Simple Pleasures

just a gather of some random shots of things that caught my eye, made my day, or meaningful enough to make me press the shutter, but just don’t seem to fit in anywhere or significant as a post.

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// basil is probably the only plant I always harvest from my parapet garden.

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// sterilizing, at 100 degrees celcius. Because it’s not plastic.

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// school uniform: the most hardworking piece of apparel, rendered unwearable and unmendable, thank goodness she’s graduating.

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// washing an empty oil bottle using the least amount of water.  My trick : teaseed powder.

Simple Pleasures // Mono + Co

// trash level report: low.  Keep trying.

Nov/Dec 2017 School Holiday Activities – Eco Edition

Nov/Dec 2017 School Holiday Activities - Eco Edition // Mono + Co

Spent the first week of the year end school holidays in the malls and can’t wait to do something different?  How about activities with an Eco/Nature-theme?  I have compiled a list in a chronological order to share.

In case there is only time for just one Eco-event, taking part in a beach clean-up as a family is highly recommended.  Nowadays, we barely give a second thought every time we drink from plastic bottled water, clean hard to reach corners with Q-tips, pack take-away meals in styrofoam /plastic boxes or pick up a straw for our drink.  But these habits have generated most of the common trash we collected when my family joined Trash Hero Singapore in one of their monthly sessions to clean up a quiet part of the beach at East Coast Park.

Armed with a pair of gloves (a must, never pick up trash with bare hands, and tell the kids to always inform an adult when they find broken glass, fish hooks, syringes, needles, or any sharp objects) and a plastic bag, the instruction from the organizer was simple: pick up as much trash as possible in 2 hours.  After 10 minutes, I found myself squatting at the same spot sorting out items that shouldn’t belong there: cigarette butts, tiny plastic sticks from Q-tips (but my kids think that these are lollipop sticks, guess they look the same after the candy and cotton buds are gone,) candy wrappers, straws of different colors and sizes, and most annoying of all, styrofoam bits that have disintegrated into impossibly tiny pieces over time.  The task of picking out these bits looked impossible and I told myself I will bring along a sieve/colander next time to separate these styrofoam pieces from the fine sand.  I moved on to picking up larger trash items like plastic bottles, drink cans, used wet wipes, snack packaging, fish nets, and plastic bags.  Others found toothbrushes and plastic combs.

Nov/Dec 2017 School Holiday Activities - Eco Edition // Mono + CoNov/Dec 2017 School Holiday Activities - Eco Edition // Mono + Co
Photo credit : Trash Hero Singapore

By the end of the session, 80kg of rubbish were collected, mostly plastic.  The single most important takeaway from this beach clean up: avoid the use of disposable plastic.  Trash Hero Singapore will be conducting another beach clean up session on 26 November (Sunday) at Sembawang Beach Park.  Check out the details here.

Can’t wait to start a greener way to spend the rest of the school holiday? Let’s start from this Saturday :

Nov 25 (Sat)

//Charismatic Primates of Malaysia – Living in Harmony with Nature and Wildlife
A second Jane Goodall Institute Singapore Lecture Series with primate experts from Malaysia.  Registration is required.
LINK

// Chek Jawa Boardwalk
Free guided nature walk at Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin.  The one held later on 16th Dec has been fully booked.
When/ Where: 9.30am / Chek Jawa Information Kiosk, Pulau Ubin
Registation here.
LINK

// Bukit Brown – An Introductory Walk
Free guided walk.  Another afternoon walk is available on 26th.
When/ Where: 9am/ Bukit Brown Cemetery
Register here.

// Singapore Really Really Free Market
Set up a free booth with family or friends, share pre-loved items, enjoy some time without spending any money.
When/Where: 3pm-7pm/ Blk 137 Bedok Reservoir Road S470137
LINK

Nov 26 (Sun)

// Trash Hero Beach Clean Up
When/ Where: 8am/ Sembawang Park Beach
LINK

// Repair Kopitiam
Have broken down items at home?  Say no to a throw away society, send them for repair and learn the how-to at the same time as volunteers share their repair knowledge and skills.
When/ Where: 10am – 2pm/ 2 locations ->Blk 897A Tampines St 81,Singapore,521897AND Block 423, Jurong West Ave 1,Singapore,640423
LINK

