Monday, March 30, 2009

Earth Hour 2009

It was a pretty dark and yet eventful night. At least Owen wasn't afraid of the dark when we flick the lights off at 20:30 on 28th March 2009. I lighted up 3 candles, hubs was watching TV (there was France vs Lituania game): I'd love that he not watch it, and Owen was trying to blow then candles!!

It was pretty funny as, he thought that we're going to have cake after blowing the candles! Its our fault actually - we taught him to blow candles during his and hubs birthday.... :p And then after realizing that there was not cake, he decide to bring out the picture books so we can play "point and say" - well, I say and he point! LOL!

While we were doing that, it reminds me of the frequent electricity cuts back home. We had fun then - no need to finish our homework if it lasts throughout the night! LOL!!! But then again, we had some hot, sticky and uncomfortable night without the ceiling fan on.... It also reminds me of some nights we spent at our grandparents place in Kuala Pilah as kids. Back then there were no street lights and to go back to grandpa's house after visiting the bicycle shop (15 mins walk) when it was dark, we had to either carry a heavy torch light (you know the BIG sliver ones that will knock you out if get hit on the head?) OR the kerosene lamp. I like the kerosene lamp and my parents still have them at home!

I think Earth Hour brings me back to my childhood days when things were pretty much simpler and life was on a slower pace. I think Earth Hour also brings us (family and friends) closer as in; we'll actually talk to each other with candle lights WITHOUT the noise or distraction from TV/radio/computer etc. I don't want to have to think that some family living under one roof, text/IM each other while at home!! THAT would be strange and SAD.....
Well, I think Earth Hour should not be just an "event". It should should be practiced every day in our daily lives as often as possible. Now I'm not talking about lighting up the candles everyday... Candles can be VERY DANGEROUS when they are light up without supervision!!! I'm saying that we should turn off the lights when not in the room, simply just turn off the standby mode on electrical appliances when you're done with them, turn off running water while brushing your teeth, recycle etc etc. All gestures no matter how small or menial they may seem, if everyone does it; it DOES make a lot of difference not only on your wallet but to our home on this planet.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I've never

eaten artichoke before. Nor have I ever cook one, ever! So I dare myself to buy 2 on Friday and try it out on Sunday.... Since I have no idea how to cook them (or eat them), I looked up for some recipes over the Internet (GOD BLESS THE PERSON WHO MADE WWW HAPPENED!!) and prepare it accordingly.

1st off I have rinse it, cut away the stem, remove some bottom leaves and then give it a "haircut" - there are some really unpleasant small "thorns" on the leaves, which makes it HELL to eat afterwards! LOL! And then I steamed them in my rice cooker (got to thank the Japs for rice cooker!) for about 45 mins.

Pretty when opened up aren't they?

I wanted to bake them at first but decided to go ahead with steaming them 1st before popping it into the oven stuffed with Parmesan+breadcrumb+olive oil+fresh herb mixture. To stuff, 1st I have to "open" up the leaves like a flower but gently as to leave the leaves in fact, then removed some leaves and the fuzzy part in the middle. I baked them for about 15 mins over 190°C pre-heated oven. Sorry, there's no picture of the finish product as I was in a hurry to dig in! LOL!

I like this coz its really full of veg and white meat! YUMMY!

I like broccoli!

But I did took some pictures of my Baked Chicken and Quick Fruit Tartlets, made from this Irish cook mag I mentioned on my last post here. Its called "Easy Food - taking the "but" out of cooking" mag. I twigged the the Baked Chicken recipe - sub the chicken with turkey as that's what I got on hand -, and I would really reduce the amount of mayo and mushroom soup used in this recipe. Plus would rather not add in curry powder as I think it tastes funny.

My "quicky" fruit tratlets.... :p

As for the tartlets, that turned out alright. I won't be using raspberries the next time as they turn out S-O-U-R!!!! Same with Kiwi. The base I use puff pastry - store bought!! Making puff pastry from scratch is really scary!!! Made them when I was attached with the pastry department during my kitchen internship some years back..... I actually don't mind making them IF (and only IF) I have a proper working surface - AKA bigger kitchen! LOL!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday brunch/late lunches

I always like Sundays.... No wait, like is really an understatement. LOVE is more like it! LOL! I mean who doesn't? Unless of course if and when you have to get up early to get to work on a Sunday. Can't blame you, I've been there and I utterly HATE IT WHEN THAT HAPPENS!! Its not that I don't like working on Sundays, as there's plenty to do when you work in the hotel industry, as the hours just breezes by! Its just that getting up in the ungodly hour of the day just to get ready for work that I utterly detest.

Sunday brunch/late lunches is what I look forward to on every weekend. Mum used to make awesome late lunches when we were kids. We usually have heavy breakfast at the wet market, and then we'll prepare lunch once all the purchases were put away. She use to make slow food - dishes that take hours to cook but is gone in the matter of minutes! LOL! I always love it when she'd make pork stew with some kind of pickled veg (I don't know what its called in English BTW).

Creamy peach melba breakfast bread - I love the sweet burnt creamy yogurt "droplets":p

Ever since I have time on Sundays, I try to make something special or experiment a little. Some times it works, some times it doesn't. If it doesn't, I'd throw out the recipe! LOL! Made Creamy Peach Melba Breakfast bread (Light & Natural cookbook - Brand Name) today. Its really not bad except that I made too much! hehehehehe.... We don't have peach yet, so I substitute with strawberries instead - its strawberry season in Spain. Swiss berries will come soon end of April. i think the next time I make this again, I'll have to cut out the cream as I find that there's just to much protein/diary in this recipe.

OH! I bought an Irish cooking mag yesterday and I can't wait to try out some recipes in them. They look so darn good in pictures that is.... Wonder how it'll turn out? Will blog about it next week! ;)

Friday, March 13, 2009

The sinking feeling...

Its just one of those days when I made my first cake that sank!! LOL! Ever since I learned how to bake eons ago, I've never made a cake that sank.... A hard one yes but never, ever with that sinking effect....

Hubs' cake that sank....

But still it looks alright once its upside down! LOL!

In fact, the cake was meant to go to my Filipino girlfriend who's going back to the Philippines for a month and then GOD knows when I'll see her again after that.... I guess I know what went wrong, the over beating of the batter. Owen was with me in the kitchen when I was busy, and as always he'll be "busy" as well. Guess you can say I was busy bakin', busy saying "Owen! NO!", busy keeping his grubby paws off the kitchen counter, etc etc.....

The other cake with banana & chocolate chip filling

So in order to "save" the cake, I made the hole extra wide, mix the cake up with some mashed bananas and chocolate chips and popped it back in the oven for about 10 mins. BTW, that same day it was hubs' birthday as well! ARRGGHHH!!!!..... Oh well! Better luck next time! Owen did had a great time helping papa blowing out the candles though. Here's a small clip of them... :D

Owen & papa