Thursday, July 24, 2014

Roasted Carrot and Garlic Dip

Carrots are my favourite vegetable and I even contemplated photographing this carrot dip with carrot sticks for dipping. Because that is indeed one of the ways I ate it! But for this photo, I made cucumber dippers. My friend Michael showed me how to cut cucumber on a steep diagonal to make perfect chip-sized dippers. I am always looking for more ways to make vegetables feel like a natural part of fun eating. Cucumber dippers and carrot dip are great examples of fun vegetables!

And so there is no need for chips and salsa at your next snack attack or movie night. If you are searching for ways to eat more vegetables, try this easy carrot dip with veggie dippers. It's also good with sweet pepper strips, celery sticks, or even rectangles of the ribs of Chinese cabbage. (I have tried this and it was superb!)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Weekend Links #37

Weekend Links is a way of sharing all the engrossing things I see around the internet. I publish Weekend Links approximately every month. As usual, I welcome your ideas and feedback.

food reading links:
--A long article I have been reading about fueling a marathon while eating paleo (from Ben Greenfield Fitness). And here's another take from Mark's Daily Apple.
--While we're on the topic of sports nutrition, I was reading about a couple who are rowing from California to Hawaii without sugar or "junk carbohydrates" (from Diet Doctor).
--A great post from A Veggie Venture that answers the question, "What is a tomatillo?" plus everything you need to know about them.
--Just before our three weeks away from home I was freezing everything left in the fridge and discovered you can even freeze quiche and tortilla chips (from The Kitchn).

recipe links:
--Macaroni and cheese made with Guinness, heavy cream, lots of cheese, and some crunchy barley (from Mutineer Magazine). What a combination!
--Ginger and chocolate ice cream (from Blogging Over Thyme). I love everything ginger, and pairing it with dark chocolate is perfect.
--I was investigating grain-free Yorkshire pudding recently and found a recipe (from The Saffron Girl) that looks like it is worth trying.
--The flaxseed crust on these mini quiches is a useful recipe to have on standby (from The Kitchn). Plus, mini quiches are good for breakfasts.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sweet Potato Laksa

Singaporeans are food crazy. I would say that the two national pastimes here are shopping and eating. Locally born Singaporeans are called Peranakan; they are descendants of Chinese or Indian male immigrants who married Malay women in the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries. Laksa is a traditional Peranakan curried soup, served over rice noodles.

Chinese Peranakan cooking blends Chinese ingredients with Malay sauces and spices. Peranakan food features shallots, chillies, preserved soybeans, prawn paste, and thick coconut milk. My favourite Paranakan dish is laksa. I like the tangy spice of the curry that is calmed (a little) by the coconut milk.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Banana Nut Porridge (grain-free)

I love sweet breakfast foods like pancakes, muffins, and porridge with fruit. But I am trying to eat less sugar and I have been mostly grain-free for about a year. As a result, I now have a good arsenal of low sugar (or sugar-free) and grain-free breakfast recipes. They still satisfy my sweetish tooth and give me the fat and protein I need at breakfast.

Here are some of my sweet breakfast ideas:
  • this banana nut porridge (pictured above, recipe below) has a whole egg whisked in the near the end of cooking, plus it is grain-free and has no sugar added
  • these banana coconut flour pancakes, the recipe for which is given as a formula based on how many ripe bananas you have on hand
  • these pumpkin and cranberry muffins, which are made with fresh or frozen cranberries and coconut flour, with pumpkin puree for moisture
  • this apple and cinnamon mini cake, which is made in the microwave and takes about five minutes including the preparation
  • this mango, banana, and coconut loaf, which introduced me to the idea of sugar-free eating (not grain-free)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Courgette and Ricotta Frittata

The last time I made a frittata, it tasted wonderful but it was a textural disaster. (Read all about it here: ginger and shiitake omelette.) This courgette (zucchini) and ricotta frittata was on the roster for our Wednesday with Donna Hay blogging group, and I was determined to improve upon my earlier attempt. As a result, I completely changed the procedure for making this frittata.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Frozen Grapes: a Refreshing Snack or a Tasty Drink Cooler

