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Days before the Easter break – Recipe: Udon noodles with kabocha sauce

>> Monday, March 29, 2010

Udon with kabocha sauce

I had such a fabulous weekend with some very special friends at St. Ali. Then, Monday came and nothing went right. Nothing at all. My train was delayed and there was no replacement bus. I was late for everything. The worst part was facing really unfriendly admin staff at a government department and following their ridiculous policy. It was frustrated, yes. But ya know what, there are only three days left until Good Friday and the Easter break so I have calmed myself down. Three more days. So hang on there, people!

At least back at home, things are a lot calmer now. The husband is attending his martial art training and the sister is hanging out with her friends. Sometimes, being alone is nice. It balances out any insanity moments I may have during the day. Reading a book, catching up on TV programs, things are not that bad. Like my friend used to say, “it’s ok to start the days in chaos as long as it ends nicely!”

This noodle is a lovely vegan dish I learned from a Korean friend when living in Sydney. Very simple and healthy. The flavor comes almost entirely from the purée kabocha sauce. It is sort of a dish I can cook with ingredients from the pantry without exercising too much brain power. Lazy cooking and it still tastes good. I’m not gonna complain about this one.

Udon with kabocha sauce

Udon noodles with kabocha sauce

Serve 2, for a light lunch

150g dry udon noodles, cooked as instructed in the packet. Drained and set aside.
Around 400g kabocha {Japanese pumpkin}, peeled and seeded
1-2 tbp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 nori sheet
Salt, vegetable stock powder {optional} & pepper

Method
Cut the peeled and seeded pumpkin into big chunks. Put it a microwave-safe bowl with some water. Cover with cling wrap and microwave for 5 mins or until the pumpkin is tender and cooked through. Using a food processor, purée the kabocha to get a smooth consistency.

In a frying pan, heat up 1 tbp olive oil. Sprinkle the nori sheet with salt and pepper, then quickly fry the nori until crispy. Set aside.

Pour in some more olive oil, and heat up. Fry the garlic slices until golden. Set aside.

Pour the kabocha into the garlic-infused oil. Heat up the sauce. You may have to add in some water to get the right consistency. Season with stock powder (or salt) and pepper.

Divide the noodles into serving bowl. Ladle the source on top, garnished with thin strips of nori and the garlic chips.

Udon with kabocha sauce

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A moment in life #34. Life and tears.

>> Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The persistence of memory

The following is a piece written by a friend of mine who is battling with cancer. Her blog (which I prefer not to disclose at this stage) is so packed with emotion, reading through the posts brings tears to my eyes. Painful as it is, I still feel the warmth of hope there. Just as her smile, always so beautiful and vibrant.

I love you, and be strong, girl!
The red headband

The other day I was going out with a friend and I wanted to wear this lovely green dress with a matching headband. But much to my disappointment, the green headband was nowhere to be found. The only thing I could find was an old red headband that I rarely wear. I was so frustrated – I wanted to wear that green dress, and I wanted a matching headband!
But as I took a second look at the red headband, I thought it wasn’t that bad, and all I had to do was to match it with a nice red dress.

I thought the lesson I learned from this was that I needed a better collection of headbands, but it seems like the red headband has taught me a lot more than that. I was frustrated when I couldn’t find my green headband to go with my green dress. Similarly, I was frustrated when I knew I couldn’t have a normal life like other people. To put it simply, I am often frustrated when I don’t get what I want.

But as the headband story tells me, life isn’t always about getting what I want. I was fine with a red headband and a red dress, even though it wasn’t what I wanted. I am going to be fine living a life different from those of people my age. As long as I live it in style.

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Poh’s kitchen episode 3: Almonds. Recipe: Almond and pear smoothie

>> Tuesday, March 23, 2010

{I know I'm slow in watching TV shows. There are other things in life, ya know?}

Pear and almond smoothie

It’s great to have Emmanuel back in the kitchen after an informative but rather boring episode. Episode #3 is all about almonds.