// Bukit Brown – An Introductory Walk
Free guided walk.
When/ Where: 4pm – 6.30pm/ Bukit Brown Cemetery
Register here

Dec 1 (Fri)

// Night Critter Watch at Rainforest Boardwalk
Guided walk. $13 per participant. Free for 6 years old and below. Registration required.
When/Where: 6.30pm-8.30pm/ Singapore Botanic Gardens
LINK

Dec 2 (Sat)

++ The UP Market ++
UP refers to upcycling, my favorite way to reuse glass bottles, plastic containers and old bamboo toothbrushes.
Join this upcycling-themed market “that aims to build a community of upcyclers to share upcycling ideas, products and to promote upcycling and other sustainable lifestyles.”
LINK

// Kranji Countryside Farmers’ Market
Support local produce and locally made products at this fair held over 2 days.  While there, make some some time cover part of the Heritage Trail as well.
When/ Where: (Dec 2)12pm – 8pm/ (Dec 3)10am – 4pm/ D’Kranji Farm Resort
LINK

Dec 9 (Sat)

// Ecolife at Coney Island
Free guided walk. Registration required.
When/Where: 9am-11am/ Coney Island West Entrance
LINK

// Ecolife at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park
Free guided walk. Registration required.
When/ Where: 9am-11am/ Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park Promenade
LINK

// Photography Talk by Mr Isak Pretorius
The speaker is a BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year’s Bird Behaviour Category (2013) and will be sharing his passion for photography and nature during the free session.
When/ Where: 9.30am – 12.00pm/ Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
LINK

// A walk with your neighbours: The macaques of MacRitchie
Guided walk led by experts from the Jane Goodall Institute Singapore.  Free, registration required.
When/ Where: 5pm – 6.30pm / MacRitchie Reservoir Park
LINK

Dec 10 (Sun)

//Tzu Chi Recycling Day
Every 2nd Sunday of the month, Tzu Chi set up recycling points around the island to receive recyclables.  Don’t just stop at dropping off your recyclables, try your hands at sort out them out and learn more about environmental conservation and the need to cut down on waste.
When/ Where: 9am – 12pm/ Various locations
LINK

//Forest Walk: Tengah Forest
Explore what’s still left untouched by the ongoing Tengah’s “Forest Town” development, set to be Singapore’s largest smart sustainable smart town with a car-free town center.
When: 8am
LINK

//Family Yoga In The Park
Children are welcome. Free.
When/ Where: 8am – 9am/ Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, Tecoma Green
LINK

//Healthy Living with Navayugum
Free workshop to learn more about living a healthier lifestyle through a guided spice tour, healthy recipes, followed by a relaxing yoga session in the serene Fort Canning Park.  Registration required.
When/ Where: 10am – 12pm / Fort Canning Park
LINK

Dec 16 (Sat)

//What’s in my sky?
Learn to identify many amazing birds of different species that passes through or make Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve their home in this free guided walk.  Registration required.
When/ Where: 9.30am – 11am/ Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
LINK

//A walk with your neighbours: The macaques of Lower Peirce
Guided walk led by experts from the Jane Goodall Institute Singapore.  Free, registration required.
When/ Where: 5pm – 6.30pm
LINK

//Marine Mangroves cum Coastal Cleanup at Ubin
Another coastal clean up activity, this time to “remove abandoned drift nets and marine debris that chokes up Ubin’s coastline.”
Registration required.
When/ Where: 3pm – 6pm / Meet at Changi Point Ferry Terminal.
LINK

Dec 19 (Tues)

// Zero Waste Living with Bea Johnson
Hear from Bea Johnson, one of the earliest zero waste lifestyle adopter, on how she and her family stick to the 5R’s: “Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot, and only in that order” and inspire the rest of the world to “live simply and take a stance against needless waste.”
When/ Where: 7pm – 9.30pm/The Metro @ thebridge, Ascent, #01-07, 2 Science Park Drive
LINK

Dec 23 (Sat)

//Learning Forest Tour, Singapore Botanic Gardens
Free tour of The Learning Forest that is located in the new Tyersall-Gallop Core of the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
Registration for the tour starts 15 minutes before session starts at Visitor Services, Tyersall Gate.
When/ Where: 9am – 10am / The Learning Forest, Singapore Botanical Gardens
LINK

