It’s Monday and it’s June!

 

It’s the last full week of school! The second grade teachers have the week planned out. The first two days seem to be board game days. One of the days, the kids are supposed to bring their favourite books and they will be doing some outdoors reading and they can bring toys and wear pyjamas. The kindergarteners are having a field trip to Happy Hollow and that’s going to be a full day event (kindergarten is half-day here).

Meanwhile, here’s what we did last week.

We went cherry picking at Brentwood. It’s about an hour drive away from us so we set off at 8 and got there at 9, when most of the farms open. A friend had recommended to us the farm directly opposite Nunn Better Farms, which is one of the more well-known farms in the area. I still have no idea what the name of the smaller farm opposite was, but their cherries were big and sweet! Apparently this is a good year for California cherries – we had a colder than usual winter and lots of rain, so the cherry season may be longer this year.

We had fun picking the cherries (and eating them!). My father-in-law picked the most cherries, and he was satisfied only when his bucket was full. We ended up with about 24 pounds of cherries. At $3.50 a pound, compared to $5 a pound at the farmers’ market.

 

 

Also, we went to see Detective Pikachu! The boys were very excited.

 

 

 I made chocolate ice-cream!

 

Homegrown radishes!

The weather was just nice for a Sunday BBQ.

Currently…

 

Reading:

Unmarriageable – Soniah Kamal

 

I Did Not Kill My Husband – Liu Zhenyun

 

Watching:

On Saturday night, the husband and I watched Always Be My Maybe! It was such a great show, sweet and funny. I kinda wished we could have had more scenes with the younger actors!

Listening:

 

Save Me the Plums – Ruth Reichl

Eating:

Homemade walnut bread

Drinking:

Yorkshire Gold with milk

 

Last week:

I read:

Ayesha at Last – Uzma Jalaluddin
Edinburgh – Alexander Chee
Machines Like Me – Ian McEwan

I posted:

 

#AsianLitBingo 2019 Wrap-up!

Gula Melaka coconut ice cream #weekendcooking

Emergency Contact by Mary H K Choi #AsianLitBingo

Edinburgh by Alexander Chee #AsianLitBingo

Library Loot May 29 to June 4

 

 

badge
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

 

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#AsianLitBingo 2019 Wrap-up!

 

I had a fun time reading books for this challenge

 

Here is what I read:

Edinburgh by Alexander Chee LGBTQIAP+ Asian MC #ownvoices

Emergency Contact by Mary H K ChoiRomance with POC love interest #ownvoices

River of Stars by Vanessa Hua Asian Immigrant MC #ownvoices

Not Your Sidekick by CB LeeAsian superhero MC #ownvoices

My Brother’s Husband Vol 2 by Gengoroh TagameGraphic novel with Asian MC #ownvoices

Bad Friends by Ancco  – Poor or working class MC #ownvoices

The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay South Asian MC #ownvoices

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo East Asian MC #ownvoices

Gula Melaka coconut ice cream #weekendcooking

 

 

Over the long weekend, we picked up an ice-cream attachment for the KitchenAid mixer. We’d been toying with the idea of buying an ice-cream maker for a while now, I argued for getting an attachment, since my mixer sits on the counter already,  too heavy to move around. I wasn’t ready to commit to a proper ice-cream maker, the bigger machines which do not require pre-freezing of the bowl, and which are of course more expensive. There were some reviews of the KitchenAid attachment that didn’t seem that great, about the liquid inside leaking. But so far it’s been ok. We will see how it goes later in the year. Meanwhile, it was at a really good price at Target ($45) compared to list price which was about $71. So we went for it!

And after freezing the bowl for about 15 hours, we made our first vanilla ice-cream (recipe from The Perfect Scoop by David Leibovitz also available on his website) and it was so good! The real vanilla beans make a difference plus that custard was just lovely and silky and rich.

So far so good.

I wanted to also try a coconut ice-cream recipe. My in-laws are visiting from Singapore and they always buy this ice-cream from the Philippines when they’re here. There are some speciality Filipino grocery stores here that carry it, unlike in Singapore. But it is expensive!

I found a recipe that uses coconut milk and coconut cream (no egg yolk custard). And decided to try it. But it never churned up properly. Was it because there was no custard? Instead we froze it into popsicles, which were really delicious but also kinda icy. I decided that I had to look for a recipe which did use the egg custard and try that instead.

The recipe is below. I found that the coconut taste wasn’t very strong in the way I adapted it. I may experiment with substituting some of the heavy cream with coconut cream, although I’m unsure of how that would work, if it has enough fat in it to make a good ice-cream. Stay tuned for a future coconut ice-cream experiment!

 

(I adapted this recipe from David Leibovitz‘s Toasted Coconut Ice-cream from his book The Perfect Scoop. In his recipe, he doesn’t use coconut milk but regular milk which he infuses with  toasted shredded coconut.)  

 

1 cup (250ml) coconut milk

2 cups (500ml) heavy cream

50g gula Melaka (palm sugar)

100g brown sugar (or regular sugar – I only had brown sugar in my pantry)

Big pinch salt

5 egg yolks

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

 

Warm the coconut milk, 1 cup of heavy cream, palm sugar and brown sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Do not boil.

