Food and drink


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Since the 37-week pregnancy, I have been occasionally started to worry that the little one will comes not in a full term. Now, two weeks have been happily and peacefully passed. Little one seems sitting comfortably inside: following perfect sleeping and moving alternation schedule. However, the uncertainty is gradually increased since the start of 39-week, because she might arrive in any moment then, or overdue which is another worrying situation.

Emotionally, her arrival will be the moment to really start another unknown life, although I have been prepared for about 9 months already. When little one is still part of inside you, I do not think I will know what it will be like when she is truly here. I am happy with the lifestyle I had before, although somehow I do feel something is missing. I do not know what exactly it is. It might be a habit of overlooking the life what you have already or not have. I do not wish to have everything, but maybe certain things in certain moments. To be honest, I have not imagined that I could be a mom-type, but I do believe I could be a good one, even most my friends are convinced. That is definitely contradiction between what you want and what you can. I might want to have my own kid, no matter how happy I was with my life. That is something I have been sure for long time. Only I prefer to have in a later age, if that is successful. Whether you can be a mom in certain time in fact is quite uncertain, with ticking biological time. As a medical scientist myself, I believe good healthy condition regardless certain female fertility age, but also odds. Meanwhile, left all these scientific evidences or possibility out, to have a baby is not only a biological result. I believe the soul and spirit of a human being, and something it could be a very precious little beautiful gift. Therefore, I have a very mixed mentality about having a baby, or your own kid.

These 9~10 months pregnancy for me, it is a learning process to know my physical body and the deep feeling with myself and new born. I know that I have gradually fallen in love deeply with this little one, since the moment I knew she is there. Occasionally, I felt a bit overwhelmed about the unknown changes for myself and responsibility for someone who is so tender and fragile. In the different stage, I know I wish she could be healthy and happy with whatever I could do. That is probably biological or instinct bonding with the little one. By the time goes time, the love is getting stronger. Life is full of surprise, or just a little sweat candy, depending on how you could like to taste it.

In the past weeks, I have developed the so-called “nesting” behavior, but I realize that is also possible because I feel the uncertainty. With an almost done to do list, full of tasks for preparation or things I could do for myself, I just cannot stop to think or refresh myself daily. Rather than “nesting”, I am actually a bit afraid. I have read several well written articles about how devastating and hurtful parents lost their loved kid; about mature adult could not develop the maternal instinct. I also have been touched by amazing videos of new born, and I feel strong affection which I seldom felt before. I have enjoyed to gently massaging my nice belly, talking and singing to little one, asking father to read story to her when she is awake……I do not know when exactly we will finally meet her, maybe in two days, this weekend, or next week? I know I love to finally meet her, with plenty of joy and care.

When colorful autumn arriving this year, we could not go anywhere freely as we want, just like last year. But thanks for the little one, I have also spent amazing relax and happily months. Instead, this year, we have received the best quality chestnut. With a bit mixed up, it becomes a super delicious banana chestnut cake. I could not be happier about how it is teased like: fruity and nutty, warm and sweat. The best treat for the season.

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(p.s. cake and photos from leee)

Original inspired receipt – Brilliant banana loaf , and seasonal food – chest nut

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From spring to later summer

Eating well has always been my joy and way of living. This year I could enjoy cooking more, probably due to the weird good weather, my super relax mood and unexpected long time off. Or, if I eat well, I feel well. It is not necessary to be comprehensive food, but just comfort, healthy home cooking, can be enjoyed by myself, two persons plus little one inside or with friends.

I could not agree more that  cook and eat well are the simple joy and celebration of life, which can be reached daily. My inspiration could come from seasonal food, ingredients from pantry, TV receipts, magazine, or anywhere, whenever. Be casual, spontaneous and creative are the essential fun of cooking, for me.

(All photos and food were made by Leee )

P.S My favorite foodie/culture/documentary programs this year

A cook Abroad – Series of BBC TV chefs

Parts Unknown – Anthony Bourdain

Fearless Chef – Kiran Jethwa

Marokko in zes gerechten – Chez Benali

Wedding day – Lieve Blancquaert

Langs de oevers van de Yangtze – Ruben Terlou

Turkish are probably the best masters of roasted food as I known. As soon as we have checked in a small hotel somewhere in Sirkeci region, with the help of GPS and Guardian Guide, we were heading to one of best kebab restaurants in Istanbul – Şehzade Erzurum Cağ Kebabi. After two years, I could not recall what it exactly liked, but only thing I remember is that the meat was defiantly one of best roasted flavor I have ever tasted, and it was complexly unexpected.

