Friday, September 17, 2010

Back To Basics - 3

Back to Basics, Desi Soccer Mom's event, is being guest-hosted here this month. The event aims to be a repository of knowledge for ingredients and techniques that are basic to cooking. What's basic for one, can, of course, be advanced for someone else, depending on the kind of cooking and cuisine they are used to.

Here are the guidelines, expectations and rules. I expect to be my usual strict hostess self unless Superhostess raps me on the knuckles and asks me to ease up.

Most of the information below is copied from DSM's post for the first edition of the event.

What the event looks for:

1. How to and tips on how you make your life easier in the kitchen, by grinding pastes or freezing seasonal fruits and vegetables.

2. Recipes for rubs, marinades and masalas

3. Prepping tips - freezing dal, tomato-onion gravy, etc.

4. Recipes for concentrates like this lemon concentrate used to make lemonade.

5. A food recipe that goes with the above is totally optional but welcome.

If you got the drift, start posting the kitchen secrets. Here are the rules:

Rule No. 1: The entries must be original. If inspired or copied from another source, please give credit.

Rule No. 2: Link your post to this post and DSM's orginal post.

Rule No. 3: Older entries are fine as long as you link them here.

Rule No. 4: DSM says she wants exclamation points (!) kept to the minimum and totally avoid them in the title, if you can. (This is an original rule from the blog Indian Food Rocks.)

Please don't send pictures.

Send it to me at srablog AT gmail DOT com.

Please send me the link, your name and blog name.

Please say Back To Basics - 3 in the Subject line of the e-mail.

The deadline is October 17 and I may or may not accept late entries depending on when I do the round-up.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's Been A Pleasure Talking To You

In real life, anniversaires and anniversaries are markers of another year survived, grey hairs accumulated (and done away with), kilos accumulated (maybe even shed), successes and failures great and small, or even of an year that was mercifully staid and uncomplicated in what it proffered. My cynical self (I have other selves as well) would agree with Oscar Wilde: "Most modern calendars mar the sweet simplicity of our lives by reminding us that each day that passes is the anniversary of some perfectly uninteresting event." While I rarely celebrate non-blog milestones on the blog, I do mark the blog anniversary religiously, sometimes eventfully.

For now, though, it's a time to thank you all for spending time here and telling me (or not) what you think of everything that's posted here. I would love to find out why you come here, who you are if I don't know you already, how I've made your day, changed your life for the better and so on and so forth though some of you have told me on and off earlier, but I don't believe in such egotistic excesses ... er ... exercises. (Really, believe me ;) I wish Blogger provided smilies and winkies so I could use them here).

And while numbers don't matter much to me unless they tot up to gazillions in my bank balance and in my blog stats, a Fourth Anniversary does seem like I've lasted here awhile and it's been a pleasure.

Thank you, and keep visiting!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Ice-Cream Something

It's past midnight and just a few minutes ago, She gave up telling Herself She would get a start on something She only needed to do at work tomorrow.

"You're too tired," She said to Herself. "How are you going to put together a report when you feel so weary?" So She continued to surf, reflecting that if there was one thing that could attract and distract and provide endless amusement even as it seemed pointless and hopeless, it would be the Internet. (She means that this mouse potato expects no tangible result from all the surfing. It's a state of being where the journey assumes more significance than the destination, but more on its unapparent significance later, whenever it becomes apparent.)

What did become very apparent, though, was that She could do a short post on the blog and impart some purpose to a sleepless night. Existentialist debate of the abovementioned kind can be happily replaced by hedonism.

The day before She made this, She had lunch at an Aunt's house. The Aunt unveiled something like this but She was too lazy to ask how it was made. She kept thinking, surfing unpointlessly that night and then She told herself, "It's common sense - you know there was ice-cream and there were biscuits, and what melts can freeze again, so just crumble some biscuits, add them to some melted ice-cream and freeze it back." As She prepared to shut down, she continued to surf, and came upon this site which confirmed Her frozenmeltingfreezingagain thought process was the right idea. Her friends liked it too.

The dark chocolate art on top was an inspiration.

This dessert is going to a mad tea party.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Eating Out in Taipei

The first stall that I encountered in the Lin Jiang (Tonghua) night market - they were selling pork dumplings and chicken, among other things. The pork dumplings had some black sesame sprinkled on them. The price for five was NT$40.

Steamed shrimp - mild and delicious

This stall had a variety of foods - meats on a stick, tofu, several bowls of broth bubbling away. I didn't know how to eat them but just bumbled along. It turns out that one way of eating them is that you have to choose your meats, tofu and veggies, which are priced separately. Then they will be boiled in a broth and given to you on a plate with some sauce, and the broth, topped with some celery, comes in a cup.

Meats on a stick - a phenomenon that I've seen in Thailand and Singapore as well, and which one can find throughout the other neighbouring countries, which I hope to visit someday soon!

One of the abovementioned assembled meat-veg-soup combinations

Another stall selling food. In the foreground, in those little cups, is what I think is chowanmushi, savoury Japanese custard containing seafood and mushrooms, which I tasted on a trip to Japan.

There are a variety of sweet potato snacks and desserts - I was too full to try any!

Some more, all colourful

And then some!

Sticky rice cakes, with black sesame and peanut powder, being steamed

And they're ready!

Lest you opt for the white sausage, be warned, it has rice and beans in it, not meat!

Name the body parts! Chicken feet, hearts and livers, great delicacies in Taiwan, I'm told!

Look at the stuffed lady's finger/okra. It was tasty - and cold.

Offerings at the Longshan Temple

Many, many more of them

Century eggs on tofu, I think


I don't even know what this is!

And finally, ending on a pretty note!

To see some non-foodie travel pictures, go here.