Food update!

Yup, that’s right, I actually forgot all about the new dishes I made while Mum was around…until I whipped out the camera for some lovely Moussaka I made (more about that later).

Anyway, in no apparent order of yumminess, may I present the missing dishes?

Tuna, mushroom & parsley tart Rhubard & strawberry tart Seafood & chorizo paella

Recipes will be up later – right now, Nil is bugging me for a go at the computer. =.=

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Winding up the pink!

The first handspun yarn...

Since I was a little behind on my spinning after a slightly-over-than-five-hour hike and knitting up a wedding gift (which is still a WIP) over the weekend, I thought I’d take this practice handspun yarn that I did last year off the box holding my DPNs.

While I like the colour, I’m not too happy with the texture – it’s too coarse – and overall spin-quality of the yarn – it’s, again, too overspun. I have yet to wash, measure and skein it but something tells me that I’ll most probably use it to knit something small like square coasters or something. We’ll see…

In the meantime, I’m heading towards the last 25 grams of Orange Sherbet and anticipating some fibre goodness (and some Addis) to arrive in the mailbox.

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Moving over to Flickr…

After months of deciding, I finally went pro on Flickr and eventually nuts with organizing my sets and collections. It doesn’t help that I have another entirely separate account for my knitting items and yarn stash; I could take a bit of time moving that to my current account…

As I was moving stuff, I realized that I never shared much of the pics from my travelogue when I was still in Malaysia and moving around Asia. I still have more to upload but here are some of the complete albums courtesy of a nifty plugin and Flickr (naturally)…

Vietnam (Hanoi) ’05
It was supposed to be a break for me while I was in the middle of switching jobs. Turns out to be more that what I bargained for. Anyways, here are pictures from our Hanoi trip (Aug 6 to Aug 14) taken with a disposable panoramic camera, Canon Powershot A75 and Olympus SLR OM2000.

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Home-made blueberry ice cream

Home-made blueberry ice cream

Since the weather was going ultra crazy hot on me – y’know, it’s 34 C during the afternoons here (!) – I thought I’d whip out my recipe book and dig around for something fruity yet cool and refreshing. Ice cream popped up and I toyed between the usual strawberry (which are in season) or the frozen blueberries (my favourite) that had been sitting in the freezer for a month now.

As you can tell, my favourite won hands down!

Making ice cream by hand isn’t really all that difficult; it just requires plenty of time and patience especially when it comes to the blitzing (think food processor). As usual, I made some adjustments to the original recipe which was for strawberry ice cream. Colour-wise, the blueberry initially gave the cream a reddish-purple swirl effect. I didn’t mix the two together very well which turned out to be alright since the next few blitzes will evenly distribute the colour. As it settled in the fridge, the colour began to intensify and I ended up with a dark shade of wine. But make no mistake about it – if you add water to your utensils (especially after blitzing your blueberry), it’ll turn the water a dark purple blue!

Taste-wise, it’s creamy (too creamy according to Nil – I must add that he prefers sorbet over ice cream any time!), rich with blueberry bits (instead of throwing away all the pulp, I kept some to give it some variation in the colour) and a little grainy. I shouldn’t compare it to commercially made ice cream or even gelato which has different ingredients.

All in all, I’d think that this attempt turned out something in between sorbet and ice cream! Not too bad really… I ought to try it again soon but this time with half-fat cream or with a custard (egg + milk) base instead!

Home-made blueberry ice cream

Ingredients

250gms frozen blueberries
1/2 cup brown sugar
330ml whipped cream

Method

  1. Remove the frozen blueberries from the fridge and thaw for at least 30 minutes. Once thawed, place the blueberries and sugar in a food processor and blitz/purée until smooth. Remove and strain, discarding the pulp. Place the purée in the fridge until it’s very chilled.
  2. Using a stand mixer/whisk/hand mixer, whipped the cream until it is firm and forms soft peaks or falls gently from the whisk. Fold in the purée and pour into a freezeproof container.
  3. After two hours (or when the edge has set), remove from the freezer and beat in a food processor/mixer or using a hand mixer or fork until it is smooth. Repeat this at least twice.
  4. After six to eight hours, the ice cream should be ready for serving. Dish out as it is or decorate with some fresh berries or fruit.
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Making some lifestyle changes…

While waiting for my home-made blueberry ice cream (recipe and pics to follow) to harden and freeze, I remembered that Zona had tagged me when I was away in France about some of the lifestyle changes I have made since leaving home and Malaysia. Why are these changes in place? Well, they were influenced by a few factors, but namely the cost of living, the emergence of another person in my life as well as the lack of my own income…

So in no apparent order of importance, here is my list…

My environment
* I recycle plastic, glass, paper and anything I can such as coffee powder (it goes to my plants out on the balcony).
* I take the public transport – train or bus – to almost everyone.
* Nil and I use rechargeable batteries for our MP3 players and digital cameras.

