Sunday, January 11, 2009

India Trip 1 : Kitchen and cookware

Oh, I have sooo many food related news to share, but oh so little time! Making new year resolution has never been a big thing for me. Long time ago, Vik and I made a list of things we would like to do (achieve) in our lifetime, and we both agree not to get too excited and keep coming up with new list each new year, ya know? Though, I wonder if I should add to that list : Blog more often! :)

One tiny new wish for this year is to be tad taking photos in public! I admire those who click away over dishes in dining places, wherever that may be. Fancy or street hawkers. I am terrified in doing so, worrying whether I am disturbing other patrons, etc. Maybe I am just being chicken!! Here I am, wishing I have taken more food related photos while vacationing. Argh!

Anyways, so yeah, our trip to India. Before the trip, I knew that I'd have to take some photos of kitchen. Growing up, we traveled quite often and my dad always made the point of eating whatever local eats. He believes that it's one way of learning the culture, if not the most important way, that is. As my love for food deepens, cookware and cooking technique become somewhat of interest. To study not only on how and what local eats, but the scene behind it all before the food being set on the table.

At that, wouldn't be fun if all bloggers post their kitchen and utensils in their blog?!

The first two photos are taken at Vik's aunt's kitchen. The shallow round ones, standing on their own slots or compartments are used for eating. Of course, there are regular plates too - glass/ceramic kind, but these are more commonly used in household. I think it's neat how they store it. Small tin bowls on the top shelf are for dhal, curry, etc. The few bigger ones on the first shelf and top-side shelves are for cooking.

Most pantry I have been and seen are sorta walk-in type, like shown in the photos. Spices, lentils, flour, sweets and snacks.

This utensils photo is taken at in law's kitchen and I am kicking myself for not taking more photos of other utensils!! Again, most kitchen I 'visited' - there is always a rack like that to hang their cooking utensils. There is even one that is designed to store silverware.

And these stainless steel - copper bowls are what I bought. They are used mostly in restaurants and lemme tell ya, hunting them out was quite a trip! See, I wanted decorated handles. Most market/shops carry ones with plain handles. After quite of struggle, hopping from one market to another. I found them in below market in Ahmedabad. Oh, I love riding the rickshaw. Vik hated it. But that's the whole point of traveling, I think. To mingle and simply to absorb the surrounding.

Vik: Oh gosh, taking video?!! You are acting like a tourist.
Me: What do you mean?! I AM A TOURIST!!

Each strip in the market is dedicated to certain things: poojas (praying items), spices, cookwares, etc. Instead of fixed price, the bowls were being weighed on a scale and priced according to its weight. I was hoping to find fancier ladle, but the one I got will do. I believe it's being used to ladle out water from its container. But I can't wait to use it for oh..dozen other ideas!

I will post about food on next post and at that, I couldn't help but had to take a photo of this 'kaka' (uncle) ;) He literally stood in the centre of a courtyard, overlooking Jal Mahal - palace on the lake. Looks so chilled and extremely attentive to whatever he is doing. Just gotta take picture of him.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Daring Baker's Challenge 3: French Yule Log

A late posting of December DB's Challenge, due to our trip and for forgetting to download photos to the right laptop, one that we took with us while traveling!! Anyways..

For this month's challenge, I secretly hoping it'd be something fairly easy (I guess it's called Daring Bakers not for nothing, eh?). I meant, easy as in, something that does not involve six layers of different things, like this French Yule Log!! :) When I read, or scrolled up and down the post announcing the challenge, I seriously thought I experienced a severe migraine - and I don't have any history of migraine! Only a little over a week before our vacation and with all the way!

I told Vik that I may skip this month's challenge, then my beloved husband read the recipe with me. Ain't he sweet? That's until he says 'But aren't you making mousse and creme bruleƩ anyway for our Christmas dinner next week? 'Just' another 4 things to do, no? And you'd have the ganache for one of your cookies too, right?' Oh so much I want to whip him with spatula. He does not even cook! But I got to admit, I was panicking scrolling down 17 pages, totally oblivious to the fact that three aspects from this log would be done, regardless yule log or no yule log.

However, I know it gotta be miniature log, used butter dish as mold!! Just so I can proudly say 'I have made French Yule Log' Heee...This month's challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux. They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand.

This challenge makes me grin with sense of achievement! I think it's perfect for chocolate-addict, like my dad and grandma. I enjoy chocolate but have always preferred it in solid form - piece of chocolate or er..the entire bar, but not so much as in cakes, cookies or ice-cream. That said, I will be so making it next time I spend Christmas with my family - my grandma, at the age of 82, probably stock up more chocolate in her pantry than any other family with kids.

Since I was serving mocha mousse and cardamom creme bruleƩ as our dessert for our early-Christmas dinner , I just made a little bit more of that and use it for this yule log. I think it worked out very well with the chocolate ganache, icing and the pralines crisps. Not chocolate overload. The praline crisps, is more of hazelnuts crisps, sorta hate to go and buy me praline paste just for this one time use, especially for such a small log. So I grind up some hazelnuts from pantry and make into a paste. I mixed some coconut into one batch of crisps, thus, 2 layers of crisps.

Also 2 layers of the dacquois biscuit, top one is vanilla and the bottom one is coffee. Yeah, at the time...I was just so much in baking trance that I managed to make two kinds!! Then slept the entire 8 hours to London. ;)

Can't say that this is my best baking adventure, aesthetic wise. Did not turn out smooth at all as I completely run out of time and energy to decorate. Our flight was at 6 pm and I took the log out for photo taking and cutting at 1 pm! However, appearance aside, the taste made your eyes rolled!! It was fancy, delicate and fun - all in one.

Bonne annee!! Happy New Year!! Hope everyone has a superb holidays. I am working on my India trip food post and can't wait to share it with fellow bloggers.