Of Muffins and Kitchen Compost

Of Muffins and Kitchen Compost // Mono + Co

I am lousy with plants but I somehow manage to keep my pots of sweet basil and Indian borage alive. There are two reasons why I try hard to keep plants along my corridor.  One, I get packing-free herbs without paying.  Two, I add trash to large pots of used potting soil.  Trash like eggshell, coffee grounds, tea leaves, and baking cups.

Of Muffins and Kitchen Compost // Mono + Co

I buy compostable baking cups and bury the used ones in a big pot of soil that I keep aside as my own lazy version of composting project.  That’s just one way of reusing trash from my kitchen.  I don’t have great gardening skills to tell you I am producing quality compost, but at least I am regularly harvesting basil leaves for my Aglio Olio recipes.

Regrettably, my non-compostable trash level piles high with plastic packaging from ingredients such as sugar, wholemeal flour, salt, milk and butter.

Although I send all plastic and cardboard waste for recycling, I really can’t be sure whether they will get that new lease of life as recycled products.  I have observed how the content in recycling bins are often mixed with contaminants and non-recyclable materials. Sometimes, bags from overfull recycling bins are transferred to general trash bins, undermining all the “rinse clean and dry” efforts of many household recyclers.

In case I have not repeated myself enough over the years, I believe reducing what I consume is going to make the most positive impact on the environment.  Forget recycling, because it only makes unnecessary trash generation less guilty.

I am sharing this whole wheat muffin recipe because it’s a keeper.  My daughter baked it for the family.

By the way, if you know how I can get zero waste butter, drop me a note will you?  I can easily cut down on cakes or substitute butter in recipes with oil.  But skipping butter on toast is a whole different level, especially for a bread lover like me.

Of Muffins and Kitchen Compost // Mono + Co


adapted from here

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar**
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
2 cups wholemeal flour

** original recipe called for 1/2 cup sugar plus 1/2 cup brown sugar

001. In a mixer bowl, add softened butter, sugar, and baking soda with cream at medium speed .

002. Add beaten egg and vanilla to the mixture and beat till light and fluffy.

003. Add milk, mix well.

004. Remove bowl from mixer and add wholemeal flour.  Using a spatula, stir to mix the batter until all ingredients are just combined, or no spots of flour is visible.

005.  Line muffin tray with baking cups.  Fill cups 2/3 full with muffin batter and bake for 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 200C.

Simple Pleasures

over new year’s eve & new year’s day

// reusing this holder with a new calendar.

// and the metal tearing guide component from the new calendar becomes a binder for unused sheets from kids’ school exercise books.

// washed and ironed these square tenugui for wrapping lunch boxes or packing finger food takeaways without disposables etc.

// rinsed and air-dried tiny honey jars that came with our tea order, too wasteful to be recyled or discarded.  Think lipbalm containers.

// scent of the month : lime.  Infused white vinegar with leftover lime peels to make a safer all-purpose cleaner.

// 2.5 cups of rolled-oats-turned-honey-granola fit a reused 680ml pasta bottle nicely.

// stowing away this handmade Xmas wreath away with recycled log cake toppers and hamper ornaments.  Green CNY decorating ideas up soon.

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.



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