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, I know. Autumn is officially here, and every other blog’s talking about pumpkins and apples, and here I am with last season’s produce. But honestly, can you blame me? I’ve baked this bread more than a month ago, but have not stopped thinking about it since. That is, until I baked a spelt carrot-apple cake a couple of days ago, which, by the bye, totally won me over with its sweet nutty flavour and super moist texture;- ah, but that’s another post for another day.
Now, back to this quickbread.
It was my first zucchini bake; a trial batch if you may call it that, for I had read about the moistness this unassuming green vegetable lends to its bakes. I had my eyes on baking a zucchini-infused chocolate cake or brownies initially, following my prior success of adding green stuff into chocolatey treats, but decided to test the waters with something safer and healthier I could enjoy with lil A. (Not to worry though, chocolate zucchini muffins did happen later.)
So, how did this fare?
Cauliflower crust pizzas have been on my to-bake list since I’ve heard of them last year. Late to the party, I know. The first time, I made a palm-sized one for experimenting, and well, to use up all the leftover mishmash of things I had in the fridge, which included some leftover cauli purée and carrot purée. The mister scrunched up his nose when I told him what I had for lunch, thinking I had made cauliflower pizza, and not cauliflower crust pizza. An honest mistake, really, since some of my friends on Twitter had also mentioned not being able to spot roasted cauliflower florets anywhere.
One thing they got right though is that you can’t spot the cauliflower here; neither on sight, nor in taste. My first attempt was a thicker crust, which resulted in a texture not unlike Nigella’s crustless pizza, almost akin to a yorkshire pudding or popover of sorts. It was good, but admittedly, not great. Though I must accede the fact that my odd misfits of toppings might have contributed to the lacklustre in flavour. This second attempt at a thinner crust and fiddling of ingredients sparked an almost a-ha moment as I took my first bite, when I finally understood what the whole #cauliflowerpizza (that hashtag on Instagram leads to hundreds of cauliflower pizza fans!) fuss is all about.
It’s been a tough week here in Singapore, with the worst haze situation we’ve had since ’97. A lot of fellow mommy friends have been tending to the needs of their children, who have either displayed health concerns in response to the alarming haze, or have been feeling a little cabin fever, with the inevitable quarantine in the midst of the school holidays. Whilst lil A and I have been staying indoors, and seeing the (brave and masked) mister off to do a hurried stocking-up of our pantry today, I am aware that quite a number of us are running out of meal ideas, and turning to the packets of instant noodles stashed in the depths of the cupboard, in an attempt to avoid stepping out of the house altogether.
To those of us staying safe indoors, here’s a quick fix for some comfort amidst the uncertainties. I’ve already posted the recipe before, but a revisit is certainly in order, especially on days like today, when I find myself out of whole wheat bread, have a hankering for eggs, but can’t see myself out there in the smog. Haze or not, this focaccia deserves its place on your dining table, embraced by the warmth of a bowl cream of mushroom soup, sliced thickly alongside a simple egg salad, or simply on its own, dimpled with your favourite toppings. Without the hassle of hours’ long dough rise, and having the gratification of slicing through the warm crisp crust enveloping its chewy and soft innards in just under an hour, you can see why I’m calling this one fast focaccia.
The last few weeks had been whizzing past, with the days merely denoted as pre- and post- Baby A’s birthday. That’s right, it has been a year (and a week now) since I became a parent, and what a wonderful year it has been! Needless to say, a great birthday celebration was in order, though really much more down-scaled and intimate than it might sound, since the birthday parties (yes, two) were really just with my immediate family (A’s the youngest of tiny lil cousins!), and the mister’s. Amidst handmade decor and birthday cake(s) by yours truly, and self-designed birthday invites and goodie bags by the mister, along with being on 24/7 baby watch, it is no wonder that the past month felt like it flew before its time. But enough of the birthday for now, I hope to share with you more soon, once I’ve filtered through photos. Rookie parent mistake: too busy preparing for everything, not enough proper photos!
Now on to today’s recipe: I know what you’re thinking. Either I really love my french toast, or I really love my breakfast food. The former, not so much, though I have to be honest it has really gone up the list of things-to-do-when-your-bread-is-expiring, knocking my much beloved bread pudding off its pedestal, thanks to the ease and quick gratification. The latter, a huge resounding yes, I do love my breakfast food, and given a choice, I would probably have it for every meal of the day. That is, until you tempt me with something along the lines of pasta, or chicken, or pasta with chicken; owh yeah.
Oats, or specifically rolled oats, has become such a large part of my life that I’ve started to Nutella it. That’s right, I’m using Nutella as a verb, because it is that important. Much like Nutella, I’ve begun to add rolled oats in practically everything;- my morning smoothie, my nightly warm malted drink, my pantry-clearing salad, and my sweetest desserts. And so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I had inadvertently decided to throw in some rolled oats one morning while preparing my french toast. Now, I know french toast is somewhere up there with eggs;- every one has a specific type they prefer. Some prefer their french toasts fluffy and soft, some like it moist and almost gooey, and others prefer it with just a bit of bite to it. These oat-crusted french toasts would satiate the tastebuds of the first and third camps. The crisp crust promises a grainy, nutty flavour with every bite, concurrently easing you into the smooth fluffy bread itself. As for the strawberry compote? It really is just the proverbial show-stopping icing on the cake.
Have you had one of those days when you feel like it’s absolutely imperative to start the day on a sweet note, but a nondescript french toast dusted prettily with powdered sugar just simply won’t cut it? Yet at the same time, a voice;- Skinny Conscience, I believe his name was;- tells you no one gets away with having chocolate for breakfast, without having judgmental peering eyes, and the inevitable guilt to last till lunch time. And then you wonder who to listen to; the enticing sweet palate you had found yourself waking up with, or the aforementioned nagging voice raining on your sweet parade.
And then, an a-ha light bulb moment: well, it isn’t technically considered having bad, over-the-top decadent chocolate for breakfast, if it involves some sort of fruit, does it?
Let’s just say I had one of those days, and I don’t know if it was the half-baked reasoning I had conjured, or simply because these stuffed french toasts were that good, but guilt was the furthest from my mind. In fact, just between you and me, I’m already looking forward to the next time I welcome a day-old bread. Thick crusty bread enveloping juicy tangy strawberries, perfectly juxtaposed with occasional bursts of sweet melted chocolate-hazelnut spread;- if that’s not tantalising enough for you, I really don’t want to know.
I hope you are doing well right now. I’m sure you’re privy to everyone’s excitement today, and I understand how you must feel a tad slighted and somewhat lost, not unlike a flower having lost her bloom. But I hope you do know that deep in our hearts, you will always be remembered for all the joy and laughter you have brought us, for all the fears you have walked us through, and for all of those times you have stood by us, good and bad.
You sat there watching me grow to be the mother that I am today; a far cry from this exact day ten months ago, carefully cradling my newborn, very much in disbelief of my overnight change in status, tears of joy interlaced with relief and anxiety. Ever so often, in my trying times, you remind me how long and endless the days may seem, but how inevitably short the months and years will fly by. And with that, I hold close and cherish every moment with my loved ones, learning to find my footing again within my repository.