Related Posts with Thumbnails

Almost stress-free mini tartlets

>> Thursday, November 29, 2007

Pick one (or all) up!

With Christmas and New Year coming close, the gorgeous Susan from Food Blogga is hosting a special event called “Eat Christmas Cookies”. This is a great chance for bloggers to share their favourite Christmas cookies. Comer over to Susan’s blog from now until 17th December and you will be filled with wonderful ideas.

For this event, I will be participating with some really tasty sweet miniatures using my recently acquired petit four moulds. These are mini tartlets to be precise since they have buttery cookie-type dough, which can be filled with different types of filling.

The nice thing about these tartlets is the crust can be pre-baked at least a week in advance. And the sweet dough, which comes from the talented Flo Braker, is wonderful to work with. There is no need to rest the dough in the fridge. You just need to blend everything together in a food processor and it is ready to be rolled out and baked. When it comes close to serving time, you can fill these tarts with whichever you like – thick jam, chestnut cream, melted chocolate etc. The version you see here is filled with chopped walnuts and rich caramel sauce. They are called Swiss Bettinas, which are dangerously addictive. I also like to fill these empty shells with some chestnut cream and enjoy them with my afternoon coffee.

These are great petits fours to serve with tea/coffee when friends are around. And for festive season, they can be served at the end of the meal, too.

Mini mini tartlet

Miniature Tartlet Pastry

From Flo Braker’s Sweet Miniature. This amount is enough for 8 dozen round fluted mini tart shells, 1.5 inches in diameter. I used about 1/3 for this round. The rest can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.

Ingredients

1 ½ cups (350g) un-sifted plain flour (I use half plain, half whole-meal)

1/8 tsp salt

1/3 cup (65g) castor sugar

8 oz (225g) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

1 large egg

1tsp pure vanilla extract

Method

Put the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor bowl. Pulse a few times to blend ingredients together. Scatter all the butter over the flour, pulse off/on until the mixture has the consistency of cornmeal.

Whisk egg and vanilla together in a small bowl. With the motor on, pour the egg mixture down the feed tube. Process until the mixture forms a ball. Remove to the lightly floured work surface, press the dough together until it is smooth and cohesive.

Grease your tartlet shells. Now, you can roll out the dough then fit into the tartlet tins. Or, pinch about 1 -1/5 tsp of dough and press into the tins to distribute the dough evenly. Just remember not to create a very thick shell.

Place the tart tins on a baking tray. Bake these tartlet shells for 10-12 mins at pre-heated oven of 350F (170c) or until lightly golden. Cool. When the tins are cool enough to touch, squeeze each tin gently with your thumb and forefinger, turn it upside-down and let the tartlet shell drop into the palm of your hand. The pre-baked shell can be kept at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Swiss Bettinas

This amount is enough to fill ½ recipe of the pre-baked Miniature Tartlet Pastry above.

½ cup (100g) castor sugar

2 tbsp unsalted butter

1/3 cup heavy cream, room temperature

½ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

2 tsp honey

Method

Put sugar un a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat. Stir occasionally with wooden spoon until sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium high and cook, without stirring, until the sugar caramelized with nice dark color. Turn off the heat, add butter, then, cream. Stir until everything blends together. Stir in the chopped walnuts and honey white the cream is hot. Cool for at least 30 mins, then spoon about 1 tsp of filling into each baked shell.

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Yay! Great News....

>> Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Remember this photo?


Marinière of Mussels



I submitted it to CLICK event last week. And the result was just announced and I won 2 prizes!!!

First Place for THE BEST CAPTURE



nov07spectra1badge



and
THE MOST DROOL-WORTHY

nov07delish



I am really happy with the result. You see, I am a totally beginner to photography. Most of my recent photos were shot with an old model Canon 300D, which I took over from a trusted friend. Since then, I added two lens which were within a constrain budget of a student. The whole "investment" was quite worthy, and I am happy with my camera. Certainly I don't have the best and most expensive equipment out there, but I still learn to use it more effectively to express myself and to capture what I see and create.

Still a lot more to learn about photography and I am eager to know more :).


