Mashed Potato Buns

mashed potato filling bread 001  mashed potato filling bread 004mashed potato filling bread 003 mashed potato filling bread 002

I left out the bacon in the original recipe to make it a meatless one.

As I was baking these buns yesterday, news broke that more cases of Zika infected patients had been confirmed in Singapore.  I told myself from now on, meal preparation will be kept short and simple, so as to divert more time to keep the house dry, clean and clutter free.

More on Mozzies-Wipe-Out actions later, but let’s get back to these buns.  As usual, it was a tiny batch recipe, yielding exactly 4 buns, perfect for next day’s breakfast, no leftovers.  I also added potato to the bread recipe, whatever that was left after making the mashed potato filling, about 25 grams.  So if you have cooked a potato that is bigger than the 120g required for the filling recipe, you can easily incorporate the remainder into the bread.

I also shaped the bread the croissant way.  Feel free to shape the bread any way you like it, long rolls or round buns.


recipe adapted from <<孟老师的100道面包>> p.85

for bread:
200g bread flour
15g raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 egg yolk
25g mashed potato**
100g water ***
20g unsalted butter, cubed

for filling:
120g mashed potato
15g unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

** Original recipe does not have potato, use any amount of potatoes that remains after making the filling.

*** Use the water from cooking the potato with, cool it down before using.  The starch present in the water is said to be great for making bread texture softer, no reason why fresh water should be used in place of what is available after cooking the potato in it.

In a small mixing bowl,  add butter to 120g of potatoes that have just been cooked and removed from the boiling water.  Mash the potato with a fork, then stir fast with a wooden spoon to whip it slightly.  Add black pepper and mix well.  Cover and set aside.

To make bread dough, mix bread flour, raw sugar, sea salt and instant yeast in a mixer bowl with a hand whisk to combine the dry ingredients together.  Next add cooled mashed potato, egg yolk and cooled potato water, and knead on the lowest speed (KA 1) with a dough hook until the ingredients form into a dough.  Leave this to autolyse for 15 minutes so that the flour absorbs the liquid properly.

After 15 minutes, run the mixer on its lowest speed for about 1 minute, then add cold cubed butter one by one, and knead until traces of butter is no longer visible and dough reaches window pane stage.  Remove mixing bowl from mixer, cover and let dough bulk rise in for 80 minutes.

Move the dough to a clean, dry worktop.  Dust worktop with as little flour as possible if it is too sticky to handle.  Roll the dough into a ball again, let it sit for 15 minutes in a draft-free place.

Flatten the dough with a rolling pin into a large round dough, like shaping a pizza base.  Divide the dough into 4 quadrants.  Take one of the quadrants and lay it down with the “circumference” side nearer to you, spread the filling horizontally to this end and roll the quadrant up towards the sharp tip.  Shape the bread slightly by bending the two ends towards the center to form an arch.  Place it on a greased baking tray.  Repeat till all the doughs and fillings are used up.

Let the buns proof for another 25 minutes, then bake them in a preheated oven at 180C for 20-23 minutes, till the buns  turn into a nice shade of golden brown.

After the buns are done and still piping hot, brush the surface generously with butter.  This step will produce buns that remain soft till next day.








Condensed Milk Square Pullman Loaf

Condensed Milk Square Pullman Loaf // Mono+Co Condensed Milk Square Pullman Loaf // Mono+Co

Watching my bread dough rises beyond the rim of the baking tin is one of my favorite kitchen highlights. But something about baking perfectly cornered square loaves sometimes lures me away from shaping dome loaves from time to time, and these tend to be plain milk recipes.

Other than making perfect symmetrical sandwiches, I enjoy turning this almost-brioche-texture bread into luxurious thick french toasts.  This is not something you will want to prepare if you are in a hurry as I make sure the bread slices soak up the custard thoroughly, and this could take up to 20 to 30 minutes.  Plus, I bake it in the oven for another 10 minutes just to make sure the custard gets cooked all the way inside the toast, even after frying them in the skillet.  So if you have really hungry kids waiting in line at the kitchen door for their breakfast, may I suggest regular omelettes on toast instead,  same ingredients but much faster.

Alternatively, make the french toasts with thinner bread slices to reduce the soaking time.  But still, make sure that the custard gets completely absorbed. Otherwise, it will just be cooking an omelette on the surface of the bread, which bring us back to my earlier suggestion.  This video perfectly illustrates the importance of the additional soaking and baking step.  It might just make you wake up an hour earlier to do the prep work, like how it did for me.

Coupled with homemade jam like this, breakfast gets extra brownie points, though I would have settled with just honey or maple syrup when the (cheaper) berry season is over.

