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dimanche 28 mars 2010

Week 12/52

My latest preoccupation is with my blooming tulips

My ever imaginative and oh so clever as well as creative Petit Suisse's creation which showcases his impressive handicraft skills.

lundi 22 mars 2010

The tulips are alive

I could hardly believe my eyes when I set them on my balcony recently. The tulip bulbs I had planted in September and subsequently forgot about had survived the frost, the snow, the unforgiving sub-zero temperatures and were thriving. They are going to flower in May.

I do not know why but I am damn excited about the prospective flowering of tulips that I planted. I am no longer death maiden to plants. Tulips and another evergreen tree have survived. Hoorah, hoorah.

I had to include photographic evidence because it has been one of the rare occasions that I have successfully planted something that comes to fruition or flower in the case of tulips.

dimanche 21 mars 2010

Lemon curd

My lemon curd has craters but you know what it tastes damn good and I do not care about its not-so-perfect appearance

My very first attempt at making lemon curd which was wolfed down by my whole family. I had put off making lemon curd because I was intimidated by 'curd'. It had this aura of difficulty and effort but the easy peasy lemon curd recipe I found rendered curd an effortless exercise of arm muscle as stirring for 15 mins would strengthen your biceps if nothing else. It may replace peanut butter as our fave brekkie spread. It is versatile, slightly acidic, addictively good and I plan to experiment and use it in my savoury dishes as well.

I admit I have long been a lemon curd lover and now have turned my family into lemon curd fiends as well.

Pâtés chauds

It has been at least two years since the last time I baked Pâtés chauds. Pate sô (a French inspired/influenced Vietnamese puff pastry with a savoury filling of predominantly ground pork combined with vegetables and flavoured with fish sauce the ubiquitous Vietnamese condiment)

I decided on a whim to defrost 2 kgs of pork and Shrek was kind enough to mince them for me. I then went on to make a tray full of Pâtés chauds and used up the minced pork in wontons soup as well as Vietnamese cha : steamed/baked eggs and cinnamon ham cha? quê'

I usually go all out when I decide to make and cook up a storm because I want to use up all the ingredients and end up with a gammut of products which will be eaten within the next week.

Môc : steamed eggs with vermicelli, wood ear mushroom and minced pork

Vietnamese cha chien : fried forced meat

Week 11/52

Au revoir l'hiver, Vive les printemps !

We bid adieu to winter and welcomed spring by symbolicly burning the 'Bonhomme l'hiver'

mardi 16 mars 2010

Strawberry friands

Five perfectly separated egg yolks before one cracked and got pierced

Batter waiting to be baked

The friands fresh from the oven

Friands cooling on the rack

A glass of bubbly to accompany the pretty little crowing jewels.

I have made strawberry friands a grand total of 2 times. It is not time consuming or complicated or elaborate, it is just a fuss each time I have to gather up enough courage to brave the tugging at my feet and trousers by a mobile infant. I have not got the luxury of tranquilly going about my business of baking or whipping up a feast without the necessary interruptions and encumbrances of little pitter patter feet hence it is a feat indeed for me to accomplish something so banal as baking these delectable friands.

Another reason is that my oven steadfastly refuses to cooperate and it takes twice as long if not three times to cook something in it and the end result is often disputable. It is unreliable and I have had to use 250 degrees C for everything even if the recipe indicates otherwise. It does not work properly and it is a regrettable purchase that will be replaced when we find something else suitable.

I present my second attempt at strawberry friands in a bout the space of three or more years. I did not take photos of my first attempt as I did not deem it necessary or worthwhile. I am recording my culinary progress... so as to encourage my children and Shrek to take an interest in the wondrous world of home cooking. Apron on Shrek !