Thanks all the judges from CLICK for the honour. You guys should also check out other CLICK winners for this month here.

CLICK theme for next month should be announced soon on this website. Keep an eye on it and experiment with your beloved camera...

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Look, I am a Topless…. Tartlet!

>> Sunday, November 25, 2007

Chili Beef & Potato in Bulgur Crust

In one of my red meat cravings (yes, I do have those!), I develop the idea for these beef tartlets inspired by an interesting sounding recipe from Charlie Trotter. His version includes a red-wine braised oxtail with potatoes in rich and buttery crust. When it comes to braised meat, I prefer a spicy and more aromatic version so I choose to do a Sichuan-style chili beef instead. The stew is packed with flavours, a fantastic way of cooking meat.

But it is the crust that I want to talk a little more about. It is not the normal buttery crust which I feel is too heavy for the Asian-style beef stew. So, a bit of experiment is undertaken with a bulgur crust. Here, the bulgur gives a bit of crunch and a nutty flavour. Without having to use butter, the crust is lighter and pairs well with the spicy beef. However, I am still developing a better way of dealing with the crust. Getting the crust out of the tartlet moulds, even the removable bottom ones, is a bit of a problem. Perhaps next time I will aim for a much thicker crust, or do a free-from tart instead.

These tasty tartlets, although still in development, are my entry to Waiter, There’s something in my Topless Tarts hosted by the Cooksister.

Chili Beef & Potato in Bulgur Crust

I have included here the recipe for the filling. The beef stew itself can be part of an Asian meal with rice. It can be sketched out for 15-20 medium size tartlets (10 cm diameter). Just adjust the amount of beef and boiled potatoes accordingly.

Chili Beef & Potato in Bulgur Crust

The Filling #1: Sichuan-style Braised Beef

Recipe adapted from this book

Ingredients

1.5kg mixture of oxtail & beef short ribs*
2-3 inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
4 scallions, white and green parts, trimmed
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
6 tbsp Sichuan chili bean paste (click here for product info)
Beef stock, as needed
4 tbsp. Shao Hsing wine
2 tsp. dark soy sauce
1 tsp. whole Sichuan peppercorns, toasted
1 whole star anise

Method:

Trim off the fat from the meat. Season the meat with salt & pepper and brown it carefully. Put all ingredients except for the stock in a slow cooker. Put in enough stock to just cover the meat. Cook in “Low” mode for 5-6 hours (I let it simmer overnight) or until tender. You can braise the meat in a stove top or in a Dutch oven. Remember braising these cuts of meat takes time but it is worth it!

* You can also substitute with other meat like lamb, chicken or pork. Adjust cooking time accordingly.

Filling#2 – Boiled potato slices: optional

The Bulgur Crust

Still in development. But it is based on a recipe from Raymond Blanc. I used half of this recipe for the above filling. But it might be better to have a thicker crust, so you may need a bit more.

400g fine bulgur, 400ml water, 1 tsp fine seal salt, 4 tbsp olive oil

Boil the water. Pour over the bulgur. Cover and let stand for 1 hour.

In a floured surface, work with the bulgur. Add in a few tablespoons of whole-meal flour. Add more water as needed so everything bind together. The mixture will be a bit wet. Let the dough rest for 10-15 mins before proceed.

Assembling the Tart

For the filling, carefully shred the cooked meat from the bone. Discard the bone. Strain the cooking juice into a saucepan. Bring to the boil and reduce by 1/3 – this will be served with the tart later.

Put a piece of dough into the removable bottom tartlet rings (10cm size). Push and press the dough so you have a fairly thick crust. Repeat with the remaining dough. Bake in pre-heated oven at 200C for 8-10 mins or until golden. Cool down.

Arrange the potato slices into the tart base, then, the meat filling. I also add some chili jam, but this is optional. Bake in the oven for 10 mins. Cool the tartlets down so it will be easy to remove.

Serve warm or at room temp, drizzling with some warmed reduce sauce. Accompanied by a simple salad.

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An Award to Pass On….