When it's hot outside, what's better than a icy snack? Or at the end of a hot day, do you like to enjoy a nice cool glass of white white as the sun goes down? I've discovered that freezing grapes makes them perfect for snacking and for keeping drinks cool.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Pea and Mint Soup

File this one under "food that looks ugly but tastes good". It's a blended soup made with green peas (fresh or frozen), two small potatoes, and a big handful of fresh mint. My tongue was amazed at the vibrant flavour considering how dull-looking the soup was. The fresh mint was foremost and made me feel as though I was eating summer in a warm bowl. The peas jumped out at me next, with the smooth cream bringing up the rear.

Part of the reason the soup looked so terrible: I left on the skins of the potatoes. They were brown and made the resulting soup have a brownish tinge. I suppose that shows that I care more about the nutrition of my food than the beauty of the pictures. And I definitely care about taste!

Monday, June 30, 2014

A Moveable Feast [book review]

This month's Kitchen Reader book is A Moveable Feast, a collection of short pieces about food and travel. These are two topics that belong together. Travelling is often about trying new foods or enjoying a familiar food in a new context. These 38 little essays tell about small moments or big events; each one focuses on a particular place and the tastes that go with it.

The book is basically an encouragement to try local foods when you travel. As one writer puts it, "Every traveller's mantra is (or should be): Eat what your hosts eat, and then you'll understand them a lot better." The book is published by Lonely Planet; they know a thing or two about travelling and eating well.

The story that stuck with me the most was a very funny piece called "Long Live the King" by John T Newman. The writer is an American who was visiting the tiny Banda Islands, part of Indonesia (here's a map). They were previously known as the Spice Islands. While there he learned about the "queen of fruits" and the "king of fruits".

Saturday, May 31, 2014

A History of the World in Six Glasses by Tom Standage [book review]

I read most of our Kitchen Reader books on my Kindle. When I finish, I write my reviews by looking back over my highlights--usually about twenty passages that struck me while reading. I mark them so I can remember them later. While reading A History of the World in Six Glasses by Tom Standage I highlighted 78 passages! (And I still have two chapters out of twelve left to read!) This is a hugely informative book that I found fascinating. The main idea is that world history can be charted with the history of the six drinks that have been consumed by humans the most: beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola.

In some cases, the history of these six drinks is a reflection of what was going on in human history in different periods. But in other ways, I have come to learn, history was made by these drinks. Many more world events than I realised were tied up wiht these six beverages.

I feel a little unequal to the task of summarising what I have read, thanks to those 78 highlights. So let me just try to say one or two things about each drink.

Beer, first consumed by ancient Middle Eastern peoples, made water safe to drink and also was a way of preserving grain. It rose to popularity with organised agriculture.

Wine was made by ancient Greeks and Italians and it played a key role in their rational ideas of civilised society and learning.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Weekend Links #36

Weekend Links is a way of sharing all the engrossing things I see around the internet. I publish Weekend Links approximately every month. As usual, I welcome your ideas and feedback.

food reading links:
--Saveur's Best Food Blogs Awards highlight some incredible blogs. There are plenty of new-to-me reads here as well as many old favourites.

recipe links:
--How ingenious is this? A porridge recipe that has a blended egg whisked in during cooking. That sounds like a great way to add protein to your breakfast (from Natural Kitchen Adventures).
--I like the idea of a corn and parmesan cheese creme brûlée (from Tasty Kitchen).
--You can make your own electrolyte energy cubes for endurance sports like long distance running (from Healthful Pursuit).
--My friend at work made fermented ginger ale (from Wellness Mama). I want to make some too. I also really want to buy some nice flip-top bottles; hee hee!
--Also on my list of fermented foods to make: easy peasy probiotic pickles (from Sarah Ramsden).
--And finally, I should go back to making yogurt at home (pictured above).

books I'm reading:
--Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H Pink
--A History of the World in Six Glasses by Tom Standage


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