Tropical banana muffins (Gluten-free, dairy-free, low-sugar)

Tropical banana muffinsI love banana muffins and banana bread but today I was feeling a bit bored of my regular nutty ones. It’s February and I was feeling like a taste of the tropics, so I decided to break with tradition and make banana muffins with coconut and mango. (Mango is high-FODMAP but I find I can stand a little bit. It can easily be replaced with papaya if you’re more sensitive to it.) I also wanted to make muffins with little or no added sugar. Loosely using my own sweet potato coconut muffins as a guide, I added a little bit of this and a little bit of that, fully expecting this initial attempt not to turn out very well. To see what disaster I’d come up with, I made a single small test muffin. Much to my surprise, it turned out perfect.*

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Lazy beef rendang

Beef rendang

Gung hay fat choy! It’s Chinese New Year… but it’s not just Chinese New Year. It’s also lunar New Year in many other countries including Singapore and Malaysia, which inspired tonight’s meal.

Beef rendang has always seemed a bit intimidating for me to make, because recipes usually call for a bunch of ingredients that are difficult for me to obtain, such as candlenuts and kaffir lime leaves, and call for the cook to grind their own spice paste and braise the beef for as long as four hours. However, I really wanted beef rendang, so after consulting a bunch of recipes, I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to make a rendang with the ingredients in my kitchen, in a lot less time. The result was truly delicious and tasted just like the rendang I’ve had in restaurants. I served it with steamed rice and yu sheng (Singapoean New Year salad) – and my husband declared it probably his favourite meal ever and half-jokingly asked me to make it once a week. Continue reading

Sweet potato coconut muffins (gluten-free, dairy-free)

Sweet potato muffins in baking tinsWhen I decided to focus on the Dominican Republic this weekend, I was attracted by a recipe for a recipe for pan de batata from the excellent Aunt Clara’s Kitchen Dominican cooking blog. It looked to be naturally gluten-free and probably tasty. However, it looked more like pudding than bread (“pan” means bread) or cake, and other pan de batata recipes I saw on other sites confirmed this. I didn’t want pudding. I wanted muffins. Partly because they freeze well and go nicely into lunchboxes. Partly because, well, I just like muffins.

In addition to the aforementioned pan de batata recipe, I found a couple of gluten-free sweet potato muffin recipes that sounded good, one at The Roasted Root and one at Meg’s Vegucation, but neither of these seemed 100 per cent perfect to me, though the Roasted Root one ended up being my rough template. It’s true – although I was going to be baking with the notoriously difficult coconut flour for the first time, I couldn’t resist experimenting a little.

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