Archive for the ‘Sweets’ Category

Oatmeal Horchata

Posted: April 26, 2012 by lainey in Mexican, Mexican, Sweets

My husband and I both love horchata, so imagine my excitement when I found a recipe for oatmeal horchata in a Mexican cookbook I was reading. It was the perfect way to get rid of the rolled oats (we have since converted to steel-cut oats) I have in the pantry.


1 cup rolled oats
4 cups water
1 4-inch Mexican cinnamon stick, broken
Sugar or other natural sweetener, to taste.

Soak the oats and cinnamon in water for a minimum of half an hour. Blend, strain, and sweeten to taste. Serve over ice or well-chilled.

The recipe is insanely easy. I added 2 cinnamon sticks instead of 1, and threw in a dash of cinnamon powder too (I do love my cinnamon). I also soaked the oats for about 2 hours to make sure we get a good creamy taste. For sweetener, I used honey as that was the only sweetener I have in my house currently. I really do need to go stock up my pantry. But yes, I’m excited to try making horchata using rice next and see how different it will taste.

If available, get a 9-month old to help stir in the sweetener. The horchata will taste better.


Salted Caramel Ice-cream

Posted: May 25, 2011 by lainey in Dessert, Sweets

Four ingredients maketh the most luscious tasting ice-cream around. Who would have known it would be so…easy?

Easy not…it took my third attempt to get it right, but once I got it right, it was rather easy to get going. I got to know what the color of the caramel should be, what the smell and texture should be. And that one hour standing in front of the stove stirring? All worth it.

Recipe here. I also referred to this post to compare the coloring for my first attempt.

Whole Foods was having a one-day sale on organic strawberries so I got J to drive me there and we bought 3 pounds dutifully. With so many strawberries, what better way than to test my new (and unused) ice-cream machine. I was initially hesitate about a frozen yogurt recipe but it turned out to be the BEST strawberry ice-cream we’ve ever tasted (I would love to try it again by sticking to the recipe exactly).

Soaking strawberries in sugar for 2 hours to get the nice bright colours out.

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
About 1 quart (1l)

French yogurt is astoundingly good and I suggest you use a good-quality, whole milk or Greek-style yogurt for best results.

1 pound (450g) strawberries, rinsed and hulled
2/3 cup (130g) sugar
optional: 2 teaspoons vodka or kirsch
1 cup (240g) plain whole milk yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Slice the strawberries into small pieces. Toss in a bowl with the sugar and vodka or kirsch (if using) until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours, stirring every so often.

Transfer the strawberries and their juice to a blender or food processor. Add the yogurt and fresh lemon juice. Pulse the machine until the mixture is smooth. If you wish, press mixture through a mesh strainer to remove any seeds.

Chill for 1 hour, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

I made a mistake and bought 2% fat plain yogurt instead of whole milk yogurt, so I added some light cream to give the yogurt a bit more fat content for freezing. It could freeze better – but still really good!

Also I did not use alcohol because we don’t have any at home but I can’t imagine how much better the ice-cream will taste! 4 ingredient ice-cream! I love this recipe.

Easy Homemade Granola

Posted: November 21, 2010 by lainey in Breakfast, Fruits, snacks, Sweets, Vegetarian


Easy Homemade Granola

adapted from “Baked: New Frontiers in Baking” by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

2 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil (I used grapeseed)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole almonds (I used chopped almonds)
1/3 cup of chopped dates
1/3 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (I ran out of parchment and used aluminium foil instead, that might explain why my granola got a little burnt)

In a large bowl, toss the oats with the cinnamon and salt.

In a medium bowl, stir together the oil, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla. Whisk until completely combined.

Pour the honey mixture over the oats mixture and use your hands to combine them: Gather up some of the mixture in each hand and make a fist. Repeat until all of the oats are coated with the honey mixture. ( I did not do that…hehe)

Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread it out evenly, but leave a few clumps here and there for texture.

Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and use a metal spatula to lift and flip the granola. Sprinkle the almonds over the granola and return the baking sheet to the oven.

Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven. Let cool completely. Sprinkle the dates and cranberries over the granola.

Let it cool completely before transferring into an air-tight container. Or before the husbands starts eating it.

J has been raving about Cafe Fixe’s homemade granola for ages and has suggested buying boring supermarket granola to quell his craving. However, being rather the expert on granola, I know that the supermarket brands will never satiate his craving. One visit to Cafe Fixe revealed that a pound of that granola costs $18 and we were not about to spend that money. I reasoned that if it’s homemade, I can do it. So I did it.