Image from ABC

Quick snapshot: Poh went to visit an almond farm in the land of Adelaide. Coming back, she and Emmanuel created really yummy looking dishes featuring almonds.

Interesting bits: This is the first time that I saw a green almond! Very cool in my book.

I also love how Poh created different dishes to bring out the special quality of almonds. Unlike previous episode with David, she was a lot more proactive in the kitchen this time, showing and experimenting different things. A kitchen princess she was.

With a more vibrant Poh and an ever amusing Emmanuel, the episode was quite entertaining. I actually think that Emmanuel should have his own baking show. I will surely tune in!

Boring bits: Uhm. I am not impressed or feel the urge to make any of the dishes. Okay, Emmanuel’s salmon with buckwheat tulies and almond sauce looks awesome. I am just in a “don’t bother” mood at the moment.

Pear and almond smoothie

Recipe: Despite of the uninspiring mood, I am making something featuring almond. Pear and almond smoothie to be exact. Unusual? Yes. But do try, since the flavor is awesome – rich, nutty but at the same time fruity and refreshing. The texture is not entirely smooth, but that’s the beauty of it. It is worth buying fresher natural almonds here. They have much superior quality compared to the old boring products at the supermarket.

Almond and pear smoothie

Inspired from here. Serves 2 short cocktail glasses

150g natural almond

2 pears, choose those with more tart note.

2 tablespoons agave nectar (or honey, sugar)

1.5 cups or more skim milk

Lemon juice, to taste.

Method

Blanching the almonds by putting them in boiling water for 5 mins. Remove the skin and set aside.

Put all the ingredients except the lemon juice in a blender. Blend until smooth. Taste, and season with lemon juice. Chill well in the fridge before serving.

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Now. A bit of self-promotion. :P

Four of my photos are currently on exhibition at St Ali, Melbourne until Sunday March 28th. It is part of the Eat Drink Blog Conference for all Australian and NZ food bloggers. We met up on Sunday and had a lovely day together.

At the SBS food photography exhibition, you will see awesome work from bron, peter the souvlakiman ;), abstract gourmet, ellie, lucy and many more.

The show is open from 10am - 2 pm daily.

St Ali

12-18 Yarra Place

South Melbourne

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Random ramblings. Recipe: Sesame and coconut mochi cake

>> Thursday, March 18, 2010

 Sesame and coconut mochi cake

We had storm, plenty of rain and now, a week of hotter weather. Sure, Melbourne is famous for its ‘four-season-in-a-day’ sort of weather. Still, it is not easy to adapt to such sudden changes.

Not sure it was because of the weather or something else, I was in a cranky mood today. Two long black in the morning seemed not to help. But this image cracked me up. I laughed so hard in the office, it was unbelievable. {I did try the search and it was the same. Ha, google is funny!!! BTW, I do like Lady Gaga}.

With the heat and late nights at work, I did not do much in the kitchen (Surely one needs not another lemon tuna pasta recipe). Thankfully there were still some mochi cakes left for snacking.

 Sesame and coconut mochi cake

These are not normal mochi, but the baked variety. And they are seriously good! The recipe I learned from the talented Y was really versatile. I opted for a coconut and black sesame version, since I was in serious craving of some Asian sticky balls. The result was fantastic. The cake had a special chewy and sticky texture. With coconut and black sesame, it got the likeness of many Asian sweet treats.

Baked mini mochi

Hot off the oven, those mini ones did not last too long. My sister thought they were a lot like bánh rán (Vietnamese fried sticky rice donuts), minus the hard work of deep-frying of course.

I am going to get several more bags of sticky rice just to make it again! Which flavours should I try next? Matcha? Chocolate? or something fruity?

Sesame and coconut mochi cake

Adapted from a recipe via Lemonpi

225g glutinous rice flour
85g unsalted butter, melted
175g caster sugar
187g coconut flavour evaporated milk (1/2 can)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
2 tsp toasted sesame oil

Preheat the oven to 175′C. Grease your baking tins (I got 6 rose-shaped cakes + 6 mini muffins).

