Just a little sweet treat

A feature on our little bakery cafe ūüôā

5 Go Mad in Singers

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As difficult as it may be to believe, the Handbags and Teabags ladies are quite busy. We don’t always have the time for a lovely, long, afternoon tea. But that’s not to say we don’t still want to have a natter over a cuppa and some cake.

So when we were invited to try out a ‚Äėdessert cafe‚Äô that promised to ‚Äėsweeten our day‚Äô we¬†thought it was the ideal chance to do just this.

Velvet Confectionery is a little place tucked away just along the beautiful Robertson Quay. It would be very easy to miss it and, in fact, one of us did completely (next time Sara).  To find it you might be best to look for the ever popular Kith Cafe (which is just beyond the Pulau Saigon bridge) but don’t stop there, walk on just a few paces and you’ll find the Velvet Confectioner, right next to the SevenEleven. If you’re driving, head…

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Garlicky Qunioa “Fried Rice” with Mushroom & Kale

The cheats fried rice

CLose up

Fried rice is the simplest and most common comfort food in Singapore, after good ol’ chicken rice of course. It’s easy to put together because you get to throw in day old rice with anything you fancy – a great way to clean out the fridge!Prep

This version uses quinoa in place of rice. Not only is quinoa more nutritious, it adds a lovely nutty flavour and bite which goes so well with the mild flavours of kale and mushrooms.
Aromatics

Of course nothing I can cook can be garlic-free so quite a generous amount was used.

With Kale

Get started with the quinoa. While it cooks, prepare the other ingredients. Starting with the oil and aromatics, cook till the onions are translucent and soft. Toss in the mushrooms and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the chopped kale and give it a little stir and season with soy sauce, sea salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and drizzle sesame oil over. Cover with a lid.

Note: The kale will continue to cook from the heat in the pan so be sure to turn off the heat when the kale just starts to wilt, as in the picture above.

Once the quinoa is cooked, fluff it up using a fork and add to the kale & mushroom mixture. Give it a good toss to mix evenly. Serve hot with some sambal chilli or fresh cut chilli padi steeped in soy sauce for some extra spice!

Garlicky Quinoa Fried Rice with Mushroom & Kale

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken stock¬†
  • vegetable or peanut oil
  • 1 medium to large red onion – diced
  • 1-2 tsp red chilli flakes (depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 5 large garlic cloves – sliced thinly
  • 250g mushrooms – diced
  • 2 cups chopped Kale or Kailan
  • sea salt – to taste
  • soy sauce
  • black pepper – to taste
  • seasame oil – drizzle
  • vegetarian sambal chilli

Directions

  1. Prepare quinoa according to package instruction. Use chicken stock in place of water to cook quinoa.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, in a large wok or skillet on high heat add oil followed by onions and chilli flakes. Cook for 1-2 minutes before adding garlic.
  3. Next toss in the mushroom and cook for a further 2 minutes stirring continuously.
  4. Toss in the kale and season with salt, soy and black pepper. Cook till kale starts to wilt.
  5. Remove from heat and drizzle sesame oil over.
  6. Toss in cooked quinoa and mix well to combine.
  7. Serve hot with sambal chilli.

Spring Stir-Fry with Red Rice

Hearty & uber flavorful

Spring Stir Fry with Red Rice

¬†This was lunch on my day off last Tuesday. Yes, I am still found in the kitchen even if it’s my day off – I can’t help it.

I was in the mood for a light, healthy and quick-cook lunch so what better than an easy stir fry that takes no time to whip up.

As always, my fridge is stocked with an assortment of vegetables waiting to be combined in endless possibilities. A few simple ingredient combined with pantry staples make cooking effortless. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have a well stocked pantry. It makes cooking so much more enjoyable to have ingredients on hand and you can get really creative!

To make this simple stir fry, have all your ingredients ready and within reach as stir-frying needs to be done quickly. Another important thing to note is to have a large wok and high heat. A large wok is necessary as it gives the ingredients room to cook and stay relatively crisp. Crowding ingredients in a small pan always makes them soft and mushy as they end up steaming rather than frying. This is a great tip even for pan frying or deep frying.

Add the oil once the wok is hot and toss in the aromatics followed by the vegetables, starting with the ones with the longest cooking time. Stir continuously. Once the vegetables are tender, remove from the heat and drizzle sesame oil. It is important to drizzle the sesame oil only after turning the heat off as it has a relatively low smoke point.