Granola making took about 30 minutes. With the base of oats and cinnamon, salt and honey mixture, one can basically add any kind of nuts, grains and dried fruits as one liked. I bought the rolled oats (because we eat steel-cut oats at home) and basically threw together the granola with whatever I had at home. Now we have a really pleased husband who, for the first time, gave my cooking a 10/10. And this is slightly burnt granola.

Rock Melon (or cantaloupe) Sago with Coconut Milk

Cantaloupe (Rockmelon) Sago  Recipe


  • 1 whole cantaloupe
  • 1/4 cup of sago (tapioca pearls)
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • Water


Cut cantaloupe into half, cut 1 half of the fruit into small cubes and chill in fridge.

Blend the other half into a puree and chill in fridge.

To prepare sugar syrup, bring to boil 1 bowls of water in a pot with the sugar. Stir until water has reduced to half Allow to cool to room temperature. Chill sugar syrup in the fridge.

To prepare sago, soak sago in cold water for 30 minutes before straining and boiling till sago turns translucent. Strain the sago and leave sago in strainer soaked in cold water and chill.

To serve, combine about cantaloupe cubes and cantaloupe puree and sago in a bowl. Stir in coconut milk and sugar syrup to your liking. Drizzle coconut milk on top of bowl before serving. I had a little jar of coconut milk on the side for my guests to add more if they like, and some do like more coconut milk than others.

Before I discovered (good) cakes and chocolate, this was my all-time favourite dessert. You can find it in Cantonese restaurants as a dessert course and I remember my mom making it when I was a child. It never dawned upon me to make it myself, or eat it even after I got older and fancy European desserts took over my tastebuds. But I thought it would be fun to make a healthy Chinese desserts at my dinner party last night and boy, was it a hit. I love it that it is healthy, vegan and so easy to make.

Oh, usually people use honeydew, but I never liked the sickly green colour and always preferred the sweeter cantaloupe.

Carrot and Celery Wholegrain Muffins

Posted: September 27, 2010 by lainey in Breakfast, snacks, Sweets, Vegetarian

Perfect Fall Food: Carrot and Celery Wholegrain Muffins

Recipe (Adapted from the back of King Arthur Flour package)

1 cup (4 ounces) whole wheat flour
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
(I used 1/3 cup of sugar because I’m paranoid about sugar)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk or yogurt ( i used yogurt cuz I always have that in my fridge and never buttermilk)
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
(I used carrots and celery pulp leftover from my juicing)

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Grease and flour 18 muffin cups and set aside. (I only have a 12 cup muffin pan and I think I had 1 muffin worth of batter left)

Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and add the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well; stop once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.Mix in the yoghurt gently. Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the carrot celery mix.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar on top. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 400°F, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

I didn’t expect the recipe at the back of a flour package to be so good, but it is -wholesome and easy to make. I don’t have apples (Fall is here but not quite here yet so apples are NOT that cheap yet) and I have a lot of pulp left from my juicing summer days. I was worried that celery might taste a little gross in muffins, but surprisingly, it doesn’t. It gave the muffins a little of a savory taste which is what I like in my sweets. If you like your muffins SUPER sweet, you might want to consider adding a bit more sugar, both in the batter and as the topping. I love the brown sugar crust on top, but I didn’t put too much, as usual.

What a healthy snack/breakfast. Yumz.

Lemon drizzle cake

Posted: March 28, 2010 by nietize in Breakfast, British, Sweets
Tags: ,

From BBC GoodFood website


225g unsalted butter , softened
225g caster sugar
4 eggs
finely grated zest 1 lemon
225g self-raising flour

For the drizzle topping
juice 11⁄2 lemon
85g caster sugar

Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and creamy, then add the eggs, one at a time, slowly mixing through. Sift in the flour, then add the lemon zest and mix until well combined. Line a loaf tin (8 x 21cm) with greaseproof paper, then spoon in the mixture and level the top with a spoon.

Bake for 45-50 mins until a thin skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. While the cake is cooling in its tin, mix together the lemon juice and sugar to make the drizzle. Prick the warm cake all over with a skewer or fork, then pour over the drizzle – the juice will sink in and the sugar will form a lovely, crisp topping.

Leave in the tin until completely cool, then remove and serve. Will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.

Colleague of mine mentioned that she was making cake this weekend for her bf’s birthday and the idea of cake caught on and I decided to make some as well. I didn’t want anything too complicated since I am a complete novice at cake making so I settled upon this simple and basic recipe from the BBC website.

All in all, I am quite happy with the end product; i don’t think the drizzle is necessary but that’s just because i prefer my lemon flavours to be subtle and delicate. I think the lemon zest is more than sufficient in that sense. I have packed the cake into an airtight container and I am going to have it for breakfast in the office with my coffee!