Konjac Jellies a Beautiful Dessert!

Kojac-Jellies

A few months ago I had lunch with a friend, Maggie who shared her konjac noodles recipes with us. She has a lovely shop where you can find konjac sponges for face and body, and she enjoys exploring different ways of using this beauty food… Well, she’s done it again! Check out these dessert jellies – you should of seen my face when she presented them to me! 

Not only was it incredibly fun to eat flowers, but they were delicious! Sweet, but light and with a fresh pop of blueberries. Trust me, gather the ingredients and give this recipe a go! Can you imagine how pretty they would look served at dinner party, birthday or even for Easter brunch! Your friends will go crazy for them! Plus, Maggie tells me they were super easy to make :)

make-konjac-jellies

Flower Jellies
by Maggie of Not a Sponge

Konnyaku (konjac) jellies are generally served with fresh fruit pieces inside. Some of the tastiest fruits are mangosteen, mango, blueberries, red berries and strawberries.

Recipe

1. Place a couple of small pieces of your favourite chopped fruit into moulds and add some edible organic flower petals on top.

2. Mix 1 packet (10g) Konnyaku powder with 150g castor sugar (or create your own natural sugar using the juice from sweet grapes)

3. Pour mixture into 950ml water gradually and stir till a gentle boil, then turn off flame.

4. Keep stirring for about 5 minutes, till the liquid doesn’t have too many fine bubbles

5. Add 1/8 tsp  citric acid stir well

6. Pour konnyaku liquid into the fruit-filled moulds 3 times, each time filling 1/3 of the mould (this ensures even distribution of the fruit pieces & petals

7. Chill in refrigerator for 3 hours before removing from the mould.

Singapore Shopping Guide

  • you can find edible flowers in Cold Storage (I’ve personally seen them at the Parkway Parade Cold Storage) or Lemon Zest
  • find molds in baking shops like Sia Huat, TOTT or Lemon Zest

Cookie Cutter French Toast Recipe

Header

I had to grab a few pics from our breakfast – these little french toast bites were a huge hit with the girls! If you could of seen there faces light up when they sat down for breakfast, it’s exactly how I want them to feel everyday! Sure, I let them sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top – my mission is more about creating beautiful meals together, than stressing over a little sugar… We had a blast making it, and even more fun eating it up. Give this quick breakfast a go and see what you think! :)

Make-French-Toast2

Cookie-Cutter French Toast Bites

Ingredients: 

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, beat the eggs with the milk, vanilla essence, coconut sugar and salt
  2. Cut shapes out of your bread using a cookie cutter
  3. Dip the bread in the egg mixture for a few second to soak up the liquid, but not too long or it will fall apart
  4. Heat up your pan with butter or coconut oil
  5. Cook up your bites, about two minutes per side
  6. Serve with fresh fruit, maple syrup or a dusting of powdered sugar

bread-crumbs

14 Kitchen Ideas that Make Life Easier

kitchen-tips

Creating an efficient kitchen gives me a weird sense of excitement –  but it’s because I know that when my kitchen is in order, I get happy about making food – and I believe that’s exactly how we need to feel! I’ve also thrown in a few extra ideas that will not only help you feel happy, but also incredibly clever as you reduce on waste, save money and make life easy!

1. Hang Your Lids

Lids drive me insane! This looks hopeful….

hang-lids

2. Think Outside the Box

Talk about using the most out of every space. This storage idea is smart for small kitchens like mine

magazine-rack

3. Label it!

No more tossing out forgotten (but perfectly good) food. Keep a roll of tape and a marker handy, you’ll reduce waste and save money! Clever you :)

label-everything

4. Every Last Drop!

No more scraping – simply pour hot milk in a near-empty jar of Nutella, or hot tea in a near-empty jar of honey and enjoy!

hot-chocolate-jar

5. Make your Own Double Broiler

Don’t have a double broiler? Save your money and fashion one yourself!

double-broiler

6. Freeze your Greens

If you love green shakes, here’s a great way to prepare a batch of greens ready to go!

freeze-leafy-greens

7. No Fancy Equipment Needed 

Make healthy, yummy frozen pops to please a crowd – and you don’t need special molds or a popsicle maker!
yogurt

8. Create Extra Space

Give yourself a little extra chopping room, with this weekend DIY. All you need is a chopping board and set of legs – I reckon Ikea has you covered for both!

butcher-block-on-legs

9. Serve it straight up

Save on the washing up, serve a presentable meal on the very pan or chopping board you prepared it on!

serving-dish photo by: Michael Graydon

10. Quick Flavour

These flavour cubes not only make your meal delicious, but are also a great way to preserve your herbs! Double win!

herbs

11. Follow a Recipe

Keep that recipe up in view, but out of your batter!

hanger

12. Explore your Inner Neat Freak

Imagine how proud of yourself you’ll be, to open your fridge and find this…

organize-your-fridge

13. Make Use of It!

Use the inside of your cabinets to tuck away little bits and bobs. Hang tools, notes and recipes!

cork

14. Buzz off! 

You can’t cook a happy meal with fruit flies buzzing around. Use this tried and tested tip to get rid of them!

fruit-flies

How about you? Any killer tips to share with the Little Green Dot community? Let me know in the comments!

