Wimbly Lu Chocolates @ Jalan Riang // The Cosiest Little Neighbourhood Cafe

Wimbly Lu Chocolates, Singapore Wimbly Lu Chocolates, Singapore Wimbly Lu Chocolates, Singapore

Here’s yet another café within walking distance from our place, located on the same street as Rokeby Bistro. And like Rokeby, they do decent coffee. Wimbly Lu Chocolates is probably one of the best places to get dessert, but their weekend breakfasts aren’t half bad either. Prices are reasonable, service is lovely. Table sizes are compact, making Wimbly Lu incredibly ideal for lovey-dovey couples on romantic dates or small gatherings up to four. It’s a pretty cosy space with a red brick wall running one length of the narrow café, dark wood flooring, wrought iron ornaments, and a glass roof halfway down the back to allow natural light to flood the otherwise minimally lit interior. That’s +500 hipster points, I say. Continue reading “Wimbly Lu Chocolates @ Jalan Riang // The Cosiest Little Neighbourhood Cafe”

Friday Favourites { 4 December 2015 }

Friday Favourites 4 December 2015

1 | With Christmas on its merry way, I can’t help but think of special things to bake. Tieghan’s salted chocolate & marzipan babka at Half Baked Harvest really sets the bar.
2 | I have a love of good ol’ chocolate-y brownies. These rosemary rye ones at Kitchen Vignettes have every right to sit pretty on any holiday feast table.
3 | Seawolf‘s small online collection of sterling silver jewels are all distinctly mystical. Absolutely enchanted by their dainty necklaces.
4 | With their refreshingly unconventional designs, ToniMay‘s sterling silver gem stone rings have got me swooning. The Pegasus Ring is my current ultimate favourite.
5 | The unique marriage of wood and crystal makes some sort of magical sense, as artfully demonstrated by The Crystal Armour‘s organic jewellery. From rings to pendants, they make the earth’s best wares a part of our lives.

Chocolate Chip Honey Cupcakes with Matcha Icing

Honey Cupcakes Green Tea Icing

So, I’ve been in Singapore for about a week now. The weather here’s been pretty great – humid, but not unbearable; pockets of rain here and there in the afternoons, but they don’t last long. I’ll be picking James up from the airport in a couple of hours. He’s spent the last 5 days in Vanuatu on holiday with his family. I can’t wait to see him again! I hope everyone had a brilliant Christmas, and here’s to an awesome New Year ahead! Continue reading “Chocolate Chip Honey Cupcakes with Matcha Icing”

Orange Spiced Rum Balls

Orange Spiced Rum Balls

I’m taking a break from blogging about our adventures in Japan to bring you this super simple, ultra snazzy recipe for orange spiced rum balls. Just in time for the coming Christmas dinner party you’re gonna be throwing, yes? Continue reading “Orange Spiced Rum Balls”

Supercharged Maca & Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Balls

If simple, nutrient dense snacks are your thing, you’re gonna love these mini “cookie dough” bites. Just throw together some heart-healthy, protein-rich natural peanut butter, a good amount of liver-cleansing LSA (pre-mixed coarsely ground linseeds [flaxseeds], sunflower seeds and almonds), a dash of hormone-regulating maca powder, and some honey, flaky sea salt, chocolate chips and vanilla extract for a flavour boost. Sound tasty? They definitely are!

This is the easiest recipe EVER. All you need is one bowl to mix everything in. Super minimal cleaning! And yeah, this recipe makes quite a number of choc-studded peanut buttery balls and you’re probably wondering “if I make a batch of this stuff, who’s gonna help me eat them all?!”. Well, fear not! They can be stored in the fridge for a long while so you’ll be able to snack on them for days!

If you’re feeling creative and are up for a little experimenting, you can substitute the chocolate chips with a whole range of other add-ins such as cacao nibs (Melbourne-based company Loving Earth offers some great certified organic raw cacao nibs from the Peruvian Amazon, among other health foods), chopped nuts (roasted almonds or hazelnuts would probably taste great here) or maybe even some carob chips. Pretty much whatever you think would go well with peanut butter.

I should probably mention how these taste. In one word? Phenomenal. Plush and doughy, the rich peanut butter gives these honey-sweetened “cookie dough” balls a luxuriously dense consistency with a firm and heavy mouthfeel reminiscent of actual cookie dough. The occasional crunch from the chocolate chips and the grittiness of the ground linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds make for interesting textural additions. Personally, I much prefer them when they’ve been left in the fridge to chill and firm up – best summer snack ever!