Sift the flour and baking powder together. In an electric mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Fold in the melted butter, then the evaporated milk, sesame oil and vanilla. Fold in the dry ingredients. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared baking tin.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Eat as many as you can hot off the oven. Leave the rest to cool and store in air-tight container.

 Sesame and coconut mochi cakey

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Traditional Adana kebab in Melbourne

>> Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Authentic Adana Kebab in Melbourne

Is it the best kebab in Melbourne? Well, surely it is the best I have tried.

I have eaten a fair amount of kebabs over the year. One or two good ones, and a dozen more bad quality crap. Having a husband who loves kebab, it is only natural that I venture myself to have more of those tasty grilled meat (I have no intention of making these at home, however).

If you are not in a sober state, you will know it when tasting a good kebab. I surely did last Saturday. The first time to try Adana kebab, and I know why it even gets a protected Geographical Indication under the Turkish patent office. Surely, it is tasty.

I got lucky, really, to sample the kebab cooked by someone from Adana, Turkey. He used to help out in a famous kebab restaurant in Turkey as a child. Now grown up and migrated to Australia, he bought with him all the traditional equipments to make Adana kebab. Talking about passion for food, right?

Authentic Adana Kebab in Melbourne

Adana kebab was made from minced lamb and lamb fat, mixed with lots of red pepper flakes. The mince was form into a long log, moulded over special skewers and cooked over hot charcoal. As the meat releases its juice and fat), a piece of bread was used to mop up all that tasty goodness. No flavour was lost.

On the charcoal, there were also small peppers. They looked like the sweet varieties, but be warned, some could be extra hot! Tomatoes were also grilled alongside. When the meat was cooked, it was placed on the piece of bread already flavoured with the juice from the grilled meat. Extra stuff included: grilled peppers (hot!), sliced Spanish onions which had been generously sprinkled with sumac, shredded lettuce, mint and parsley. Just wrapped everything up with the bread, and we had the tastiest package. Oh, extra pepper flakes were offered for those who loved spicy food.

Aside from the food, there was this excitement in the air. Since the charcoal was cooked outside in open air, it felt as though we were enjoying food from a street vendor. And you know what, from experience, street food is the best stuff. And it is!

Authentic Adana Kebab in Melbourne

My friend, another guy from Adana, said that this was as close to traditional Adana kebab as we could get in Australia. I am not sure if they will continue to offer this. It is scheduled to be available for Saturday dinner, starting around 6pm. The location is a bit far out, but well-worth the effort if you like grilled meat. Before planning anything, make sure to give these guys a call to make sure the “kebab event” is still on!

The boring bit: There is no commission associated with this post. It reflects personal experience only.

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Food Safari is back this Thursday!

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Yay! I am excited. One of my favourite food shows is back! Unlike previous seasons, the fourth season of Food Safari, hosted by the gorgeous Maeve O'Meara, is entirely devoted to Italian cooking, with an Australian spin of course.


Italian Food Safari is the much-awaited next feast in the beautiful Food Safari
series… a celebration of the incredible breadth and hard work of the Italians
who came and settled in Australia over a generation ago and have kept their food
traditions intact. Mercifully, they’ve shared their food and culture with the
rest of us – and we’ve been delighted to embrace everything from classic dishes
to the most rustic home-style food.

Presented by food explorer Maeve O’Meara and legendary Melbourne chef Guy Grossi (Grossi Florentino, Mirka at Tolarno) Italian Food Safari spends time with Australia’s top Italian chefs and producers…. in fact the whole 13-part series is a culinary Who’s Who of Italian Australia.

Shot across Australia and covering the four seasons, Italian Food Safari introduces you to the concrete backyards full of abundant tomato and basil plants, the cosy home kitchens where masterpieces are whipped up, the elegant restaurants filled with delicious cooking aromas, the specialist providores and extensive delis, bakeries, cheese-makers and pasticcerias.
Source: SBS
I always think that Food Safari is one of a few high quality food shows that this country produces. It has successfully showed us a lot of different world cuisines that exist here in Australia. The best part? I like it when they feature home-cooking, which I think it is the soul of a cuisine.