Pour the remaining one cup of cream into a large bowl and set a large strainer on top of the bowl. Also get a bigger bowl that the bowl of cream fits into, so you can create an ice bath.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks together.

Now this part is important, don’t skip it! You need to temper the eggs, so pour the warmed milk and cream mixture into the egg yolks really slowly. In the original recipe, he says to pour it all in, but I don’t think you need to. Pour enough so that the eggs warm up and don’t become scrambled eggs when you pour it into the saucepan. Now scrape the warmed eggs into the saucepan (on medium heat) and keep stirring often. The mixture should thicken and coat the spatula. I run my finger down the spatula and if it leaves a distinct “trail” then it should be done.

Pour the custard through the strainer and stir into the cream. Add vanilla extract. Let cool in an ice bath for a bit. Then stick it in the fridge until it’s cold enough.

Then freeze the mixture in your ice-cream maker per your instructions. In my Kitchenaid ice-cream attachment, it took about 20 minutes to get churned and cold. It wasn’t however as ice-cream-like as the vanilla ice-cream I first made, the husband said I seemed to have made soft-serve ice-cream.

But once we stuck it in the freezer for a few hours, the texture was just nice.

 

Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs

Emergency Contact by Mary H K Choi #AsianLitBingo

 

It was thanks to being laid up in bed due to a minor procedure that I borrowed this book. All the other books on my tablet were just too serious and heavy reading for that day and I was looking for something that would be fun and lighthearted and so I reached for YA.

I love how there is so much diversity going on in YA and while I had said earlier in a previous post, how I wished I could be a teen and reading all this, I’m just going to go ahead and get my diverse YA fix now.

Emergency Contact is definitely one book my teenaged self would have approved of. Because Penny is that kind of awkward, cynical, and not very sociable person I was (and sometimes still am). She is introduced to Sam as he is her roommate’s uncle of sorts (his mom and her grandfather were married for a quick minute). But only really talks to him after she notices him having a panic attack in the street one day. She makes sure he’s ok, gives him a ride back to the cafe where he works (and unknown to her, where he lives) and adds her number to his phone to make sure he gets home safe. She’s now his “emergency contact”.

This book has been on the back of my TBR list for a while, but I think that I’ve always been a bit hesitant because I didn’t think I wanted to read a book in which texting seems to be at the forefront. But in the end, the text conversations actually felt quite natural and comfortable to read.

And I found myself just hanging on to every word in this book. I read it in one sitting.

It seems like this is the kind of book that you either detest or love (at least judging from the polarizing Goodreads reviews). I loved it. I can see why some people may not like it but for me, this was a thumbs up.

 

 

I read this for Asian Lit Bingo – romance with POC love interest

Edinburgh by Alexander Chee #AsianLitBingo

This review is not going to do justice to this book. This book needs a proper, more insightful one than these notes I’m writing. Because it’s the kind of book that makes you go, wow, this is a writer who can write. This is a writer whose words can move mountains, make tea go cold without noticing, tears fall from unsuspecting eyes. This is a writer whom, I imagine, writers look up to, but also are perhaps afraid, wondering, can I write like this too?

For Alexander Chee has taken a subject that is ugly and perverse and has sculpted it into something moving and somehow, beautiful.

(Autocorrect keeps changing my “moving” into “loving” but really, loving is an equally suitable word for this book.)

A young boy joins a boys’ choir. Aphias or Fee is 12 and Korean-Scottish. He may look a bit different from the other boys but like them, he is sexually abused by the choir director.

Edinburgh is the story of how he overcomes this childhood trauma and the loss of those he loves.

It is no easy read but it is haunting and spectacular, even more so when I realized this was his debut novel. It may seem like a weird juxtaposition but this book was both beautiful and brutal.

Library Loot May 29 to June 4

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

 

Oh boy, it’s the end of May already!

 

What did you get from your library this week?

Here’s the link-up!

 

 

Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir by Ruth Reichl

I’ve read all of Reichl’s previous books and was excited to learn that she had a new book out. I borrowed this as an audiobook which Reichl herself reads.

Trailblazing food writer and beloved restaurant critic Ruth Reichl took the risk (and the job) of a lifetime when she entered the glamorous, high-stakes world of magazine publishing. Now, for the first time, she chronicles her groundbreaking tenure as editor in chief of Gourmet, during which she spearheaded a revolution in the way we think about food.
When Condé Nast offered Ruth Reichl the top position at America’s oldest epicurean magazine, she declined. She was a writer, not a manager, and had no inclination to be anyone’s boss. And yet . . . Reichl had been reading Gourmet since she was eight; it had inspired her career. How could she say no?

This is the story of a former Berkeley hippie entering the corporate world and worrying about losing her soul. It is the story of the moment restaurants became an important part of popular culture, a time when the rise of the farm-to-table movement changed, forever, the way we eat. Readers will meet legendary chefs like David Chang and Eric Ripert, idiosyncratic writers like David Foster Wallace, and a colorful group of editors and art directors who, under Reichl’s leadership, transformed stately Gourmet into a cutting-edge publication. This was the golden age of print media–the last spendthrift gasp before the Internet turned the magazine world upside down.

