[Recipe] Banana Coconut Cake with Chocolate Chips


Staying at home means more time for baking! I love baking banana cakes whenever I spy several ripe ones at home.

This recipe is an adaptation of one of my most popular recipes, the Banana Cake, but there's an added extra unique sweetness from the desiccated coconut. This is really simple to bake, just follow my step-by-step pictures!


Banana Coconut Cake with Chocolate Chips using Airfryer
Yield: 1 loaf cake (6.5 X 3 X 3 inches)

Ingredients
(A) Dry ingredients
100g cake flour (otherwise, plain flour is ok)
20g desiccated coconut (refer to photo below)
1 tsp cinnamon powder
2/3 tsp baking soda
2/3 tsp salt

(B) Wet ingredients
2 bananas
2 eggs
70g oil
60g sugar
1/3 tsp vanilla extract
50g chocolate chips

Directions
1) Preheat.
Preheat airfryer at 160 degrees Celcius for 5 minutes.

2) Combine.
Combine all the dry ingredients (A). Dig a well in the centre.

3) Mash.
Mash the bananas using the back of a fork.

4) Combine.
In another bowl, combine the remaining wet ingredients (eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla extract).

4) Add.
Add those wet ingredients to the mashed bananas. Mix well.

5) Fold.
Add all the wet ingredients, together with the chocolate chips, into the dry ingredients. Gently fold the mixture together. Pour into the baking pan (the base should be lined with baking paper).

6) Bake.
Wrap the top of the baking pan with aluminium foil. Poke a few holes at the top. Bake at 160 degrees celcius for 25 minutes.

7) Final bake.
Remove the foil. Continue baking for another 5 minutes, until golden brown. Check that it is ready, using a toothpick.

Serve warm. Enjoy!


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[Recipe] Red Bean Coconut Milk Jelly


This jelly is inspired by the Hong Kong version I used to eat when I was young (砵仔糕). While that is rice flour based, I chose to do mine using konnyaku powder instead.

You will notice that konnyaku/ konjac is mostly featured in my jelly recipes, and I like this root vegetable because of its health benefits - high in dietary fibre, improve bowel movement and lower cholesterol.

This is an overall easy recipe. Enjoy!


Red Bean Coconut Milk Jelly
Yield: 2 jelly cakes

Ingredients
150g red beans
some water (for soaking and boiling the red beans)
600g coconut water
160g sugar
10g konnyaku powder
350g coconut milk

Directions
1) Soak.
Soak red beans overnight. Use enough water to ensure that the beans are covered. The next morning, drain away the water.

Tips: The beans will expand after several hours. Soaking overnight helps to shorten the boiling time. 

2) Boil water.
Bring some (fresh) water to boil. Again, use enough water to ensure that the beans are well covered.

3) Boil red beans.
Boil the beans on high heat for 10min. Lower the heat and allow the beans to simmer slowly for another 45min. Stir occasionally in between. Drain away the water when ready.

Tips: The slow boiling at low heat will ensure that the beans are cooked on the inside too. The beans would be ready when the shell have burst opened and the beans are soft enough. Don't overboil till mushy, as we still want some texture of the beans in the jelly. :)

4) Boil ingredients.
Bring coconut water to boil. Add red beans, sugar and konnyaku powder, and continue boiling till the sugar and powder are well dissolved.

5) Add coconut milk.
Lower the heat. Add coconut milk and quickly stir until well combined.

Tips: Lowering the heat and reducing the cooking time for the coconut milk prevents it from curdling.

6) Pour.
Pour the jelly mixture into mould and allow it to set.

7) Remove jelly.
After several hours, the jelly would have solidified. Remove and enjoy!

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[Recipe] French Toast Stick Using Airfryer


French toast brings back childhood memories for me, and my favourite is the Hong Kong styled one. You know that huge sinful fried bread cube with a big slab of butter at the top with lots of maple syrup? :)

But of course with age and my preference for healthier eating, I now make my own french toast. Just airfry the french toast instead of deep frying, and replace the sugar with honey. The toast is very crispy and tastes just as good!

French Toast Stick Using Airfryer
Yield: 12 pieces

Ingredients

(A) Milk Dip
50g milk/ soymilk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
10g butter, melted

(B)
3 slices of bread

(C) Toppings - optional
Icing sugar
Honey
Fruits


Directions

1) Preheat.
Preheat the airfryer at 180 degrees celcius for 5 min.

