Archive for January, 2009

A: Cordial for real!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on January 20, 2009 by gluttondressedaslamb

In the middle of packing for our Christmas break, sorting out last minute end-of-term stuff for work and packing up the house to be painted, I’d nearly completely forgot about the very generous pile of lemons on my dining table just begging to be used!
What does one do with nearly 30 lemons? Do I chuck them all in the fridge and hope they survive the 3 weeks that we ‘re away, or do I make a ridiculous amount of cakes and slices that will only cost more money, time and effort than they are worth? I didn’t want to make anything the required too many extra ingredients and I didn’t really have the time to soak the lemons for preserving. What to do, what to do?
Enter: Belinda Jeffrey to the rescue!
I spotted her recipe for homemade limoncello in a magazine a while back, and the fact that I am the proud owner of 2 2l preserving jars– made it the perfect recipe to write off 24 lemons. The liqueur isn’t ready just yet, but when they are I shall be certain to provide lots of photos and the recipe.
Since the limoncello only called for the lemon peel, I opted to turn the juice from the remaining lemons into good old-fashioned cordial. Most recipes for cordial call for tartaric and citric acid. Seeing how I was pressed for time and couldn’t find either in my supermarket, I decided to take my chances and make one without. The recipe is simply:

lemon-cordial1 part sugar syrup (I make mine strong, from 2 parts sugar and 1 part water over low heat until all the sugar dissolves)
1 part lemon juice (obviously this depends on how sour your lemons are and how sweet you like your cordial)

Voila! Store in bottles/jars and keep in the fridge. We ended up with about 3 litres of cordial, most of which we gave away. It should keep for about 1 month, although in the heat of summer ours was gobbled up in 2 days!

A: Hop on the dragon wagon!

Posted in Personal with tags on January 17, 2009 by gluttondressedaslamb

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It’s one of those fruits that look almost too pretty to eat. Deep pink on the outside with pretty dragonlike green-tipped scales, suprisingly quirky on the inside, decorated in 60s kitsch polka dots. This has got to be one of my favourite fruits of all time! Although available in Australia, it remains pretty costly and often sits all by its lonesome on greengrocer shelves as passers-by stop for a grope and a sniff before placing it back on its shelf to waste its life away. How sad!
While staying with mum back in Singapore, I went slightly overboard in a dragonfruit frenzy if you will, and had an entire fruit all to myself almost everyday! (It was incredibly cheap and I was incredibly greedy-a perilous combination!) I cannot think of a better way to start the day as I meditate over the bright pink flesh (it comes in 2 varieties, white or pink flesh, both with black seeds dotted throughout), scooping mouthful after mouthful while contemplating my day ahead. christmas-new-year-2008-030

Consider it a privilege if your greengrocer stocks this fruit, and do us all a favour and buy one every-so-often, you won’t regret it! I prefer the pink variety (which leaves a tell-tale pink stain on everything it touches, so beware!), but the white one is just as good- sweet and fairly similar to kiwifruit in terms of texture and taste.

A: Festive season update (Part 2)– Glut fest in Melaka.

Posted in Personal on January 17, 2009 by gluttondressedaslamb

Although the majority of our Christmas break was spent visiting family and friends in Singapore, man and I simply could not pass up an opportunity to attend a family wedding in Melaka (Malaysia) over the New Year period.

En route to Melaka.

En route to Melaka.

Nearly there!

Nearly there!

Hooray!

Hooray!

Instead of amber lights, the red lights count down to the green and vice versa. Demystifies the waiting game at traffic lights for all concerned. Genius.

Instead of amber lights, the red lights count down to the green and vice versa. Demystifies the waiting game at traffic lights for all concerned. Genius.

Trishaw-riders decorate their trishaws with flowers, tinsel and little knick-knacks to make them more attractive to prospective customers.

Trishaw-riders decorate their trishaws with flowers, tinsel and little knick-knacks to make them more attractive to prospective customers.

The city center of Melaka in itself has been a UNESCO world heritage site since mid 2008. Melaka in itself is a fairly interesting place to visit– steeped in history and attractive architecture. I went with my sister the history nut a few years ago and did all the tourist-y things, which meant this time around I was able to focus my energies entirely on gluttonous pursuits. Hooray!

Chicken rice balls- overrated novelty food, if you ask me. Roasted chicked served with rice steamed in chicken stock that's rolled into balls. Bleh.

Chicken rice balls- overrated novelty food, if you ask me. Roasted chicked served with rice steamed in chicken stock that's rolled into balls. Bleh.

The highlight of the trip had to be lunch at Aunt Jessie’s on New Years eve, feasting on prawn and pineapple curry, pork curry, fried chicken, fried tempeh , prawn fritters with sambal diping sauce, stir fried ladies fingers and steamed cockles. *drool*

I must have sat at the dining table for what seemed like hours!!!

I must have sat at the dining table for what seemed like hours!!!

My ultimate favourite food of all time has got to be Pork and Buah Keluah curry. The thing about buah keluah is that no one really seems to know what it is! Some say it’s a seed, some say nut. I have seen it most frequentlly described as a black nut. It’s larger than a walnut, slightly smaller than a golfball. The nuts require some pre-soaking, after which a small hole is knocked into its side to expose the pungent black flesh in all its bittersweet glory. It is this beautiful black gold that both attracts and repels fans and opponent alike. Cooked with pork (which is generally the best way to do so), this makes for a curry like no other!

Buah Keluah Curry with Pork. Mmm...

Buah Keluah Curry with Pork. Mmm...

After lunch we went for a walk around the settlement to visit relatives and attempt to burn some calories in preparation for dinner. Dinner was lovely. We opted to eat at a restaurant in the portuguese settlement square- chilli crab, garlic crab, sambal prawns, steamed fish, fried squid etc. etc. My word, there wasn’t an inch of space left in my stomach for even a grain of rice!