Spending busy sightseeing day from bazaar to bazaar, one of the best snacks you could get is the fast food type of kebab sold just in the corner of bazaar entrance. Ever though, it would not be disappointing you. Juicy kebab meat was generously stuffed into a big piece of Turkish bread. Avoiding the novel way of adding fired chips, you can just stay eating street food type of kebab, not fancy fast food type.

In Istanbul Karakŏy near the sea side, fresh fish market sells all kinds of fish. Sitting in any open restaurant with amazing view of sea and mosque, you can enjoy grilled or fried sea fish, probably directly from the market. No any fancy garnish or any other complex flavor, only raw onion and piece of fresh lemon, maybe a bit pepper and salt. You can just have the very pure taste of fish. Or, you can get a grilled fish stuffed in bread, mixed with a bit salad and raw onion and chill sauce as a perfect afternoon snack.

For me, Izmir did not give me much more impression. However, a hided amazing kebab restaurant – Doyuran Manisa Kebap Salonu, cached all my attention and memory. Sitting outdoor under green shadow, different from Istanbul, Īskender kebab is big sliced and thin meat; mainsa kebab is layered on soft bread yet with super crispy skin. Both are served with tomato sauce and splendid yogurt, roasted green chili. I am not vegetarian, love meat but also do not eat much, definitely not large portion during lunch. However, I ate maybe 300-400 gram kebab only during that lunch? And it was just satisfying. With meat roasted in master level, all you can have is the very authentic way of enjoying meat, not other fancy flavor, just the piece of meat with the very sense can only come from well roasted meat.

1410776279040 Doyuran Manisa Kebap Salonu - izmir

If unfortunately, you are very strict vegetarian, you can still enjoy various baked/roasted food. Famous pita bread can be served with any dish; Gözleme is stuffed with spinach and cheese; Simit is baked with sesame seeds, which you can get anywhere and it is even perfect as a snack; Vegetarian Turkish pizza is stuffed with fermented spinach and cheese.

Such country, when I have opportunity traveled from coastal region to the central Anatolia region. With the changed and amazing landscape, I understand why roasted/backed food is one of the essentials in its cuisine, and Turkish are absolutely masters of grill and roasting.

(All photos from Leee’s Turkey trip on Sep 2014)

Other reading
Turkey session one – Unforgettable Istanbul

Still cannot believe, it took so long to start my Thai trip. I guess about more than 5 years. I have been moving, working hard, travelling around, and finding balance in the passed years. I could be happy, sometimes stressed, sad and recovered, circling and arsing.  This time, just so easy to say go, and I finally did it. It was a wonderful trip, and again make me feel love it more. For myself, it is probably just the moment what I really need after all of these and those.

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Soup and noodle20150217_104039

Sit down aside on the street to have simple clear noodle soup, floating boat rice noodle soup with braised duck breast meat in floating market, mini fish ball rice noodle somewhere in Chaing Mai, oyster sauce stir fried wide noodle (phat si io) in Phuket town market, rice noodle are like daily snacks which you do not want get rid of. When you are lightly bit hungry, to have a good portion of warm rice noodle in clean soup, it is just so comforting and healthy. The soup is most time pork meat and bone stock, and it has special meaty freshness and goes perfectly with rice dish. You can have separated clean pork bone soup or pork blood soup, and eat together with rice noodle or Khao Kha Moo. Or, you can order the number one famous Tom Yum Goong, as a twisted type of Thai curry soups. If you are in love with sweet and sour flavor, Pad thai is definitely served as the king of fried rice noodle.

Thai Curry

Only when I visited Thailand, I have understood that I have cooked home Thai curry in a20150217_101830 wrong way for quite a while. Based on Indian curry, I only add lemon grass, fish sauce, coconut milk, Thai basil. It actually contains much more and different fragrant herbs and flavor than what I usual did. There are actually 4-5 types of ginger, Thai basil, lime. I have been always wondering where the green and red color come from green/red curry, and I have never truly believed it comes from chili. Maybe, just some color herb/root power has been added, like turmeric adding the beautiful yellow to Indian curry. It turns out it is actually chili, fresh green chili, red chili, dried chili, spur chili, bird’s eye chili…

Thai curry should be hot with chili spicy, not spicy from other spices. It, however, also contains amazing and distinguished fragrant from kaffir leaf, lemon grass. Thai curry does not really use so much onion as typical Indian curry, maybe shallot. With plenty of coconut milk, it should be juice with rich sauce, or even soup like. Together with jasmine rice, it is just so perfect.

