Sunday, 31 July 2011

July 2011´s Garden Post

It is summer and here are the blooms in our garden and on our balcony currently. 

Geraniums ...

Clematis ...

Bell Flower ...

These are gifts from DH Almere´s and they are Cosmea! It is growing extremely well and I love it!

Hortensias ... which we have 5 in total from the front yard to a few spots in our garden but I was too lazy to go snap picture of them all ...

And another white Perennials which I am growing to love ... but no idea what its called ...

The end ...

Monday, 18 July 2011

The Day Before, The Day Itself and The Day After ...

... is the classic slogging day for any parties being held at home. You prep a couple of hours to make sure all things are bought, decorated and in place as well as making sure the house is clean.  The day itself is spent again doing last minute preparation, trying to relax inbetween but it is just so impossible. Then the party began.  The moment your last guest bid goodbye, you sigh with relief.  Not that you don´t welcome your guest, but you cannot believe you pulled thru.  Lastly, the aftermath.  Cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning ...

I did not have much time to take any photos.  But manage to snap two - one just before they came and one during.  I wanted to show you how I ended up serving the macarons.  On a piece of Slate! The cone did not work out.  It was too narrow and would not stick.  Bummer.

The great news is, they LOVEEEE the macarons.  Coincidently, a local chain call Tschibo were selling them in packets this week at 9.90 Euro each packet for 16 small pieces. It aroused their curiousity but is expensive enough that none bought it. Hence, they were glad to be able to sample what this macaron thingy is all about.   

It was a night filled with lots of drinks ... we finished countless bottles of Röse Sekt, some wine, Munsterland Baby Strawberry Aperitif, Cocoa Nuss Liquor and my Muscat Aperitif which I brought back from my trip to France last year. It was soo yummy! 

The light dinner was Sushi, Thai Mango Salad which a girl helped me sliced up the mango ala Thai Way(holding mango with one hand while furiously chopping onto the mango with the other hand before vertically slicing them up), and it was quite a spectacle (should have captured the look on their face to show you here :-D). Another girl helped me wrapped gyoza before frying them off in the pan and steam cooking them later. They loved this dish too.

In the end, I skipped the tempura making.  The kitchen got a bit warmer after frying the gyoza and I didn´t want my guest to feel uncomfortable with all the frying action.  A lot of them were spotted with red cheeks too and at one point, a few was giggling non-stop so I guess it is due to the drinks??? :-D  Anyway, we ended up having tempura for lunch yesterday. It was super yummy. Oh, I must share you the recipe one day is sooo easy but yet, sooo crunchy like how tempura´s are meant to be. 

Great to get your children to eat more vegetables!

So this was what we had for lunch yesterday :-D

Now that its over, it is time for me to start preparing for my trip to France this Friday.  Just like last year, my godmother from Malaysia will be staying over at her daughter´s place for couple of months and hence, me making a trip to her daughters place for a little family time in Europe. When I am back, there will be more to come ... my preparation for driving lesson in Hamburg (super intensive arrangement, which I am very excited about), followed by some trip to visit friend again in Holland, followed by hubby´s sailing trip to Scandinavia, DH friends coming over for grape festival at our place, then another friend staying over our place and followed by Barcelona trip. Oh, I have also been invited by MIL to go take up oil painting classes.  Now, who says life of a housewife is boring? It surely isn´t so!

Friday, 15 July 2011

Two Parties Tomorrow in Our Home ...

Tomorrow is hubby´s birthday party.  It is also my kitchen party for my Stammtisch group.  Under normal circumstances, this will be considered sabotaging hubby´s birthday celebration :-D,  but both group are connected. The guest are mostly husband and wife team belonging to separate stammtisch group so its kinda fun separating them this way ...

This was what I did today. Shopped, cleaned the house (almost, and hub´s suppose to do the other half tomorrow) and decorated the kitchen area.  Since our kitchen is white now, I decorated them with the most boring colour on earth.  Grey, black and thankfully, a dash of green.  Putting the balloons up weren´t easy at all! How come stick tape hardly live up to its name anymore? Urg ...

Our dining table from livingroom area was moved to our little kitchen, so its really cramped in there at the moment.  But I figured, it is kitchen party.  So I guess my guest do expect to dine in the kitchen ???  Here´s my table setting for tomorrow ... again, monocrome ...

In Germany, welcoming one´s guest with a glass of Sekt (local champagne) is a norm.  It is sitting prettily in one corner waiting for the bubbles to be popped!

