Milo Toasties

The other day while I was busy doing some work, Ayra came to me and requested to bake cookies.

I felt bad to turn down her request because we haven’t been baking for weeks, but I had a deadline and couldn’t be spending an hour making cookies with my girls (yes it usually takes that long), so I suggested we make something easier and a lot quicker instead. Milo toast!

She agreed upon hearing the word “Milo”.

And suddenly my tummy was rumbling and I was salivating. Oh man… Milo toast.

My mom used to make Milo toast for me when I was a kid. She would drizzle sweetened condensed milk on sliced bread and topped it with a thick layer of Milo. The slightly crunchy, sweet and chocolatey malt in every bite was so heavenly! I had them for breakfast and as my snacks for like everyday. It used to be my favorite food when I was a kid and I haven’t had it for awhile now. Time to introduce it to my girls!

I wanted to make it a bit more fun for them and more like a baking activity, so I added a little twist to the Milo toast-making.

 

I let my girls cut the sliced bread into flower shapes using cookie cutters.

 

And then we put them on a baking tray and baked in the oven for a few minutes so that it would look like we were baking “cookies”. Ha!

Anndddd…. instead of using sweetened condensed milk, we spread cream cheese on the toast… because cheese makes everything better! And umm well, because we don’t have sweetened condensed milk at home. Heh.

Then I spooned some Milo powder in a sugar sifter and let the girls sift the Milo over the toast.
Raina got a bit carried away and sifted Milo all over herself. Totally normal.

 

We ate them immediately! This is a less sweet version of Milo toast, but it was still nice. Creamy and chocolatey (Raina ate 3 of them!)

 

It only took 10 minutes to make these and everyone was happy.
Probably the quickest “baking” project ever! :D



Homemade Burger Patties

My husband is a huge fan of burger (that, and pizza) and he requested that I include it in our weekly meal. Every once a month he’d buy packets of freshly ground beef so that I can make a big batch of beef patties, just like my make-ahead meatballs. Saves me a lot of time and trouble!

Of course it’s much easier to buy frozen pre-made patties, but it’s a lot tastier and healthier to make your own from fresh lean ground beef. Sometimes you can even find grass-fed ground beef at supermarkets like Jaya Grocer, which obviously is more nutritious.

The most basic beef patty recipe requires only 2 ingredients – ground beef (well of course) and a bit of salt. I wanted my beef patties to be flavorful with more than just a pinch of salt so I did a little research on Google and found a rather simple but tasty patty recipe from taste.com.au. I always double this recipe to get a month’s worth of patties. You’re never gonna want to buy pre-made supermarket patties once you’ve tried this!

 

 

Beef Patty Recipe:
(Makes 6 patties)

750g ground beef
1 large onion, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp Tabasco sauce (or any hot sauce)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg, whisked
1 tsp ground cumin
Salt and black pepper to taste
Cheese slices

In a large mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients until well-combined. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and shape each portion with your hand to form a patty.

Place the patties (single layer) on a tray lined with parchment paper. Cover the tray with a cling film and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to rest. This is to help the patties hold their shape together when cooked and also to let the flavours blend.

If you’re making these ahead of time, instead of in the fridge, place the tray in the freezer for about an hour until the meat is firm. This is to ensure that the patties won’t stick to each other when being frozen. Then took out the tray and place the patties in a freezer bag and freeze them for up to 3 months.

To cook the patties, heat oil in a pan over medium heat (if your patties are frozen, thaw them in the fridge overnight before cooking). Cook the patties about 2-3 minutes on each side or until browned. Transfer the patties on a lined baking tray and bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes at 180°C. Place a slice of cheese on top of each patty and bake for another 5 minutes until the cheese melts.

 

If you’re one of those hardcore dieters, you can totally skip the cheese. But how could you!? That’s the best bit!

How you serve these patties is totally up to you. You can use burger buns or any other buns and bread like wholemeal buns, baguette, wholegrain bread, ciabatta, roti Arab and even the basic white bread. Same goes for toppings. Lettuce, spinach, onions, pineapple rings, tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms, sunny side up, pickles with whatever sauce you like (I had even tried with salsa. YUM).

