Weekend Cooking: Season’s Eatings!

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Brussel sprouts with bacon and brown butter, beer-glazed ham with pineapple sauce; Hasselback potatoes; Sweet Potato Casserole; Pear Bread Pudding with Salted butter caramel sauce

Hello! How has your holiday season been? Hope you’ve been staying warm (yes, even in hot and humid Singapore, which saw cooler than usual temperatures, to everyone’s relief I imagine) and enjoying good food and good company.

My blog’s been lagging behind I know! Who knew that life with an 8-month-old and an almost 3-year-old (in march!) could be that hectic (haha). What? No leisurely afternoons spent sipping tea in a quiet kitchen? No mornings spent sleeping in? A clean toy-free family room? No wailing and crying to be heard? All the time in the world to read and write? :p

I jest. Life is an amusement park, a rollercoaster, full of tears and laughter, spilled milk and sticky tables. Unlike spotless Disneyland I clean when I can (as in barely) and put the dust out of my mind when I can’t, battle with a toddler constantly trying to assert his independence, soothe an easygoing baby learning that not everything can be put into his mouth (and in contrast not liking when I try to put puréed stuff in his mouth). I’m typing this at 545 am. On the phone. In bed. On Sunday. That is how we roll.

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Well at least my stomach is contented. It has had many days of cuisines from all over. Sashimi and homemade sushi on Sunday. Monday saw us enjoying hotpot with two kinds of stock, three types of mushrooms, four types of veg and just one very amazing shabu-shabu style thinly cut beef from Mitsuwa supermarket. Tuesday being Christmas Eve we had steak, garlic bread, grilled mushrooms, spinach and kale salad, sausages for dinner. And my first attempt at tiramisu (I used the recipe from Pioneer Woman as it had the most coffee and alcohol content, but didn’t add the cream to the mascarpone. It was really sinful and really boozy! Yum.)

Christmas Day was pizza day, where I attempted a kabocha squash (if you remember, I’m quite fond of kabocha) and bacon pizza (verdict: very good, but would consider adding some goat cheese or something for an additional kick) and a more typical salami and mushroom pizza. Pizza dough and sauce recipe via Smitten Kitchen although my oven takes a bit longer than in the recipe.

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The husband and I celebrated our fifth anniversary (5! Imagine that!) at a lovely Italian restaurant in Redwood City. Prosciutto, a rose brut, risotto, macchiato. It was nice to have a meal by ourselves for a change. And such a delicious one at that.

On Saturday, a big post-Christmas lunch to thank our friends and neighbours who kindly sent us and picked us from the airport (an hour’s drive each way) and kept an eye on the house while we were away in Singapore for a month. My mother-in-law made a beer-braised ham with pineapple sauce, I put together some sweet potato casserole (another first), Brussels sprouts with bacon and brown butter, Hasselback potatoes,and a pear bread pudding with a salted butter caramel sauce.

Happy new year! May 2014 be full of good reads, good eats and other good things!

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Brownie rollout cookies; Chai shortbread (I used the Martha Stewart Earl Grey recipe, didn’t have Earl Grey but had plenty of chai); Tiramisu (minus the heavy cream)

 

 

weekendcooking

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

The baby’s napping and the boy is….

In the guest room being entertained by the grandparents. He had a busy morning at the open gym session where he was in the bouncy house and slide non-stop. It was $5 well spent.

Then we were off to the diner next door, where breakfast is an all-day affair and so we shared pancakes, eggs and some sad limp bacon (crispy is the only way to go!).

Right now, beef stew is in the slow cooker filling the house with all kinds of wonderful smells (I’ve added some bay leaves, star anise, a tiny piece of cinnamon bark, some all-spice and cayenne pepper, plus some L&P sauce and soya sauce – not your typical recipe but I’m about experimenting).

I should be reading but I’m sitting at the computer syncing my phone anyway so figured I might as well stop into wordpress and type out a quick hello to all of you, and hope your week goes well!

I am currently enjoying Consider the Fork: how technology transforms the way we cook and eat, which I would recommend to anyone who enjoys spending time in the kitchen. It made me see my KitchenAid mixer in a different light yesterday as I turned it on and let it whisk egg whites into an airy dream.

And just last night I finished reading A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean, the first book in her Rules of Scoundrels series. Now I’m not much of a romance reader. And in fact would usually turn up my flat nose at anything that has the faintest whiff of ‘romance’, you know, like bulging biceps, ripped bodices, long manes, heaving bosoms and that sort. But I remember reading some good reviews about MacLean’s series (here’s one), and was curious. And it was in a way, oddly satisfying. It was at times sweet, at others, well, dirty. Sure I got irritated by the whole “I want you but I really shouldn’t want you” thing but on the whole, it was rather entertaining. And the second book sounds like it might be even better – a bespectacled, intellectual heroine!

