dimanche, juin 27, 2010

Pistacchio Macarons with Black Tea Lychee Chocolate Ganache

Pistacchio Macarons with Black Tea Lychee Chocolate Ganache

I was into making macarons for a very very short period quite a while ago. It is not difficult, but I am impatient and lack material for baking and cooling in bulk. Each time I would ruin them during the cooling process by stacking them one on top of the other.

I had a bar of Black Tea Lychee Chocolate from Carrefour from our ski trip in France last winter. I have a few packets of peeled pistacchios and almonds waiting to be used. I also have 2 opened packets of icing sugar that couldn't be used normally as they have formed huge lumps. Perfect for making Pistacchio Macarons with Black Tea Lychee Chocolate Ganache. Especially when the MIL had been complaining that I have never made her any.

I am still packing up for our short trip. Not that there is anything to pack as I have every intention of leaving with 2 empty luggages so that I could fill them up when we're there. I am currently just checking our flight, train and hotel reservations, directions to the museums we are going to visit, my booking for a musical, cinema screenings in case we would like to catch a movie...

Pistacchio Macarons with Black Tea Lychee Chocolate Ganache :

The Macarons :

200g Icing Sugar
60g ground peeled Almonds
65g ground peeled Pistacchios

3 Egg whites
A pinch of Salt
30g Sugar

A few drops of green food colouring

The Ganache :

100g Chocolate (minimum 50% cocoa butter)
60g Butter
25g Crème fraîche

Pulse the icing sugar, almonds and pistacchios together so as to remove any lumps.

In a big bowl whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt till they are firm and snowy. I usually use older eggs for this, sometimes even separating the yolks from the whites 3 days before and storing the latter in a tupperware container in the fridge.

Slowly add in the sugar and continue whisking till stiff peaks form. Add a few drops of green food colouring if desired.

Gently fold the nuts mixture into the egg white mixture. Let it rest for a few minutes.

Prepare a piping bag with a large round tip.

It's better to use silicon mats, but you'll be able to draw circles on baking paper if you use the latter instead.

Fill the piping bags with the dough and pipe out circles on the mats or baking paper.

Ideally, it's best to let the piped circles rest for at least 30 minutes if not overnight so that the tops have a chance to dry ("croûter"). The macarons may "grow legs" too if they were properly rested.

Heat the oven to 150°C. Place 2 empty trays in the bottom shelf. Bake the macarons on top of them so as to ensure that their insides remain soft and moist.

It will take 10-15 minutes depending on the size of your macarons. Hang around to make sure that they do not burn. I baked mine around midnight so they were not properly rested and I also burnt my first batch because I couldn't see clearly!

Let them cool a little before filling them with the ganache.

The ganache is very easy to make. I microwaved the chocolate pieces with the butter for 2 minutes and stirred with a spoon to mix them together. Then I stirred in the cream. Set aside to cool before filling the macarons with it.

Chill the filled macarons for a while before serving them.

Farewell to 8 Families

Karin (great taste, good fun, lovely cook) and I

I just came back from a farewell party at the Mammut Club in Modena. 8 families have come together to organise the event and we've been invited by one of them. But of course I knew everyone though admittedly I wasn't close to all of them.

Linda, she's really linda, I'll miss her!

Ghada (my fave gal), Patrizia and I

But still, I definitely will miss a number of them. In fact I'm quite proud of myself, that a cry baby like me had managed not to cry. It's not too difficult if you try hard enough not to talk to them until it's time to leave. That's the way I do it anyway.

I adore Cecilia and her dolls of 2 girls

Me, Nina and Becki

I usually do not put up pictures of people from the school community unless I know that they wouldn't mind. But this blog is where I record some of my thoughts and happenings, and I would like to remember a few of these wonderful ladies here today.