//Heritage Tour, Singapore Botanic Gardens
Free guided tour. Highlights of the tour include the Bandstand, sculptures in the Gardens, the Heritage Trees, the Main Gate, the Saraca Stream Walk.
Registration for the tour starts 15 minutes for session starts at Visitor Services Desk, Tanglin Gate.
When/Where: 9am – 10am
LINK

//Race Against Time – Science behind a Botanic Garden Tour
This 45-minute tour suitable for participants 9 years old and above introduces the research facilities at the Singapore Botanic Gardens such as the Library of Botany & Horticulture, Orchid & Micro-propagation laboratory and the Herbarium.
Registration for the tour starts 15 minutes for session starts at Visitor Services Desk, Tanglin Gate.
LINK

// What’s in my mangrove?
Free guided tour that lets you learn about the mangrove trees and plants of the forest at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.
Registration required.
When/ Where: 9.30am – 11am/ Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve,
LINK

//A walk with your neighbours: The macaques of Bukit Timah
Guided walk led by experts from the Jane Goodall Institute Singapore.  Free, registration required.
When/ Where: 5pm-6.30pm/ Bt Timah Nature Reserve
LINK

// What’s in my water?
Free guided tour that lets you learn about the creatures and plants that lives in and around the water edges of Sungei Buloh.
Registration required.
When/ Where: 9.30am – 11am
LINK

My 152 Waffle Days

My 152 Waffle Days // Mono + Co

[ Updating in progress. 07.12.17]
Determined not to reduce my waffle maker into a white elephant, I set my mind on making waffles 152 times with it simply because I got it at $152.  Then it will cost me just $1 per use.


+ Waffle No.9 +


Coconut milk + pandan juice version.   I will add more pandan juice next round, I want the batter to smell like kaya,but the waffle might end up looking more green too 🙂

adapted from allrecipes.com

2 cups plain flour 
4 tablespoons raw sugar 
1/4 teaspoon sea salt 
4 teaspoons baking powder 
1/4 cup homemade pandan juice
1/2 cup coconut cream
1 cup water 
1/8 cup rice bran oil 
2 eggs, beaten

– Combine the 4 dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl with a hand whisk.
– Add the remaining 5 ingredients and stir to mix well.
– Cook waffles as per waffle maker instructions. I use setting no.4


+ Waffle No.8 +


My 152 Waffle Days // Mono + Co My 152 Waffle Days // Mono + Co

Everytime I walk past a local bakery that sells freshly made waffles, the aroma lures me in.  With the extra pandan leaves that I got for free from the market, I blitz them with some water (as little as possible, so that the juice extracted will be concentrated) in a food processor and squeeze through a cotton pouch/ cloth to make fresh pandan juice.  This can be kept up to 3 days inside the chiller, better than letting the leaves dry out on the kitchen counter.

I added the juice to make pandan waffles, but the taste wasn’t distinct enough.  I have since found 3 other recipes , here, here and here that incorporate coconut milk/oil (and more sugar) to bring out the pandan aroma better.

adapted from allrecipes.com

2 cups plain flour
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
4 tablespoons milk powder
1/2 cup homemade pandan juice
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup rice bran oil
2 eggs, beaten

– Combine the 5 dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl with a hand whisk.
– Add the remaining 4 ingredients and stir to mix well.
– Cook waffles as per waffle maker instructions.


+ Waffle No.7 +


My 152 Waffle Days // Mono + Co

Same recipe as No.6, but deserved a mention since it is cooked by my other half.


+ Waffle No.6 +


My 152 Waffle Days // Mono + Co

Tried with a different recipe from here.  Kids find it lighter that the previous recipe I have been adapting with.  When made fresh, these are really crispy outside.  The rise is also impressive, thanks for the 4 teaspoons of baking powder in the recipe.  I adapted with milk powder instead of fresh milk, recipe originally calls for 1+3/4 cup of milk, I replaced with 4 tablespoons of milk powder and 1+3/4 cups of water.

