Sunday, 29 April 2012

German Meal Before and After my Amsterdam Trip

Hubby made these on the 20th April, the day before I leaved for Amsterdam to meet up with my cousin Michelle and her husband Chu & my schoolbuddy, May - on a back to back meet-up.

After seven days of touring around Amsterdam, chatting and catching up, I was beat.  Hubby voluntered to prepare me a yummy dinner on the 26th evening.

I think he deserve a bigggg kiss from me :-)

Glass House or Green House is Almost Up!

Picture says it all.  But it needs a door still together with some racking system within.  That aside, I can say its getting there and soon, all our tomatoes will soon move into their new home. 

There is one more thing I am waiting patiently for and its my roses.  As of this week, we have a total of 3 David Austin roses in our garden already in addition to Palais Biron, Henri Matisse and Maria Theresa ...

They are looking really healthy - their foliage says it all.  Bushy, green and well formed - so I´m really excited about this one ... :-)

Till then, short one today ... lots of do in the house after being away to Amsterdam whole of last week!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Eat Colour, See Colour while listening to Tiziano when its GREY outside

(please excuse my grammatic error!)

I´ve been feeling super sluggish lately with a long to-do-list to complete.  The weather´s not helping either and I´m dying here waiting for the real spring to arrive.  Why is with this coldness and windy, and some parts of Europe snowing in mid April?  Craziness isn´t it?   Just last week, I was advising my friend and a cousin whom I will be meeting up this weekend not to bother bringing any thick jacket. I had to email them back this week to quickly slot one into their luggage bag.  Bummer.  With all this gloominess from outside, I was thinking colourful food for dinner this afternoon.  Coincidently, hubby came home and suggested salad!  Hallelujah .. it is amazing when two minds think alike.

Colours ... it makes one happy just by looking at it.  Nutritionist advise one to eat variety coloured food for a good balance diet.  But for me, it is the lightness, sweetness, crunchiness, healthiness and guilt-free feeling it gives that makes me want it.  I´ve eaten great salads and I can say, salads ain´t boring at all.  I love experimenting with texture, flavour and new oil to give it some deph and to me, it is like theraphy at times.  Tonight, we had them drizzled with Mallorcan Almond Oil and Spanish Olive Oil. Love it.

Herés our new flower bed for our window boxes.  If you remember well, we ran out of luck last year with all our window box flowers.  We got them replanted THREE times last spring/summer due to some bug invasion and some just died on us.  Very frustrating because imagine replanting on all 16 windows around our house and replacing all the soils as well.  It was not just the amount of work involve, it cost us quite a bit too.  But, it is all good now.  We decided to seed them from scratch last autumn instead of buying baby plants, and it survived last winter till what you see now ... We are keeping our fingers cross these will survive at least till end of summer.  Otherwise I´m gonna start planting plastic flower from then on!

Tiziono Ferro! I´ve been a fan since I first heard him on Singapore Airline way back in year 2000 during my first trip to Paris.  He had been my idol since.  He composes, writes, sings, dance and everything else .. super talented guy with very little exposure outside Italy and me not understanding a single word he said BUT its okay! He´s that good!  I´m glad I spotted a compilation album of 4 disc priced as 1.  I´m a happy camper :-)

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Mini Keukenhof in our Garden, 2012

Facebook is currently down for maintenance so I´m taking time off to load some photos which I took today from the garden.  As how mama calls it - this is our Mini Keukenhof :-)

Took this right after it rained.  Something essential in any garden so these babies could grow, grow and grow more.  Our red tulips are at its peak  now but soon, it will wither.  The double fold ones are just about starting to come out, so as Allium - one of my favourite of which after that, followed by summer blooms!

Exciting times ahead :-)

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Easter Means Its Spring, Officially ...

Happy EASTER!!!

This is a scheduled post which I´d prepared yesterday evening.  Works great when one wants to greet the world (Hello everyone back in KL!) and has thousand and one thing to do on the day itself.  I´ve got a back to back date with mum.  We will spent some time having coffee and cakes (I will show you what I bake soon!) follow by dinner which she voluntered to organise.  Nothing fancy but stuff that usually hubby does not fancy and we both (mum and I) does.

We decided to keep things simple in the house.  Actually it is more like, I´d prefer them simple around the house.  No DIY projects or massive flower decoration with bunnies and eggs like how everyone does here, except these three little bunnies I found in Tschibo last week at 2.00 euro per set. Ain´t they cute?! :-) 

With some branches & flowers from the garden, I got them arranged informally before hanging a few eggs on it.  This is it, it is what greets us at the staircase infront of the house.

I´m gonna surprise my MIL with all these yummy treats.  Spring edition Ritter Sports, Lindt´s Easter Chocolate Eggs, Kinder´s Euro 2012 edition chocolate sticks and jelly beans.  We are going to spent coffee time together with my rendition of Bunny Bun with pouch full of Easter Eggs (that would be an interesting one!) and Coffee Gugelhupf Cake.  Dinner will be another treat.

