Browned Banana Belgian Waffles

Browned Banana Belgian Waffles // Mono + Co

I finally got myself a Belgium waffle maker after taking an awfully long time to consider.  Since I have a habit of “depreciating” my appliance purchases to $1 per use, I will need to make waffles 152 times for this latest splurge. My husband says I am crazy since I don’t even eat store-made waffles that often.  But that’s only because waffles are costly at cafes.  I have always secretly wanted my ice-cream orders to be served with crispy-edged waffles, but I ended up choosing an extra or two scoops of ice-cream over getting the waffle for almost the same price.

Browned Banana Belgian Waffles // Mono + Co

This is waffles batch #02 of 152.  The first batch was prepared the day before with a long time favorite recipe from here.  I am not completely filling up the bottom half of the waffle maker yet for the first few trials in case the batter overflows during cooking.  Taking my time to know my waffle maker better as cleaning will be a huge issue since the waffle plates are not removable for washing under the tap.  I always take pride in my ability to keep my appliances staying in mint condition and my cleaning trick is really simple: baking soda.  So in case, I regret this purchase after waffle batch #10, at least I can resell it as a second-hand looking brand new.

Browned Banana Belgian Waffles // Mono + Co

This batch of waffles is made with browned bananas after I accidentally “suffocated” them in my shopping bag and they started to turn black all under 3 hours.  Usually I would clear these the fastest way by making milk shakes.  This time, I blended them with milk to make batter for waffles.


Banana Belgium Waffle

adapted from here
1 3/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup corn starch
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 eggs
2 very ripe bananas
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup rice brand oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
softened butter,for greasing waffle iron before making each waffle
raw honey, for serving

** I omitted 2 tablespoons of sugar from the original recipe as I serve the waffles with honey. They will be quite bland on its own, so if you prefer your waffles to be sweet tasting, go ahead and add sugar to the batter recipe.

Blend chopped bananas with milk until smooth to make banana flavored milk.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk all the ingredients together to form a smooth batter.  Add 1 or 2 heap teaspoon of plain flour if the batter is too watery due to the addition of ripened banana.

Preheat waffle maker.

Grease the waffle iron generously with butter.

Pour batter onto the hot waffle iron and cook according to equipment instructions.

Serve immediately, with honey drizzle.

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Zero Waste Homemade Cooling Tea : Monk Fruit +Dried Longans

Zero Waste Cooling Tea : Homemade Monk's Fruit +Dried Longans

Monk fruit (罗汉果) tea is one of the easiest cooling tea to make at home.  The dry goods stores at wet market and chinese medicine halls sell them in bulk without packing, at just 30 cents per fruit.  The dry goods store I visit frequently also carries dried longan flesh (minus the shells) in bulk, so I add them to my homemade cooling tea occasionally for additional nutritional benefits.

Zero Waste Cooling Tea : Homemade Monk's Fruit +Dried Longans

Just 6 simple steps:
++ Bring a pot of water (1 litre to 1 fruit) to boil.
++ Scrub clean the outer shell of the monk fruit, crush the fruit with bare hands and break up the flesh of the fruit further into 4 parts.  Since the fruit is not eaten and needs to be separated from the tea, I try not to crush the shell and flesh into too many tiny pieces to save me the trouble to search for them after making the tea.
++ Add the shell and flesh into the pot of boiling water, boil on high heat for 5 minutes.
++ Add dried longans, turn the heat down slightly, cover the pot and simmer for another 30 minutes.
++ Turn off the heat and let the tea cool down completely.
++ Remove the remains of monk fruit and serve.

Zero Waste Cooling Tea : Homemade Monk's Fruit +Dried Longans

The remains go into my frozen stash for composting, nothing for the incinerator.

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Tiny Batch Kitchen : Dragon Fruit Jam

Tiny Batch Kitchen : Dragon Fruit Jam // Mono + Co

The red dragon fruits at a fruit stall were clearing at 3 for $2, too good an offer to be passed up, especially when they are the red variety.

