Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Mee Goreng Mamak on Asian Tuesday

Leftovers.  Hmmmm ... love them or hate them.  Having to clear up the space behind our terrace to make way for our new glasshouse whole morning, I was famished again to cook anything fancy though behind the back of my mind - I was ploying extra, extra, EXTRA delicious decadent meal to pamper myself.  But this plate of Indian Style noodle which South East Asian call Mee Goreng or Mee Mamak is ain´t bad at all.  We had left over spagetti, boiled potatoes and carrots from Mondays Taiwanese Chicken Noodle so, it took me a mere second to realise `hey`I could do something with these.  The sauce is the trick of the trade.  My version is not quite right but I would like to give myself some credit for looking the part after a hard days work. 

Dinner :-)

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

David Austin´s Queen of Sweden Now???

Ich  bin ferruckt! I exclaimed to hubby last night around 12 midnight. I have been researching on David Austin roses online for the past 2 days since hubby gave the `green`light to place rose pots on our balcony.  I think he came around to the idea that going to our garden downstairs just to enjoy a peak is sometimes too troublesome. I have no complain with his sudden change of mind, haha.

So what did I chose?  I tell you, we women are so fickle minded. Our mind changes as fast as the daily weather here.  I was so smitten with Princess Alexandre of Kent just on my last blog entry and here I am, purchasing another one - Queen Of Sweden.

But see the photos, and you will understand.

Actually my criteria for this David Austin rose is very simple.  It has to be right for a pot, love the sun and the petals does not open up to ajar (which I saw a few of my previous favourite does on some youtube video hence I changed my mind).

This purchase is not cheap but it will come with the classic David Austin Green and Gold Container :-)

Seven work days to deliver, so stay tune!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Never Thought I´d Owe a Greenhouse, But I Do Now! And MIL´s first David Austin Rose (Glamis Castle)

The title says it all.  We decided spontaneously today to get a greenhouse facing the back of our terrace.  At the current moment, it is basically a junk area where we hid our sack of soil, containers etc.  An apple tree and our beloved grape tree is there too but we thought there must be a better way to utilise this space especially now that our apple tree´s going to be chopped off soon.  It had contracted `cancer`it seems so ... The only thing worth keeping is the grape tree but we have a month before our new greenhouse gets delivered to figure out where to relocate it.  Here´s what we bought!  One month wait, not too bad ...

At the meantime, we can figure out some racking solutions inside.  I also saw some ideas on how to lay the flooring but I am not sure if its practical.  We initially thought of putting wooden plank all over like the picture above until we saw the photo below.  It is a greenhouse is it a great idea to  leave some ground empty for seeding and place some pots on it to at least let it keep in contact with mother nature?  Or is it better to enclose the flooring up to maintain a warmer temperature within.  Any idea?

Today, my MIL is a proud owner of her first David Austin rose plant.  The variety in the nearest garden centre is not so great but managed to filter down to either the Glamis Castle or Alexandre the Kent, a deep pink variety.  I ended up picking Glamis Castle since the plant itself was more well formed and its foliage were strikingly healthy looking.  I hope she likes it and did not expect a pink one!  Anyway upon returning home, I showed hubby David Austin´s website and was swooning at the varieties it carries and guess what? Hubby ask me to get it! He love them too! :-D

Will see ...

Glamis Castle (Auslevel)
David Austin Recommended Variety

Category - English Roses
Bred - By David Austin
Colour - White / Cream
Flower Type - Double/Full Bloom
Size - Medium Shrub
Hardiness - Hardy
Fragrance - Medium
Repeating - Good

Pure white, cup-shaped flowers of typical Old Rose character. Its growth is quite short and bushy with numerous twiggy branches, upon which it bears flowers with quite exceptional freedom and continuity - making it ideal both as a border rose and for bedding. It has an English Rose, myrrh fragrance.

Glamis Castle is the childhood home of The Queen Mother and the legendary setting of Shakespeare¹s play 'Macbeth'.
3ft. x 2.5ft.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Jamon Serrano, Queso Machego for Friday Night

I truly emphathize with friends whom have to cook because they have a family to feed.  Having children, whether one likes it or not means their life or daily choices are more restrictive.  We love children very much, and we plan to have one but when it comes to weekend, it is nice having a break instead of slaving at the stove.

