samedi, juillet 31, 2010

Hub's Red Fiat Nuova 500

Fiat Nuova 500

Hub got his brand new Fiat Cinque Cento a few days ago. And this time round it's red with metallic chrome wing mirrors. And the usual sun roof, leather seats etc. Quite a stunner.

The chrome wing mirrors

The Babies were really excited about it. They love red and couldn't wait to ride in their dad's new car.

The interior

We waited an extra week before collecting the new car as I had filled up the "old " (well, it was only a year old) car's tank and Hub wanted me to use up the diesel before trading it in. I made a deal with him, promising to drive far away - to shop. That was how I found myself in Bologna, Reggio nell'Emilia, Parma etc in the same week. Well, mission accomplished.

Side view

Sometimes I wonder if he'd realised that in order not to loose that 40 euros' worth of petrol he had sent me off to literally spend thousands. Haha.

Gambas, Zucchini and Tomato Tian

Gambas, Zucchini and Tomato Tian

I am chewing my nails now wondering if I'd gotten myself a speeding ticket from my shopping trip to Tuscany yesterday. It was the last day of the kids' Summer camp and I've decided to use my last day of freedom to shop till I drop.

Times like these I would wish that we had Autobahns (motoways) like in Germany where one could drive as fast as one's car would allow. I rarely drive to Firenze from Modena as I dislike the (1) windy roads (you have to be very alert and really concentrate on your driving), (2) the numerous speed cameras and (3) the lousy speed limits (e.g. very often 80 - 100 - 110 km/h). On the way back, as the motorway went downhill, I often found myself much above the speed limits without doing anything particular. Speeding tickets here usually could buy you a bag from Prada and since I've never found the courage to buy one, I would hate to give that money to Berlusconi instead.

It was a great day otherwise. Spent a fortune at Polo Ralph Lauren (how I've missed that shop!) and got a few things from Maui and Sons, Calvin Klein, Jean's Paul Gautier, Byblos..It's just as well that I would stop shopping (I hope) till the next Sale because I have almost busted my credit card's limit as well as my Bancomat's. Actually, it's not difficult when you're shopping each time for 5. Children do cost one alot of money :-).

I will have to start clearing out my old wardrobe seeing that I do not own a walk-in like Carrie in Sex and the City. And life goes on, it's washing, cooking etc during the weekend what do you imagine?

Hub wanted us to eat light for lunch so I made us a Gambas, Zucchini and Tomato Tian. It's a simple dish that looks quite pretty when you're serving it and as long as you do not go crazy on the olive oil (like I do), it doesn't contain alot of calories. And it's full of flavours from the Provence.

Gambas, Zucchini and Tomato Tian :

400g Gambas
3-4 small Zucchinis
3 ripe oblong Tomatoes
1 large Red Onion
1 Carrot

Dressing :

2-3 Garlic cloves (minced)
4 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Juice of 1 Lemon
2-3 dried Bird's eye chillies (optional)
Fresh Basil, Thyme and Rosemary

Prepare the dressing (minus the basil leaves) at least 30 minutes in advance so that the flavours could marry. Set aside.

Prepare a tian or any dish that could go into an oven. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C.

Slice the vegetables into thin rounds and place them vertically in the ovenproof dish, alternating onions with tomatoes, basil leaves, zucchinis, carrots and gambas.

Pour the dressing over the vegetables and gambas.

Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes. Or till the vegetables are as cooked as you want them to be (which could take up to 3 hours but on lower heat). Mine were not too cooked as I planned to re-heat them for dinner.

Freshly baked

Gently use tongs to remove stacks of the vegetables and gambas onto serving plates and ladle the dressing from the ovenproof dish onto the vegetables. Works well as a side dish (minus the gambas eventually) or as a meal in itself.

jeudi, juillet 29, 2010

Salted Caramel Kaya

Salted Caramel Kaya

I have not made Kaya (Coconut Custard) in a while and felt like having some on a slice of toast this afternoon. I've always used a rather easy method to make it, so it's not at all a daunting task. None of that stirring and stirring for hours.

What I did different today was to make a salted caramel-version of it, hence this Salted Caramel Kaya. It was sinfully delicious and thank God the old packet only had one last slice of bread in it or I would have overdosed on carbo today.