Though they appeared a bit wet, the fruit felt firm though.  Since the peel of dragon fruit is quite thick, I reckoned that the flesh should still be edible, even if these are over-ripe.  Once I reached home, I cut up the fruit and stored the dark colored flesh in an airtight container so that the whole fruit will not ripen further.

While they are fine to be eaten as fruits, the color was so pretty that I turned one of them into jam.  The end result reminded me of the blueberry compote I posted last year.  I turn blueberries into preserves when they are on offer, but this is even cheaper.  And they even taste like jam made of berries!

Tiny Batch Kitchen : Dragon Fruit Jam // Mono +Co

I didn’t follow any recipe, another one of my many cook by feel/taste attempts.

Simply chop up the flesh of one dragon fruit into chunks and cook over medium heat.  Once the fruit gets cooked, softened and begin to release its juice, break up the fruit pieces further with the back of a wooden spoon to release more even liquid to cook the flesh further.  I used a hot pot ladle with holes and simply press down the fruit to squash them.  Add 1 tablespoon of sugar, keep stirring and cooking.  Squeeze juice from half a lemon into the cooking jam.  Continue to stir as the jam reduces its liquid into a thick consistency.  Taste test if the sweet/sour level is to your liking and adjust by adding sugar/lemon juice accordingly.

Tiny Batch Kitchen : Dragon Fruit Jam // Mono +Co

The jam will thicken further when cool down.  Store the jam in a sterilised glass jar and finish them up as soon as possible, especially if not much sugar has been added as natural preservatives.

Tiny Batch Kitchen : Dragon Fruit Jam // Mono +Co

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Brown Banana Ice Cream

Brown Banana Ice Cream // Mono + Co

This is not exactly a post about saving brown bananas from becoming food waste although it looks like it.

Brown Banana Ice Cream // Mono + Co

I intentionally waited for these bananas to develop as many brown/black spots as possible, short of turning into a puddle on the kitchen counter before I use them for making ice cream.  The sweetness level shoots up as bananas rot, perfect for making desserts.  If you have seen Christina Tosi demo her banana cream pie recipe in one of the episodes of “The Mind of a Chef”, you will understand why I say “rot”.  I would have never thought such blackened banana is still edible.

Brown Banana Ice Cream // Mono + Co

I adapted from this recipe, altering the recipe savagely.  I did away with the white chocolate since I have a feeling that my 2 very ripened bananas are going to be really sweet.  I also halved the sugar amount and added 1 tablespoon of raw honey instead, partly to replace the corn syrup too.  Without cream cheese at home, I also omitted that but added 1/4 teaspoon of pink salt (recipe called for 1/8) to sort of replace the salt from the cheese.  After 20 minutes of churning the chilled cream and freezing it overnight, the end result is a creamy dessert that is unmistakenly banana in flavor.  Perfect for my banana lovers at home.

Brown Banana Ice Cream // Mono + Co


BROWN BANANA ICE CREAM

adapted from here

2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup heavy cream **
1/3 cup raw sugar
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, chopped into chunks

** I used whipping cream instead of heavy cream

Scoop 2 tablespoons of milk and mix with cornstarch in a bowl to form a smooth slurry.  Set aside.

In a saucepan, add the remaining milk, salt, heavy cream, sugar, honey and vanilla extract and cook to a rolling boil.  Remove from heat, add the banana chunks and puree with an immersion hand blender.Let it boil for 4 minutes, then shift the pot away from heat, and add the cornstarch mixture.

Remove from heat, add the banana chunks and puree with an immersion hand blender. Bring the mixture back to boil again, and let it boil for exactly 4 minutes. then shift the pot away from heat, and add the cornstarch mixture.

Shift the pot away from heat, add the cornstarch mixture, and bring it to boil over medium heat, this time while stirring continuously with a heat proof spatula or hand whisk.  After boiling about 1 minute, the mxiture will thicken.  Remove from heat and let mixture cool to room temperature.  Cover the saucepan and chill it in the fridge for a few hours.