The first episode is to air on Thursday March 18 @ 7.30pm on SBS1.
(I hope they provide podcast of the series since I will be home too late to catch the show. Reason: Work, meh!)

On a side note. I am writing up my experience with the best kebab ever. Also a Asian-inspired cake is on the way. Just too much work at the moment, so less time to blog!

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New blog layout, and a nice weekend...

>> Monday, March 15, 2010

Little girl


Welcome to the new blog layout!

I am still in the process of updating this blog here or there. So please bear with me a little. I had no intention to change the template, but apparently blogger did not like my old one. So well, a day was spent to change the whole thing around.

My weekend was fabulous! More on that later. But it's really sweet to spend some time with those lovely kids. Aren't they all adorable? :)

Kiddos

Kiddos



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Viet Cooking Session #2. Recipe: Tào phớ {Tofu pudding with ginger syrup}

>> Friday, March 12, 2010

I kicked off this series of Viet cooking session last year and never had the chance to update since. Into 2010 (okay, it’s already March!), let’s get started on this again, shall we?

Tào phớ {Tofu pudding with ginger syrup}
tào phớ (tàu hũ nước đường) - Tofu Fa - Tofu Pudding with ginger syrup

~ The dish ~

I grew up with this dish! A totally refreshing street snack that we had during every hot and humid summer. There was no need to go to a store, we just waited in our house until the sellers came around, calling “Tào phớ đây” (essentially means: here’s [the] tofu pudding). As a kid, I would jump out with some notes and got myself a really big bowl of this. Being a good kid, I also ordered another large bowl for my parents later. Oh wait, I would have had had another serve, too.

For me, this pudding was almost as good as ice-cream. It was a delightful treat in those hot summer days of Hanoi. To its credit, the dish is quite healthy as well. What’s more? It’s dirt cheap (still so, if you are living in Asian countries).

I know this pudding is very popular in other Asian countries. My husband’s family, of Chinese background, knows it as dau fu fa. Even in Vietnam, the names vary across the regions. There are variations on how to serve this delicious treat as well. In the north: typically with sugar syrup. I can’t recall we have jasmine essence or not. Perhaps we do. In recent years, I also see people eat the pudding with sweetened soy milk (double soy!). In the south, it is served with ginger sugar syrup. I also once tried the delicious icy cold tofu pudding with coconut milk sauce. Nice!

I have attempted to make this pudding at home. Typically in the home kitchen, people use a kind of powder, high in calcium. Since I am too lazy and it’s hard to get hold of such powder, I opt to make the modernized version of the dish. The secret ingredient: gelatin!

The recipe produces smooth and soft pudding, very similar to the traditional one. It's better eat cold though, since the warm syrup will dissolve the pudding. I am working on the traditional version some times soon. Wish me luck!

Tào phớ {Tofu pudding with ginger syrup}

~ Ingredients Notes ~

Gelatin: should be available at your supermarket. No, agar agar is not a suitable substitute here since we want a feathery smooth pudding. If you avoid pork-related gelatine, try to find the powder made from beef skin (Davids brand in Australia)

Soy milk: If you want a more authentic taste, only go for the type of soy milk sold in Asian stores. (It’s easy to make as well, instruction here).

That’s it. So easy, yes?

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~ Ingredients~

Recipe is based on a Viet recipe from here.

6 cups soy milk
Sugar, to taste (1-2 tablespoons. I use the sweetened soy milk from Asian stores)
5 teaspoon powdered gelatin
1/2 cup warm water
Sugar syrup: 200g brown sugar, 4 slices of ginger, 1 cup more or less water

~ Direction ~

Warm the soy milk in a large saucepan. Do not boil the milk since it gets burned easily.

Dissolve the gelatin in the warm water. Stir until the mixture thickens and the gelatin is completely dissolved.