We take a break - that's my son playing football with his friends

Katarina (very good cook, lovely girl) and I

I wish them all the best and hope that our paths will somehow cross again someday.

vendredi, juin 25, 2010

Bourguignon de Boeuf à l'Orange

Orange Beef Stew

I am going away on Monday for 3 days and the Babies will be looked after by MIL and SIL. I had to make sure that the fridge is stocked so that they will have enough food to feed themselves and the children during my absence. And I also prepared 2 dishes so that they only need to reheat them. One of them is a Ginger Flower Beef Curry and the other a Bourguignon de Boeuf à l'Orange.

I love the French Duck in Orange Sauce and I am fond of some of the Chicken/Beef in Orange Sauce that I've eaten in some Chinese restaurants and I have decided to experiment with an Orange Beef Stew because I really like the smell and taste of orange with meat.

This evening we have been invited by GA to a big farewell party at the Mammut Club. Until they were leaving we've not been invited to this party and I was quite relieved actually as farewells are always difficult. But well, I guess that it would be inevitable that a few tears will be shed now that I would be facing 8 families leaving the school and Modena...

Orange Beef Stew :

600g Piemontese stewing Beef (cubed)
100ml Red Wine
Olive Oil
1 Garlic clove (chopped)
1 small slice of Ginger
1 small Onion pricked with 3 whole Cloves
1 small Cinnamon stick
1 Bay leaf
Juice of 2 Oranges
125ml Beef stock
Salt and Pepper to taste

Marinate the beef in the red wine for a few hours.

Heat up some olive oil in a pot and fry the garlic, ginger, onion , bay leaf and cinnamon stick till fragrant.

Add the beef (without the wine - but do not throw it away) and brown the meat in the fragrant oil.

Cover the beef with the orange juice, pour in the wine marinade and hot beef stock. Salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and simmer for 2-3 hours or till the meat is tender.

jeudi, juin 24, 2010

Sesame Oil Chicken

Sesame Oil Chicken

This is one of the children's favourite dishes. Though you never find it in the Chinese restaurants here. I had to "teach" the one I sometimes go to to cook me the dish (plus stir-fried Chicken with Ginger and Garlic) - or we probably wouldn't eat there as often as we do. And they still didn't think to put it in their menu. What a pity.

I was debating whether to make a Chicken Curry or a Sesame Oil Chicken with the meat that I had yesterday and finally opted for the latter as I wanted something light after GA's Lebanese lunch. The kids love having lots of rice to go with the sauce so I made sure that I steamed quite a bit of Jasmine rice. Bres the late caretaker's dog was also there, waiting patiently for the bones. I know that we shouldn't feed dogs chicken bones, but he's a sturdy Setter of some sort and would eat anything from what we've been told. In any case, he's often with us nowadays, alternating between dashes across the fields (probably chasing hares), time with his mistress and sleeping in our terrace. A really friendly dog.

I'm trying to pack for my coming short trip, get the Teenager to finish his CNED and wrap up the teachers' gifts. This year I've decided on giving quality made-in-France make-up and other body products. Then we'll be off MIL and I to join the other ladies for lunch at Montana...

Sesame Oil Chicken :

10 skinless Chicken upper thighs (chopped into smaller pieces)
3-4 Tbsp toasted Sesame Oil (preferably made in Singapore)
Large piece of fresh Ginger (thinly sliced)
1 Garlic clove (chopped)
1 fresh Red Chilli (sliced)
4 Tbsp Chinese cooking wine (2 Tbsp for the marinade)
2 Tbsp light Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
125ml Chicken stock
Pepper to taste
Sesame seeds (toasted)

Marinate the chicken pieces in the cooking wine for at least 30 minutes.

Heat the sesame oil in the wok and fry the ginger till fragrant (and browned). Add the garlic and chilli and toss in the chicken pieces. Stir-fry for a few minutes till the chicken is almost cooked.

Pour in the soy sauce, oyster sauce and the rest of the cooking wine and mix well.

Add the chicken stock and cover the wok.