Salted Caramel Kaya :

3 large Egg Yolks
80g Sugar
125ml thick Coconut milk
2 drops Pandan essence

The Salted Caramel :

50g Sugar
50g Salted Butter

Beat the yolks, sugar, coconut milk and pandan essence together in a microwaveable bowl.

Microwave on high (mine's 750W) for 5 minutes.

Remove and stir the custard furiously. It doesn't matter if it's curdled.

Return to the oven and microwave for another 3 minutes. Remove and stir the custard again. Set aside.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, simmer (stirring from time to time with a wooden spoon) the sugar with the salted butter till the mixture turns brown and the oil separates from the rest. It's a bit like clarifying butter to obtain ghee.

Remove/drain the oil, leaving the brown mass in the saucepan. Add the custard and keep stirring it on low heat till you get a uniformly brown and smooth kaya.

Leave it to cool completely before storing in the fridge.

Family Dinner at the Ferrari Summer Camp

Ferrari's Summer Camp for Children

They have decided, at the Ferrari Summer Camp, to offer dinner last evening to the children and their families. Hub wasn't keen to attend, but I insisted that it would be good to mingle with the others. I was curious to see how the other families looked like.

Photos were put up for the families' admiration

"Dinner" at the camp - behind the Maranello Church

Hub said that it wasn't as if he hadn't warned me. "Dinner" consisted of the usual dry and greasy Modenese fast food of gnocco fritto, cured ham, piadina, (thick) pizza and some sort of risotto that I hadn't dared to taste. And you had to literally push through the crowd to grab your food. I took a bite of the gnocco fritto, called Hub and told him to bring us out to dinner. But looking around me, everyone seemed quite happy though. We are spoilt, I guess.

Getting ready for the show

There was a performance by the children to follow the meal, but we skipped it. Mine didn't want to participate and the music was too loud. They showed a video with pictures of the children playing in the camp and during visits to different places and many of the boys (young and older) played football all evening.

One of the good things about this week at the camp was that the kids got to have a ride on the Fiorano tracks, and the Teenager met a boy around his age (M) who happens to be AS's eldest boy (who doesn't go to the ISM). They seemed to have hit it off quite well.

Tomorrow will be the last day of the Summer Camp.

2-Scallop Rice Congee

2-Scallop Rice Congee

I've spent the last 3 days shopping and no, I'm not done yet, it's just that I've missed potting around the kitchen and have decided to take a little break today. Besides, I have a teenage rebel on my hands, someone who hid himself in the bathroom and refused to leave for the centro estivo with his siblings. And it's raining.

Spoils from the last 2 days included a soft yellow lambskin jacket and pair of linen pants from Armani for Hub (I was worried that he would scold me for that, but he was actually quite pleased with them), more shoes for the Teenager also from Armani, costume jewellery from various boutiques in Bologna (to go with my summer dresses), serving plates from Coin, swimsuits from Huit and more clothes from Stefanel, Benetton and Zara. Hub looked through my purchases last evening (he helped me carry them from the car) and complained that I didn't buy him anything! Does it mean that I now have the license to shop some more tomorrow?

I've bought a half dozen of fresh scallops on the half-shell the day before and must consume them before they turn bad. Felt like having some congee and so decided to make a 2-Scallop Rice Congee using both fresh and dried scallops.

2-Scallop Rice Congee :

6 fresh Scallops
6 dried Scallops (soaked in a cup of hot water for at least 30 minutes, save the liquid)
1 slice fresh Ginger (julienned)
1 Tsp toasted Sesame Oil
1 Tsp Peanut Oil

1 cup broken Jasmine Rice
1 Tsp toasted Sesame Oil
2 Tsp Peanut Oil
Water or Chicken stock
Salt and White Pepper to taste

Garnishing :

Light Soy sauce
Toasted Sesame Oil
Dried Bird's eye chillies (crushed)
Scallions (chopped)
Fried shallots

Rinse the rice and marinate the grains with the sesame and peanut oils for an hour or more.

Drain the liquid from the dried scallops and keep it for later. Dried scallops give a sweet and pungent taste to the congee.

I used a non-stick casserole. Fry the ginger till fragrant in the sesame oil, add the peanut oil and sear the fresh scallops in it.

Remove the scallops and set them aside. Then add the dried scallops and fry them quickly in the fragrant oil.

