July 30, 2008

KBB#6-Cheese Biscuits

Winter is really getting a bit far from friendly these days. Stormy days, frosty morning, freezing evening, but a mug of good hot chocolate is the best company ever. I've had several experiments on hot chocolate you might want to see either on my PhotoStream or on Through My Lens.

Anyway, bites of cheese biscuits as little companions to creamy and smooth soup could be another alternative to warm us up. These biscuits have been our second option to eat the soup with from home-made sourdough bread, of course. I am making these little cheesy bites as a part of KBB's newest challenge.

Klub Berani Baking is a club where Indonesian ladies come together every two months to try out a recipe and discuss the outcomes through the group's mailing list before posted on everyone's blog (we have non-blogger members, too!). KBB members are also discussing and learning food photography through KBB Flickr Group. We have a themed challenge each month.

It is perhaps similar to your Daring Bakers, although KBB is not going to have members more than 101. Those who are applying for joining in the club have to wait until other members have resigned. I want to keep it small because 101 is a good number for a group of people with similar interests and hobbies. I am just hoping everyone is comfortable under one flag (although you can't really avoid there's some niche amongst some members) and enjoy our friendship while sharing ideas, experiences, and recipes through discussions on the mailing list.

cheese biscuits with kumara and parsnip soup

This 6th task we have is cheese biscuits. The process is very simple and the result is quite nice. We eat these biscuits with kumara and parsnip soup.

The recipe of the cheese biscuits can be viewed here with both languages.

Kumara is sweet potato and we home-grown them. The variety we grow is those with purple skin and creamy flesh. Sometimes in the centre of the flesh of big kumaras will have purple lines, which is so pretty. For you who have never grown kumara or sweet potatoes before, here are some photos you might want to look at on how to grow kumara.

First time growing kumara was in late 2004 and we got the seedlings from a nursery on our way back home from a trip at Glenbrook beach, about 2 hours drive from our farm. They were sold in the form of seedlings like this (the photo on the left).

kumara seedlingharvesting #1harvesting #2

Since then, we tried to sprout our own kumaras and pick each sprouts which are now becoming the new seedlings. It was like a test and true, they take it or die. Until today, it's been usually successful. The harvest is quite plentiful. Kumara is also an easy-growing plant.

The mixture we're using is mainly coarse sand mixed with compost and soil with a little bit of peat or 'manured' straw (taken from the chicken houses). We make beds or mountains for them. While growing, they tend to spill out their vines anywhere. These mountains are needed to keep their roots move easily inside and produce their fruits in the ground.

All about gardening is the gracious rewards you can't even beat with those I usually buy from the supermarket. If you only have a small garden, it should not be an obstacle to keep you from planting anything. As long as you can manage your time being at your work and at your garden, the rewards can be achieved from both ends. It's all about balance, I would think.

Happy planting!

Kumara and Parsnip Soup

kumara and parsnip soup with cheese biscuits

3-4 kumaras, peeled, chopped and steamed
1 parsnip, peeled, chopped and steamed
vegetable stock, about 1 litre
garlic and herb salt, to taste
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
creme fraiche or olive oil, to taste
parsley, to garnish or sprinkle

Puree kumaras and parsnip together, drizzle in the stock to make it easier to mix. Mix together with the stock and water to thin it down. Heat gently until bubbly. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a scoop of creme fraiche or a drizzle of olive oil. Garnish or sprinkle with a sprig or chopped flat-leaf parsley. Enough for 4-6.

This will be my last post until the middle of next month. I am off to Mount Ruapehu for a little holiday with my family (should not we be in Bali by now?). I am going early in August and I'll see you when I get back.