Pour the gelatin mixture to the warm soy milk. Pour the whole mixture in a large container. Let it set and refrigerate overnight minimum.

Prepare the syrup by boiling the brown sugar, ginger and water together. Cool.

To serve: gently scoop out some pudding into a small serving bowl. Pour in some sugar syrup. (I sprinkle mine with some crushed nuts and brown sugar mixture).

Tào phớ {Tofu pudding with ginger syrup}

***
Looking for other Vietnamese recipe?
View the recipe index
Viet Cooking Session #1 - Tam Ki Chicken Rice





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The food we love. Really?

>> Tuesday, March 09, 2010

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{The bolder ones are my favourites.}

Uhm. Really? So, where are the meat pies, lamington etc? No lamb roast? (kanga)Roo is not a favourite apparently.

Pho is perhaps too complicated to try at home. Good to see the Asian presence there with fried rice and butter chicken.

Ohhhh, but you gotta read this. From the same article on The Age.

"The godmother of Australian cooking, Margaret Fulton – whose first cookbook in 1968 contained most of these recipes – finds the fact that so many people are using new technology to search for old-fashioned recipes rather baffling.

"It seems like a lot of effort to go to when you could just look up a recipe book," she says. "Recipe books are far more practical and you'll know exactly the source of the recipe and whether you can trust it."
A recipe book is more practical than googles? Perhaps Ms Fulton does not know the power of web and food blogs, yet. I hope someone can show her.

Not sure about you but I thank all the food blogs out there for introducing me to new dishes, so I don’t get stuck with same old recipes all the time. (I still love cookbooks though!)

I just contribute to the statistics by searching for an Osso Bucco recipe. You hear me?




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Fig magic. Recipe: Fresh fig jam

>> Monday, March 08, 2010

_MG_6024 copy1

Autumn is so here, I can feel it with all my senses. The early morning is getting colder and it’s so hard to get out of my warm bed. The best part of autumn? Beautiful light scarves are put into use. My favourite one is the green scarf with white dots that I picked up at a bargain from Laura Ashley. And I love the soft touch of my big red wine colored wrapping scarf around my shoulders.

During the week, my MIL brought me a whole heaps of fresh figs. The kinds that you would pay $$$ for in the farmers’ market. The fig tree in her backyard never fails to deliver these awesome fruits every year. It’s so wonderful, like magic really.

Fig jam, fresh fig and ricotta cheese on biroche slice

Photo: thick slices of brioche, top with fresh ricotta and home-made fig jam. Yum!


If you reside in Oz land, you should (must!) try Maggie Beer’s burnt fig jam. I was never such a vivid fan of fig until I tried her jam and how she used it to make Burnt fig and bitter almonds ice-cream. Okay, they are a bit costly but I love these products so much, money becomes secondary.

I have longed to try my hands making jam from fresh figs, and finally it comes. I can tell you, the aroma of the jam is so delightful – sweet, floral notes; very “figgy” indeed. And you know what is the best part?

Fresh figs from mom’s garden: zero dollar.

1/2 kg of sugar: 30 cents something

Lemons: $2 for 10 fat and juicy ones

Taste and aroma of home-made fig jam: PRICELESS!

If you cannot make the jam yourself or run out, there’s always Maggie Beer’s!

{okay, I did go a bit overboard, but I have never met anyone who did not like fig jam ;))

_MG_6022 copy

Fig Jam Recipe. From fresh figs

The recipe is based on the one published here. I combined it with the descriptions on the Maggie Beer’s burnt fig jam bottle to make mine. The result is just perfect.

What to do? Get your hands on some ripe figs. Cut off the stem. Weigh the figs.

How much sugar to use? Half the weight of the figs. (I have 1.2kg, so I use around 550-600g sugar)

Direction: Put the sugar and fruit together in a big bowl. Stir well , then refrigerate the whole thing overnight.

