We left for Bangkok last evening, stayed one night at the airport hotel and flew into Bhutan very early this morning.
We will spend the next 8 days in Bhutan. Away from the urban jungle and my tiresome Blackberry.
I hope we don’t get serious altitude sickness as we make our way up to some dizzying heights above sea-level to see the famed Tiger’s Nest. Will be swallowing pills ahead of the climb!
Whoops! The current (and still single) Bhutan King (King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck) is quite good-looking.
YH bought me half-a-dozen organic passionfruits from D’Kranji Farm two weeks ago. From the sound of their farmstay, I feel like booking a villa one of these weekends to stay and farm-hop.
By the time I took delivery of the fruits, they were fully ripe, fragrant and sweet-tangy delicious. I used a couple of them in a salad and decided to eat the rest au naturel.
Over the weekend, I changed my mind and decided to make a batch of passionfruit muffins to take to my gramps. Used this recipe for the first time.
In the end, I postponed my trip to see gramps. And these muffins (most of them) ended up in my tummy instead.
I like fruit-based muffins and can add passionfruit to the list now. TBH does not quite share the same tastes as me here – ne’mind, more for me to eat.
Last but not least, Happy April Fool’s Day!
Edit: Oops, the fruits weren’t from D’Kranji farm but a neighbouring one.
It is fun taking photos of food. More fun than making the food and twice as fun as eating the food, I feel.
The place in my flat where I take most of my photos and where I get plenty of natural light streaming in is on my washing machine in the kitchen (home to several pots of green plants Yeah, so once in a while, my laundry basket and/or dirty laundry find their way into the photograph when I am not careful.
Unfortunately, my lemon custards were still a little ‘watery’ at the bottom of the ramekins. I should have left the custard cups in the water bath for another 5 minutes.
Apart from the daily eating, the other activity that we enjoyed the most during this trip was the 2-hour walk across the padi fields encircling the Chedi Club’s compound and through a local village that was next to the compound.
Two staff from the Chedi Club brought us on this “guided walking tour”, explaining the rice planting and harvesting cycle and local village customs as well as pointing out to us the various plants and vegetables that were grown in the area, some of which feature in the daily meals at the resort.
Rice planting is back-breaking work. We were also told that it is very laborious for the farmers to chase away the birds which descend on the fields in droves, pecking at the rice grains. To scare the birds, the farmers put up scarecrows, hang up large pieces of coloured cloths which flutter in the wind, construct rudimentary-looking contraptions which produce loud, clanking noises as well as personally roaming in the padi fields making eagle-like screeches from time to time.
Left: Glutinous rice. Right: White rice.
Cocoa trees! This is the first time that I have seen a real cocoa fruit and I was so excited! There were a few cocoa fruits hanging on the trees and I asked the guides if I could pluck one. I wanted to break open the fruit and see what it looked like inside. My husband glared at me when I voiced my suggestion and well, that was the end of it.
And we saw coffee berries too! Reminded me of the delicious Luwak coffee I tried in Jakarta, but no, civet cats do not live in Bali.
Oh, we saw an avocado tree with many fruits on our way up to Bedugul too!
Other Posts On Bali:
Bali: From Ubud With Love
Bali: The Chedi Club
Bali: What We Ate
Bali: Adorable Creatures We Saw
Shirako (cod fish sperm sacs) in a ponzu sauce.
C and I went to Chiharu for dinner several days ago and had shirako as part of our omakase meal.
Eating sperm sacs does sound a little squeamish but I find this stuff very yummy. I enjoy telling my guy friends and male colleagues about how tasty shirako is and watch them squirm. They probably feel an imaginery pain somewhere in their groin listening to me.
People have asked me about its taste. Well, it is soft, smooth and tastes slightly creamy. But I can’t really describe the taste!
Looking at the shirako in the photo now, doesn’t it look like the pig’s intestine that we eat in kway chap?
We had another hearty home-cooked meal at the Tangs over the weekend.
Fried chicken wings. Sambal sweet potato leaf. Stir-fried eggplant with minced pork.
Fried eggs – Rich, runny yolks with unctuous whites and crispy sides.
And best of it all, an awesome slow-cooked winter melon soup with pork ribs and dried seafood (“Pow Tong”). The soup was intensely flavorful . The long hours of boiling must have wrung every bit of goodness from the meat and seafood. (I have no idea what other secret ingredient was added! Hee.)
I love home-made soups, especially when it has been painstakingly simmered by someone who cares. To me, a bowl of home-made soup is what it is meant to be – warmth, goodness and kindness.
White rice, fried eggs and a piping hot bowl of soup – my perfect last meal on this earth. Okay, throw in a good cup of coffee as well.
So when I got home and was in the midst of uploading photos from the camera into the computer, I was like: WHERE IS THE PHOTO OF THE SOUP?
Nowhere to be found. I must have forgotten to snap a picture of the soup. Darn.
Dessert was delicious shortcakes with Korean strawberries and whipped cream.
I was kinda disappointed that I didn’t get a good photo of this pretty dessert the second time round. As usual, TBH was hurrying me so that we could all eat dessert and I just couldn’t get a satisfying shot with him going “fai-di, fai-di’.
I’m not Teochew but I like Teochew porridge alot. Comfort food, really.
