Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Yakitori Skewers & Star-of-Bethlehem [Chincherinchee] for Asian Tuesday

I was a bit surprise when hubby picked Yakitori from one of our asian cookbook when I hand them over to him.  As I know, he´s not into soya sauce.  But alas, it seems that he is okay with japanese soya sauce but not the rest. Ah well.  I don´t blame him.  Japanese cuisine flavour are lighter as compared to the other asian cuisine so I reckon, it takes a while to get use too.  Its good that I enjoy japanese food too and that I am not one of those who cannot do without flavour from my homeland.

Today, I had a fantastic lunch of Scholle, or Plaice as its called in Ireland or Dover Sole when in England. I had them simple grilled with some salt, pepper and a dash of lemon juice.  Scholle is a very fine textured fish with mild, buttery sweet flavour.  One have to be very careful when flipping them over when pan frying them so I can´t think of other way of cooking this delicate fish so that it stays intact apart from pan fying.  To those whom have not tried them before, do give this a try when you come across .. it surely is a fine fish.

I wanna show you what MIL gave me last week! She seems to be in the mood of giving again and had given me a pot of Star-of-Bethlehem (Chincherinchee)

Lucky me! :-D

Monday, 22 August 2011

Quattro Formaggio Linquine for Pasta Monday

Hubby gets excited over what I would cook come every Monday.  He would without fail ask what pasta I have in mind whenever he gets off work.  Today he offered to cook thinking I am not up for it but quickly told him I already had plans.  We do have a few varieties of cheeses in our fridge still and I have been waiting to use them up in cooking to mellow down some of the heavier cheese taste.  I also pointed out that we should look into Italy for our next holiday destination since he is so into Italian food.  What an opportunist wife he got there! :-D

This dish calls for 4 varieties of cheeses and today, I had used equal portion of Parmigiano Reggiono (Italian), Tommette de Domessin (French), Mimolette (French) and Petit De Savoie (Swiss) ...

We both loveee the combo.  I think I am going to experiment making pizza out of it next, or some sort of savoury tartlets for inbetween bites.  Our accompanying today is of course ... a salad.  Just to balance our dinner a bit with the heavy cheese meal.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

My La Dolce Vita Platter for Heavy Sunday

Tonight´s dinner was inspired by DH Almere´s holiday photos during her recent family trip to Tuscany.  Self control ... something I am not very good at, and ... no reason to be good at it when it comes to ...

THESE ....

The picture says it all.  Freshly baked baguette with juicy, plum tomatoes, anchovies, prosciuttoes and haricot verts from our garden.

La Dolce Vita ...

The good life, full of pleasure and indulgence like how the Italians live their life ....

Ahhh ...

Federweißer & Zweibelkuchen to Welcome Autumn for Impromptu Saturday

Autumn was actually a favourite season of mine before getting my hands dirty in the garden after moving to Germany.  Spring comes first but Autumn is still a season which holds dearly in my heart.  Autumn is the time where you get to listen to rain drops, and let your mind wonder far far away while gazing out from your window towards the beautiful hues of golden yellow, orange, red and green around.  I am a piscean you see, so being dreamy is part of me.

Apart from that, there is one thing I look forward too since moving here.  That is, getting to enjoy the super delicious Federweißer.  It is the young fermented grape juice before turning into wine and it is usually the drink to accompany a pizza looking savoury call Zweibelkuchen.  I tell everyone whom wanna visits Germany during month of September or October to not miss drinking Federweißer if they must SIMPLY because, you can´t get them outside the country.  Reason being is, the bottle can´t be sealed tightly due to fermentation process hence not good for exporting.  Also, it has a very short expiry period before they turn sour (turn to wine) and most of the time, one have to drink them within 3-8 days upon purchase.  The best of course are the fresh ones from the wineyard itself and I still miss the one I drank in some of the wineyard villages in Bavaria last year.  They are simply delicious and unbeatable in  my humble opinion.

