Monday, 29 November 2010

First Advent of the Year

Yesterday was first advent of the year. We spent them at home after a tiring Saturday doing shopping and decorating up our place. Hub was in the garden too, doing last minute paint job before the chill sets it. Then on Sunday, hub drove mum and dad out to see the changing landscape. I thought that was a nice gesture from hub to do that for his parents while I stayed in to finish up some chores.

And who would have thought that I spent my first Advent having warm bowls of pork porridge and a tray full of Malaysian style Curry Puff :-)

It snowed quite a bit today and the weather is dipping lower. Keep warm my friends and have a nice week ahead :-)

Friday, 26 November 2010

Romanza, Sogno & Amore Night Dinner ...

I found out a week ago that some stuffs are a lot cheaper in as compared to  Books are one and so are Le Creuset wares, selected Brabantia items and these ... Andrea Bocelli CDs which was going for around 16 Euro each on the german sites but costing only GDP4.99 each excluding shipping fee of 3 Euro plus plus!  Since I am such a great fan of this talented singer and my last CD of his was listened too till it gave way, I ordered them straightaway and received them today.  

I was in the mood to prepare us an authentic hardcrust and thin Italian style pizza today after listening to some of his wonderful tracks (love his Amore album too btw).  The crust was made from scratch so ... :-)

Frankly, it is fairly easy thing to do but requires a wee bit time to wait for the dough to rise.  Two cups flour, 3/4 cups warm water, 8 grams yeast, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, some salt and a bit of sugar and that´s it. Mix them with a regular mixer before kneading them manually with your hand for good one minute and then let it rise for 30 minutes, and then flatten it before popping them into the hot oven. 

We had them simply with tomato puree, some local cheese, bacon bits and rocket leaves.  Arrange some rocket leave on top of the pizza before drizzling the top with your favourite olive oil and your meal is ready. It was simple and yummy :-)

Hey, check this girl out. Hubby calls her Barney!!!

Its getting colder so I was in the mood for a little drink ...

Here´s Brombeeren Likor (Blueberries Liquor) with 25% alcohol content ...

We also had a small serving of Banyuls, a French Sweet Wine with about 18% alcohol content which we brought back from our France few months ago while visiting a family member ...

And lastly, the strongest of the lot which we recently brought back from Salzburg ... its called Marillenlikor with 30% alcohol content!  Really great stuff here ...

With Andrea Bocelli´s tune playing on the background, it was almost perfect except that ... we do need a bottle of Lemoncello to complete the dinner, don´t we? :-p

What I miss most from my Astro Travel & Living Channel!

David Rocco´s touring program all over Italy and cooking up all the deliciousness ...

and who can forget Nigella Lawson, the queen of Celebrity Chefs with her trademark ooohhhs and ahhss ... and simple to do recipes ...

and lastly, the Naked Chef, Jamie Oliver with his wit and youthful energy ... and, and ... all the new programs from 8TV,  NTV7 etc which I use to take for granted ...AND, soon ... my hubby and I will be flying back to our 2nd home in Kuala Lumpur for long holiday!  I am sooo looking forward to watching all my favourite TV programs and seeing my family and friends again.


Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Three Assorted Tomatoes Linguine Dinner

I decided to keep our dinner simple by using up all the three assorted tomatoes we have in our fridge by tossing them simply with bacon bits cooked generously with good quality extra virgin olive oil. Just like how David Rocco does them :-)  Some chopped parsley and freshly grated parmesan does the trick too ... so here´s our dinner for tonight :-)

It is good that some of the pain I am experiencing is getting less so I can finally go out to do my chores tomorrow.  It will be a long day and am also trying to take the chance to snap some photos while I am out tomorrow.

Have a nice day everyone :-)

Pork Lasagne Dinner

We had a cozy dinner on our sofa last night. It is bad habit I know to eat infront of the television but after returning home from our Christmas tree shopping last weekend and gotten it all up and ready for decoration two nights ago, the livingroom just seems more cozier and festive.  I will usually be online in the evening after dinner to attend to my FBville acitivities but last night was an exception.  I hungaround in the livingroom, caught some programs on TV which btw is rare because I favour lifestyle program more and a lot of programs on German TV are geared towards information base .. but yeah, like I said, I was in the mood and I think the station people too are moving the programs towards year end mood while enjoying these :-)

A few days ago, I finally picked up a bad shopping habit while at the supermarket. It is common of course to find premade meals in any supermarkets here and I am one of those snobs whom prefers eating a sandwich versus buying those premade meals. But the packaging promised authentic taste and it surely does look good. Plus, I am sure it will take me hours to prepare a lasagne from scratch and even more so unjustifiable if it is just for the two of us.  And I must say, I have been pretty impressed with the quality.