If serving this alongside rice, get started with the rice before preparing and cooking the veggies so they are both ready at the same time.

I would love to see your spin on this so do share your creations in the comments box below!

Time to get cookin’!

Spring Stir Fry with Red Rice

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp vegetable or peanut oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped into cubes
  • 1-2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 heaped tbsp garlic
  • 250g baby asparagus chopped into 4 (keep tops aside)
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 5 mini portobello mushrooms, cubed
  • chicken stock – to taste
  • 1 heaped tsp vegetarian sambal chilli
  • sesame oil – drizzle
  • 1.5 cups red rice – cooked according to package instructions

Directions

  1. Place a large wok over medium heat. Once the wok is hot, add oil.
  2. Add onions and chilli flakes. Cook, continuously stirring for 2 minutes before adding garlic.
  3. Next add asparagus and chicken stock. Cook for 5 minutes, till asparagus is tender.
  4. Toss in the corn and mushrooms.
  5. Add the sambal and stir well to combine. Season with salt if desired.
  6. Turn off the heat and drizzle over sesame oil.
  7. Serve hot with fragrant red rice

Easy Chicken Tikka Masala

Firey! A dish that’s on my weekly dinner menu

Here’s a recipe that comes to the rescue when you need cook for a bunch of people with little time and yet look like a hero – which you pretty much are because you made it from scratch!

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That’s right from SCRATCH! I know it looks like a lot of ingredients but don’t let that put you off from making this. It is super easy. Just 3 simple steps to it and you have yourself lip-smacking, finger-licking and almost addictive chicken tikka masala in 20 minutes, tops!

This was one of those recipes that unexpectedly took just 1 try to get perfect – which is why I don’t have more pictures on the steps but they are super simple, promise!

Chicken Tikka Masala

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 chicken breast, medium dice
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp greek yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp chopped coriander + extra for garnish
  • 3 tbsp veg oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 green chilli, sliced
  • 2 tsp chopped mint
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Marinate the chicken with 1 tbsp yoghurt, tomato paste, 2 tsp garlic, 2 tsp ginger, chilli powder, vinegar, lemon juice, coriander, black pepper, cumin powder and garam masala. Set aside for about 15 mins while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
  2. To make the mint yoghurt, combine 1/2 cup yoghurt, chopped mint, 1/2 tsp cumin powder, salt and black pepper. Add a drizzle of olive oil on top.
  3. To cook the chicken, heat vegetable oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat and add green chilli, onions, 1 tsp each of garlic and ginger. Fry till aromatic and the onions lightly browned. Add the marinated chicken, salt and 2-3 tbsp of water. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Serve with mint yoghurt and naan bread, rice or even toast!

Note: Recipe easily doubles or triples if you want to make it for a larger crowd

Exciting News!

It’s 2015! Yes I know, it’s a little late to sound excited about the new year but Happy New Year anyway!

You may have noticed that things have been rather quiet in the Food Therapy kitchen. That’s because I have been extremely busy the last 6 months with setting up and running my very own bake shop!

For those of you who’ve known me a while, would know how much I wanted to do this. It’s been an exciting roller coaster ride till now, learning new things everyday (it’s part of the process they say).¬†Doing something you love hardly ever feels like work because it becomes a part of you. But occasionally when it does, it’s still worth every effort. Seeing a smile on someone’s face after having sink their teeth into one of my bakes is so rewarding and makes me feel like I could do this every day, forever.

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A big shout out to all family, friends – old and new – and customers (especially those of you who pop by everyday for your favourites!) who have been so supportive throughout this journey.

Here’s a¬†little bit about my little bake shop – Velvet Confectionery.

Hope to see you in store sometime!

XOXO

P.S We’ll still be posting yummy recipes for you on Food Therapy so stay tuned.

Asian Shrimp Quinoa Salad

Juicy plump shrimp meets superfood Quinoa in this light salad tossed with an easy Asian dressing.

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If you don’t know yet, quinoa (pronounced ‘keen-wah’) is all the hype now. Besides being wheat-free, this grain like crop is by far the BEST alternative to our starchy staples.

Similar to rice and couscous, Quinoa also has a subtle flavour that is slightly nutty making it easy to pair with almost anything. Once cooked, it has a fluffy and creamy texture with a slight crunch.