Pour in the rice and the liquid from the dried scallops and boil for 5 minutes. Then add 2-3 times more water (or chicken stock) and leave to simmer till you achieve the desired consistency (at least 30 minutes). Some like it watery (not me), some like it thick, some like it in-between. Or you can keep simmering it till the gains disappear.

Scoop some rice congee into a bowl and garnish with the fresh scallops, sauces, scallions and fried shallots. Serve hot.

mardi, juillet 27, 2010

Mai Tai

Mai Tai (with a heart-shaped ice cube)

I dumped the kids at Ferrari's centro estivo and spent the whole day shopping. Yes, with nobody dragging their feet behind, running around, getting lost or whinging. One was so much more efficient this way too, in the space of 8 hours I managed to drive to the Max Mara and Geox outlets, followed by the Outlet Village at Fidenza. Yes, I drove for hours yesterday.

I've spent so much my ATM card has passed its limits for the week. 6 pairs of shoes from Geox (none for me though), a pair of leather shoes and a dress from Max Mara, a sinfully expensive lamb-skin bag among other items from Armani, children's clothing from Ferrari, Byblos, GF Ferre and Puma...I felt like the wife of an oil sheikh with all those shopping bags, needless to say I felt great. Nothing like a spot of retail therapy for a harrassed housewife :-).

Managed to hide most of the shopping bags before Hub came home (haha). I only got him a pair of sandals from Geox and he was complaining that I was a compulsive shopper. Imagine that.

Anyway, I felt that I needed a drink. That's rare because I do not normally like alcohol. I've bought a bottle of Orzata/Orgeat syrup the other day and was wondering what I could do with it. Toyed briefly with the idea of making almond jelly since it smelt and tasted just like it. Google gave me a cocktail named Mai Tai that contained orgeat syrup and I had almost all the other ingredients that go into making one - including fresh orange juice leftover from making an orange butter cake with only the zest. So Mai Tai it was.

Legend had it that it was invented at the Trader Vic restaurant in California before the end of WW2. Polynesian friends of Victor Bergeron tasted his cocktail and exclaimed "maitai" (which means "the best") and that was how the cocktail got its name.

Mai Tai (serves 1) :

30ml Superior White Rum
30ml Golden Rum
15ml Grand Marnier
15ml Orange juice
Juice of 1 Lime (about 10ml)
15ml Orgeat syrup (tasted of almonds)
10ml Cane syrup
Fresh Mint

The above were reasonable measures after I've flunked my first batch of the cocktail. As usual I wasn't being precise and I ended up with a very very alcoholic cocktail that could antiseptise a stomach and rid it of all bacteria. I had to wisely dig out Baby Boy's avent milk bottle (couldn't find my cocktail shaker in the mess) and start measuring the different ingredients. Don't worry, I rinsed his bottle before filling it with milk again - and the cocktail was good, thank you for asking.

I've kept some mai tai in the fridge for tomorrow too. Tomorrow will be another shopping day - after coffee at CB's. Feel free to add ice or sparkling water to the drink if you find it too alcoholic.

dimanche, juillet 25, 2010

Orange Butter Cake

Orange Butter Cake

Hub and the Teenager left this morning for their very first golf competition at our golf club. It's the quest for a handicap and wouldn't be easy from the look of things. Hub's a talented player, but doesn't have the time to practise or play.

I remained in bed to finish a book and then started to marinate chicken and salmon for tonight's BBQ dinner. Out of the blue decided to bake an Orange Butter Cake adapting a recipe from Little Teochew. This way, if the boys should get a handicap, we'll have a cake to celebrate with; if they should fail, we'll have a cake to comfort them with.

I think I've followed her recipe quite faithfully - as much as I'm capable of following a recipe. Hub often complains that I'm an imprecise baker which definitely explains why I'm such a failure in this department.

I've added 2 Tsp of Orange extract and 1 Tbsp of Grand Marnier to the recipe and may not have used the exact amounts of flour, sugar, orange zest and butter. My milk was also half-fat today as we happened to have opened this packet. If I'd baked the same cake tomorrow, I would have used whole milk...I baked the cake in a 10x8 inch baking pan as I didn't have a small round one. Cake would have risen more in a smaller pan.

The cake was quite good, all orangey and buttery. My top cracked (like do I never have a bad hair day?) and I've probably not cooked it enough (I lost track of the time), but it was yummy. It was like a buttery version of my favourite orange chiffon cake.

