Thursday, January 26, 2012

To My H

The man ...
whose cold feet always snug to mine in the middle of the night (and waking me up!)
who always tells me to order whatever I want from the menu
who calls my small eyes and flat nose pretty, and my fingers hobbits
who likes me to put my fingers in between his toes
who is camera shy..

who needs a full 5 mins to study a 4-page restaurant menu before deciding what to order
who often pokes his finger into my tummy saying, "Look, look, my finger disappears!"
who has nimble fingers and give wonderful massage
who gives me 50 euro pocket money to spend while he meets with his banker
who occasionally entertains my craze for Haribo candies
who loves to jump on freshly made bed

to H, l'homme de ma vie, who asks for raspberry tart as birthday cake
and lasagna as the main menu
I look forward to standing shoulder to shoulder with you for more years to come. 

Happy Birthday, mon sayang

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fish Rigatoni with Peas and Cheese

The secret of making a great mac and cheese is a sharp, mature cheddar. This is the one you use for the shavings on top, to give that nice golden colour. For the sauce, use gruyere if you can. It's creamy and savory, and yet subtle.

But of course, that is if you live in the utopia, which I don't.

No gruyere? Fine. Take that edam ball.
No cheddar? Really? Fine. Let's try English's cheese, that red leicester please.
No elbow macaroni? Are you kidding me?

And that how my Fish Rigatoni with Peas and Cheese was born.

It's basically a standard mac & cheese, but I used Rigatoni, added left over pan-fried garoupa, peas (for additional texture and colour) and swapped the cheeses entirely.

I opt frozen peas because I hate the muted mustardy canned peas. I don't even like the taste. But when it's frozen, at least it tastes about right. Here you go, sans exact measurement..

Fish Rigatoni with Peas and Cheese 
Preheat the oven to 175 C.

Cook the pasta as per instruction, on the last 2-3 mins add in the frozen peas. 
In a pan, heat up 2 tbsp butter, add in 2 tbsp flour. Whisk.. this is the process called roux.
Slowly add in room temperature milk, while continue stirring. 
Add in some nutmeg, salt and pepper. Taste!
Continue whisking till they thicken and smooth.
Turn off the heat. Stir in the diced/shredded gruyere (or in my case, edam). 
Add in the pasta & the peas.
Add in the left over fish (already cooked. If not, just pan fry with S+P)
Mix and transfer to a baking pan. 
Sprinkle the top with mature cheddar (or in my case, leicestershire)
Sprinkle with bread crumbs. About 2-3 tbsp.
Baked for 10-15 mins till your doneness. 
Don't overbake because else the pasta will become dry and too hard to chew.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Winter 2012

My one month break is almost over.. It's almost time to go home, but not yet! :) 
Here's how my holiday has been so far..

[ Galette du Roi, to celebrate King's Day ]

[ Fresh Produce, from garden ]

[ Morning walks ]
[ Glamour Monaco ] 
[ Whale Exhibition, Monaco ]
[ Visiting Friends in Nice ]

[ At The Carlton, Cannes ]

[ [the) Opera, from Fauchon ]
and finally...
[ Gong Xi Fat Choi ]
Hope your January has been wonderful! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Coucou tout le monde,

Bonjour de Toulouse. J'ai reste ici depuis quelque jours, et demain, nous partons pour Paris.
Nous avons bien mange, bien dormi. Quand nous sommes arrives, c'était le jour de roi.. Ma belle mère a fait beaucoup de galettes de rois. Je crois que j'ai mange tout les variétés de galettes (et de tartes). Par exemple, aujourd'hui nous avons mange le tarte de rhubarbe, après de pot au feu.

Nous avons mis de kgs a point qu'il devient urgent de bouger. On a acheté les costumes. Je suis surpris car ils sont chères. Tres très cher. Donc comme cet matin, nous essayons de promener tout le jour.

Bon, c'est tout pour maintenant. J'espère que tout va bien, et a bientôt.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Kitchen Love

For when the world is flatter, money isn't an issue and no space constriction. But then again we rarely appreciate things we get easily. Bonne journee mes amis!

[ Morning Mug perfect for morning coffee]

[ Ninja Bread Men Cookie Cutter for my cookie-loving big boy]
[ Pick Your Nose Party Cups the perfect kodak moment accompaniment]
[ KitchenAid in Raspberry oh Ina, how I love your kitchen!]
[ Soda Makers for us bubble lovers]
[ Bear Claws lookalike, for our salad days ]
[ Polka Dot Egg Mug for egg dipping breakfast]

Monday, January 9, 2012

Fish Scampi with Dill over a bed of Chili Aglio Olio

Hi folks, hope the new year has been treating you fantabulously. We are somewhere in France right now. I have scheduled posts in my absence and this is one of them. 
With lots of love, from our little home to yours, wherever you are. Gros bisous.

I was halfway typing a completely different opening about how much I love aglio olio etc etc until ma belle mere called H. During the conversation, she asked him if I had started cooking for tonight (it's new year's eve). To which H glanced at me typing away on the computer across the room and replied, yes of course, she's been busy cooking the whole day. 

My sweets, if you ever meet a man like that, you snatch him and never let him go. Trust me. 

Anyway, without further ado (cause I need to get that chicken into the oven), here's the recipe..

Fish Scampi with Dill (serve 2)
* a big fish slice, enough for 2
* 1 large clove garlic, diced
* 1 large shallots, diced
* 1/2 cup white wine
* 1 tbsp lemon juice
* 1 tsp butter + some OO
* 1 tbsp chopped dill

How to:
* Marinate the fish with salt & pepper. Set aside, while you chopped the garlic & shallots. 

