[Recipe] Banana Blueberry Muffins Using Airfryer

Some readers have asked me for muffin recipes, but if there's only one that I am allowed to share, it would be these banana blueberry muffins!

I love how these muffins are moist, wholesome and really easy to bake. This recipe's strength lies in its versatility. Just treat it as a banana muffin base, and then you can add blueberries, raspberries or even chocolate chips - whatever you have in your fridge.

These muffins have always proven perfect for my parties. As they are not too sweet or oily, I am sure they will be very well received amongst the young and old at your next gathering too. Enjoy!

Banana Blueberry Muffins Using Airfryer

Recipe

Yield: 8 muffins

Ingredients
(A)
2 eggs, beaten
75g cooking oil
70g sugar
1/3 tsp vanilla extract (or 2/3 tsp vanilla essence)
2 medium bananas, mashed

(B)
100g top flour/ cake flour (or any low-gluten flour)
2/3 tsp salt
2/3 tsp baking soda

(C)
Blueberries (or any other fruits)

Directions

1. Preheat 
Preheat airfryer at 150 degrees for 5 minutes.

2. Mix
Mix ingredients in (A) together and set aside. These are the wet ingredients.
3. Mix
In another bowl, combine ingredients in (B) together and sieve. These are the dry ingredients.
4. Combine.
Create a well in the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients in. Fold in gently. Pour into 8 muffin cups till 60% full.
5. Decorate.
Add the blueberries or any other toppings.
6. Bake.
Bake in airfryer at 150 degrees for 10 min. If needed, continue baking for 3 to 5 min more till golden brown.
7. Serve!
It's ready to be served. Best eaten warm. :)


For more cake recipes using airfryer, click here.

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[Review] KECha @ Far East Plaza: Where To Get The Most Insta-Worthy Drinks In Town!

The local tea scene in Singapore has lately seen rapid evolvement with the opening of many tea chains across shopping malls in the town and suburban areas. These tea chains tend to serve fruit-based drinks, and it is not difficult to see why fruits have become a part of this fad, given the more health-conscious youths of today.

While there may be a group of drinkers that patronise their favourite chains because of addiction or be part of the "in" crowd, some may just be curious onlookers who would like to know more about this new trend. 

For those in the latter group, just head over to Far East Plaza. This mall, once the most "hip" place for youngsters after school, is home to many up-and-coming tea chains - one of which is KECha Singapore.

KECha Singapore

My interest in KECha was first piqued when I saw the Instagram-worthy drinks with various colours on social media. 

KECha, from Taiwan, offers a range of healthy drinks in stunning colors from fruit/ flower-based teas to the usual milk-based ones. The drinks are served in reusable bottles, so thumbs-up to Kecha for its eco-friendly effort!
For those who are health conscious, you will be pleased to know that their various drinks recipes are specially concocted with no added colouring or sugar and the purple colouring is naturally derived from butterfly pea. While most are attracted by the mesmerising shades, I love it for their health properties as they are known to help to detoxify the body and slow down the ageing process. (I grow blue pea plants at home!)

With more than 45 drinks on the menu, many of which look equally attractive, I am sure you will take a while to decide which flavour you want, so below are their Top 5 Bestsellers to help you out! :)

Fruit/ Flower-Based Series

From left: Wander Garden (S$4.90), Grapefruit Petal (S$5.90), Ocean Berry (S$4.90).

1) Wander Garden

It is often said that we eat/ drink with our eyes first, and I am sure many would be tempted to try this series for the stunning purple colours.

The top purple layer of Wander Garden is made from butterfly pea extracts, while the bottom layer is made from a special blend of rose, elderflower and apple flavours. A first sip of this drink offered an initial strong rose taste and reminded me of bandung. Theereafter, subsequent sips then revealed a nice sour apple aftertaste, so it is really interesting how a simple kiosk drink is able to play such teasers on my mind.

2) Ocean Berry

Ocean Berry is slightly sweeter than the previous drink and owes its key flavours to the strawberry puree used. I like the tangy fruity flavours which offer a really pleasant aftertaste.

3) Grapefruit Petal

For those who prefer something more sour, this jasmine green tea with osmanthus and fresh grapefruit juice & slices will suit you best. With the strongest sourish accents amongst the 3 drinks in this category, it adds a really refreshing touch to the palate especially after a heavy meal.

Milk-Based Series

From left: Taiwan Brown Sugar Milk (S$5.30), Matcha Milk Tea (S$4.90).

1) Matcha Milk Tea

I would consider this my favourite amongst the 5 listed here, as I like how the green tea flavours are strong yet do not overpower the milky flavours. Slightly sweet, this would be the choice for those who want to enjoy the antioxidant benefits of green tea but may be averse to the bitter tinges that come with the pure brewed version.

