Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Ten days ago, when I went for a walk, I witnessed the very first spring flowers...
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Have fun reading it!
If I were... a vegetable, which one would it be?
A potato, because there are so many varieties and ways of preparing that marvelous vegetable!
Since I love so many vegetables (Brussel sprouts, fennel, cauliflower, eggplant, courgettes, asparagus, etc...), I must say that it was very difficult to choose only one out of them all...
If I were... a fruit, which one would it be?
Berries of any kind, whether it be blackberries, raspberries, cranberries, red currants, etc... I just love those delicious little fruits. Their flavor is very delicate, sweet and acidulated, their color wonderful and their perfume heavenly!
If I were... a spice, which one would it be?
Cinnamon. I love that spice! It is ideal when baking or cooking and goes perfectly well with sweet or savory dishes.
As a spice freak, it was very difficult for me to think of only one spice and forget the others (curry, 5 spice powder, cumin, Garam Massala, Za'atar, etc....)...
If I were... a herb, which one would it be?
Fresh basil. I particularly like the European variety in pestos and with pasta, and the Asian one (Holy/Thai Basil) in curries, stir-fries or Vietnamese food.
If I were... a dessert, which one would it be?
A tart/pie ("Pumpkin Pie", "Pecan Pie", "Custard Tart", "Wine Tart", etc...) . Maybe "Lemon Meringue Tart" or any fruit tart/pie (apple, berry, apricot, prunes/quetsch, rhubarb, etc...).
If I were... a sweet, which one would it be?
I'm not really a person who likes sweets, but I guess that I'd say "Sour Apple Rings" and anything chemical as well as regressive like Haribo or Youpi sweets...
If I were... a chocolate, which one would it be?
Simple, not to sweet, but with body.
I particularly like "Gianduja" (see infos). I'd say anything by Camille Bloch, Lindt, Favarger, Villars, Frey and Cailler...
If I were... a jam, which one would it be?
Black currant jelly/jam. The best berry jam around...
There are many jams I like like apricot jam or black currant jam, but I think that this one is one of the best, because it's not too sweet nor too sickly.
If I were... a cuisine, which one would it be?
The American cuisine, because it's multi-faceted and multi-ethnic (Asian, European, Jewish, Middle Eastern, Creole, South American, etc...).
In that way, I don't have to choose between cuisines that are all different, yet equal quality- and taste-wise!
If I were... a silverware item, which one would it be?
A spoon. In that way I can eat anything (desserts, soups, curries, pasta, etc...) and in quantities, he, he!
If I were... an alcoholic drink, which one would it be?
Although I very much like wine, I would choose the sweet kind (Porto, Bailey's, Amaretto, Dessert Wines, etc...) as I like to drink in small quantities and prefer to enjoy my alcohol as if it would be a dessert...
If I were... a non-alcoholic drink, which one would it be?
Water, but also tea and coffee (that's more than one, I know...).
I drink a lot of water on a daily basis and could not live without it. It is for my well-being.
If I were... the owner of a restaurant, which one would it be?
A diner. Those places are convivial and serve old-fashioned family-style food (doughnuts, hamburgers, rice pudding, pies, meatloafs, muffins, tarts, cornbread, etc...).
I love what has a retro touch. such places make me dream!
The bloggers I tag (only if you want):
Ari at "Baking And Books" (USA)
Lilian at "Malaysia's Best" (Malaysia)
Rai at "Ugly Fruit" (Switzerland)
(Potatoes -Pic by www.subtleenergysolutions.com)
(Berries -Pic by www.aaronscanna-amaryllis.com)
(Cinnamon -Pic by www.danish-schnapps-recipes.com)
(Thai Basil-Pic by www.sunriseseeds.com)
(Lemon Meringue Pie -Pic by www.oetker.ca)
(Haribo -Pic by www.general-anzeiger-bonn.de)
(Favarger -Pic by www.wu-services.com)
(Black Currant Jelly -Pic by www.tertinkartano.fi)
(Könemann -Pic by www.letempsdelire.com)
(Spoons -Pic by www.vergenet.net)
(Tokaji -Pic by www.liquorama.net)
(Water -Pic by www.ad-dict.com)
(Diner -Pic by www.forgotten-ny.com)
Monday, February 26, 2007
In Thailand, there are three major kinds of curry pastes: "Yellow Curry Paste/Nam Prik kaeng Kari", "Green Curry Paste/Nam Prik kaeng Kiow Wan" and "Red Curry Paste/Nam Prik Kung kaeng Ped". They were named so according to their color. But, there also exists other (more regional) curries such as "Massaman Curry/Kaeng Massaman" (see recipe and infos) or "Muslim Curry" from the very Southern part of Thailand, "Panang Curry/Kaeng Phanaeng" which is a drier curry paste cooked with less coconut milk and "Jungle Curry/"Kaeng Pah", a country style red curry paste...