Funnily, the ones we get from supermarket here are mainly processed with italian grapes of assorted colour.  This year, I spotted a new brand from Otto Pressler.  You can get them from Netto.  They were again, super delicious and the two of us in the house usually do not have problems finishing them during our meal.

We like pairing them with Onion Cake, or Zweibelkuchen as how the locals call it.  The french in Alsace region has something similiar too and its called Flamkuchen.  I have not tried the original one in France but had once baked them.  They are just as good, if not better.

So, summer´s already towards the end and soon, we will be welcoming Autumn.  Honestly, I thought this year´s summer had been more autummy than usual.  What a pity.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Hamburg made me feel good ...

This picture was taken in Hamburg´s Hauptbahnhof yesterday before coming home.  It was a tight one night trip to my favourite German city for the all important Driving Theory Exam.  I checked in Best Western the night before hoping I would get some rest before the big day - but nervousness caught up with me.  I ended up sleeping for less than 4 hours and had to rely on sugar rush for energy (traubenzucker).  The good news is, I PASSED the theory!  Hooray, hooray!!!

I had hoped for full score since I had revised so much.  But 2,800 questions and answer learning proofed to be NOT enough as I was bestowed 4 new questions.  It caught me off guard as I nervously tabulated the total points of these 4 questions.  If I get all 4 wrong, thats it.

But I scrapped thru 2, which leaved me with 6 failed points for that 2 wrong answers.

So, I passed.

German Theory Driving Exam.  Tough, tough, tough!

View from Hospital and Family Dinner at Drebbers

Last week had been a rather stressful week for all of us at home.  FIL got admitted to hospital for some complication for a week but had since got himself discharged and is recuperating well at home.  It is my second time visiting this hospital in the town where I live.  Although it is small town, I was told we were bless to have a very good and fairly sizeble hospital here.  Apart from the amount of specialist listed here, I cannot help noticing how well they have landscaped the compound all around the hospital.  I also love how they invested in lots and lots of solar panel to help facilitate the operation in a more environment friendlier way.  For example, check out the white building.  That is an old folks home attached to the hospital with solar panels squeezed compactly on the roof.  I don´t mind living in old folks home like these when I grow old. 

This photo was taken from FIL´s room window.  Every evening, I cannot help gasping at the view staring back at me.  This is where I call home now and it surely is pretty and neat isn´t it?

We went out for dinner after visiting FIL one evening.  It was spontaneous decision after being told earlier that FIL´s good recovery.

I had a Red Berliner Weisser ... which is basically Beer Mix with Himbeeren (rasberry).  I thought I´ll give the red one ago after trying the green version several times.

My dinner of pork loin with red wine sauce, serve with grilled vegetables, mushrooms and baby potatoes.  The red sauce is delicious.

Hub has baby porkloin served with gorgonzola sauce.

MIL had sliced pork with fresh mushroom pieces.

MIL treated us to this dinner and had suggested us to have more sessions like these with her!

Well :-D

Friday, 12 August 2011

Malaysian Style Fruit Cake and Iceland Poppies in our Garden!

I baked a cake westerday, thinking it was Friday and it being hubby´s half work day. Hub usually packs lunch to work except for Friday since he gets off slightly over lunch hour.  Warm lunch is anyhow better than sandwich lunch - his reasoning I strong back up but occassionally, I like pampering him with cakes and such.  But as it is, it was not.  We ate the cake anyhow, way later than the usual coffee time but its okay because we had a birthday invitation to go too and dinner was provided!