 

Dragon Pearl – Yoon Ha Lee

To keep the family safe, Min’s mother insists that none of them use any fox-magic, such as Charm or shape-shifting. They must appear human at all times. Min feels hemmed in by the household rules and resents the endless chores, the cousins who crowd her, and the aunties who judge her. She would like nothing more than to escape Jinju, her neglected, dust-ridden, and impoverished planet. She’s counting the days until she can follow her older brother, Jun, into the Space Forces and see more of the Thousand Worlds.

When word arrives that Jun is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows that something is wrong. Jun would never desert his battle cruiser, even for a mystical object rumored to have tremendous power. She decides to run away to find him and clear his name.

Min’s quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. She will be forced to use more fox-magic than ever before, and to rely on all of her cleverness and bravery. The outcome may not be what she had hoped, but it has the potential to exceed her wildest dreams.

 

My So-Called Bollywood Life – Nisha Sharma

Winnie Mehta was never really convinced that Raj was her soulmate, but their love was written in the stars. Literally, a pandit predicted Winnie would find the love of her life before her 18th birthday, and Raj meets all of the qualifications. Which is why Winnie is shocked to return from her summer at film camp to find her boyfriend of three years hooking up with Jenny Dickens. Worse, Raj is crowned chair of the student film festival, a spot Winnie was counting on for her film school applications. As a self-proclaimed Bollywood expert, Winnie knows this is not how her perfect ending is scripted.

Then there’s Dev, a fellow film geek, and one of the few people Winnie can count on to help her reclaim control of her story. Dev is smart, charming, and challenges Winnie to look beyond her horoscope to find someone she’d pick for herself. But does falling for Dev mean giving up on her prophecy, and her chance to live happily ever after? To get her Bollywood-like life on track, Winnie will need a little bit of help from fate, family, and of course, a Bollywood movie star.

Peasprout Chen, Future Legend of Skate and Sword – Henry Lien

 

Welcome to Pearl Famous Academy of Skate and Sword, where the blades are sharp and the competition is fierce.

Peasprout Chen dreams of becoming a legend of wu liu, the deadly and beautiful art of martial arts figure skating.

As the first students from the rural country of Shin to attend Pearl Famous Academy of Skate and Sword, Peasprout and her little brother Cricket have some pretty big skates to fill. They soon find themselves in a heated competition for top ranking.

Tensions rise when the dazzling pearl buildings of the Academy are vandalized and outsider Peasprout is blamed for the attacks by her rivals … and even some friends.

Now, she must uncover the true vandal to ensure peace between Shin and Pearl – all while becoming a champion.

The kids’ loot:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did you get from your library this week?

 

This post contains affiliate links from Book Depository.  If you buy via these links it means I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you). 

It’s Monday and it’s a long weekend

 

 

 Last week…

We bought a Kitchenaid ice-cream mixer attachment. The original price listed was $70.99 and the Husband happened to check the Target app and for some reason it was listed there at $44.99 so we ordered it and picked it up after we watched Avengers: Endgame.

We’d been considering getting an ice-cream maker for a while. I didn’t want a big one like those with compressors (benefit: you don’t have to freeze the bowl first!) as it would take up too much space that I don’t have. And since my Kitchenaid mixer sits on my counter all the time anyway (I use it quite a lot, also it’s too heavy to move), an attachment seemed like the best thing to get.

Of course that meant we had to freeze the bowl for at least 15 hours!

But I also made the ice-cream custard (I used this lovely vanilla ice-cream recipe from David Leibovitz) and had it sitting in the fridge, ready to be poured into the mixer.

It did already taste great after 20 minutes or so of mixing. But it was already near dinnertime anyway so we put it in the freezer and took it out for dessert. Homemade vanilla ice cream is so delicious. It was luscious and creamy and had a big vanilla taste from the vanilla pod and extract.

 

 

Other things this week, lots of summer fruits at the farmers market – cherries, nectarines and peaches. I love nectarines. Peaches not so much.

Made japchae and a slow cooker honey-braised pork sirloin roast. The pork roast was so good!

Bookmarking it here myself so I’ll remember where I found the recipe.

 

 

 

Currently…

 

Reading:

 

 

Unmarriageable – Soniah Kamal

 

Machines Like Me – Ian McEwan

 

If You Leave Me – Crystal Hana Kim

 

Watching:

The husband and I finally got to see Avengers: Endgame and don’t worry, I won’t reveal any spoilers or anything. So I will just say that I really enjoyed it, except for one part.

 

 

Eating:

Homemade vanilla ice-cream (I’m writing this Sunday night)

Drinking:

 Lots of water

 

Last week:

I read:

Ayesha At Last – Uzma Jalaluddin

Edinburgh – Alexander Chee

I posted:

River of Stars by Vanessa Hua #AsianLitBingo

Library Loot (May 22 to 28)

Not Your Sidekick by CB Lee #AsianLitBingo

 

badge
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date