I will take photos, as usual :-)

My Grandma´s Fish Maw Soup & Shanghainese Saoro for Good Friday

Hubby is away sailing with his buddies and his brother somewhere at the North Sea since last Thursday.  He got pretty excited over this trip just before leaving - huge grin on his face and like a kid in a candy store!  All is because he missed out his sailing trip last year due to bad weather, and the sail ship this time round it seems is something to behold.  It is apparently not just old, but its large too.  I just hope he is careful this time.  The last he sailed, he came back with bruises all over due to knocks when the weather gets rough, ,windy and rainy.  He was also asked by the captain then to set up the sail on the pole on xxx feet of height! I was imagining one of Captain Jack Sparrow´s scene in my head when he told me that.  So yeah, I politely declined several times when he asked me to join him.  Dun think I will ever be ready for such adventure. 

The house is quiet, needless to say.  Although my hubby is generally an easy go lucky kinda person to be with, he likes searching for things to do in the house.  Particularly so now, when spring is here and everyone seems to be getting into action. I like doing housework but lets just say I am more efficient when he is not around.

It had been a while since I last had chinese soup.  Not entirely my Grandma´s recipe since I missed bringing Dried Sea Cucumber here early this year, and the inavailability of fishballs in my freezer, I thought they taste great nevertheless.

A lot of Christians are fasting due to Good Friday.  But we are all moderates in our household, for many generations it seems according to my hubby.  So eating meat on Good Friday is okay.  I tried out Hunger Hunger´s Shanghainese Saoro recipe!  It is delicioussss, sort of reminds me of charsiew really but these are braised.  Her recipe calls for rock sugar which I don´t have.  A friend of mind, DH South Lake whom knows Terri personally also told me it is a sweet dish.  Hearing that, I´d halve the sugar content and it was a good choice indeed. 

I think I will make this for next Chinese New Year in KL!

Friday, 6 April 2012

First Attempt in Baking Orange Chiffon Cake, and I Made It!

The recipe calls for 7 egg yolks and 9 egg whites.  Sounds scary isn´t it and makes me wonder how the road side vendor back in Malaysia makes a profit selling these cakes at such low prices!  Anyway, it is one of those cakes which I´ve heard countless horror stories about.  Not so easy to make, it will crack, it will sink etc etc and that was the main reason why I´d shy away.

But when Cherry from this site mention an IDIOT PROOF recipe, its time to put on the apron!

My only regret, should have brought a chiffon cake mould back from my recent trip home.  This guggelhoft baking tray is way to small.  The cake anyway tasted fantastic and had the texture of chiffon cake as promised.  I am pleased.

I got Nominated for The Versatile Blogger Award!

But first, I must apologize to the two dear sisters whom nominated me because it surely took me MONTHS to write about them here.  Infact I´d totally  forgotten about it until I saw one of the sister´s post on another nomination and I felt really bad not doing anything about it.

Thanks DH Paris and DH Almere for the nomination!  I am truly honourd because coming from both of you who clearly are much much more versatile than I am.  Believe me, hop over to their site to see what amazing thing they do! 

So here goes, as any award goes, there are rules.  I call it meme sometimes because they are mostly about oneself and meme does just that. 

The rule of nominations are :

* I have to tell 7 things about myself
* pass on the award to 7 other great bloggers.
* Nominees have to thank and link back to the person who gave you the award

And the 7 things about myself are (bear with me) ;

1) I am a housewive - it is a full time job from cleaning, tidying, shopping, planning, communicating, everything!  There is no border and no fix hours.
2) I love photography, cooking & experimenting, travelling and gardening BUT I hate editing photos, washing up the pots or dishes, taking flight and watering plants (in that order, yes!)
3) I seem to have big problem stiffing up cream.  Even till now.  I have tried chilling the cream, adding substance to solidify it, adding sugar gradually, using slower speed at beginning stage of beating BUT it has all failed.  It is a mystery to me, STILL.
4) I would one day love to get myself enrolled into Le Cordon Bleu and a good photography course. That would be my dream.  I would love to also learn more about gardening and flower arrangement.  If I were to enter workforce again, this area would give me much pleasure.  My other dream is to own and run a B&B.
5) Five ... urg, what else about myself.  Hmmm .... Do I prefer staying in Europe?! A lot of my friends back home in Malaysia (my sister included) asked if I prefer Germany or Malaysia.  That is a tough one.  I love Malaysia because of friends and family, and FOOD.  The rest aspect of life, Germany it is.
6) I love collecting things.  Some things I collect are piggy banks, thomas sabo charms, chinaware, travel magnets, shoes, hangbags and cookbooks.
7) My husband does not understand why I can´t tie my shoelace well or getting my winter jackets zipper up smoothly.  Hehe, me too.

