Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Zeit zum Apfelmus Kochen

Jeden Tag hören wir unsere Äpfel aus dem Baum in unserem Garten abfallen.  Die Blätter sind jetz gelb  damit die Äpfel nicht mehr halten kann.  Es ist eine sehr alte Baum.  Meine Schwiegermutter sagt, dass es mehr als 50 Jahre alt ist - älter als mein Mann dafur, wir bekommen eine Menge Äpfeln vom Baum jedes Jahr.  Am Anfang, würde ich Apfelkuchen jede Woche Backen aber jetz, liebe Ich gerne einfach Apfelmus kochen.  Es ist nicht nur lecker, ich finde es praktischer zum stornieren.

Monday, 22 October 2012

St. Pierre Tomato with Maille Moutarde a l'Ancienne au Bourgogne Chardonnay

While in Paris a few weeks ago, I picked up a very rare bottle of Maille Dijon mustard from their flagship store.  It was sold by weight and in old jars like how they did when they first started their business in 1747.  It came in two selection which I can´t remember what the other one was but the one I took was with Chardonnay. Oh yes, anything with alcohol is good with me :-)  Seeing it got a bit warmer here last week, I finally harvested the few french tomatoes leftover from our greenhouse.  The tomatoes are exquisite.  Sweet, firm, fleshy and tasted flavourful and not watery and light like some.  I love it.  I think I´m gonna hunt down the seed again to be reseeded end of this winter.  As for the mustard, it is sourish due to the chardonay added in. I wouldn´t have liked it as much on its own but eaten with the lovely tomatoes, it went really well.

Kochen mit Staub En Cocotte : Bratwürstbier Topf mit Puy Lentils, Mohren & Kartofel

I am so amazed with our cast iron pot that I am seriously considering changing our Fissler pan to a Staub cast iron one.  The flavour cooked inside this pot is simply outstanding and the more I use the pot, the more I am liking the inner coating because it is getting more and more non-stick.  This meal was cooked about two weeks ago but I could still remember every single flavour of each ingredient inside. I particularly love the texture of Puy Lentils too, solid and mouthful even after hours of cooking, something which other lentils can´t do so that was a good surprise.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Bitterballen & Appelgebak @ 't Nieuwe Kafe, Amsterdam

The plan was to bring a dear friend and her mum sighsee a bit in Amsterdam,  but it just won´t stop rizzling. With the miserable weather in the way, we headed straight into a surprisingly huge cafe located at the Dam. Something Dutch for them to taste of course, to snack in between before we adjourne back to the border to call it a weekend.

It was great meeting you H.C! Can´t wait to see you again in few months time!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Serrano Ham Platter & Chicken Curry Soup in Koper Cafe, Zandvoort

Looks can be deceiving. We chose a simple looking bistro located at Kerkplein and expected something mediocre to warm our tummies. It had been rizzling since we arrived.  By any choice, I would have chosen a lovely portion of fried fish by the beach for lunch but my last experience there proven to be a lesson learned.  Not so fresh and expensive. I think I can get way better at our town. So here´s our lunch at Zandvoort on Saturday, an impromptu trip we made in the morning after breakfast, quickly went up to bookings.com, got ourself a lovely, lovely room 1 minute walk away from the beach and we could not be happier.  The next day was the exciting part, but that will be in another post! Stay tune!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Schweinshaxe, Knödel & Deutsche Sekt (Sparkling Wine) im München/Munich

How are you my dear readers? I hope you are all doing well and looking forward to this weekend! As for me, I am down with horrible, horrible cold with heavy chesty cough on top of the fact that I fell from the staircase a week ago - which left me in pain basically but I am thankful I am being taken care well by beloved hubby :-) The thing about getting sick is this, you have plenty of time to do whatever you wish - cook and bake but my sense of smell and taste is gone. And so, I have been keeping things light, soupy and warm - to also coincide with the rainy and cold weather here. My new pot has been put to good use. I use them every single day, sometimes even more than once which is good. Just yesterday, I made myself a big pot of ABC soup (basically it is a chinese style soup but consisting of western ingredients thrown in such as potatoes, onions, tomatoes and carrots), and in the evening, I made another batch of DH France´s Pork and Pear Stew.