The boys didn't get their handicap and Hub was red like a (cooked) lobster from over-exposure to the sun. But they didn't expect to succeed on their first try anyway so it's ok.

Poolside Party at the Golf Club

Poolside party at the Modena Golf and Country Club

Hub attended the poolside party at the Modena Golf & Country Club last Summer with his (Brad Pitt lookalike) best friend SB and raved about it, saying that it was fabulous and that we had to go for it this Summer too. So when our German friends the Ls asked if we would be going we decided to sign up for it together.

Our table was at the other end

The setting, I must say, was lovely, even magical. There were 250 guests at the party last night and a live band. We were greeted with drinks and finger food at a buffet table before dinner (sit-down) started. Many of the men were in jackets (but not Hub) and the women were nicely decked out - though nothing like the women we usually see in Ferrari dinners. The average age is also higher here, we must be among the younger people around. I was in my new silk Monsoon dress, new Moschino leather clutch and equally new Ferragamo heeled sandals. And I was thinking as the night progressed that 400-euro or not, my feet still hurt in them. And I was seated most of the time.

Drinks and finger food

We shared our table with 8 strangers (6 women and 2 men) who knew each other (they were either related or lawyer colleagues) and our table was situated at the very end of the pool - a blessing as this also meant that we were furthest from the loudspeakers. It was a little awkward at the beginning as the 4 of us would stick to ourselves and speak only in English, but as the night went on we managed to make conversation with the rest of the table and they turned out to be quite funny and interesting. Only problem was that half the women smoked - and they did so at the table without asking anybody for permission.

A table setting with free golf ball, cream samples and chance to win a holiday in a lucky draw

The food and music were so-so that evening. KL looked bored the whole evening and didn't even dance - amazing as everybody knows that she loves to dance. We had a cold seafood rice dish to start, followed by pasta, an overcooked pork and fried seafood. Dessert was served buffet-style (not bad if still a little frozen) and there was also coffee, (very good) ice cream and after-dinner alcohol. Water and wine were à volonté.

Lovely setting and evening, but average food. Good occasion to put on something new though. If we had been more organised, we could have tried to gather more friends and make up our own table. Things would probably look up then.

samedi, juillet 24, 2010

Melons and Lychee Salad

Melons and Lychee Salad

I am pretty pleased with myself. Because I drove to Bologna yesterday. Instead of parking at Ikea and taking the bus as I'd thought of doing earlier.

Cities like Bologna make me nervous because of the heavier traffic and the cameras guarding the entrances to the old parts of the city. I also fear not being able to find parking space, of course.

But what the heck, I've not taken public transportation in a long while and hate the thought of doing so in the heatwave. So I just niked (i.e. just did it).

Parked near this Indian restaurant Taj Mahal that I've been meaning to try out for a while now and had lunch there with the Babies. We had cheese naan, mutton karay, tandoori chicken and mango lassi. The food, according to me, is better than at Ristorante India. Though the restaurant is less sexy. The tandoori chicken wasn't dry like at most places and the mutton was tender and came with alot of gravy. I would consider going back for a 2nd opinion.

Went to buy coffee at Nespresso as we were running out and managed to buy a pair of shoes along the way. Sale time, pity we couldn't hang around to check it out as I had to pick up the Teenager from a play date in Modena. Was disappointed though that they didn't have the grape seed body cream that I was looking for at l'Occitane en Provence. I fear that they may be discontinuing the line - a tragedy as I love this cream.

I could have left the kids at the summer camp starting yesterday, but when I was told that they would be going to the public pool at Maranello, I knew that I couldn't do it. Why would they want to swim with the screaming masses when they are members of the golf club with a big pool just for a selected few? So after Bologna I drove them to the golf club and saved myself a few towels to wash and dry.

It's so hot I have no mood to cook. Hub prepared a salad for himself, I made the Babies chilli and garlic pasta and for myself tofu with salted fish. Then we all had a large Melons and Lychee Salad. That I have put together this morning and chilled in the fridge for a few hours. Very refreshing.

Melons and Lychee Salad :

Lychees (canned)
A few grapes and cherries
A touch of Grand Marnier
Fresh mint

Basically just put all that's round together. Include the syrup from the canned lychees and the juice from the watermelon. The melon came from the farm and the cherries were probably the last for this year - found them at a roadside stall in Vignola on my way to Bologna.

