Wednesday, January 28, 2009

This Jan, I am into...

Wearing: Ren moisturiser (although admittedly, it's not working great for me), Lush Honey Trap lip balm, all the Boxing Day buys from Zara, Massimo Dutti and Ted Baker, white cardigan from Pull & Bear

Watching: Masterchef, The Great British Food Fight, River Cottage, new season of Gossip Girl, Deal or No Deal

Baking: trying out pineapple tarts and ondeh-ondeh for the first time

Eating: Chinese New Year meals, lunch at places around Old Street, pineapple tarts, pears, Waitrose Oat Crunchy muesli with banana, papaya and honey, high tea at The Dorchester

Listening: music in the office (it's an open system where people can share their playlists)

Job-hunting: that's a category all on its own

Sunday, January 18, 2009

If I made New Year resolutions

I've been asked a few times what my resolutions for 2009 are, and my reply has alwas been that I've given up on making them. That said, there are a few things I do want to focus on now. Here's what I'd like to do:
  • Entertain more at home
  • Go to the gym more regularly
  • Do more walking (ie not be lazy and drive or take the bus to the tube)
  • Bake more
  • Cook dinner at home more regularly
  • Start recording my daily expenses
Of course, this is only if I made resolutions. :)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Kitchen days

Homemade cheese straws, recipe from Yumblog

Now that I'm officially unemployed, I need to find ways to occupy my time (besides time spent looking for another job, of course). There are grand plans to visit museums and exhibitions I've never been able to visit, areas of London to explore and poke around, but for the cold and grey days, I'll be spending time in my kitchen, the warmest room in the house.

While I've been making a lot of sweet things recently, my thoughts have now extended to savoury. I've been watching a lot of food programmes on TV recently, and I happened to catch an episode of The F Word, and watched Gordon Ramsay make a rather tantalising goat cheese souffle. There's something really appealing about making a savoury souffle, and I think I will try them one of these days.

Meanwhile, to start myself off, I made cheese straws a couple of nights ago while watching Crash (the Cronenburg version). Of course, there was quite a bit of cheating involved: I used ready-made rolled out puff pastry, and the only hard work was in grating the cheese and doing the twists - mine came out rather uneven.

Anyway, with more time in the kitchen now, here are some recipes I'm dying to try out soon, both sweet and savoury:
  • Spinach and goat cheese souffle, recipe from Gordon Ramsay
  • Zucchini souffle, recipe from Chubby Hubby
  • Chocolate and Guiness cake, recipe from The Cake Book by Tish Boyle
  • Caramel and macadamia cheesecake, recipe from Nordljus
  • Plasir Sucre, recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme
  • Honey nougat, recipe from The Chocolate Book

Friday, January 02, 2009

The last week of 2008 in food

I turned 30 on Mon, and to celebrate that, my flatmate and his girlfriend brought me for a scrumptious dinner at La Trompette (I picked the place) the night before. Highly recommended if you want scrumptious food but not at cut-throat London prices. Service was also impeccable.

I love that the menu has the date printed at the top. It also seems to vary slightly each day.

The place is normally full, but since it's the holiday season, the dining room was pleasantly filled. I also like that people don't feel pressured to come eat dressed up. I wore my tutu skirt, but only because I felt like it.

Starter: Seared loin of tuna, king prawn beignet, oyster vinaigrette, radish, coriander, soy, sesame. I love restaurants that do fish properly.

Mains: Caramelised pork belly, savoy cabbage, vacherin mashed potato, black pudding. Beautifully done, if a tad salty. I even liked the black pudding.

Dessert: Pear and frangipane tart with poire william butterscotch and clotted cream. Heavenly, the tart base was the perfect crumbly and crisp texture, and the butterscoth sauce (not pictured) and cream were just too good to describe. Decadent, but hey, you only turn 30 once.

New Year's Eve
Much as I love fireworks, my friends and I didn't fancy jostling with the thousands of people to see the fireworks at London Bridge, so we decided to keep it simple and spend it at home with a good meal. We followed the same format as Christmas dinner i.e. someone else makes the starters and mains, while I handled dessert. And what a meal it was...mmmm. I think I may entertain at home a lot more this year.

Starters: Bacon wrapped around enoki mushrooms and asparagus. We also had chestnut soup (not pictured)

I really do love our butcher - Randalls has the best and freshest cuts. We had sirloin for dinner.

My plate: steak in mushroom red wine sauce, creamed garlic spinach and roast carrots and potatoes with rosemary

I made black forest cake for dessert, on special request by T and D. The things I do for my friends :) The entire process took about 7 hours to make, but I had fun doing it.

Check it out - 4 layers!

It's impossible to cut a small slice for yourself.

After gorging ourselves and watching the fireworks on TV, we settled down to play Bluff while sipping champagne. I won one round. An excellent start to the new year :)

Happy New Year to you all. May 2009 bring you bigger, better blessings than the last year.