>> Saturday, November 24, 2007

Playing with my lense n cute cup


My two good blog friends Eva and Nora kindly gave me Droolworthy Blogger Award recently. This is such an honor since both of them are my favorite bloggers. Thanks guys so much for remembering me!

On this occasion, before I pass the award to someone else, let me share some of my thoughts about food photography and food blogging. My personal opinion is that food photos are just part of the whole blogging experience. It is not the essential part. For me, I enjoy reading much more about your personal experience with the ingredients, with the cooking process, the final results of the food you cook/bake or your personal dining experience. We all share the love for food first, right?

Having said that, we all want to make our food look good and I do have certain interest in food photography. I am learning a lot from other bloggers and some photographers in magazines like Donna Hay Magazine, Gourmet Travellers or Delicious. Flickr also has huge food photography communities. Here are just a few. And this is perhaps a bit off the topic of food photography, but this is one of my most favorite photographers on Flickr. No, she (orangecrazy) doesn’t do food, but her eyes for details are amazing!

Now this is the time to pass on the awards. These are bloggers that I have recently discovered and immediately hooked on!


The Boys who Cook – Graeme of Blood Sugar and Manggy of No Special Effects

Both of these boys are great cook, fantastic baker and excellent photographers. Their food always makes you hungry, and their photos are totally beautiful!

Callipygia of FOODChair

No she doesn’t do food photography but her artistic food illustration is beyond descriptions. What more, she is an incredible writer, a poet of the blog world in my opinion. Callipygia’s posts are always wonderful to read and admire.

Jenyu from Use Real Butter

I love her approach to photography – simple setting and focus on the color and texture of the food itself. Her foods always make me so hungry since it is full of energy and tastes!

Holybasil from Hot.Sour.Salty.Sweet. and Umami

A wonderful Vietnamese lady who cook and bake. Her wonderful Vietnamese and other recipes are a constant source of inspiration for me. Thanks Holy Basil for your lovely stories & passion for food…

I HEART CHERRIES

Back to food! I Got some cherries from VIC market yesterday and I almost finished them by myself! Really delicious cherries!!!

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Tropical Paradise

>> Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tropical Tempura

Summer, I declare, is seafood season for me. You have seen several seafood posts appear lately, and more to come I promise!

The recipe featured today is an unusual variation from the most-loved prawn tempura. Here, dried coconut is added, giving a richer note to the crunchy batter. Better still, to complete the tropical theme, these delicious looking prawns are served with a fruity salsa made from papaya, mango and lime juice. I was cautious at first on how all these flavours combined together. But it works! The salsa not only enhances the sweetness of the prawns but also gives the whole dish a refreshing zest. Perfect to start a summer party!

I am bringing this dish to Peabody’s Virtual Housewarming Party. There will be a lot of delicious food around, so be sure to come by. I think my dish will be a good start for the party since there will be a lot of to-die-for desserts and sweet treats from all out talented bakers. Can’t wait to try!

Tropical Tempura

Coconut Prawn Tempura with Mango and Papaya Salsa

Recipe adapted from here

Ingredients

500ml Tempura Batter (recipe below)

20 raw tiger prawns

Oil, to deep-fry

Corn flour, for dusting

70g unsweetened desiccated coconut

Salsa:

1 ripe mango, medium size

½ ripe papaya (ratio of mango and papaya should be 1:1)

1 red onion, thinly sliced

Juice of 1 lime

1.5 tbsp red wine vinegar

1-2 tbsp castor sugar

Some sliced chili (optional)

Method:

  1. Prepare the tempura batter. Chill properly.
  2. For the salsa: peel and deseed the fruits. Cut into 1cm cubes. Combine the fruits with the rest of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir gently. Cover and place the salsa in the fridge to chill for at least 30 mins.
  3. Remove head and jackets of the prawns (save for making stock). Slit each prawn along its back and lift out the intestinal thread.
  4. Heat oil to 180C. Place flour and desiccated coconut in separate dishes. Remove the cold batter from the fridge.
  5. Dip the prawn in the flour, batter, then roll in coconut before frying. Fry until golden. Drain on kitchen towel.
  6. Serve immediately with fruit salsa.