I wouldn't have to cook either this evening. We are going to a poolside dinner party at the golf.

Ristorante Taj Mahal
Via San Felice 92
Tel : 051 524894

A Few Headlines from Ferrari

Photo taken from the press release
That for once had nothing to do with the F1 pilots.

This was the 3rd year running that Hub took charge of the Podio Ferrari. Family and friends have wondered what it was so when Hub showed the kids a link to an official write-up on the event, I decided to post it to save me repeating myself. At the bottom of the press release, there's also a link to an official video of the event. Those of you who know Hub may be able to spot him in it!

Basically it was an award ceremony (mistake spotted in the write-up : it's no longer annual since 2008, it's now biennial) for its Best Partners and Suppliers.

I've also found a press write-up on the Summer (Day) Camp that the kids would be attending next week. We were joking that the company's using our bonus (that they wouldn't give us citing the crisis) to partly finance the camp. Would be a pity not to try it out.

jeudi, juillet 22, 2010

Bardolino Revisited

Lake Garda (at Bardolino) at 5pm

Hub called when we were bathing among the ducks and fishes in the lake at Bardolino on our 2nd day. He wondered if we would return home to dine with him since we'd abandoned Gardaland much earlier than planned. I was touched that he seemed so eager to see us again, though of course I would discover later that it was probably because he was very very eager to show us his new iPad. Men and their gadgets...

Our bit of the pebble beach with view of the hotels and camping leading to the Old Town

Anyway we decided to stay put after taking a poll among the children. They loved the lake (it was a really hot day) and wanted to dine and eat gelato at Bardolino before we left. We've discovered a nice part of the lake just opposite our hotel in Bardolino. The hotel wasn't in the centre of the town, but you could walk there (along the lake) in less than 10 minutes. Bonus was that parking was free and that our part of the lake was best for swimming in (though make sure you bring rubber shoes as the pebbles hurt). Hotels are very expensive in the Garda area, so I wouldn't stay in the town centre (with its parking restrictions) anyway. As it was I paid 4* prices for a 2*.

The first night, we swam in the lake at 8pm. The sun set around us (lovely) and we just towelled ourselves dry and walked to town for dinner. We ate at Ristorante Biri that had top ratings on Tripadvisor - but then many tourists provided the ratings so I would be careful with them. We had beef for our main courses and the meat was very good. The staff was friendly and at least one of them could speak Dutch, but I'm sure that it couldn't be the "best" restaurant in Bardolino. Prices were normal, the 4 of us ate for less than 100 euros.

The kids using their goggles to watch the fish swimming in the water - there were lots of them!

The second night, the boys wanted to eat pizza (but I didn't) so we compromised and went for a restaurant that would serve both pizza and other food. I went into a side alley thinking that it would be better not to eat facing the lake (too touristic). The food was very good there! The pizzas were among the best that I've eaten (and I've eaten many pizzas) and what was worth mentioning was the Risotto ai Funghi Porcini that Baby Girl had - it was delicious. Creamy, not undercooked and rich in mushrooms. Then, when I asked to pay by card, the waiter led me through the building (it was big!) to the other side was actually Hotel-Ristorante-Bar-Pizzeria "Catullo" - with its main terrace at the port. But I suspect that the menu and prices would be different if we had gone in through the chic main restaurant.

Baby Girl in her new Monsoon swimsuit (minus one tooth)

And when it came to ice cream - we went back again and again to Gelateria Cristallo. The gelato was really good there, the portions very generous for the price - though the service sucked. The girls working there pulled long faces and were abrupt. I hate being served by people who didn't like what they were doing. But the gelato was very good. Try the solero ice tropical. They have plasmas showing you how they made their ice cream.

Trip was very tiring but good. It was an easy drive too (1.5 hours each way) and we were fortunate to have the Lancia Phedra which was comfortable to be and drive in. I complain alot about having to drive everywhere (e.g. for our daily needs), but I do enjoy the opportunities for travelling that being able to drive gave me in a country like Italy. I will miss that when we move to big cities that would be too chaotic to drive safely in.

Ristorante Biri
Via Solferino 13
37011 Bardolino (VR)
Tel : 045 721 0873

Hotel-Ristorante-Bar-Pizzeria "Catullo"
Lungolago Lenotti 8
37011 Bardolino (VR)
Tel : 045 721 0911

Gelateria Cristallo
Piazza Matteotti 1
37011 Bardolino (VR)
Tel : 045 721 0045

Gardaland Revisited for the 3rd Year Running...