On the TV front (or Netflix front), I’ve been watching the Carrie Diaries. I’m many years past the targeted age group (Carrie Bradshaw is a high schooler!) but it’s been some fun frivolous viewing so far. The things she gets up to as a teenager! Her seemingly normal dad! Her multiethnic friends, where did they all go when she grew up?

And oh it’s nearly Christmas isn’t it? Well our Christmas tree is finally up. The presents are waiting to be wrapped. Waiting because it turns out I have no more sticky tape. The cookies are still in the form of flour, eggs, sugar and butter. And I reckon that my baking goals are far too ambitious this year but we will see how it goes! It isn’t the holiday season till the house smells of cookies! Yesterday it smelled of a mocha cake with coffee buttercream icing but that’s a different, albeit tantalizing, smell all together. The Christmas music has been playing thanks to the husband and his fondness for carols (although every time I am driving I make sure to switch away from that darn station that plays nothing but carols). So I suppose we are relatively ready for the season. I hope yours is going well too.

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SoCal again!

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There was snow on the mountains as we drove south on the 5, luckily this wasn’t reflective of the weather to come! It was indeed warmer in San Diego and Anaheim than in the Bay Area.

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All that sugar was making my hand tremble…. Haha, not really, but these tiramisu pancakes from Cafe 21 (which I shared with the husband as well as a prosciutto omelette) in downtown San Diego was awesome! Sinfully so!

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Another sinful treat (not on the same day that is) from Azucar in Ocean Beach, a Cuban-influenced patisserie which we first visited in November and which I was determined to return to, because it was just that good (so is their coffee). This was chocolatey and crunchy and just a delight to savour.

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Did you guess it yet? We went to Disneyland! It was wee reader’s first visit and I had been worried. Worried that it would be too much for him, that it would be too crowded, too tiring. I am a worrier.

But it turned out great! The first ride he sat was Dumbo and he loved it so much he didn’t want to get off. He loved pretty much everything that went round and round, like the rocket ride pictured above (he rode it twice), and clapped and laughed during It’s A Small World (which was Christmas-themed!). But his favourite ride was interestingly enough, the train that goes around Disneyland. He sat it three times! Of course he cried when getting off some rides and wanted to be carried when waiting in those long queues. But at least there were none of the tantrums and screaming incidents that we spotted throughout the park.

And since we had grandparents in tow, the husband and I were able to pop over (having first collected FastPasses) to sit the more adult rides like Star Tours (we are big Star Wars fans) and Indiana Jones (we are also big fans). I wasn’t really supposed to sit these rides, since they do say ‘expectant mothers should not ride’, and at 21 weeks I am indeed expecting (due in early May). But these weren’t exactly Six Flags upside-down and head-spinning rides so they were fine, and fun!

It was a great week-long trip, and made for great memories and photos. I don’t expect wee reader to remember much (or any) of this in the future, but I’m sure the rest of us will!

Merry Christmas!

The Christmas presents are wrapped and ready under the tree. The grandparents have settled in, having arrived a week or so ago from Singapore. The butter cookies have been baked (it doesn’t feel Christmassy till the cookie cutters have been used!). The ham is in the fridge, ready for its beer bath later. It will be accompanied simple salad, Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes and a pear bread pudding with a salted caramel sauce. In case that’s not enough, there’s coconut ice-cream in the freezer. I think we’re almost ready for Christmas. At least for Christmas Eve dinner.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Oh and I opened some Christmas presents early (they arrived via amazon). A food book and Lucky Peach magazines from my parents and sister in Singapore. A lovely red teapot from the husband!
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Merry Christmas!

So the steak’s defrosting, there’s plenty of spinach and strawberries in the fridge for a salad, my cocoa brownie’s a-baking, and there’s dessert wine a-chilling. It’s a quiet Christmas this year, just the three of us (last year my husband’s family was around, the year before that we were back in Singapore).

It’s time to put my tired feet up on the couch, snuggle under the throw and settle in with one of the library books I picked up this morning. Perhaps the graphic novel adaptation of Sense and Sensibility? Or to continue with the Mary Russell series? Plenty of choices for my holiday reads.

I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy new year!

Happy Christmas!

We’re still in the middle of prepping Christmas Eve dinner here in Fremont, but while the ham’s in the oven (the papadums, ngoh hiang – a kind of meat and water chestnut roll wrapped in beancurd skin, chap chai – a vegetarian stirfry of black fungus, cabbage, vermicelli and bean curd skin are already cooked. The mee siam – a spicy noodle dish – and bread pudding with vanilla sauce will be done in a bit. it’s really a bit of a hodgepodge meal but I reckon it’s more fun that way.

Anyway, I do hope you all have a happy Christmas, full of good company and good food. And here’s hoping Santa brings you a lovely lot of books!