Mother’s Day Buttermilk Pancakes

As children, my siblings and I had one genius idea for a Mother’s Day present for my mother: Breakfast in bed! We all agreed to surprise our mother in her pyjamas in her bed with a tray of pancakes, a glass of milk and a good jumping up and down on her bed. It was never discussed if this should happen before or after eating, but at least we agreed that pancakes were the way to go!

So for this Mother’s Day, I’d love to share the pancake that is made to impress: Buttermilk pancakes made from scratch.

And yes, you can make your own buttermilk at home! With what, you say?

 

Vinegar! Yes, vinegar. Vinegar + Milk = Buttermilk!

Simply put, buttermilk is milk that has a high amount of lactic acid. Buttermilk was traditionally made by leaving milk out overnight for the natural sugars in milk to ferment into lactic acid. Why would people ruin milk by leaving it out to sour? Buttermilk turned out to be great for cooking and baking. It is commonly used to marinate fried chicken as the acid tenderizes the meat and creates a great crumb and texture when used in baking.

And of course, it makes amazing pancakes. Here’s how to do it at home:

Look ma, hearts!

Mother’s Day Buttermilk Pancakes

Ingredients:

Method:

Prepare the buttermilk: Add the cherry vinegar to the milk in a cup, stir, and set aside. It’s supposed to thicken and curdle a little bit, with small little lumps.

Add the flour, baking soda and baking powder and salt to a bowl and mix. Set aside.

In another large bowl, whisk the egg,  butter, vanilla and sugar/honey together. Slowly pour in the prepared butter milk while whisking, and mix until combined.

Add about of the flour mixture to the bowl of wet ingredients, and whisk until mostly incorporated. Add the rest of the flour and mix just until lumps disappear. You want some bubbles, so don’t over-mix or else the bubbles will disappear.

Heat a pan over medium heat, and add butter when hot. Pour one ladle of batter into the pan, and lower the heat. Bubbles should soon start forming on the surface. When more than half of the surface has bubbles, flip the pancake and cook the other side until golden brown.

Use silicon molds to make pancakes taller, fluffier and cuter!

Repeat until all the batter is used.

Serve the pancakes with your favorite topping. My mother’s favorite is our delicious cherry jam. Other recommended toppings are honey, maple syrup, vanilla gelato, and whipped cream!

And go surprise your mother (or special someone) with a special breakfast in bed!

 

Honey Vinegar Drink

Honey and Vinegar Drink

So I asked my mother what was the recipe for that drink she made for the family time and time again for us to drink as a “good drink for you”.

She told me not 2 things, but 4 things:

Honey.

Vinegar.

Water.

Taste.

That’s either the simplest recipe for a drink I’ve ever heard, or one where she wasn’t even trying.

Then I tried the drink myself.

It immediately reminded me of the ‘honey lemon’ drinks available at kopitiams or food courts, but with a different kind of kick which was pleasant, not alarming. She kept this one on the sweet side, because she preferred it that way.

I blended my own cup with more vinegar to my tastes. Hence, taste.

I did not realize that the drink would help me out in my other job as well. In the stressful mess that is filming a drama show, my camera and production crew were tired and falling ill from fatigue. Mum had just arrived back in town with my brother, and immediately called me and asked where I was. She appeared at our filming location with two flasks of this drink and sped off.

The few crew members who were not daunted by the ‘vinegar’ in the drink took a few cupfuls, and they came out of their sickness a few days later. The others that did not sloughed on with sniffly noses and sore throats.

This honestly should come to no surprise as some, but *I* was the surprised individual at how effective this drink worked! One may expect it to be like its kopitiam cousin – cold, a little sweet and too watered down to enjoy any real health benefits.

Then when you look at what went in, it’s a no-brainer:

– With real whole cherry fruits contributing to the cherry vinegar’s creation, the cherry’s inflammatory properties were involved.

– Vinegar’s acetic acid being a bacteria fighter

– Honey, in enough quantity and form, is also antibacterial and helps fight inflammation. It’s a go-to choice to reduce irritation in the throat for coughs and sore throats.

This is that drink itself, and here is how I like it:

Stir like crazy with a metal spoon and serve chilled. Chug and enjoy.

If you worry that the honey will not dissolve, you may make this concoction with warm to hot water and chill in the fridge before serving. You can also throw in ice cubes just before serving.

Lastly, like my mother and I, different people will enjoy different amounts of sweetness and tartness. You may not get it right immediately, but that’s okay. Adjust your own amounts of honey and vinegar and you will find your preferred balance. You can even go fancy with a slice of lemon, or tonic water. It’s your health boost in a cup to enjoy.

– Mabel

Recipes: Garlic and Merlot Vinaigrette Salad

It comes to no surprise that our Garlic and Merlot vinaigrette is a winner amongst those who are familiar with the ‘Asian’ taste. The mixture of Garlic extra virgin olive oil and Merlot vinegar makes this a light-tasting topper that reminds one of garlic fried rice.


Hence it comes with little wonder that recipes for a salad to use this vinaigrette with surfaced. Here is one suggestion to try out.

Garlic Merlot Salad

A quick and simple salad that is refreshing and goes well with a quiche.  Serves 2 to 4.