Simmer for another 15 minutes and serve hot with steamed Jasmine rice. Sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds over the chicken if you wish.

mercredi, juin 23, 2010

Lebanese Cooking with GA

Ouzi Bundles

This is GA's first cookery class with our club and her last - unfortunately. And she tried to teach us a maximum number of dishes meaning that the whole morning was spent cooking and the early part of the afternoon spent eating. It is always interesting watching another cook in action, learning each time something new and interesting. And Oriental cuisine is not only delicious and rich in texture, but also such a feast for the eye.

GA in action

Filling for Ouzi Bundles

Lebanese Rice with Vermicelli

Fatteh with Kafta

The kitchen was filled with the most lovely aromas when I arrived. We were to learn how to make a few Lebanese and Persian dishes. Most of them were meat and rice-based this morning, with generous use of nuts like pistacchios, almonds and pine nuts, tomato sauce, garlic, onions, lemon juice and yoghurt among other ingredients.

Ouzi Bundles

Persian Rice

A portion of the Persian rice with beef and potato

Lady Fingers

This was also our last cookery lesson until the new school year begins and we have 2 members who have yet to present their cuisines. Keep an eye on this space come Autumn.

Lemon Tofu

Lemon Tofu

You can find Lemon Chicken in many Chinese restaurants in Europe and it tends to be a glooey lemony paste served on thickly-battered fried chicken filet. Just to say that I never order this dish if I can help it.

But it's so easy to make that it would be a pity not to do so in the privacy of one's kitchen. I replaced the chicken with panko-breaded tofu yesterday and even the MIL thought that my Lemon Tofu was delicious. She was surprised that tofu could taste so good.

Lemon Tofu :

3 firm Tofu (sliced into smaller cubes)
Egg white
Panko bread crumbs
Oil for deep-frying
2 Tsp Sesame Oil
1 Garlic clove (chopped)
1 Bird's eye chilli
2-3 Tbsp Sugar
Juice of 1 large Lemon
1/2 Tsp light Soy sauce
1 Tsp Dry Sherry
3-5 Tbsp Chicken stock
1 Tsp Cornstarch dissolved in some water

***The ingredients for the sauce have been given in estimation. I tasted and adjusted my seasonings as I prepared the sauce. It should be acidic, slightly salty and sweet at the same time. And if you like it hot like me, the chilli adds a tang to the whole taste.

Dip the tofu cubes in egg white and coat them evenly with panko bread crumbs. Fry them in hot oil till lightly golden-brown, drain and set aside.

In a saucepan, heat the sesame oil and fry the garlic followed by the chilli.

Add the sugar, lemon juice, soy sauce and sherry. Stir to mix well and dissolve the sugar.

Pour in the chicken stock.

Add the cornstarch mixture to thicken the sauce.

Pour the sauce over the fried tofu cubes and serve it immediately.

mardi, juin 22, 2010

Langue de Veau Sauce Piquante

Langue de Veau Sauce Piquante

Hub likes to tell me about the Beef Tongue in Hot Sauce that his mother used to make him when he was younger. Since I'm not his mother and especially since I do not like beef tongue, I ignored him for a good decade.

I have decided to relent. Especially since the MIL is now here for a month and could instruct me on how to make this classic French dish. Plus share the meat with her son. So Hub's in luck this evening and will have Langue de Veau Sauce Piquante (partially prepared by his mummy) for dinner.

Langue de Veau Sauce Piquante :

1 large Veal or Beef Tongue (soaked for 15 minutes in a cold-water-and-white-wine-vinegar bath)
2 cubes of Beef stock
Enough water to cover the tongue
1 Carrot (sliced)
Half a Leek (sliced)
2 Bay leaves
2 sprigs Thyme
2 sprigs Rosemary
1 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Flour
4 Tbsp White wine vinegar
100ml Tomato double concentrate
1 Hot Red Chilli (sliced)
10 Cornichons (chopped, preferably French)

Place the veal tongue in a heavy-bottom pot (e.g. Le Creuset) and cover it with water. Bring to the boil and add 2 beef stock cubes, the carrots, leeks and fresh herbs. Bring the water to a boil again, cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 2 and a half hours.

Underside of the veal tongue

Remove the tongue and peel it (easily). Slice into serving pieces and cover with some of the stock while waiting so that they do not dry out.

Make a roux with the butter and flour in a small sauce pot. When the flour is cooked, slowly stir in a cup of the beef stock (filtered if you wish) each time so that you do not get lumps in your sauce. You'll probably need about 3 cups of the stock in total.

Stir in the tomato sauce and vinegar, garnish with the chopped cornichons and pour over the veal tongue slices. Eat the veal tongue with a few boiled or fried potatoes and fresh country bread.

Duck Ragu with Pappardelle

Duck Ragu with Pappardelle

I love duck. And if I see duck stew in a restaurant here in Modena, you can almost be sure that I'd order it. It makes a good change from the usual gnocco and tigelle.

A few months ago, we lunched in a restaurant near Torre Maina after our walk to the waterfall and I tasted the Duck Ragu with Pappardelle that some ordered. It was delicious and set me thinking that I should make one myself soon.

Last evening Hub grilled a few duck magrets on the BBQ to go with the fried potato and chanterelle that I've prepared and I made sure that I kept a good half of the duck for my stew this evening. I planned to have a duck ragu done my way, Hub and MIL will have veal tongue with hot sauce and the kids pasta all'arrabbiata. I've decided that everyone should just have what he likes this evening.

The sun is out again. I'm stuck filing our French taxes and will need Hub's help because they have changed a number of conditions and looks like our taxes will triple this year. But he wouldn't be able to look at it before the weekend.

Went to the gym again with MIL and then to lunch in a Chinese restaurant near the gym. Have to prepare a few gifts for the Babies' teachers (this is the last week of school) as well as my coming trip to London with the Teenager. Yes, we'll be going away for 3 days just mother and son - that is, unless you count his classmate AS and his mum who have decided to tag along.

Tomorrow we have a cookery class at GA's which would also be our last before the next school year. She will move to Lebanon this Summer, marking the end of 3 years of friendship and many good moments spent together. It is sad, but I'll think about it again another day.

Duck Ragu with Pappardelle :

300g Duck magret
1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 small Onion (chopped)
1 large Carrot (sliced)
2 Garlic cloves (chopped)
1 sprig fresh Rosemary
A few dried Porcini mushrooms (soaked in hot water)
150ml Red wine
250ml Chicken stock
6-8 Cherry tomatoes (peeled)
1 Bird's eye chilli
Ground black pepper
Fresh Pappardelle
Grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the pot and place the magret skin-down on it. Sweat out the fat and turn it over to the other side. Once browned, remove and set aside.

Add some olive oil to the duck fat and fry the onions, garlic, carrots and rosemary till fragrant.

Add the cherry tomatoes and the chilli.

Pour in the porcini mushrooms and the hot water used to soak them.

Pour in the red wine followed by the chicken stock.

Sprinkle some ground black pepper into the sauce and return the duck skin-side up to the pot. The sauce should cover the duck (but not the skin). Cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Remove the duck from the pot again and chop it into tiny pieces. Return the meat to the sauce and simmer for another 30 minutes especially to reduce the sauce if it's still too liquid.

Serve the duck ragu on freshly cooked pappardelle pasta as it is or process it before doing so.

Things didn't go according to plan finally. Everyone looked at me when I took out a plate of this duck stew pasta and insisted on trying it. I ended up having to share with Hub and the Babies. Thank God I made extra - as usual.

lundi, juin 21, 2010

Papaya Crème Brûlée (Crème Brûlée à la Papaye)

Papaya Crème not yet Brûlée

GA kindly brought me a ripe papaya when she was last here. I suppose that with my exotic looks one assumes easily that I love exotic fruits. While I do not eat mangoes or guavas, I must say that I occasionally do eat a piece of papaya - when I'm constipated, for example. I grew up in a family where the parents stuff themselves on the fruit when they have bowel difficulty.


The Hub and kids refused to touch the papaya - a pity since it looked quite nice. I couldn't possibly eat all of it on my own since it was quite big. Therefore decided to make a batch of Papaya Crème Brûlée (Crème Brûlée à la Papaye), inspired by the quite delicious pumpkin crème caramel that we had at Aldina recently.

It has been raining for the past few days. The cherries in the neighbouring farms have been destroyed. My last batch of washing is still hanging outside and has no chance to dry. It rained so much the roof leaked last night and MIL woke up with half her bed soaked in water. I hope that I would somehow have enough time to wash the bedsheets (the Milano Bs spent a night here over the weekend) before SIL arrives this Saturday.

We've had a really busy weekend, first with a farewell party at Carpi on Saturday evening and then a birthday lunch yesterday at the Bs. Needless to say I've eaten too much and am definitely not on track to lose enough weight to squeeze into my swimsuit. Anyway, it's raining.

This one I burnt it myself with the blowtorch!!!

Papaya Crème Brûlée :

400ml Cream (minimum 30% fat)
A pinch of Salt
1 Tsp Vanilla extract
Zest from half a Lime
Half a Papaya (in purée)
4 Egg Yolks
110g Sugar

Simmer the cream, salt and vanilla in a pot.

Add the lime zest and papaya purée. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and add to the papaya cream mixture. Stir to mix well. If you like the batter smooth, strain it through a sieve. If not, just leave it as it is.

Ready to go into the oven
Pre-heat the oven to 160°C.

Put a few ramequins into an oven tray filled with hot water. The water should reach past half of the ramequins.

Ladle the custard into the ramequins and bake them in the bain-marie for half an hour. The bain-marie helps to slow down the heat transfer and prevent the custard from curdling. Then turn on the fan in the oven and block out the top grill with a metal tray (so that the custard do not burn) and continue baking for another 30 minutes or till they are quite firm.

Let them cool before chilling them for a few hours if not overnight in the fridge.

Sprinkle brown sugar over each custard and burn it with a blowtorch till caramelised. I had to wait for Hub to come home to handle said torch as I'm quite scared of it.

samedi, juin 19, 2010

Subtile Raison by Mauboussin

Subtile Raison by Mauboussin

I felt really down yesterday evening. We finally had our Grade 2 Pool Party at LP's in the afternoon and bade farewell to the 7 children and their mums (from the class) who would be leaving the school. I guess that the anti-climax after all that build-up of excitement and stress (that something would go wrong) was what tired me. I'm glad that my Class Rep duties for this school year are over for now.

Needing something to perk me up, I got myself a new ring this afternoon. I love a number of Mauboussin's creations and always look forward to collecting their pieces whenever the occasion should present itself. Found this cocktail ring from its Subtile Raison collection that had everything to please : Rose Gold, Smoked Quartz (5,20 ct) and Orange Sapphires. In a simple heart. Cécilia Cigañer-Albeniz (Sarkozy's ex-wife) had a Rose de France engagement ring from the same collection when she married Richard Attias.

I toyed with the idea of buying a beautiful blue topaz and diamond pendant from its Trop fou de toi collection too, but decided not to overstretch our purse strings today. After all we've not had any bonus this year no thanks to the economic crisis. Besides, I've also been eyeing a Bulgari B.Zero diamond pendant that I saw MM wearing and maybe I should save the money for that another day.

This evening we'll be attending the D's farewell party at the Club Giardino at Carpi. Which reminds me that I had better prepare the guest room for the B's who will be coming over from Milan and who will be sleeping over at ours. And check the fridge to see if we have butter, eggs and jam for breakfast!

vendredi, juin 18, 2010

Chocolate and Pear Tart (Tarte Chocolat Poires)

Chocolate and Pear Tart

It has been raining this week and I decided to bring MIL to the gym yesterday so that she wouldn't have to stay in the house feeling like she had travelled to Italy for the sun in vain. We had a bit of exercise, more than a bit of the sauna, hammam and jacuzzi and finished off the morning with lunch at Trattoria Aldina. Bumped into GA and LY there with their Italian teacher. That was the 2nd time in 3 years that I saw said teacher and each time she was pregnant...

This morning I had my first golf lesson in 2010 and it was quite good. Nicola smoked as usual when he's teaching, but at least he wasn't on the phone as well. Best part was that he started out by correcting the position of my left shoulder and with just that I starting shooting straight and high right away which was really motivating. I'm going to have my next lesson next Wednesday. And like the other golf instructor I met, he started telling me how good Baby Boy was at golf. I was hoping that my boy will become a famous Chef, but maybe he'll play golf instead. Sigh...

I made MIL another dessert this morning. She finished the Lemon Tart (no, I didn't burn it this time) that I made the other day almost single-handedly so I thought that it is worth the while making her another tart. I've decided on Chocolate and Pear Tart today. Inspired by a recipe that I've read once in a French food magazine I've picked up in an airport lounge.

Tarte Chocolat Poires :

Chocolate Brisée Pastry :

250g Flour
125g Butter (softened)
2 Tbsp good-quality unsweetened Cocoa powder (I used Lindt)
4 Tbsp Icing Sugar
A pinch of Salt
80ml Water

The Chocolate Pear Filling :

5 ripe Pear halves (sliced)
1 Egg + 2 Yolks
50g Icing Sugar
150g Fondant Chocolate (minimum 47% cocoa)
50g Butter
A handful of roughly crushed Almonds, Pistacchios or Pecan Nuts

This tart is very easy to make, but will have to be made at least 4 hours in advance. The brisée pastry needs to be chilled for at least 2 hours or it would be difficult to roll out. Overnight is best.

Combine all the ingredients for the dough in a mixing bowl and work them with your fingers till they are well-mixed. Pour in the water to bind the crumbs into a dough. Roll into a soft ball, wrap in clingwrap and chill in the fridge overnight. You can also replace the brisée pastry with sablée pastry which I personally prefer.

I spread clingwrap on my working surface and rolled the chilled dough till it was large enough to fill a buttered tart mould. Use a fork to make holes all over the dough and eventually cover it with kitchen parchment and weigh it down with some beans (I didn't do that). Bake for 20 minutes in an oven pre-heated at 180°C. Let it cool before filling it.

Brisée dough before being baked

Melt the butter and chocolate on high for 1 minute in the microwave and mix it well to form a smooth mixture.

Beat the eggs with the sugar till you get a creamy and thick batter.

Combine the 2 together and stir to mix well.

Pour the chocolate and egg mixture onto the brisée pastry base and press the 5 pear halves into it. Sprinkle crushed nuts over the chocolate filling.

Let the tart rest for at least an hour before serving.

mercredi, juin 16, 2010

Thai Red Rubies in Coconut Milk (Tub Tim Krob)

Thai Red Rubies in Coconut Milk

Hub and I learnt to make this a few years ago in a Thai cookery class. Thai Red Rubies (Tub Tim Krob) is a dessert popular even in Singapore that can be found in almost every dessert stall in hawker centres and foodcourts. It's easy to make and is a pleaser - crunchy water chestnut wrapped in a chewy tapioca coat and served in sweetened coconut milk.

Tub Tim Krob :

Peeled Water Chestnuts (fresh or canned)
Rose syrup
Tapioca Flour
Screwpine/pandan leaves
Coconut milk
A pinch of Salt

Cut each water chestnut into tiny cubes (e.g. about 9 pieces) and marinate them in some rose syrup. That's what turns them red - or you could use red food colouring and rose water.

Prepare a plain syrup by boiling water with sugar and knotted screwpine leaves. Add a pinch of salt and set aside to cool.

Fill a bowl with some tapioca flour and coat the water chestnuts in it. If you want a ruby with a thicker coating of tapioca flour, spray a little water on the coated water chestnuts and roll them again in the tapioca flour. If necessary, place the coated cubes in a sieve to remove excess flour.

Boil a pot of water and cook the coated water chestnut cubes in it. They are ready when the tapioca coating turns transparent. Scoop them out and place them in an ice water bath to prevent them from sticking together.

Mix the plain syrup with the coconut milk and chill if necessary.

When ready to serve, place some of the red rubies in a bowl and pour the sweetened coconut milk over them. I like mine with quite a bit of coconut milk.

My First Cookery Club Class (and Thai Pineapple Fried Rice)

Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

It was finally my turn to do my lesson for our cookery club and I have decided on Beef Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce for the main course thinking that the weather would be hot enough for a BBQ. It was of course raining since yesterday though I managed to grill the satay outside on the BBQ before it started to pour. I should feel lucky, I guess.

Beef Satay cooking on the BBQ

I am not a very organised person, but the dishes had to be prepared in parts to take into account cooking, cooling etc time, so I was moving from one dish to another and back and hoping that my fellow club members would be able to organise their notes and take that into consideration.

CT turned up with his MIL in tow - and left after he has held us up with his blah blah (aka excuses). Some of you may remember that while he's a passionate cook, he's above all a professional photographer. Well, he's also the school's photographer this year and after taking more than 800 photos of the kids in the school yesterday, he needs to work on them and get them ready for us to view and order. I think he must have something against me to always not turn up for my meals :-).

We had Thai Pineapple Fried Rice to start because I cooked it for MB's party last Saturday and GA wanted the recipe. Since she's a founding (and soon departing) member of our club I felt that I had to show her how I do it. I've blogged about the dish in March 2006, but in those days I had a weird way of posting my recipes that even I have difficulty reading it today so I thought that I'd post it again. Besides, MIL liked the rice and wants the recipe too so this will be for her.

For dessert, knowing that it's not easy getting most people to like a S.E. Asian dessert on the first try, I've decided to play it safe with Thai Red Rubies in Coconut Milk (Tub Tim Krob). Besides it's very easy to prepare and I have all the ingredients with me.

Thai Red Rubies in Coconut Milk

The next class with be at GA's next Wednesday. She'll be doing Lebanese and Iranian.

Thai Pineapple Fried Rice:

2 cups of cooked Jasmine Rice
1 small Onion (chopped)
2 Garlic cloves (chopped)
1 Red Chilli (sliced)
1 large Carrot (cubed)
1 very good Chinese Sausage (chopped)
2-3 Tsp Curry powder
100g chopped cooked Ham
200g Shrimps
1 can Pineapple cubes (preferably Dole)
Syrup from the canned pineapples
2 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tsp Fish sauce
1 Tsp light Soy sauce
2 Tsp dry Sherry
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Eggs (to be scrambled)
Fried onions, fresh coriander leaves and pork floss for garnishing

Dissolve the sugar in the pineapple syrup, soy sauce, fish sauce and sherry mixture. Set aside.

Heat up 3 Tbsp of peanut oil in a wok and soften the onions in it.

Add the garlic, chilli, carrots and Chinese sausage and fry till fragrant.

Add the curry powder and mix well.

Add the cooked ham followed by the shrimps.

Stir in the cooked rice and pour in the pineapple syrup sauce. Coat the grains evenly with the sauce and ingredients.

Remove the rice from the wok and set aside.

Add more oil to the wok and crack the eggs into it.

Season with salt and pepper and scramble them. Do not overcook the eggs.