Interestingly, the author mentioned that the batter can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week.  I always make my batter just before cooking.  Like to try this out to see if the waffles made with overnight batter still rise well.  Then breakfast making won’t be so rush.

adapted from allrecipes.com

2 cups plain flour
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
4 tablespoons milk powder
1 3/4 cups water
1/2 cup rice bran oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

– Combine the 5 dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl with a hand whisk.
– Add the remaining 4 ingredients and stir to mix well.
– Cook waffles as per waffle maker instructions.


+ Waffle No.5 +


My 152 Waffle Days // Mono + Co

Had some leftover steamed pumpkin after making bread, dump them into my waffle batter.  Nothing else in the recipe is altered.

My 152 Waffle Days // Mono + Co My 152 Waffle Days // Mono + Co

adapted from here
1 3/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup corn starch
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
30g steamed pumpkin, mashed
1 3/4 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup rice bran oil
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

– Combine the 5 dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl with a hand whisk.
– Blend mashed pumpkin with milk to form smooth puree.  Add this with the remaining 3 ingredients into the mixing bowl and stir to mix the batter well.
– Cook waffles as per waffle maker instructions.


+ Waffles No.4 +


My 152 Waffle Days // Mono + Co

Chocolate ones this time.
Separated the yolks and whites again.
Stick to 2 tablespoons of sugar since it’s chocolate flavour, good to have a higher level of sweetness.

adapted from here

1 3/4 cup plain flour 
1/4 cup corn starch
2 tablespoons van houten cocoa powder
2 tablespoons sugar 
1 tablespoon baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon sea salt 
1 3/4 cup milk 
2 eggs, yolks whites separated 
1/2 cup rice bran oil 
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

– Combine the 6 dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl with a hand whisk.
– Add milk, egg yolks, oil, and vanilla extract into the mixing bowl and stir to mix the batter well.
– Whisk egg white to soft peaks, fold it into the batter.
– Cook waffles as per waffle maker instructions.


+ Waffles No.3 +


My 152 Waffle Days // Mono + Co

Made one with replacing half of the flour in the recipe with wholewheat version.  I also added another tablespoon of sugar, saw online that this will make even crispier waffles, but only if it is eaten immediately.  Will do away with this extra sugar next time.

I also separated the egg yolks and white and beat the egg whites into meringue before folding it into the batter.

My 152 Waffle Days // Mono + Co

adapted from here

1 cup plain flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup corn starch
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup milk
2 eggs, yolks whites separated
1/2 cup rice bran oil
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

– Combine the 6 dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl with a hand whisk.
– Add milk, egg yolks, oil, and vanilla extract into the mixing bowl and stir to mix the batter well.
– Whisk egg white to soft peaks, fold it into the batter.
– Cook waffles as per waffle maker instructions.


+ Waffles No.2 +


My 152 Waffle Days // Mono + Co

This one made with browned banana.  Recipe posted earlier here.


+ Waffles No.1 +


Tried this recipe my brand new waffle maker.  Hardly fails, and always adaptable.

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On Packing (Almost Zero Waste) Toiletries For A Short Trip

On Packing (Almost Zero Waste) Toiletries For A Short Trip // Mono + Co

Packing my toiletries a short trip means shuttling between the bathroom and the kitchen to refill my containers with mostly my DIY-ed products.  Here’s what I brought along for a brief vacation recently.

On Packing (Almost Zero Waste) Toiletries For A Short Trip // Mono + CoOn Packing (Almost Zero Waste) Toiletries For A Short Trip // Mono + Co

++ Body scrub ++

A mixture of Himalayan pink salt + crushed rose petals + dried lemongrass (from teabags) + few drops of avocado oil mixed with few drops lemongrass essential oil.  This doubles up as my room fragrance as I leave the jar open uncovered inside the room throughout my stay.

On Packing (Almost Zero Waste) Toiletries For A Short Trip // Mono + Co

++ Night Repair Facial Oil Capsules ++

Nothing complicated, these capsules are the same Evening Primrose Oil capsules that I take orally once a day, but they work great as well for my skin when applied topically as facial oil.  I am really thankful for my non-sensitive skin.  I have tried avocado oil, sweet almond oil, and walnut oil so far with no clogging or allergic issues.