20150217_120824You can get signature Thai curry from night market, local restaurants, or a bit trendy new styles Thai restaurants in luxury department store, even from yourself during attending Thai cooking course. It is tasted good everywhere. I probably still prefer those local restaurants, eating a plate portion Thai chicken curry in a very casual and relaxing environment, surrounded by busy local eaters. It is just amazing food in your mouth eventually. Another perfect way to really understand Thai curry, you can always following Thai cooking course. It already becomes a part of touristic experience. I am a person not bad at cooking myself, and spend quite lot of time caring about cooking and food, but I still think that such touristic course is such a good enter to get to know Thai curry. Curry paste is just fresh hand prepared and grinded, and as a matter of fact you could contribute to grind. It is really joyful to see some much beautiful ingredients lying in front of you. At that moment, in the very end of my trip and after eating so much incredible food from central to south to north, I have understood the essential of Thai cooking is about the secret fresh treat from nature and smart preserved flavor. The preparation is the key of Thai flavor, and the actual cooking sometimes may only take few minutes.

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P.S. All photos were taken by Leee, during thai trip Feb 2015.

Read  Thai flavor on the way – 1

          Thai fast through my camera

The best quality of street food which you could get on the way should be in Asian, so simple and joyful. Eating outside or on the way is a sense of joy and celebration. You can eat whenever and whatever, in any occasion and location, because they are just so easy to get. There is not necessary to be restricted or formal, instead you can spend few minutes waiting for the tasty and golden banana roti baked with greasy butter, somewhere in the busy street corner; you can drink a warm rice noodle soup prepared by a little food cart. Does not matter whatever the vendor put into the soup, could be fish sauce, pork offal soup or pork blood, finished with fresh coriander. It is just so right, while it is probably 30 degree in the afternoon. Or, just as simple as a fresh opened coconut full of sweet juice water. It is Thai flavor on the way.

Night market

When we arrived at Krabi, it was20150210_134429 about 21:00. We were certainly not afraid of finding a local place to eat, just like we did else well in Thailand. What you should expect is that Thai food are everywhere. Unfortunately, Krabi is not like other over popular and touristic places, where is not much local restaurants. Streets are much less populated. However, when you keep the faith about the Thai street couture, we accidently entered a busy night market full of food carts which was just hided in those empty streets. At that moment, when you saw so much ready cooked little piece of rice with meat and vegetables wrapped in 20150211_192244banana leaves, I knew it must be cooked with coconut milk, one of my favorite south east flavor. Fried sour and sweet rice noodle (Pad Thai) was wrapped with egg omelet (probably south west Thai style, I guess), and served with raw soybean sprouts and peanut crumbles, finally fresh lime juice to awake all the flavors. Northern style Pork green curry with coconut milk cooked in small hot pot, together with yellow noodle. Its sweetness was much stronger than the normally spicy Thai curry. With little money, my tongue felt treated like queen.

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Khao Kha Moo (braised pork leg)

The next morning in Krabi, we again started to search somewhere for brunch. 1423361796736Just in the corner of a downtown street, a typical local restaurant was opened. I can immediately recognize this type of restaurant, and I knew they probably provided good local food, when you saw much local people were happily eating. It only opened from morning until afternoon, with limited amount of its signature dishes served through. One of them was pork leg braised in sweat dark sauce. The cooking way was perfect demonstration of mixed influence from north, Myanmar and China.

The most unforgettable Khao Kha Moo was from our trip in Chiang Mai. Outside the white elephant gate (Chang Pauk), we were busy with our temple tour and sightseeing in the burning afternoon. Street food vendors were gradually to set their equipment for the coming night. After first night ended up in a touristic restaurant, even the food was ok. We decided back to Chang Pauk street food block, where the food heart was located. Cowboy lady was just standing there holding two giant knifes, cutting the pork leg meat. The meat was just so tender, as falling so easily from the bone. I had heart this lady somewhere, and her stall was named in Chinese “Feng Fei Fei”, probably after the ever famous Chinese singer. Big plate pork leg meat was braised so juice and tender. The fattiness was completely faded away, only the sweetness and aroma from cooked mixed herbs and pork meat.

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Khao man kai (Hainanese chicken rice) 

As a Chinese style white chicken originally from Hainan, 1423361863398Hainanese chicken rice is a partial dish with migration culture in south-east Asian. Chicken meat is off-white, and skin must be slightly golden after boiling in stock. Sauce and rice are prepared different from other south-east countries, which are also having Hainanese chicken rice.

