Foodiva's Kitchen: August 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pandan and Honey Melon Ice Cream and My 7-Links

All the knowledge I possess everyone can acquire, but my heart is all my own.
~ Goethe

Remember when I told you that I bought a whole big bunch of pandan leaves for next to nothing? Well, I finally got around to doing something with them. My ice cream days are not over yet (with our weather, it will never be over), so I decided to turn the distinctive pandan scent into one of my favorite frozen treat flavors, pandan ice cream.

If you've never smelled pandan before, its scent is somewhat familiar to white bread, jasmine rice and basmati rice because all of these contain the same aromatic compound, (2-acetyl-1-pyrroline, if you must know)To extract the sweet, piney fragrance of pandan, I blended several leaves with the milk and squeezed the pandan juice out from that. Then I used the pandan-flavored milk to make the custard base for the ice cream. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Divorced Eggs (Huevos Divorciados) for a Mexican Breakfast

When two people decide to get a divorce, it isn’t a sign that they “don’t understand” one another, but a sign that they have, at last, begun to.
~ Helen Rowland

Just as J.Lo and Marc Anthony have decided to go their separate ways, so have my eggs in this version of the Mexican breakfast dish, Huevos Divorciados or Divorced Eggs. Or literally speaking, fried eggs on tortillas with two salsas. We call a meal of this proportion brunch, but in Mexico it is served for breakfast. Yes, the Mexicans do know how to start their day on a happy note! 

I was struggling a bit for this month's International Incident Party theme, Mexican Breakfast. Unlike last month's 'Sichuan' theme, I don't eat Mexican food very often (not as much as Sichuan, anyway) and I've never tried making it at home. Outside of Mexico, I think I'd only dined at a proper Mexican restaurant 3 times in my entire's terrible, I know.

Friday, August 26, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie - Café Salle Pleyel Hamburger

Oh dear, you can tell we like our meat well done around here. Very well done :-). In fact, a beautiful, juicy burger lies somewhere underneath that charred-looking patty you see in the photo above. In this week's French Fridays with Dorie, we were supposed to replicate that famous hamburger served at the Café Salle Pleyel in Paris. Although, after I cooked mine, I doubt if the Café Salle Pleyel would want anything to do with it! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gateau Choco-Citron

I mentioned this Gateau Choco-Citron about two posts ago and told you I made up the recipe on the fly, so here I am sharing that recipe with you. It's a three-layered cake made of a rich chocolate brownie layer, a sweet, tart lemon curd layer, topped with a soft chocolate mousseline layer. Thanks once again to Aube of Kitchen Vignettes for describing the components of this gateau so well that I was able to make it in my very own kitchen one afternoon.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Malted Grain Dragon Tail Baguettes

There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.
~ Mahatma Gandhi


After a year of having a go at it, I am just slowly beginning to take pride in my bread baking skills. But then my confidence would endure a slapdown every time I peruse through the weekly contributions on Wild Yeast blog's "Yeastspotting" (I can't help torturing myself). Compared to all those artisan breads, my quickfix, yeasty creations only deserved a place at the periphery of great bread-dom. In fact, my breads are probably among the lowest of the bread castes. There are so many rules in bread baking, and because I'm naturally not good with rules, the thought of baking with starters, multiple proofings steps, employing various hydration methods/ratios, etc all tend to make me shudder. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Not Really a Food Post, Just Some Things That Make Me Happy

I will not be just a tourist in the world of images, just watching images passing by which I cannot live in, make love to, possess as permanent sources of joy and ecstasy.
~ Anais Nin
Gateau Choco-Citron

I was struggling to string together a few sentences for a recipe post today, so instead, I'm going to let you in on some of the things in my life that make me happy, or at least, are interesting to me. Now, because this is a food blog, I start off with this Gateau Choco-Citron I made as a result of watching this drooly video by Aubergine (yes, it's her real name) of Kitchen Vignettes. This is a lovely new blog I just discovered and although it only has 5 posts at the time of writing this, Aube's clever prose and visuals already had me running into the kitchen to make this 3-layered brownie, lemon curd and chocolate mousseline delight! To borrow Aube's phrase, I almost shed a tear (maybe I actually did) when I had the first forkful of this gateau. If anyone's interested, I'll post the recipe up - as usual, I made it entirely on the fly :-).

Friday, August 19, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie - Eggplant Caviar and Purple Sweet Potato Flatbread

The day I shot these photos, the weather was errant and uncooperative. One minute bright sunlight was streaming through the windows, followed by a dim room the next minute when clouds suddenly covered the sun. And then strong gusts of wind blew in through the windows lifting all my garnish off from the plates and transporting them someplace else in the kitchen. As food bloggers, you and I know that good light and still air are our best friends on any photoshoot session but on the day I made this, the elements decided to "unfriend" me. 

