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Joys of a Nursing Mum: Weaning

For most mothers chose to nurse their young, I bet you can not agree more when I say most mothers have worries about establishing nursing in the early days, then find it difficult to wean the baby off without baby screaming bloody murder! I am one of the mummies!

Whilst searching the web on ‘How To’ I looked at the usual websites which helped and guided me in the early days….(La Leche League International , Breast Feeding Basics, Baby Centre)

…mostly suggest that the baby is weaned off gradually dropping a feed at a time, increasing solid…bla…bla…bla…then i found this website BabyZone which has a link to The Old Farmer’s Almanac . This is where it gets interesting!

In the old days, it is common for farmers to use astrology…mainly the moon to embark on certain tasks from sowing to harvesting crops without the need to watering plants ever…apparently the farmers went further to determine best dates to cut hair to promote growth or dates for cutting hair to prevent growth, …this gets better when the ‘best dates’ included dates to begin diet to gain weight and dates to begin diet to lose weight! How cool is that!

Naturally, the website provided what I was looking for ….weaning dates! Have a look at The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s Best to Calendar weather you want a date to go on a diet, quit smoking, start on a project etc… Try it and tell me if it worked…I will be trying the next recommended date for weaning for sure…no harm there…

definitely beats Ewan screaming for me to nurse him every 2 hours day and night!….What sleep, I know that I can function with 2 hourly cat naps…sleep is so overated! Feeling Good

Making Beetroot Chinese Steamed Buns

It has been awhile since I posted anything. We have been busy…Ewan has started cruising and teething…so all hands on deck (or rather all hands on Ewan in my case).

This recipe is similar to Making Spinach Chinese Steamed Buns….just swap the spinach for beetroot and adjust the liquid content as you mY not have to add any milk (I didn’t need to add milk in a few occassions) I used 1 whole pre cooked/steamed beetroots chopped in my Kenwood Food Processor. 

Beetroot is apparently good for the heart! So eat up! Ha Ha

For the filling, as I don’t have much time to make elaborate things these days, I placed a dollop of jam (any flavor, be it Nutella, lemon curd etc) to entice my boys (not that they need much encouragement to whollop the buns in minutes)!

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Review on My Food Processor (Kenwood Multi Pro)

Under construction

One of my most used kitchen gadget! Though I must say some of the attachments are a waste of space. Stay tuned as I will try to describe all the attachments which apparently have 34 functions.

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Reducing Our Carbon Footprint – GO SOLAR

We are doing our bit for the planet by using clean renewable energy!

After a good few weeks of pondering, calling around, making appointments, surveys, contract agreement, putting up scaffoldings, today is D-day that we finally have our solar panels installed and live…up and running! Hurray! Yes, solar panels don’t come cheap, but we got ours for FREE!…and yes, I did say FREE.

Now we can reduce our electricity bills, hopefully by at least 50%! We will be using more of our induction hob rather than gas to cook for a start >¥

Hubs went all out to get an energy monitor and has been obsessed with it. Switching everything on and off to see how much electricity is used and calculating how much we safe if we turn the appliances off…oh well I guess it is all for the better to reduce our carbon footprint!

After the installation, the house’s energy efficiency rating has bumped up from Band D to Band C with a potential of moving to Band B. This ia ace as a higher Band means less running cost. It was estimated by the surveyor that we could save at least £408 over 3 years. Other recommendations to save more money and make the house more efficient includes:

Addition of floor insulation
Replacing boiler with new condensing boiler
Use solar water heating

Why don’t you do your part to reduce your carbon footprint.

1. Go solar
2. Turn things off completely rather than leaving them on standby…get an energy monitor to encourage yourself
3. Reduce waste, recycle (Ethan is the recycle king, going round the house to recycle things and even go through the bin to telling us off for throwing things and not recycling them)

You may be amazed that you may be saving yourself some dosh by reducing your carbon footprint!

If you are in UK, look up the Energy Saving Trust.

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On this gloomy day, we have enough energy to run the fridge, bread maker, washing machine, oil-filled heater, tv and charging our phones, not forgetting the Pad-of-I! GO SOLAR!

Making Homemade Pizza from Scratch (Beetroot bread base)

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After my experimental spinach bread pizza to add as much iron containing food into my boys’ diet…and the fact that they loved it…it is only natural that I try making beetroot bread base pizza…after all beetroot is supposedly good for the heart and has anti-aging nutrients!

Ingredients and method is about the same as previously posted spinach bread pizza, only difference is that I use 150 g cooked beetroot instead of spinach.

To prepare the beetroot, I blitz (chopped) the beetroot in my food processor, add a little of water to get 125 mL juice I require to make the TangZhong. The rest of the beetroot, I place in a measuring cup and make up to volume (150 mL) with water.20120328-114359 PM.jpg

Feeling adventurous, I even made stuffed crust pizza, by placing mozzarella cheese on the side and rolled the dough to enclose the cheese. It was yummy!