My wallet
* I shop only for food and household items once a week, twice for fresh vegetables from the local farmer’s market.
* I buy items when they are on sale or when they are absolutely necessary. This includes Max Havlaar items (Fair Trade).

My health & diet
* I go for hikes every weekend for at least two to three hours.
* Nil and I go on daily evening walks for at least 30 minutes. Once we get his bike (it was his birthday present), we plan to go on daily and weekend bicycle trips around town. There are plenty of routes everywhere…
* I cook and bake my own meals, opting for salads in the evenings. This includes home-made ice cream (with less sugar and soon, light whipping cream instead of full cream).
* I buy organic or bio-foods which contain less prohormones (or any other), antibodies among other things.

My development
* I spend my free time pottering around in the garden, spinning up new yarn from my small fibre stash, knitting as well as walking around town, snapping pictures (the former(s) more than the latter). If money and resources permit, I hope to pick up weaving soon.
* I’m beginning to use my French more often and am enjoying reading/watching/listening to French media.

I would tag people but really, whoever is interested can just do this on their blog!

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Round II

The first 50 grams...

The first 50 grams of Orange Sherbet came out a little overspun for my liking and it didn’t help that I forgot to predraft prior to starting. After a while (and numerous predrafts), the spinning got a little easier and the thickness of the yarn was slightly better. It wasn’t exactly consistent because I was still getting used to drafting WHILE spinning.

I was amazed really at the progress I made. I started off with “park and draft” and then found myself drafting while spinning subconsciously. Nil thinks I’m making good progress and at the moment, I might just finish spinning the second batch over the next few days. The thing on my mind now is determining the length, skeining them and then deciding what to knit with these little babies.

The second round...

The second batch is definitely better than the first – it’s more consistent and I’m trying to keep from overspinning it like the first. Hopefully when we wind it off the spindle, it’ll show. I honestly don’t know what to do with overspun yarn but never mind…third time could just be the charm (if it happens again, that is).

Oh, we talked about the anniversary plans yesterday during our evening walk and I mentioned how I’d love to either get more fibres, spindles or a weaving loom (it’s for future shop plans) – it’s heaps cheaper than a new laptop and I don’t really need a PC of my own since I’m always on the desktop during the day. We’ll see if I get any new additions to the fibre/spin/weave stash…

😎

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In Cleo!

In Cleo Magazine
For the full story, click on the pic.

Our love story got featured in Cleo’s June edition, thanks to Elsa Samuel who interviewed me via email in March. She had actually approached me earlier, before the dinner reception in February but I guess the article wasn’t slated to come out till much later. By the time I arrived in Switzerland, it was too late to do anything in person so we communicated mostly via email.

I had actually forgotten all about it until Su Yin (and a bunch of other girls) told me about it… Thanks to her, I also got myself a soft copy of the supposed article.

It’s not too bad really, except for the part where they spelt my name wrong and the detail about Nil’s “job” – he was actually on holiday in Cambodia, not working there…plus there are some typo errors and vagueness here and there. O’well…you can’t win them all.

Still, it’s rather nice seeing yourself on print.

😀

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What do you get for a guy…

…who tells you that he doesn’t mind anything but you still want to “impress” him anyway?

Yes, our 1st year anniversary is coming up (can’t believe it’s been a year already!) and I have absolutely NO IDEA what to get for him. I dabbled with the idea of air tools/power-tools but I can’t really afford the expensive (and more reliable) brands unless I dip into my savings (which I don’t intend to do).

Then there is the usual candlelight dinner with a gorgeous meal and dessert/cake…which is what I plan to do anyway. It just seems weird to put that down as a gift…

Aiiii….

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