Today is a relatively slow day and when it’s slow my mind tends to wander. I’m waiting for deliveries today. We’ve got a trunk arriving. But that doesn’t arrive till later this afternoon. So nothing in that respect can be done until the trunk arrives.
I feel really icky today. It’s not desperately hot today, not like yesterday when temperatures reached unimagined heights (well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, 34°C isn’t really unimagined as I have experienced hotter climes in Manila, but apparently, yesterday was the hottest day in England since 2006!). It was hot and humid and no one is ever pleasant when its hot and humid.
Yesterday, I felt like I was in a bit of a pickle. It was uncomfortably warm, the pollen count was high which meant my hayfever was acting up and my wrist was playing up as well. I had three strikes and it’s fair to say that at 5PM I was down for the count. But my tribulations (what drama!) wouldn’t end there. So there I was, waiting at Colchester for the trains. Most, if not all of the trains going to and from Liverpool Street Station were delayed due to overheated overhead lines. I just had to laugh when one newspaper headline said that there were delays because it was the wrong kind of sun! So during the winter, trains are delayed due to the wrong kind of snow, and during the summer, we get the wrong kind of sun. Brilliant!
Today is a whole other ball game. I’ve got hayfever symptoms: I’ve been sneezing like crazy, my nose blocked, my eyes are itchy and watery, my throat feels like it’s being attacked by needles and I feel like my head is filled with cotton wool! It’s only because the pollen count is expected to be high or very high…and believe me, my body is telling me the pollen count is high! To make matters worse, I think I have a pimple inside my nose!!! Every time I blow my nose and squeeze, it hurts and my right nostril hurts when I press it. Argh!!! I have no respite from feeling blecchy because work is a bit slow today…and I’ve got nothing to preoccupy myself with. I’m thankful my wrist isn’t problematic today!
Right. Whinge over! Time to get my head back on straight!
Hay Fever by Nootoon – http://www.toonpool.com/artists/nootoon_4780
I thought this was a good thought for the day:
“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true.
I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I might have. ”
Mind you, this recipe still needs refining. And I used store-bought pastry. It was too hot today to deal with making my own pastry today (plus I was being slightly lazy!). As a shortcut, I melted the chocolate in the microwave (brilliant tip that I found online, 90 seconds in the microwave on medium heat per 100g of chocolate. 200g should require a bit more than that, about 3 ½ minutes should do quite nicely!). But if you like ooey-gooey chocolatey tarts, this is the one to try!
- 200g plain chocolate, melted
- 50g plain flour (I added another 25g to make the chocolate more solid as opposed to runny)
- 500g shortcrust pastry pack , rolled out to the thickness of a 20p piece and used to line 23cm flan tin
- 100g golden caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- cocoa, for dusting
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Line flan tin with pastry (I used the sweet short crust) and blind bake pastry for 15 minutes (don’t forget your baking beans!!!). Set aside to cool.
- Lower oven temp to 150°C. Melt chocolate and brush about a fourth of the melted chocolate on pastry bottom. Set aside remaining chocolate to cool. In separate bowl, mix eggs, sugar and flour in a mixing bowl. Combine egg mixture and chocolate. Pour into pastry-lined flan tin and bake for 20-25mins (surface might crack a little).
- Cool on a rack and dust with cocoa powder and serve.
I’ve always loved Chinese food. Mainly because Filipino food has deep Chinese cuisine roots and most Filipinos can claim some sort of Chinese ancestry. One of my favourites is dim sum. I love siu mai, or what we call siomai, char siu pao or siopao asado in Filipino and pancit, which is, essentially chow mein. But one of the things I missed the most is what is called machang. It was a curiousity for me when I was little. It was this little pyramid that stood on the counters of the Maxim’s restaurants we used to frequent. I thought they were little packages wrapped up in banana leaf. Later on, when I worked up the courage to ask the waiting staff at Maxim’s, they kindly explained to me that it wasn’t a banana leaf wrapped around this delicious sticky rice triangle, but lotus leaf.
When I moved to London, it was fairly easy to get them…if I travelled to Chinatown in London. And as was the case most of the time, it necessitated my learning how to cook this little dish that I loved so much. I found a recipe that boasted that it was leafless lotus-leaf rice. I thought it would be great to try it because if it tastes the same without the lotus leaf, well, then it would be definitely worth learning as lotus leaf wasn’t the easiest thing to come by in these parts of Blighty!
After several attempts, I am proud to say that I’ve managed to perfect my version of machang rice. So if you’re one of the glutinous rice fans as well but can’t find them nearby, you’ll find that this is a dead-easy version. If I remember my mother’s cupboard stocks, the only probably difficult thing to get is the Chinese rice wine and maybe Chinese sausage. But the rest are relatively accessible. Hey, if I can get these things in England, am sure you can get it in Manila! 🙂
Here’s the recipe:
- 300g glutinous rice
- 400g chicken skinless thigh fillets, deboned and cubed
- 200g chinese sausage, cut into small disks
- 4 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice wine
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder (or 2 cloves garlic crushed)
- 75g dried chinese mushrooms
- 3 liters chicken stock
- 1 liter boiling water
- Pour boiling water over the dried mushrooms and soak for 3 hours. The mushrooms will expand and soften. Once the water is cool chop the mushrooms into slivers. Put aside. Save the water as well.
- Saute the chinese sausage until the edges crisp up slightly. Add the chicken and sautee until chicken pieces become white in colour. Add garlic powder, soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine, sugar and pepper. Allow chicken pieces to absorb the flavours and add the mushroom water. Cover pan and simmer for 10minutes.
- Add the glutinous rice. Allow the rice to absorb the liquid.
- Transfer the rice mixture to a rice cooker and mix in the chicken stock. Cook until the rice has expanded and all the liquid has been absorbed.
Serves 4 as a main dish, or 6 as a side dish.
Nothing hits the spot on a summer day better than Gelupo Gelato! 🙂
So this was my book list a few months ago (inspired by a tweet from Daphne Oseña). I’ve been reading via my Kindle (my excuse, being the lazy cow that I am, is that carrying an actual book is heavy! Ha!) so I haven’t been doing much in the way of chipping away at my real book list (real book as opposed to e-books!).
You by Joanna Briscoe
- Deeper Than The Dead by Tami Hoag
- The Jewel of St Petersburg by Kate Furnivall
- A Little History Of The World by E.H. Gombrich
- The Particular Sadness Of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
- Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert
- My Last Duchess by Daisy Goodwin
- From Notting Hill With Love…Actually by Ali McNamara
- Wicked by Gregory McGuire
- The Book Of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern
So now, I’m hoping I can find another quiet weekend so that I can lie down and read another book. I’m trying to decide which one to read…might quite possibly be #5, The Particular Sadness Of Lemon Cake.
Wish me luck! 🙂