Everyday Recipes

The Part of My Becoming

There is a certain part of all of us that lives outside of time
– Milan Kundera

I forgot how therapeutic cooking is. Chopping, pounding, stirring, tossing.. the perfect mindless activity while I self-doubt my parenting method. Let him be. No, he doesn’t understand yet. Let him cry a little. 30 mins is not a little! Besides, he’ll outlast you. Ahh, the never ending argument. Our little guy is headstrong. When he wants something, he will fight for it till he gets it. And when we finally give in, he will let you know he wasn’t happy that you did not just succumb since the beginning. Daddy’s attempt to show who the boss is met with equal fervor. And daddy’s is not winning…

Lentil & Brussel Sprouts Salad 2

Brussel sprouts are a vegetable that only now I taste and discover. Its bad rep goes for a mile, H doesn’t really like them. Then in my attempt to convert him, I bought a kilo of it. One you-must-be-joking kilo of brussel sprouts. Hey, I bought 200 grams of it (about 10) and ate in one sitting. So I figured one kilo between the two of us is possible. Until H informed me that he’s gonna be away for a week. How convenient.

Anyway, this is a recipe from Happy Yolks that I barely modify. I found the salad to be delicious and filling. I would certainly make this again when H is back home. The only thing I would do differently is probably cut the pears thicker. Comice Pears are in season and they are really delicious. When I cut them thinly like I did here, the sweet juicy taste is overshadowed by the dressing, which is a shame. That or add them to the bowl last. (more…)

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We Are In Denial

There is something about mi-saison. The strong gust of wind and the constantly wet pavement. The dead leaves engulfing the road, making a loud cracking noise with every step we take. They stick to the pram’s wheel, and every now and then, we stop to remove the dead leaf. And yet we refuse to swap our light clothes for something thicker, hoping, praying for one last warm breeze. Just one more sunny day, that’s what we say. One more. And so we brace the cold, the wind and the rain, insisting of going to the park, taking long excursions, telling ourselves to enjoy it while it lasts. _1090054

But there is something warm about chilly weather, one that make you cocoon each other. Even the little guy is contented sitting on my lap, flipping Meg et Mog. As for me, it makes me think about hot chocolate, bubbly champagne, fresh oysters and warm apple crumble.

Truth is, when it comes to fruits, apple is as easy as you can get. It’s available all year round. There is one for every taste bud. Soft, crunchy, grainy, juicy, sweet and acidic. Tart, compote, fresh, cooked, baked. And yet, it is only during colder months that I yearn for a warm apple crumble.
Multi Layered Apple Crumble

Multi Layer Apple Crumble 2

Truly I prefer the warmer months, but I look forward to seeing mini eskimos in the playground. They are a sighting. (more…)

Baking With My Baby

The apartment suddenly feels so big, too big, now that we’re back to three. In between of taking care of the little guy and manning the home, I crave for adult interactions. I miss hanging out. So this morning, I had Eve over for coffee and a little chit chat. It’s SO nice to talk about nothing.

So yesterday I made the easiest ever yoghurt cake. Or coffee cake. Or 1-in-a-bowl cake. Or more like 1-arm cake, if you have a bowl with rubber bottom, so it doesn’t move while you whisk. We, mothers to young uns, need to be creative. Like playing hide-and-seek while you make cakes. This is so not what I imagine. Maybe I will start a new category for “Mom who has no time” kind of recipes. Or “Baking with my 5-month old baby”..

Easiest Yoghurt Cake

Anyway, here’s a recipe to easiest and moist yogurt cake. The cleanest too! All you need is one yogurt pot as measurement. (more…)

Watching The Moon

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.

― A.A. Milne

Ham & Cheese French Toast 02
Ham & Cheese French Toast 03Ham & Cheese French Toast 04

It feels like we are back in time, back to when we were dating. When we were constantly separated by time, by continent and sea. Just before my world went to sleep, I stayed up and waited for you. Praying the internet would work this time and I would not get frustrated that I couldn’t hear every other word you say. What is a second or few? That was how long it took for me to hear you and vice versa. Do you remember, one day you tried to console me about our separation by looking at the moon? You said we would be together by the next full moon. I always had to stretch my head and look for it amidst the skyscrapers, while you could easily see one whenever you step out of your cabin. Two years and 20 hour flight later, I stepped out of the duane and finally.. finally you became a constant sight.

So whenever we are separated, I watch the moon. And I know, by new moon, you will be home. With me, with us.

Be safe, my love.