The 4 of us on the Colorado Boat ride

Gardaland is at the moment the nastiest 9-letter word that I can think of. I may even develop an allergy for it. I am sure that I've reached my threshold of tolerance for this Italian amusement park and I suspected that when I nearly picked up the Gardaland Compilation 2010 cd in the shop - so that I could throw it on the floor and trample on it. Who in their right mind would want to listen to music from Gardaland after more than 7 visits to that place in 3 years?

Baby Girl with Prezzemolo (or Parsley) the Gardaland Mascot

Actually its theme song is still ringing in my ears. It's a good park, but we've enough of it, 3 times in just 3 months this year, it's time to move on. Even Baby Boy knew his way around the park now. It was very very hot the 2 days we were there, we had to keep wetting ourselves with water so that we would not roast. At 4pm on the 2nd day, we all agreed that we couldn't take it anymore and decided to skip the night closure (we used to stay till midnight at Disneyland Paris) and go jump literally into lake Garda. Ahhh...that was a good decision. Actually we were also thoroughly sick of the bad and expensive junk food in the park.

Next time we'll check out Movieland next to it or Mirabilandia at Ravenna. Or no park at all, for the moment I really couldn't stomach the thought of another visit to an amusement park - especially with those 3 monsters kids.

First thing I did this morning, I signed up my darlings for a week at the Ferrari Summer (Day) Camp. Hub didn't tell me that this thing existed till a few days ago. It's childcare organised by the company for all of its employees' children aged 7-14 and next week will be the last. Well, better late then never, I guess. I can only hope now that they will accept to stay there and not cry to come home after a few hours.

mercredi, juillet 21, 2010

Happy 60th, Mum!

Mum's 60th Birthday Cake from Cupcake Fantasies

No, I didn't make this gorgeous cake myself - have no idea what sugar crafting is, playdough isn't my thing either - and mum's still in Singapore. I had the honour of having my cake order accepted by Cupcake Fantasies managed by Edith of Precious Moments for my mum's 60th birthday. Thank you, Edith.

I have asked for a pool theme because mum has started learning how to swim only recently. Fancy doing that only when you were nearing 60. All my life I have never seen mum in a pool (unless it was just to sit in the very shallow end) and I honestly never thought that it would happen. But you know that we should never say never.

She joined a swimming class with my brother's MIL and they have been bitten by the swimming bug ever since. Which is great as it gives them good exercise and something that they can do all year round in Singapore. Learning how to swim is therefore mum's most recent major achievement as she celebrated her 60th birthday and I hope that she would be very happy and healthy as she dives into her next decade of existence.

I've send Edith a photo of my mum and told her that mum could be in a red swimsuit with a skirt as that was what she would buy if she should come across a swimsuit like that :-). The rest, Edith has designed on her own and I'm sure you'll agree that the result was fantastic. Cake looked too good (and too sweet) to be eaten.

Happy 60th Birthday, Mum!!!

mardi, juillet 20, 2010

BBQ Chicken and Curry Gambas "Bun" (Rice Vermicelli)

Grilled Curry Gambas, BBQ Chicken, Grilled Ajwain Lamb and Fresh Herbs Bun

We would have left in the morning for 2 days at Gardaland. Overnight at Bardolino - just the 4 of us. Hub has to work (very hard) and in any case he'll be out this evening at EB's for a Franco-German Boys' Night Out. Grilled meat, cheese and especially lots of wine and other types of alcohol - and he still hasn't taken out any life insurance.

Thought I would make him a BBQ to remember before I leave. And I did just that last evening, it was a meal that pleased everyone in the family, old and young they kept telling me that "the chicken was sooo good!" And of course they love the nuoc cham sauce too.

I prepared Chicken in a Hot Sweet Sauce and Curry Gambas to go on top of Bun or Rice Vermicelli. I love making this during Summer because the rice vermicelli simply blanched in hot water and then served with nuoc cham, cucumber (and other raw vegetables if desired) and lots of fresh herbs like coriander, mint and basil is particularly refreshing and goes really well with the grilled meats and seafood.