Yesterday evening was a big nibble evening for us.  They are just a lovely as warm, hot food in the tummy when the produce are of good quality.

Many months ago, we literarily scouted Barcelona´s supermarket isle for a piece of Machego to bring back home.  None was found.  Strange I know, since Machego is a well known spanish cheese.  A month ago, we finally found them in Spain, but in an island where the locals were possible outnumbered by Germans and Brits.  It is questionable again, I know.  So yes, I satisfied my curiosity on tasting my first Queso Machego, at last.  Paula, my Chilen friend from England was right.  It is a great cheese and I can see why it is popular.  Not many sheep´s cheese tickles my tastebud but Machego, being mild and yet buttery is well balanced enough. 

One of my favourite way to eat Jamon is with pieces of very good Cantalope melon.  Sweet, salty with freshness of the fruit cutting through ... I find this being one of the easiest and tastiest way to enjoy a jamon. 

Big spanish strawberries are rounding the supermarket isle right now. The weather in Spain must have been lovely already or these are grown in greenhouses? I am not sure, but they surely are early.  Tastewise, not quite sweet and juicy as how I like them therefor, I do have a lot of leftovers which I think I already have the most perfect solution for them.

The weather is gorgeous today so I guess it is high time I spent them outdoor with something red on my plate later.  I promise to take a photo yeah :-) Have a nice weekend everyone!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Going David Austin ...

I have been assigned by my mother-in-law to replace her dead Leonardo Da Vincci rose plant.  Leonardo Da Vincci rose are gorgeous, the full petal type like what you see here but I was given a Maria Theresa by DH Hamburg last Autumn so I thought I´d get another colour other than the pink which LDV is famous for.  If you follow my blog, you´d recall me buying a few rose plants last year.  I bought a Henri Matisse which I initially thought was a deep purple coloured ones but is actually a mixed colour (purple and white).  I also added another rose collection call Palais Biron - an award winning after spotting them in my favourite Wohnen & Garten magazine.  You can see my blogpost by clicking here.

I have been watering like crazy.  They say roses need tender, love and care.  Lets say that my tenderness, love and care will be a real testimony of my character and it will be for all to see :-)

Back to my MIL´s request, I´d decided to go David Austin this time round as I´ve seen gorgeous collection from a dear friend in France.  Her roses are inspiration to say the least, and I simply could not resist testing her recommendations out.  This time around, I am actually looking at roses of different shade.

Claire Austin, a huge variety which I love.

Emanual, with a tinge of yellow in the middle.  I am not very certain of this one here actually.  Mainly because I´ve read The Language of Flower and yellow rose means jealousy, dislike, discomfort ... so, not sure I want to give this to MIL whom I adore very much.

A classic red coloured rose but ala David Austin´s new rose species.  This one´s called Lady Breithwaite.  Simply gorgeous, what you think?

This is actually one of my favourite and its Lady Hamilton.  The peachy pinkish colour with its thick, bud like shape is something I adore instead of those roses which opens up entirely.  The petals look strong in photos but as one says, one can never tell.

Last but not least is the Shropshire Lad.  What a name. Its lovely, also another of my favourite but I get to only choose one (I think) unless I uproot my three Day Lilies away to make space for more roses!

Arggggg ... decisions decisions decisions!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Poulet de Moutarde for French Wednesday & A little French Secret ...

It is no secret I adore french food, and japanaese, and thai, and malaysian and many many more but particularly french.  Before moving here, I had this impression that french food are mainly haute cuisine. They are fashionable, well  made and oh-so-tiny a portion. And, they are expensive to be indulged too. My impression served me that even after visiting France twice but I was clearly in one of the most expensive cities in the world - Paris.  After moving here, I was introduced to what people call, the real french cuisine.  In another word, food everyday people eat like for you and me.  But the centre of what makes french food so irresistable is still there.  Good cooking coupled with abundance of freshness in ingredient.  I was lucky to have friends and family in France.  They surely did open my eye to food serve in France in general.  It is not something out of reach and happily, if one has a bit of patience and perseverance on the lookout for techniques, they are abundance and easy to be replicated at home.  Last year, I skipped french theme out of my daily dinner planning fearing it would be too time consuming.  But alas, I am up for it this year so I´m gonna make a big bold move to switch Fusion Wednesday to French Wednesday officially.

