Meatless

Let’s Get Bloomin’

Spring Panzanella - Asparagus, Peas, Radish 03
I am thankful. Looking at the women in my family, I don’t know how I arrive at my pregnant silhouette. 36 weeks and 10 kgs heavier, my weight gain is largely concentrated in my protruding belly. Yeah, okay, my hip, ass and cheeks are widening as well, as my husband likes to pinch them whenever I ask “do you think I ate too much?” So I’m not complaining. But what is getting me is how big my tummy is. It’s driving me CRAAAAAAAAAAZZY. Do you know how difficult it is to save that piece of chocolate on the floor from the 5-second rule??? I couldn’t roll myself off the sofa, I couldn’t tie my shoelace and whenever I thought, yeah I can unplug the phone charger, I realize I can’t even reach the socket with bended knees! How frustrating! Though to be fair, I need to mention the benefit too. The best thing about my belly is that I have a larger body surface to catch food crumbles for after snack that’s kinda nice (H would cover his eyes whenever I have Homer moments like this).

So I really can’t wait to get back in shape. Not shape shape like supermodels quick, but just getting back to my old life where I can climb the stairs without huffing and puffing, where I can get out of my red reading chair, where I can paint my toe nails again without straining any muscles. That and wear some nice clothes too. My clothes, not H’s that don’t even cover my belly.

Asparagus
Garlic Parmesan Croutons 02
Spring Panzanella - Asparagus, Peas, Radish 05
So this morning, I woke up determined to get my body back. I went to the market and spent some good money on fresh vegetables. I huffed and puffed and lugged the bags home. I made this for lunch. Spring is here so let’s get blooming. (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…)

Not Long On The Plate

Fattoush

It has been really hot, at times hitting 35 C. I don’t know how the kids can find the energy to run around and play. I just want to lie down and melt. Even the grass is really warm and so is my picnic mat.  I live near the forest, my complex has lots of big trees, which supposedly make the area cooler than in the city but truthfully? It doesn’t feel any different. It’s just HOT.

So when I come home, I want to eat something cooling, something light, something quick, because I’m fainting. And fattoush has been the answer for me. It is especially nice when I step on the weighing machine too!

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A Utilitarian Meal

Spaghetti garlic cauliflower crumbs herbes de provence3

Have you ever made pasta with garlic breadcrumbs before? Or even Aglio Olio? If you have, then you’d understand how simple this dish is. There are times when I want full, robust flavors but there are times when I just want a simple dish, taking stock of yet another week rapidly coming to an end.

The weather is slowly staying on the 30s, heat wave is announced, rain come and go in a blink of an eye. The mosquitoes aren’t shy to visit either so we’ve been burning citronella on all corners of the apartment. I get woken up from time to time in the middle of the night just because it is so warm. I miss having air-con!

Herbes de Provence

Finally we are settled, I feel settled. For the next 9 months or so. As part of integration process with la vie en France, I had to attend civic course, complete with national anthem, history lesson and learn my rights as a resident and a woman. I had to do a CV in french and attend a professional competence evaluation. Luckily, they left me alone when it comes to french language. And no, it’s not for citizenship. In total, I had 4 certifications that are extremely precious to renew my carte sejour next year.

This weekend would be the first that we don’t need to go out and hunt something for the apartment, which is a relief. And we’re going to celebrate our anniversary too.
Cauliflower Pasta

Anyway, I’ll stop yabbing. Here’s the recipe.. (more…)

Straight Up & Down

Since the transport is “free” these days, provided you have a Navigo card, I am able to roam all over Paris without paying extra. Just hop on and hop off metro, tram, RER and train. So last week, I took advantage of it and went to search the Lebanese epicerieUp till Luanda, I have never eaten any Lebanese food, and even so, I can’t really say I know their food. Good thing is the guy manning the store was rather helpful and walked me through the various ingredients. It was funny because I could tell he hardly cooks and every time I asked how to prepare this and that, he would go off to ask someone else.

Still I came home with several ingredients including sumac and za’atar (which now after reading some articles online, I should be able to make it myself since I have sumac – do not repeat my mistake). So you can expect few Middle Eastern dishes in the coming few days & weeks. First up, a Cyprian cheese that’s popular in the Middle East region.

Pan Fried Halloumi
Pan Fried Halloumi with Spring Onion, Chilli & Pita Bread

This is actually a variation of Nigel Slater’s Feta recipe. I kept it simple since neither H nor I have ever tasted Halloumi before. The cheese tastes like a harder & saltier version of Mozzarella, yet the spring onions, thyme, chilli and the cilantro elevate the simple cheese into quite a dish. I stuffed them in between toasted pita bread and some salad. Another meatless meal, without missing the meat.

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The Heart Knows

Asian Tofu Burger

When I was in Japan May last year, one of the highlight of my trip was eating the Tofu Burger at Freshness Burger, a Japanese fast food chain. Ever since then, nothing taste as good. In my book, there was no comparison. It wasn’t until now where tofu is easily within grasp that I can “re-create” the dish.

I won’t even try claiming this is close to the real deal, because probably it isn’t. But I’ll just say this.. this burger fills the void whenever I look back with fond memory. I don’t have photos to show and tell, but whenever I make this, my heart knows.

Asian Tofu Burger

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The Majesty in Simplicity

Simple Barley Salad

I’m insanely in love with this simple barley salad. Light, crunchy and full of flavors. Perfect for midweek dinner, something that I can prepare in advance. At times I add crumbled feta, sliced chorizo or other protein, but the main ingredients remain the same.

Barley Salad

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