Ini resepku untuk sup Ubi Jalar dan Lobak

3-4 ubi jalar, kupas, potong2 lalu kukus
1 parsnip, kupas, potong2, lalu kukus (boleh dikukus bareng sama ubi jalar)
kaldu sayur (bikin sendiri dari campuran air, potongan wortel, 1 buah bawang bombay, kupas lalu potong2, 3 siung bawang putih, geprak, satu kentang potong tanpa dikupas, batang seledri atau seledrinya sekalian, 1 batang leek-ambil putihnya aja, bisa pake daun bawang kalo ga punya leek, trus tambahin butiran merica hitam atau putih), sekitar 1 liter
garlic and herb salt
merica hitam yang baru digerus
creme fraiche atau olive oil
parsley, buat hiasan atau taburan

Puree ubi jalar dan parsnip yang udah masak, kasih sedikit air atau kaldu supaya lebih gampang mencampurnya sampai lembut dan halus. Masukkan ke dalam panci bersama dengan sisa kaldu dan tambahkan air untuk mencairkan sup jika terlalu padat. Panaskan dengan api kecil sampai mendidih, masukkan bumbu dan cicip. Hidangkan panas dengan sesendok creme fraiche atau olive oil. Hias atau taburi dengan parsley berdaun rata (parsley kan ada dua: yang berdaun rata dan berdaun keriting. Yang berdaun rata itu Italian parsley atau disebut juga flat-leaf parsley, sementara yang keriting cuma parsley). Cukupan deh buat 4-6 porsi.

Untuk tantangan kali ini sangat mudah dan bahan-bahannya juga ga begitu sulit dicari, meskipun keju tergolong barang mahal saat ini. Jangan heran, sejak harga bensin naik, harga-harga dairy product dan barang-barang lainnya juga ikutan naik, ga di Indonesia aja, di Selandia Baru juga. Keju yang tadinya satu block yang harganya cuma satu dolaran sekarang udah 3 dolar lebih bahkan yang lebih gedean udah hampir nyampe 2 digit. Padahal kan Selandia Baru termasuk penghasil keju terkenal di dunia, eh, kita juga kena imbasnya nih!

Meskipun begitu, tantangan tetep jalan terus dong, ga ada acara males hehehe.

cheese biscuits the making

Ga ada kesulitan yang berarti saat membuat tantangan kali ini dan anak-anak lebih tertarik menari ketimbang nguplek di dapur. Aku jadi lebih leluasa. Kami menikmati biskuit ini dengan semangkuk sup.

Untuk keju aku pake campuran cheddar dan parmesan. Waktu coba lagi sih pake parmesan aja. Menteganya aku pake mentega asin, hasilnya ga begitu asin menurutku. Bahkan udah ditambah garlic salt. Tapi ga tahu ya kayaknya sih relatif tingkat keasinan itu. Soalnya untukku sih cheddar sama parmesan itu ga seasin blue cheese atau brie.

Untuk resep silakan lihat di sini.

Pilihanku untuk topping sebagian memakai wijen, sebagian lagi pake cincangan walnuts dan sebagian lainnya pakai cincangan pistachio. Di milis tempo hari Dita memposting tentang taburan gula, aku udah coba juga dan hasilnya asin-manis. Aku bikin ini untuk bekal nanti di Mt. Ruapehu. Musti bekal makanan yang banyak hehehe...

Sampai ketemu lagi bulan depan. Siap-siap untuk Ulang Tahun KBB yang pertama ya!

July 27, 2008

A Feast in A Stormy Day

On Friday night, we already heard that we would get a storm on the weekend. That evening, we moved the sheep to the back paddock where they can shelter in the old shed. Just as well, we found out that newborn twins were just arrived, perhaps in the night before. We are glad that they're doing alright, looking healthy and already running around their mother.

rhubarb brulee

And that very late evening, I've just finished making creme brulee with rhubarb mixture for our dessert tomorrow. By now, the rain was still pouring with mild wind. We got in the bed with rain was still down pouring with occasional hail in between.

On Saturday morning, it was getting heavier with wind furiously blowing. Some of our guests from Auckland city had to cancel their trip to the countryside, which was a shame as I've made a lot of desserts and sweets to choose from. I could not blame them because it was a tremendous storm. The wind was 150km/h screaming out loud through the twisted branches. The tallest trees are swinging from right to left, front to back, twisted and turned. Goodness gracious, it was just scary.

In the middle of our midday feast, we had to accept the truth that we had to surrender of the power of the power. When it's out, what to do? We could not even boil a kettle. Luckily we have a great fireplace with cast-iron on top which I sometimes use to cook when we run out of gas and don't have a replacement. I hate using power stove, so much electricity to use. Guess how much bill we have to pay by using electric coils stove.

fondant potatoes on the table
vegetables coffee sponge cake
the main dishes assorted macarons

However, the feast itself was a success, I suppose. I am quite satisfied to be surrounded by family and friends, the people that I know and am comfortable being with. I made fondant potatoes, chicken-venison lime and chilli roast, steamed puha, sliced fresh tomatoes, sauteed mung bean sprouts, and trio broccoli-brussel sprouts and sauteed cos lettuce salad sprinkled with grated parmesan. The drink is casual as we don't drink alcohol, we always love my home-made lime juice. I am using Tahitian lime as we grow them. They're turning yellow at present and I have to make the most of them before they're rotten.

As the birthday cake, my youngest daughter asked me if I could make a giant mushroom for her birthday. I have to admit that I am not keen on cake decorating at the moment. I like seeing beautiful work of decorated cakes, but it takes so much time, so much work and I have to do it all by myself. And I am not up to it, so I asked Sarah if it's alright I make it easier. She said she did not mind as long as I will use M&M sweets as parts of them. Right.

the giant mushroomblow the candlesthe happy girl

I don't have that kind of cake tin (half-sphere shape) as the mushroom head, so I use steamed pudding mould. The bottom cake is a muffin. I made orange and almond cake. It was quite firm to hold the shape. The giant mushroom was tinted pink and green. The idea was adapted from AWW Kids Party Cakes, if you have the book, I am sure you can find the photo which is similar to Sarah's mushroom.

Sarah was very happy with her cake, like other children who always admire their parents' work, I suppose that's how they express their appreciation: by licking the bowl, or printing their fingers on your decorated cakes?

no power but candle

Other than no power to watch TV on what's going on the other parts of New Zealand, we just curling up around a candle, reading books to children before they're going to bed and we went to bed earliest than ever. I could not sleep. I hate darkness. I probably have some kind of darkness phobia, but I just hate sleeping without any glimpse of light. I had to draw the curtain and let a little light with a silhouette of swinging trees beyond the paddock. I had to get up again and continued writing on my unfinished novel until I had no more words in my head to jot down. I tried to go back to bed. I still can feel that my mind and body are not resting until the powere were back on early in the morning. What kind of feeling I am having now, I know you know for sure.

broken and up-rooted

In the morning we were walking around and found out three trees were up-rooted. Many pine branches are broken their limbs which are now scattered on the driveway. Our door steps are all messy with pine needles, swooped through. Our paddock is a mass of broken pine twigs and their new leaves. It's a mess. However, there's not much we can do to clear them all on one day. The day is still gray and it is still raining.

come on, browniesniff sniff miaowwwgo away, cow

These photos above are taken just this morning. We moved the calves back to the nearest paddock. They are quite tame and one of them is Brownie, we call them, is always following us wherever you go. It's sometimes a bit worrying because he often nod his head just like he will nudge us with his horns which are very well noticed. But he does not do that. He's a curious young cow. When he spotted Bow Bow with us, he runs across the paddock and meets him by the fence. Sniffing around. Bow Bow clearly did not like the sniffing session, as you can see his expression on the photo. He tries to escape from Brownie and climbs up the tree. But Brownie keeps standing under the tree with his head bows up and down. It was quite funny, really. I often have a good laugh to see these animals actions.

More storms will come our way tomorrow (which I hope won't happen). If it will, I apologize if I am not making my way to visit your blogs. I will return your visit when the day is fine again.

I hope you're enjoying your weather!

July 25, 2008

Thank You!

Thank you for all of you who have supported and participated on the Books for Love project. The money we've raised is IDR 6,050,000.00 for the cancer children at Indonesian Care of Cancer Kids Foundation (YKAKI) in Indonesia. Without your support, this project could not have happened. Truly from my deepest heart I am so grateful and thank you on behalf of the people at the foundation and also of the cancer children as well.

Love to you all!

July 24, 2008

GYO: Pumpkins

Bee and Jai have announced Grow Your Own event as a part of Andrea's GYO.