Bring along a pair of small scissors to cut a small hole on one end of the capsule.  I like to use this oil overnight after a day’s exposure to sun, grime and dirt.  I use up less than half of a capsule for whole face and neck, so the balance goes to soften my hands, cuticles and elbows, basically wherever I like.  It has a distinctive oily smell that some might find unpleasant, I usually mix it with lavender essential oil at home but for traveling sake, I choose to apply it sans additional fragrance so that I can just count and bring the exact number of capsules.  Talk about convenient travel pack!

On Packing (Almost Zero Waste) Toiletries For A Short Trip // Mono + Co

++ Facial Oil for Day ++

What is the difference between this facial oil and the night one?  Fragrance.  I added a few drops of carrot seed , lavender and geranium essential oil to avocado oil and store them in a tiny glass dropper bottle.  Scent is really subtle, do not expect it to last like commerical fragrance but that’s all it takes to perk up my vacation mood in the morning before heading out to explore the city.  I prefer smelling the street food than overpowering perfume anyway.

On Packing (Almost Zero Waste) Toiletries For A Short Trip // Mono + Co

++ Bar Soap ++

I did not make this soap, it’s Chandrika brand from India.  Compared to commercial body shampoo, I prefer soap bars as they use less plastic as packaging.  These bars made with vegetable oils are wrapped individually in paper (feel waxed though) and then packed in a paper box that I usually send for recycling.  Although the ingredient list stated talc and artificial color #CI 12700, #CI 64565 , the rest of the ingredients look naturally derived.

Bar soaps make a terrible mess when they are accidentally left sitting in an undrained soap dish.  I usually keep them in a drawstring bag handsewn out of wash cloth and hang the pouch with the soap bar inside to drip dry after shower.  The pouch also adds extra exfoliation during shower time.  Best part is when the soap has been reduced to a smaller piece, I simply pop a new bar into the bag and the smaller piece will be eventually used up as well, contained inside the bag this way, no more losing loose bits of soap, zero wastage.

On Packing (Almost Zero Waste) Toiletries For A Short Trip // Mono + Co

++ Tea Seed Powder Shampoo ++

I wrote about how I have been using this powder here.  Also used it to wash my reusable cutlery and lunchbox in the hotel room after a day of rejecting disposable ones.  I wasn’t that successful everywhere, and had to wash those that I can’t reject in time with tea seed powder (my defacto dish washing detergent at home) before bringing them back home for reusing/recycling.  But that’s a story for another day.

On Packing (Almost Zero Waste) Toiletries For A Short Trip // Mono + Co

++ Bamboo toothbrush & Baking Soda toothbrushing powder ++

Powder packed in a reused mask sample container.  Make sure to wipe dry the horse hair bristles on the bamboo toothbrush (very important step as natural material is especially susceptible to mold) before covering and wrapping with sheets from tear off calendar as shown below.  I use the same calendar sheet to wrap and pack the toothbrush back home.

On Packing (Almost Zero Waste) Toiletries For A Short Trip // Mono + Co

++ Make-up Kit ++

A fan of light makeup (rather the lack of skills for it,) I brought only the minimal number of cosmetic items along.  If you can recognise, the plastic container is actually a dehumidifier box from Daiso that I “diverted” from my camera cabinet for just a few days.

// make up brushes : I used the same calendar paper for wrapping my bamboo toothbrush to pack my make up brushes as well, one for powder foundation to make skin look more even, and another for applying blusher.

// face power : I buy only the face compact power refill that comes in a clear plastic box packaging.  The plastic box actually closes with a snap, this design allows me to do away with the standard container with mirror, making it even more compact.

On Packing (Almost Zero Waste) Toiletries For A Short Trip // Mono + Co

// blusher : that tiny glass jar from Bonne Maman jam contains my blush powder, previously in compact form but cracked when I accidentally dropped it from a height.  I have since crushed the broken pieces into fine power and store them in the jar.  Applying is slightly tricky, take slightly more time to avoid pick up too much color with my brush.  As a result, I ended up wash my blusher brush more often to get rid of color build up over time, resulting in a more hygenic blusher brush to use.  I won’t tell you how often I wash this brush previously. 🙂

// make up remover : brought along a handy tube of coconut oil.  After the face is free of make up, I wash again with tea seed powder to remove the grease.

On Packing (Almost Zero Waste) Toiletries For A Short Trip // Mono + Co

Toiletry bag : All items fit nicely in a clear bag that used to be a men’s cotton tee-shirt packaging.

Do you have any other good zero-waste toiletry packing tip/ habit to share?

Soft Taro Milk Pullman Loaf

Soft Taro Milk Pullman Loaf // Mono + Co

Adapted from this recipe from almost a year ago, I have since made 2 changes to this recipe.
– using plain flour sold in bulk from the wet market
– substituting fresh milk with milk powder

With these alterations, I have done away with the need to recycle the plastic bags from bread flour as well as plastic bottles and paper cartons from fresh milk purchase.  Less time spent on rinsing and sorting recyclables, more time for a longer breakfast.


Soft Taro Milk Pullman Loaf

300g plain flour
1/2 tablespoon instant dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons organic raw sugar
2 tablespoons milk powder
135g steamed taro, mashed
1 egg **
130g water
25g cold unsalted butter, cubed

** I use egg that weighs 55g with shell

In a mixer bowl, mix well the dry ingredients: plain flour, yeast, sea salt, raw sugar, and milk powder with a hand whisk.  Add cooled mashed taro, egg, and half of the water to the dry ingredients, and knead with a dough hook attachment on the lowest speed (KA 1).  Slowly add in the remaining of the water, with the mixer running, until the ingredients come into a ball.  You might need more or less water stated in the recipe, depending on the moisture content of the taro.  Let the dough stand for 15 minutes, covered.

Start the mixer running on its lowest speed again, and knead the dough for 1 minute, before adding cubed butter, one by one.  Knead until the dough reaches window pane stage, this is when the dough becomes very smooth and elastic, and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Remove the bowl from mixer, cover and bulk rise for 50 minutes to 1 hour.

After an hour, the dough should have expanded, punch it down to release the gas, and transfer to a clean work top.  Flatten the dough to push out gas trapped inside the dough, either by hand or a rolling pin.  Shape the dough into a log and place it in a greased bread tin, seam side facing downwards.   Let this sit in a draft free place to rise for another 50-60 minutes.

Bake in a preheated oven at 170C for 30 minutes.  Remove the bread from the pan immediately after baking, and let it cool on a rack completely before slicing or serving.

Store in an airtight container if not consumed immediately, to keep the loaf soft and the crumbs from drying out.

Simple Pleasures

 

// repurpose my old bamboo toothbrush as plant pot markers, the bristles are made with horse bristles, composting them directly inside the soil.

// upcycled my raisin tub into a handy tea seed powder dispenser.

// glass bottle collection getting uncontrollable.

// another glass-bottle-turned-beaker to serve my homemade zero waste ginger black molasses tea in, more on this tea recipe later.

// when all the honey is gone, the tub turns itself into a useful container for soaking 2 cups of soy beans over night in the chiller.  Homemade soy milk!

Green Monday : Weekend Leftovers

Green Monday : Weekend Leftovers // Mono + Co

I usually don’t stock up on fresh produce on Sundays until I get to see the kind of leftovers I end up with on Mondays.  Leftovers refers to both balance uncooked ingredients and unfinished cooked food.  I did pretty well on my “Zero Food Waste” score card this weekend.  Only a small bunch of not-that-fresh-anymore spinach in the crisp drawer and a vegetarian dish (above) leftover from Sunday’s dinner.

In need of more ingredients for dinner tonight, I visited to the wet market this morning to see what items were unsold after a frenzy weekend.  Most of the balance vegetables delivered during wee hours on Sunday morning were hardly fresh anymore with many leafy vegetables close to wilting.  Without me asking, the seller even advised me to cook the items by dinner tonight, or else don’t buy.  So I bought the following 3 leftover items.

Green Monday : Weekend Leftovers // Mono + Co

// Kangkong.  The chilli padi came free I mentioned that I will be stir frying the vegetable with minced garlic.  ” Taste better with chilli!” was his advice, before repeating for the umpteenth time: “must cook by tonight ah….I sell you very cheap, really cannot keep….”  Incidentally, lot of my cooking skills are imparted by these hidden experts at the market, they are never too stingy to share a recipe or two, amidst the busy transactions.  Although the methods are usually very simple and nothing fanciful, these basic recipes are usually also the best way to bring out the original flavor of the ingredients.

