I know you’ve got my back. I know that you know how intensely my heart burns, how sweet is the honey at the center of my center, how much I am capable of. And God knows (that’d be you) how game I am to collaborate with you to make good stuff happen.
- Danielle La Porte, A Prayer for Recovering Expectation Addicts
I tried to write this post for two days, but no clever words came. It's already Sunday now, and still no smart or funny prose, but I'm going to go ahead and write this anyway. Show up. Shine. And let it go. That's just become my mantra for my high expectations :).
So it's good old Peach Melba for this week's French Fridays with Dorie. A special occasion marking our 100th recipe assignment (although I must confess that I've done only a paltry number out of the 100). It's a remarkable milestone and although I joined this online cooking group quite late, in April 2011, I've been welcomed with open arms by everyone. This is a global community of warm, supportive, witty and brilliant cooks/bloggers and we all have something new (cooking or otherwise) to learn from each other every week. Words cannot adequately describe how much I adore my fellow Doristas!
So yes, the peach melba. My version is a vegan, tropical twist to the one Dorie originally had in mind (apologies again, Dorie). Peaches and raspberries are not the easiest fruits to get over here, and even when they do appear in the stores, they're no longer bursting with freshness. So I resorted to using whatever fruits we currently have in season and abundance. My mango tree is currently blooming, I picked them three-quarters ripe - if they are left to ripen on the tree, the monkeys and bugs will devour them before we do (just in case you were wondering) - and used a slightly underripe mango to simulate the peach. Its firm texture is excellent for poaching with vanilla, yet it's sweet enough not to have to add any extra sugar to the poaching liquid.
The raspberries were substituted with dragon fruit balls I scooped out with my trusty melon baller. You simply stick that gadget into any soft fruit, give it a little twist, and it instantly makes any fruit look whimsical. The rest of the fruit with the holes in it got turned into a delicious smoothie, so nothing was wasted.
For the ice cream, I simply employed the easy vegan trick of blending completely frozen banana slices. To make it a bit more creamier, I soaked a handful of raw cashew nuts in water overnight, drained and blended them to make a thick cashew cream. Then I added this to the frozen banana in a powerful blender and blitzed it into ice cream consistency. In this hot weather though, my 2-ingredient ice cream quickly turned to soft serve, and gave me a hard time to photograph it and make it look anywhere near good.
I'm also going to mention that I had been well-organized enough to have made last week's Cafe-Style Grated Carrot Salad, but disorganized enough to have not posted it up. I decided to make carrot ribbons instead of grating it, the advantage being that the ribbons hardly 'wept' and the salad held its form much longer after adding the mustard vinaigrette dressing. Instead of raisins, I added sliced soft, dried figs for that bit of sweetness required to cut into the tangy and savory salad. A sprinkling of toasted walnuts and cilantro completed the dish. Although it might not be truly French-style, I hope I will be forgiven by the French when I say that this was as equally delicious as their traditional version.
So last week was the start of Eid in Brunei and marked a month-long celebration with many gatherings amongst family and friends, and plenty of food. Like with any festivity, it's the children who enjoy it the most because it's probably the one time in the year when they have permission to go on a (fairly unrestricted) sugar high from feasting on all the lovely and colorful cakes made especially for Eid.
Complete sugar high!
Most of the traditional food served during Eid is non-vegan, so for the first time, I found myself at the sidelines, just watching people eat while I stuck to my greens and fruits. The upside was that for once, my waistline measurement didn't budge and my stomach didn't groan and over-react from eating all that rich food. Here I share with you a few shots of my family and friends on the first day of Eid.
Clockwise from top left: With local DJ and close friend, Frankie; Greek family friends; good friends from Dubai who returned home for the week, and local cookies.
L: My ex-colleagues Mimi and Lena, who'd flown in from London for Eid visits
R: My cousins enjoying homemade satay
Have a gorgeous weekend, everyone!