I am submitting this roast pumpkin as I love it! I am roasting them with sage and garlic. In tradition of our family, pumpkin can be sliced or chopped in chunks to accompany other vegetables such as potatoes, kumaras (sweet potatoes) or parsnips as the main dish to roast chicken or lamb. Roast pumpkin is also nice pureed and mixed with fresh cream and vegetable stock to make roast pumpkin soup. There's always more options to do with pumpkins.

We grow our own pumpkins as I've written in Donna's Silverbeet (Pumpkin) Gruyere Gratin post. They grow well in our garden soil and there's no such hassle. They even grow on our back paddock just because my husband threw the rotten pumpkin out of the garden to the back paddock, so the bird can eat its seeds. Magical thing happens, some of the seeds are tucked in well under the grass and grown into vines. Yes, New Zealand soil is quite fertile.

This is my entry for Grow Your Own, created by Andrea and this month is hosted by Bee and Jai.

Roast Pumpkin


1 medium pumpkin
8 cloves garlic
1 sprig fresh sage
salt and pepper
olive oil

roast pumpkin-glass-fork4

Preheat the oven to 180C. Wash the pumpkin. Chop or slice. Put them in the bowl. Mix with garlic cloves and sage leaves. Drizzle the oil over and toss to combine. Sprinkle with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Enough for 20.

July 20, 2008

Meringues and Gorgie Porgie Story

gorgie porgie

It's been 5 days now we're having Gorgie Porgie, that's what we named him, under our care. He was very weak after being born and could not suckle very well. We brought him back to our home and fed him regularly. Unfortunately, he's getting weaker and weaker within hours. He flopped down and could not go back up anymore. Since that very day, we're still feeding him and giving him a hand to try to lift himself up. The second till the fourth day, he could barely move his head up. We almost believe that he's going to die the next morning. Surprisingly enough, he's still alive. And this morning, he could cry 'baa baa' when I called his name, he could blink and put his head up. He could even flap his own ears. I think that was a progress, although he's still quite weak, I am hoping he'll be coping better than before. When he can stand up by himself, that is miracle!

The other day, more twins were prematurely born. One is survived until today but the other one had to be brought home as well. She looked alright after several feeds. She could stand up and had a walk outside. She was able to follow me around and her voice was quite loud. Unfortunately, this morning the children found her laying down without breathing. Oh, I was so sad I had to call her name several times to hope she would return my call. My expectation was then too high. I just could not believe she had to die! Folks, this is the time of the year we're keeping or losing lambs. Even we have to accept the fact that we're losing one of our ewes which was bearing her lambs, died, could not deliver and she herself had to suffer from the labour and died with her lambs. I know, this is a sad story, but this happens at the farm. Just time of the year, time of the year.

Michelle of Greedy Gourmet is running the SnackShot #5 themed Meringues this month. I am sending these for the event. These are button meringues I named them as they are quite petite. I made them for my beloved as a treat. I made about 40 buttons of these mini meringues and he just finished them all within a day! He loved being a sweet tooth, I suppose.


About photography, many of you are questioning whether I am a student of photography and I must disappoint you with the answer: NO. I am a self-taught person, and I learn from good photos. I learn techniques from my camera manuals as well as lots of articles over the internet and I seek advice from professional photographers. I also make a lot of experiments on different things which are suitable for food photography. I would say that practice makes perfect, but in my case, practice makes good photos.

There are things that can be achieved without school or courses, like you're decorating your own cake without going to epicurean courses or alike. These things can be learned through trials and errors, therefore, you're getting to know more what's good to your vision and what's not. Sure, people have preferences but you have a firm imagination to deliver to your audience that this is my taste, this is my style, and stay with it. You can always adopt someone's style, but it won't be satisfying because you can feel that it is not you, it is not your style. In food photography, there is style, too.