Condensed Milk Square Pullman Loaf // Mono+Co

Condensed Milk Potato Bread

100g potato, cooked and mashed
200g bread flour
20g top flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons condensed milk
45g liquid**
36g butter
1/2 large egg (around 35g)

**  You can add liquid of your preference such as fresh milk, soy milk, plain water or water remained from cooking potatoes with, along as they are chilled or room temperature, never boiling hot.

In a mixing bowl, combine bread flour, top flour, instant yeast, salt with a hand whisk to mix the dry ingredients.

Add mashed potatoes, condensed milk, beaten egg (roughly 35g) and liquid of your choice.  I  made mine with fresh unsweetened soy milk.  Start the mixer on low speed (KA 1) to knead the ingredients to form a dough.  Stop the mixer and rest the dough for 15 minutes.  After the resting time is up, turn on the mixer again to continue kneading the dough, this time with cold cubed butter added, one by one.  Knead this dough till window pane stage, a must for soft, cotton-like Asian style bread.

Turn off the mixer, and let dough bulk rise covered for 1 hour, it should expand considerably up to twice its original size.  After an hour, punch the dough down to and transfer it to a clean and dry worktop.  Divide the dough into three equal portions, roll them into balls and let it rest for 15 minutes.   wl from the As soon as the bread dough reaches almost the top of the tin, it is covered and the bread should continue to rise well within the next 15 minutes to reach all corners of the enclosed tin, while my oven is being preheated.

Take a ball of dough, and flatten it to remove any air trapped inside.  With a rolling pin, flatten it into a longish piece, and roll this up into a cylinder, like a swiss roll.  Repeat with the other two balls of dough.  With seam side facing downwards, place them in a bread tin, and let it rise in a draft-free area for 40 minutes.  As soon as the bread dough reaches almost the top of the tin, it is covered and the bread should continue to rise well within the next 15 minutes to reach all corners of the enclosed tin, while my oven is being preheated.

After 40 minutes, check if the bread dough has risen to fill about 90% of the tin.  As soon as it has risen to that height, cover the bread tin and it should continue to rise well within the next 15 minutes to reach all corners of the enclosed tin.  Bake in a preheated oven at 210C for 40 minutes.

Unmold done bread from bread tin and cool it completely on a rack, before slicing or serving.






Banana Avocado Smoothie

Banana Avocado Smoothie // Mono+Co Banana Avocado Smoothie // Mono+Co

Wholesome breakfast prepared with my immersion blender again!

No sophisticated cooking skills required and only three ingredients, or four if you have a super sugary tooth as banana has already sweetened the smoothie considerably, in a healthy way.  I will usually yearn for something sweeter during the later part of the day, like after dinner, so I can imagine myself stirring in 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of date syrup to this smoothie if I serve it as a dessert after a meal.

Enjoy!  Whether as a smoothie breakfast or healthy dessert!

Banana Avocado Smoothie

1 ripe avocado, pitted and sliced
1 ripe banana, sliced
Fresh milk
date syrup or honey, optional

To save the hassle of washing, I prepare my smoothie straight in a cup that has a wide mouth that fits my immersion blender.  This glass container with lid from Daiso is perfect, as I can prepare 2 servings with one of each fruit, store one serving covered in fridge and serve it later when my other half wakes up for breakfast.

Divide avocado and banana slices equally into 2 serving cups, and top with enough milk to cover the fruits.  Blend till smooth with immersion blender.  Add more milk if it is too thick for you.  If you prefer something really sweet, stir in date syrup or honey to taste.



Seaweed Salad Mix & something about my empty fridge habit

Seaweed Salad // Mono+Co Seaweed Salad // Mono+Co Seaweed Salad // Mono+Co Seaweed Salad // Mono+Co

I have limited space in my fridge, so I try not to store it with too many unnecessary items such as leftovers, that only means I have cooked or bought too much.  Some simple planning is all I need to keep the fridge neat and tidy, filled with the likes of fresh ingredients, just enough till my next marketing trip.  Do you know that you are suppose to keep the chiller section of the fridge as ’empty’ as possible for keeping good air circulation within.  Therefore our fridge is not a storeroom to hoard ingredients that we use only once a year.

Seaweed is one of the most convenient item I use to add nourishment to a meatless meal.  Although dried seaweeds can be kept at room temperature, given my humid environment, I occasionally find them turning soft after a few weeks in the pantry, so I prefer to get them in small amount that I can finish up with a meal or two. Same goes for dried mushrooms and fungus.

Here are some simple single serving dishes that I have cooked with the 10g dried seaweed mix from Daiso.  To prep seaweed, simply reconstitute them by soaking in a bowl of water for 5 minutes, drain and squeeze out excess water with hands.  Proceed to cook them in various dishes.