 

Here’s what we had last night. Juicy cheesy beef patty on slightly toasted bread with black and white sesame seeds, arugula, tomato slices, beef salami, chili sauce and a sprinkle of black pepper.



Layers of goodness

I am no baking queen so a quick and easy, no-bake dessert is the kind of dessert I like to make.

Like this raspberry banana parfait.

A spoonful of muesli, dollops of Greek yogurt (I used strawberry flavor), fresh raspberries, slices of bananas and chopped pecans, all layered in a glass.

Sweet, tangy, creamy, crunchy. Ooohh….

A little drizzle of chocolate syrup won’t hurt.

 

You can try with peaches, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, mangoes, anything really.

I like to use Greek yogurt because it’s super smooth and creamy. It’s healthier than the fat free yogurts too.

 

Speaking of health, I’ve been trying to shed some weight since a couple of months before my sister’s wedding. I’ve been trying to eat clean and healthy meals and even tried a rather intense weight loss program for 3 weeks straight – strictly no-carb no-sugar diet, no cheat day, no sushi session, chugged down green smoothies that tasted like grass and exercised 3 times a week. It was hard work and I didn’t lose weight at all. I was frustrated to say the least.

I decided to throw it all out the window during my Shanghai and Jakarta trips, devouring garlic cheese naan, palak paneer, sinful chocolate desserts, salted egg soft shell crab and other yummy seafood. Oh glorious food, how I’ve missed them!

I realized I cannot give up good food and desserts entirely so now I’m taking the slow and steady approach of dieting. I eat healthy meals on most days (Herbalife shakes, herbal tea, substituting white rice with brown rice, etc) but I still let myself to indulge occasionally. I have my once-a-week cheat day. I haven’t got back on my exercise mat tho, ever since that intense program. Maybe one of these days. Heh *yelatu*.

But guess what? I managed to lose 2 kg in 2 weeks! And that’s without intense diet and workout. I guess my body’s weird like that haha.

But it’s still early days and I still have a lot to lose (I’m talking 10kg).

Here’s to everyone who wants to lose that extra kilos. Don’t force yourself too much. It’s better to do it slow and steady in long term rather than making extreme changes that is only short-lived. Slow and steady wins the diet race!

Happy new year!



Tea Twist Masterclass

I’m a big fan of tea. Hot tea, iced tea, green tea, black tea, herbal tea, fruity tea. I love them all!

There’s something so calming and relaxing sipping a cup of hot tea after a long tiring day, which is why I just have to have at least one cup of tea a day. It keeps me going!

But the usual tea drink I made is straight from the teabag – pour hot water, add brown sugar or honey and done. I never really knew what else goes well with tea besides lemon (lemon tea) and milk (milk tea), but it turns out that tea is actually pretty universal and you can create so many different drinks using tea.

LIPTON has just organized the first tea-inspired Masterclass in conjunction with their latest campaign “A New Twist To Your Lipton Moments”, to inspire consumers with new and exciting ways to enjoy tea using simple recipes. The recipes were created by Malaysian celebrity chef, Nik Michael Imran, and I had the opportunity to attend the Masterclass with some other bloggers at Starhill Culinary Studio.

 

 

Chef Nik started off by showing us how he made Tea-Crusted Prawns. Basically the prawns are coated with tea leaves from the teabag, together with some other ingredients for that little tea flavor. Yum! Who would have thought that eh?

And then the Tea Twist demonstration began!

There are a total of 7 tea drink recipes that Chef Nik created using the LIPTON YELLOW LABEL teabags and we had the chance to try 4 of them. I’m going to share the recipes here, don’t you worry.

We have our own working space, and each of us was given an apron and cooking (or drinking?) utensils. It was so much fun!

The key to making any tea drinks is to steep the teabag in hot boiling water for at least 2-3 minutes.

The first Tea Twist recipe we made was Honey Lemongrass Tea.