Tempura Batter – halve the recipe for the prawn tempura

500ml ice-cold water, 1 egg yolk, 40g corn flour, 250g self-raising flour, a pinch of salt

Whisk egg yolk into the water. Add flour to the water (not the other way around). Gently whisk ingredients together until the batter has consistency of double cream. It is ok to have lumps since they make the tempura crispier. Place the batter in the fridge for 30 mins to set and chill.

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A Summer Meal

>> Monday, November 19, 2007

Fish and Choy Sum

Fish & Choy Sum

Hey, mom told you to eat more greens”, said my sister when I told her that it has been damn hot here in Melbourne for the past few days. This is something totally expected from my mom, who is a totally vegetable lover. She won’t be happy if she doesn’t see at least two green vegetable dishes on our table dinner. And although mom is not much of an adventurous cook, she feeds the family well with very healthy diet. No canned or frozen prepared food in mom’s world. Most of our ingredients are bought from the wet market and prepared fresh on the day. I would love to follow my mom’s way of cooking if I have more time. The weekend seems to be the only time when I can buy fresh ingredients and prepare them on the day.

The meal I am sharing with you today is a typical Vietnamese meal during summer. On a shared table, we have one vegetable dish, one light soup (which normally vegetable based) and some meat or tofu. The meal in summer focuses a lot more on vegetables since they are believed to heal and cool down the body. Tofu and seafood are encouraged more, too. And of course, these simple dishes are enjoyed with a bowl of steamed rice.

The soup featured is my most favourite fish soup (cá rô nấu cải), which normally uses local freshwater fish with very sweet flesh. It pairs wonderfully with choy sum and a few slices of ginger. The soup has wonderful gingery aroma and detectable sweetness from fish and vegetables. Since the fish is not available in Melbourne, I normally choose pinky, a small fish variety, for substitution. But of course, any fish with sweet flesh can be used.

The second dish is a stir-fry vegetable, rau bí xào. It might be of surprise to a lot of people, but it is actually the tender leaves and stems of pumpkin tree. I know in the west we normally enjoy the fruits only, but do you know that pumpkin leaves and stems have wonderful sweetness and texture? Simply stir-fry them with little oil, garlic and fish sauce and I can enjoy the whole bunch myself.

Pumpkin Leaves & Stems

Pumpkin Leaves and Stems

The third dish is another favourite of mine. Fried tofu dipped in fish sauce and spring onions (đậu tẩm hành). As simple as it sounds, the fish sauce makes almost everything taste good! What you need is good quality fish sauce that has the right balance of saltiness, sweetness and fishiness.

A Vietnamese Meal

So, mom, two largely vegetable dishes and one tofu dish! It’s also healthy I think. The beauty of these dishes is in their simplicity. Most likely you won’t be able to find them in a restaurant. For me, this is the true taste of Vietnamese home cooking!

I have linked to recipes for pumpkin leaves stir-fry and fried tofu dipped in fish sauce and spring onion. Here, I will share the recipe for freshwater fish and choy sum soup as prepared by my mom. Hope you enjoy this lengthy post. And please excuse for these quick photo shots. I was too hungry to arrange them in proper manner for photo shot.

Freshwater Fish, Choy Sum & Ginger Soup (Canh ca nau cai)

Ingredients (for 2-3 as part of a rice meal)

2 medium pinky, (or freshwater fish of your choice): about 300g each, cleaned.

Ginger, about 2cm in length, sliced

10 white peppercorns

6 cup water

1 bunch of choy sum, cleaned and cut into 3-4 cm length

Sea salt to taste.

A bit of fish sauce in the end.

Method

Clean the fish thoroughly. Place the fish in a large saucepan with some peppercorn. Add enough water to cover the fish. Bring to the boil and reduce to medium heat for 5-10 mins. Set aside to cool.

Using a fork, carefully remove the flesh and put into a bowl. Discard the fish bones. Season the fish meat with a tiny bit of fish sauce and ground white pepper.