I have something to share with you.  See the glassware here? They are borrowed from my MIL downstairs and can you believe it that these are more than 50 years old?! They are indeed and look how great condition they are in still! These are actually from hubby´s grandma.  My MIL had asked me several times, which of her inherited porcelain collection I would like to have when she is no longer around. She has a lot, a lot, A LOT of sets ... between 8 - 10 sets all dating back to grandma´s time and some cost a fortune.  I do love some of them with gold trimmings and such, and some of her oil painting collection but till date, I just can´t tell her which one I like coz, is it NOT a taboo to start thinking of her leaving???

Anyway, back to preparation stuff ... I also made a GREEN CONE to display some of the macarons I have made.  It was one of those idea I saw online and thought, oh wow ... that would be so cool! I tried sticking some pieces on them today and it worked well.  I am very please with the result so, woohooo .. it surely will be fun tomorrow!

Tomorrow, my German girlfriends here are ALL gonna eat with chopstick. Haha.  I hope they can cope with Gyoza, Vegetable Tempura, Sushi and Thai Mango Salad!

Oh hehe, these are our new Villeroy & Boch Urban Nature´s new buy.  They are perfect for Amuse Bouche and small eats so, we got them.  We lovee it.  We also extended 2 XL serving platter from the same collection.  It is hubby´s birthday but I felt lucky :-D

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Lemon Curd Macarons

Made these today.  I was rather proud of myself because the macaron shells seem shinier and more even.  Thanks to a wonderful tip from DH Almere, she had advised me to soften out the irregularities with a slightly wet finger tip. It worked :-D Amazing.  Again, if you wanna give it a try ... click this link here.

Rasberry Macarons and Matcha Macarons

A dear friend recently asked why I have not been blogging. The truth is, I have been busy practising my Macarons for hub´s birthday this Saturday. This Macarons thingy I tell you, ain´t easy at all. One must give her best, always concentrating fully and be in best of mood ... at least for me. So by end of one session, I´m kinda drained out. I look for the day where it comes to me as natural as cooking rice ... I hope. Anyway, I did take some photos of meals I had recently along with my baking. I thought I´ll just drop it here in one post before I gather up my momentum again with my daily thingy. Have a bless day everyone and love to hear from you all again!

Today I´m gonna attempt making Lemon Macarons with DH France´s recipe.  I love her recipe and it works really well with me with great success.  But few things I really do wanna improve on.  They are
  1. Getting the right consistency so that the dough is fluid enough to flow without leaving a funny tip forming on top.
  2. Colour, colour, colour.  I have been noticing a pattern.  I think I have been too careful with colour and am afraid to make it deeper.  These two are from my second colouring kit purchase (love it!).  They are gel base, easy to use and colour depth is definately evident but why oh why, I would stop the moment I spot a change.  Haha.  Plus, I think I need to relearn colour mix with all the base that I have.
  3. Experimenting with interesting filling.  This is a tough one for me. Getting them thick enough for spreading, the recipe has to be right and it has to be yummy of course!
Alright, thats for now :-)

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

French Roses, my latest craze ...

Yesterday, I could not resist myself from doing more online purchases.  This online thingy, they are evil, aren´t they? You don´t see your physical money exchanging hands and all you need to do is click, click, click without actually thinking thru if you really need the stuff or not and then you realise much later, oh nooo ... what have I done?!

I have been shopping online a lot lately. Some stuff from H&M, mainly household stuff, from Amazon and are mainly decorative stuff for upcoming party and trip and from a website which specialises in French Roses! But look at them ... how not to click???

I got a Palais Biron yesterday .. super luvvvv the petal forms and the rich colour! Swoonnnn ...

Also got a Henri Matisse.  Another gorgeous hue with clusters of it forming closely to each other as the site described it.  Its so pretty, sooo pretty ... awww .. I can´t wait to see my new babies ...

I now have a big problem.  Space.  It is not helping too that I am smitten by another two more roses from the same website. Argg .. will my desire ever stop?

This one´s call Brown Velvet and I find the hue so unique compared to the many out there.

And this was another one I nearly clicked on yesterday.  It is call Buff Beauty.  What I lurveee about it is, it comes with two assorted colour within a plant! How cool is that?

Alright ... I guess I shall settle the space issue instead of day dreaming of having more, more and moreee ...

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Chicken & Lemon Angel Hair for Pasta Monday

A tried and tested recipe for blurry Monday.  If you like a tangy twist to your pasta, this is for you.  Somehow, I find it refreshing to combine lemon taste to a heavy carb base dish and oh, so befitting a sluggish Manic Monday!

Morrocon Tagine and Couscous for Heavy Stuff Sunday

Shall we backtrack a bit to what I ate last Sunday yeah.  I was over the moon yesterday after the macaroon session, I forgotten all the unloaded post before yesterday.  So yeah .. the excitement has finally settled in after a good night´s sleep but, that is not the end of it off course.  I am going to get a bit more adventurous with colour today and hopefully it works its magic again.  Pray for me!