I guess I will stock up a bit more for quick days like these. 

Winter´s here and according to forecast, it will snow tomorrow :-p

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Dutch Stamppot Dinner & A Special Cheesecake

My hubby introduced me to Stamppot many years ago, but it was not until recently that I started experimenting with it.  Stamppot, another Dutch dish is essentially a potato base mash dish mixed with variety of ingredient. The two cookbook I´m glancing thru right now has quite a few Stamppot recipes in it - some calling for carrots, some for Kale and some calling even for Sauerkraut but I decided to play it safe with good old sausage, onions and in-season Brussel Sprouts for tonight´s dinner.  The potatoes were cooked in a large pot along the brussel sprouts for 20 minutes and it turned out fine without any bitterness coming out from the brussel sprouts nor did any bitterness rubbed over to the potatoes. I then sautee the boiled brussel sprouts one more time in a pan along with the sausage slices and onion before mixing them into the already mashed up potatoes.  Season the mixture with some salt and pepper, add a little milk in if you find it a bit dry and voila ... dinner´s ready :-)

We ended our dinner with a very special cheesecake baked by a dear friend whom visited us yesterday with her family.  She claimed that she´s new and only started experimenting with this recipe but I can say that it is as good as any cafe cakes if not better, and that coming from experimentation speaks a lot about how a good cook she is. 

Thankfully, she is also a generous cook.  The tray of goodies she leaved behind for us hopefully will last for at least another day :-)

Our Bulbs are all IN ...

and of course ... it is not a recent event since it had been raining quite a bit lately, and no, I am not the kind whom enjoys working under the rain. Storm had occassionally showed up too although temperature is already dropping drastically and moving towards winter season.  But yeah, this happened two weekends ago. Mr. Sunny decided to show face that morning.  I started the day by counting how many bulbs we had in hand before digging a systematic hole into the ground for the bulb planting.

Sounds simple but not quite actually because you have to make sure the holes are at least 2 times the height (depth) if the bulbs height and it had to be wide enough for the whole bulb body to sit comfortably inside.  When you have a variety of short, medium and tall flower type at hand, you also have to consider arranging it such a way that the tall ones does not block the short ones. There is also the consideration that some will bloom earlier than the other and that, you do not want some part of your ground looking bare while some appearing too cramped either.

So ...

We shall wait and see how it turns up in Spring. Keeping my fingers crossed!

Friday, 19 November 2010

A Mid Thirties Birthday Celebration

I was fortunate again to be invited to a birthday celebration of one of my Stammtisch member whom turned 35 yesterday.  A few of us were caught by surprise when we walked into her perfectly decked dining table and all specially prepared for us, us and no one else but us.  Here´s what she made ...

Yummy platters of baguatte toast with tomato base meat topping straight from the oven ... It was cold last night so these hot stuff were really a warm welcome ...

I love how the Gouda cheese topping with bacon bit taste against the deep flavoured Pumpernickel.  I find these so doable and perfect to be serve as fingerfood during parties, so this idea is a keeper.

Vegetable Sticks for inbetween munching ... serve with her special cream cheese spread.

Piping hot soup, straight from the stove to our tummy. It is good that I came with an almost empty tummy. These tasted rich, creamy and delicious with slices of pork spotted together with pieces of vegetables,  potatoes and get this ... pineapples!

Another closer look from my soup plate ...

Full was an understatement.  We were stuffed.  It was another enjoyable night with the girls.

Dutch Pea Soup Dinner

One of the things I´ve always wanted to do whenever I visit Holland is to come home with a Dutch Cook Book. Unfortunately, Netherland being Netherland or any European Country for that matter, English books does not come easily because it is not their mother tongue.  My recent trip however had been a bit more fruitful. I´ve discovered two, and not one, English bookstore smacked right in the middle of Amsterdam city but hold your breathe, I came back empty handed on cookbook front again.  Perhaps staying with VM family played me up pychologically - and I figured, the madam of the house would not mind me nicking a book or two of hers under the pretext of recipe and book tasting and hence this dinner. My reason to her is, we will meet soon and why not let me to embrace a little Dutch culture inbetween time.  I can be manipulative like that.  Hehe.

This soup is old school - cooked the way how it should be under slow fire for hours. But the reward is beautiful soup with rich taste of pieces of pork chop stewed till its meat falls off its bone, and the sweet after taste - an umami taste which I find so lacking in cooking nowadays.  This soup is not perfect still, as I have been told.  The essential smoked Dutch sausage is missing. Which means that, it will give me a good enough reason to cook them again.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Gaststätte Ristaurante Pizzeria Mama Livia Dinner

We had dinner in an authentic Italian Restaurant the night I got back from trip back in Holland.  Now, you may notice how I emphasized on the word authentic here because, seriously... this is the first Italian restaurant in Germany I´ve stepped into that are managed by Italians (at least for this region I live in, and how I´ve always wondered a land 14,000km away in Kuala Lumpur or any Asian countries) could have more???

