Cranberry Apple Bran Muffins

I felt like baking over the long weekend, so I whipped up some muffins to take for this week’s breakfast. They’re a great way to get some bran into your diet if you’re looking for more fibre.

Cranberry apple bran muffins

Cranberry apple bran muffins

Cranberry apple bran muffins
Adapted from a Kelloggs All-Bran recipe.
Makes 12 muffins.

Ingredients
1 cup/250 ml All-Bran Buds or Original cereal
1 cup/250 ml light plain soy milk or skim milk
1 egg
1/4 cup/50 ml vegetable oil
1 1/4 cup/300 ml whole wheat or all-purpose flour
2/3 cup/150 ml granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp/12 ml baking powder
1/4 tsp/1 ml salt
5 ml/1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp/pinch of ground nutmeg
3/4 cup/175 ml chopped fresh or frozen cranberries, or dried cranberries
1/2 cup/125 ml peeled and diced apples

Optional topping:
1 tbsp/15 ml granulated sugar
1/4 tsp/1 ml ground cinnamon

Directions
Mix the cereal and milk together and let it sit for a few minutes until the cereal has absorbed as much liquid as possible. Beat the egg and add it and the oil to the mixture and stir.

In another bowl, take the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix throughly. Add this to the cereal mixture and stir until combined. Add your cranberries and diced apples. (If you use fresh or frozen cranberries, your muffins will be moist. If you use dry cranberries the muffins won’t be dry, but you may want to eat them with a glass of milk to wash everything down.)

Preheat your oven to 400 °F (200 °C). Mix the sugar and cinnamon for the topping and temporarily set aside.

Grease or line your muffin pans and fill with the batter. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar topping if desired.

Bake the muffins for 20-25 minutes or until firm.

Kimchi scrambled eggs

What to do with kimchi (a.k.a. kimchee) when you don’t want to eat it straight?

There’s soups, and fried rice, and Korean pancakes… but I am lazy and instead I made kimchi scrambled eggs. If  you don’t like eating things that are too vinegary or too spicy, this might be an ideal way for you to be able to eat kimchi as the eggs mellow out the taste.

Kimchi scrambled eggs

Kimchi scrambled eggs


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Oatmeal convert

I didn’t mean to double post today but I’m just so surprised at this revelation that I have to share.

For years and years, I’ve always thought the only good oatmeal was the kind that you ate in cookies or bars. Baked with lots of sugar, yum.

I’ve tried eating oatmeal for years (instant, non-instant, with dried fruit, with maple syrup, with brown sugar, with milk, and so on and so on), and every time I would shove it down reluctantly, repeating the mantra – “it’s good for me” until I was finished with the bowl.

Last month Serious Eats posted an article about Mark Bittman’s savoury oatmeal. It’s something I’ve kept in mind since, but since I really don’t like oatmeal I have been reluctant to try it. Well today, I finally did. Holy cow does it taste good with soy sauce! Why didn’t I think of this years earlier! Why didn’t my Chinese parents force feed me this before?!

You can click on the above link for specific instructions but basically you make your oatmeal like you regularly do, then add some light soy sauce and some green onions/scallions for garnish and a bit of crunch. The dish ends up tasting more like a brown rice jook (a.k.a. congee) than any oatmeal I’ve ever had before. (And by the way, I’m actually using a 5-cereal blend that includes oats, but now I think I’ll  a bag of steel-cut oats to my grocery list.)

Doing a quick Google search reveals that there are many other suggestions to make savoury oatmeal interesting. Adding a cooked egg, with the yolk dripping into your oatmeal, adding ginger and/or garlic to the water during the cooking process, using soup stock to cook the grains, making an oatmeal risotto… there are so many possibilities. I feel like yelling “Eureka!” as new world of breakfast has been opened to me. Excuse me, I think I’m going for a second helping.

Soft-boiled eggs

The excellent Cooking for Engineers blog has posted a step-by-step guide for the boiling time needed for different consistencies of soft-boiled eggs: http://www.cookingforengineers.com/article/249/Soft-Boiled-Eggs. They also have a guide about how to soft-boil an egg: http://www.cookingforengineers.com/recipe/239/Soft-Boiled-Eggs.

If you haven’t been to Cooking for Engineers before, it’s a great place to find recipes that lays out EVERY step needed to complete the dish. Fantastic for beginning cooks, and for those who need detailed instructions.

For my soy sauce soft-boiled eggs, I would say that the photo at the 7 minute mark is probably closest to the consistency that is needed for my recipe, although I know some people in Malaysia eat them when the egg whites are still soupy.

Soy sauce soft-boiled eggs

One of the first things I learned to cook was the first thing my Dad has taught all his kids to make: soy sauce soft-boiled eggs. (Frankly, I think he taught us so that he can get us to make them for him instead of making them himself!) I thought this was just one of my Dad’s odd food preferences, but apparently they’re eaten this way quite often in Malaysia and Singapore.

Soy sauce soft-boiled eggs
Soft-boil eggs in water; I generally prefer having the whites close to fully cooked, but some people will use runny whites. In either case, the yolks should be as runny as possible and warmed all the way through. If the eggs are too hot to handle, use cold water to cool them down a little bit. Crack open the egg shell and scoop all the contents into a bowl. Add soy sauce (preferably dark soy sauce) and white pepper to taste, stir, and eat while still warm. It’s a delicate balance between having not enough soy sauce and having way too much of it, so be careful when seasoning.

And yes, this is for another entry in the Steamy Kitchen contest. :)

Kaya toast

Kaya is one of the few Malaysian foods that I had quite often when I was young. I remember it being incredibly sweet and as a result hadn’t eaten it in years, but a few months before my Malaysia trip I had a craving for some kaya and picked up a jar from a local Asian grocery store. Kaya is basically a creamy coconut jam, and surprisingly enough it doesn’t seem as sweet as I remember. It still packs a punch though, so I found that a little goes a long way. You can eat it on crackers, but in my opinion the best way is on toast, like any other regular jam.

Kaya toast
For best results, spread a thin layer of kaya on slices of bread, and toast in a broiler. This warms up the kaya as well as makes the bread crispy. Or alternately, toast the bread in a toaster and add the kaya afterwards.

Like any jam, you can of course make kaya yourself. Or be lazy like me and buy it from the store.

Ok, I know this isn’t much of a recipe. I was originally going to just do a post about kaya only, but when I saw the 15 minute recipe contest on Steamy Kitchen, I couldn’t resist.