Ingredients for making beetroot pizza bread
150 mL beetroot juice including pulp from approx 150 g cooked chopped beetroot (steamed, liquidised beetroot made up to 150 mL with water/milk or milk substitute)
1 egg
110g to 120g TangZhong (made using 25 g bread flour, I use wholemeal bread flour and 125 ml beetroot juice, I bought cooked beetroot)20120328-114306 PM.jpg
25 ml olive oil
1 tsp salt (optional, I don’tadd salt)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tsp rosemarry
1 tsp Italian mix herbs20120328-114318 PM.jpg
360g bread flour
90g self-raising flour
6 g instant yeast

For method, refer to previous post on making spinach bread base pizza.

For tomato sauce for pizza click here.


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Making Tomato Sauce for Homemade Pizza

This is my garlicky tomato sauce. Pretty pungent on its own, but a match made in heaven when spread on pizza as the tomato base. Easy to make, just laborious to de-skin and de-seed the tomatoes. Well worth the effort. In fact, I make a big batch and store it in the freezer and defrost a portion when I make my pizzas.



2 tbsp olive oil
1 large chopped onion
1 chopped garlic clove
6 large chopped, de-skined and de-seeded fresh tomato
1 tsp dried basil (I have also used fresh chopped basil)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 dried bay leave
2 tbsp tomato paste (approximate, adjust to taste…optional)
1/2 tsp sugar (adjust to taste)
salt (optional, to taste, I don’t add salt in my sauce)
pepper (optional, to taste)

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1. Heat the oil, add the onions, garlic, basil, oregano and saute until the onions are soft and transparent.
2. Add tomatoes and bay leave until the tomatoes are cooked and soft
3. Remove the bay leave and blend the mixture in a food processor or liquidizer.
4. add other ingredients to taste and simmer for 30 minutes or until the paste is relatively dry.

Your pizza tomato sauce is ready.

Making Bechamel / White Sauce (For Macaroni and Cheese, Fish Pie, ‘Escalope Parmesan’)

This is one of my boys’ favourite. I like making this knowing that I use loads of milk and my boys are drinking the ‘milk gravy’ containing loads of goodness and calcium for their growing bones…and to prevent brittle bones for us oldies!

Here is how I make my white sauce also known as bechamel sauce where my boys (including Hubs) would drink it down and lick the plate clean each time.


37 g butter
37 g plain flour
900 mL milk
pinch of white pepper (optional)
4 bay leaves (optional)
125 g Chestnut mushrooms (optional only if you like to make mushroom favoured sauce)
salt (optional, I don’t use salt in my white sauce and it’s still delicious)
Loads of cheese to make a cheesy sauce (I never measure my cheese, I add a handful of grated cheese or 6 square sandwich cheese or 4 Laughing Cow triangular cheese…add more or less depending on your taste)

1. Melt the butter in a saucepan.
2. Remove from fire and stir in the flour. Whisk well.
3. Add milk slowly stirring continuously to prevent clumps, making a smooth sauce.
4. Add sliced mushroom and bay leaves.
4. Return to heat, bring to boil stirring continuously.
5. Simmer gently stirring continuously for 10 minutes, melt the cheese in and season with pepper and salt to taste.

Viola, yummy white sauce ready for your macaroni, fish pie and escalope parmesan!





Making Homemade Bread or Pizza Without a Bread Maker or Dough Hook

There is nothing like the smell and taste of freshly baked bread or pizza…simple food for the soul…comfort food. As bread is filled with carbs, I always do my best to add more nutrients to my fresh bread by adding ‘super food’ . Such ‘super food’ or food loaded with nutrients includes fresh/powdered milk, fortified milk/juice (soya, almond, oat milk etc), fresh spinach, peas, beetroot, carrot etc.

Recently, I have been asked by friends and family to share my bread making method, with and without a bread machine, so here it is. The method described here makes scrumptious bread loved by my family and friends.

Making Bread Without a Bread Maker

The following are basic methods that I use to make my bread when I am not using my bread maker. Everyone does it differently and depending on the amount of dough you are making and available kitchen space :)…I have a small kitchen and I find mixing my ingredients in a big mixing bowl to begin with is less messy.