Honey Lemongrass Tea recipe

1 Lipton Yellow Label teabag
4 tsp honey
2 medium lemongrass
100ml hot water

Crush the lemongrass and boil it in water for 3 minutes.
Steep teabag in lemongrass water for 5 minutes.
Add in honey and stir well.

I love the aroma of this drink. So fragrant! It smells like lemongrass (duh) and it has just a hint of lemony-gingery taste of the lemongrass, which I like.

The second Tea Twist recipe is Paradise Sunrise.

Paradise Sunrise recipe:

1 Lipton Yellow Label teabag
5 tbsp orange juice
3 tbsp lychee juice
3 tsp sugar
75ml hot water
Ice cubes

Brew teabag with boiled water for 3-5 minutes.
Add sugar and stir till dissolve.
Add some ice to chill the tea mixture, then add in orange juice and lychee juice. Stir well.
Garnish with orange slice and lychee pieces.

This is a really refreshing drink, perfect for hot sunny days. Lychee goes so well with tea. Enough said!

The third drink is Lovely Berries. The taste reminded me of Tony Roma’s strawberry lemonade. My favorite!

Lovely Berries recipe:

1 Lipton Yellow Label teabag
2 tsp sugar
6 medium strawberries
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
100ml hot water
Ice cubes

Blend strawberries until smooth to make concentrate (add a little water if needed).
Separately, steep teabag for 5 minutes in hot water.
Add sugar into tea and stir until dissolved.
Pour tea into glass filled with ice.
Add in 3 tablespoon of strawberry concentrate followed by lemon juice. Stir well.

The last Tea Twist Recipe is…. Mo-Tea-To. As in mojito! So cute right, macam budak pelat sebut. :P

Mo-Tea-To recipe:

1 Lipton Yellow Label teabag
3 tbsp sugar
2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
8 medium sized mint leaves
100ml hot water
Ice cubes

Steep teabag and mint leaves for 5 minutes in hot water.
Add in sugar and stir until dissolved.
Pour tea into glass filled with ice, followed by lime juice. Stir well and serve.

Cheers!

And that’s how you add a little twist to your tea drinks. Super easy, right!

You can view the rest of the tea twist recipes on Lipton Malaysia Facebook page, or visit Lipton website for more info about their products.

Thank you Lipton for the great opportunity. Can’t wait to make these drinks at home!



Express Dinner: Tortilla Pizza

This is my favorite go-to meal when I’m busy or too tired or too lazy to cook dinner from scratch. It is super quick and easy that even my 3-year-old can do it.

Tortilla pizza!

I have been making express pizza using pita breads all these whiles, but then one day we ran out of pita breads and I decided to try using tortilla instead. Boy, I like it even better! The base is thin and when you bake it in the oven, it becomes somewhat crunchy, just like a thin crust pizza and you can actually taste all your toppings (I find that the thickness of pita bread can sometimes overpower the taste if I don’t put enough toppings).

 

The things you need to make tortilla pizza: tortilla (I always use wholegrain), pizza sauce, meat/veggies/fruits of your choice and your little one to entertain you in the kitchen

Pasta sauce works great as pizza sauce if you can’t be bothered to make your own. Sometimes I would heat this up in a pan and add curry powder, black pepper, cumin and garlic powder to make a smokey spicy sauce, which I think tastes kind of like BBQ-ish.

And then the layering begins. Sauce – mushroom & capsicum – cheese – beef pastrami.
Bake at 150°C for 10-15 minutes until the tortilla edges are browning and the cheese melts.

Orrrr…. if you don’t have an oven, you can just cook this on a skillet, like making quesadillas.

Once baked, take it out from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before topping it off with fresh leafy greens.
I’m using arugula by the way. You can also use baby spinach or fresh basil leaves.

Tell me that doesn’t look appetizing. I’m drooling already!

Here’s another tortilla pizza with a slightly different toppings – spinach (frozen), grape tomatoes, swiss brown mushroom and beef pastrami.