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Quinoa contains all 9 essential amino acids making it a complete source of protein. It also contains Vitamins B and E and is a good source of fibre. So time to switch out that bag of rice with this quick & easy to cook grain starting with this recipe!

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Asian Shrimp Quinoa Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 red chilli seeded and chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp ginger grated
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 fresh limes, zest and juice
  • 1/2 bell pepper diced
  • 2 small carrots peeled & grated
  • 1/3 cup spring onions chopped
  • 12 shrimp deshelled and deveined
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce

Directions:

  1. Prepare the quinoa according to the packet instructions. I cooked 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of chicken stock for about 20 mins.
  2. While the quinoa cooks, prepare the dressing. In a small saucepan, add 2 tbsp olive oil, red chilli, garlic and ginger. Warm the ingredients and let sizzle for about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in honey, sesame oil, lime zest (reserving some for garnish) and juice of 1 lime. Set aside.
  3. Season the shrimp on both sides with freshly ground black pepper and paprika. In a sauté pan, pour in remaining olive oil. Add the shrimp and cook for a minute. Drizzle in the soy sauce and juice of 1 lime. cook for 1-2 mins. Remove from heat and cut into chunks.
  4. Once the quinoa is ready, fluff with a fork and add the warm dressing. Toss to combine. Mix in the bell pepper, carrot and spring onions. Pour into a serving bowl and top with shrimp chunks and remaining lime zest.

Buttery Spiced Chickpeas with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Side, salad or snack – you decide!

Buttery Spiced Chickpeas with Pomegranate Vinaigrette 2Buttery chickpeas  tossed with spiced tomatoes and onions, topped with crunchy celery and dressed with a gorgeous pink pomegranate vinaigrette Рa mouthful to say and a delicious mouthful to eat!

Sauted Spiced Onions & TomatoesI like working with chickpeas because they are so hearty and loaded with protein! Also, the hold really well and cant stand up to bold flavours.

Buttery Spiced Chickpeas

Buttery Spiced Chickpeas with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 3 as a side dish
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 tsp garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro stems and leaves separated and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red chilli flakes
  • 1 can chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 sticks celery sliced
  • 3 tbsp pure pomegranate juice
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Directions

  1. In a saute pan on medium high heat, add vegetable oil, cumin seeds, garlic, onions and cilantro stems. Once soften, add tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and toss in the chickpeas.
  2. In a bowl whisk pomegranate juice, lime juice and zest. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking till it turns into an emulsion. Pour over the warm spiced chickpeas and mix well. Transfer to a serving dish and scatter the celery and cilantro over. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: This salad is a good make ahead option as it tastes better the next day

Lemongrass infused Curry Pumpkin Soup

Sweet and buttery pumpkin meets aromatic lemongrass and spicy curry paste to create a belly-warming bowl of goodness!

Lemongrass Infused Curry Pumpkin SoupPumpkin soup has started to get boring so I thought of adding a little Asian twist to make things exciting. Lemongrass gives the soup a nice mild fragrance. To get the most of it, I bruise the lemongrass with the back of a knife. This ensures the flavours release well and are able to infuse as you cook.  Curry paste works so well in this! It counters the sweetness from the pumpkin by adding some heat and a variety of spices that really build the flavour profile of this soup. I chose to use curry paste as opposed to curry powder as I find the rich concentration of the paste works better in flavouring the soup.

PumpkinThe best part about this soup is the bits of spring onion that are tossed in just before serving. They lend a mild oniony flavour and slight bite to the silky smooth pumpkin. You don’t need croutons for this soup. I repeat NO CROUTONS necessary!

This soup is rather simple to make. Just fry the aromatics, toss in the pumpkin followed by stock and let it come to a boil. Simmer till pumpkin is tender and blend.¬†I love the fact that pumpkin is naturally so creamy when pur√©ed. It makes a hearty soup so all you have to do (if you really must add on something else) is to toss a salad and that’s a perfect meal right there!