This cake is inspired by the many fruit cakes I´ve eaten while growing up.  It is a simple vanilla cake base (but here, I´ve used peached puree and yoghurt as base) and toppped with the most colourful fruits ever! Don´t you think the cake just screams out summer every angle you look at? :-D

So, on it were pieces of peaches, green apples, mango, blueberries, rasberries and kiwi.  They were indeed not too bad and refreshing for a change :-D

Oh oh ... I wanna show you some progress in our garden too.  Here´s the poppy I have seeded and which took forever to come out.  Finally after a month of waiting, its all out.  I thought the seed packet I got hold was a simple poppy seed but it surely does look like the Iceland Poppy kind! I am super thrilled and enjoying every moment of it :-D

I will be in Hamburg next week for my driving theory.  This means that I will be busy revising and searching for accomodation.  At the meantime, I will not miss out blogging here still ...:-D

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Mussels in Chardonnay White Wine for Fusion Wednesday

Last night´s dinner was fantastic and again, was something I´ve recently learned to make from my recent trip to France.  My cousin cooked me a Provence version of Mussels in White Wine sauce one night (which she painstakingly cleaned thoroughly so that I can downed the soup to the last drop! Thanks Sis Ling!), and had left me hankering for more but as it is, its time to go home to porky-porky land.  Fortunately, I spotted some pretty good deal in Holland last weekend.  Looked really fresh (in season perhaps?) and decided that these babies must come home with me.

My cousin said, the ideal white wine to go with Mussels are Sauvignon Blanc.  We only have some high end Riesling with us (too wasted to use it), 2 bottles of white wine we got from last years travel to Franken (romantic road) and 2 bottles of very, very precious wine produced in Switzerland.  Its very precious because Switzerland keeps it for themself and you hardly can find a bottle outside the country.  I selected a bottle of Chardonnay, half going to the pot and the other half for good drinking.

The cooking process was fairly quick! And taste was superb too! I will give this another try soon, and perhaps I should go stock up on some Sauvignon Blanc just for this purpose.

MIL´s gift ... :-D

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Vietnamse Style Lemongrass Tamarind Chicken for Asian Tuesday

I´ve been asked to contribute a salad dish coming Saturday for one of my Stammtisch member´s birthday.  Its the same old thing.  Someone will bring an egg salad, a waldorf salad, a caprese, a bierwurst salad, a fruit salad, and something with corn mix with seasonal vegetable (which they loveee drenching in the classic yoghurt sauce here) without fail.  I am in a dilemma as always and in order not repeat the same thing my group member will bring, I always volunteer to bring an asian salad.  The thing is, salads are not a norm in Asia! Kimchi did cross my mind but I think I will give Vietnamese Chicken Salad a try this time round.

So ... this was the reason why that small book got out.

So far, I´ve brough Chicken Teriyaki Salad, Caecar Salad,

Vietnamese cuisine in my opinion is another way under-rated food in the world.  I like the way how they use fresh herbs to season some of the dishes but kept chillis to the minimum.  Yes, I do love chilli but its not one of those taste I can take every time.  This is a pretty straightforward dish with lemongrass taste taking centrestage, while the usage of fish sauce provides the saltiness, the lime juice giving it a kick and sugar to lent it some sweetness.  Overall, its a balance dish which I find would fit well in any family dining table.

Japanese Chicken Kakiage for Heavy Sunday

Saturday was hub´s Stammtisch so I skipped cooking that night.  Come Sunday, my hands were itching to make something special - something which caught my eyes recently from a friend´s blog and it surely needs no persuasion!

If you love Japanese cuisine like me, I am pretty certain you´ve eaten this fried crunchy chicken bite.  The last I had them was in Japan Town, Dusseldorf in an authentic japanese hole-in-one kinda noodle joint where one finds herself surrounded by japanese staff and diner while slurping it all up.  Their version is magnificient and every bite lovely. 

Now, CL´s version (please click her link here) is just as good! Don´t take my word for it .. do give it a try! She said, its a recipe from a japanese lady.  I believe her because every bite is as authentic as it gets.

Highly recommended!

Nasi Goreng Kampung and Bean Soup for Vegetarian Friday

Last Friday, I found that it is fairly easy to make Nasi Goreng Kampung at home.  Dried Prawns, Ikan Bilis, Chillis, Shallots, Onions and Garlic - blended to a paste, sauteeing them with oil till fragrant then adding a bowl of rice into the paste while gently coating them thoroughly.  I am a big fan of Nasi Goreng Kampung but didn´t realise its so doable at home.  Now that the secret is out, this will be one of the staple I can quickly whip up whenever I miss something spicy and kicking.

