Thursday, February 28, 2008

Back To Muffins

I felt a little guilty that I have been practically baking bread and bread only in the recent weeks. This morning, I went on with my plan to bake some apricot filled muffins for my DH after the children left for school. Even if he didn't eat them this morning, he could take them along to Jakarta where he was flying to this afternoon. Hmm, I was just trying to be a nicer wife, he has been really busy and all stressed out with the craziness of the stock markets around the world, the weakening of US$ and the escalating price of oil. Now, that's heavy. Really heavy! Besides, he was nice enough to me and tried really hard to spare some minutes to listen to my problems and my experiments on bread making in between the phone calls he was having. How could I compare millions$ at stake compared to baking bread? For all his efforts these past few days, he could be the husband of the week in this neighborhood!! Hope he reads this entry....... 27 more days to my birthday, dear!!

Simple basic muffins filled with apricot, it's his favorite! They turned out a bit funny looking, but I know he didn't care.

From A Church To A Thai Restaurant in Queenstown

It was Christmas Day. Yes, this was two months ago (already?!). We attended Christmas mass at St. Joseph Catholic church in Queenstown, a nice, small church with the most fantastic views and one priest!! Then headed downtown afterwards.

It was quiet, most shops and restaurants were closed. So we all were hungry and had no reservation anywhere, we decided to park our car and walked around to see which place that was inviting to our rumbling tummy and could win a majority vote among the five of us. Somehow, we ended up eating in this small Thai restaurant. It had a very nice ambience and a friendly server, only one for the whole restaurant that had around 10-12 tables or so. We had our usual Spring Rolls, Pad Thai, Thai Green Curry and White Rice, which was cutely served in the teddy bear shape!! And for a change, we ordered Thai Beef Salad and Chili Prawn. Nice foods! We left the restaurant felling happy and full indeed. A different kind of Christmas meal to remember!

From Queenstown & Around

Foods, animals, scenery, scenery, green scenery and more green scenery, mountain, mountain and lake and lake and lake. That's New Zealand.

I know that we will be traveling again in less than a month so I thought I should post some of my pictures from Queenstown, a little tourist town in South Island in New Zealand. Great weather, great scenery, lots of things to do, including bungy jumping - not for us -, interacting with animals and speed boat. Also Thai food, Thai food and more Thai food. We had Thai food within ten days being in New Zealand, more than we had ever had in 2007. Wherever we went, we kept on seeing one Thai restaurant after another and some Indian ones. Interesting!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bread & More Bread

Just last last week, I made this cheese bread, using two types of cheddar and parmesan, twice. In both times, the breads were snapped up before even they cooled down. It's a combination of three hungry children and being impatient. And of course the bread was really yummy. Even Kitt couldn't resist it too.


I also made this bread. Not as good looking as Kitt's yet, hopefully I'll get there in no time. I'll keep on baking!

I am a bit (or more) obsessed! I had never baked bread as often as I have been doing over the past couple of weeks. I got so excited over employing different ways of baking each time and trying to see which one yield which type of texture and crust. I used both Le Creuset and Corning Ware. The bread turned out great while my French Oven as well as Corning Ware are doing fine, no chipping or cracking whatsoever.

I love the convenience of having the dough stored in the fridge and being able to use them almost anytime I want. I just need to plan 1.5-2 hours ahead and I will be able to deliver delicious home made bread, pizza or cheese bread or some other future variations to be experimented.

I am in love with this recipe, more than the one from NYT, both of which have similar composition with main difference in the amount of yeast.

I gotta stop making bread.... Not in the near future though!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Quicker No-Knead Bread

Call me obsessed or impulsive, I just couldn't wait much longer to start making the bread using the recipe on Kitt's blog . I wouldn't be able to sleep unless I tried the recipe! I started around 6:30PM, it happened that we didn't have dinner together, my husband was out of town and my three girls had three different schedules and everyone had dinner upon arriving late afternoon from school and ran off to their activities. I halved the recipe and at the beginning I was not going to bake the bread that very evening, knowing that I could store the dough in the fridge and I would have many days to bake them.

I was pleased seeing how much the dough has risen after two hours and decided to go on and fold it twice and let it rest for another 10-15 minutes. Of course, I continued with shaping it into a ball and letting it rest for 45 minutes while I started warming up my dutch oven. By the time I put the dough in the oven, it was already 9:30 PM.

Out of excitement, I forgot to slash a cross on top of the bread, I only used a kitchen scissors to make a couple of small slits. After baking it with the lid on for 20 minutes and uncovered for another 15 minutes, of course it was already past my youngest daughter's bed time. Not mommy's, she couldn't resist tasting it as soon as it was ready. Mommy just have to have a bit! It was great, the crust was just crunchy and the inside was just incredibly yummy!! The pictures weren't that great though, taken after 10PM without natural light. But now I know I could have a good and peaceful night sleep!! And next time, I will leave the dough in the fridge for a while to improve its texture and taste.

Thanks to Kitt and to "Artisan Bread" authors Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François.
This is a recipe that I will use again and again.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Finally, No Knead Bread

I took me about a year upon learning the existence of the recipe, that I finally bake the No Knead Bread. I was pretty much inspired by Jaden's blog, Steamy Kitchen. I thought, if her cute little boy can do it, I should be able to do it as well. ??!!?? Yes, of course.

Of course, I had to run to get my Le Creuset first, which by far the heaviest kitchen gadget I have ever had, also not to forget to drag my husband along to the shop to make sure that I have someone to help me carry that heavy equipment from the shop to the car and ultimate to the house. Finally, I started to embark on my long & exciting 18-hour journey to my first No Knead Bread. A satisfying one indeed!

Will make more!

Thai Spring Rolls

For a change, and since my daughters have been asking anyway, I made Thai style spring rolls instead of my usual ones. I normally use a combination of young bamboo shoots, carrots and mushrooms. This time, however, glass noodles and cabbage are the lead actors, as well as carrots and eggs as extras. With some Thai sweet vinegar dipping sauce, we have them Thai-styled indeed!

First Try on Indonesian Martabak

Suddenly there was this urge to try making some Indonesian martabak, which we normally we have when we visit the country. This gorgeous snack is filled with cheese and sweet thick condensed milk. They, in a way, are like big thick pancakes with crispy thin edges,slapped with butter, sugar, condensed milk and grated cheese. Fold in two and cut them into 4 equal slices. Ready for gobbling! Absolutely delicious!

For chocolate lovers, one can substitute the cheese with chocolate rice and add finely chopped peanuts.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

We began the new month with this wickedly delicious triple chocolate cake that was simply hard to resist. Nothing much can be written about it, especially now we all need to work out to burn those calories....... and get ready for more intakes. Talking about balance!