Supercharged Maca & Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Balls
adapted from Pheebs Foods’ peanut butter cookie dough balls.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup LSA (ground linseeds, sunflower seeds & almonds)
1 tablespoon maca powder*
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
a generous pinch of sea salt
1 cup natural peanut butter**
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

* I used Nature’s Way’s Super Maca Organic Powder in this recipe. Known as the “Peruvian Ginseng”, maca is supercharged with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids.
** Be sure to use a peanut butter that is made of nothing but 100% peanuts. I used Sanitarium’s Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter. No added sugar, salt, preservatives or stabilisers!

Preparation:

  1. Combine the LSA, maca powder, sea salt and chocolate chips in a bowl. Mix well.
  2. Add the peanut butter, honey and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients and combine thoroughly. The dough will be quite stiff – use your fingers to mix if you prefer. If the dough is too sticky, just add more LSA.
  3. Roll out into balls. They’re rich little morsels so a tablespoon of dough per ball is plenty. I find dampening my hands with some water before rolling them will help to keep the stickiness at bay.
  4. Store in the fridge to keep keep them from softening. They’re lovely cold and firm.

Spelt & Coconut Honey Banana Bread with Dark Chocolate Chunks

Spelt & Coconut Honey Banana Bread with Dark Chocolate Chunks

I think we’ve all had the occasional dream where everything that happens in it is really odd, even downright creepy, but we don’t feel at all threatened or scared while it’s happening. In fact, we’re mostly not too concerned and frankly, quite apathetic. And it’s only until after waking up that we think “why was I so calm in that dream? It was terrifying!” Well, that was me when I woke up this morning.

In short, my dream consisted of a global pandemic whereby people who were infected by a virus became crazily aggressive. And even though there was this viral outbreak happening and apparently 68% of the city was infected, everyone still went about their daily lives like nothing bad was happening. I went to work as a mechanic and I liked my job. Some people from high school figured prominently. Life was actually pretty normal, up until I decided to visit a friend on Tamborine Mountain in the middle of the night, who just so happened to be Andrew Garfield. When I got to his house, I discovered that he and a bunch of incredibly creepy babies (!!!!) were infected, but everything turned out okay because Emma Stone saved me, and then we found the cure to the virus (in the form of a magical purple flower that had butterflies flying around it). The dream ended pretty abruptly after that.

Honey and Coconut Oil Chopped Bananas Whittaker's Classic Bittersweet Peanut Slab Dark Chocolate Bars Whittaker's Classic Bittersweet Peanut Slab Dark Chocolate

So yes, that was actually what I dreamt about last night. I don’t usually have many epic dreams, but when I do, they’re pretty memorable. I might make myself a dream diary, just for the fun of it. Or maybe I’ll just keep a record of my dreams on this blog, and you guys can figure out what my subconscious is trying to tell me. Anyway, all this talk of dreams has reminded me of an interesting article I read a few weeks ago: The Science of Dreams and Why We Have Nightmares. You guys should totally check it out.

Spelt & Coconut Honey Banana Bread with Dark Chocolate Chunks Spelt & Coconut Honey Banana Bread with Dark Chocolate Chunks Spelt & Coconut Honey Banana Bread with Dark Chocolate Chunks

Righto, back to baking. If you need some inspiration for breakfast this weekend, try this recipe. Seriously, it’s good. We had heaps of spelt and coconut flour just sitting in the pantry, plus an outrageous number of jars of honey and lots of bananas at various stages of ripening at our disposal. Key ingredients for a healthy loaf of banana bread, you say? Indeed. We also had an abundance of Whittaker’s Classic Bittersweet Peanut Slab Dark Chocolate Bars at home, so I chopped these up and used them in this recipe. They’ve obviously got chunks of peanuts in them, but plain dark chocolate will also do nicely here.

Spelt & Coconut Honey Banana Bread with Dark Chocolate Chunks Spelt & Coconut Honey Banana Bread with Dark Chocolate ChunksSpelt & Coconut Honey Banana Bread with Dark Chocolate Chunks

You can make this recipe vegan-friendly by substituting the honey with maple syrup and using dairy-free chocolate (Pana Chocolate and Sweet William offer some awesome dairy-free chocolate products that don’t compromise on taste). No eggs, butter or milk was used in this recipe, mainly because we didn’t actually have any at the time. Good thing we had flaxseeds and coconut oil on hand! I have to say, this is probably one of my favourite things I’ve baked so far. With its perfect cake-like texture – firm, yet spongy and crumbly – and a strong banana flavour interspersed with generous amounts of dark chocolate, there is no way anyone could turn down a warm slice or two.