Green Monday : Weekend Leftovers // Mono + Co

// Button mushrooms.  When I saw this cardboard box of mushrooms left at the stall, my first reaction was: plastic-free button mushrooms, I found you finally!  Getting all these for just $3 was an additional bonus.  Of large size and still relatively firm, there was actually no need to clear these so cheaply, they will last a few days more in the chiller, but I guess the stallholder needed the space for fresher stocks that will be arriving tomorrow.

Green Monday : Weekend Leftovers // Mono + Co

// Cauliflowers.  Again, these are not at their prettiest.  The stallholder managed to salvage these 3 heads by shaving off florets that had turned brown/black.  Uncle added that “these are from Australia, very good, very sweet, very sayang (heartache) to waste.” They sure know that the growers work very hard to produce these.


++ Update : How I use up these leftovers ++

#001 : this vegan cauliflower creamy mushroom soup with the mushrooms and cauliflowers.

Green Monday : Weekend Leftovers // Mono + Co

#002 : this meat-free Donburi made with partial Sunday dinner leftover

Green Monday : Weekend Leftovers // Mono + Co

#003 : this kang kong stir fry

Green Monday : Weekend Leftovers // Mono + Co

#004 : this reheated Sunday dinner leftover dish with added ingredients, remember that not so fresh spinach in the crisp drawer?

 Green Monday : Weekend Leftovers // Mono + Co

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Nutella Swirl Bread

Nutella Swirl Bread // Mono + Co

Mashed taro is my favorite thing to add to the bread recipes I bake. They never alter the bread color or flavor, simply making the bread texture softer than usual.

Nutella Swirl Bread // Mono + Co

I finally got my white flour from the market but I didn’t want to bake a white bread loaf, so I mixed some wholemeal flour into this Nutella swirl bread.  The addition of taro always makes my bread soft and fluffy even when I mix some wholemeal flour into the dough.

Nutella Swirl Bread // Mono + Co

I am kind of a Nutella fan (it’s not that hard to be one anyway,) ‘kind of’ because we are in the process of making an 850g jar to last for 4 months.  If we finish up a bottle sooner than planned, we’ll just have to wait until the next “buy-Nutella-month” comes along.  This makes us ration our Nutella treats really carefully and explore other sandwich/toast/breakfast options.

Nutella Swirl Bread // Mono + Co

This Nutella swirl loaf merely used up 3 heaped teaspoons of Nutella as I spread them as thinly as possible on the bread dough, before rolling it up for a final proof inside the Pullman bread tin.

Nutella Swirl Bread // Mono + Co

It’s certainly not as luxurious as this or this, but I still managed to taste the chocolate hazelnut spread with every bite.

Nutella Swirl Bread // Mono + Co

The bread is best eaten on the day it’s baked, if serve while it is still warm will be even better.  Remember what I mentioned earlier about how taro produces soft fluffy bread?  I almost forgot that I added 100g of wholemeal flour to this loaf.

Nutella Swirl Bread // Mono + Co

The top crust were baked to a beautiful golden brown shade. I brushed it with melted butter immediately when the bread is cooked to keep it soft instead of crusty when the bread cools completely.

Nutella Swirl Bread // Mono + Co


Nutella Swirl Bread

200g plain flour
100g wholemeal flour
130g steamed taro, mashed
1 egg
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoon milk powder **
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
80g water
25g cold butter cubed
3 heaped teaspoons Nutella spread ***

** I use milk power to substitute fresh milk, optional.  If you prefer fresh milk, use it in place of water in the recipe.

*** I use the minimal amount of Nutella in the recipe, feel free to add more according to preference.

In a mixer bowl, combine all the dry ingredients together ( plain and wholemeal flour, raw sugar, salt, yeast,milo powder) with a hand whisk.  Then add mashed steamed taro, egg, and slowly add the water with the mixer running.  Watch the dough, when the ingredients come into a ball,  stop adding and turn off the mixer.  You may need more or less of the water stated in the recipe. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, start the mixer again to knead for 1 minute before adding cubed butter one by one, and knead till the dough reach window pane stage.  This is when the dough becomes very smooth and elastic, and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Stop mixer and leave dough to bulk rise for 60 minutes.