Chicken on the grill

Grilled Curry Gambas :

6 large Argentinian Gambas (peeled but tails-on, deveined)
1 Garlic clove (minced)
3 dried Bird's eye chillies (crushed)
1/2 Tsp ground black Pepper
1 Tsp Curry powder for fish
Juice of 1 Lime

BBQ Chicken :

8 boneless skinless Chicken upper thighs
3 Tbsp Sugar
3 Tbsp Light Soy sauce
2 Tbsp Chinese cooking wine
1 Tbsp toasted Sesame oil
1 Tbsp Fish sauce
1/2 Tsp ground Ginger
1/2 Tsp 5-Spice powder
4 dried Bird's eye Chillies (crushed)

nuoc cham

Nuoc Cham :

2 Garlic cloves (minced)
2 Tbsp Sugar
Half cup hot Water
2 Tbsp Fish sauce
2 Tsp Light Soy sauce
1 Tsp toasted Sesame oil (optional)
Juice of 1 large Lemon
2 dried or fresh Bird's eye Chillies (crushed)

Marinate the gambas and set aside for 30 minutes.

Marinate the chicken and set aside for at least 2 hours.

Prepare the nuoc cham and set aside, chill if desired.

When grilling the chicken on the BBQ, keep basting it with its marinade to keep it moist and also to encourage the meat to caramelise.

Put some cooked rice vermicelli in a bowl and top it with some sliced cucumbers and other raw vegetables like peppers, carrots or salad if desired. Add some fresh herbs like mint, coriander and basil. Pour a bit of the nuoc cham over it. Top with the BBQ Chicken and Grilled Curry Gambas and add more fresh herbs.

lundi, juillet 19, 2010

Salted Fish, Egg and Tofu Fried Rice

Salted Fish, Egg and Tofu Fried Rice

I know that it's not healthy, but I love salted fish. Especially the ones that my mum usually buys in Singapore. And the good thing when you cook your own food is that you can put whatever you want in it. Yesterday Hub made his own smelly pasta with gorgonzola that he shared with the Teenager (who finally had his long dirty hair cut), and I made my own smelly Salted Fish, Egg and Tofu Fried Rice. I made a version without the salted fish for the Babies (in case you should wonder if we were starving them). was good. Fragrant with the ginger, garlic and sesame oil, pungent with the fried salted fish. Pity that I just need to look at rice to grow fat. I could eat this every day otherwise.

It is difficult to imagine that we are suffering from too much heat nowadays if you should remember that we had alot of rain in the Spring. So much that the grass outside is still green (normally it would be dead and dry at this time of the year) and the guys working the fields around our house managed to harvest hay twice within a month.

Because of the heat, they have taken to turning up at 9pm to work in the past few days and while it was cool for them, it was less so for us. We had to keep our windows open because of the heat and could hear them turning round and round all night long. In Germany you wouldn't be able to mow your own lawn during siesta hours and on Sundays. Only here could they have no laws to respect on the matter.

And when you finally fell asleep in the middle of the night, they woke you up again in the very early morning because they were back to pick up their bales of hay. Sometimes I think the owners of the house really take us for granted. We pay prime rent, never ask for anything and they just allow us to live rustically with everything falling apart around us. Plus live with the going-ons in the fields that also destroy the pebble path between the gate and the house. I love this old farm house, but I think I wouldn't mind something more modern and preferably minus the intruders (human, insect, bird or animal) the next time round.

Salted Fish, Egg and Tofu Fried Rice :

1.5 cups cooked Basmati Rice
1 Tbsp Sesame oil
1 slice fresh Ginger (julienned)
1 Garlic clove (minced)
1 piece Salted fish (chopped)
2 Tbsp Peanut oil
1 piece grilled Tofu (cubed)
3 Eggs (beaten)
Salt and Pepper
1 Tsp light Soy sauce
1 Tsp dry Sherry

Heat the sesame oil in non-stick frying pan and fry the ginger till brown and fragrant.

Add the peanut oil and fry the salted fish and garlic till the former's crispy. Followed by the egg (beaten earlier with the salt, pepper, soy sauce and sherry). Turn the pan around to spread the egg all over. Scramble it.

Add the grilled tofu and the rice. Mix well.


Baby Girl under the pool

Our Swedish friend TC has a camera that can take pictures underwater.

Baby Girl and her good friend Emmy

I feel like a dinosaur with my old Sony...