We were wondering in the phuket old town. Still busy old town was surrounded by hundred years old sino-portuguese buildings, where I even felt a bit sentimental because of its ever history and familiar everywhere characters. I had been thinking go back to the local restaurant, where the half Hainanese taxi driver suggested. Around the corner, with few tables set on the street, simple and popular food was served. Two ladies were helping out and cleaning. In the stall, only chicken, cha shao and few other things hanging, I just cannot resist the clear and light chicken rice with refreshing dipping. Here they were. Plastics plate like elsewhere, placed a good portion rice and fine sliced chicken, a bit dark sauce and few sliced cucumber. In the following, we probably just encountered one of perfect kaho man kai. I tried the prepared chili fermented bean (I guess) sauce set in a big jar. It was just tasted so incredible, yet spicy. I can barely stop, and eventually we had extra more chicken.

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Sweat and fruity

Feb 2015 196In the contrast spicy everywhere in Thailand, it is just so easy to find sweat or fruity sweat. The very first sweat will be the fresh coconut water. I love the lightness and freshness of the coconut water, and it is so easy to get. I can drink in anytime and every day, and I have no idea how many of them have been consumed during my stay. Pity, I could not get the coconut meat inside.Only if you love coconut related all, then you will be in the heaven. Because, the following sweat which you can super easily get everywhere through north to south in any occasion (fortunately, I have tried all), nothing is without coconut product:

  • khao neaw ma muang (coconut milk sticky rich with mango)
  • Sago coconut milk with black bean
  • Sago coconut milk with fresh mango
  • Kluay buat chee (Bananas in coconut milk with)
  • Khanom Krom (coconut rice pancakes)
  • Khao tom mud (coconut milk cooked sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves)
  • Coconut milk and meat sorbet
  • Toasted banana with coconut sugar dipping
  • Any combination of coconut milk and beans, rice, sweat potatoes, taro and etc

As the big lover of coconut, I call coconut the king of south Asian sweat. Does not matter with what, how could it go wrong? For those without coconut, you can have Khao Lam (sticky rice in bamboo), any type of fresh made fruit juice, banana roti, Durian cake, pandan leave cake….

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(p.s. All photos were made by Leee, during the trip in Thailand Feb 2015.)

Continue to read  Thai flavor on the way – 2 

                             Thai fast through my camera

you can also check this nice Migrationology website for more Thai tips


Few weeks ago, I have been in Westergasfabriek for FFF 2014 event. Since then, I already feel in love with this specious and industrial designed region. It is definitely the place to have urban and fun events. Go to “Rollende Keukens” (Rolling Kitchens) was just to full fill my desire for revisiting Westergasfabriek. However, we had great great fun in this surprising good street food event. I have seen such event in other places via TV, but never here before.

Little trucks have been painted and renovated into any unimaginable cute formats. I have been sick for years for the terrible sacks served in any music or outdoor events. Street food, somehow is used to fatty and fast, here is still fast, but green and innovative. You can find absolutely real grill. The  pork belly was roasted for hours by a group of punk “chefs”, mixed with a bit sour cabbage and pickled onion, and staffed into Ciabatta. That taste masters the true flavor pork, and it reminds me the unforgettable grilled pork belly in South Korean (finally served together with Kimchi). It is really funny to see the unbelievable similarity of Western and Easter way of mastering the amazing pork belly. Anyway, there were several other bloody tasty pieces we have tried. Eventually, food is food, and taste good is the king. I felt in sleep in the train during the way back to home, with happily filled stomach.

Some links: Rollende Keukens WestergasfabriekHotMamaHot, Dirty Duck, RAINARAI, Rabarcello, Smokey Goodness

 

May 2012 001每年中秋的时候,不论人在哪里,最最思念的就是家乡那一枚“云腿月饼”。 虽然每每回家的时候都不忘带些回来,每年这个时候,却是些许的格外想念。家人包了10个,以比月饼自己7-8倍高的邮价特快邮来。刚好一周,就稍到了。撕开包裹一看,整整齐齐躺着家人细心准备的10个我挚爱的“云腿月饼”。

香气十足,上好的云腿末,加上蜂蜜调制的馅,烘烤得香香脆脆的硬壳。每次吃的时候,稍稍加热,香糯的馅因为蜂蜜的缘故,有点微软。带上云腿那种极好的香,整个饼子是暖暖的滋味。

什么时候应该好好试试怎么去做这个饼子吧!我时常这么想,却不知道为什么,一直没有让它发生。每每回到家乡,或者每每这个时候有家乡自己的饼子,会更好吧!

可惜,今年在这里的月亮没那么好。看到家人在另一端的月亮,我也贴上一张旧的明月吧!给思念我们的,我们思念的人。

(photo by leee)

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