Thai curry pastes are wet and use ground spices (cumin, curcuma, coriander, cinnamon, etc...) as well as fresh roots or vegetables (galangal, ginger, shallots, chillies, garlic, lemon grass, etc...), herbs (coriander, kaffir lime leaves, and condiments (shrimp paste, tamarind, etc...). They are never dry like Indian curry powders. With those pastes, two categories of curry dishes can be prepared: either milk-based or water-based ("Sour Curry" often made with fish). The most popular curries are red and green curries. Curries are the most important dishes in Thailand, especially in the south. There, the people greet you with a "Gin gang ry wahnee?", which means "Which kind of curry are you having today?"! The curries that will be made always depend on the ingredients which the people have at home and generally the whole meal is planned around them...
Compared to the other curries, especially the "Red Curry Paste", this "Yellow Curry Paste" is very mild, but it is, at the same time, the most fragrant of them all. It is very versatile and can be made with any combination of meat, poultry, vegetable, fish, seafood or noodles. This "Thai Yellow Curry Paste" is very aromatic, well-balanced and extremely flavorful! It is a bit as if the taste of paradise could be kept in a container and used to spread happiness, well-being and enlightenment via the table... A real treat that all Thai food lovers should try at least once in their lives!!!
This "Thai Yellow Curry Paste" recipes was partly invented by myself after a few experimentations and inspired by diverse sources such as The Women's Weekly "Easy Thai-Style Cookery" book.
It's my favorite curry paste, so I hope that you'll enjoy it's taste and will find many interesting uses for it!...
~Thai Yellow Curry Paste ~
Recipe by Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums
Makes 1 medium bowl or enough for two curries.
3 Tsps Cumin powder
1 Tsp Coriander powder
3 Fresh yellow (or red) chillies, chopped
1/4 Tsp Flaked red chillies
1/2 Tsps Ground cinnamon
1 Tsp Turmeric/curcuma powder (see infos)
1 Tsp Paprika powder
1/2 Tsp Ground cloves
2 Tbs Fresh coriander root, chopped (see infos)
2 Tbs Fresh lemon grass, chopped (see infos)
2 Tbs Shallots, chopped
4 Tbs Garlic, chopped
2 Tbs Fresh galangal, chopped (see infos)
4 Kaffir lime leaves, thinly shredded and chopped (see infos)
1 1/2 Tsps Shrimp paste/Kapi (see infos) *
1 Tsp Palm sugar (see infos)
1 Tsp Fish sauce
2 Tsp Peanut oil
A pinch of salt to use when grinding (it helps)
1. With the help of a mortar and pestle, pound the ingredients in batches of two (transfer every batch into a clean bowl) until a smooth paste is formed, about 10 minutes per batch.
2. At the end, add the shrimp paste, palm sugar, fish sauce and peanut oil. Pound until well blended, about 2 minutes.
Instead of using galangal, you can use the same quantity of fresh ginger.
If you don't find any kaffir lime leaves, then replace them by 1 1/2 teaspoon lime rind.
You can also blend or process this paste in a mixer, but the mortar and pestle way will give better results (more authentic). Important tips and methods can be found here (see link).
This pastes keeps up to a few months in the refrigerator.
* If you eat only Kosher food, then I recommend you to replace the 1 1/2 teaspoons shrimp paste by 1/3 teaspoon brown sugar, 2/3 teaspoon anchovy paste and 1/2 teaspoon crumbled chicken stock powder.
Use this curry paste to make "Thai Yellow Curries", "Thai Yellow Curry Soup" or "Thai Dry Curry" served with "Jasmine Rice" or rice noodles...