(more…)

And In That Moment, We Were Infinite

Tofu & Tempeh Salad with Peanut Sauce 01
Peanut Sauce 02Tofu Tempeh Salad 4Tofu Tempeh Salad 5Tofu Tempeh Salad 7

I’ve been religiously following a documentary called Baby Boom, showing what happens in the largest maternity ward in Ile-de-France (where Paris is located), who counts 4,200 births every year or over 10 babies every day. 50 cameras are installed all over the hospital recording the midwives, couples’ journey from their arrival at the hospital until birth of their baby, including interviews with parents-to-be and occasionally, their families. I love the show so much, not only because it is insightful on how my delivery is going to be but also because I understand that every birth, every baby is special. I get that now. Everyone has their own story and the producers/editors of this documentary are able to capture the deeper side of each story, eg. how much more sensible the midwives are towards 16-yo mother-to-be, the different futur papa (those who can’t stop smoking, those who talk to the baby in the belly to come out, come out and play, those are more anxious than their partners, etc). At times the stories are funny (dad fainting as soon as baby laid on the mom’s chest, dad eating pizza in the birth room while mom struggles with contraction), at times heart wrenching (baby not breathing, new parents praying together after delivery). It’s a wonderful documentary and according to my spanish friend, similar program exists in Spain. So if you get a chance to see one, I’d recommend watching it.

Anyway, here’s a simple salad that I like to treat myself to. Made simpler by the ready made peanut sauce. The Indonesian Embassy in Paris has a canteen/mini mart that’s open to public, so you can go there to have lunch or just stock on ingredients like this peanut sauce, tempeh, candlenuts, sweet soy sauce, sambal ABC, Indomie etc. This is a big portion of salad for one, good to make when you want to clean out your fridge.

P.s. The prawn crakers is a must. You have not lived until you eat prawn crakers dipped in peanut sauce. (more…)

Make It Good

Air pollution in Paris : Eiffel tower through a haze of pollution in Paris

Photo source: AFP, via Le Monde

The past few weeks, Paris has seen very sunny winter: weather hitting 19-20 C during the day while it dipped to 3-5 C in the coldest mornings. We were overjoyed, obviously. We started to ditch the heavy cloaks, queuing for ice creams & sorbets during the day. The parks were full of people strolling and picnicking. It was the mildest winter, no snow to date and we were happy. We had enough of the cold weather. Then the smog happens. The Tour Eiffel disappeared. All public transports were free for 3 days. And today, only odd plate number vehicules can roam within Paris & its immediate surrounding.

Having lived the Indonesian forest fire and been to Shanghai on numerous occasions, there’s no comparison or reason to complain. The current pollution is bad, but it is still below their levels.

On the good side of things, I have been enjoying what the doctor calls high metabolism rate. Every girl’s dream: to be able to eat everything without putting on weight. I can see the finish line, starting to get the hospital bag ready and washing the tiny clothes. Ready or not, this little baby is coming! The only damper in my mood is the nightly leg cramps.
Baked Chicken Curry Puff 3
Curry Puff filling
Anyway, here’s one of my favorite snack, curry puffs : the cousin of samosa. Sometimes I also add boiled eggs. I usually make the dough myself, but this time round I use the ready made puff pastry. You can fry them or bake them, they are equally good. (more…)

I Dreamt of You. And Now You’re Here.

Few weeks ago, H & I tried an Italian restaurant that’s constantly packed with people. I’m curious because their menu isn’t particularly interesting (inviting comfort food, probably.. but original? not really). However I like how deceptively inviting their deco is. Fresh herbs in pots as center pieces for every table, yellow warm lights, floor to ceiling windows on all sides perfect to sky-gazing or people-watching, low benches as well as high tables. So we gave it a shot.

Fettuccine with Ginger Lemon Confit & Salmon

Long story short: the food was decent but it’s unlikely that we’ll return. It’s not a place that one lingers (solo, probably.. but not for double dates and especially not with children). However, I did come home with a recipe of some sort of the pasta I had. This is it. My new found love. A really good change from the usual pasta dish: light yet bursting with flavors.

You can make your own lemon confit (or what I call cured lemon). Stuff the lemons with salt and keep away for weeks or months. But in any good supermarket in France, you can find it in the Middle Eastern/North African section (not as firm as the one I had in the said restaurant, so maybe gourmet supermarket would be better). The pâte can be found under Regional produce section.

Citron Confit & Pate
Fettuccine with Ginger Lemon Confit & Salmon 2
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