27 May 2011

The Street Where We Lived


I miss London.

I miss the street where we lived when Mr. B. and I were on holidays there. There was a store in the corner that never opened for the duration of our stay. I think it was a small neighborhood grocery. Across the street there was an Indian restaurant that never seemed to have any diners. We did see a few but they looked more like friends of the owner. They probably ate for free.

A posh family lives in the flat next to us. We like watching them prepare meals for guests while Mr. B. smoked on the steps outside. I watched the husband stuffed the car with luggage and took his wife and two children on holidays. Perhaps somewhere not as cold. Then there was this fashion designer who has a shop in the corner. Her shop was all black and we never saw anyone going in and coming out of it.

Mr. B. would take me on his back and walk around the block sometimes. The street was almost always wet and covered with leaves from the bald trees. I remember the air being really cold and painful to the nostrils. I was glad I had furs, but Mr. B. had to cover himself up really well.

I wish I can go back again. But maybe it is best to have those beautiful memories stay perfect. Sometimes, Mr. B. and I would watch the photos and video we made from our trip. Then we would hug each other tight. No one else would ever know what it meant for us.

23 May 2011

Easy Eats #16 - Sweet Potato Croquette

Sweet potato is one of the most nutritional foods for humans so instead of the usual potatoes, I am using this to make today's croquette. This deep-fried goodie is originally a French invention but has gained worldwide popularity that every other country has its own version. I hope you will enjoy this one!

Ingredients:
5 medium size red sweet potatoes
200 gm ground beef (or pork whichever you prefer)
1/2 onion, minced
Paprika powder
Cayenne pepper powder
All -purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
Breadcrumbs (preferably panko)
Ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper
Oil

Instructions:
1. Peel and steam sweet potatoes (whole) until done.
2. Mash, season with ground nutmeg and set aside.
3. In a pan, heat some olive oil and saute onions and ground beef.
4. Generously season beef with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and paprika.
5. Once the beef is cooked, mixed it in with the mashed sweet potato and combine thoroughly.
6. Shape the into round balls or flat patties or whatever shape you like.
7. Dip the croquette ball into flour, then beaten egg, then panko bread crumbs.
8. Deep fry for about 3 minutes or until golden brown and crispy outside.

Yummy!! I was able to make around 2 dozens of croquettes from this recipe. By using sweet potato, the result is sweet tasting, smooth mash with bits of spicy, smokey beef inside. Perfect!!

18 May 2011

If We Knew


In a short span of 2 months, 2 of Mr. B. friends passed away under unusual circumstances. It made him quite sad.

"If you knew long before these things happened, do you think you will tell your friends?" I asked him.

Mr. B. seemed to be puzzled by my question at first, but he understood what I meant. He thought about it a little and said, "Maybe they wouldn't believe me."

Life is strange. We, humans and non-humans alike, are brought to this Earth in pretty much the same way. Yet we leave at different times and in different ways - some in their sleep, others suffers for years, yet others in violent pain.

If we all knew when and how things would end for us, what difference would it make? Would be then become a better child to our parents, better parents to our children, a better brother or sister, a better friend? Or would everyone becomes selfish. To each his own, and try to live life to the fullest regardless of other people?

Mr. B. asked the same question to D. the other day. D. said it would have been a boring, colorless life if one knows how it would end. Perhaps he is right. If we knew, then everything we do now may not matter as much anymore. Perhaps not knowing gives each one of us hope as we wake up and face a new day every day.

11 May 2011

Easy Eats #15 - Lazy Lasagna


I love lasagna so I was very happy that Mr. B. bought a new (bigger) oven where I can start experimenting. This is my very first attempt to do lasagna. I know this is not the conventional way to do it and I got a bit creative with the use of ingredients. But the result is heavenly! Try this recipe yourself. It may not be the easiest in this series, but it is definitely worth trying!

Meat Sauce
300g ground beef
1 shredded carrot
1 jar pre-made pasta sauce with tomato and basil
Dried oregano
Dried Italian mixed herbs
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

1. Heat olive oil and cook beef until all liquid has evaporated.
2. Add in shredded carrots and cook until soft.
3. Pour in pasta sauce.
4. Add herbs. Season. And cook in very low fire.
5. Set aside when done.


White Sauce
1/2 head cauliflower chopped
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 can chicken stock
Olive oil

1. Saute garlic and onion in hot olive oil.
2. Add in cauliflower and saute until soft.
3. Pour in chicken stock and boil until all vegetables are cooked thoroughly.
4. Use blender to puree the whole mixture.
5. Set aside when done.

Assembling the lasagna
1. In a 7"x15" baking pan, spread a layer of the meat sauce.
2. Place uncooked lasagna noodle on top of the sauce (I use the type of noodle that does not require pre-boiling)
3. Top with a layer of the white sauce.
4. Sprinkle (generously) with mix cheese (I use a combination of old cheddar and monterrey jack).
5. Top with another layer of noodle, then meat sauce, noodle, white sauce, cheese.
6. The last layer should be meat sauce.
7. On top of the meat sauce, sprinkle more cheese. For this very last topmost layer, I use a combination of mozzarella and parmesan.
8. Before putting the pan in the oven, tap the pan to make everything settle.
9. Bake in 200 degree for about 40 minutes.

Enjoy!!

09 May 2011

Tricks Of The Mind

Mr. B. has a house guest this week. Since they haven't seen each other for many years, they spent a lot of time reminiscing about the good old days. They drank tea and chatted until wee hours in the morning about almost anything and everything - about people, events and places they both experienced together.

Somehow, Mr. B. discovered that many things his friend said were not quite the way Mr. B. remember them to be. In the same way, his friend had different understanding of the events or situations that happened more than 10 years earlier.

I think the human minds can sometimes play tricks. Even when people went through the same experience, they may remember or perceive the same experience in totally different ways. There is no right or wrong. And there is no way to go back to verify what really happened. It's just the way it is.

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