Here are some interesting links to recipes:
Crushed Sesame Scallops With Yellow Curry (see recipe)
Hot Fish Curry (see recipe)
Kin Jay Curry (see recipe)
Thai Yellow Curry Chicken (see recipe)
Thai Yellow Pumpkin and Seafood Curry By Nigella Lawson (see recipe)
(Krabi -Pic by Gee Hoo www.trekearth.com)
(Thai Curry -Pic by www.jugg-foods.co.uk)
(Patong Vendor -Pic by Dan Walsh www.trekearth.com)
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Saturday, February 24, 2007
To submit your kitty picture, you can either leave a message in their comment section (with your permalink) or contact them without forgetting to give all the informations needed.
He lies there in a holier-than-thou and proud way that makes him look very photogenic and aristocratic...
And his contemplative attitude forces us into a state of respect, so much he is like a living Buddha.
He looks like a saint, a wise being which beholds the Truth...
Those are my favorite pictures until now.
He is such a beautiful kitty!
Friday, February 23, 2007
"Xinxim De Galinha" is a wonderful dish originating from the Northeast of Brazil, Bahia more exactly. It is very typical of that area, because the people there love to combine seafood with meat.
As it is the case with most Bahian culinary specialities, this dish takes it's roots in West Africa (for more infos, please click here). The food there is very colorful, tasty, spicy and it has the reputation of being the most famous and the best of Brazil's regional cusines!
This "Moqueca" (see my "Moqueca Da Peixe") or stew is extremely pleasant, exotic and unique. The aromas are well-balanced, it has a very round and soft taste, yet it is a real shock to the tastebuds, because it's multiple layers of flavor have a firework effect on your palate! "Xinxim De Galinha" is a heavenly and supmtuous speciality that brings together the earth and the sea in a beautiful way. The natural sweetness of chicken and shrimps goes hand in hand to create an interesting impression on the gourmet in search of unusual associations.
"Xinxim De Galinha" works like magic on your soul as it has the power to soothe you and make you dream! It is one of those dishes that is always able to surprise you, no matter how many times you eat it, because it's flavor is so complex and rich that it is impossible to put a grip on it. A real explosion of taste, a symphony of flavors!...
This recipe was adapted from Michael Bateman's "Café Brazil" that my friend, the sweet Brigitte at "Café Créole" (Guyana) ever so kindly sent me. A marvelous gift for a foodie like me! Thanks.
Bring some sunshine to your table and into your life!!!
800g Chicken thighs
3 Limes, juiced (+ 1 more if needed)
4 Cloves garlic, crushed with a knife and finely chopped
Sea salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
250g Raw jumbo shrimps, shelled
Sunflower/peanut oil, for frying
1 Big onion, finely sliced
1 Green bell pepper, seeded and cut in tiny cubes
2 Big tomatoes, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
250ml Chicken broth
30g Dried shrimps (see remarks)
30g Brazil/cashew nuts
30g Toasted peanuts, without the skin
A 1cm (2.50 inches) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 Tbs Dendê/palm oil (see info)
400ml Thickish coconut milk
Some fresh coriander
1. Put the chicken thighs in a bowl and add 1/3 of the lime juice and 1/3 of the garlic. Salt and pepper to taste.
2. Mix all the marinade ingredients together and set aside for 1 hour.
3. In another bowl, mix together half of the jumbo shrimps, the leftover lime juice and half of the leftover garlic. Salt and pepper to taste.
4. Let marinade for about 15 minutes.
5. Heat a frying pan over high heat, then add 1 tablespoon sunflower/peanut oil.
6. Remove the shrimps from the marinade and stir-fry for about 1 minute.
7. Set aside.
8. Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade.
9. Add a little more sunflower/peanut oil in the frying pan and fry the thighs until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.
10. Set aside.
11. In a clean frying pan, add some Sunflower/peanut oil and fry the onion, until translucid.
12. Add the bell pepper, then the leftover garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute.
13. Add the tomatoes and the chicken. Heat well.
14. Pour the chicken broth into the pan and bring to the boil.
15. Then, over low heat, simmer, covered for about 30 minutes.
16. In a mortar, grind together the dried shrimps, Brazil nuts and peanuts into a very fine meal.
17. Incorporate this fine meal, the leftover marinade juices as well as the grated ginger to the chicken and sauce in the pan.
18. Let the contents of the pan simmer for another 5 minutes.
19. Check the seasoning and correct if desired.
20. Now, add the fresh/raw shrimps, the extra lime juice (if needed/desired), the "Dendê Oil" and the coconut milk. Mix well.