To start off, something french - of course in form of Chicken in Mustard Sauce (french of course, again) for our dinner last night. The mustard taste was particularly memorable. They are imported you see, and from the region near Provence so I´d like to believe they are better than any other :-D and it indeed is lovely.

No recipe here again as usual, sorry dear friends. I am still trying to figure out if I should include recipes here but again, what will I do with my other blog then? And the other blog being tedious with more photo editing to do (I am very particular like that) etc, I don´t know.  I am in a dilemma .. so give me some time to figure this part of my online life out yeah.  Muchos, muchos gracias ...

Moving on, I am skipping to my next book! Boy, am I not on the to roll? I was just telling my DH friends not too long ago that I am not so much a book reader but magazine browzer.  BUT, I finished two books last week itself!  The Language of Flower was fabulous - thought I must add it made me weeped and reminiscence back on my childhood days (sad story).  It got me to such emotional stage that hubby noticed.  I had to warned him that my mood swing was not him related but it is from that book.  Neitherless, I enjoyed the extra attention he gave me seeing I was so down.  The book is good, damn.  But now, I am ready for something not so broody to bring me to lovely spring weather which we are enjoying abundantly as of late.  A book which I find every women struggling to keep her weight off needs. And it is ...

Its very handy, I know.  I´ve read the japanese version many years ago and I swore by it.  It is not a diet book whatsover but making change to ones lifestyle.  Back in Malaysia, it was easy for me to emulate how the japanese women eats because there´s abundance of japanese eatery and ingredient around but now that I am in Europe, going french would be easier.  Will see!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Banana-Cranberry-Apple Bread AND ...

Under normal circumstances, I am contented with just these for lunch.  But, today is unlike any other day ...

Spring is HERE to stay.  Time to get my ass-moving.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Tomato en Salada, Spagettini Carbonara for Lazy Sunday

I shouldn´t have called in lazy sunday because we did quite a bit yesterday.  I got the bed sheets changed, did some laundry, rearranged our bookshelves and tended to our garden.  Hubby whom did not want to lose out cleaned the oven, stove and coffee machine after breakfast.  The white table you see here was also set up by him yesterday.  With a few more inbetween jobs and snacking on leftover cake I baked on Friday, we were famished when dinner time came.  So I thought, carbonara would be it.  It is creamy, delicious and importantly, very filling ...

Half way through boiling the spagettini, guilt set it.  Something else is needed to balance this carbo-laden meal.  In the fridge were some fresh tomatoes and salad hub picked up on Friday.  Our new ceramic knife from Kyocera was put to test too and boy, is surely is sharp as anything I have used before.  I got the tomatoes arranged open style.   Nothing heavy is needed to season these delicious, red tomatoes except for some gratings of parmegianno regiano, some olive oil and pepper.

This is dinner and we like it this way.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Mallorcan Orange & Lemon Cake

When I first arrived here, hubby had his habit of buying me yellow or orange flowers.  I was more into pastel then you see, so I told him NO yellow or orange flower or things for me please.  He got the message and from then on, he only gave me pink, blue, purple and white/green flowers or any other colour except for yellow.  Orange was also another colour which I am not so fond off.  I find them too striking and garish, and it feels as thought the sun is constantly on my face which I detest before I came here.  Coming from a country with endless sun, it is inevitatable that I shy away from it. 

But somehow last year, my taste in colour started to change. I started noticing colours like how a child experiment with their box of crayon on their first day at school.  The feeling is great needless to say but I am still tracking carefully with purchases around me.  Temptation to add colour to my wardrobe and living space is there, but I am not all out 100% yet.  With the only exception on food and my flowers.  The more the merrier because after all, it is only temporary feast to the eye.  This morning, I woke up to a mission to create a striking and garish cake. 

The cake base is a simple butter cake with zest from oranges and lemon I brought back from Mallorca.  It tasted exquisitely fragrant and deep.  My luck with cream icing ran out of me again so I resorted to using our last pack of butter to create buttercream.  Texture wise, love it because it is sturdier but tastewise - it is super rich and I´m not so fond of it.  The saving grace are the orange slices on top which I felt went well with the cake. It did a marvelous job cutting thru the heaviness of the butter cream and cake with its light, refreshing, citrusy taste. 