  1. Place and mix all dry / powdered ingredients in a mixing bowl. Make a hole in the middle.
  2. Place wet ingredients (as applicable depending on the recipe) into the hole i.e., TangZhong, Old Dough, oil / butter, condensed milk, whipping cream, egg, spinach juice, beetroot juice, carrot juice etc. Leave the largest required amount of liquid aside e.g. milk / water.
  3. Warm 100 mL of the largest required amount of liquid (tends to be milk or water) using the hob or microwave to approx 37 degrees C and stir in the yeast. Pour the yeast liquid in the middle of the hole.
  4. Using a spoon, stir in the mixture starting from the middle of the hole in one direction. Add the remaining of the liquid slowly. You may or may not use all the liquid depending on the humidity of the air when you are making the dough. You will learn to judge once you have made bread a few time, if unsure, just add all the required liquid as per recipe (you may just have to use more flour when kneading to prevent sticking).
  5. When the dough thickens and all ingredient mixed in, knead with hands on a floured surface for about 10 minutes to stretch the gluten in the flour. You may need to keep sprinkling some flour on the surface to prevent sticking to the workbench and hands if your dough is too wet. To knead, lift and fold one end of the dough towards you into the centre, then pushing it down away from you using your fist or heel of your hands. Repeat whilst turning the dough around.
  6. To proof the dough, shape it into a ball and place it on a lightly greased or floured bowl and cover with cling film or a moist warm cloth. Proof in a warm and moist environment for at least 30 minutes making sure the dough roughly double in bulk. A neat trick my sister in-law tought me – place a small ball of dough (about the size of your little fingernail) into a glass of water, when the dough floats, you dough is ready for the next stage.
  7. Punch down your risen dough to remove air. Divide the dough, shaping it into balls and leave it a side, covered for 15 minutes to rest.
  8. Shape the dough and leave to proof for 30 to 40 minutes covered with cling film or wet cloth. Note, I omit this second proofing when making pizza.
  9. Bake immediately after second proofing in a preheated oven.
  10. When making bread, I bake the bread at 150 degrees C for 15 minutes, when making pizza, I bake it at 170 degrees C for 15 minutes. I have a fan assisten oven you may need to adjust your oven temperature to approx 180 degrees C for breat and 200 degrees C for pizza.



Making Homemade Pizza from Scratch (Macaroni and Cheese Pizza) with Spinach Bread

Last night I asked my 3 years old Ethan what he would like to cook for his dinner today. The options I gave him were
1. Sushi
2. Quiche
3. Pizza
4. Chicken pie

Ethan told me he would like macaroni and cheese pizza! What a weird combo I thought and laughed …it looks like I will have to eat my words and it is Ethan who had the last laugh. Hubs was quite keen and seemed intriged with the idea of having macaroni and cheese pizza! Ethan was singing Barney’s or rather Baby Bob’s macaroni and cheese song the whole night, he was so excited, bless him. So we made MACARONI AND CHEESE PIZZA today ….and it was delicious! So good that we will make this again….and this will surely stay in our family ‘dinner menu’ …another successful yummy experiment!…This time thanks to Ethan’s creative palate!

We cooked the whole day (with long breaks in between for some other fun stuffs)

First we made white sauce for the macaroni and cheese (recipe and method is linked)…and we boiled some macaroni.
Then we made the tomato sauce for the pizza (recipe and method is linked).
Then about 1 hour before dinner, we made the bread base…we made spinach bread! The basic recipe and method for the bread is from my previous post with some additions.
Once the bread had proofed or prooved…not sure which, we slap on the toppings starting with the tomato sauce leaving the cheese til last and drizzled with olive oil before it goes into the oven.

For toppings, Ethan had loads of mushrooms (his fav), cheese (we had chedddar and 2 types of mozarella), ham, olives, prosciutto, cherry plum tomatoes, sweet bell pepper, caramelised red onion, fresh basel, fresh spinach.

This batch should feed about 4 adults (unless you are big eaters) ..we made 1 portion of macaroni and cheese pizza, 1 portion of prosciutto, tomato, olive and spinach pizza and 2 portions of mushroom, pepper and ham pizza.


Ingredients for making spinach pizza bread
150 mL spinach juice including pulp from approx 150 g fresh spinach (steamed, liquidised spinach made up to 150 mL with water/milk or milk substitute)
1 egg
110g to 120g TangZhong (made using 25 g bread flour, I use wholemeal bread flour and 125ml spinach juice, I use water used to steam spinach)
25 ml olive oil
1 tsp salt (optional, I don’tadd salt)
1 tbsp sugar 
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tsp rosemarry
1 tsp Italian mix herbs
360g bread flour
90g self-raising flour
6 g instant yeast

Note if making plain pizza bread, just substitute spinach juice with water or milk.

Method for making spinach pizza bread

 I use my bread maker following the manufacturer’s instruction. Basically, I add the ingredients as per the sequence listed above.

For manual method, refer to my new post on Making Homemade Bread or Pizza Without a Bread Maker or Dough Hook.

I assemble the ingredients and bake it at 170 degrees C with my fan assisten oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Pi Day (3.14)

Did anyone notice that it is Pi day today? Today is March 14 i.e. 3.14 = Pi the methematical constant!

Okay, I am not that much of a nerd, we had fish pie the day before, so not having any pie today, though I was tempted to make another pie just for fun… 🙂

Picture from Wiki.

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