kept taking forkfuls, paired perfectly with her favourite carrot chunks. A well-rounded and beautiful meal, no one would’ve guessed you made it on one of those days.
You need to try this. Trust me, you’ll be looking forward to brunch every weekend, where you will attempt this recipe in every thinkable flour combination you can possibly concoct from your pantry, and decide on which gives you the best flavour and texture your family approves of. (Mine is spelt flour, which makes these tortillas taste like my favourite Indian roti, chappati.) Sure, it takes a little more time than just ripping into the pack you get at the supermarket, but with only 5 fresh ingredients as compared to 10 – 15 ingredients you can barely pronounce, I say ditch the processed and go through this process. Your family will thank you. And it’s always a bonus when you see your 2-year-old’s eyes light up and say, “Toe-yee-yah!”. Continue reading
I know of some who turn their noses at the sight of the word ‘vegan’ in recipes. In fact, there are some who immediately gloss over vegan food blogs or Instagram accounts primarily on differing dietary preference reasons alone. It is a grossly common misconception that vegan foods and/or recipes are tasteless, bland, and lacking in texture and complexity of flavour because of the absence of fundamental go-to’s like eggs and dairy.
My first foray into vegan baking began when lil A started on solids, and I chose to strictly adhere to the no-eggs-and-milk-before-one rule, fearing any allergy on this lil bub of mine. It was difficult, and needed some getting used to, especially since I also opted to administer a refined sugar-free diet for her, turning to dates and bananas for natural sweetness. Now that we are assured that A is allergy-free, and loves her eggs and milk, I still turn to vegan recipes not only for the ease (oh you know those days when eggs or milk mysteriously disappears), but to share with other parents who may have difficulty baking / cooking for their little ones with allergy. And when they taste as good as these you’ll-never-guess-they-are-vegan fluffy pancakes, I know I had to share.
Need a pancake recipe for one? Not confident on flipping pancakes? Never too sure when the pancake is cooked through?
Then this is for you.
For something with a long name, this really ought to be called ‘The Lazy Pancake’. Essentially made from pouring the whole pancake batter at one go, this is what I turn to when I don’t have the time to stand by the stove cooking two to three servings of individual pancakes. With the high wet to dry ratio, however, this is not your typical old-fashioned pancake that soaks up your maple syrup. The texture is a little moist and denser than your everyday pancake, which makes a great snack on the go with powdered sugar on top.
With a simple mix-pour-walk away method that calls for no flipping, the only caveat here is the temperature control. You’ll need the lowest heat on your stove, and follow your instincts to check on the pancake. Too high a heat, and you’ll burn the apples; too long a cooking, and you’ll end up with a dry pancake. Having said that, I’ve burnt the apple slices once, and they still pretty much tasted great, and I’ve had a dry pancake a couple of times when I forgot something was cooking under that lid (yes, lid-covered recipes don’t serve well for forgetful janes like me), hence my addition of a grated apple into the recipe for added moisture and flavour.
Now that A is at that age when she is able to tell me in not so many words exactly what she wants, I look forward to meal times and snack times;- hearing “pancake”, “cheese toast”, “egg”, “fries” or “mummin” (muffin) definitely makes life for mommy easier. And of course if she doesn’t finish her food, it gives me the prerogative of saying, “You asked for this, remember?”. Having a greater and more discerning palate also means that she is almost always looking over at my plate, and insisting on having what I am, with the exception of anything I say “spicy”, which have now, judge me if you will, included any fast food, carbonated drinks, and ice cream.
And so it was that one morning when I was craving for chocolate chip cookies, or rather any cookie with some smidgen of chocolate chips in it, and decided to throw some rolled oats and spelt flour in the mix to well, mix things up, then along came the little toddler into the kitchen exclaiming, “Cookie!”. And there it was, that lonely bag of chocolate chips I had purchased a few days prior, sitting on the counter, tsk-ing loudly as I grabbed the pack of oft-overlooked raisins right next to it. I know a little chocolate won’t hurt, but knowing how much this 2-year-old of mine (yes, she turned two last weekend!) loves cookies, a little chocolate would turn into a whole lot of chocolate her momma wouldn’t want to be responsible for.
Many shun away from the idea of healthy cooking, but it’s easier and possibly tastier than you think. With simple ingredient substitutions in your daily meal preparation, you won’t need to sacrifice flavour to cut some calories. From organic raw virgin coconut oil in place of your regular vegetable oil, to puréed potato to thicken your soups and gravies, head over to Coconuts SG to read my full article on six healthy substitutions you can, and should, adopt in your cooking today.
My personal favourite substitution ingredient, if I may call it that, is the unassumingly creamy and buttery avocado, albeit not so much for health reasons as it is for dietary specification reasons (read: lactose intolerance). Much like my avocado egg salad sandwich, this ohmygoodness-why-didnt-I-think-of-this-sooner avocado potato salad takes on a greener twist on the well-loved potato salad, replacing mayonnaise with avocado. Equally creamy, a whole lot more healthy, and all kinds of tasty; even if you’re not averse to mayonnaise, or you’re a self-declared mayonnaise purist, you’ll need to give this a try! (Recipe after the jump.)