Pour the chilled mixture into the ice cream maker and churn for 20-25 minutes.  Transfer to a storage container and freeze until firm for at least 4 hours or overnight.

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Milo Taro Pullman Loaf

Milo Taro Pullman Loaf // Mono + Co

I tried something different with this bake.  I used the water bath method to bake this bread for the first 10 minutes, but had to deconstruct the water bath structure once I realized that the bread top had risen to touch the oven’s upper heating element.  That explains the odd looking plateau you see on my bread top.  I continued to bake it the standard way for the remaining 20 minutes.

The additional steam inside the oven looks promising as a method to create taller loaves, although my table-top oven is too small for the set-up; rack + 10″ cake tin with hot water + trivet + Pullman tin.  I won’t put this in my recipe instructions below but I will try another method to create steam inside the oven by placing my smallest ramekins filled with hot water around the corners of the oven instead.  But that’s for another day.

Milo Taro Pullman Loaf // Mono + Co

As always, the addition of steamed taro makes my homemade bread moist and fluffy.  The Milo powder idea stems from this bread recipe that uses cocoa powder.  I added only 2 tablespoons of Milo powder (not the 3-in-1 type) so the loaf does not exactly whiff a strong aroma of chocolate malt, but the color reminds me of the brown traditional Hainan bread loaves : subtle.

For non-taro milo bread ideas (& for me to adapt with taro) :
this recipe with whole wheat flour
this bun recipe with milo custard filling

Milo Taro Pullman Loaf // Mono + Co


Milo Taro Pullman Loaf

280g plain flour
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon raw sugar
2 tablespoon Milo powder
100g steamed taro, cooled
1 egg
110g fresh milk
30g cold unsalted butter, cubed

In a mixer bowl, combine all the dry ingredients together ( flour, yeast, salt, sugar, milo powder) with a hand whisk.  Then add mashed steamed taro, egg, and milk to knead into a ball with a dough hook.  Stop the mixer and let the dough rest for 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.  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.

Divide the dough into 3 equal portions.  Flatten and shape each portion, rolling them up swiss roll style.  Arrange them 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.

When done, remove bread from tin immediately and place on a rack to cool completely.

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Peach Gum, 4 ways

Peach Gum, 4 ways // Mono + Co

First, a note to self: peach gum expands 8 to 10 times in volume after soaking, so remember not to soak too many pieces next time.

Obviously, I forgot the lesson last time, repeated the same mistake and ended up with a very huge bowl of soaked peach gum after 2 nights in the fridge.  The hard crystals softened into a gelatinous texture that is very convincing as a collagen booster food.  Since peach gum is tasteless and I have no idea how much longer can it last inside the fridge, I decided to cook as much as possible in one day and leave the remaining to make a pot of this longan and peach gum dessert for tomorrow.  Yup, I have that much, so here we go:

Peach Gum, 4 ways // Mono + Co

++ Honey Lemon Peach Gum Drink ++

I got this idea from the popular bottled collagen drink in the market.  Since I don’t consume animal derived collagen, adding peach gum to my homemade honey lemon juice sounds like a good substitute. Delicious when served chilled.

P.S. I am not sure if peach gums can be eaten without cooking first, but I steamed the soaked gum for 15 minutes just to be safe.

Peach Gum, 4 ways // Mono + Co

++ Banana Milk Shake with Peach Gum ++

I was clearing some brown bananas into milk shake for my kids and decided to blend some steamed peach gums with the banana and milk as well.

Peach Gum, 4 ways // Mono + Co

++ Dashi Vegetable Soup with Peach Gum ++

Since the peach gum is tasteless, I am not limiting my collagen intake to just desserts.  I have cooked this meatless “trotter” vinegar with peach gum before, so I can surely add them to savory soups.  I made kombu dashi stock like this, add apples, onions, corn, and carrots and simmer for 1 hour.  The kombu from making dashi can be eaten, so don’t throw them away after making the stock.  After an hour, remove apple and onion from the pot, season with soy sauce, add soaked peach gum and boil for another 15 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and serve immediately.