21. Let it all simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
22. Serve hot sprinkled with chopped coriander.
As it might be difficult to find Brazilian dried shrimps, the Asian or Cajun version will also do (see info).
Keep the juices of the marinade for later. It will be incorporated at the end.
Don't let the onion or the bell pepper get brown.
While simmering, check that the meat doesn't stick to the pan or that the broth hasn't reduced too much. If it's the case, add a little water.
If you don't have a mortar, then use you mixer.
I didn't grate my ginger. Instead I pound it in my mortar.
At the end when everything is mixed together, you might want to add more lime juice (the extra lime).
Eat this dish with white rice (carolina, basmati or creole rice), "Farofa" (see recipe), Vatapa (see info) and hot tomato salsa.
(Pelourinho -Pic by Joao Eduardo Penny De Carvahlo www.trekearth.com)
(Mundai Beach -Pic by Eddie Lima www.trekearth.com)
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Enjoy those precious moments of pure contemplation...
I don't really need to comment, do I?
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
So, here it is! I hope that it'll help you build up a better picture me, the person behind this blog.
If you were stuck on an island and could only eat one cuisine (e.g., French, Italian, etc.) for the rest of your life, what would it be? Why?
Well, that's a very tricky question! The kind I prefer not to get asked, because I must say that choosing between things I love equally, is near to impossible...
I guess that if I were stuck on an island, I would eat what I find. Let's say that it would be exotic and Asian inspired (Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian, etc...). But I prefer to cheat a little by saying that I'd choose the American cuisine since it's full of contrasts due to the fact that this country is populated by people/immigrants of many different origins, nations and cultures. It is a synthesis of the cuisine from around the world. The food that can be found there ranges from comforting, traditional, simple to extremely exotic and elaborate!
What is the most unusual food you've eaten?
I would say the "Goat's Head Soup" (no not that Rolling Stone song!) I ate in Greece (Thebes)! It wasn't bad at all, but there wasn't really much meat to eat...
Otherwise, one strange thing I got to eat was fish eyes. Yes, fish eyes!!! My ex-boyfriend who was Thai used to eat the whole fish head and considered the eyes to be "gourmet". So, I used to eat my fish like a real Thai person, without making a fuss, in order to please him and be polite. I don't keep a very interesting memory of that culinary experiment. The eyes had a very strange texture, a kind of bitter taste and the worst thing about them was that the crystalline stuck to your teeth like carame, blehl!!!....
What is the most unusual food you've eaten and liked?
Stir-fried lungs. In fact it was a quick dry Thai curry made with this animal part. It wasn't bad and considering the fact that I love liver, it was somehow similar.
I also like the cassava root and all the products that derive from it (see my "Farofa" post). I especially love desserts made with tapioca starch.
What foods will you avoid eating (either because of a dietary choice or allergies or just plain don't like)?
Thankfully, I am not allergic to any kind of food and I'm not on a diet!
I'm not very complicated when it comes to food and it is very rare for me to not like something. Yet, I am not very keen on mussels and papaya (it depends how it's prepared). Both don't repulse me, it's just that if I don't have to eat them, then I'm a happy girl...
What I refuse to eat is industrial or convenience food as I don't consider them to be anything close to food! I prefer the real stuff.
Do you cook (and by that, I mean prepare a meal that you'd serve to friends)?
What do you think?!? Of course, I cook and I love being in the kitchen for hours!
All the meals I eat are always entirely prepared by myself. I refuse to buy any kind of convenience food as I believe that it is not healthy, not very tasty and too expensive...
If yes, what is your favorite dish to prepare to impress someone?
I don't really cook or bake to impress anybody (apart from myself, maybe), although I really appreciate to make others profit from my "skills". Of course, I'm happy if I get a positive response from those for whom I prepare a meal, but that's not what motivates me. It's not an end in itself...
If I had to impress someone, then I'd surely cook or bake something that is to be found on my blog!
When you go to a restaurant, what's your ordering strategy/preference?
If I go out to eat, then I'm surely going to order something that I don't know and that I'd like to discover. I'm always interested in what's new...
Of course, I also like to eat what I already know, especially if I like that dish. Sometimes I can be very boring as I tend to always order the same thing!
Have you ever returned a dish or wine to the kitchen at a restaurant? Why?