Strain the fish stock if you want. Add enough water so you have 5-6 cups. Bring to the boil. Add ginger slices and choy sum. Cook until the choy sum just tender. Add in the fish meat. Season to taste with salt or fish sauce. Serve hot with rice.

A Vietnamese Meal

Pumpkin Leaves Stir-Fry with Garlic

***

I am sending these Asian Greens, especially pumpkin leaves and stems, to Weekend Herb Blogging, which is hosted by the lovely Truffle of What's on My Plate. The creator of this event is Kalyn from Kalyn's Kitchen. Please do not miss out the round up which is always full of delicious and interesting dishes!

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A Moment in Life #15

>> Sunday, November 18, 2007

For you, my yesterday rose....

What are you waiting for, my yesterday rose?

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CLICK - Noodles Theme

After receiving lovely comments from all of you, my dear friends, as well as putting some thought into it, I have decided to submit this photo to CLICK this month.

Marinière of Mussels

I feel that this photo portrays the theme ingredient, noodles, better than others. Again, my special thanks to all of you, my friends for helping me to make this choice! *hugs*.

Have a great week ahead!


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Eat your Mussels & Help Needed!

>> Friday, November 16, 2007

Marinière of Mussels

Please excuse me for not updating this blog as regularly as before. I can feel summer has arrived with her glorious beauty. After a long week either working in the office or spending at the gym, I just want to slow down and enjoy the sun. I still cook, but just want to reduce the amount of time in front of the PC…

I prepared this lovely Marinière of Mussels a few weeks back and totally love it. The recipe comes from Shannon Bennett, chef owner of Vue de Monde, a famous restaurant here in Australia. The method of cooking was adapted to home cook based on a dish by the legendary British chef Marco Pierre White (anyone watching British Hell Kitchen?)

Marinière of Mussels

Regardless of where it comes from, this is a very fine dish. Marinière refers to the method of preparing shellfish in white wine. There are not a lot of ingredients involved and the technique is utterly simple. The result, however, is superb. Despite the amount of butter and oil involved, the dish itself is quite light on the palate. This is a sort of dish you want to prepare in spring time, where the weather is mild. I have included linguine as directed by the recipe to make it a perfect light main course.

Here is the recipe for those interested. And please note that I need some help from you (please read the info at the bottom of the post! Thanks guys!).

Marinière of Mussels

Marinière of Mussels

Recipe from here

Ingredients (serve 2-3 as main course)

200ml olive oil

5 shallots, finely chopped

3 sprigs of thyme

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

2 kg large mussels, cleaned and debearded

2 cups dry white wine

200g linguine

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed (extra)

100g good quality butter

1 cup basil leaves, shredded

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

Heat 100ml olive oil in a heavy saucepan. Add shallots, thyme, garlic and cook over high heat until shallots are transparent and soft. Add mussels and white wine. Cover and cook for 5 mins or until the shells have opened.

Strain over a colander, reserving the juice of the mussels.

Loosen the mussels in their shells.

Cook the pasta until al dente, drain.

Heat the remaining olive oil n a pan, add onion and crushed garlic and cook until transparent and tender but not brown. Pour in the strained mussel juice and reduce by 1/3. Whisk in the butter, bring to the boil and cook for 3 mins. Stir in basil and mussels. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the linguine in the centre of each serving plate/bowl. Spoon over the sauce and serve.

***

This dish will be sent to Ruth's Presto Pasta Night. Please check out the roundup tomorrow for more delicious pasta dishes.

In other news, I have been thinking to join CLICK event with the theme of noodles (please check out the link for more info). Basically, I can send in one of my noodle/pasta photo. The problem is I don’t know which one to choose! Sorry Bee and Jai for the delay! I am thinking between the above set and this photo of my fav vegetarian pasta dish.

Which one do you think I should choose? Comments will be appreciated (just say #1, #2, #3 or #4). Thanks guys!

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A Moment in Life #14 - Love is All Around

>> Sunday, November 11, 2007

And I'm Kissing You...

And I am kissing you....

After watching George and Ashley for a long time, I finally managed to capture their moments of Pure Love. And I know have to share with you guys straight away! :) This photo is by far my favourite shot. Capturing it brings a smile to my face!