Spelt & Coconut Honey Banana Bread with Dark Chocolate Chunks Spelt & Coconut Honey Banana Bread with Dark Chocolate Chunks

Spelt & Coconut Honey Banana Bread with Dark Chocolate Chunks

Ingredients:

2 medium-sized ripe bananas, mashed
1 flax egg (1 tablespoon flaxseeds mixed with 2 1/2 tablespoons water)
2 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
4 tablespoons honey
3/4 cup wholemeal spelt flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
a pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons hot water
1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C and line a 7″ x 4″ loaf pan with non-stick baking paper.
  2. In a small heatproof bowl, melt the coconut oil and honey together (you can do this in a microwave for a few seconds) and stir until mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the mashed bananas and flax egg together, then add the coconut oil and honey mixture and mix well.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the spelt flour, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt. Mix well.
  5. Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients and gently stir together until everything is just combined.
  6. Add the hot water and mix well, then carefully fold in the chopped chocolate chunks.
  7. Spoon mixture into prepared loaf pan and bake for approximately 40-45 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 10 minutes before transferring loaf to a wire rack to cool. Best served fresh and still slightly warm.

Spelt & Coconut Honey Banana Bread with Dark Chocolate Chunks

Chewy Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks {flourless}

Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks

It kind of snuck up on us, but hey! This blog just hit 1500 followers and it now has over 70000 page views. That’s a pretty neat feat! I wish I could update this space more often, but it gets a little tough when you’ve got so many other things to juggle. That said, James and I have been researching things to do in Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Mount Kōya and Osaka. We’ve booked everything for our November-December Japan trip and I’m happy to announce that we have a very packed itinerary already planned. James will be going to Vanuatu for Christmas as soon as we get back, and then he’ll be meeting me in Singapore to welcome the New Year! Looks like the final few weeks of 2014 are going to be pretty hectic for us.

Organic Coconut Oil Chopped Dark Chocolate Oats, Barley and Coconut Honey

We made cookies a few weeks ago. I decided to experiment with a new ingredient: rolled barley flakes! Now, I don’t think I have ever mentioned barley on this blog before, so let’s talk a little bit about that. When cooked, barley has a chewy, pasta-like consistency and a subtle nutty flavour. I was brought up in Singapore, so I am most familiar with the grain being used as an ingredient to make barley water, a refreshing drink sweetened with rock sugar (and sometimes flavoured with lemon) that has time and again been touted for its healing properties. Not many people are aware of barley’s health benefits and write it off as just another typical cereal grain. However, barley actually has some pretty impressive attributes that surpass even oats.

Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks

Health Benefits of Barley:

  • controls blood sugar better
  • lowers glucose levels
  • lowers glycemic index
  • better insulin response
  • beats oats in glucose response study
  • reduces blood pressure
  • significantly lowers total cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides
  • significantly reduces visceral fat

Source: http://wholegrainscouncil.org/

Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks

These cookies consist of a blend of rolled oats and rolled barley, a good deal of desiccated coconut, some coconut oil, a drizzle of honey, two eggs, and a wild smattering of dark chocolate chunks. If you think about it, that’s not really a whole lot of ingredients. These are the chewy, crumbly kind of cookie — dense, textured and tightly packed with wholesome grains, a breakfast cookie if you will. Flavour-wise, they remind me of soft and chewy Anzac biscuits that aren’t overly sweet and are maybe just a little bit healthier for you. The distinctive taste of coconut and the smooth richness of dark chocolate perfectly complement the hearty mouthfeel of the oats and barley to create a wonderfully satisfying snack.

Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks

Chewy Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks
adapted from The Healthy Chef’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies; yield: ~12 large cookies.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup rolled barley
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
60g coconut oil, melted
60g honey
2 eggs, lightly beaten
100g dark chocolate, chopped

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 150°C and line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, barley, desiccated coconut, coconut oil, honey and eggs. Thoroughly mush everything together using clean fingers so that the ingredients clump together.
  3. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes, then add the chopped chocolate and combine.
  4. Carefully form the mixture into 12 large cookies and place them onto the prepared baking tray, flattening each cookie slightly. The mixture is quite sticky – dampen your fingers with some water to prevent it from sticking to you while you shape the cookies.
  5. Bake cookies for approximately 20-22 minutes, or until golden and fairly firm on top.
  6. Remove tray from oven and leave cookies to cool before serving. They will be crumbly when hot, but will firm up when they cool.

Oat & Barley Cookies with Coconut & Dark Chocolate Chunks

Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins {with coconut oil & soy milk}

Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins

We’ve been watching a lot of movies of varying genres lately. I finally caved and sat through Disney’s Frozen (2013) for the first time and I must say: how in the world did I ever go so long without watching such an adorable movie?! Sven, that ridiculous reindeer, was my number one favourite. Ender’s Game (2013), a sci-fi film based on a novel by Orson Scott Card, struck me as somewhat slow-moving, but the story remained fascinating enough for me to watch the entire thing. Asa Butterfield is quite an impressive actor, and you can’t really fault Harrison Ford. We also watched Odd Thomas (2013), a mystery thriller based on a Dean Koontz novel about a dude who can see dead people, though it is nothing like that creepy movie with Bruce Willis. The plot is intriguing, oftentimes incredibly amusing and actually altogether quite brilliant. Finally and most recently, we watched Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006). Probably one of the most bizarre films I’ve ever seen. At least that was the conclusion I came to after watching the final few scenes. Those of you who’ve seen it will know exactly what I mean. Nonetheless, the cinematography was superb and who doesn’t love Ben Whishaw and Alan Rickman?

Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins

Okay, so these muffins. I would like to stress the importance of the lack of butter and full cream milk in this recipe. Use coconut oil and soy milk (any non-dairy milk, really) and you will be rewarded with muffins that are healthier and not overly heavy. These muffins will sit much more comfortably in your stomach than any regular dairy-laden muffin would. Also, use dark chocolate chips with a high percentage of cocoa. If you don’t already know, the plant chemicals in dark chocolate have been proven to lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation, among many other things. Read more about the health benefits of dark chocolate consumption here. As for coconut oil, you can find some evidence-based health benefits of the superfood ingredient here, if you are interested.

Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins

The muffin batter is easy enough to whip together — you’ll end up with a pale and pretty mixture reminiscent of cookie dough. The muffins themselves rise beautifully in the oven and bake to a lovely crisp-on-the-outside, moist-on-the-inside sort of perfection. I think it’s safe to say these were a huge hit with everyone who tried them. Well, you’d be a lunatic to turn down something so thoroughly studded with warm, ooey-gooey, melty chocolate chips. Granted, these little baked goodies seemed to be more chocolate than muffin, really. What’s not to like?

Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins

Interested in other types of muffins? We can offer recipes for a good batch of Sugar-Dusted Green Tea Chocolate Chip Muffins {eggless & butterless}, Chocolate Honey Buckwheat Muffins {gluten, grain & dairy free}, Savoury Polenta & Semi-Dried Tomato Chilli-Cheese Muffins {butterless}, and Chocolate Cream Cheese Walnut Muffins {eggless}.

Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins

Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins {with coconut oil & soy milk}
a simple butterless recipe for chocolate chip muffins; yield: ~12 regular muffins.

Ingredients:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup organic soy milk*
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups dark chocolate chips

* I used Pureharvest’s Organic Unsweetened & Malt-Free Soy Milk in this recipe.

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 210°C and line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and sugar. Mix well, set aside.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, thoroughly stir together the coconut oil, soy milk and eggs.
  4. Using a large wooden spoon, fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined – don’t worry if the mixture remains a little lumpy.
  5. Add the dark chocolate chips and gently fold them into the mixture. Do not overmix.
  6. Carefully spoon equal amounts of the batter into the prepared paper cases, filling them just over three-quarts full.
  7. Bake in the oven for approximately 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are a nice golden brown and have started to crack a little.
  8. Remove tray from oven and transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool. Best eaten still slightly warm.

Storage tip: Let muffins cool completely before storing them in an airtight container. Muffins will keep for about 4-5 days after baking. For a heavenly, gooey, melty chocolate treat, zap muffins in the microwave for a quick 20 seconds before eating — they’ll be hot and fluffy just like when they first came out of the oven!

Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins