Friday, August 23, 2013

Pretzels Pretzels Pretzels (and a coffee. and a book. and. and. and.)

My first pretzels ever were the hard, tiny, salt encrusted ones. Just thinking about them now brings back those memories. Of munching on them while doing other things. Watching movies, chatting - actually more like giggling - into the night with bosom buddies, staring blankly at nothing in particular, crying over stupid things, thoroughly engrossed in a book and there's nothing else to chase away the hunger pangs, bundled up on the couch watching TV. I could say and the list goes on, but that's it. My list is short.

Recently, my fav coffee place offered something new - a pretzel! I'm always game for something new so I tried and fell in love. I looked up pretzels (on wikipedia, where else but) and was surprised to find out the range of pretzel versions out there. This one apparently is an Austrian version. It's yummy soft and goes extremely well with cream cheese on top and a cappuccino on the side. How can it be more perfect? A good book, a sunny with a whisper of a breeze type morning and a big shady tree to sit under. Perfect.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Teddy and Cappuccino (and latte)

The barista at this coffee place I now often go to (no, it's not a certain popular American coffee franchise - thank you very much) made this teddy on my cappuccino. Two thumbs up for a lovely way to brighten a morning! And the cappuccino is an indescribable yum. It's that good. And I don't need sugar with it either.

I wasn't a coffee drinker until about a few years ago when I met the most intriguing person ever. To me, he drank coffee the way I would describe the way the Scots drink - like a fish. I exaggerate of course, but I drank tea back then and didn't know anyone who drank coffee as much as he did. And he makes them with much fanfare too.

A cute little cafe machina to make coffee for two.
Water just at that level.
Coffee powder just that much. Don't let the coffee boil too long or it will burn.
And then before you pour into the two cups, stir the coffee to make sure it's properly mixed.
Now it's ready to pour into hot milk that contains a teaspoon of brown sugar.
 A bit into the first cup, then a bit into the second cup - continue like this until there isn't anymore coffee in the machina.
Stir and voila!
Two cups of delicious latte.

I became unashamedly addicted to coffee (I'm better about it these days). One in the morning, and another in the late afternoon. Everyday. And that was the first time I had sugar in years as well! Sugar had not been a part of my diet for close to 20 years.

And now.... it's time for a latte.....

Friday, July 5, 2013

oh coconut milk! oh hot chilli peppers! oh putrid soybeans!

First, my apologies for the less than stellar quality of the picture! Two things weren't in my favour at the time of picture snapping - time of day (early morning when the sun was still unsure about what kind of day it wanted today be) and the camera (mobile phone camera - ugh, I know, I better get back into the habit of toting my camera everywhere with me again!)

I had this (Lontong) for breakfast today - I found a place a 2 weeks ago which served lontong for breakfast - imagine my delight :)

Anyway, today's breakfast was at another place (a lucky find) - I had originally just wanted a warm lime juice drink to help a cough i developed from not sleeping 2 days in a row - serves me right, right?

Back to the topic of lontong for breakfast. The first time I had lontong was probably way back in 1992. I was immediately appalled by it. By the ingredients, or rather combination of ingredients.  Which were basically putrid soybeans (and assorted vegetables) boiled to almost mash in coconut milk, chilli and tumeric root. I wanted to puke that first time, but out of respect of the cook, I downed the whole thing with a grimace.

Fast forward some 20 odd years... aah, how some food are an acquired taste... I've become quite the fan of lontong - I love the coconutty, spicy flavour, that sweet and savoury smell of coconut milk, the sting of extra spicy bird chilli on the tongue together with the indescribable exotic sense of tumeric root. I even adore the slightly off taste of fermented soybeans (it's true name is TEMPEH by the way).

It's definitely not something I would eat every day though, or even every week! Maybe bimonthly. Yummm.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Pinch of Salt (Water) - Sweat, Tears or the Sea

Ms Dinesen was quite right when she said "The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears or the sea"

I don't mind being called sentimental. Or Emotional. Or Not professional. Or Corny even. Yes, I could shed tears at the drop of a hat. That's OK. Like Ms Dinesen says, they cure anything. That's what matters. When there is nothing else to be done, tears, for me, are therapeutic. An outlet for flushing out rage, sorrow, frustration over things I cannot help. And tears are not just for the bad stuff. Who hasn't laughed till tears stream out of their eyes? :)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Passionate about passiflora (or just markisa)

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who thought herself possessing just a a little more than imagination than was the usual allocation for girls her age.

She danced amongst fairies, leaped with brownies, and hid with elves among branches of the cherry tree behind her mother's house. If she could have climbed the starfruit tree or the big caramai (otherwise known as Phyllantus Acidus or else West India gooseberry) tree at her grandmother's house, she would have without hesitation. Unfortunately what her mind wanted to do, her physical prowess disallowed. She had to content herself listening, when she was at her grandmother's, not without longing, to the free spirits giggling behind the leaves and branches of those trees from the sturdy safety of her grandmother's balcony. The branches called to her. They were just out of reach even if she stretched really really far.

One day, she heard of a fruit called markisa, and learned almost at the same time, it's other name, passionfruit. She imagined, a few moments later, how Markisa would be like, in girl-form. She would have flaming orange runaway curly hair, millions of freckles across her nose bridge and she would laugh often and easily. She did everything with an intensity that was captivating. She was scary angry when she got mad. She would collapse into a heap in tears when sad. Her heart would break more often than the average person, at things that caused only mild curiosity in most. Markisa would make a very good companion and she would definitely be most exciting to be around.

She and Markisa became fast friends. They played, fought, argued and supported each other through everything. Weeks became months became years. Then she became busy with 'whatever'. And had less and less time to spend with Markisa. Markisa being Markisa, became violently upset and not a little hurt. She screamed. She yelled. To the no avail. The girl had gotten busy with 'everything else'. So Markisa stopped visiting the little girl, who was not so little anymore. The little not-so-little girl did not notice that Markisa no longer came around. The years turned into decades. Markisa was forgotten.

Recently, she met Markisa again. For real. Markisa is round and red. She has lots of freckles, not millions but enough. The once upon a time little girl, smiled. She recognised Markisa from that time and said hi. Markisa said hi back. And they became friends again.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Fishy Tales from Bukit Tinggi and Kota Kinabalu

 I was a little stupefied when the waitress brought out our fish - the fish in the picture. Of course our cameras came out immediately.  Followed by at least 2 minutes of pictures of said fish taken from every imaginable angle. 

We had ordered fried fish but I never expected it to come out with such an alive but dead look.  I imagine the cook must have netted it out of the tank (or pond) alive and dunked it alive and (figuratively) kicking into boiling hot oil in order to achieve this alive one second, dead the next pose.

The fish did turn out quite delicious but still my favorite type of fish is grilled. 

The way we used to have it every Sunday when I was much (much) younger. On the beach - with the sun going down and the surf coming in. Well, no, not really. It was usually lunch by the beach - the fish grilled over wood fire especially for lunch.  We had our own spot on the beach under one of the huge Casuarina trees dotting the perimeter of the beach.  And as it was on private land, we never had problems with crowds. 

After helping my mum gather the (unknown name for the moment - Doingin in Kadazan) leaves to wrap the fish in for grilling, my sisters and I would run off to the water to play mermaids until the next time she called. Then it's hot rice with sizzling fish time! I love lime juice from a single lime wedge drizzled on my fish. 

OMG. Food heaven on earth. Nuff said.