2) Combine.
Combine all ingredients in (A).

3) Slice.
Slice the bread into sticks.

4) Dip.
Submerge the bread into the milk dip. Quickly lift the bread up, as it should not be too wet.

5) Airfry.
Airfry the bread at 180 degrees for 6 min. Flip and continue for another 4 min.

6) Drizzle.
Dust with some icing sugar and drizzle some honey over the french toast. Add fruits and serve warm. Enjoy!


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[Review] Bloom Studio's Preserved Flower Domes


It would be a lie if I were to say that I don't like receiving flowers. These classic gifts brighten my day, any time. In fact, I generally love plants and also maintain a thriving garden "wall" at home which acts as a privacy curtain.

I was recently introduced to Bloom Studio Singapore, an online store selling preserved flowers. While my husband has moved from buying me fresh flowers to flower pots (don't laugh!) for special occasions, these domes make great alternative gifts too.

Here are 4 reasons why:

1) Real, with beautiful colours!
Preserved flowers shouldn't be confused with fake or brown dried flowers. Apart from being 100% real, they come in beautiful classic colours like pink and red, and alternative ones like blue and purple. A special preservation technique allows these blooms to maintain their freshness, suppleness, and shape.

2) Can last for years.
A key reason why I tell my husband not to buy me fresh flowers is that they only last a few days (or a week, at most) and I really dislike throwing them out. While preserved flowers may deteriorate over time, they do not wilt. A mini preserved flower pot I had from 5 years ago still looks almost as vibrant as when I just bought it - albeit for some dust which had gathered at the top (I have to admit that I am a lazy owner and haven't done anything to it at all!).

So yes, they can last for several years and are almost maintenance-free. I really like how Bloom Studio's flowers come in classy glass domes, making cleaning so easy.

Tips: My preserved flower has lasted so long because it is placed under the aircon in my bedroom. I will highly recommend that you keep yours in a cool and dry place away from sunlight!

3) Toxic-free preservation.
In case you are now thinking that these preserved flowers have undergone some harsh chemical processes, it is actually non-corrosive and toxic-free. Any colorings used are food-grade. Hence, preserved flowers do not pose any risks to our health and are definitely more eco-friendly than fresh ones.

4) Free same day delivery.
Bloom Studio offers free same day delivery, even on public holidays and the peak Valentine's Day period. Now, there is no more reason to say that you have forgotten to buy a present for the Significant Other!

Overall
Preserved flowers are classy and ideal for proclaiming everlasting affection. Mainstream florists are usually very busy and extra expensive near Valentine's Day, so Bloom Studio's flower domes make great alternative gifts.

Head over to their webpage and scroll through their collection! Mine is the Olivia Dome (S$80, U.P. $189).

This article was done in collaboration with Bloom Studio Singapore (https://bloomstudiosg.com). All opinions are mine.


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[Recipe] Nian Gao Banana Fritters Using Airfryer


Nian Gao (年糕) is a sticky glutinous rice flour cake available during Chinese New Year. I often hear of relatives saying that they don't like to eat it, but would still buy it because of the symbolism (in Chinese, it sounds like year-high and the prospect of a better year ahead).

The most common ways of cooking the Nian Gao is to steam or fry it, and mum usually fries it with egg. Personally, I am quite wary of all the oil used, so when I cook it, it will be in spring roll form with only a few drops of oil for all 25 pieces.

While some restaurants serve the Nian Gao fried with yam or sweet potato, I like mine with banana. Inspired by Thai-styled banana fritters, l love mine complete with lots of desiccated coconut. Do use ripened bananas because they are naturally extra-sweet!


Nian Gao Banana Fritters Using Airfryer

Yield: 25 pieces

Ingredients
(A) For fritters
150g Nian Gao (see below, only half is required)
3 medium ripe bananas
30g dessicated coconut
25 ready-made spring roll skins, small

(B) For egg wash
1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp oil

Directions
1) Preheat airfryer at 170 degrees Celcius for 5 minutes.

2) Thinly slice the nian gao and banana into 2-inch sticks.

