Thursday, 26 March 2009

es dawet...da what?

so on a recent trip to Yogyajakarta in Central Java, i simply had to try a local traditional drink...and here it's called es dawet. it was absolutely delicious...a mixture of coconut milk (santen), palm sugar syrup (gula melaka or gula jawa) and rice flour. when it arrived it was all in it's you could see the dark brown of the palm sugar syrup, the white, creaminess of the coconut milk and the little bits of rice flour floating give it a good stir and with a good serving of ice, this must be one of the most refreshing drinks i have had in a long time...slurp! very easy to make but with those delicious asian flavours...yummy!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

home-made vanilla extract

what to do, when you live in a country, where the only vanilla extract you can buy in the supermarket is red and smells like banana? (really it does!) well, you go to Google, do a bit of research and find out how to make your own...and the best part? it's easy-peasy!

take one small glass bottle with a cork. wash thoroughly. leave to dry.
take 3 vanilla pods and cut lengthways leaving a little bit still intact at the bottom.
take one cup of any alcohol you, rum, grappa, or in my case the local brew, arak and pour into little glass bottle.
stuff in the 3 vanilla pods.
store in a cool, dark place for 2 months to allow flavour to infuse.
use generously in baking...when levels deplete, top up and re-store.

could anything be simpler? who needs rocket science after all!

Monday, 16 March 2009

thai pineapple curry banana bread...devilishly divine!

so what do you do when you read on another blog, in this case the fabulous Not Quite Nigella, about a recipe that seems sure to tantalise the taste buds in a variety of ways? why you get out your mixing bowl and start making it, that's what! i mean how could i resist this recipe...curry pineapple banana bread??? the name itself conjures up a mixture of reactions ranging from the thoughts in your can there be curry in a cake? to the impending taste on your tongue...hmmm, curry and banana...ok, ok...there's a possibility it could i jsut had to find out for myself. the recipe originally came from an entry by Catherine from Clever Monkey Studio in a competition that was held on the blog...a banana bread bake-off, where everyone submitted entries based on their favourite banana breads. i entered it but don't remember seeing this recipe until it popped up last week on Not Quite Nigella's blog and my curiosity was piqued...i knew i had to give it a go.

and what a treat...i mean really, this has to be one of the nicest banana breads i have tasted in a long time. from the moment i started making it, there was surprise after surprise. i mean, the way you mix the ingredients for starters seems to be all back-to-front...start with the wet ingredients, end with the dry? but i have faith so i followed and the final batter was lovely and thick, with that beautiful orange tinge that can only come from the addition of the curry powder. and then 3 tablespoons of curry powder, i mean it seemed so excessive? could it really need that much? but in it per instructions...

well, the smell of it baking in the oven was really enough to produce enough saliva to...umm, not sure where i can go with that...but you know what i mean. it was heavenly. rich and spicy and aromatic. and then when it came out...all golden and cracking open...oh, did i really have to wait for it to cool. i mean where was my brother when i needed him?...the one who always demands instant cutting of cakes...

and once i had a peek inside...oh it was better than opening the cover of a brand new book...those pieces of pineapple had become little blobs of soft, jammy, gooey stuff and the bread was rich and dark, and the smell...the bananas came through so wonderfully but then there was that faint hint of the curry. and that first mouthful...oh, divine upon divine...i loved it. not too sweet, but oh-so-flavourful...this is definitely to be made again...and if you know what's good for'll get those mixing bowls out and be inspired to make one too!

Thai Pineapple Curry Banana Bread

3 ripe bananas
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp coconut milk powder (or unsweetened coconut)
1 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp curry powder
1/2 cup chopped pineapple
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 325F. Spray Mix with spoon in a large bowl, melted butter, mashed bananas and coconut milk powder. Mix in sugars, egg, lime juice and curry powder. Add pineapple and mix. Mix in baking soda. Add the flour and mix. Pour into greased 4x8 loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on rack before removing from pan.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

a very Happy (un)Birthday to Me!'s my birthday...and for my party i just HAD to make my own cupcakes...cos let's face it...i'm such a freaking cake snob that i am so fussy about eating something i haven't made myself. i mean it has to be really to avoid disappointment...i D-I-Y it! Being such an Alice in Winderland fan, i decided to throw a MadHatter's Tea Party and what better cupcakes than these...colourful vanilla cupcakes...decorated with those all important words 'eat me'. the very words that get Alice into all that trouble in the first place!
Happy Birthday to Me!