Wednesday, June 22, 2016

SOMETHING BLUE

19/6/2016
Sunday
Time to share some foodie post...


This bunga telang is a hardy plant and due to the recent rain, have been flowering profusely.  I have plucked the flowers since I do not need anymore plants and just kept them dried.  These beauties are also very beneficial too: antioxidant and antiaging etc. as listed in a recent article The Sun newspaper.  

So, I tried making my favourite kueh- Kueh Serimuka 

The dried flowers (around 20-25 flowers) are boiled with 100 ml water  and let cool to extract the blue colour. 
Soaked about 300 gm glutinous rice overnight in the fridge .  I separately soaked 100 gm  with the blue water and about 200 gm in plain water.  Drain them well the next day.   


Dilute 180 ml coconut milk with 20 ml of water and 1/2 tsp salt.   Mix the rice with the coconut milk evenly   

I used a square tin and place pandan leaves at the bottom of tray before spooning the white portion at the bottom.  Top it with the blue-coloured rice and steam over high heat for 20 minutes. 
While the rice is steaming, prepared the custard:  200ml thick coconut milk, 3 eggs 150gm caster sugar, 100 ml pandan paste (blending 20 pieces of   pandan leaves with 100 ml water) 4 tbsp cornflour, 5 tbsp plain four (I used hoonswee flour instead) 


Whisk sugar, eggs, santan and pandan paste together over pot of simmering water till lump-free and thick (but still fluid). Remove rice after steaming and press down the rice.  Sieve and pour the custard over steamed rice.  Cover with clingwrap and return to steam over simmering water (low heat) for 30 minutes.    

Allow to cool completely before serving.... best with some kaya... 

With the excess dried flowers and pulut rice, I tried another easy recipe.. Pulut Inti.
Again the rice has to be soaked overnight in the fridge(same method as above).

You can either choose to steam the rice separately in a pan and then assembly/pack them with banana leave before serving.  I decided to use these individual tart moulds instead and remember to grease the moulds with oil. Steam over high heat for 20 minutes. 

I realised after steaming that I should have put the blue rice at the bottom of the tart mould, so that it would look prettier:D 

grated coconut cooked with gula melaka 

Allow to cool  and serve with coconut filling.

Just a quick and easy dinner for the weekend..

My mint and rosemary from the garden for  the couscous with dried cranberries

Pour boiling water over the couscous and cover with clingwrap for 15 minutes.  Fluff them and season with salt, pepper and some lemon juice and zest 
Mix in the chopped herbs and toasted almonds and pinenuts. 

To assembly:  spoon prepared couscous on greaseproof baking paper, place saute mushrooms and salmon fillets (which have been seasoned with sake and salt) and sprinkle sliced chillies and ginger on top.    

Wrap up the parcel and bake at 200C for around 10-15 minutes (depend how big the fish fillet)

Voila.....delicious dinner with minimal cooking. 




Monday, June 13, 2016

JAPAN TRIP # DAY 2 PART 1 OSAKA CASTLE


24/4/2016
SUNDAY



We had a good night rest. Breakfast was included in the room rates at the Toyoko Inn and serve from 7 am. Even though we were down at the caferia before 7 am,  we had to wait till the staff had set out everything. Then they queue up and wish everyone a cheery Good morning and happy meal (I think so from the smiles on their faces!).  We love these breakfast and  really looked forward to our breakfast every morning!
It was a bright and sunny day as we walked towards the subway.  Did I mention that the sun rises really early ..around 3 to 4 am (that's why its call the Land of Rising Sun)  and by 9 am it was already rather hot as we followed our guide........

Osaka Museum 

the NHK office..  

again a beautiful cover depicting Osaka Castle...

The moat surrounding  the castle...

everywhere we go, we can see beautifully sculptured bonsai 

part of the strong fortress ... Takoishi Stone - the largest stone in the castle wall around 59.43 sq meter and weighing approx 108 tonnes.... 

these stones are so masive, make you wonder how amazing "horse or man-power" was then as some of these were taken from quarry 100km away from Osaka! 

part of the old Museum beside the castle 

a time capsule in front of the castle 

the 5-storey building of the castle.  

This was the site of  a temple constructed in 1583  but was destroyed around 1615.  The Tokugawa reign rebuilt the castle in 1620 but the main castle building was struck by lightning and burnt down.  This new building was reconstructed around 1931. We took the lift up to the 5th Floor where we can go outside the balcony and get a panoramic view of the city.  

We walked around the balcony  getting different views..





Inside the museum is the replica of the Shachihoko - the mythical creature which has the head of the dragon and the body of a fish and tiger.  Both these are symbols of prestige and authority of the castle lord  and more powerful  as it was covered  in gold. 

the model showing the battle - very detailed workmanship of each figurine!


After the castle, we walked towards Shinsekai, Osaka "new world"  district...

kawai....... this was at entrance of the park..big open spaces

passed the park and this was as far the eyes can see.. wonder how deep into the park....
I like to watch the TV programme about how they renovated the houses in Japan before and after. While the houses are generally seemed so small, it is truly surprising that the parks and temple grounds can be so huge!

towards Shinsekai... Osaka "new world" district which was developed before the war and then neglected later.  

strolling along the busy shopping street of Shinsekai 


plenty of eateries.... fresh sushi...

one of the many statues of Billiken... known as "the God of Things as They ought to be"
Billiken is actually a charm doll created by an American art teacher and illustrator and it became the mascot of Saint Louis University in America before hitting the shores of Japan in 1912. 

Rubbing his soles to make your wish come true...

the first Billiken was installed in the original Tsutenkaku Tower  but it disappeared when the tower was destroyed.  It  was re-installed in the re-constructed Tower in 1980.   

coffee culture is growing up in Japan.

seniors passing their time playing chess.. 

Saw this cute little shop and I do mean "little" as most of the shops are in Japan.  The owner told us that he loves cats and jazz.  Many of the drawings are done by himself. 

a look the streets of Shinsekai....

time for lunch and today we decided to try Yakiniku  ie "grilled meat" and that also include offals but we did not try those.  

This shop must be a very popular one ... plenty of dining space where  we can see a whole party of friends and family gathering together and sitting down to enjoy themselves. 

Before the meat/veggies arrived, we were served with a plate of cold cabbage and a bowl of black dipping sauce. This was so refreshing. 

Tsutenkaku Tower  was built as a symbol of Shinsekai (new world) in 1912 and was modelled after the Eiffel Tower.  The original tower was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1956. There is a observatory and is one of the popular tourist destination. 

the "under belly" of the Tower 

our favourite shopping area- nothing beats the market to taste good food and get the idea of what the Japanese eat and do  

Don't be mistaken this for the wet (literally) markets as in Malaysia. This is comparably  clean and dry except for the fish stalls  selling fresh sushi and cheap ie prices very reasonable,   on the spot! .


large fresh seafoods which they can cook for you 

tantalising pickles which you can savour without obligation to buy which we did not take advantage of..

delectable mochi sweets 

and coffee beans 

and talking of coffee, it has been a long walk and time to rest and recharge..

the UCC Coffee Plaza near the Kuromon market. 
the place was packed  as it was a weekend and as we waited awhile for our table,..... 

we were able to see the barista at work.  This is siphon coffee.. lots of apparatus hah? 

no coffee art.. but the coffee was strong and good 

relaxing and resting our feet.

More walking....