On my iTunes

The Sound of Stillness

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down on that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
– Rumi
Olive Salsa VerdeOlive Salsa Verde PastaOlive Salsa Verde Pasta 4

Interestingly enough, despite my initial reservation to green olives, I made this twice this week.
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My Idyllic Sunday

I didn’t think much about this song when I first heard it, but when I heard it again for the second time, I became really curious about the timing the drummer when he first entered the song. The drummer was so off tangent from the base rhythm that at for a split second, I felt he was going to ruin it all, until finally the two blended with sinew. Ahh, be still my heart. I don’t know why but these kinds of things irk and fascinate me.

Olive Ham Cheese Cake 4
Anyway, I’m trying to broaden my repertoire a little bit, by using an ingredient that I never use before: green olive. So I decided to make this savory loaf of olive, ham & cheese. I was skeptical initially, because my salt tolerant is pretty low and green olives are way up there in terms of saltiness. I much prefer the black olives, but I haven’t been able to find pitted black olives. I’m pretty sure they exist, just not in my world here. And then the combination of ham (I actually used chorizo) and cheese and the olives – seems like going to be super duper salty.

Olive Ham Cheese Cake 02 Olive Ham Cheese Cake 01
Well, the result is pretty interesting. Yes the olives are too salty for me but the bread/cake can deter a little bit. I think it’s also a good call to use a mild flavor cheese (in my case, Swiss’ tete de moine). One should not be surprised how moist the loaf is given the quantity of oil used, borderline sinful.. but I am extremely pleased with how it turned out. I’m very happy with the batter, almost like a pancake batter fortified with baking powder, that I can easily swap the olives for ingredients that I like, such as .. edamame.

Olive Ham Cheese Cake 7

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Playing For Change

I have been listening to this tune for days and I still can’t get it out of my system. I love the ethnic flavor of the song, the didgeridoo in Australia, the vibrant colours that reminds me of South Africa, the musicians in India and Senegal. I can only imagine the fun jamming together with so many different instruments, what more accompanied by beats by Dr Dre 😉 I agree, the song itself is great, and when Adam Levine jumped to the chorus, it makes a pretty awesome bonus.

Have a great weekend folks and extra cheers for all women out there. Thank you for breaking so many barriers.

Time To Stand Still

These days I wish time would stand still so that I could soak all the perfectness in my life right this second. Not perfect as in dictionary-definition perfect sans glitch or that I have it all. But the mind-heart balance I have right now, like I have no doubt, no fear about tomorrow. It is as if I’m back to my childhood, knowing only the goodness in life exists. This everyday-is-thanksgiving doesn’t happen often, but when it happens, every moment needs to be savoured.

I also suspect I have a hairline crack in my ring finger, as a result of wrestling with H on our sofa. Typing needs to be done slowly. I couldn’t lift up things that require all five fingers. But I want to give it few more days before I visit the nice doctor, just to confirm. Besides, it’s been nice exploiting H’s remorse and guilt. I have bigger ice cream portion, and extra Kit Kat. Ha! Who needs doctor?

Cardamom Yogurt Grill ChickenI don’t feel like cooking recently. Ever since we have our flights confirmed, I have been looking at the calendar every other hour, wishing the snow is waiting for me to arrive. But I made this cardamom yogurt chicken over the weekend, something simple and fuss free. It can be prepped the night before and takes minimum effort. There is no lack of flavor from the spices, and because I’m not supposed to, I poured the juices from the pan onto the rice.

Cardamom Yogurt Chicken 02
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We Celebrate: The Night is For Us

I take my cooking (& food) very personally, especially since I’m still finding my way in the kitchen. But H always tells me not to take it to heart when people ignore my food. “But sayang, they didn’t even try it. It’s different ..” blablabla. “How do you teach your children to eat vegetables then?” blablabla.. You get my drift. This is something that I’m trying to work harder on, not to take offense. Not everybody is born with such abandon to embrace every thing different. Some are more cautius, some have very dead-set definition on what tastes good (my parents are good examples). Besides, everyone can do with a bit more freedom to be themselves, right? They aren’t my clowns.

Anyway, last night I had the opportunity to play with not-your-regular-comfort-food. So I made this deep fried chicken cake.

Thai Chicken Cake 02
I know, this probably sound a little strange to your ears. But Thai food lovers would know when I say Thai Fish Cake (Tod Man Pla), yes? Well, this is the chicken version, Tod Man Kai.

