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Showing posts from December, 2010

"Quick Bread": Pancakes

I know. Since I had earlier denounced the use of the term "quick bread" in my earlier post , I really didn't want to use this misnomer. However, I realised that I need to keep this term for several reasons. Firstly, the term is short and handy. Secondly, most of my books have a separate section entitled "quick bread" and if I start calling these baked goods by any other name, I might have problem tracing the original recipes later on. Thirdly, we time starved creatures like anything that is quick right? Let's leave this confusing state of affairs to some other days when I can hear myself think. After two years since I wrote the post about my love-hate relationship with buttermilk , the situation still has not changed much. But I attribute that to my own laziness and lack of organisation. As you can see, I still love making and eating buttermilk pancakes. I just have to find a way to resolve this. For the sake of the carton of buttermilk sitting in the

What's A Quick Bread?

If pulling out a mixer to cream the butter and sugar is someone's idea of quick, I won't mind having my forehead branded with the word "BUM". Sorry, overdose of Slave Hunter . That is exactly where this banana bread recipe was listed in the "Quick Bread" section of Joy of Cooking '97 ed. I can't claim that I was conned into making this thinking that it was quick since I have made this before . But, quick or not, this recipe is a keeper. Just remember to go easy on the sugar. But I am curious to know what actually does "quick bread" mean and where do we draw the lines between this, the cake and the bread? According to Epicurious food dictionary , it means "bread that is quick to make because it doesn't require kneading or rising time. That's because the leavener in such a bread is usually baking powder or baking soda, which, when combined with moisture, starts the rising process immediately. In the case of double-acting b

All I Want For Christmas Is ... Another Christmas

It is the 27th Dec 2010. And I missed Christmas already. *sob* I missed the festive mood, the feasting and most of all being able to spend time with the family. But the part I don't miss: the post-feasting dilemma. My pants feels tight and my poor fridge is threatening loudly to self destruct if I don't cut down its load soon. I am declaring the kitchen is still closed until we clear out the leftovers or I have finally gotten over the holiday blues, the earlier of whichever. I need a piece of Christmas stollen now.

Days Leading to Christmas

Just a quick update on what I have been up to these days since my posts are so infrequent. (1) Days leading to Christmas are usually crazy. We will be having the usual Christmas dinner and apart from preparing food, I need to clean my house. Badly. We have ordered our festive goodies from Werner's Oven and fervently hope that this year's fare will be as good as the last. We do not have a Plan B. (2) Flu bugs are upon us. We are dropping off like flies. Our holiday gifts? Flu virus. (3) Running around. I have been shuttling between my place and my mom's. She's got it bad from the virus and needs lots of TLC. We even got her a fruit juicer to cheer her up. By the time I call it a night, I am better off dead than alive. Our dinners these days look like this. Simple and easy on the stomach. (4) Reading. Whenever I could manage to find pockets of free time, I sit down to Ruth Reichl's Not Becoming My Mother . Non food related. I got my copy from the library.

Bread Making Notes - Flour, Yeast and Books

Question: If you are making a loaf of bread, would you use self-raising flour? (1) Yes. It is still flour, right? (2) No. They sell bread flour for such stuff. (3) Maybe. When I don't have anything else on hand. (4) I don't make bread. If your answer is (4), what are you waiting for? Start making already! Or bribe somebody to make it for you. For your info, I can be that somebody. Or get one of those bread maker machines, despite that they yield funnily shaped loaves. The question seems like a no-brainer to me. Or maybe I am too simplistic. If I am making bread, I would go for bread flour. Ditto for cake, unless the recipe specifically calls for plain flour. The world is now so spoon fed, so don't fight it. Just go with the flow. You following me? Now, I would like to point you to last Sunday's article which appeared on the "Ask The Foodie" . Perhaps due to space constrains the columnist was not able to write more on the subject. His article probabl

Eating On A Budget

Last night I went to bed with Jeffrey Steingarten's wonderful book The Man Who Ate Everything . I consider myself lucky to be able to read TWO chapters before I had to go attend to our little princess's nightly sleeping ritual. Usually before I am able to warm my seat reading a book, our little princess will come and try to get my attention in the most unruly way possible in her books. We are working on this issue. But not getting anywhere, unfortunately. Anyway, the first chapter last night was Staying Alive. A very interesting essay exploring the possibility of living on a subsistence budget without the sacrifice of good eating. (Subsistence: the means of support life, usually referring to food and other basic commodities.) The essay reminded me of the article I wrote back in October 2008 about the S$36 a month in meal vouchers each of our needy folks receive here and ask if anyone can survive on it. Back then everyone was about belt tightening and bootstrapping. Now, as t

Stewing Over iPhone Photos

This hideous picture came out of my iPhone. I just can't make them come out any better than this. Arghh ... I give up. Beef stew is something that I make often and it most probably is my holy grail of my cooking journey. The goal has always been the same - a bowl of thick stew laden with chunky vegetables and hunks of meat that yields to the slightest pressure from a spoon. A bowl of comfort and contentment in the hand. But looking at the photo for this stew, it is anything but comfortable.

Soft Pretzels

I came across an article from NY Times about making soft pretzels the old fashioned way and also another in Salon where they report that people are giving the pretzels a face-lift . Just look at them. All bronze and prefectly shaped. Their look make me drool over my keyboard and filled me with envy. I can't really recall where else on this island one would be able to see pretzels other than Auntie Anne's . And at Werner's Oven too, of course. I must confess that I am not much of a pretzel person even when there was a Auntie Anne just below my office for the past 9 years. I doubt I bought more than 5 pieces of anything from the little shop. Pretzels are ... pretzels. They are nice but somehow taste foreign in my mouth. Much the same way I catagorise the chapati. Then I gave it a try. Make my own, that is. Please excuse this food snob here. I still believe that if I want anything decent, I will have to make my own. Or that it has to be from a reputable establishment.

Traditions

From my window at dusk "Traditions must evolve - otherwise they become acts without meaning, fossils from dead civilizations, relics of a past that remind us of where we were, not where we're going." - David Mas Masumoto, Holiday Meals. I have been seeing pages after pages of articles about Thanksgiving and then suddenly at the flip of a certain switch now they are all talking about Christmas. It is quite baffling for me since Thanksgiving is not in my culture, the day (which falls on 25 Nov this year) was a non-event to me. However, any sort of celebration involving food is always interesting to me, and presumably you as well. Celebrating Christmas is something that I can relate to. Not for any religious reasons though. We are Buddhist. But I rationalised that it doesn't preclude us from feasting with the family especially when good food establishments start pushing their Christmas catalog your way. I can't exactly remember when I suggested to my mom that v