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A Moment in Life #20

>> Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My Cousin

Taken in my recent trip back to Hanoi. We were having coffee together when I took the photo. A lovely young girl, fragile and pretty. Just love her!

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The Finest Moments

>> Wednesday, January 23, 2008

St Kilda 2

Time flies! Can you believe that January is approaching its end? 2008 has just barely started, yet it is already full of challenges. Browsing through all my favourite blogs, Lucy’s sentence totally captures what I feel “It will be a good year, this one. I can feel it already, deep within my bones.” There’s something to the first photo, too. I took it quite recently during a sunset walk at St Kilda Beach. It was such a fine summer day, hot but not too unpleasant. I was walking there, feeling the excitement to emerge in something new. My lovely friend orangecrazy expressed this in words… “This shot looks like various stages of an emerging sea creature...” There is a deep sense of happiness when someone can understand what I want to express. You know, we do see things very differently. And a photo can say a thousand words. Sharing our finest moments with each other, then, is such a pleasure…

Cherry

And one of those finest moments for me is definitely tasting (and eating) a lot of cherries and stoned fruits this season. These gorgeous fruits make summer much more enjoyable. Cherries! Aren’t they adorable? The ones I have here are really sweet and juicy. With them, no cooking is required since the fruits alone have approached perfection.

Yet, after my impulsive buying behaviour, I decide to make a cherry pie. The idea of a cherry pie emerged since last year, but I chose to make a tart instead. Mr. B, then, complained a little since he really wanted the pie. A year passed and finally his wish is fulfilled when I present this very cherry pie…

Cherry Pie

First bite and I wonder why I have waited so long for this? I should have made it long time ago. The pie, which comes from the baking goodness Rose Levy Beranbaum, is spectacular. The sweet, juicy and fruity filling is a wonderful match with the crisp, flaky cream cheese crust. In my humble opinion, the pie is so wonderful by itself so there’s no need for extra like cream or chocolate sauce. An excellent pie, indeed!

Now I know I should leave a recipe here. For the crust, use this recipe, but remember to double the amount. You may have some left over, bake it lightly before freezing. The leftover dough will become handy for a quick dessert like this (Thanks, Gattina!). For the filling, head over to Rose’s post. Rose used sour cherry while mine is sweet so I reduce the sugar a little. You may want to adjust the sugar depending on the taste of the fruits.

And of course, go crazy with the design of the pie. After all, this is your very own pie, right? For me, I am happy with the heart-shaped pastries on top this time. Not too dramatic, but sweet and cute just like cherries!

Cherry Pie

A note for photography: I took the shots from my window using window light. I experiment with using the mirror as a reflection underneath. The background you see is my curtain shadows reflected in the mirror. Nice effects, I think?

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A Moment in Life #19

>> Tuesday, January 22, 2008

No food yet, just another photo before I am back... This is St Kilda Beach (Melbourne) with an "Orange Colored Sky"

St Kilda Beach

See you all when I am back! *hugs*


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A Moment in Life #18

>> Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Old Self


The Old Self... Sometimes growing up, we really need to break something inside. To change, and to move on...

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Waiting for the Rain

>> Thursday, January 10, 2008

Rain Drops on Leaves
Extreme heat and fierce sun light, Melbourne is awaiting for some much needed rain. They say the summer rain will come in a week time. Until then, the 40C heat will be around for a couple of days, then the cool change, then… the summer rain! We are all waiting for the moments when the rain comes down and renew everything. The heat will be gone, and the air will be crisp and refreshed...

I am waiting for that summer rain, and also something to nourish my spirits. Ten days into the New Year and so many things are happening. There are hopes, determinations, ambitions, wishes and also rays of despair and sadness. Certain things are harder than others, but like my loved ones always say, things will be better.

I am going home for a very short period of time for a much needed trip back to Hanoi. This time I will be travelling with Mr. B. We are going to my home, and how much I hope he will find Hanoi home also. My family will be there. My dearest sister has grown up so quickly, and each time we meet she surprises me with much deeper thoughts and ideas. My parents, I will need to sit down and talk to them. As I grow up, I have understood them better. Then, I will also see my grandparents, my relatives and friends… I will be walking in those Hanoi streets again. It comes as a surprise but I miss the freezing rain in the middle of winter, the constant noise in the streets, the traffic jam, the dust in the air…

And of course, the food. I just want to taste my mom and grandmothers’ cooking again. My sister also wants me to cook for her, too, just like the old days…
Taro Black Rice Pudding


Naturally enough, the first dish I post for 2008 is a Vietnamese dessert. This lovely sweet rice pudding can also be found all around Asia. A bowl of comfort for a lot of Asians! The version I include to day is from a really lovely Sydney restaurant called the Red Lantern. Can I just say that this Southern Vietnamese Restaurant is simply the best I have tried outside the country so far? Do try it if you have a chance.

I like my black sticky rice not too soft but with a bit of bite. The taro bits give lovely starchy texture. Served with a little (as much as you wish really) coconut milk sauce, this dessert is heavenly for hot summer days.


Taro and Black Sticky Rice Pudding with Coconut Milk Sauce

Adapted from this book
Ingredients
200g taro, peeled and cut into 1cm dice
100g black sticky rice
250ml coconut cream
1 tsp salt
About 100g castor sugar
Method
Boil the taro in salted water until just done. Drain and set aside.
Wash the rice carefully then put into a saucepan. Add in enough water to cover the surface of the rice by 2.5 cm. Add half of the coconut cream. Boil, then, simmer for 30 mins or until the rice is as soft as you like. Now, add in the taro. Boil for about 5 mins. Put in the sugar and salt. Cool down.

Coconut Sauce
You won’t probably need this entire amount. I suggest make half if you don’t really like coconut milk that much.

250ml coconut cream, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp potato or corn starch, 1 pinch of salt

Mix everything together. Heat the mixture slowly and stir constantly. Don’t boil the mixture but heat up enough to thicken the mixture. Cool.

To Serve: if you like, layer some crushed ice first, then, the taro and rice pudding. Pour some coconut sauce over. Mix well and enjoy!
Taro Black Rice Pudding


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This will be a very busy year for me. I probably won’t have much time to read and comment on all of my favourite blogs. But assure I read all of your posts with much enthusiasm. I hope to see you all around when I have more time on hand.

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