Same method of preparation. Just that I cheated using Thai red curry paste. I know, right? You don’t have to do only chicken or beef thai curry. You can make something like this. It’s fairly easy, just very messy. The slap back and forth, though comforting in a weird way, caused nightmare in my already messy kitchen.

Before you start, turn on your favourite music. I kinda like Emeli Sande these days.

Emeli_Sande_Our_Version_Of_Events_Re-release_Album_cover

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The Accidental Butter

I enjoy cooking, it calms my mind and I didn’t realize until now how much I enjoy working with my hands. Also I do believe the way to H’s heart is through romancing his palate. But I hate washing and cleaning like no other. And worse, I hate cleaning the kitchen after a grand failure.
Accidental Butter
Whip cream is my Achilles heel. I know how easy it is to do, but I frequently overwhip it. One minute it is soft peak, then suddenly it starts to curdle. This morning, it jumped immediately from thickened cream to overwhipped, thanks to the Turbo button. I pray and hope there is a saving grace in overwhipped cream.

Luckily, there is.

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My Go To Pizza Dough

I’m trying out a new pizza dough recipe. I’m pretty pleased with my usual thin pizza dough, but the more I tried Nick Malgieri’s recipes (here, here or here), the more satisfied I am. Like opening the door to a secret garden.

The Italians of course make pizza using Type 00 flour, and many recommends substituting the 00 flour with all purpose flour. Personally, I am more satisfied with my pizza dough when I use bread flour. I find the pizza is chewier, even when it’s a thin pizza. So when I see Nick uses bread flour for his pizza dough, I want to try.

Pizza Collage
No kneading needed, 1 hour waiting time to let the dough rise. It was pretty simple and straight forward. Nick also recommends keeping maximum 4 toppings, before they start cancelling each other and subduing the flavor of the crust.

The price has increased substantially between last week and this week, so I made some wallet-friendly adjustments. I used mozzarella sliced cheese, instead of the real mozzarella. I also used grated provolone in addition to salami and basil.
Pizza collage 2
Pizza Dough ala Nick
This is how the pizza is after 20 mins in the oven. It could have stayed 5 mins longer in the oven, but then it was when I noticed Nick’s instruction: if I bake them in the highest setting possible, it should only take 10 mins. Blah me.

After a slice, H immediately exulted the Italians. “Ohlala mon coeur, the Italians really know how to do a good pizza.” Excuse me??

I agree, this is probably the best pizza dough I’ve made and it isn’t very far from the Italian nonnas. It is easy to make and not a lot of work to be done. This is, now onwards, going to be my go-to pizza dough recipe. I halved the recipe to yield 2 pizza dough. I’m turning the remaining pizza dough into oh-my!-Calzone.

 

THIN CRUSTED PIZZA
(source: Bake! by Nick Malgieri)
makes 1.1 kg dough, enough for four 30cm round pizzas

650 gr bread flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp active dried yeast
480 ml warm water, about 43 C
5 tbsp olive oil, divided

  • Stir the flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
  • Whisk the yeast into the warm water, and whisk in 2 tbsp oil.
  • Use a large rubber spatula to stir the liquid into the flour, continuously scraping the side of the bowl and folding up any unmixed flour from the bottom of the bowl.
  • Once the flour is moistened, repeatedly dig the bottom of the dough and fold over. Repeat several times to make it smoother.
  • Cover the bowl with clingfilm and set aside until double in size, about 1 hour.
  • Scrape the risen flour onto a floured work surface and fold it over on itself several times to make it smoother.
  • Use a dough scraper (I used knife) to divide the dough into equal pieces.
  • Fold the sides of each piece of dough into the centre to round it. Flip the round ball over, so that the smooth sides are on the top. Generously flour each piece and loosely wrap individually in cling film. They can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
  • 20 mins before forming and baking the pizza, preheat oven to your highest temperature setting.
  • Grease the tin (or baking tray) with 2 tbsp oil. Rub the top dough (the smooth part) with the oil and lay it on the baking tray. Using your fingers, stretch the dough to get a 30 cm round pizza or whatever shape you prefer.
  • Spread and scatter your preferred toppings and drizzle with remaining olive oil.
  • Bake the pizza until the topping is bubbling and lightly browned and the bottom is well baked through, about 10 mins.
  • Serve immediately.

Note: only form the pizza when you intend to bake immediately. Otherwise, the waiting period will make the dough rise and yield a thicker crust.

Have a good weekend!