2) Taiwan Brown Sugar Milk 



Consisting of premium brown sugar, brown sugar pearl and fresh milk, this is equivalent to the "babyccino" on the menu. It can be quite sweet, but since it is due to the premium brown sugar used, it is perhaps alright to cut ourselves the slack to indulge in this drink once in a while. :)

Conclusion

So which drink fascinates you the most? Head on down to their outlets at Far East Plaza, JCUBE or Yew Tee Point to check out their menu! :)

KECha Singapore
Far East Plaza, #01-16E.
JCube, #02-65.
Yew Tee Point, B1-41.

Islandwide delivery is available: 

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[Recipe] Baked Durian Mooncakes Using Philips XXL Airfryer



The period leading up to Mid Autumn Festival is always a busy time for me as I am usually buried in the kitchen preparing mooncakes for family and friends using my airfryer. 

While I've a tried-and-tested mini mooncake recipe using lotus paste fillings, this time round I decided to change things a little by making them larger and using durian paste fillings instead.

This is now possible because of my new Philips XXL Airfryer (more info here)! It has helped me complete more mini mooncakes and bake large mooncakes too. 


Philips XXL Airfryer

Now you must be thinking: Wait, hang on. Did you just say that we can bake mooncakes in the airfryer? Yes! This has been what I have been doing in the last years since I got my first airfryer in 2014.

My old first-version Philips analogue airfryer is still working after 4 years, but I decided to upgrade mine to the new Philips Avance Collection Airfryer XXL HD9654/91 for my new home. Here's why:
  • New Twin Turbo technology: The powerful heater and motor enables hot air to swirl fast like a tornado, allowing up to 90% of the fat to be extracted from food. 
  • Large capacity: As mentioned earlier, I love this new XXL version for its size. I can now cook more items, fitting up to 1.4kg of fries (previous version: 0.8kg) or one whole chicken.
  • Multipurpose functionalities: To correct most people's perception about airfryers, apart from frying, this kitchen appliance enables me to bake, grill and roast, as well produce perfectly cooked food every time. Just view my various recipes for cookies and cakes for inspiration!
  • "Keep Warm" mode: I also like how this new mode allows the heat in food to be retained for up to 30 minutes. Really useful for busy families like mine!

Excited now? Let's start baking our mooncakes in the airfryer! :)

Baked Durian Mooncakes

Yield: 6 large mooncakes, each 7 cm diameter across

Ingredients


(A) Skin
150g top/ cake flour, sifted
100g golden syrup
1 tsp alkaline/ lye water (this helps to make the dough more stretchable and give the skin the golden-brown colour)
40g oil


(B) Filling
720g durian paste
melon seeds (optional)

(C) Egg wash for glazing
1 egg yoke
1 tbsp water

Tools

Philips XXL Airfryer
Large mooncake mould plunger (7 cm diameter across/ 125g-size), with some flour for dusting

Directions

1. Mix.
In a mixing bowl, mix the sifted flour, syrup, oil and alkaline water together. Combine until it forms a soft dough.


2. Rest.
Place a cling wrap on the dough (not over the dough, i.e. no gap between the dough and cling wrap). Leave it in the fridge to rest overnight. This step is known as 醒面.

Tips: The longer you let the dough rest, the easier you can wrap the fillings later.


3. Prepare dough balls.
The next day, divide the dough into 6 balls of 40g each. Return them to the fridge and keep chilled.

4. Prepare paste balls.
Next, divide the durian paste fillings into 6 balls of 120g each. If you are adding melon seeds, add them together with the paste balls.

5. Wrap.
It is now time to start preparing the mooncake balls. Remove 1 of the dough balls from the fridge and roll it out flat on a baking paper.

Wrap the flattened dough around 1 of the paste balls. Shape it into a mooncake ball. Ensure that there are no exposed parts.

(Repeat for the next 5 mooncake balls.)

Tips: Only remove dough balls from the fridge when you are about to use them. Warmed-up dough can become very sticky and difficult to work with!

Before:

After - No exposed parts:


6. Preheat.
Remove the baking pan. Preheat the airfryer using the Manual (M) mode at 180 degrees for 4 min.


7. Dust.
To prepare the plunger, cover the face of the mould generously with flour. Then, pour the excess out. This ensures that the plunger is well-dusted.

8. Press.
Place the mooncake balls, 1 at a time, in the plunger. Press hard so that the impressions can be properly made (this is my favourite part!). Release the plunger and gently place them onto a baking tray.

(Repeat for the next 2 mooncake balls. These 3 mooncakes form Batch 1.)

Tips: I'll recommend that you line the tray with baking paper. This prevents criss-cross lines on the underside of your mooncakes and helps ensure that the mooncakes don't "sink" into the baking tray. Remember to place the 3 mooncakes at the edges of the baking paper, so that the paper does not "fly" up.

