Tuesday, May 28, 2013

the woman in the mirror

Oh sisters, how fickle and self-centred our minds are,
Oh darn our lucks for the men have figured us out...

Intimates by D.H Lawrence

Don't you care for my love? she said bitterly.

I handed her the mirror, and said:
Please address these questions to the proper person!
Please make all requests to head-quarters!
In all matters of emotional importance
please approach the supreme authority direct! -
So I handed her the mirror.
And she would have broken it over my head,
but she caught sight of her own reflection
and that held her spellbound for two seconds
while I fled.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Macerated Strawberry

Macerating is the process of soaking fruit in liquid, which softens it and also often adds flavor or sweetness. When you sprinkle fruits, such as berries and peaches, with sugar and allow them to set for several minutes, they release natural juices which mix with the sugar to form a syrup that in turn softens the fruit.  

My favorite fruit to macerate is strawberry. Strawberries are often "macerated" simply by sprinkling them with sugar, because doing so draws the liquid out of the berries and creates a syrup. Strawberries are also wonderful macerated with a splash of balsamic vinegar and some sugar. 

I have found many use for the delicious little red morsels, not to mention how much fun it is to say you’re macerating something. Dessert is an obvious application, but I also like to use mine as a topping for breakfast dishes and also a sort of relish with chicken dishes. Macerated strawberry can actually take your simple dish and take it to the next level, no more plain old meals with strawberries as topping or garnish.

Macerating is a simple process, but oh so versatile. Variations on a theme are a good thing here. Experiment with different liquids, vinegars and juices as a macerating agent for different flavors. My preference is balsamic vinegar. Also try varying the citrus you use. Lemon is often my choice, but sometimes when all I have is an orange or lime, I'll give it a try and always without fail I am surprised with the outcome.
 

I know I am still very far away from many of the culinary skills I dream of but in the meantime, these strawberries are a great takeaway of a great learning process. I hope you find them as useful and delicious as I do.


Macerated Strawberries

Ingredients

250gm strawberry, quartered or sliced  
2tbsp sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Beans from1/2 vanilla pod

1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp crushed black pepper (optional)

Mix all the ingredients and let steep for at least an hour. Do not leave the strawberry in the liquid for longer than 4 hours.

Serve with vanilla ice cream. Works well as topping for trifle or pavlova too.

*One great way to garnish and add more flavor to the macerated strawberries, just before serving, stack some basil leaves on a cutting board and roll them vertically into a loose cigar shape. Using a sharp chef’s knife, very thinly slice across the roll to make a fine chiffonade of basil.

 Serving Suggestions

  • Layer the berries with yogurt or ice cream for a parfait. Garnish with the basil.
  • Use the berries as a filling for crêpes or a topping for waffles.Serve the strawberries over grilled or toasted pound cake. Garnish with a dollop of cream.
  • Put the berries on split biscuits for shortcakes; top with whipped cream and scatter with the basil.
  • Spoon the strawberries over a poached or roasted peach half.
And today I had the extra juice that has gel when I kept it overnight in the fridge with my homemade greek yogurt for my birthday breakfast. Yumms!
 

Monday, May 06, 2013

The Malaysian 13th General Election is over

The results are out. Both sides got good wins and bad losses. The results has shown strength, influence, weakness and realities that most people fail to see, often blinded by joy of winning and despair of loss. Some cry foul when things don't work their way, accusations flying left and right, everyone have a theory of conspiracy. The voters have chosen and decided, questioning it would just make life more unbearable, haven't we had enough of keyboard and coffeeshop politicking? Well I say it's time to move on with our lives, working on making this a Malaysia we want our children to inherited not some Utopia that only exist in our mind. 

While I am happy that the federal government is still as blue as my finger, none of the results are shocking (well except for that one state), I accept that Penang is collateral damage and race politic is still as thick as it was back in the late 60's. Whether this is good or not, I leave it to you to ponder on that. As for me, I am living the 'collateral damage' life, it's my reality and I know I did my best to assure that not all will be lost. I expected the worst, but the outcome gives me some hope and my faith in Malaysian and Malays especially are restored.

It's up to us, regardless on which side of the divide we are to open our mind, not limiting our vistas to those of our kind, and realize the other side may have a thing to offer to our nation. This is not a perfect one good v. one evil war, it runs deeper than that, and opportunist will always stir things up to their benefit. 

A good opposition is good for a growing nation, so long everyone know the rules of the game. The reality of the outcome of the current events will only seen a couple of generations down the road. So it's time to get off the clouds and settle on good old terra firma. And time for national reconciliation. Thank you to all the brothers and sisters at arm, we did make a difference.