Hub offered to cook our freshly harvested beans from our garden that evening for dinner.  The crunchiness and lightness of the bean is evident in every mouthful.  In my opinion, beans from the garden are the best I have eaten so far - be it from someone´s garden or your own. There´s another batch more so, let´s hope they grew well ...

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Ziguener Schnitzel for German Thursday

The fame Schnitzel re-emerged again last Thursday but this time round, I´ve got them paired with Paprika base sauce.  The locals call it Ziguener Schnitzel - Ziguener a term loosely use to refer to Gyspies but not in a nice term.  The other I would like to try coming Thursday is Jager Schnitzel, a term given with reference to Hunter´s Schnitzel and these, I must add is one of my favourite way to enjoy Schnitzel.  So stay tune!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Smoked Salmon & Brocolli Quiche for Fusion Wednesday

It was during my recent trip that I finally made this yummy Salmon & Brocolli combo.  I do urge you to give this a try as it is so yummilicous (if there´s such a word, pardon!). The ingredient is fairly straightforward - 3 eggs, 200 ml creme fraiche and lots of cheese were added onto the arranged smoked salmon and brocolli pieces. Season with a little salt and voila, a meal fit for a king :-D

Friday, 5 August 2011

Driving Licence 101 in Germany

As unsurprising as it sounds, Malaysian driving licence are not recognised at all in Germany (first being Malaysian driving at the other side of the road, and second for Autobahn factor which makes it more dangerous to drive here).  Of the listed country in Asian, only Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore driving license are recognisable and one can easily change to a German one.  The thing about obtaining a driving license in Germany is not easy at all.  Although the regulations states that Malaysian needs to complete First Aid Course, Eye Examination, and take Theory plus Practical examination ONLY, no driving school would register you for exam unless you enroll in their school and had at least done/sat thru their course and lessons.

I´ve been shopping around since ages.  The local schools here does not recognise my 18 years of driving experience, had quoted me full package as any young dude wanting to start a fresh and I find that totally insulting hence I held on till I find the right school.  I was in luck finally, coz I not only got one whom does it in English, I was able to do the practical lesson part and the exam intensively under a week which means that it is sort of like refresher course (and I am not paying full price) but downside is, it is in Hamburg - a city north of where I live and is 3 hours drive away.  I find it challenging and stimulating learning in a city environment versus a small town where I live.  I figured, if I am able to handle the city, I should be able to drive all over Europe later then.  Keep my fingers cross that all runs well.

This week I had embarked on pretty intensive theory learning and I now know why my Msian license is not recognised.  In Germany, I have to cover topics related to Drugs, Alcohol, Environmentally Friendly Driving, Specifications of Different Vehicles and What is allowed and What Not (car with trailer, caravan, different tone trucks, where are they allowed to park, what speed which involve a lot of figuresss ... ), Bicycle/Trams etc crossing, Wild Animal crossings, Calm Area, Pedestrian Zone etc etc and I am only at chapter 6 with 8 more to go!

It is mind boggling I tell you ... but what to do, it is something that I had to learn well so that I will not get into trouble in the future.  BTW, if I pass my driving, I will be under probation for 2 whole years! Bah!  But nothing beats the thought of me having to drive in Autobahn where the cars speeds like crazy! I do hope I get a powerful car for the lessons.  A lot of driving schools here are luring new customers by providing tantalising choice of German cars such as BMWs, Audis, Mercedes etc.  VW is the norm here but some have even started offering Mini Cooper and Smart Cars too! In the past, I thought the schools are just being enterprising to offer such cool cars for students to drive but I have since changed my mind. If you drve in Autobahn, I think it is safer to use powerful, sturdy cars in such situation ... (except for smart, which I think might sway if a fast Audi comes from behind!)