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A bun for breakfast….

Chinese Style Chicken Steamed Buns


For a lot of Asians, Chinese-style steamed buns are something we grew up with. The combination of lightly sweet steamed bread and savoury filling works really well. For us, the dough must be white, soft and fluffy. The fillings can be anything although it seems that cha siu pork is the most popular version here in the West.

The version I make today is a lot lighter and delicate with the use of chicken alongside with other Asian ingredients like dried mushrooms, spring onions, sesame oil & ginger. I particularly like the use of ginger here, giving a lift of flavours to the overall taste.

buns3

To make these buns, I have opted to use a shortcut in making the dough. To make real good buns, pau flour, which is highly bleached flour, should be used to achieve the desired white color and soft texture. It is impossible to get it here, so I have used the ready mix steamed bun package instead (see photo). This should be available at Asian shops. It contains all the necessary ingredients for the dough, and you just need to add water and some sugar. I am quite happy with the end result using this mix.

buns4

Shaping steamed buns is the skill I am yet to master. But I find this video on youtube extremely helpful. Hopefully it will give you an idea, too!

These buns would be perfect with some fresh home-made soy milk. Or, if you prefer, hot tea is good, too…

Chicken Steamed Buns

Ingredients (for 12 small buns):

The Dough: Use the package shown above. Follow package instructions, but reduce the amount of sugar from 1/2cup to ¼ cup.

The Filling (inspired from this book)

300g (10oz) boneless chicken thigh, diced

8 dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked in hot water until soft, stems removed and discarded, caps diced

2 spring onions, minced

1 tbsp freshly minced ginger root

1 tsp salt

1 ½ tsp sugar

1 ½ tsp cornstarch

1 tsp sesame oil

1 ½ tsp ground white pepper

½ tsp vegetable oil

A pinch of chicken stock powder (optional)

buns5

Method

  1. Prepare the dough and set aside
  2. Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Form into 12 balls, and refrigerate for ½ hour.
  3. Cut 12 square pieces, each about 5cm across.
  4. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. On a floured surface, using a rolling pin to form each piece into a thin circle. Make sure that the center is thicker than the edge. Place one ball of chicken filling into the circle. Gather the edges to the middle to enclose the filling. Then pinch the top to seal and twist slightly. Place the bun with pinched side up on a square piece of baking paper. Repeat with the rest.
  5. Steamed the buns for 15 mins or until cooked through. Serve hot.
buns1

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Cooling You Down

>> Thursday, November 08, 2007

Home-made Soy Milk

Melbourne weather is like a hard-to-pleased lady. One day it can be warm with sunshine, the next can be cold with rain and thunders. Even though I have been here for several years, it seems that my body has not adapted very well with the weather of late. But it is amazing how our body knows exactly what we need to fix just that. For me, I have started to reduce my caffeine intake, and replace it with some traditional Vietnamese drinks which are well-known to have ‘cooling properties’ to the body. And the first thing that comes to my mind is home-made soy milk.

The soy milk I am talking about is not the sorts you can find in most supermarkets which come nothing close to the natural fragrance and tastes of soy. The real soy milk, which a lot Asians grow up with, is a lightly sweetened drink. It is easy to make from dried soy beans, and does not go through the whole process to make it more like normal milk. If I want soy milk, I want to taste the whole goodness of soy in my drink. But if you want cow milk substitution, the processed soy milk from supermarket is the one to choose.

Making soy milk at home is surprisingly easy. All you need is dried soy beans, a food processor, cheesecloth, a large saucepan, optional flavoring and sugar. Start the night before since the soy beans need to be soaked overnight. I normally soak 2 cups of dried beans, which gives enough soy milk to last for 2 days for two (don’t make more than that since home made soy milk does not keep well). If you want your drink a bit richer, soak some unpeeled peanuts with the beans as well. The next day, this is what you will have:

Making Soy Milk

Now, you need to roughly process the soaked beans in a food processor in batches. The bean & water ratio is 1:2, i.e. 1 part bean, 2 part water. This ratio gives a light drink. You may want to vary this to make the drink thicker and more concentrated in flavors. The processed mixture of beans and water has a cloud-like appearance…

Making Soy Milk

Then, in batch, pour the mixture through large cheesecloth & squeeze out liquid into a large saucepan. Discard the soy beans, and boil the soybean water over medium heat until just boil. Here you can add optional flavoring like knotted pandan leaves or even a few drops of vanilla. Add in enough sugar to sweeten the milk to your liking. Remember to stir the milk frequently when boiling so you won’t burn it.

