Mother to five, parent in progress and occasional kitchenista cookerella

Category: Budget Recipes Page 3 of 4

Bubur Terigu

There’s nothing like a sweet bowl of hot, piping Bubur Terigu to soothe my inner Mama. It’s really been some time that I’ve done something for myself and rid myself of mama psyche: that translates to not having to overthink if the kids will like it or not but cooking it anyway. If they are not fans…that can only be good news as I can have the whole pot to myself no??

It’s also been some time I made something I really do enjoy eating, which are no, NOT the usual fancy sugared donuts or too-sweet cupcakes that you can pick easily off most shopping enclaves NOR the overpriced desserts you get at dine-in restaurants. All I wanted was something laid-back, humble, soupy and delicious: bubur terigu or wheat porridge, fit that bill to the T.

It’s hot so you calm down and enjoy it unhurriedly, NOBODY should rush you through this. It’s sweet, delectable and pleasingly rich…who can get enough of gula melaka and coconut cream? It’s textured and has bite: which I absolutely love. Best of all, it’s really fuss-free: just make sure you soak the grains for a minimum of 2 hours to cut down stove time to 40 minutes or less if you use a themal or pressure pot.

Here’s a brilliant recipe:…/…

Grapefruit-Lemon Ricotta Muffins

I am a maternal creature of habit; I bake, cook, tinker around the stove often enough and manage to pull off suitably decent grub for my constantly hungry family. The food manages to appeal enough to do a disappearing act off the dinner tables in crazy quick time, leaving a trail of crumbs…usually on the floor. Sometimes, it makes me question if I DID really make something at all with my culinary effort feeling completely ephemeral. In time, I forget, until I plough through photographic evidence like a food “forensic”, pleasantly surprised that some food memories can be uncovered.

This recipe is one of them, nearly forgotten in the recesses of archived data and contented stomachs.
Made on one of those sunny but cool afternoons in Melbourne, I had just been blessed with a few grapefruit and lemon from the abundance of local spring harvest. In the land of milk and good cheese, ricotta was the obvious choice to go with the citrusy bright flavours.

I remember thinking this would not be perfect without some whipped cream and our happy family of six skipped into the brightly-lit supermarket to get ourselves a can. The kids loved choosing the wrappers to encase the soft biscuity cake and then thrilled themselves further by shaking the can, and watching the artistic flourish of the whip mount itself delectably on top the pinnacle of our afternoon delight. A worthy memory indeed.

**add 1-2 tablespoons of grapefruit or orange as you like it.…/nonnas-lemon-ricotta-biscuits-…

Pineapple Prawn Curry

A quick tribute post to the love of my life: chili, spice and all things nice : Udang masak lemak nenas…

This is a nonya curry and a completely appetizing dish with a generous sweet- sour coconut gravy to soak with white rice. What really dances in this curry are the full-bodied crustaceans and fragrant sweet pineapple that together, simply waltz through and burst out of your tastebuds with astonishing flavour.

If you have a blender, the rempah (spice paste) is not too difficult to make from scratch. I confess I have a really tiny one at home and had to do this in two batches. It was rather pathetic. One of my kitchen dreams is to own a good-sized state of the art food processor where you just throw stuff in and it proceeds to rip everything apart in a heart-thumping, pulsating swirl. Sadistic cook? Probably. Meanwhile, I shall shelve that thought for Christmas?.

Avocado Cream & Pomegranate Salad

Avocado Cream and Pomegranate Salad in christmas colours

Christmas is reining the year in to a holly jolly close and thought I’d try something random and Christmassy-that’s void of too much effort …lest it add to our already frenetic and mind-boggling tasks of procuring presents for the X’mas season!

The obvious fuss free choice was salads. We love our greens and the great thing about salads is you can throw in pretty much what you have dangling in the fridge for a nutritious munch. For this, we had some ripened avocados and pomegranates, donning the official colours of X’mas, which were just begging to be whipped up. Further to that, the kind folks at Nature’s Glory sent us a bottle of Dr Bronner’s Fresh Pressed Virgin Coconut oil to experiment with, which couldn’t make a better X’mas gift for this budget mama.

Certified organic to USDA National Organic Program standards, Dr. Bronner’s Fair Trade & Organic Whole Kernel Virgin Coconut Oil IS health food. Cold-pressed from fresh, carefully dried coconuts, and can be used as an alternative to butter and other oils for stir-frying, making sauces, and baking. Increasingly, doctors and nutritionists are now recognizing coconut oil as an oil that may offer many health benefits ranging from improving good cholesterol, digestion, brain health and improving thyroid function. Read more here:

This dressing is super simple to make, gluten free and dairy free. It is also really versatile: use it over a salad, in slaw, as a sauce for pasta or grains, as a dip for crackers, and so on. It would even be great as a sauce on tacos or a spread on sandwiches. A little kick of cumin to raise the heat slightly and a nice tartness with the lime and apple cider vinegar. Of course, the VCO binded it well together with a nice consistency and mildly sweet fragrance.