Some people prefer to work with advanced techniques but lacking of suitable elements of food photography, like the choice of properties, suitable lighting, background, and so forth. People like me tend to stick with our own style: be natural and make the food looks appetizing. I think that's the purpose of a food photography and food styling. Good properties will support the whole package of food presentation look good. It does not always need to be stylish or expensive, you can find some things in your cupboard what you can match the food with.

tapioca pudding #3

With properties, I am mostly using crockery which I could find at home. I am lucky because my beloved used to be a potter and made lots of different pots, mugs, plates, bowls or anything that look natural which suit my taste. I use them and search even more in the old shed. Sometimes, I'd like to buy napkins for different colour setting or linen for the background. But if you're clever, you can use your bedding sheets as the background. You can also use scrap-booking papers which are colourful for the background. These are quite cheap and these can be easily found at your cupboard. On the photo of tapioca pudding above, I am using a pink bedding sheet as the background. Can you see that it is?

exp4 french macarons
plum chocolate slice coffee macarons2

Have a look at the crockery above. They are the same and I've used them quite often because they are handy and they are there in my crockery cupboard. I like the dark navy colour of them which is quite suitable for coffee or as the side element of food photography. The dark colour of the set can make good background for pale or brighter colour of the food as the main focus. So, make the most of your crockery and capture great photos out of it.

Happy Photography-ing!

July 17, 2008

Click: Coffee & Tea

When I am writing this, the day has become gray again. It is drizzling and chilly. The fire is lit and hot food is prepared. It is really the opposite two beautiful days we've had the previous days. We even enjoyed morning tea outside and I could take a snapshot. The sun was glaring and I took it greedily to take photos for Coffee and Tea theme of Click Photo Event this month, created and hosted by Bee and Jai of Jugalbandi.


Started with breakfast with coffee and Danish pastry (yes, I made them again!). I made this special for my love and I thought it was just another expression that I'm devoted. The message is well-received.

I managed to work in the garden and made a new strawberry patch. The old one was very crowded with the mature clumps and needed to be trimmed. I chose the spot on the top of the old patch, because when these new plants are growing their vines, they are allowed to spill them down. I have step-by-step photos, but I think I will post them under a gardening theme.

get them in

morning tea2

Morning tea was glorious when we could celebrate the day with its beautiful and warm light. We set the table outside and have our morning tea while watching the children looking after our 'adopted' newborn lamb. Poor little thing.

I like drinking tea, mostly green tea, although I love Twining Earl Grey. I love the bergamot fragrance in each bag. It is so relaxing.

The first photo is my entry for Coffee and Tea, Click Photo Event this month.


July 15, 2008

Taste & Create XII: A Home-Made Danish Pastry

the envelope

I have Abby of Eat the Right Stuff as my pair of Taste and Create this month. She has a good blog with various skills of baking performance. Recently she did a great job on danish pastry as a part of Daring Bakers assignment. I am not a member of Daring Bakers but I absolutely like to challenge myself with this puff pastry. It is my first attempt to make this feather-light pastry, and it is a rather time-consuming work but it is much worth the effort. It is not so difficult as I imagined once I started working on it.

with nutella

This is my entry for Taste and Create XII, created and hosted by Nicole of For the Love of Food.

home-made danish pastry collage

The interesting part of making this pastry is the process after chilling the mixed dough to roll and spread with the butter mixture before it is then folded into thirds to chill in the fridge. I could work on some things else in between the chilling of each time. In the end of the roll, fold, and chill process, I could not wait for 5 hours and was desperately wanting to know the results, furthermore, the day was getting shorter and I also needed to make dinner.


I decided to end the chilling time in the end of three hours while I am doing the cooking and using the oven all the same. I browsed some images of how to fold danish pastry for individual servings and I found this fan-shaped pastry that Rhid of Rhid-Baked had made. I followed the instructions and thought that it turned out like that. Unfortunately, the shape does not turn out like I expected them to be. The flaps are all open which is a bit disappointing. I thought this might be the case when I have to roll the dough thinly, while my ¼ inch is not that thin. This also happens with the envelope shape and the plait. Next time, I definitely will roll it thinner than this. I've learned my mistakes.