So so ... wish me luck, I need it.  I am kinda stressed out but also excited coz this also means that I will get to stay in Hamburg for a week or more soon! Searching for a good apartment in central location now .. any tips?

Char Siew Rice Dinner and Hussel Confiserie For Asian Tuesday

Yes.  I am trying to get back on track with my daily meal planning thingy, but honestly, it is not easy as I am trying to loose the pounds I gained from my holiday in France.  You know, France = Food.  It is inevitable! So anyway, this was what I´d prepared the following week which was last Tuesday after trying a very yummy version from my godmother when I was in France.  Hers was definately a lot better but I reckon, my version is edible and still had the chinese-taste to it.

Last weekend, my brother in law came visiting with his girlfriend.  They brought me a small box of chocolate.  I´ve seen this specialist chocolate shop before, never tried it and its my first time.  What a selection it is as it is mostly filled with alcohol! Wow!

The Germans here do love their praline stuff with alcohol?

Thursday, 4 August 2011

My Hubby´s Fascination with Ina Garten

My hubby likes to leave me little, little trails in the house for me to discover.  Recently, I found his sketch on my sticky note which leaved a big smile on my face ...

Its all the things hubby sums up about Ina Garten´s show :-D


Wednesday, 3 August 2011

My Gift for Hubby´s Birthday This Year ...

Hubby surprised me with a wonderful trip to Amsterdam for my birthday this year.  I thought I´ll do something along that line, seeing that both of us love travelling.  The destination was not as far as Amsterdam, but we manage to pack our schedule to the brim.

We went for a two hours of sailing in Baldensee. The weather was perfect, wind was at around 5 knots, I was the assistant sailor but I chickened out during the last 30 minutes when wind got stronger. I was hanging on tightly to the sailboat fearing it might topple over :-( But overall, hub was please.

Hub surprised me by booking a night in Holiday Inn, Essen.  We checked in after sailing, refreshed ourselves before heading out to the centre which was just 500 metres away to enjoy another birthday gift of his.  It was a Variete Show Performance call Funtastisch in GOP Essen with combination of magic, acrobatic, humour and many more roll into one.  I came across it online and saw lots of good review so I thought why not.  It was a good choice because I did not expect myself to laugh my heart out, but I did. Hub was at one point seen tearing too.  Both the moderator was top-notch (kinda remind me of Mr. Bean and Jim Carrey respectively) so you can imagine how good it is. We laughed from start to the end :-D It was really, really good.

The show went on for a good 2 hours with 30 minutes break.  The night was still young so we headed downstairs to Bahia Club for a dance.  Bahia Club coincidently was an Asian Decor inspired club and asians being a minority here, I must say I made quite an entrance.  Some might have thought I work there :-D

We had Kir Royale.

Followed by a Tropical Punch.  The night was still young but we made our exit early coz it had been a long day.  We drove back home the following morning after a lovely breakfast provided by the hotel and some shopping in their city centre.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Over a platter of French Cheese and Salami ...

I learned that, it is better to accept the situation and confront head on rather than live with fear and hide from reality. It is during down moment that people whom truely cares for you stand beside you. 

Woman are born with intuation and she is often right.

I have waited so, so long to do something meaningful as a member in this family and finally, I was able too yesterday.

My Godma´s Zhang (Chinese Wrapped Dumpling)

I´ve been back since last Wednesday from visiting my cousin, her family and her mum whom happen to be my Godma too in France.  This trip had been more relaxed as compared to last years. Somehow too, I felt that this trip was more heartfelt.  I had some good chat with godma and it made me felt closer to her.  It brough back lots of memories when I use to stay with her when I was very young. 

My godma is a typical chinese mother.  Her way of showing how much she care for you is by cooking you something you like or have been missing.  Another way of showing how much you meant is during parting. No words needed to be exchange but instead, the eye is the window to your soul they say.

I wish her well and healthy, with lots of strong years ahead of her to enjoy her retirement days with her love ones.