* On a non-stick pan, heat up the OO then add butter till it starts to foam. Add in fish and cook till it's done on both sides. Set aside the fish. 

* Add in more OO if required, otherwise throw in the shallots & garlic. Cook till fragrant. Add in the white wine sauce and let it simmer till it's reduced till half. 

* Add back the fish, let it coated with the sauce. Add in the lemon juice and the dill. 
Serve over a bed of aglio olio.


Chili Aglio Olio (serve 2)
* Spaghetti enough for 2
* 1-2 large clove of garlic, minced
* 1 red chili, deseed and minced
* grated parmesan cheese for seasoning
* 4 tbsp OO

How to:
* Cook pasta as per cooking instruction till al dente. Aglio Olio should be al dente. 

* In a non stick pan, heat up OO and toss in the garlic & red chili. Cook till fragrant. Add in the spaghetti and grated cheese, toss well. Grate some more cheese if needed. Serve hot. 

n.b. Do you know that when cooking the pasta, one has to add salt to the water so much that the pasta water is as salty as the Mediterranean sea? Don't say I didn't tell you..

Thursday, January 5, 2012

On The Road

Hi folks, hope the new year has been treating you fantabulously. 

We certainly start this year with a bang. We're somewhere in France by the time you read this. H has a meeting in Monaco, which this uber-dutiful wife is tagging along, followed by Nice and Cannes. Definitely will be in Paris and Toulouse, maybe also Pyrenees and Pau.  

I hope this time we'll have more down time than our previous holidays.. time for ourselves, time to prepare my-special-someone's birthday cake, time to prepare my first Chinese New Year with my new family, time to experiment baking cheese cake (something that I can't do in Luanda without breaking the bank). 

I have scheduled posts in my absence, starting with this amazing video. 

I certainly will be practicing boa, ear bunny and mira. 

With lots of love, from our little home to yours, wherever you are. 

May the new year be better than the last. 
Gros bisous.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Would You Pay 122 Euro for a bowl of Bouillabaisse?

Lobster, oui?

[ source ]
If we're as rich as Brangelina, we probably would. 

But since we're no where near them, we'll have to bid adieu to Chez Tetou

We don't even have the sports car to show & ensure a good seat! 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Perfect Beginning

.. is waking up to breakfast pizza with ham, cheese and eggs :)

No excessive kneading, no waiting time for the yeast to react. It's simple, easy peazy lemon squeeshie.

 I made two breakfast pizzas using a single thin pizza dough recipe, tried and tested, and never disappoints.

Thin pizza dough
* 1 3/4 c bread flour
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 1 packet (8g) bread yeast
* 1/2 tsp sugar
* 3/4 hot water (110 C)

How to:
* Preheat oven to 200 C.

* Proofing the yeast:  mix hot water with yeast & sugar. Let it sit for 8 mins.

* In a large bowl, whisk the bread flour & salt together. Create a well, pour in the yeast mixture.

* Using your hand, knead 1-2 min. Turn the dough onto floured surface, knead another 2 mins.

* Flatten over parchment paper, add in your toppings and bake for 8-10 mins. Voila! :)

As toppings, I used:
[First pizza on the top] edam cheese, red leicester cheese, feta cheese, ham, egg. Sprinkled with salt, pepper, spring onions and thinly sliced shallots.

[Second pizza on the top, the picture above] diced left over roast chicken thigh, red leicester cheese, feta cheese, salt, hot paprika pepper, chopped dill and cilantro.

Good Morning, Sunshine.

[ source ]
I read a lot. I have this deep respect for words.

I used to go to public library every other week, borrowing 3-4 books at any time. For only $10, for a lifetime membership. I spent a lot of time on trains and busses daily, hence plenty of time reading books. I didn't think much about it as I prepared to move to Angola. But one morning in July 2010, H gave me a Kindle. "You are going to need this when you join me," he said. 
Not only that, it came with a monthly budget to buy kindle books off Amazon. 
To this day, it remains the best present I've ever received. 

One of the best read last year (or any, in a long time) was The Paris Wife
 A true story about Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley Richardson, taken from the thousand of letters exchanged between the two, as well as Ernest's memoirs and biography.
In essence, a story about love found and love lost, the story of the first wife. 

But what captivated me is how the words, knitted together, punched deep inside my guts. As if my heart suddenly stopped beating. And I would glance somewhere far in the horizon, repeating the words in my mind, again and again and again.
Oh how much I would give to be able to write like that. 

In one scenario, as a struggling writer, Hadley and Ernest didn't have much and lived in a poor condition. She wrote...:

"When I saw the rats the first time, I wanted to drop my basket where it was and run away, but we weren't rich enough for symbolic gestures. So I walked." 

or when she started to sense the presence of another woman..

"She fits so well inside his ear. She told him what he most wanted to hear, and it was obviously a powerful tonic for both of them, to be united in their thinking."

or another..

"Freedom is one thing, but you draw the line at a friend's husband. You have to."

and this one sounds like it comes out from the bible..

"You couldn't have real freedom unless you knew where the walls were and tended them. We could lean on the walls because they existed; they existed because we leaned on them."

and I shall leave you with this..

"The way I see it, how can you really say you'll love a person longer than love lasts?"

If I could have one wish, it would be to remember everything that I have read. 

Right. Time to wake the boy up.