Creamy Avocado Dressing – Gluten-free + Dairy-free

1 large (or 2 small) ripe avocado
1/4 cup Dr Bronner’s Fresh Pressed Virgin Coconut oil
1 handful fresh cilantro
1tsp cumin powder
2-3 cloves garlic
1 tsp lime juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water (you may want more if you want it thinner)
Blend together in blender till smooth and spoon over salad!

Salad: lettuce, cucumber, cherry toms?


Good news for those who like the benefits of coconut oil or who are racking their brains for a meaningful family gift:

**Nature’s Glory is offering a clearance promotion which offers 1 large bottle of whole kernel Dr. Bronner’s Coconut Oil at $39.80 + a small bottle worth $21.90 free!**

For reading on the many benefits of coconut oil:

Eat a Mummy


One of the daily challenges in mum-dom is encouraging my three year old to like eating vegetables. Perhaps I have become immune or have learnt to feign ignorance to the “choking”, “gagging” and “tears” that inevitably seem to arise when she starts to eat them.

Indeed, the veritable v-word has been difficult to pronounce and even harder to swallow. I recall trying to encourage her when she was a doe-eyed two and looking at the vegetables mixed in the plate before her, apprehensively and with suspicion. In my feeble attempts to vigorously nod my head every time she attempted to take a bite and cheer her on…”yes, yes, yes!”, I would exclaim, we now call them “yes-tables”–yes to vegetables. It’s hilarious but the “word” has stuck and so have my efforts to glorify them.

It was with great pleasure that I got a chance to introduce her today to edamame for mid-afternoon snack. Edamames–preparation of immature soybeans in the pod, -are found in the cuisine of China, Japan, Korea. The pods are boiled or steamed and served with salt. They are also fuss-free and nutrient packed, a really easy condiment of greens at the dinner table. They are now on offer at NTUC Finest. You’re welcome.

As expected, her first instinct was to frown but fortunately her older sister caught on and popped a few pods in the her mouth. “Edamame” sounds like “Eat-a-mummy”, no?”her sister quipped. “You wanna eat-a-mummy?” The little one looked at her with brightly lit eyes, realised it might be a queer but adventurous proposition, and dived right in. ‪#‎eatingtherainbow‬‪#‎fussfreevegetables‬ ‪#‎notagoodmothersdayidea‬

Bread and Butter Issues

Have been rolling on some late nights working on some freelance writing, overcoming my tech phobia by reading up on WordPress and committing, yes finally committing to a Udemy course on how to set up and manage a website. There. Now I’ve sealed my words in print. No more procrastinating. No more aimless Pinterest surfing and K dramas. Work.

It’s been a whole new fantastical escapism for me in between bouts of laundry, kiddy tantrums and picking up crumbs, to be thinking of other work other than my primary “work”–mothering. My emergence into a night owl and now more regular than not, work-at-home mom, has made extravagant cuts to my sleep-life balance. This may seem penny wise and pound foolish (yes,ironic) but unlike the furor over Brexit, I am fortunately aware of what I’ve voted for: the desire to push forward for a greater union & vision for my irresistibly adorable tribe.

Obviously, there’s no exiting motherhood and am, like it or not, invested for the long haul (diapers to dissertations!). Constantly working, constantly present, constantly ploughing for the hearts of my children and precious ones within my influence, constantly dreaming of days yet lived, for soon-to-come harvests, and constantly itching for adventure!

Weekdays trigger my lamentations of these bread and butter issues. Weekends, on the contrary, trigger my random impulses to cope with them through some kitchen therapy. Here’s to more excitement in the days to come and to pillowy comfort food like Bread and Butter Pudding for those late nights!

1 loaf of leftover white bread, cut into triangle halfs
30 g unsalted butter (melted)
Jam of your choice
1 pinch cinnamon powder
1 pinch nutmeg powder
½ cup sultanas
1/2 can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
3 eggs
1 can Evaporated Milk, 375mL
2 tsp vanilla essence

1. Preheat oven to 170°C.
2. Using a brush spread one side bread slices with melted butter, jam and arrange buttered side up in shallow ovenproof dish, sprinkle with sultanas.

3. Combine remaining ingredients, whisk well. Pour custard over bread.
Bake in preheated oven 40-45 minutes until set.

1453 Days

It’s been sizzling hot where we are in the tropics and for a pregnant woman with an oversized belly, that’s really not funny.

Besides perspiring and waddling around not being able to remember what my feet actually LOOK like, it doesn’t help feeling like an upside-down turtle while trying to side-flip to get out of bed in order to get bladder relief. Not forgetting fending off queries like “You still around?”(I wish I was on a summer holiday or take the next shuttle to space?) and well-meaning quips like “your belly is very big”(duh…come to think about it..I possibly ate another human.)

And the eating doesn’t seem to stop… to be more accurate, have been eating like there’s no tomorrow! Away with constant thoughts of piping cinnamon buns and ice cream at 11pm at night…! A humorous quip goes: Each month has an average of 30-31 days, except the last month of pregnancy, which has 1453 days. Spot on.