Entrance to the portuguese square.

Entrance to the portuguese square.

The rest of new years eve went fairly quickly, as we walked through the neighbourhood checking out Christmas decorations and soaking up festivities. Children (and the young at heart) were playing with fireworks all evening, which led up to the grand finale at midnight where the entire street took turns lighting up huge strings of firecrackers. What a sight/sound!

It's just not Christmas without a reindeer sighting.

It's just not Christmas without a reindeer sighting.

ho-ho-ho!

ho-ho-ho!

Funky spinny, sparkly, firey thingy.

Funky spinny, sparkly, firey thingy.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Giant firecracker.

Giant firecracker.

New Year's aftermath.

New Year's aftermath.

I ate so much on New Year’s Eve that I literally ate NOTHING the next day. It was incredibly worthwhile, and I made sure I wrote downa s many of Aunty Jessie’s recipes as I could, just so we can have a piece of Melaka here in Perth every so often.

Unfortunately post-its were all I had on me while in Melaka. In my foresight, I also took down Aunt Jessie's phone number, just in case!

Unfortunately post-its were all I had on me while in Melaka. In my foresight, I also took down Aunt Jessie's phone number, just in case!

A: Festive season update (Part 1).

Posted in Personal on January 14, 2009 by gluttondressedaslamb

The 15th of December, 2008 marked 365 married days for man and I (hooray!) as well as the 10 year anniversary of our first kiss (aw…). To mark our paper anniversary, I thought I’d opt for the aptly named Mexican Wedding Biscuits from Belinda Jeffrey’s Mix and Bake (one of my baking bibles of this decade!).

Once our new bamboo floors go in and we’re able to move all our furniture out of the toilet and shower recess I shall once again have access to all my cookbooks, at which point I promise to share the recipe. Having said that, the recipes I have seen on the wise and wonderful internet all appear to be fairly similar. I especially like the one listed here.

anniversary-003These biscuits are incredibly easy to make, and crumble in your mouth the way shortbread should, sticking to teeth and melting into a gooey sticky mess as you attempt to tidy the explosion of icing sugar off your hands and face!

Man invoked his right as anniversary participant to eat as many biscuits as he possibly could before the day was over!

Man invoked his right as anniversary participant to eat as many biscuits as he possibly could before the day was over!

Prior to dinner, we thought maybe some bubbly was in order and decided to splurge on a bottle of Pol Roger instead of the usual cheap(er) stuff. After suffering through a 10 minute exposition on how wonderful Pol Roger champagne is and how it’s made from x varieties of grapes and how the Roger family is incredibly down to earth and how the champagne is best in its class etc. etc. etc… the lady at the bottle shop finally let us leave with our single bottle. It was probably the fact that I cut her off at one point and said something along the lines of “I just think it tastes nice”, that hurried her little speech to its end. To be honest, I’m just as likely to ooh and aaah at a bottle of locally brewed sparkling wine (Western Australia is currently producing some competitively tasty brews) as I am at a bottle of $90 champagne. Special occasions however, demand a certain degree of extravagance. Enter: bubbly, cheese and a hot afternoon on the balcony with our languid and otherwise indifferent cat.

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I suspect the poshness of the bubbly was offset by the cheap plastic containers and crummy serving plate, but who cares!

Life is good!

Life is good!

On our way home from dinner (which was good but nothing to shout about) we were fortunate enough to spot the giant moon (you might remember between 12-15 Dec last year the moon was the closest its ever been to earth and so appeared HUGE at night?).Unlike the pros that had gathered on the South Perth foreshore with their gargantuan camera lenses and tripods and other fancy paraphernalia, all I had was my little digital camera, which didn’t really do the moon much justice as I took my shots.

This was unfortunately, the best of the lot.

This was unfortunately, the best of the lot.

Although this one's pretty cute- hand shook mid-shot and ended up with a heart-shaped moon. Pretty neat!

Although this one's pretty cute- my hand shook mid-shot and ended up with a heart-shaped moon. Pretty neat!

And so concluded the end of anniversary celebrations as we knew it. Not too shabby, if you ask me. 🙂

A: The prodigal blogger returns…

Posted in Uncategorized on January 11, 2009 by gluttondressedaslamb

6 blog-free weeks for me and the guilt weighs horrendously on my shoulders! Man and I are in the midst of a home renovation overhaul and in between stacking cookbooks in the shower recess, ripping out carpet and playing furniture tetris out on my space-starved limited balcony, it’s been difficult to say the least, mustering up the energy to even think about blogging! Stay tuned however, I have lots to report on since I last wrote… if only I could remember where I placed my camera cable so I can upload photos!!! Watch this space!

R: Sodium Surprise

Posted in Uncategorized on January 3, 2009 by gluttondressedaslamb

After another eventful Canningvale visit, and a nice relaxing afternoon at Langford, we came home and whipped up some guacamole and tomato salsa to put a little dent in the box of tomatoes and avocados we got.

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And as we settled aroung the bbq grilling the capsicums (also from the market), we dug into the dips with our improvised corn chips. Well, improvised by just toasting lavash bread till cripsy, and really because we couldn’t find out favourite coles brand salt reduced corn chips. I like chips that are less salty 😀

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Anyway, while waiting for the capsicums to blister, we started looking at the ingredients list on the lavash bread and GASP. It had MORE sodium than the packet of potato chips I got out from the cupboard. That really surprised me because when I eat a potato chip, my first thought is ‘HMM, SALT’. But my first impression of a lavash bread has never been of its saltiness.

There you go! I wonder what other products have caught other people by surprise!