Seaweed Salad // Mono+Co

Somen miso soup

1 serving of somen**
1 tablespoon vegetarian miso
1 slice of ginger
1 shitake mushroom
1 hardboil egg
wakame seaweed***
1 large sheet nori seaweed

** Udon or soba can also be used.

*** I picked out only the wakame seaweed from the assorted pack.

Cook somen according to package instructions, set aside and prepare miso broth.

Boil a small pot of water, enough to yield a bowl of soup for the somen, once the water starts to boil, add fresh shitake mushroom to cook.  Fresh shitake mushrooms cook very fast, once cooked, turn the heat down to low , and stir in the miso paste, ginger and wakame seaweed.  Taste to see if more miso paste is required since saltiness level of miso paste differs from brand to brand.

To assemble, place a large sheet of nori seaweed inside the serving bowl, leaving a corner of it jutting out of the brim of the bowl for ornamental purpose.  Add the cooked somen.  Transfer the miso broth to the serving bowl, and top with hardboil egg sliced into half.  Serve immediately.

Seaweed Salad // Mono+Co

Seaweed Salad

1 tomato, cut into wedges
1/2 Japanese cucumber, sliced
assorted seaweed
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
white sesame seeds

To make salad dressing, combine rice vinegar, sesame oil and honey in a small bowl.

To assemble, arrange cucumber slices and tomato wedges in a serving bowl, top with reconstituted assorted seaweed, sesame seeds and drizzle dressing over the ingredients.  Toss to mix well before eating.

Seaweed Salad // Mono+Co

Cold Somen

1 serving somen
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoons honey or date syrup
juice from 1 teaspoon grated ginger
5 ice cubes**
scallions and kelp powder, optional

** Instead of waiting for the dipping sauce to cool, I omitted water during cooking and cool it down faster with ice cubes instead.

Cook somen according to packaging instructions.  Drain and rinse in a bowl of filtered water to wash away excess starch.  In a another bowl fill with ice water, put in the somen and leave to stand.

To make dipping sauce, put soy sauce, syrup, ginger juice in a small pot and boil.  Once the mixture starts to boil, remove from heat, add in the ice cubes to cool down and dilute the sauce.  Taste test the sauce, if it is too salty, add more ice cubes or water.

To assemble, drain somen thoroughly and place on serving plate, top with reconstituted seaweeds.  Transfer sauce to a dipping bowl, add chopped scallions and sea lettuce/kelp powder if using.  Serve immediately.

Easy Mochi With Kinako

mochi 001  mochi 004vegan chia seed loaf soy flour mochi 005 mochi 006mochi 002

How easy is easy?

Mixing flour, sugar and water takes a minute.

Cooking? 15 minutes of steaming.

Cool down.  Coat with kinako, chop up into bite size with pastry scraper and serve . Done.

Easy right?

I like this recipe that uses brown sugar instead of white sugar.  The amount of sugar used in making mochi is quite a lot,  this recipe doesn’t yield much.  My family of 4 can chow down the entire bowl under 5 minutes.  That is 4 tablespoons of sugar consumed in total.  I had to resist the temptation to make more after we are done with one batch.

And resisting the urge to make more is the hardest part when this recipe is so easy.


adapted from here

100g glutinous rice flour
60g dark brown sugar **
180g water
2 tablespoons kinako ***

** I use the kind of brown sugar (actually it is black sugar 黑糖 in mandarin, but the label never says black in English, always brown) that I always use for making ginger tea (黑糖姜母茶) , not those for coffee or cakes.  Get those in granulated form, not the rock version.

*** If kinako is not available, potato starch can also be used as mochi coating.

In a bowl, mix flour, sugar and water with a small hand whisk till sugar complete melted.

Place in a steamer with boiling water and steam for 15 minutes.  Cover the bowl with a clean cloth to prevent condensation forming on the top of the cover from dripping down on the mochi.

While the mochi is cooking, sieve the kinako, spread them over a large plate or tray.  Once the mochi is cooked, remove it from the steamer, and let it cool slightly.  When the mochi has cooled down enough for you to handle, scrap out the sticky mochi as one big piece onto the tray of sieved kinako.  Dusting the top of mochi with kinako will make the mochi now manageable with bare hands since they won’t stick anymore.  You can shape the mochi into balls, or keep things simple like me, just flatten them up a bit, and chop them into bite sized pieces with a pastry scraper.  Move them around to coat with more kinako, before transferring them to a serving dish.

Best eaten fresh, though I have read that they keep well in fridge, covered, to prevent drying out.

No Sugar Japanese Sesame Dressing

No Sugar Japanese Sesame Dressing // MonoandCoNo Sugar Japanese Sesame Dressing // MonoandCo

Another recipe that allows me to use up my bottle of Kewpie Mayo faster.