Peach Gum, 4 ways // Mono + Co

++  Udon Soup with Enoki Mushroom and Peach Gum ++

With leftover vegetable dashi stock, it’s easy to create this late afternoon snack.  Heat up the soup, add enoki mushrooms, peach gum and miso paste (optional).  In a serving bowl, place udon (cooked separately in another pot) and pour soup over it, top with a bunch of cilantro leaves.  Serve immediately.

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6-Inch Castella Cake

6-Inch Castella Cake // Mono + Co

Have been putting off baking Castella cakes since most recipes require steam-baking.  I do not have a steam oven, neither do I have a large roasting pan to hold my cake pan to do a “water-bath”.  The aha moment came only when I saw this 6-inch Castella cake recipe: I can water bath this 6-inch cake in a 10-inch cake pan!  I even get to omit using aluminum foil to wrap my pan since I am not using a springform pan, the only item discarded after baking this cake is the parchment paper used to line the base of the pan.  There is no need to line the side of the pan.

6-Inch Castella Cake // Mono + Co

Using the steam baking method definitely made the cake airy yet producing a fine and moist texture.  No cracked top, and not much shrinkage after cooling down, all thanks to the slower (1 hour at 150C) yet even heat source from the water bath, just like this steamed chocolate cake recipe post has described.

6-Inch Castella Cake // Mono + Co

Trim the round cake into a thick rectangular slab to serve, just like the ones attracting long queues at the malls.  I found this article in mandarin that is super detailed with its step-by-step method, definitely worth a read.  The instructions has an additional step to slash the top halfway during baking to make it split evenly for the rest of the process.  I am thinking of making this variation already for my next attempt.


6 -INCH CASTELLA CAKE

adapted from My Mind Patch

3 eggs, yolks and whites separated *
40g rice bran oil
50g plain flour **
30g fresh milk
40g raw sugar
pinch of salt
Optional: 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

* I use eggs weighting 70g with shells for this recipe
** original recipe called for top/cake flour, I used plain flour to bake and the texture is still very fluffy to me.

Warm up rice bran oil in a saucepan over low heat, watch the oil carefully and turn off the fire once you see waves/lines begin to form at the base of the pot.

Add the plain flour to the warm oil and mix with a spatula, then add milk and vanilla extract, and stir to mix again.

Next, add the egg yolks, one at a time, stirring well to form an even mixture before adding the next yolk.  Set this batter aside.

To prepare meringue, whisk egg whites with a pinch of salt until frothy.  Add raw sugar next and whisk this mixture until it forms soft peaks.

Add about 1/3 of the meringue to the cake batter and mix well with a spatula.

Fold in the rest of the meringue to form an even cake batter.

Prepare a 6-inch cake pan by lining just the base with parchment paper.  Pour the cake batter into the pan and bang the pan on the table 3 times to get rid of air bubbles trapped inside the batter.  Removing these trapped bubbles ensure an even and smooth finished cake texture.

Place this pan inside a 9 or 10-inch round pan (or roasting pan if you have one) and fill the larger pan with about 2-cm deep of hot water.  Send the cake to bake immediately in a preheated 150C oven for 1 hour.

When the cake is done, remove from oven and drop the cake pan from a height of 10cm onto a padded counter top, 3 times.  This is supposed to help preventing excessive shrinkage during as the cake cools.  Leave the cake inside the pan to cool on a rack for 15 minutes before turning the cake out, removing the parchment paper at the base of the cake.  Return the cake to the pan and cool it further 15 minutes.  This cake serves best when still warm.

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Oatmeal Porridge White Pullman Loaf

Oatmeal Porridge White Pullman Loaf // Mono + Co

I like how oatmeal porridge in this recipe made the sourdough bread really soft, so I added 135g of it to my bake today.  I probably need to add more if I want it to be as soft and fluffy as the ones I bake with steamed taro or steamed white rice.

