[Quick Fix] Pearl Barley Oat Porridge

We love having oat porridge for breakfast.

When we were on our honeymoon, I quickly got sick of full english breakfast by Day 4, but a warm bowl of oat porridge with honey, nuts and even the occasional honeycomb never fails to give me a warm, cozy start to the day 🙂

Oat porridge is healthy, easy and extremely versatile. I like making fruit versions when we have berries, peaches or apricots lying at home. But there was no fruits available this time, so I decided to make a pearl barley version while keeping the condiments simple.

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Ingredients for 1 serving:

Pearl Barley – 20g

Rolled or Steel Cut Oats – 20g

Fresh Milk/ Soy Milk/ Almond Milk – 180ml (depending on how thick you want your porridge)

Pinch of salt

Cinnamon Powder – 1/2 teaspoon (optional)

Nuts or Dried fruits

Drizzle of honey

Method:

1. Wash and soak Pearl Barley for 15 mins before boiling for 20-25 mins

2. Boil the liquid (I used Soy Milk) and oats on low-medium heat for about 2 mins

3. Add the plumped up pearl barley into the oats and simmer for another min 

4. Add a pinch of salt

 5. Place porridge in serving bowl and add cinnamon power, nuts, dried fruits and drizzle on some honey

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“She was perfectly quiet now, but not asleep–only soothed by sweet porridge and warmth into that wide-gazing calm which makes us older human beings, with our inward turmoil, feel a certain awe in the presence of a little child, such as we feel before some quiet majesty or beauty in the earth or sky–before a steady glowing planet, or a full-flowered eglantine, or the bending trees over a silent pathway.” – George Eliot

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[Cakes & Bakes] Vanilla Cupcakes with Honey Passionfruit Frosting

A relative back in Malaysia gave mum several dozens of homegrown passionfruit a week back and I inherited 10 of them.

I’m really lazy with my fruits (I often leave them untouched until they are no long able to be eaten), but I’m quite excited about creating some things with those passionfruit so I decide to freeze the pulp until I need them.

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And with a brush of coincidence, I came across a beautiful Vanilla Sponge Cake with Cream and Passionfruit recipe on Donna Hay magazine. If you’re keen in the recipe, it’s in the latest Fresh issue.

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I used the same recipe, but made 12 cupcakes instead and the Vanilla cupcake base were so amazing. Fluffy, fragrant and very… “eggy”.

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While I was about to start on the cream frosting, I realised that I was out of sour cream, so I decided to improvise on the frosting and took inspiration from my favourite food blogger for a Honey Frosting instead.

Just a note, I used only 2 cups of sugar instead of 3 because my food tasters have pretty low tolerance for sweetness. I’m glad I cut down the sugar because it would have been too sweet if I followed the recipe to a T.

With all these improvisation and deviation, the end product looked nothing like the beautiful sponge on the glossy page of the magazine, but I still liked them enough 🙂 The tangy passionfruit pulp cuts the sweetness of the honey frosting and the crunchy seeds helped to layer the texture.

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“The saddest people I’ve ever met in life are the ones who don’t care deeply about anything at all. Passion and satisfaction go hand in hand, and without them, any happiness is only temporary, because there’s nothing to make it last.” ― Nicholas Sparks, Dear John

[Cakes & Bakes] Chunky Monkey Cupcakes

My family members have been some of the best supporters for my bakes and I love making things they like, especially for special occasions.

Mum has always been a fan of chocolate banana cakes, especially the one from Secret Recipe. So I’ve long set my mind on baking a choco banana cake for her birthday 🙂

Searched through some recipes and finally decided to make a cupcake version instead as I really wanted to practice my piping.

I pretty much followed the recipe to a T (which is extremely simple) and the cupcakes turned out really moist and fragrant! Some things to share from the experience:

– Make sure the banana is ripe enough so that the aroma and taste are will not be overwhelmed by the chocolate

– I used Valhorna cocoa powder and the chocolate flavour is really rich and intense

– The cupcakes stay moist in the fridge and still tastes pretty good 3 days old

– If you’re lazy or have no time to prepare the frosting, it tastes pretty awesome as a chocolate banana muffin too!

– I sprinkled some chopped almonds on top of the frosting to create some contrast in terms of colour and the texture. The nutty flavour also helps to cut the richness of the cake and frosting

– Washing up after making chocolate-anything is such a back-breaking chore… But it’s worth it 🙂

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“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
― Charles M. Schulz