9. Spray.
Spray the 3 mooncakes with water to prevent the mooncakes from cracking during baking later.


10. Bake.
Bake Batch 1 using the Manual (M) mode at 180 degrees for 10 min. 


11. Prepare egg wash.
Meanwhile, prepare the egg wash by mixing well the 1 egg yolk and 1 tbsp of water. 

Tips: To achieve a greater consistency for the egg wash, pass it through a sieve. 


12. Cool.
After this first bake, remove the mooncakes from the airfryer and leave them to cool for at least 15 min (do not skip this step).

13. Glaze.
Thereafter, glaze the top and sides of your mooncakes thinly and evenly with the egg wash.

14. Continue baking.
Return the mooncakes to the airfryer. Continue to bake using the Manual (M) mode at 180 degrees for another 4 - 6 min until golden brown.


15. Repeat.
To bake Batch 2 (the remaining 3 mooncakes), repeat steps #8 to 10 and #12 to 14.

16. Store.
Cool the 6 mooncakes completely before storing in an airtight container at room temperature for at least 3 days. This allows the mooncakes to 回油 and the skin to soften. It will also produce a glossy and shiny surface, and the flavours can be better developed.

PS: If your kitchen is too warm, you can store the mooncakes in the fridge sooner.



17. Ready!
After 3 days, the mooncakes' surface will turn glossy. For optimal results, wait for up to 7 days. Keep in the fridge if your home is warm.




Serve with hot Chinese tea or give these heartfelt gifts to your friends/ families. Happy Mid Autumn Festival, everyone! :)
 
For more info on Philips XXL Airfryer, click here.

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[Review] Animal Wagashi Baking Workshop @ LearningArtZ


The Mid-Autumn Festival, for me, is always a busy time to bake mooncakes for family and friends. 

While I am very familiar with baking traditional mooncakes, I was recently intrigued by a baking class "Korean Wagashi – Cute Animals Workshop (Mid-Autumn Special)". The cute Tarepanda, Totoro and Doraemon characters were after all well-loved cartoon characters that I grew up with, so I decided to sign up for it.

The instructor, Chef Cindy Chung (钟婉予老師) from Taiwan, was specially invited by Learning ArtZ, a baking and culinary studio, to teach in Singapore that weekend. As it was a great opportunity, I thought why not learn something unique and cute from an overseas instructor?

Korean Wagashi Workshop

Wagashi are a traditional type of Japanese confectionary. Usually served in mini bite sizes, they are eaten as a snack/ dessert with hot tea. Chef Cindy learnt to make these wagashi in Korea using natural food colourings and adapted them into Mid Autumn Festival snacks filled with our familiar lotus paste.

Demonstration

First, Chef Cindy demonstrated the steps and highlighted to us what to look out for. I liked how she shared various tips with us, especially if we wanted to adapt/ replace some of the ingredients or recreate the recipe at home. Within the 3.5-hour class, we learnt how to bake four characters - Totoro, Tarepanda, Cow and Dinosaur.

Hands-On

To make learning easier, Chef Cindy broke down the whole baking process into segments, i.e. after demonstrating a few steps, we proceeded to our stations to recreate the same steps on our own. As it was a small class, Chef Cindy came around to guide us, especially with some of the more delicate moulding parts. Overall, I found it a very therapeutic session. 

Baking in Oven

Above were the unbaked animal pastries made by my classmates and me, each delicately filled with different fillings - white lotus paste, pandan paste and mung bean filling. I think we all did a great job. So, in they went into the ovens next!

Final Touches

For the final touches such as the zig-zag patterns on Totoro's stomach and the eyes on the various characters, we were given a choice to use either the edible food ink marker or try out a torching technique using the sharp edges of metallic tools. The children were advised to use the marker, while we adults took on the alternative method.

Final Masterpieces

Each student brought back four pairs of animal wagashis. Everyone's was successful and they were just too cute to be eaten! :)

Conclusion



Various baking, cake decoration and culinary classes are available at LearningArtZ for adults and children from 3 years & up. The studio takes pride in the various overseas instructors it invites occasionally, so do look out for these special sessions. For classes conducted by non English-speaking instructors, translation is available.

Personally, I liked how spacious and spanking new the kitchen was as well as the premium ingredients used (e.g. unbleached Taiwan Blue Jacket flour and Rumford aluminium-free reduced-sodium baking powder). Importantly, the techniques learnt were really useful, and I am pretty sure I can create other types of animal pastries at home after the session.


LearningArtZ
Address: #04-04, The Grandstand, 200 Turf Club Road.
Phone: 9688 2777 (Sharon).

Free shuttle bus service available from Sixth Ave MRT & Botanic Gardens MRT to the Grandstand.

Take Lift 4 near Giant Hypermart to Level 4.



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