Been using the same sesame dressing recipe for over a year, sometimes I add less vinegar, but most of the time I cut down on the sugar added.  I have also used other kind of sweeteners like raw honey to make a healthier version, and I found that date syrup works best.  I even omitted mirin altogether when I use date syrup.

No Sugar Japanese Sesame Dressing

adapted from here

3 tablespoon roasted white sesame seeds
2 tablespoons japanese mayonnaise
2 tablespoons japanese rice vinegar
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon date syrup
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Place roasted sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle, grind into powder.
Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl.
Drizzle on noodles or salad.
Store remaining unused portion in the fridge, for up to one week.

Extra Thick Kewpie Mayo Banana Buttermilk Pancakes

Extra Thick Kewpie Mayo Banana Buttermilk Pancakes // MonoandCoExtra Thick Kewpie Mayo Banana Buttermilk Pancakes // MonoandCo

So mayonnaise is the ingredient this week to clear.  I always buy the biggest bottle of Kewpie but use it really slowly to make sandwiches.  After almost a month, I still have more than half a bottle left.  Time to speed things up a bit.

What looks like tiny cakes above are actually cooked in pancake’s style, over very low heat for 10 minutes to cook bottom up, then baked in oven for another 10 to cook the top down.  Do you  know that adding vinegar makes more fluffy breads, and does not leave any sour taste behind after baking?  So when this recipe suggests Kewpie mayonnaise to make extra tall pancakes, I knew that I need not worry about any weird aftertaste in the final product.  Plus this recipe uses buttermilk.  Mmmm…. how fluffy and moist can this pancake get, was the only question in my head.  Then I saw bananas on the kitchen counter, so I thought, might as well …

I made a final alteration to the recipe by separating the egg yolk and white, and beating the white to stiff peaks, just like my other fluffy pancake recipe.

The original recipe cooked the entire 4 cm tall pancake over the stove for 20 minutes with a diy mold that allows flipping and cooking the pancake on both sides.  I was too lazy to find and trim a cardboard and line it with parchment paper.  Egg rings are a good alternative, but I don’t have them at home, so I modified my smallest 4 inch tube pan instead, by simply removing the tube.   Remember to grease the insides with butter so that the pancakes can be dislodged easily after they are cooked.

Extra Thick Kewpie Mayo Banana Buttermilk Pancakes // MonoandCoExtra Thick Kewpie Mayo Banana Buttermilk Pancakes // MonoandCo

As flipping is not possible with this improvised tool, I send the whole thing, pan and all, into a preheated oven at 160C for the remaining cook time.  Now I wonder if it is possible to bake the entire pancake instead.

Extra Thick Kewpie Mayo Banana Buttermilk Pancakes // MonoandCo Extra Thick Kewpie Mayo Banana Buttermilk Pancakes // MonoandCo

These pancakes must be served warm.  The recipe makes 2 thick pancakes.  I ate one in the morning for breakfast with banana slices, blueberries and honey as toppings, and warm the other one up later for afternoon tea.  To heat up pancake,  I placed it in a hot oven that I have just turned off after baking bread at 170C.  After 5 minutes, my pancake is warm again, this time I top with diy cherry sauce (fresh cherries pitted, sugar and lemon juice), blueberries and a sprinkle of icing sugar.

Extra Thick Mayo Banana Buttermilk Pancakes

adapted from chopstick chronicles

1 cup self raising flour, sieved
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1 large egg, separated
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 banana, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Japanese Mayonnaise

Whisk egg white till stiff peak, set aside.

In a bowl, stir buttermilk and mashed banana to mix well.  I use an immersion blender to make banana flavored buttermilk so that I won’t get lumpy pancakes, but this step is optional if you like the idea of finding small pieces of banana inside your pancakes.  Stir in the egg yolk and vanilla extract next.

Combine all dry ingredients, sieved flour, baking powder and raw sugar, in a separate large mixing bowl and make a well in the center.  Pour the buttermilk mixture into the well and whisk to make a uniform batter.  Add in mayonnaise and whisk again.  Finally, fold in the egg white meringue.

To cook pancake, heat up a pan slightly greased with butter.  Grease inner side of the ring mold with butter/oil and place it on the pan.  Over the lowest heat (the lowest flame you can set, it’s a whole 10 minutes of cooking over fire, bottom might get charred if temperature is too high), pour half the pancake batter into the ring mold and cover the mold/pan to let it cook for 10 minutes.  I simply cover my diy mold with a metal cookie tin cover to trap steam and heat during the low heat cooking process.

Once 10 minutes is up, cook the pancake in a preheated oven at 160C for another 10 minutes.  Repeat to make another pancake with the balance batter.

After baking, remove the pancakes from the molds and serve them warm immediately with your preferred choice of toppings.