No, not until now. But I would if the food would not be as it should or the wine would have a cork taste, then I'd consider that option. I am quite shy, so it would need a lot of guts to actually shout. So, I would keep it all inside!
It is very rare, but it can happen to anybody. I hate to return dishes or wine, because it makes me feel uncomfortable...
How many cookbooks do you own?
Definitely not enough!!! I own a few cookery books, many magazines and have files chock-a-block full with printed recipes in plastic sleeves. I love to have everything in order.
Unfortunately, I don't have the means to constantly buy cookery books, although I wouldn't mind doing so. I would of course love to have a few hundred of them at home. I find cookbooks so captivating that I can spend hours reading them and admiring their beautiful pictures...
What is one food that you wouldn't want to live without?
I would die without bread, meat, fish, cheese, flour, vegetables, fruits, etc... In fact, I don't want to have to make choices, but I guess that I would say salt and spices since they are at the origin of taste and gives that extra zing to a dish.
Without salt or spices, food would be very bland, a bit like living a life without colors, flavors or smells.
I wish to tag the following people:
- Burekaboy at "Is That My Buréka?"
- Camille at "Cakes In The City"
- Lady Amalthea at "Noshes, Thoughts & Reves"
- Obachan at "Obachan's Kitchen & Balcony Garden"
(Fish Eyes -Pic by www.andydavies.info)
(Cassava -Pic by www.food-info.net)
(Mussels -Pic by www.tallulasf.com)
(Housewife -Pic by www.projectjanna.com)
(Face In The Mirror -Pic by www.unison.ie)
(Corks pic by www.wineanorak.com)
(Cookbooks -Pic by www.urbanfare.com)
(Spices -Pic by www.theage.com.au)
Sunday, February 18, 2007
To participate, the rules are the same as usual. You can either leave a message in their comment section (with you permalink) or contact them via e-mail without forgetting to give them all the informations needed...
Maruschka is the biggest baby I've ever come to meet.
She needs a whole lot of attention and love.
She is a real sweet soul that has to get hugged, cuddled and listened to, otherwise she would be very sad.
Believe me, it is a full-time job!!!
But, it is also the best job one could ever dream of having...
Saturday, February 17, 2007
The rule of the game is very simple. You just have to make a bread with the dough recipe of your choice and shape the loaf, using your imagination. You can either choose to make it a decorative party bread that will contain sandwiches or just simply a bread that represents an animal or object.
For this edition, I decided to make an Easter lamb-shaped bread, because I thought that it would look cute and bring a bit of gaiety to your Easter celebration table!
I used my "Ekmek" dough recipe from Eric Treuille and Ursula Ferrigno's "Ultimate Bread" (see review) book, then for the shape, I inspired myself from an old Betty Bossi magazine...
I must say that the bread turned out very well and looked quite nice! I would never have imagined that I could have been able to be patient enough in order to succeed in the task and end up with a bread actually looking like a lamb.
Here's the bread dough recipe:
- "Ekmek Bread" from Turkey (see recipe)
- "Challah Bread", a Jewish speciality (see recipe)
- "Grittibänz Bread" from Switzerland (see recipe)
- "Pain Au Lait" from Boston, USA (see recipe)
1. Referring yourself to my model, draw a 30cm x 15cm (12 inches x 6 inches) lamb on a rectangular piece of parchment paper and turn the paper over.
2. Divide the dough as follows: 1/3 + 2/3.
3. Take 2/3 of the dough, roll it in order to get a 40cm (16 inches) long rope.
4. Cut this rope into 20 equal pieces.
5. Form a rope with each piece and shape into a coil.
6. Place each coil on the body of the lamb.
7. Then, with the leftover dough (1/3) make 2 ears, 2 legs and a head. Make the eyes, nose and mouth with raisins or the dry fruits of your choice.
8. Place all shaped parts on the parchment paper so as to form a lamb.
9. Let prove, covered with a towel, for 20-30 minutes.
10. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C (400°F) for 25 minutes.
11. Remove the bread from the oven and baking rack/parchment paper, place on a rack to cool.
12. Lightly spray the lamb with water and sprinkle with flour.
Work fastly while you are forming the bread, otherwise the rising time will not be equal for the different parts that compose the lamb...
Use this bread as you would do with any decorative bread. It is ideal for lunch or for a picnic with cheese and spreads of any kind or for breakfast with jam, honey, butter, etc...