August 20, 2010

A Hint of Spring

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IMG_2414 IMG_2412

There is a splash of colours starting to paint our manicure-needed garden. Yellow-orange daffodils and jonquils, purple irises, and early as ever pink rhododendron. My roses shrubs have started to shoot, and in the orchard, Dans Early plums and plumcotts have started blooming, giving white-ish display in the edge of wintertime. It has always been like that, this panorama at the side of this countryside we're living in. The site that we enjoy the hint of Springtime. That sort of the year of changing weather, from rain to sun, from wind to the very still warm day. That sort of the year to start to shovel back casserole dish into deep pantry and to embrace more lighter dishes.

plumcott blooms

But, there is no rush, really. We still have a month to go, officially, and the winter hunger-buster food continues. We have less casserole-like meal these days, but still enjoy hot puds occasionally. Although we're moving to 'lighter' dish, we still enjoy savour roast chicken/beef/lamb each Sunday, taking turns with Indonesian food.

Nasi Goreng is often an easy option, when there is time limit, due to my baby needs of attention. And it is always a popular Indonesian food amongst the family, especially when it is eaten with tapioca or shrimp crackers. Typical.

I like adding as much vegetables in Nasi Goreng as it is possible. Diced carrots, corn kernels, peas (even if you use frozen ones, it's fine), or even shredded silver beet. Spring onions will always be great to garnish such food and added to the last minute. And if you dislike chopped spring onion, perhaps you can just sprinkle some fried shallots for a crunchy effect and more flavour combination.

Lately, I discovered another option to cook Nasi Goreng when I saw a jar of salted beans in the local Asian groceries in Pukekohe one day. This rare delicacy gives a thrill in me that no one can ever understand. Although it is as salted as ever, I always love it. It is great sauteed with diced tofu, or add it in your shrimps/prawns stir-fry. No need of salt anymore, unless you really want to go with both, or else you're a salty queen who likes salty food.

Anyway, I cooked Nasi Goreng and added some spoonfuls into it during the last minute of cooking. It tastes superb, to my liking. There is all sort of things that can go on on a plate when there are other musings giving more joy of dining. Indonesian style.

I'd like to participate on Lubna's recent foodie event Joy From Fasting to Feasting 3, to celebrate Ramadan. Although I miss it this year due to my breastfeeding period, I keep cooking my favourite food I usually eat during Ramadan. Such as Kolak [ko-laak] (Coconut Soup--with diced and stewed vegetables/fruit, such as pumpkin, kumara/sweet potato, and banana).

banana and cassava pudding by ab '09
Cooking it is quite simple. It is similar to Sanok, in principle of cooking, listed under a different name, due to origin in a different region in Indonesia. It usually works for me to break the fasting with a bowl of Kolak after Maghrib rather than eat meal instantly. I consider this type of appetizer works well for an empty stomach, after long hours of fasting. It is another option after a glass of water and a bite of sweetened dates.

Those sweet days of fasting are always memorable. 

nasi goreng ala Ubudian by ab '09

There are versions of Nasi Goreng in Indonesia and I believe I've eaten only a few of them. There was a seriously throat-killer Nasi Goreng, like the one my aunt usually made with red chilies more than anything else. Nasi Goreng on the photo above was served at the Puri Museum in Ubud, Bali (See Ubud, The Village We Love)  as a part of their hospitality when I took Batik workshop there. However, my favourite Nasi Goreng was the one served at Jalan Setiabudi, Bandung, West Java where there were many food stalls at night. There was a warung which dedicated itself to sell various of Nasi Goreng. I may have forgotten the name of it, but I still remember the taste and how generous they served it. Just perfect for a hungry student like I was for I was away from home.

Now that I've discovered a new way to cook Nasi Goreng, this has become my favourite too!

Nasi Goreng Teri Tauco-1

Nasi Goreng
by Arfi Binsted

If you dislike dried and salted anchovies, you can substitute them with diced and fried/oven roasted flour-coated fish fillet or flaked smoked fish if you prefer, like you do for British Kedgeree. 

4 cups cooked rice
2 large shallots, peeled and diced, using mortal and pestle, a food processor or a blender, make a paste with, 3 medium garlic cloves, 5 bird chilies (more for a hotter version) and 1 tsp crab paste
4 large green chilies, sliced
3 large red chilies, sliced
2-4 Tbs salted beans
2 Tbs Kecap Manis (use Indonesian one, it is original and tastes so much better than other's--according to my palate--no offence)
sugar, to taste
oil, to cook (I always use Rice Bran Oil)

1 cup fried salted anchovies
1/2 cup toasted peanuts
chopped spring onion, optional
fried shallots, optional

Heat the wok or non-stick frying pan, add in oil. Cook the garlic and chili paste until fragrant, add in sliced chilies. Cook for a minute and add Kecap Manis, then sugar. Stir a minute, and add rice. Stir to coat all the seasonings until thoroughly cooked. Add salted beans and taste. Removed from the stove and served immediately with the musings and sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, and a bowl of tapioca/shrimp crackers. Make 4-6 servings.

August 06, 2010

Voting for People's Choice Award

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I am so thrilled to find out my photo above makes it to the final of Culinaria Food Photography Contest, organized by food writer David Leite (thank you, David and team!) on his very website Leite's Culinaria. It was the only photo I sent for this contest before my hands get tied with our newborn baby. Please, vote for my Brigadeiros if it's your fave. Every vote is appreciated and I thank you for it.

I probably can't post too much these days, but I do twit every now and then through my phone while breastfeeding (you know, you really need to make the most of your time!), so if you'd like to keep in touch, please add me to your friend-list on twitter. Here's my Twitter page: ArfiBee. Hear you then!