So anyway, anyway, we are in holiday planning time again.  Ideally, we would like to be somewhere every year during year end or Silvester as how the locals call it.  It is nice to be home too, but we felt like being away.  A few places cross our mind with London on top of his list (he really, really do loveeeee London) and as for me, I will be thrilled if we can secure any form of reasonably priced accomodation in St. Anton or Lech am Arlberg which is located at the Austrian Alps.  Imagine celebrating New Year in Alps surrounded by white snow and learn how to ski?!  But as it is, I was told that that area is so famous amongst the german speaking countries that one has to book one year in advance!  I´ve loaded past Silvester video celebration of this place before, am totally awed by it so I cannot imagine what its like being there LIVE. 

Will see how it goes, and oh ... we´ve also secured our flight tickets  back to Kuala Lumpur - my beloved home city, in February so that´s double woohoo!

Before I derail further, here´s some pictures I´ve taken when I was in Munich with my sister.  She wanted to try something very local so here it is, the famous Pork Knuckles and Knodel BUT honestly, I think German restaurants in Asia can do it better.  I know, I know ... it is strange that I am saying this but its true.  As much as the pork is very flavourful, I thought the locals here could learn a thing or two on how to make the skin crispier and edible and with that, asians do know how to handle skin well.

Here´s a one pot dish my sister shared with her daughter.  For 6-8 Euro per plate, one gets a lovely table and the restaurant located right behind Marienplatz - a famous tourist spot, I´d say it is not too bad getting a good, warm, generous portion meal even in expensive city like Munich.  How can one compare to eating a cold baguette in Paris´s touristy area?

The apartment we checked into in Munich is fabulous.  It is located in a wonderful part of city centre, right next to the famous Elbe river and has the most amazing amount of space one can imagine wihtout paying a bomb. The apartment owner is an interior decorator so you can imagine our delight when we walk in.  It was also lovely to be greeted with glasses of bubbles the moment we checked in.  This is what I call good service even for a B&B category accomodation.

Perhaps we should return to Munich for Silvester.  It really is a lovely city.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Upside Down Cake with our garden´s apples!

It is apple day in day out here.  Every alternate day, I´ll try do something with the apples that fell off from our 60 year old tree.  Somewhere last week,  I bake an apple upside down cake with 3-4 apples.  How I wish I could use more apples but it would probably be too mushy for consumption.  Yesterday was Apple Crumble Cake baking session, a recipe from DH France and it proved to be as delicious as it looks.  I have not baked my annual Dutch Apple Cake yet but I reckon it would be real soon.  As I am typing now, a pot of 8-10 apples are being turned into Apple Mash in the Staub pot.  them.  It is nice to know that apples can also be enjoyed with potatoes like how the locals do here - so there you go, today´s dinner plan solved.  So, ideas ideas ideas ... any ideas anyone on what else to do with apples?

Monday, 8 October 2012

My Black and Almost 12 inch Toy, THE Staub ...

I hope my title did not raise too much eyebrow :-)

But as it if, it really is black and almost 12 inch long or wide, depending which angle one looks at.  Haha. So yeah, here´s my long awaited Staub, the famous Cast Iron Pot I have been longing for is now sitting pretty on my stove.  What a wonderful sigh!  That very night I received them, I put them straight to good use with DH France´s excellent Pork & Pear recipe.  It got thumbs up not just from hubby and myself, but also from our visiting friend Jürgen and Nina ... it was sooo good.  The meat was soooo tender soft and flavourful, we knew we made the right choice the moment the smell swift through our kitchen midway stewing them.  I´ve always knew that Germany has excellent quality pork but never have I smelled such wonderful pork aroma after all these years of cooking them before!  I am planning to test out few recipes this week.  I do have some concerns though.  As much as Staub is famous for their lid which retains moisture - known as self basting system which also locks in the flavour - what happens if I wanna bake a bread in them?  The famous No-Knead-Bread works really well in a cast iron pot and I´m dying to try them.  I am happy to know that the black enamel interior will become more and more non-stick after prolong using and better still, no stain will appear over time unlike the famous Le Creuset which has a white interior coating - BUT, we shall see.  Hubby was also telling me it is a no-no to use washing liquid on it and don´t even think of putting it in the dishwasher, but the attached instruction says no problem at all.  So yes, time will tell and we shall how good is this Staub.  The other thing I am happy with is, the coating material are resistance to scratches.  Perfect for a klux like me :-)