Making Soy Milk

As easy as that, the soy milk is ready. I love to drink it at room temperature, but a few ice cubes adds a nice touch on hot days. And as tradition goes, soy bean is particularly good with some Chinese-style steamed buns!

I am submitting this entry to Weekend Herb Blogging. Our guest host for this week is The Expatriate Chef from The Expatriate's Kitchen. Make sure to check out the round up. And don’t forget to drop by Kalyn’s blog for all the information about WHB.

Home-made Soy Milk

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A Moment in Life #13 - The Sad Goodbye

>> Wednesday, November 07, 2007

There's no such place....
In loving memories of Ms. Hanh, my English teacher from 'Lop Van' 1999-2002 Hanoi-Amsterdam High School.
The news comes so unexpectedly and I am lost in words. Somehow I refuse to believe that you are no longer here.... But you will always remain in my heart - always so lively, so beautiful... May you rest in peace...

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A Moment in Life #12

>> Sunday, November 04, 2007

Double Rainbows

Double Rainbows

Captured from my balcony after the rain. Double rainbows - not something we see everyday... This is an extraordinary view which I am grateful to see and capture. I hope you enjoy this shot, as much as I am eager to share it with you all....

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true

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The Song of Spring

>> Saturday, November 03, 2007

Spring Onion Bread

Don’t you just love the freshness that spring brings? The weather is so mild and pleasant. Here or there we have experienced the heat of summer. But before she comes, let me enjoy all the sweetness of spring… Perhaps the thing I love most of spring is the new array of vegetables available in store: asparagus, beans, avocados, zucchini flowers etc. I have enjoyed each one of those tremendously in the simplest way to treasure their fresh flavors.

Put all aside, today I want to feature a humble spring ingredient – the spring onion. Spring onion you ask? Isn’t it available all year round? Yes, it is. But spring onions (and their cousin leeks) are at best in spring. And for me, one of the best ways to enjoy them is in bread especially when I have been craving for some good freshly baked bread for a while. So after work I come home messing my kitchen with flour, yeast and all to produce a simple but full of flavor spring onion bread. It is like a spring onion focaccia, and it tastes so good.

Spring Onion Bread

I am submitting this entry to Weekend Herb Blogging, which returns home to Kalyn’s Kitchen this week. Please go to her blog for the round up early next week.

Spring Onion Tray Bread

Adapted from Donna Hay Magazine Sep/Oct 2006

Ingredients

8 spring onions, white part with some green left on, halved

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tsp castor sugar

1 tsp fine sea salt

2 tsp instant yeast

½ tsp castor sugar, extra

1½ cup lukewarm milk

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tbsp olive oil, extra

Coarse sea salt, to sprinkle

Spring Onion Bread

Method

Place the spring onion, oil, vinegar and sugar in a small bowl. Toss to coat. Set aside.

Mix together castor sugar, sea salt, yeast, milk and oil. Knead until smooth and elastic. Press the dough into lightly floured tin (I used 10 inch ceramic pan) and press the onion into the dough. Cover with damp cloth and set aside to prove for 45 mins or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 200C (390F). Sprinkle the bread with some coarse salt. Bake the bread for 20 mins or until golden and cooked through. Serve warm.

Spring Onion Bread

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A Moment in Life #11

>> Thursday, November 01, 2007

George the Cat

My Neighbor's Cat

This is George,my neighbour's cat. I took this photo of him from my balcony when he was playing downstairs. No set up, everything was done naturally in a few seconds where he looked at me (or my camera really) with his beautiful eyes... And the photo turned out very well in my opinion....

Now how much I wish I could own a cat!

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