Composting Made Easy

Learn Urban Composting

Whether you want to grow your own veggie garden, windowsill herbs or a simple pot of mint – the secret to healthy, thriving plants is in the soil. A good compost can make all the difference. And, if you grow edible plants,  it will produce healthier food for you.

It turns out making your own compost is far easier than I thought. Nature basically does all the work,  and you get to recycle food scraps and make use of those greens you forgot about in the back of your fridge.

Nova-and-her-father

To learn this process, I went straight to the experts. Edible Gardens invited me on a private workshop headed by Nova who grew up learning from her father, an organic composter since the 70’s.

Nova taught me a simplified version for compost making. For those of us who don’t necessarily have a green thumb, a lot of space or a ton of time – we can still do this!

Composting Made Easy

  • cost: practically free
  • effort: 5 minutes per week for 12 weeks. Yes!
  • benefit: mineral rich, nutrient rich compost for healthy plants

layers

Nova demonstrated the compost in a wire frame, so that we can see the layers going in. But, at home you’ll use a plastic drum container with a lid.

#1. drill holes for ventilation

bin

#2. alternate brown & green layers

The brown materials provide carbon, a good source of energy for your compost. The greens provide a good source of potassium, nutrients and minerals. Total ratio is 3:1 dry to wet.

dry-and-wet-layers

#3. add extras and enhancers

Nova adds coffee grounds, egg shells, chicken manure and ground bones to enhance the soil. Each adds its own nutrients, minerals and the manure is a great fertiliser. For extras – you can add paper cups and cardboard to your pile too – what a great way to recycle them!

building-the-compost2

Nova makes her own growth promoter, a solution of effective microorganisms made by fermenting fruit scraps, water and sugar. It’s incredibly beneficial for your soil – She shares the recipe on her blog – check it out here!

splashing of water

#4. after 90 days – from scraps to compost

it’s magic!

from-this-to-that

Urban Compost Recipe

think of it like making a stew, you add your layers of flavour, close the lid and leave it alone to slowly simmer…

ingredients:

  • brown materials: dried leaves, newspaper, cardboard, paper cups
  • green materials: fruit and veggie scraps, green leaves and plants
  • enhancers: ground bones, egg shells, Growth Promoter, coffee grounds (fresh or used) Put calcium, minerals and nutrients into your compost!

directions:

  • choose your container, something that fits well in your space. Nova recommends a round container, so that you can easily knock it on it’s side and roll it up and down when you need to stir your compost weekly. It can be the size of a standard mop bucket or slightly larger.
  • drill holes along the sides and at the bottom to allow for air ventilation. If you’re concerned about compost tea dripping out and making a mess –  keep the bucket on a tray – but do keep the area dry as to not attract pests.
  • start with a layer of  mulch or sugar cane waste. This helps with drainage and  to soak up extra moisture
  • add a layer of brown
  • add a layer of green – the more variety, the more nutrients you’ll be receiving.
  • continue to alternate until you reach half way up your bucket
  • add your enhancers. It wasn’t so much about measurements here. Treat them like seasonings – you want your pot to be well seasoned.
  • give it a good splashing of water
  • continue with your alternate brown and green layers
  • give it a last splash of water and end with a layer of newspaper
  • close the lid
  • once a week, stir the pot. You can do it with your hands, with a heavy stick, or better, if you have a round container, simply roll it up and down on it’s side a few times.

trouble-shooting

troublshooting

  • white  growth. You may see a white fluffy mold growing – it’s harmless and probably means your compost is too wet or hot. Add in more dry material and give it a good turn. Make sure it’s getting enough air ventilation
  • not breaking down. If your scraps are too large, they will take longer to break down. Try to cut down the scraps as small as you can
  • it smells. Compost should not smell bad. It should smell of earth, but not rotten! Your compost is probably too wet and has too many green layers. Try adding in some more browns and give your compost a good turn. If you can’t bring it back – let it go and start over again.
  • too dry.  you may have too much brown material or the heat is dehydrating your compost. Add in more greens.
  • collecting materials. start storing your veg and fruit scraps in a tupperware container with a lid – no more worrying over lost produce – throw it in your compost and it returns back to you in the form of healthy soil! When you’re out, keep a bag handy so that you can pick up any dead leaves you find along the way. When you have enough material to fill your bin, begin your compost.
  • learn more. Nova recommends The Rodale Book of Composting as a good guide to have handy. Also check out her blog, Cultivate Central!

