Saturday, January 20, 2007

Towering Thai Vermicelli Salad

This one’s real easy and a blast to make. I got the idea from a Jamie Oliver segment where he was making Thai Noodle Salad, thought it looked good, and decided to have a go at my own.

I used carrot vermicelli purely for the joy of its bright orange hue, plus it was something new at my grocer’s. Nothing’s set in stone here, so feel free to modify the recipe with whatever you can grab from your pantry.

Carrot Vermicelli
Bean sprouts

Carrot, julienned
Shallots, finely diced

Firm Tofu, sliced and marinated in:
Thai Marinade, from the bottle, use your fave brand of you have one
Roasted peanuts or cashews, roughly chopped
Parsley leaves, roughly torn

1. Assemble your mise en place

2. Boli the vermicelli with the sprouts till cooked

3. Bake the marinated tofu slices til they turn into lil' gold ingots

4. Start plating your ensemble. Remember, height is key!

5. Start with a tall foundation of vermicelli and sprouts, continue with layers upon glorious layers of carrots, shallots and parsley

6. Top with tall towering tofu

7. Drizzle over some extra marinade

8. Dig in!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Cinnamon Custard Hotcakes

This recipe's a weird one, to me at least. The pancake's made with custard powder, something I usually associate with puddin'. But I'm always one for the great unknown and my curiosity was piqued. So it goes:

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon custard powder
2 cups milk
  1. Sift all dry ingredients together, once for good measure, twice for luck
  2. Add milk and mix until a smooth, pouring consistency
  3. Pour onto a lightly buttered pan, as small or big as your plate will hold
  4. Turn over once, cook to a glorious golden perfection
  5. Plate it, drown it in maple syrup, and devour!

Pancakes are great breakfast fun so have a go with whatever you fancy: raisins, blueberries, choc chip...I like mine simply flavored with cinnamon, it gives off a warm and sweet aroma when baked that really fires up your morning!

Naked Glory

Work In Progress

Final Masterpiece

Happy Meal

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Changing Lives, Restoring Hope, one cookie at a time.

Vietnam: a land rich with beauty, rustic charm and abysmal poverty. It is a disparity that hits home, everywhere you turn: young and old alike struggling to get by.

This was what Baby G encountered on his recent trip to Ho Chi Minh. Over lunch one day, a young boy approached the table. He had no arms; in their place were stout, deformed limbs, supporting a heavy tray which hung on a string around his neck.

The boy offered a cheerful smile as he held out innocuous packs of cookies, on them a logo that read: Sozo, Restoring Hope - Changing Lives.

Sozo traces its humble beginnings to an oven mounted on a small cart. The cookies it produced gave a desperate Vietnamese the independence and skills to pave his eventual escape from poverty. Today, it continues to help many more do the same.

As G gave him a dollar for the cookies, the boy with his unwavering beam, patted him gently on his shoulder and smiled, “Happy New Year”.

We often underestimate the impact a modest effort can make, yet what seems immaterial to us can go a long way in changing another’s life for the better. So if you are ever in the neighbourhood, look out for Sozo and the kids who rove the streets selling its cookies; In return for a dollar and hopes of a better life, you’ll get a glimpse of their tireless determination and a brave smile that will humble you to no end.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Cinnamon Tartlet Rolls

What better way to welcome a New Year morning than with home made rolls? These babies are simple enough to whip up on a lazy Sunday morning, and smell divine, thanks to the liberal sprinkling of cinnamon under, in between and all over.

Rather than your usual hearty roll, these were half the size and twice as adorable. I opted out of the usual sugar glaze as I wanted the rolls to come to their own, basking in all their cinny goodness.

The results were a pleasant surprise. Rather than hide under a blanket of syrupy glaze, the rolls rose proudly atop a base of cinnamon buttercream, dolloped into the bottom of the pan. I was worried about a soggy base, but the rolls absorbed the flavored cream nicely in the baking, and the result was a light, pastry-like crust all around, and a moist and tender crumb in the middle.

These little delights were light and easy to eat, definitely on my list of entrees to try the next time we host a party.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Choc Ginger Cupcakes

This was one of my first attempts at decent baking, a Christmas gift for my Baby G. I've been looking for something fitting for my first post, and chanced upon this tonight while going through some old pics.

Hi, I'm Carino, and this is my (food) life story.