But like a foodie trooper, I plodded on and managed some decent pictures of this week's French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Eggplant Caviar or caviar d’aubergine. It was another very easy summery recipe from Dorie Greenspan's cookbook, Around My French Table and a joy to make. Despite being called caviar, we thankfully didn't have to mess around with any fish like we did for last week's Salmon in a Jar. This 'caviar' is actually a glammed-up dip made from the flesh of roasted eggplants.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

#BakeTogether: Summer All-Year Round Papaya and Longan Cake with Lime Syrup

Have you noticed that I seem to be a part of some online cooking group or another lately? I honestly can't help it... I enjoy being in the company of people who love food, who cook/bake together either weekly or monthly (or both) from the same recipe or out of the same theme. The variations to one recipe are often mind-boggling, and the warm camaraderie within each group is something I wouldn't trade for the world. 

There is also the matter of discipline. Being in a group forces me to work within timelines and strange as it seems for someone who lives a leisurely-paced life on a tropical island, I sure do like a follow a pretty tight schedule when it comes to this blog. Maybe I'm borderline OCD, who knows :-).

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Princess Beatrice's Zesty Rose Pretzel for the Queen's Birthday

Truth be told, I can't even remember how I got here. Somewhere in the email banter between Gina of SPCookieQueen and I about a month ago, someone had mentioned a Pretzel Throwdown. I'd like to say it was me for sure, but since I had only made pretzels once before in my life and knowing that Gina is one of the most talented bakers around, why would I even want to put myself out on a limb like that?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Peanut Butter PieCupcake for Mikey Perillo

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. 
 ~Kahlil Gibran

I've been a Twitter absentee and I just found out about this so hopefully, I'm not too late. It's already Saturday here, but about half a world away, it's still Friday and I'm determined to get this Peanut Butter Pie post out anyway. It's for Mikey, Jennifer Perillo's husband who passed away so suddenly last weekend. I'm not the only one putting up a peanut butter pie post in honor of Mikey (who, by the way, loved to eat them), hundreds of people are. You can see how some of the pies look like over at TasteSpotting and watch this beautiful video tribute by White On Rice Couple, Diane and Todd.

To honor Mikey, Jennie requested that we make one and share it with our loved ones. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie - Salmon and Potatoes in a Jar

I'm just so grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means that I'm alive.
Brene Brown

There's a certain amount of excitement and dread experienced in the French Fridays with Dorie camp in connection with this week's recipe - Salmon and Potatoes in a Jar (well two jars, actually). The feeling for me was akin to the thrill of jumping off a bridge knowing full well that the only thing that determines whether you experience the exhilaration of an upwards tug or plunge down to a massive splat on the ground is that elastic cord attached to your body. Okay, perhaps that bungy jumping analogy is more drama than is called for but to be honest, I've never cured anything before, let alone raw fish, so I was really looking forward to the challenge!

 My first time - I'm no longer a 'savory-food-in-a-jar' virgin!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Nutella and Peanut Butter Stripe Bread

If you've perused through enough of my posts and recipes, you may have noticed my slight obsession with the creation of stripes, swirls and spirals in my edibles. As well as a borderline addiction to pinks and purples :-). As idiosyncratic as it sounds, these are the things make me brain probably swims in a pink and purple sea of swirls and stripes on a daily basis. Imagine that. I like to think that I'm quite normal; each to his own, wouldn't you say?  

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Peach and Violet Ice Cream

“Deep violets, you liken to The kindest eyes that look on you, Without a thought disloyal.”
~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Flowers in food, have you ever given it a second thought? In the East, flowers are more commonly used in cuisine than in the West. This harks back to the olden days when food was scarce, so enterprising housewives started experimenting by adding blossoms in their cooking. I'm quite sure there were several tragedies along the way, just so that we are able to enjoy eating the flowers we know to be safe today.

Over here, you will find Thai and Chinese food are often the ones infused with a variety of flowers. The dishes range from sweet to savory, but flowers are found in beverages and herbal remedies too. A few of the most used flowers off the top of my head are chrysanthemum, jasmine, cherry blossoms, peonies, chamomile, ginger flower, osmanthus, hibiscus, rose and many others. Growing up on predominantly spicy (but flower-less) Malay cuisine, I've had to slowly get used to tasting flowery flavors in my food. Now, however, it's an acquired taste I couldn't possibly live without and I make sure there's always some dried edible flowers in my pantry for hmm... cravings and experimentation.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Coconut-Rose Agar Agar Dessert

It's the first day of Ramadan over here, and I decided to break the ice cream posts somewhat because well, monotony is boring. And if, like me and many others worldwide, you're fasting for 12-13 hours a day under the scorching sun (okay, more realistically in the house or in an airconditioned building somewhere), the dehydrated mind becomes a bit dull and needs to be stimulated with variety. By that, I mean food-wise. Let's face it, for a huge chunk of the day, that's all the person abstaining from food thinks about - food. And drink. And all the other lovely goodies they get to eat when it's time to break the fast, or iftar. I'm not generalising about everyone else here, that was me thinking about myself, quite indiscreetly. God, this is only Day 1...

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