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That felt like a lot of  info to  pack in there, but I promise – the process was easy and quick. Once you fill your bin, it’s just a matter of waiting for nature to do its thing. Once a week, check in on it, give it a turn and that’s it. So how do you use your compost? To make the best soil mix for you potted plants! I’ll be asking Nova to share her recipe for that too – so go get started on that compost, and check back in!

nova

 

10 Uses for Vanilla Pods

Last month, I bought a monster bag of vanilla beans (the picture below is only half of the bag and it’s super cheap too!) I’ve been busy playing and have discovered tons of uses for them to have your kitchen, hair and skin smelling (and tasting)… delicious!

10-Uses-For-Vanilla-Pods

In the past whenever I had a vanilla pod in the house, I would store it away like a squirrel, waiting for a special occasion.  It was so precious that I hesitated using it - and more than once – would end up later finding it dry and shrivelled – wasting away. Has this happened to you? Please don’t let your vanilla pods sit in your pantry waiting for that “perfect” recipe. Just like your good crystal glasses and fancy plates – make use of them! There’s no better, or more precious time than this very moment!

Slice open a vanilla pod lengthwise. Inside you’ll find thousands of tiny, fragrant seeds. A good vanilla pod should be flexible and slightly moist. For any recipe that calls for vanilla extract, you can replace it with fresh vanilla pod seeds.

Vanilla-Extract-Substitute
What ever you do, never throw away the outer shell! After you’ve scraped the seeds out, there’s still great use for the pods!

1. Vanilla “Ice Cream” 

scoop out the seeds and grab two frozen bananas. Place the seeds and bananas in a blender or a food processor is best if you have one. Blend them up and you’l have an ice-cream that you can serve for dessert, or eat for breakfast! I like to add a scoop of peanut butter, or mix in chocolate chips or cacao nibs after blending. Keep the outer pod for any of the ideas below.

2. Make Infused Maple Syrup

this is pure heaven, pour it over pancakes, crepes, waffles… also good for dipping fingers :)

Vanilla Powdered Sugar

5. Make a Flavoured Powdered Sugar 

dry the used pods and then grind them up with sugar to make a vanilla powdered sugar. Try it with coconut sugar and sprinkle over “raw” brownies!

3. Make Vanilla Extract 

in a glass bottle, add 8 vanilla pods to 1 cup of vodka. Let it sit in your pantry for 6 weeks, shaking regularly. You’ll then have an extract which you can use like the store bought kind for cooking – but also – as a fragrance! Spritz it in the air, or add a splash to your body butter recipe or even in a bath.

4. Make Infused Salt  

fill a glass jar with coarse sea salt. Bury in a few pods (use the ones that you scraped out the seeds from) Every time you use a new pod, add it to your jar of vanilla salt. Here’s how you can use it:

  • Use it for any baking recipe that calls for a pinch of salt
  • sprinkle a little over homemade chocolate treats
  • with roasted sweet potato, pumpkin or carrots
  • to make roasted cashews or nuts
  • in a tomato soup to enhance the flavour
  • to use as a body scrub. If the salt is too coarse, grind it with the pods for a few seconds.

Vanilla-Coffee

6. Make Vanilla Flavoured Coffee

gently warm sliced vanilla pods in milk to flavour your coffee. Tip: afterwards, rinse the pods in water and let them dry out, you can still use them!

7. Make a Vanilla Sugar Body Scrub

dry out your used vanilla pods and in a blender with just enough sugar to get your blender going. Then mix what you blended with fine sugar (if you blend all of the sugar, your scrub will be too powdery and will melt away in the oil) Place the sugar in a nice container and slowly add oil (check out my favorite oils for skin) until it forms a wet sand consistency.

8. Make vanilla body powder

dry out your used pods completely, then grind them with arrowroot powder. You can use this all over as scented body powder.

9. Make vanilla dry shampoo 

dry out your used pods completely, then grind them with a mixture of 2 parts rice powder, 1 part baking soda. If you have dark hair, add in a bit of coco powder. Sprinkle this scented powder on your scalp and brush out to remove excess oils.

Infused Oil

10. Make Infused Body Oil

use this oil straight on the body as a moisturizer, for the hair to blend into your other skincare recipes like a body cream or body butter! If you have tiny seeds in your oil that you don’t want on your skin, strain them out with a coffee filter.

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Top two and bottom photos by Fellow Fellow for Little Green Dot.

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