Anyway, here´s what we had.

Hub´s Pizza Bella Italia which came with Blattsalat, Mozzarella and fresh tomato topping at 7.20 Euro.  Check out the heavy topping!

I had Tortellini "alla Panna" with Schinken(Ham), Pilze (Mushrooms), Bolognese Sauce and Sahne at 5.70 Euro per plate. Again, check out my portion!

The portion is not so Italian after all isn´t it?  ...

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Italian Dinner During My Stammtisch Annual Meeting

Once a year, the girls from my Stammtisch group will gather to discuss our programs for the following year as well as elect a fresh leader for the group. Unlike last year where we did a sushi hands on session followed by enjoying them later on, we decided to do potluck with a theme.  Four of us were assigned to bring 4 different kind of appetisers, 3 came with main courses, 2 brought dessert and 1 came with Italian theme inspired alcohol.

We began the night with homemade Cherry Coffee Liquor before popping a few bottles of Proseccos - both alcoholic and non alcoholic kind which the host served with Munsterland Baby Strawberry Aperitif ala Kir Royale.

The Lemoncello were unfortunately left unopened because we were too stuffed from the food and also the variety of red wine being served.

Our re-elected `First Lady` came with a plate of Bruschetta (far left) while her sister in law whom also happen to be in this group made Antipasti from scratch since morning!  It tasted really great so I´m gonna start requesting for the recipe from her soon.  The Polpette (aka Italian Meatballs) serve on (ahem) tiles were from me. I am glad they liked it.

One of the girls came with a huge platter of Caprese which she generously splatter with lovely Balsamic Vinegar dressing.

A, whom hosted us in her lovely flat together with her sister S prepared us a mean Gorgonzola Pasta for main course.  They were fabulous and wonderfully stinky, but pity that we can stomach that much food, testiment from all the huge portion.  I,another girl from the group baked us a wonderful tray of Lasagne which I skipped coz it came with beef, and I don´t take beef hence the absence of the photo. Again, the portions were huge but looked nevertheless delish and rich.

Our dessert for the night were of course the fame Italian dessert Tiramisu which S soaked generously with coffee liquor.  The other you see here is from T, whom layered the glass with generous portion of Mascaporne with Fresh Rasberries and nutty crunch which I can´t recall what its called.  They were both decandent and rich.

We ended the night with more drinks to celebrate our First Lady´s birthday at 12 midnight.

Also, each of us were presented with our presumable first Christmas gift of the year, Coffee Nut Liquor which our first lady decided to reward each and everyone of us during our Sasse Liquor Factory Visit two weekends ago.  All of us loved it during our liquor testing session so I can´t wait to open that bottle to share with hub,family and friends!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Ratatouille & Hasselback Potato Dinner

Although Terri of Hunger Hunger call this potato dish Hasselback Potatoes, I have suspicion that this is also a french dish - evident from how my cousin whom lives there with her family prepared theirs the same way for Christmas last year.  She love french food you see and she is one of those whom does not mix her meal unless with Asian or Malaysian dish.  Anyone knows where  Hasselback Potatoes come from??? Anyway, this was our dinner two nights ago.  Anyone whom had been following my blog knows that I love french food.  I attempt them sometimes, always impressed by it and never once came across something french that I don´t like.  Ratatouille is something that I cook often, or shall I say when I have all the components in my fridge.  It is a no brainer dish, really.  Just cook it long enough with tomato base sauce and voila! It will taste great.  I personally think that any way of cooking it is good enough without having to resort to the professional way of preparing Ratatouille which I must add, is darn tedious.  Bon Appetit!

Frikadele (German Meatball) Dinner

We had these somewhere two weeks ago. It was that long huh since the last time I locked in. Apart from our PC whom is still down (which we suspect its hard disk crashed again), I am fine and happy as can be with a new toy to my name.  Past week had been busy. I was in Netherland for a couple of days visiting friends, sighsee and shopped a little, but to be honest, when you are with great company, 5 days felt like 5 hours.  But on the other hand, home is where the heart is.  I am fully settled back to my daily routine again, which is great ... I am boring like that sometimes, and soon too, you will see me panting again with activities all the way till year end as (gasp) ... 2010 is coming to an end. I will share more ... at the moment, enjoy looking at my dinner photo here. Hehe.