Our candlelit dinner

A recent romantic tête-à-tête saw us dining Angus coeur de rumpsteak accompanied by sautées champignons agrementé par Marsala and zucchini loaf. Mmmmmmmmm
Dessert was a crack pie

Wine was a 2005 Chateâu Haut Moulinant rouge

dimanche 14 mars 2010

Week 10/52

I have been positively baking and cooking up a storm. In the midst of my baking frenzy the goodies featured on my makeshift but highly clever four tier display below were obtained. It is a gigantesque and epic effort on my part as I find it time consuming and difficult to have an uninterrupted transgression of time to devote to baking. Although my baking efforts are far and few between I am proud of myself and my achievements... It is not without a hard won battle over inertia, laziness coupled with impediment and hindrances due largely to pestering kids. (firmly with my tongue in cheek in case there is any doubt)

My self made four tier cake stand display.

My vision of high tea complete with a stand/four tier display with strawberry friands and fruits. On the right is My version of crack pie (trade-marked by Momofuku) which I do not find all that appealing tastewise as it is cloyingly sweet.

Waiting for spring

The superbe artistic flair and creativity of the Year 6 primary classes in the local schools amounted to the fantabulous display of flying objects.

The photographs of Week 10 are a culmination of my personal endeavours as well as those of school children.

Waiting impatiently for spring to settle the score with the biting cold frost of winter.

jeudi 11 mars 2010

I can see clearly now !!!

I can see clearly now the dirt and grime is gone thanks to SHrek !
Shrek was wonderful today. He wiped the floors, cleaned the windows and was generally very pleasant unlike his ogre usual self.

Big points, props and kudos to Shrek !

I have included photographic evidence of Shrek in action because for the very first time in a year and a half since we moved in he actually cleaned the windows .

It is cumbersome and I can completely see why it is not a household chore/task that anyone looks forward to.

Well done Shrek, my vision is no longer impeded by grime.

It is not going to last for long though as luck would have it we live with four little rugrats aka monsters (though we love them dearly) and they can be counted on to ruin any efforts Shrek may have made in meticulously cleaning the windows by leaving their prints and paws on the glass panes.

mardi 9 mars 2010


Baby Ben is in the phase known as 'Mama be mine' which invariably means she will cling onto my leg as tightly as she can while screaming, crying and shrieking at the same time so as to leave no doubt about her need, want and utmost desire of being held in the arms of mama.

She periodically rejects Shrek much to his chagrin. It is normal as she is at that vulnerable age where she feels threatened by everyone and is fearful of everything. She will surely embrace the brave new world not long from now.

Although you will inevitably grow up before my eyes and I have to accept to let go sometime I do hope that you Baby and your sister will stay Mama's gurls forever.

dimanche 7 mars 2010

Week 9/52

Shrek's culinary attempt

It is rare that Shrek has the time to whip up something. Understandably so because he spends his free time mostly catching up on sleep.
He cooked Penne Bolognaise with a fennel twist (shaved fennels were added to the sauce). It was quite tasty and a good departure from his usual offerings. I have to savour whatever he manages as it is far and few between.

These boots are made for walking !

My kids are especially creative and imaginative. They decided this Sunday as it was too cold and windy and blustery to go out to have some fun with what we have on hand. I have an abundance of shoes. I am a self-confessed and unashamed shoe-a-ho-lic. Needless to say I own more pairs of shoes, boots etc... than I can wear. I mostly wear flats for practicality when dealing with the kids by myself. I reserve heels and uncomfortably giddy stilettoes for when Shrek is on hand to assist me with our rugrats. In short they held a fashion show with catwalk heels and boots from mummy's collection. It was an astounding success. I am stoked they found such good use for my massive footwear collection.

Week 8/52

A steaming bowl of Vietnamese chicken noodle soup aka Pho Ga

Vietnamese chicken curry

The glorious food moments of this week are especially memorable as I have a tendency to cobble together quick meals that are easy and unencumbrant to prepare due mostly to time restraints which arise out of having four kids to survey. I actually made a mighty effort to cook something that I normally would just pass up as taking too long and needing too much exertion and effort. I hope to create and bake and cook great Vietnamese and other cuisines at least once a week. I do hope to build up my cooking and culinary repertoire as well as a baking folder filled with recipes that I can pass onto my children.

It is said somewhere that one keeps ones culture alive through food.

Food is after all a very big part of culture. Food together with art, language and traditions as well as other components compose culture as we know it.