The next day, boil the sugar and the figs together in a heavy sauce-pan. Once the sugar is boiled, gently remove the fruits with a slotted spoon. Continue to boil the sugar syrup until it reaches 110C (hard-ball stage). Return the fruit to the sugar mixture.

Break up the fruits with a wooden spoon. Continue to boil the whole thing with gentle heat until the jam thickens (around 1 hour for me?). Stir occasionally. Squeeze in some juice of 1-2 lemons (do a taste test. I used 1.5 lemons). Continue to boil off until everything is set.

Pour the hot jam into sterilised jars. Seal, cool and refrigerate.

**
I made another batch just now! It's one of those things that are too good to share!

Fig jam, fresh fig and ricotta cheese on biroche slice


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Oh the storm. Weekend Point + Shoot #2

>> Sunday, March 07, 2010

Melbourne storm #2010

It was stormy. Heavy rain. The rain has not stopped as I type out this post. (Isn't it weird that I see some beauty in such stormy weather? A different kind of beauty, you know?)

What a long weekend for Melburnians! Sigh.

Melbourne storm #2010





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Poh’s Kitchen Episode 2. Recipe: Roti! {At least I tried!}

>> Friday, March 05, 2010

I know I am incredibly slow watching this show. Let’s face the fact. A cooking show, no matter how excited it might be, can never deliver the same addiction level as a drama, or a soccer game. And if you like K-dramas (or J-dramas) as much as I do, you know what I am talking about!

Making roti

Back to episode #2, Poh’s guest chef is David Thompson. This guy, I may say, is the Thai (food) king of Australia. I think the episode is ok. The freshness of the first episode, however, has faded somewhat. I was half watching the show, half reading my sister’s history essay and doing something else.

What I like about the episode

Uhm, I love Poh’s polka-dotted pink skirt! So girly, pretty and casual!

What else? Well, I finally have some clue on how to make roti, something the Husband loves. There are cute moments of Poh, which I did not find too fake. The curry David looked really good, although it involved lot of work.

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Now, the rant

This episode confirms that the personality of the guest chef is a crucial factor. David was fine chef, but his approach was a bit too “intellectual” for a TV show. I mean I would love to meet and learn from him. But the guy needed to relax a lot more on TV. Throughout the episode, he sounded like an old man lecturing the poor Poh. So yeah, it was a bit booooriing.

The editing part needs a lot more work. Common! Half of the air time was devoted entirely on cooking the curry. Uhm. A bit of different things will be nice, eh? End of rant.

Recipe – Roti

Making roti is extremely hard. I am no roti chef, and nooooo, it was really not easy to get the paper thin dough. I treated by using the rolling pin, but this actually pressed a lot of air out of the dough, which prevented me from getting a fluffy roti. The Husband {Mr. B} tried his flipping game, but finally gave up.

Making roti

Anyway, the roti turned out ok. I did not make the “snail” version but simply fold the dough and fried. Not the best in terms of texture (probably should have used softer flour and worked the dough a lot less) or look. Still, it tasted nice. Fresh bread and a killer curry for breakfast. The husband was happy, and so was I.

Actually I would like to include my recipe for this Beef curry in the photo. It took way less time to prepare than David’s but tasted so good. I, however, forgot what I put in the curry exactly. (This is very me, since I almost never follow a recipe exactly, and gosh, I just forgot!).

Will you forgive me if I point you to the place that makes killer roti? Malaysian style, tried and approved by many. Oh, but they have that stupid no-booking policy in place, so be warned.

Making roti

How to make roti

Anyone else notice that the recipe is different from the way they make roti in the show? geezzz!