Still, despite what I might look like around the house, there’s still reason to celebrate: I still get a shot at reasonably decent sleep, plus, when I feel like it, I still do nice things ?: like making this Spicy Tuna Aglio Olio. Lots of garlic (love), lots of chili flakes(love), tuna and bell peppers (love), little minions to assist you (love, love, love!) and a homecooked meal (what’s not to love!). Now if that doesn’t make me feel like a “hot” mama, I don’t know what will!

Spicy Tuna Aglio Olio

Spicy Tuna Aglio Olio (Pregnant-friendly)
(Serves 4)

500g spaghetti
5 whole bulb garlic, chopped
2 cans tuna in oil
2 bell peppers
light olive oil
sea salt
Parmesan cheese
red pepper flakes

1. Cook the spaghetti aldente, reserve some pasta water.
2. Prepare chopped garlic and bell peppers thinly sliced. With 3 Tbsp of olive oil on low heat, add the garlic, and fry gently till slightly fragrant for about 1-2mins. Add the bell peppers it, and fry till fragrant. If you like your pasta a little spicy, shake some red pepper flakes into the oil as well.

3. Turn up the heat to medium and add the spaghetti. Fry the spaghetti with the garlic oil, then add the tuna. Mix well.

4. Turn the heat down to low.
Season with sea salt, red pepper flakes, Parmesan cheese to taste.

I Scream Oreo Ice Cream [No Machine!]

We’ve got a sweet tooth and a weakness for cream and it’s been crazy hot this week! So there, not a bad reason for the second ice cream experiment. This time, after whipping up coffee ice cream with whip top cream, I decided to try a recipe with a heavier cream and condensed milk. This was after multiple complaints from the little ones that they couldn’t have heaping spoons of coffee ice cream (restricted access) like they otherwise would, if they were kids born in Brazil! The vote was cast, and they chose Oreo Ice Cream, not my preferred flavour but definitely an overwhelming favourite with these little sweet tooth fairies who were squealing and screaming away in excitement! Kid pleaser!

Oreo Ice Cream

Oreo Ice Cream

Here’s what you need:
[Recipe adapted from]
2 cups cold heavy cream – thickened cream or double cream (35% fat or greater)
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
20 Oreo cookies (use as much or as little as you want)
1/8 tsp. fine salt

1. Place the bowl and whisk attachment of a mixer in the freezer for about 15 minutes to chill.

2. Pour sweetened condensed milk in a separate bowl. Whisk in the vanilla extract and salt, until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

3. Place cookies into a ziplock. Press down to remove air and seal bag.
Roll and smack with a rolling pin, until cookies are broken into desired size pieces. Set aside.

4. Remove whisk and bowl from freezer. Pour heavy cream into chilled bowl and beat until stiff peaks form.

5. Using a wire whisk, gently fold about 1/3 of the whipped cream into the sweetened condensed milk mixture and mix thoroughly. Add the remaining whipped cream and using a rubber spatula fold until well combined. Do not stir. Folding keeps the whipped cream light and fluffy.

6. Dump in the cookies pieces and fold gently until evenly distributed.
Pour the cookies and cream ice cream mixture into one or two freezer safe containers and spread evenly with a spatula.

7. Place a piece of plastic wrap that is larger than the top of the container directly on top of the ice cream. Cover the container with a lid and freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight, until mixture is firm.

Voila! Nothing beats homemade ice cream! Share to save to your timeline.

Mango Tango Ice Cream

This is my third ice cream recipe post, and one of my personal favorites so far. Mentally drooling as I write this and am three-quarter way close to inching myself to the door of the fridge to raid for some as a supper treat. This is made WITHOUT an ice cream machine.

Mango Tango Ice Cream

Mango Tango Ice Cream

The thing is, mango and cream go so exceedingly well together like “shoo-bop sha wadda wadda yippity boom de boom” and that alone, makes this recipe a must-try. The natural sweet goodness of ripe honey mangoes with cream promises to convert and is very achievable (20mins prep), also given that we’re in the midst of mango season. The kids are tossing their Oreos for this, and so are we.

Make it here:

What you need:
2 cups of heavy cream or fresh cream for whipping
1 cup of condensed milk
500 grams of mango puree

1. Put the mango flesh and condensed milk in the food processor and blend. Set aside.

2. In a clean whisking bowl, beat heavy cream until firm peak. Fold 1/2 of the cream to the mango puree. Do the same for the other half. Fold until well combined.

3. Transfer out to a desired container and chill in the freezer until the ice cream is set.

Recipe source:

Check out other ice cream recipes here: Oreo & Coffee

Chicken Karagge

Chicken Karagge (唐揚げ), is the Japanese version of fried chicken. Pronounced kah-rah-ah-geh, it’s a whole four-syllabic worth of crunch that is guaranteed to pack a very decent crisp and crack in each bite, due primarily to the potato starch that coats the simply marinated chicken in a golden rich batter.

Chicken Karage

Chicken Karage

We fried it the conventional way in a deep pot to minimise oil spurts and it was a very pleasing one dish meal. In addition, we flavored the chicken (breast, coz it’s healthier and more budget-friendly) with a tablespoon of fish sauce to the recipe’s already good soy/ginger/sake marinade. A fuss-free weekend winner!

Chicken Karage

Chicken Karage with Rice and side salad

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