Curried Pumpkin

Lemongrass infused Curry Pumpkin Soup

  • Servings: 4 (as a Main)
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large red onion sliced
  • 3 stalks lemongrass cut into 3 and smashed with the back of a knife
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 3 tbsp your favourite curry paste
  • 700g pumpkin or butternut squash peeled deseeded and chopped into 1 inch chunks
  • 1L hot vegetable or chicken stock
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2/3 cup chopped spring onion
  • Coconut cream (optional)

Directions

  1. In a pot on medium heat add vegetable oil, onions, lemongrass and garlic. Fry for 2 minutes till aromatic and onions soften slightly. Add the curry paste and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
  2. Mix in the pumpkin. Add the hot stock and bring to a boil. Simmer till pumpkin is fully cooked, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  3. Spoon half the mixture into a blender and puree till smooth. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with the remaining half. Run the puréed soup through a sieve back into the pot and heat. If the soup is too thick, add 1/4 cup of water and stir through.
  4. Garnish with spring onions and coconut cream (if using). Serve hot alongside a light salad or with olive oil crostini.

Tip: The soup tends to thicken as it sits so when reheating, add some warm water to thin it out to desired consistency.

Garlic Pepper Beef Stir Fry

There are no rules when it comes to stir fry. It’s one of those meals that calls for ingredients you already have an hand – a great way to clean out the fridge!

I usually prefer my stir fry to be meat-free but occasionally I toss in some shrimp, chicken or beef. Today’s version is made with thinly sliced beef that has been seasoned with lots of freshly ground black pepper and tossed with veggies that I had on hand. Again, there are no hard and fast rules. This recipe was tweaked from my Mongolian Veggie stir fry recipe¬†which is a good recipe to use as a guideline.

To make the stir fry, season the beef with black pepper and set aside while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

Step 1: Start with the aromatics

AromaticsStep Two: Add in the vegetables in order of cooking time (the one with the longest cooking time goes in first)

Garlic Pepper Beef Stir FryStep Three: Add your sauces and beef

Garlic Pepper Beef Stir Fry2It’s delicious as it is but you can always serve it alongside some quinoa or brown rice.

Garlic Pepper Beef Stir Fry with Brown Rice

Garlic Pepper Beef Stir Fry

  • Servings: 2 to 3
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 200g thinly sliced beef
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 red chilli chopped (deseeded if you prefer less heat)
  • 1/2 medium red onion sliced
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup baby asparagus cut into 3s (set spears aside)
  • 3/4 cup Brocolli florets
  • 3/4 cup Shitake mushrooms sliced
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Directions

  1. Season beef slices with pepper and set aside.
  2. In a wok on medium high heat, add vegetable oil, chilli, garlic, ginger and onion. Fry till aromatic and onions soften.
  3. Add broccoli and asparagus (reserving the spears to go in later) and cook or 1-2 minutes.
  4. Pour in soy, vinegar and oyster sauce (you can choose to mix all 3 in a separate bowl before adding)
  5. Add mushrooms, asparagus spears and beef. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat and drizzle the sesame oil over.
  6. Serve hot with rice or quinoa

Tip:¬†It’s best to have everything cut up and ready to toss in because the key to good a stir fry is to cook over medium high heat and constantly stir the ingredients to prevent them from sticking to the pan.

A Guide to Easy Egg Replacement

Going Vegan, have an egg allergy or just don’t like eggs? Here are some egg replacements that are no fuss and easy to find – you may already have these in your kitchen!

Replacements with EggsEggs play a vital role in baking and dessert recipes. They have properties that help in binding, leavening and emulsifying. Each substitute works in 1 or more ways. Baking is all about trial and error people so it really is about what works best for you and the recipe. Some of my favourites are yoghurt & banana.

Replace 1 full egg with the following:

Yoghurt (or non-dairy yoghurt if you are vegan) – 1/4 cup

Potato Starch –¬†2 tbsp

Chia Seeds – 1 tbsp ground chia seeds + 3 tbsp water. Mix and allow to sit for 5 minutes or so till it starts to gel.
Note: Use white chai seeds as the darker ones will be visible in the final product

Chickpea flour – 3 tbsp + 3 tbsp water

Banana –¬†1/4 cup mashed

Canned Pumpkin/Squash – 1/4 cup puree

Flaxseeds Р 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds + 3 tbsp water
Mix well and allow to gel before adding. Alternatively you can lightly warm the mixture to thicken it before adding.

Applesauce – 1/4 cup

Plain Tofu (soft/silken) – 1/4 cup puree

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For a flavourless replacement:

2 tbsp baking powder + 2 tbsp water + 1 tbsp oil

OR

1 tsp unflavoured gelatine + 3 tbsp cold water + 2 tbsp

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To replace Egg whites:

Agar agar powder Р1 tbsp + 1 tbsp water. Whisk together and refrigerate. Once cold, whip and use as required.

Happy testing! ūüôā