Oatmeal Porridge White Pullman Loaf // Mono + Co

Oatmeal Porridge White Pullman Loaf // Mono + Co

 


Oatmeal Porridge Pullman Loaf

for oatmeal porridge:
100g boiling hot water
35g instant oatmeal

290g bread flour
1/2 tablespoon instant dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1 large egg **
80g water
25g cold butter, cubed
topping: 2 tablespoons rolled oats

** I use a large egg weighing 70g.

To prepare oat porridge, mix hot water to instant oatmeal and stir until a thick consistency is formed. Leave it aside to cool completely.

In mixer bowl, combine bread flour, yeast, salt, and sugar well with a hand whisk.  After the dry ingredients are mixed, add cooled  oatmeal porridge, beaten egg and half of the water.  Start the mixer and knead on its lowest speed (KA 1) .  If the ingredients do not come together into a ball, slowly add more water, once a ball dough starts to form, stop adding water.  Turn off the mixer and let the dough sit for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, start the mixer again and knead for 1 minute before adding cubed butter, one by one.  Knead this until the dough reaches window pane stage; when the dough becomes very smooth and elastic.  Remove bowl from mixer and bulk rise this for 1 hour.

Punch the dough down and transfer it to a clean work top.  Shape the loaf and place in greased pullman bread tin, seams side facing downwards.  Let it rise in a draft-free place for 50-60 mins.  Before baking, spray the bread top with a fine mist of water and sprinkle rolled oats on top evenly.

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.

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Purple Sweet Potato Burger Patty

Purple Sweet Potato Burger // Mono + Co

This purple sweet potato burger patty was created based on a taste that I like, smoky with lots of sweetness from onion and basil leaves.  Added walnut and black sesame seeds to make my mum happy, she always worries that I don’t get enough nutrients by going meatless.  But hey look, my recipe is packed with real food, no space for fillers like breadcrumbs or flour!  Pan frying these patties will require a bit of tender loving care as I only add a beaten egg to hold the ingredients together.

Purple Sweet Potato Burger // Mono + Co

As I made this through trial and error, I don’t have an exact recipe for this.  To recreate this, I will probably be referring to the following photos and estimate the proportion of ingredients by eyeballing.  I did not come up with this recipe from scratch though.  Other than having a rough idea how I want my burger to taste, I referred to one of my favorite recipe sites, Minimalist Baker , for some ideas on creating this delicious looking sweet potato burger patty.


Purple Sweet Potato Burger Patty, A Rough Guide

Purple Sweet Potato Burger // Mono + Co

In a food processor, blitz a handful of walnuts and about 1/4 yellow onion.

Purple Sweet Potato Burger // Mono + Co

Add this to steamed and mashed sweet purple potatoes (from 2 medium size ones), a tablespoon of black sesame seeds, a handful of sweet basil leaves, chopped, an half a tablespoon of sweet paprika.

Purple Sweet Potato Burger // Mono + Co

Stir to mix well.  Depending on how moist the sweet potato is, the patty at this stage will be on the dry side.

Purple Sweet Potato Burger // Mono + Co

Slowly add beaten egg and stop just before the patty mixture becomes too wet to be molded.

You should be able to shape the patty by hand to look like this:

Purple Sweet Potato Burger // Mono + Co

In a preheated skillet, add some cooking oil.  Gently place the patties on the skillet and fry till both sides are cooked.

To assemble and serve, I added lettuce,

Purple Sweet Potato Burger // Mono + Co

sliced red capsicum,

Purple Sweet Potato Burger // Mono + Co

cheddar cheese, and grilled portobello mushroom,

Purple Sweet Potato Burger // Mono + Co

between 2 burger buns.  Eat immediately.

Purple Sweet Potato Burger // Mono + Co

More meatless vegetarian patty ideas, try out:

// this made with black bean,

// this vegan version with chickpeas and sweet corn,

// my favorite protein, bbq tofu patty,

// another “red meat”-looking patty, using beetroot.

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