Add the scrambled eggs to the rice and stir to mix. Garnish with fried onions, coriander leaves and pork floss (if available).

mardi, juin 15, 2010

French Bean and Onion Omelette

French Bean and Onion Omelette

The other day one 0f my children asked if I could do something and when asked why I should do it, he answered that it was to make him proud of me. Now, it set me thinking that certainly times have changed since in my memory I've always had to work on making my parents proud of me, but the other way round?

Baby Girl and her good friends

I've been too busy to blog since last week. MIL arrived, I had to organise a gift for Baby Boy's teacher on her birthday which also happened to be on the school's annual Sports Day (kids' blue team came in last but Baby Boy was first in his race). Then we had lunch with Mu to celebrate her 40th and I had to dash for my last flute lesson for the year. MIL who has an eye for cute young men of course commented that I had a cutie for a flute teacher. :-)

Part of the Sports Day installations
Then there were children's birthday parties, the B's boogie night, trips to the pool at the golf club, CB's lunch, playdates, organising a gift for the kids who would be leaving the class, today's Grade 1 lunch...and tomorrow'd be my turn to do a cookery lesson for the cookery club. Hopefully I'll be able to do my first golf lesson this year on Friday (if it should stop raining), get through with Grade 2's Pool Party, prepare a room for the French Bs' overnight stay when they come over from Milan, attend the D's farewell party followed by EB's birthday party...

Baby Boy and his good friends
I've also been cooking, but really simple meals from a Paella to Sayur Lodeh, 5-Spice Roast Chicken, Fried Kangkong, Tarte au Citron...and French Bean and Onion Omelette. This is a nice and simple dish to make up a 4/5-course Chinese meal, something I whip up when I do not have a lot of time.

French Bean and Onion Omelette :

1 small Onion (sliced)
1 Garlic clove (minced)
1 Red chilli (sliced)
A handful of French beans (diced)
3 Eggs (beaten)
1/2 Tsp Fish Sauce (if really vegetarian omit this)
1/2 Tsp light Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Sugar
Juice of half a Lime
1 Tsp Sherry or Chinese cooking wine
Pepper to taste

Heat a wok with some oil and fry the onion till soft. Add the garlic and diced green beans and fry till the garlic is fragrant.

Add the chilli.

Beat the eggs with the pepper till fluffy. When the French beans are cooked but still very crunchy, pour in the beaten egg. Move the wok a bit to spread out the egg.

Mix the sugar with the rest of the ingredients. Pour it over the omelette. The sugar will caramelise a little and balance with the salty, tangy and spicy bits in the omelette.

I like my omelette fried on one side and still quite soft on the other side.

Boogie Night

An "old" picture of me with the 70s Stars (am I short or what!)

I've been a zombie for the past few days. Lack of sleep is the main reason. Saturday night we attended the party of the year in the Modena expat community. The B's do a dance party with lots of music, booze and great company every June and you always look forward to receiving an invitation for it.

This year we picked up the Bl's before we drove to the party. As the only light drinker in the group, I was given the chauffer job. Based on last year's experience, we would be the last to leave, so I brought a sweater, a bottle of anti-mosquito spray, a pair of Birkenstocks and tried not to be in a hurry. The night would be long.

MIL was here to babysit this year so we were even less stressed. Ended up being the last to leave as expected - and at 4am.

MB has an amazing green thumb...

The B's provided the drinks and the meat and we were to come with a side dish or a dessert. I made a Thai Pineapple Rice which was well-received. I believe that we were 33 guests that evening.

2 of the tables in front of the dance floor

The highlight of the party was the arrival of the A's - in 70s dress, wigs, psychedelic clothing, hippy shoes and all. I should have worn my super shiny black dress - to match the disco ball. I bought it 20 years ago and have never worn it, it still has its price tag on.

This table was my docking station.

I don't ever dance, just spent my time eating and chatting away. And watching those folks letting it go on the dance floor. It was great.