For the filling, I decided only make a small quantity of the apple filling mixed with rhubarb and cranberry. I also used plum jam and nutella for the individual pastry. The flavour in the pastry is very pleasant. I love the orange zest and juice gives a subtle aroma and flavour in the pastry. I quite like to fill this with plum jam and nutella, rather than the apple filling, for sure. This is the recipe I'm going to use more in the future. Thanks, Abby for the great display of success of your Danish pastry. You inspire me! Thanks, Nicole for pairing me with Abby.


See the recipe here.

I like this pastry and my two children are enjoying them as well.

ben's enjoying the morning tea sarah's enjoying her morning tea

July 12, 2008

Pear and Walnut Gingerbread Pudding

We have beautiful weather in these past two days, although not so much heat to burn your skin, it is very appreciated. The morning could be really freezing with severe frost but they melt away during daytime. It is just so relief that we can see and feel the sun in this time of the year. I heard cold snaps happen in the South Island that brings me a thought of my other Kiwi blogger, Bron Marshall down in Christchurch.

Cold snap can be really miserable for sheep during lambing time. We received our first twin lambs just 5 days ago. It was not a fine day but the lambs were survived. One of them looked weaker than the other which can be the result of not getting good latched on her mother's breast. Often, when a lamb is getting weaker and can't get on her feet, the mother will reject her (which is now our other task to do--bottle-feeding her!). I don't know why, it is just cruel sometimes.

We just 'celebrate' my birthday last Sunday with a big family meal at lunch time. I cook, of course, since there's no other cook in the house. Indonesian menu was the choice just for a change after enjoying soup or casserole. I have to keep them warm and only could take snapshots from the whole lot before they turn 'cold'. Now, that you get older, you feel like to get more carbo and protein. Mind you, I need carb to do gardening or chasing the escaping sheep from the paddock or shooing the calves to go to the next paddock. I am half-farmer-gardener-cook-photographer, and I need more energy to help my kids learning at home.

ayam goreng bumbu kacang goreng
kerupuk Indonesian Menu
sambal goreng terasi cucumber-tomato salad
coconut rice lime juice

The next celebration will be on the 25th of July, and my daughter has 'ordered' a birthday cake I should make. I've been thinking to do the simplest way for a celebration cake, because I really want to make more macarons for after-dinner sweets. That's the plan. Anyone probably can help me with ideas?

pear plus #1

Anyway, I've made this gingerbread pudding about a few weeks ago but I just am too lazy to write the recipe, besides I have to deal with my back pain. This pudding is quite sweet, so next time, I won't use all the sugar. The additon of pears gives another flavoursome level. With or without the butterscotch, the cake itself is really nice.

Pear plus #2

Pear & Walnut Gingerbread Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce

Source: Ray McVinnie. Cuisine. Issue 111 July 2005.

210g butter
250g dark brown sugar
3 ripe pears, peeled, halved and cores removed with a melon baller (I just used the tip of my knife)
6 walnut halves
2 eggs
2 Tbs treacle
250g flour
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsps bicarbonate of soda
1 Tbs ground ginger (I did 2 Tbs)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
150ml warm milk

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Cream 60g of the butter and 90g of the sugar and spread over the base of a 24cm-diameter cake tin.

Place the pear halves, core side down, on top of the creamed butter and sugar. Dot the walnut halves in between the pear halves.

Cream the remaining butter and sugar then beat in the eggs and treacle. Stir in remaining ingredients until well mixed but do not beat. Pour the mixture over the pears and walnuts.

Place in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes or until you can tell the pears are tender when a skewer slides easily through a pear half to the bottom of the tin and the middle of the pudding batter is cooked.

Serve warm in wedges with the hot butterscotch sauce (recipe follows) and a dusting of icing sugar. Whipped cream is also good with this. Serves 6-8.

Pear plus #3

Butterscotch Sauce

Put the sugars, golden syrup and 150ml of the cold water into a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugars and syrup.Once boiling, stop stirring and boil until a little dropped into a glass of cold water forms a soft ball (5 minutes).

Remove from the heat, add the butter, the remaining water and vanilla and mix well, but do not beat. Cool. It will become quite hard and crystallise once cold.

Just before serving, bring to the boil to melt and dissolve any sugar crystals. Serve with some of the hot sauce poured over the pudding and the rest in a small bowl on the side.