This is my plate of Hokkien Noodles cooked with Malaysian Caramel Sauce and Light Soya Sauce during lunch, so you can imagine how much I love them ...

Come dinner time, I made something Middle Eastern! I still remember how my ex-school friend from Morrocco would take hours and hours just to dish out Tagine dish.  It had to be cooked soo long till the  meat gets tender and all the flavour gets absorbed into the meat.  Mine was all under 1 1/2 hour but all gobbled down in less than 30 minutes :-D  Seasoning was surprisingly simple as compared to my first time making them.  I had used spices from Morroco then, a gift from my Morroccon friend but this time, it was pure saffron, cumin seed (lotssss of it) and paprika powder and thats it!  Sprinkle lots of the spice over the chicken during frying period, then add water to simmer together with all the hard vegetables such as zucchini, carrots, potatoes, red pepper etc.  Tomatoes are added towards the end. Oh btw, don´t forget the tomato puree too.  It is important. The just let it slow cook for an hour and tadaaa ....

Serve them with couscous.  I use the soup stock from the Tagine for it.  Tastier.

I finally made Macaroons from scratch!

It is a significant milestone so I just had to jot them down here in less than an hour after I suceeded making it.  My first attempt was back in KL.  It was a major failure.  Second attempt was with some help with packaging.  It turned out lovely but somehow, it is not good enough.  Third time was few days ago where I tried Lorraine Pascale´s recipe.  It went a tad too flat and cracked on top. Finally, the most reliable of all the lot, beating them all hands down ... a recipe from DH France via DH Almere´s blog!

I am so happy, so happy, so happy ... that I cannot help singing about it :-D You should see me just now.  Jumping around like a little girl :-D

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Crepe Day for Impromptu Saturday

I picked up a packet of crepe from Albert Heijn when I was in Enschede on Friday.  I was not in the mood to cook much since Saturdays are usually spent doing things around the house, going out to get stuff or having an event to attend too.  Crepes are good to carry us thru the day with whatever filling we fancy.

I found another favourite cheese in addition to Gruyere, Comte, Appenzell, Jung Maasdamer, Mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, Tete de Moine and lately too ... Gorgonzola!

Russian Egg Salad for Vegetarian Friday

I was out shopping for good 8 hours and more last Friday. Gone were the days where I could actually shop from 10am till 10pm without complaining much about aches here and there. So there I was last Friday, 2 hours were spent commuting to and fro from my place to Enscede, which is a 45 minutes train ride away. Minus the lunch and coffee break, that leaves me with about 3 hours or so with pure looking around and buying things but oh man, my feet was still reeling with aches the day after!

But the great thing about shopping on Friday or any weekday is, it is a lot less crowded.  So much so, I came home with unexpected purchases for the kitchen and lots of dresses to welcome summer :-)

Here´s what I ate during coffee break time, just mere 3 hours after my McDonald lunch!

I told myself to control.  I am on diet this week but the moment I saw Fish Fillet on McDonalds signage located outside, I was sold.  It has been awhile since I last had Fish Fillet.  Another thing is, I think Fish Fillet taste a lot better than the ones in my town.  Good justification, no? :-D  The Hot Wings was crispily fried and taste sooo good.  I don´t want to know how many calories were those ...

But, I did cut back come dinnertime (pat myself on the back).  It as a simple Russian egg salad with seasonal cherries and Apricots.

Boleh la eh. Once a while ...

Hochzeitssuppe & Kasseler Shulter for German Thursday

Thursday came and went with a blink of an eye.  I am around still, but just got a tad lazy with blogging past few days because I have been busy doing some shopping, cleaning and planning a little for upcoming party and trip soon to France. 

So, what´s for dinner on Thursday? Something classically serve during wedding dinner call Hochzeitssuppe -  and it is unfortunate it is no longer very common due to many young couple wanting something fresher on their important day.  But here it is since I love it.  A few unique ingredient goes into a classic Hochzeitssuppe and they are Eierstich and Klößchen.  Eiertisch is an egg pudding made of eggs and milk and are cut into little cubes for serving.  Klößchen on the other hand are little dumplings made from cream cheese, egg and breadcrumbs, boiled first before being cooked in the soup. Mine are both from can, and big mistake.  I should have made them myself because it taste a lot, lot better.

Main course was Kasseler Shulter serve with Sauerkraut and Potatoes.  I was curious over some new prepacked stuff in the local supermarket so I grabbed two to taste.  The pork shoulder is nicely cooked and tasted normal (means no chemical etc) but the Sauerkraut tasted funny.