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Pre-Mooncake Festival Gathering with Malaysian in Europe Friends, 2012

The girls came over to our place two weekends ago.  To get drunk so to speak hahahaha but the alcohol we poured into us just does not seem to work its charm.  Strange.  But there´s plenty of food as usual.  Perhaps we should have kept our stomach empty! :-D
Here´s what we ate.  Imagine all these food spread for less than 8 hours gathering!
This is lunch ... I made Malay Chicken Rice and Hainanese White Chicken.  The kids were served Savoury Cake  and Chicken Nuggets while the adults tugged into taste of home. Hehe.  With a dash of super spicy, super hot chilli sauce brought all the way from Almere.
One of the girls even made these!  It dissapeared as quickly as a tornado storm hit and went to say the least.  I have no idea how it taste like but I bet it is yummy.
Alcohol were applenty as I´ve mentioned.  Here´s PIMMS, a very yummy cocktail made from PIMMS (a liquor from England) then mixed with 7UP, lemon slices, mint leaves and cucumber.  Delicious to the last drop.  A few of us finished it to the last drop wondering when the kick will set it. lol
Sangria was also served.
There were several breaks inbetween to catch our breathe, to loosen our belt a little or exercise our much needed limp instead of just jaw action ... we came back to more food!

One of the girl purposely got her husband to pick up a cake all the way at the border of Germany after disaster strike on the one she baked.    

She picked up more than one. 

One of the girl´s hubby got some mooncake as gifts from Hong Kong if I´m not mistaken and decided to share them with us.  There´s also mooncake purposely brought back from Malaysia.  Then there´s also the self made biscuit which this special occassion is so famous for. It reminded me so much of my childhood, eating them one after another while lighting candles all over the house with both my brother and sister. The biscuit seen here is super yummy. Thanks DH Drachten!

My original plan was to bake another Entremet but time was not on my side. I bought these Donauwelle instead.

DH Dracten came bearing another goodie on this special occassion and that´s Teochew Mooncake and Shanghai Mooncake.  What´s mooncake celebration without proper mooncake isn´t it and what´s more, its homemade all the way in Europe.  Its very good. 

Part 2 to be continued ...

Monday, 1 October 2012

2013 Spring Flower Bed Preparation

It is time of the year again to put on the thinking cap on what we wanna enjoy next spring.  How I wish the bulbs would just sprout out on its own year after year without shrinking its size so yes, there is quite a bit of work to do this time of the year.  Roses had to be trimmed back soon.  Some bulbs which was left unattended has to be digged out unless you don´t mind the possibility of surprises.  But of course, some prefer to plant perennials to lessen the job but to me, what is spring without spring bulbs!

I went a bit overboard this year :-)  Here´s what I bought ...

Plus 100 tulip bulb in assorted colour not featured here.

And something for autumn which I am already stocking up.  I know :-)  The Weihnachtsnarzissen is to be planted now in containers for it to bloom in Winter.  Amazing find I must say in addition to my discovery over Christrose which blooms when it gets really, really cold.

It has been raining quite a lot lately.  Some of our Dahlias are still blooming, so as Maria Theresia rose.  The ones I added to bring in more colour are the Heides (purple ones) and Stiefmutterchen (front row, colourful).  I am not sure how long it will stay but it better not be too long because I need to get the spring bulbs on this bed really soon!

Our apple tree is bearing lots of apples again. Lovely.

And some other autumn plants we have on our balcony.

Its cold and the sky is getting gloomier by the day but I´m glad there are some colours one can bring into our life.