Taste aside, I thought the cake so sunny and happy, no?

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Spring Read ; The Language of Flower by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Reading bug finally caught up with me past few months.  Not so much as a book a week or so, but a book a forth night or month will do for me.  Something has to stir me, be it boredom, curiosity or nice sunny weather like today.  What more when the book I picked up from Dusseldorf airport last week was about flowers which befits what is outside our home today.

So far, I´m 1/5 through.  I am planning to head to bed early after this blog post too, just to get myself immerge further into the storyline.  When I was visiting my taiwanese friend here yesterday, she happily declared it would be spring starting today.  Her weather forecast machine better be right because I have big plans tomorrow.  Bake a lovely spring cake for afternoon tea tomorrow and perhaps, drag out our fatboy onto the balcony for a little rest & relax.  And oh yeah, this book of course.

Weekend´s here and wishing you a lovely one ...

Wedding Anniversary Dinner @ Elkemann

Back to blogging, yay!  I miss the smell of my pillows at home, I miss my kitchen, I miss my sofa .. heck, I even miss the sigh of my wilted daffodils waiting for me patiently to water her.  The comfort of own home, something connected, familiar, reassuringly contented with although I have been pampered from head to toe last weekend in an amazing hotel.  Silly right, but yes, I am a routine creature with deep connection with familiarities.

Today, I wanna share you our dining experience in Elkemann which happen to be the restaurant we held our wedding dinner on 3 years ago.  How time flies, and I still do feel like we are in honeymoon phase honestly so I guess its a good thing.  Elkemann btw, is a new venue and concept after they moved away from Ahaus Schloss Restaurant.  It is such a pity they had to move because the venue we held our wedding dinner at is on the ground of a very old castle and just being there makes it more romantic and nostalgic.  The new location is more business oriented.  Good thing is food is just as fabulous, however not as `fine dining style`as before but instead more homely and heartier.  More German so to speak.

The restaurant is 5km away from our home so we took a nice leisurely drive there that evening.  It is a business hotel so it was  not surprising to spot lonely diner having their dinner with newspaper or a book in hand.  We were the only couple, partly due to it being a weekday and hooray, we were treated to a complimentary and super yummy rosti on the house.  Not your typical rosti but with filling of meat within. Love this so much.

Hub ordered his portion of Gourmet Steak of Pork steak with mushrooms and onions, Hollandaise sauce served with chips and salad.  At € 14.80, his plate looks good, portions huge (as anticipated) but not so hearty looking as mine.  I was tempted to nick some off his plate but alas, was reminded that its a big no-no, moreless on this special occassion where I wanna behave in public eye :-)

It baffles me why I order pork dishes whenever I dine in a German restaurant. The selection here is pretty good, ranging from fish, seafood, poultry to red meat but I chose pork again.  Hearty and bursting over the seam portion in the form of Country house pan.  There´s 2 chunky pork medallions inside served on a ragout of wild mushrooms with green beans, roasted potatoes and ham, AND topped with scrambled eggs.  How heavy is that, and at € 17.60 ... its not too bad a price considering the portion and quality.

Under normal circumstances, we will stop at just the main course itself.  But since its our wedding anniversary, we wanted a sweet ending.  Our orders of Vanilla Ice Cream and Wild Berry sauce surely sound boring, but it tasted so good.  When food is well made, then its worth exploring the mundane outlook.

So this is it.  Our wedding anniversary dinner here.  Cozy and simple.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

My Super Bushy Christrose Plant

It is no secret that I love flowers. A new love I acquired when I arrive here and never would I have thought that I would be so into it.  I would gather any opportunity to drop by any garden centre or flower shop just to peek around what´s new in the market or what new ideas can I derive to decorate them with. Sad to say, I am not so good at it yet so I am  still learning the ropes of flower arrangement by myself and at one point, I was so into it that I actually suggested to hubby that I might wanna consider taking up a course in flower arrangement.  Since I love flowers and decorating with them, I thought of doing an ausbildung in it. It would probably be easier for me to get a job in this line too versus my marketing background and yeah, in Germany, you need paper qualification of that particular interest for that job (which in my opinion is a very rigid system, and I was told it only happens in Germany and Austria) but yeah, I did think that over at one point - until something came up and it remains only a hobby.  I shall reveal what is the something when the time is right yeah so at the moment, lets talk flowers!

