a new friendship

In what seemed like a very long while, upon reaching the decision to stay indoors while the mister faced his cacophonic assignment deadlines, I found myself locked up in my room last weekend, occupied with a little something on my hands.

For someone whose favourite past-time as of late are photography and baking, it had been quite a significant lapse since I did any form of craft (disregarding all the handmade cards); the last being papier mache notebooks/boxes. And considering that the closest I had ever come to a needle and thread would be back in the Home Economics class, sewing my project directly onto the skirt of my pinafore (that’s right, I stood up from my chair, and there it was, attached to my pinafore!), what I’ve done over the weekend came as a huge breakthrough for me.

I’ve always been enamoured with soft toys ever since I could remember, and from the time I had my own mattress/bed, I would line a selected lot either beside me, or right above my pillow. A guest psych lecturer once mentioned in one of those many post-examination lectures we were forced to attend, that someone beyond a particular age who still sleeps with toys/dolls may actually be suffering from insecurity of sorts. And I’m understating it here, of course, what with the lecturer making the aforementioned sound like it’s taken off a scene from a psycho thriller movie, where it would end with the young girl shaving the hair off her stepfather’s legs.

Yet when he asked the theatre who were [quote] guilty [unquote], I was the first to raise my hand.

For I love my soft toys, and even amidst all the teenage tomboy angst, I was not ashamed of it.

And on that note, without further ado, allow me to introduce to you my new friend.

Mister Shniffles is no ordinary teddy. In the fumblings of my needle and thread, he came to my room last evening, with his lil crooked nose and his innocent beady eyes. He doesn’t talk much, well not for now, at least, but he sure sneezes a whole lot! But you would barely notice it, if not for the fact that his brown nose twitches uncontrollably each time he does, sending his red tie flapping away. Because of his frame, he may not be much to cuddle with, but he sits comfortably in your lap while you watch re-runs of Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo, or headbang to the tunes of Muse and Arctic Monkeys. I know not of his real origins, but I’ve heard something along the unique lines of a polarbear-koala-Ewoks heritage.

Inspired by Mister Shniffles’s mixed heritage, I concocted a fusion of flavours for a batch of muffins that evening. What was initially a favourite pandan muffin recipe took on one of this spring’s tropical fruits, resulting in a surprising juxtaposition of the senses; smell, taste and texture. The addition of fresh jackfruit into the aromatic pandan muffins gave the traditional Asian palate a refreshing texture by pairing up a conventionally subdued and fragrant flavour with the cloyingly sweet and somewhat distinctively pungent aroma of the jackfruit. The sprinkle of dessicated coconut adorning the muffins, while subtle, was complementary to providing the balance to an otherwise two potent flavours painting the muffins.

Pandan Muffins With Jackfruit and Coconut
(adapted from the here)

3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1tsp pandan extract
2 eggs
140ml oil
180ml coconut milk
300ml water
about 3 pieces of fresh jackfruit, cut into strips
dessicated coconut

  1. Preheat oven to 190C.
  2. Lightly beat the eggs.
  3. Add in water, coconut oil, pandan extract, salt and sugar.
  4. Fold in flour and baking powder.
  5. Stir in strips of jackfruit.
  6. Spoon mixture into muffin cups until 2/3 full. Sprinkle 1tsp of dessicated coconut onto each muffin cup, and top with a strip of jackfruit.
  7. Bake for 20-25 mins. Makes 12-15 muffins.

22 thoughts on “a new friendship

  1. biebie

    Hey there, Mr Shniffles!

    That’s one mighty handsome bear you got there, dear. Oh so charming with his tie! Hehe…

    “…. but I’ve heard something along the unique lines of a polarbear-koala-Ewoks heritage.”

    I was right! I think the force of the Ewoks is strong in this one… πŸ˜›

    Good job on Mr. Shniffles, luv! I’m glad there’s a new friend to add to your posse! πŸ˜€

  2. didally

    Nice little bear. But his face doesn’t really look like a bear. πŸ˜›

    I’ve never had pandan muffins before. This looks good, esp with the jackfruit on top.

  3. ovenhaven Post author

    bie: You’re most definitely right; I think that’s why he doesn’t really talk, coz his Ewoks side is the strongest. Hehe πŸ˜›

    thecoffeesnob: Thanks, sweetie! Yup, I made him. My very first sewing project πŸ˜›

    didally: Yah, I reckon it’s the mixed parentage. He looks koala-ish! πŸ˜› These pandan muffins don’t have the fluffy muffin texture we’re used to, though. They’re kinda wet, and reminds me of the steamed kuehs.

  4. Deeba

    How great to make Mr Shniffles (love the name BTW) & then get inspired by his heritage! I used to embroider & sew once upon a time…what a nice post & pretty muffins!

  5. jean-marie

    HAHAHA I remember that Home Ec class! There was that fire, and the first thing Mrs Tan said was “Sorry to disappt you ladies, but all your sewing kits are safe. You may submit your project next week.” What a disappointment!!!

    Anyway, very cute bear! Are you gna start making teedies now??So cool.

  6. ovenhaven Post author

    Deeba: Thanks, Deeba! πŸ™‚ Wow, you cook, bake, embroider & sew?? You’re multi-talented, arent you? πŸ˜€

    jean: Ohmygoodness, how can I forget that! And to think that the sewing room was right next to the kitchen; so close yet so far… Haha πŸ˜›

    linda: Thanks, sweetie πŸ™‚ I’ve only just started sewing this one, but I sure hope Mister Shniffles will have more friends to come!

    Mandy: Thanks, Mandy. I love the colours too! πŸ™‚

  7. ovenhaven Post author

    abby: Thanks for dropping by, abby. And many thanks for hosting the event! πŸ™‚

    Gigi: Thanks, sweetie πŸ™‚ I love the tropical flavours each on their own, but to combine them all into one seemed too irresistable an idea for me πŸ˜›

  8. happygrub

    Looks delicious.. What coconut milk did you use? Is it possible to use kara?

    Congrats on ur sewing project! Its really cute. Love the tie. Don’t u find the material quite expensive?

  9. ovenhaven Post author

    I used fresh coconut milk, but I’m sure you can use santan kara.

    Thanks! I took the easier way out actually, considering it’s my first sewing project. I bought one of those DIY kits, so I already had the material, and just needed to go from there. It’s much cheaper that way I guess.

  10. sweetrosie

    Another home-ec sewing class failure – yipee! I sewed the armholes of my nightie together ( they were down near my hips anyway so it didn’t make much difference…)

    Your bear is so cute. Well done, so clever.

    I love pandan. The smell make tears of nostalgia come to my eyes.

  11. ovenhaven Post author

    Oh it’s so good to hear someone bad at sewing too! πŸ˜›

    And I love pandan as well. It’s one of those flavours that are best in its simplicity πŸ™‚

  12. Ashley

    Wow those are quite the muffins! Great creation. I have only tried this packaged pandan cake so I’m not too familiar with the flavour.

  13. Angel

    I adore Mr. Sniffles he looks so cute and snuggly!!! I also am guilty and proud to still love my stuffed friends. They are so adorable how could it be wrong.
    The muffins have great color.


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