3) Lay the spring roll skin flat, with one of the corners in front of you. Place a slice of nian gao and banana on the skin, then sprinkle a generous spoonful of dessicated coconut.

4) Fold the corner upwards, covering the ingredients.

5) Tuck the skin in and fold upwards.

6) Tuck the left and right sides in, and continue rolling the fritter upwards. Use the egg wash to seal the edges.

Tips: Fold the skin loosely, otherwise you may risk the skin tearing and Nian Gao leaking out when it expands during cooking.

6) Use the egg wash to brush the top as well. Repeat until the tray is filled with fritters.

Tips: I usually line my tray with a baking paper. It can be quite messy should the Nian Gao leak out.

7) Airfry for 170 degrees Celcius for 4 minutes. Flip the fritters over and continue airfrying at 170 degrees Celcius for another 3 minutes till golden-brown.

8) Sprinkle some dessicated coconut over the fritters and serve while still hot and crispy. Enjoy!


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[Recipe] Golden Pillow Cheese Pineapple Tarts


For those who know me, Chinese New Year is always a busy period. Apart from baking my usual goodies, e.g. almond cookies, peanut cookies and open-faced pineapple tarts, I also like to develop/ share a new CNY goodie (airfryer) recipe every year.

This year's recipe is for those who love cheese. Personally, I count burrata as my favourite cheese. That creamily soft texture is ooh-so-good, especially when paired with some tomatoes!

This recipe is adapted from my (closed) Pineapple Tart recipe, with slight tweaks. My parents love how the crust is soft, flaky and buttery. Every bite offers a good combination of flavours, with sweet-sour tinges from the pineapple jam and savoury flavours from the parmesan cheese. So good!

Btw, a friend who knew that I baked these using the airfryer even commented that the cheese toppings made these goodies a little crispy. Haha, crispy like fried chicken? Try out the recipe and let me know. :)

I have shaped these pineapple tarts like cute little pillows (maybe I am just dreaming of my bed because I have not been sleeping enough recently). The golden hues certainly add an auspicious touch to these little gems! 


Golden Pillow Cheese Pineapple Tart Recipe Using Airfryer

Yield: 28 pieces

Ingredients

Tart crust
(A)
155g cake/top flour
15g icing sugar
20g custard powder (see photo below)
20g parmesan cheese powder
a pinch of salt
100g butter, cold and unsalted

(B)
1 egg yolk, beaten
2 tsp cold water/ milk

(C) Egg wash
1 egg yolk, beaten
1 tsp milk
1/4 tsp oil

Filling
225g pineapple jam, ready-made

Directions

1. Sieve all the ingredients in (A), except the butter, into a cold mixing bowl.

Tips: I usually use a metallic mixing bowl to keep the bowl cold for a longer time.

2. Add the cold butter and gently rub the butter onto the flour until the texture become like fine breadcrumbs. Take care not to overwork the dough.

Tips #1: This is called the rubbing-in method and a crucial point is to keep the batter cold during the process. As such, do use plastic gloves while rubbing so that less heat from your hands is transferred. Use the tips of your fingers too.

Tips #2: Also, use butter that is cut into small pieces so that you can finish the rubbing process faster while keeping the mixture cold.

3. Add the egg yolk and gently knead to form the dough. To bind the dough, add a little cold water/ milk (bit by bit) until you get the desired texture.

4. Divide the dough into 2 portions. Wrap in 2 cling-wrap batches and chill for at least 30 min till they become firm.

5. Meanwhile, prepare the pineapple jam. Taking out the required amount from the ready-made pack, roll the pineapple jam into balls of 7g each.

6. Preheat the airfryer at 145 degrees for 5 min.

7. By now, the dough should be firm enough and ready. Roll into balls of 10g each.

8. Roll each ball out flat and wrap the the pineapple jam balls inside.

Tips: I use my fingers as a gauge for similar sizing across my pastries.

9. Brush a layer of egg wash and top it off with some parmesan cheese.

11. Bake the pineapple tarts at 145 degrees for 14 min. If you like it more golden-brown, continue for another 2 to 3 min.

12. Cool the pineapple tarts well before storing in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Tips: You can store them for up to a week at room temperature, but I would recommend that you put them in the fridge as there are no preservatives. Enjoy!

Want to try our other Chinese New Year recipes? Have fun here.

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