So now comes the exciting part which is tagging 7 person BUT I will skip this.  I must admit that I am very very BAD with keeping in touch, or minggling in blogsphere so tagging them out of the blue would be too weird.  But do feel free to join in if you wish! Have fun!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Summer Seeds and Bulbs 2012

Our spring garden is almost ready for full display. The blue muscari´s been blooming since a month ago at the edges of both side of our garden plot. The tulips are now beginning to show its force although painfully slow. Blame it on the return of cold temperate since last week. Some of the tulips I was hoping to catch a glimpse was laying idle, hidden between the new leaf. Arg. If only there´s such a thing call flower steroid, of is there? At one point, I thought I´d destroyed some of my beloved double fold Chinatown Tulips because I separate them last autumn hoping I would double them) and am left without any Chinatown Tulips this year BUT I saw some sprouting out just now. Hooray! There are also some white and green ones which I can´t remember its name and this is the reason why I am putting up this post, to put my inventory list here - which I missed out last Autumn with my new bulb collection.

So here it is ...

I got a packet of Summer Edible Flower Seeds which I plan to serve in cubes as shown. Such a neat idea isn´t it?  I also bought two packets of Gladiolus or Sword Lily as how its called sometimes.  My MIL advised me to get them soaked in water for a couple of hours before planting them to speed up its growing process.  Great tip!

I wanted to try out Freesia too, to see how easy it would grow.  The thing about growing from bulb or seed, it might not gurantee results end of the day.  But feeling adventurous and optimistic, I will give it a go at least once.

I was admiring some of DH´friend´s Dahlia when they posted its photo on facebook.  They say, Facebook is a great place to show-off, haha. I could not agree more.  This year, I hope to show-off back in return :-)

DH Hamburg actually gave me some Lupine seeds last year after me going go-go-ga-ga over hers. I think I must have taken the planting process to seriously because I actually planted the seed inside the ground although she literarily said - just throw them on the ground and it would grow by itself.  I love Lupine so much especially the colourful range so I will give this a go!

Gonna plant some mint too because I love mojito and Vietnamese Cold Roll!

Somewhere last week, I decided to give vegetable seeding one more go.  I had a few packets of seed, still unopen and am pretty sure its something I can´t get here, or at least not in this small town I am staying so ...

Hey! It is starting to come out from the soil!  Well sort off, except for the thai basil which I reckon would take longer than usual.

Today, I learned the name of this bush next to our StrandKorp (Beach Seatee or something liddat).  It is yellow in colour, has a japanese something something as its scientific name but in German, its called ranunkelstrauch.  There you go :-)  I had placed this small bundle on the breakfast table seeing its such a happy looking bunch, along with Daffodils and Apple Blossom which I hope would bloom soon.

And right next to that small vase is Moca, a cute little schnauzer toy pet which reminds me so much of the dog I use to play with back home in Malaysia :-) He is a real sweetie.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Cron & Lanz Baumküchen in one of Germany´s Best Konditorei & Cafe

I wanted to blog about so many things as off late, but believe it or not it is cold again like it did back in February and I am not in the mood for anything at all.  Funny how much it affects me and how I talk about weather nowadays; with my hubby, my MIL, my friends and whoever around me, and sometimes the two Wellenseite too which I find amusing because I use to bark at the idea of how the English across the channel does that - and now me.  But naja, as how the German says it, it can happen.  Last weekend, we decided to make a trip to Germany´s Fairy Tale route to visit a couple friend.  I did not know they actually live in that area and it was only upon admiring the lushness landscape and architecture that hubby broke the ice and said, well, this is it.  The land where the famous childhood fairytale were once whispered from generations to generations, grandparents to their grandchildren or parents to their kids.  It is a wonderful area, so much to tell but sad to say, what I know is a bit too premature to share simple because we only had less than 36 hours there.  Covering a mass length of 600km, me and my hubby made a pact to come back again to visit these wonderful places.  I guess that also means that we have enough time to freshen up our memory on Brother Grimm´s tales.

Back to the header of this blog entry, I wanna share with you a little gem right in the middle of this route.  Located in Gottingen where Brother Grimm compiled his work, sits a well known cafe call Cron & Lanz.  They are famous alright and are reputed to be one of the finest of its kind in North Germany.  People from all over come here not just for their tantalising looking chocolates, sweets or biscuits, but also their Baumkuchen which I believe is a specialty unique to Germany or German speaking country including Switzerland and Austria.  It sorta reminds me of Indonesia´´s layered cake with the layer evidence, but I have witness them in several program that baking these were entirely different from Indonesia´s Layered Cake.  Baumkuchen, with Baum referring to Tree got its name from the usage of wood material used in the baking process.  It uses a long log held together both ends by some support over an open fire alongside the log.  The batter is then poured layered upon layer whilst the log is being rotated over the fire in the middle until it is cooked before another layer is added.  Pretty interesting if you ask me.

Cron & Lanz has a few variation of the Baumkuchen.  Some came with hazelnut filling, some with praline and so on.  We three; me, hubby and Jürgen ordered the exact same Baumkuchen seeing it sounded divine from the menu card.   True enough, the mild flavour with light spice got the thumbs up from all of us.  The cake texture itself was soft too unlike those we´ve tried in few other places.  So I´d say, don´t miss this if you happen to be in Gottingen!