Ingredients

500g plain flour (softer flour preferred)
1egg lightly whisked
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
2 cups vegetable oil
100g ghee

Method

# Put flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle for the egg. Rub egg evenly throughout flour so mixture becomes crumbly.
# Dissolve salt and sugar in water. Combine with milk. Pour in a bit at a time, to flour mixture till the dough is able to be gathered into a ball.
# Knead for about 6 mins or till the surface is relatively smooth. (Do NOT over knead)
# Divide the dough into 10 balls, coat each generously with ghee and then cover with oil in a bowl. Clingwrap and leave to sit overnight.
# Flatten the balls evenly in the palm of your hand or with a rolling pin. Grease bench with oil from the bowl. Gently stretch the edges of the circle outwards as far and as thinly as you can (so it is like tracing paper and about 60 – 70cm in diameter), and before holes start to appear. Fold the pancake into a square (or make into spiral)
# Over a medium heat, grease a pan with ghee or the vegetable oil roti rested in. Fry till golden brown on both sides and dough in the centre is cooked. Serve immediately with curry.

I recommend you guys watch this video to get the hang of roti making.

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Driving lessons. Recipe: chocolate covered sweet potatoes balls.

>> Wednesday, March 03, 2010

chocolate covered sweet potatoes balls

Right, so I am trying all my best learning how to drive.

Thing is, I am learning manual cars. Yes, the ones with the stick and gears. And man, it is so confusing to learn.

How many times did I stall the car? Numerous, countless, uncountable. I have the great ability to destroy car engine. Sigh. Oh, on top of that, I discovered that I love speed(ing). Right now, my instructor, a lovely lady from Kiwi land, is trying hard to put me in discipline.

Things are getting better, nevertheless. Still, gear change is a nightmare but I slowly get the hang of it. I can ride a proper motorbike so everyone is telling me that learning manual cars are as easy as pie. Huh? Cars and motorbikes are not the same, people! I (try to) believe that practice makes perfect, so even the husband and the sister scream in fear, I will still hold on and continue my quest. The quest to drive a manual car, that is!

Giving the chaos of driving lessons, I remain remarkably calm in the kitchen. At least it’s the familiar territory outside the madness of work, study, housework and car lessons. My MIL cannot understand why I find spending hours making jam relaxing. Guess it depends on personal hobbies, and I just love to cook and bake.

Now, I am turning a bit health conscious in this post. It’s a sweet dish again, but relatively healthier. These sweet potatoes balls are flavoured with maple syrup, then dip in melted organic dark chocolate before rolling over crushed peanuts. I am thinking pistachio or dried coconut strips will be equally lovely here. These balls are something sweet, lovely enough to brighten up the day (without large amount of guilt afterward).

chocolate covered sweet potatoes balls

chocolate covered sweet potatoes balls

Ingredients
1 small sweet potato (around 250g)
1-2 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
150g crushed roasted peanuts (or pistachios, sesame seeds…)
200g dark organic chocolate
2 tsp light flavoured oil

Method
Boil the sweet potato until soft, mash well. Flavour the mash with maple syrup, depending how sweet you want it to be.
Roll the sweet potatoes into small balls, place aside.
Prepare the crushed peanuts, put into a large plate.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave (or over a double boiler if you have time and enough care). Add in the oil and whisk until everything is combined.
When the chocolate mixture is still warm, coat the sweet potatoes balls evenly with the chocolate, the roll over the crushed peanuts.
Place the balls in the fridge until the chocolate is set. These balls are nice when chilled.



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A moment in life #33. Soccer is fun!

>> Monday, March 01, 2010

Ronaldo Wannabe ;)

How was your weekend, my friend?

Mine was totally unexpected, with my plan got trashed so quickly, I was angry for 2 secs!! {Lesson learned: Sometimes it’s better not to plan anything at all!!}

The best part of the weekend? I got to spend some time with a football (soccer) academy in my suburb. And boys, I got a good work out just being with these kids and their ever energetic coach. Soccer is so fun!! I almost forgot how beautiful this game was!

Weekend Soccer School

Weekend Soccer School

I am exhausted, still. But happy. Hopefully the week ahead will be a good one for you and me. :)

No cooking and baking this weekend. I mean, nothing special enough to mention. Ohhhh, my sister finally agreed to learn some cooking!! yay! A score for me! Lesson has begun this week (she made roast chicken drumstick!!).

Weekend Soccer School



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