I was at Behrent, our local flower centre with great discounted plants and look what I found?!

A bushy Christrose plant with 40 over blooms!

This Christrose is SPECIAL.  I will tell you why.  This is the only `decent`looking flower that would pop up to greet you during cold winter nights of -15C year after year.  How amazing is that? Imagine buckets of snow covering your garden with still whiteness and HELLOOOO ... this cutey pie perks out to wish you a good day :-) I have been searching for a beautiful bush like these for many years now and alas, found them and to make you envy me more - I paid 7 Euro for it only :-)

Once the cold dissappears, the flowers will turn purplish green then fall off.  But the plant remains green and leaves all intact for the rest of the year so yeah, I´m totally sold on this one!

If you´re a follower of my blog, you would notice how much I love peonies.  Last year, Tante Anna came bearing them as gifts but sad to say, it last about a week and that´s it.  I planted a Sarah Bernhardt last year however, its not looking good at all with the stem appearing brown and weak so, here´s another two more to add to my collection just incase my current Sarah Bernhardt die on me. So here´s to another Sarah Bernhardt and Karl Rosenfield!

Today´s our 3rd wedding anniversary! Mama Else summon me downstairs for some bubbly this morning and handed me these :-)

Alles gutes ja meine mädchen ...she said :-) 

She still calls me little girl ... hehe

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Spring Feast with Flowers & High Tea

I´m back from Malaysia, in one piece and with no change to my travel schedule after Frankfurt airport groundstaff decided to stage a massive strike that went on forever.  Luck was really on my side.  The very weekend I came home was the only weekend they decided to stop the strike, and as I am typing this, the demonstation has even gone another notch bigger and has now spreaded to Berlin.  I hope it stops there and not to other airports (especially Dusseldorf) because this weekend, I will be flying off again but with hubby this time for his official first holiday for this year. 

We have been blessed with pretty mild temperature this time.  No minus 15C, phew!  Spring is officially here too with 16C of gorgeousness just two days ago. It is lovely letting the fresh air into the house versus inhaling the stale, dry air from the heater, so yeah ... the first thing I do when I spot Mr. Sunny as of late is welcome it with both my arms strenched open. Happiness.

Due to our impending trip this weekend, hubby dutifully brought our small luggage bag down from our attic.  It is not often seeing me climb up the attic because the space is a mess.  Under normal circumstance, I would not think twice over clearing up a space but, this is a space filled with 100 years old sentimental item left to hubby.  Access to the attic is pretty challenging too. The only way to get up is by pulling the handle of the staircase down and one has to be at least a six footer to do it so yeah, hubby is the only one able to do so.  But today,  while searching for a standard pot to place my recent flower plant purchase, I spotted a gorgeous cocktail bowl.  Isn´t it lovely?  An idea suddenly sprang to mind and I quickly got my hands dirty with soil, flowers and all.  What do you think?  Pass?

Spring is in the air and I am getting more and more excited!  I went into full force of getting the house prepped up to welcome spring after recovering from jetlag.  The windows are now spanking clean.  I love it when its blink-blink, it is as though the nature from outside has come right into our living space and it relaxes me.  The winter decorations are already packed up into their respective boxes and since Easter is around the corner, out comes the `hase`aka rabbit.  The branches I use to decorate the bedroom´s vases are now being replaced by a large bunch of Hydrangea.  It is sitting pretty over there and I could not be more please with the splash of colour at this corner.

I was in the mood to bake too.  Its about time because they say, whatever machine you have in your house - run it on interval or they might die off. Nah.  It is just an excuse for me.  I was craving for some french dessert.  A friend of mine living near Paris was so kind to tantalise me with her Mont Blanc recipe (hehe you know who you are, anyway for the record - she makes the best french dessert ever and grows the most gorgeous roses I´ve ever seen).  Tabik and respect ... Looks really good but I shall save that for another weekend once I am back from our trip. 

Yesterday was one of those Saturday morning where I wanted to do many things at one go and I had to be realistic to keep each of them as simple and short as possible.  So, simple french lemon cake and store bought brötchen with cheese and ham will do for our afternoon High Tea - my way.  With a copy of my favourite magazine, lovely weather, my lavazza cuppa and beautiful blooms around ....I could not have asked for more.

Spring is here .... :-)