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…)


When It Rains Non-Stop

Do you know that you can make a fresh pasta dough with KitchenAid in 5 mins flat?  I kid you not. Flour, eggs and if needed, a little water (if dough is too dry) or more flour (too wet), that’s it. The machine does all the kneading. How come I only know about it, like, now??? I was so ready to get my hands dirty, but hey, had I known it’s this simple, I would have made one sooner! Btw, Jamie Oliver does one with food processor, you can watch it here.

KitchenAid Pasta
Don’t worry about les grumeaux, i.e. the lumps, they will disappear as soon as you pass them through the pasta attachment. But it helps if you use the finer flour possible. I used Type 45, under MasterChef brand. Ha!

Fresh Pasta Dough
Homemade Lasagna
Voila. Boil them in a pot of hot water before using.
Lasagna a la napoletanaLasagna a la napoletana 2 Lasagna a la napoletana 3


A Woman of Her Own

Times Haiku

This year’s Eid, I don’t know why I kept on thinking about my maternal grandmother. She usually made ketupat (rice cake in woven palm leaves), chicken curry, mutton curry, sayur lodeh and few other side dishes like sambal telur goreng (spicy deep fried egg) to celebrate the day. Occasionally she would send them by courier to us in Jakarta while other times she would come to visit us. She never wanted to leave her home, deep in Sumatra island, even when she needed to be taken care of. She was always an independent woman, one who wore a bright red lipstick. I used to savor her lipstick mark on my cheeks until my mom reached over and rubbed it off.

I got a lipstick mark, I was kissed, I was loved and nothing else matters.

When she was still alive, she never could stay still. She would wake up at 4am to run (even when her knees couldn’t support her anymore). She drove a boxy 4WD Daihatsu Taft when a woman driving a car was unheard of. She had a pretty successful restaurant and later a hair salon during the time men still expect women to stay at home. Many said she was a sharp business woman, but her business acumen never was passed down to the following generations. It wasn’t up till the morning of my wedding day, I was clued in to the “family secret”. That she was a mother and a grandmother to us in every sense of the word, except in DNA. Quelle horreur! Imagine the kind of scandal this was back in 1950s.

Yeah, that’s my mama. A woman of her own.

So, in memory of my beloved grandmother, the one who always told me to study hard, to go further, who left her small town to check out my university, and who always cooked all our favorites whenever we visited her, here’s Lontong with Sayur Lodeh and Sambal Telur Goreng. I miss you mama, selamat Idul Fitri!

Sayur Lodeh
Sambal Telur Goreng
Telur Goreng LontongLontong Sayur Lodeh Telur Goreng


When One Knew What One Wanted

The nicest thing for a foodie living in Singapore is the ability to eat all sorts of cuisine, without needing to enter the kitchen nor breaking the bank. One could have Thai for lunch then a sumptuous burger for dinner. Then the next day, Swedish for lunch and Moroccan for dinner. My social life was built over food and trying different kind of cuisines. There is this small Moroccan cafe along Arab Street that I used to frequent at least once a month. I don’t remember how many friends, visitors & colleagues I have brought there. It was also a place where I used to bring H when he was in town.

Beef Vegetable Tagine

I was rather disappointed for not returning to this place when we were in town last May. I have been craving for a Tagine for a long time but only now I get to appease the cravings. It is not difficult at all to cook, in fact a little like one pot wonder.

It would be nice if I can have the Tajine claypot. Staub and Le Creuset offer them now, but boy oh boy.. step by step.
Couscous Medium
Beef Vegetable Tagine 2


Greater Than The Sum Of Our Parts

Stir Fry Pork Bee Hoon

Cooking Chinese food has not come intuitively for me. There is enormous amount of ingredients just to create the sauce alone. Then there’s also ingredients to marinate the meat. The more I try, the more convinced I am to simply go to a Chinese restaurant. That way I don’t have to deal with disappointments and astronomical amount of pots and pans and plates to wash.

I cannot count how often I’ve made this rice noodle and feel deflated. It is all in the sauce and yet it somehow always eludes me. Finally I nail it down to the most basic ingredients of Chinese sauce: oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar. And after making this 3 times in the past 5 days, I feel ready to end this quest.

The Things We Do

Several friends of mine enjoy scouring the deepest part of Luanda searching for Asian ingredients like tofu, bean sprouts, xiao bai cai, chili padi, shallots, tapioca flour, etc. Several times a month they would get together and make a day trip to the far away Chinese farms, buying things by the kilo. When the location gets too dangerous, a driver or a maid would be sent with the shopping list.

The other day when they were taking orders, I decided to put my own order: bean sprouts and fried tofu. I’m particularly missing my childhood snack.

Tahu Isi Goreng 01
This fried stuffed tofu is an Indonesian snack typically sold by the street vendors. You can always find one such vendor by the school gate. Not the most hygienic nor the healthiest, certainly not the kind of food that children should be spending their pocket money on. But there’s something about defying your parents’ order behind their backs and a bag of hot, deep fried stuffed tofu.

Stuffed tofuTahu Isi Goreng 03
For this one, we use the pre-fried, brown skin, hollow and airy tofu. They often look wrinkled too. But they are excellent for stuffing or when dumped into a bowl of curry, they soak up all the excellent juices. If you can’t find this, firm hard tofu is a good substitute.


Rice Gone Wild

I’ve got some questions for you. Be honest.

Those who own a bundt cake mold, please raise your hand.
Those who use bundt cake mold for making bundt cake only, please raise your hand.
Those who cannot think the last time you make a bundt cake, please also raise your hand.

I raise my hands to all those three questions.

I will also say aye, aye, AH-YE to food that will become a talking point, especially one to bring to events like Bastille or 4th of July or any BBQ hosted by a Texan. The one day where men deem women unfit to be standing behind the BBQ pit. Fine. I will bring crazy-looking food.

(inspired by The Delicious Miss Dahl)
serve 3-4 as main dish, 6-8 as side dish

2 cups of wild rice
4 cups of vegetable broth
½ large courgette, grated
3 large carrots, grated
2-3 tbsp diced bacons
1 medium onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 glass white wine
1/2 cup Grana padano or Parmesan, grated
1 tbsp minced cilantro, to garnish
Shredded chicken breast, optional

  • In a wok or skillet, heat up some oil over medium heat and add in the onions. Cook till turns translucent. Then add the mince garlic and bacon, stir fry awhile till fragrant.
  • In another pot, heat up the broth. The idea is to cook this like how you would cook a risotto.
  • Add the wild rice, courgette and carrots. Stir to coat them with oil. Then add the white wine. Cook till the wine has evaporated, then ladle in the broth little by little.
  • Once the rice is fully cooked, turn off the fire. Dump most of the grated cheese, while keeping aside some for garnishing. Stir and mix well. Add more cheese, if you prefer.
  • Grease the bundt mold, then put in the rice into it. Let the mold sit upside down for about 10-15 mins or leave it till serving time.
  • Turn the mold over your serving plate, carefully loosen the mold and garnish with remaining of the cheese and cilantro.

Add leftover roasted chicken or any meat of your choice, if this is the main dish. Else, go vegetarian. Skip the bacon all together. This is how I fooled my man (any man, to be honest) into eating more veggies.