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Ingredients

200g of ready washed salad mix for convenience or 1 small iceberg lettuce

100 gm of baby tomatoes or 2 regular tomatoes sliced into wedges

30 ml of Garlic Merlot Extra Virgin Olive Oil Vinaigrette

2 teaspoons of Bush Mallee or any Honey

50g cheddar cheese cut into cubes

Pinch of salt (optional)

 

Method:

  1. All vegetables should be washed and made as dry as possible. So it is easier to use pre-washed salad mix.
  2. Mix the Garlic Merlot Vinaigrette and honey in a small bowl. Add a pinch of salt if desired.
  3. Pour over the vegetables and tomatoes and toss it thoroughly.
  4. Let the salad rest in the fridge for 15 minutes and sprinkle cheese cubes over just before serving.

 

Tips:

  1. To dry washed vegetables, you can use a salad spinner or you can dry them between two layers of paper or cloth kitchen towel gently.
  2. You can choose to add various vegetables such as chopped celery sticks or diced apples. Avoid fruits that are soft and mushy.  We should aim to keep the salad crunchy and crisp.
  3. You can add nuts such as pine nuts or almonds just before serving.
  4. You can prepare the salad in advance. Cling wrap the bowl and keep cool in the refrigerator.   Add the cheese when you are ready to serve.

Recipe: Cherry Vinegar Ginger and Pork

Lunar New Year 2018 is around the corner and we are busy prepping the big reunion dinner dishes. Here is mum’s latest contribution – something usually reserved for confinement but mum has made it for guests and neighbors following a positive reception.


This recipe requires more than a day of preparation, but is worth it in the end.

“This is usually served during confinement as ginger provides the body with heat.  Using cherry vinegar instead of regular vinegar helps provide anti-inflammatory properties and is a lot smoother.”

Serves a family:

1 kg Young fresh ginger

2.5 kg Pork Trotter

1.5 litre Cherry Vinegar

500 ml water

350 g Rock Sugar

350 g Brown Sugar

4 tbsp Sesame Oil for frying ginger

2 tbsp Sesame Oil for frying pork

Method:

  • Wash and dry the pork trotter and leave in fridge to be used next day.
  • Scrap skin off the young ginger
  • Crack the root with a knock and leave aside to dry
  • Heat sesame oil and fry the ginger in medium fire till slightly brown and fragrant
  • Transfer the fried ginger into a stainless steel or earthenware pot.
  • Switch off fire from the wok.  Pour the vinegar and water into the wok to gather the rest of the sesame oil and then pour into the pot where the ginger is.
  • Add the brown and rock sugar into the pot and heat it up to a boil.
  • Boil in low heat for 5 min and then switch off the fire.  Leave the ginger to soak in the pot overnight.
  • Add the brown and rock sugar into the pot and heat it up to a boil.
  • Heat 2 tbsp sesame oil in work and fry the pork till brown.
  • Add the fried pork into the vinegar and ginger pot.
  • Bring to boil and lower heat to boil for 30 minutes over low heat or until pork is cooked through and is tender.
  • Leave aside covered.

To serve, heat up the pot and serve with rice.”

The end result looks amazing – but don’t forget to spoon off all the oil that has risen from the pork. That will make this dish much healthier. Enjoy!

Recipes: Walnut and Olive Salad

The most common question I receive from customers is “What can I use my oil with? Salads?”

Salads are the default go-to for extra virgin olive oil, and here is a recipe I learnt from my good friend Helen, the lady behind Marble Hill Cherries, which uses walnuts and olives to make a nutritious side dish to meals.

A basic tip to start: A mix of olive oil and vinegar is a great way to add flavour and texture, to coat over the ingredients of the salad. This recipe has our go-to for a mix:

EVOO
Merlot Vinegar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walnut & Olive Salad

A healthy, colorful, tasty and simple salad.  Goes well with any other dishes.  Serves 6 to 8 people

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Ingredients:

200g ready washed salad mix vegetables (or you can make your own with baby spinach, rocket, etc.)

125 gm of cherry tomatoes

6 large leaves of iceberg lettuce for lining the bowl (optionally use a small iceberg lettuce, retain the outer leaves and add the rest to the salad vegetables)

125 g box of blueberries (optional)

100 gm of pickled olive halves (without stones)

½ cup of roughly chopped walnuts

15 ml of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

20 ml of Merlot Vinegar

Salt & pepper for seasoning

Method:

  1. All vegetables including tomatoes should be washed and made as dry as possible. So it is easier to use pre-washed salad mix.  If you are using iceberg lettuce in the salad, retain 6 leaves for decoration, break the rest into bite-size pieces and add to the rest of the vegetables.  Put all vegetables in a large bowl for tossing.  (Do not put in the blueberries, walnuts and olives.)
  2. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the vegetables.
  3. Pour the extra virgin olive oil and merlot vinegar on top and give the vegetables a good toss using a wooden spoon or clean hands. Do not squash the vegetables.  The aim is to coat all the vegetables will a thin layer of the olive oil and vinegar.
  4. Line your presentation bowl with the 6 leaves of iceberg lettuce.
  5. Put the salad vegetables onto the iceberg lettuce. Sprinkle on the olives and blueberries.  Add the walnuts just before serving.

 

Tips:

  1. To dry washed vegetables, you can use a salad spinner or you can dry them between two layers of paper or cloth kitchen towel gently.
  2. You can choose to add various vegetables such as chopped celery sticks or diced apples. Avoid fruits that are soft and mushy.  We should aim to keep the salad crunchy and crisp.
  3. Try replacing walnut with other nuts such as pine nuts or almonds.
  4. You can prepare the salad in advance. Cling wrap the bowl and keep cool in the refrigerator.   Add the walnut when you are ready to serve.