After the dough has risen, punch down the dough to deflate and transfer to a clean work top.  Sprinkle worktop and palms with flour if the dough is too sticky to handle.

Flatten the dough into a rectangular, with one end about the length of the longer side of pullman tin so that when the rolled up dough fits the baking tin.  Spread Nutella and rolling up the dough swiss roll style.  Pinch opening to seal tightly.  Place dough in a Pullman tin, seam side downwards.  Leave this aside to proof for 60minutes, covered.

Preheat oven to 170C, and bake the bread for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven immediately after baking time is up, and brush melted butter over the top crust.  Let bread cool.

If not eaten immediately, store in airtight container keep the crumbs from drying out.

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Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + CoOat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + Co

The dry goods store ran out of plain flour so I went home looking for a wholemeal flour recipe to bake instead.

I ended up baking with this oat and wheat sandwich bread recipe but not before tweaking it with homemade oat flour instead of rolled oats.  Simply run the rolled oats/instant oats/oatmeal in food processor for a while until they become oat flour.  Instant, quick-cooking version or not, all works.  If you want them really fine, sift before using.  If not, simply dump everything like me into the recipe that calls for oat flour, I consider those larger bits as “additional fibre”.  I have been doing this for years, saving money and storage space for yet another pantry item.  Since it is so easy to make, I only make what I need to use up, nothing more.

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + Co

Back to the bread.  Another interesting thing I find about this recipe is that I can leave the dough to ferment in the fridge for up to 5 days.  Sounds like a good idea for Sunday breakfast.

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + Co

I knead the dough until window pane stage although the original recipe didn’t mention.  It’s my ticket to fluffy soft bread.

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + Co

I proof all my loaves in a 10 inch diameter pot with a glass cover, so I can see how much the dough has risen.  Before baking, I brushed the top with water and sprinkled some rolled oats for decoration.  But…..

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + Co

… the rolled oats topping seemed unnecessary afterall as they fell off while I sliced cooked bread.  I won’t mention this step in the recipe below.

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + Co

For some reason (low gluten flour as this article stated?) the bread slice was crumbly, but held together better significantly after popping it inside toaster for 2 minutes.  Come to think of it, I have never baked a bread without plain flour, most of my homebaked wholemeal bread is a 50/50 flour mix.  5-day fermentation is the next thing to try with this bread recipe.

Oat and Wholemeal Bread Loaf // Mono + Co


Oat and Wholewheat bread loaf

adapted from here

315g wholemeal flour
80g oat flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoon raw sugar
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
1/2 egg
1 1/4 cup water
25g chilled butter, cubed

In a mixer bowl, place these ingredients: wholemeal flour, oat flour, sea salt, raw sugar, instant yeast, egg and knead with a dough hook attachment on the lowest speed (KA 1).  Slowly add the water with the mixer running, you may need more or less of the water stated in the recipe.  Watch the dough, when the ingredients come into a ball,  stop adding and turn off the mixer.  Let the dough rest for 15-30 minutes.

After resting the dough, start the mixer running on its lowest speed again to knead the dough for 1 minute, before adding cubed butter, one by one.  Knead until the dough reaches window pane stage, this is when the dough becomes very smooth and elastic, and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Remove the bowl from mixer, cover and bulk rise for 1 hour.

After an hour, the dough should rise and increase its volume, punch it down to release the gas, and transfer to a clean work top.  Flatten the dough to push out gas trapped inside the dough, either by hand or a rolling pin. If the dough is sticky, flour hands and worktop to help with shaping.  Shape the dough into a log and place it in a greased bread tin, seam side facing downwards.  Let this sit in a draft-free place to rise for another 50-60 minutes.

Bake in a preheated oven at 170C for 30 minutes.  Remove the bread from the pan immediately after baking, and let it cool on a rack completely before slicing or serving.

Store in an airtight container if not consumed immediately, to keep the crumbly loaf from further drying out.

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