We have been frequenting this Teochew porridge place called Xu Jun Sheng Teochew Cuisine at Joo Chiat Place. We had dinner here again last night.
Our standard orders for two:
Steamed clams with wine, garlic and chili. My favourite!
Prawn rolls (hei zor).
Tau pok. Otah.
Sweet potato leaves stir-fried in sambal.
Plain porridge drizzled with steamed clam gravy and tau pok sauce.
The steamed pomfret is fresh and delicious but we order this only when we’re dining with friends.
I made seafood paella for dinner last night. Or what I think is seafood paella because I can’t quite remember how paella tastes like. It didn’t turn out so well.
I didn’t cook the carnaroli rice long enough before adding the seafood, resulting in us having to eat wet paella and over-cooked seafood. Orso, I burnt the rice at the bottom of the pan so the poor pan is undergoing a major soaking exercise.
As part of the prep work for the paella, I roasted red peppers in the oven (which I forgot to use in the end…*darn*). I now know that red peppers roasting in the oven produce delightful smells.
For starters, we had insalata caprese. The plum tomatoes were good but the buffalo mozzarella that I bought this time didn’t seem to have much flavour to it. (According to Wiki, insalata caprese is also known as a Tricolore salad due to its three colors, which mimic the Italian flag).
Thinking that we needed more vegetables, I also made a mesclun salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
The chocolate mousse turned out decently. Light and not-too-sweet as it was made with mostly bittersweet chocolate and egg white – the recipe didn’t call for heavy cream.
Have to try making the paella again someday. Can’t expect to get it right the first time.
Inspired by the 3-layer chocolate mousse D made last weekend, I tried making one last night.
Mine has only one layer of bittersweet chocolate. I used Green & Black’s Organic Dark Chocolate with 70% cocoa.
I am not a fan of chocolate-based desserts. But since my cousins are coming over for dinner tonight and they like chocolate desserts, I thought making a chocolate mousse would be nice and also, manageable for me since it could be made in advance.
The mousse looks a bit dull in the glasses; maybe I should add tiny, chunks of fruit to pretty it up. Maybe not, in case I mess it all up.
I haven’t tasted the mousse, and am crossing my fingers…..!
Made a batch over the weekend and scoffed most of them.
Great with coffee in the morning.
The weather is awfully warm, I’m dying for some breeze.
I wish I had purchased a DSLR camera much earlier to take better photos of the mind-blowing meals that TBH and I have been eating at the Tangs over the last couple of years.
We learnt how to ‘eat well’ at their home. By ‘eating well’, I mean developing a discerning palate as to what is good quality western/european food. Thank you so much.
Many restaurants serving such cuisine here either serve poor quality food or are simply not providing the high quality fare (and service) that their eyebrow-raising prices call for. There are only a couple of places here which I personally feel have a respectable price-quality ratio.
For dinner last evening, we had a delicious chicken fricassee (with mushrooms, Ratte potatoes, onions and celery root), accompanied by a bottle of Lenz merlot. We sopped up the lovely sauce with hot, crusty baguette.
This was followed by slushy orange granita with Campari (refreshing in the hot weather) and a decadent three-layer (bittersweet, milk, white) chocolate mousse for dessert.
As usual, we had a good time chatting over dinner. Especially now that the kids are older and are good fun to talk to.
But we had to help them with their Chinese homework first – not that we were of much help since we are quite useless where written Chinese is concerned – and it is horrifying to know how much harder school is now.
Yay! I am finally out of work hell. Okay, not entirely but the light at the end of the tunnel is glowing quite brightly now.
Feeling relieved and somewhat light-hearted, I was in the mood to make lunch today.
Roast chicken thigh, carrots braised in butter and home-made beef stock (which has been sitting in my freezer forever), mesclun salad with a Japanese dressing.
Why doesn’t my chicken brown nicely…?!
Actually, what I really like is the braised carrots and the tasty braising stock sweetened by the carrots. So for me, the chicken and the salad are just accompaniments-for-the-carrots.
And almost everytime TBH sees carrots on his plate, he’ll ask his “rhetorical” question: “Do you know why western carrots are orange in colour…?”
On the first day of Chinese New Year, we took a half-day trip to Bedugul, a mountain town in centre-north of Bali.
It was a bumpy but scenic, 1.5 hour drive from where we were in Ubud to Bedugul. We saw beautiful rice terraces on our way up and the scenery felt somewhat surreal.
In Bedugul, we enjoyed the cool mountain air, saw the Ulun Danu Temple at Lake Bratan, and strolled along the lake. The place is quite touristy and was crowded with so many visitors that day.
We visited the nearby fruit-and-vegetable market where I bought an assortment of freshly-made chips (tapioca chips, banana chips, sweet potato chips), spicy karopok and rice crisps.
The market also had several stalls selling beautiful flowering plants and orchids. We saw a few which we would have liked to bring home but couldn’t. We were hoping to visit the Botanical Gardens just a short drive away but it started to pour and that put an end to our plans.
Pretty place. If only there were fewer people.
Other Posts On Bali:
Bali: From Ubud With Love
Bali: The Chedi Club
Bali: What We Ate
Bali: Adorable Creatures We Saw
Bali: The Padi Field Walk