Yellow Flag

Cars with yellow flags
Through the gate of sorrow
Give away a wonderful soul

Siren is like a melody
A joyous celebration is to start
Smiling angels await

Grief baths the fresh soil
Purifies all the guilt, pain, sickness, fear, failure…ever been

Time freezes for a treasured
reminiscence
Of a heart whose face is already missed

( in most parts of Indonesia, the yellow flag symbolizes the mourning of a death in a family  and siren of the hearse is mounted all the way to the burial place )

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My wonderful Apang

This is one of my favorite cakes from the family recipe. This cake is well known in my hometown area, North Maluku and North Sulawesi. That’s why it’s known as Apang Manado ( the province’s capital of North Sulawesi  ). I think this cake got some influences from the Dutch which in fact has a big influence in our culture especially the parts of eastern Indonesia.

For this cake, I cannot say it as Apang Manado as there is a slight difference in the ingredients from Apang Manado’s recipe. So I just call it Apang. This is a kind of  a good combination of bread and muffin and poffertjes , judging from its ingredients that involve yeast, eggs, flour, butter and milk.

I don’t have its pan ( a bigger type of poffertjes pan ) so I use my muffin pan and bake it in the oven. Normally it’s baked on the stove using Apang pan. The elders in the family will say the taste would be different but not to me  (hehehe). If ever my grandma is still alive, she would have said that word : you baked it wrong.

The ingredients :

4 egg yolks

1 whole egg

300 all-purpose flour

7gr yeast

3 tablespoon warm water

125gr margarine or salted butter, melted

250ml coconut milk or substitute it with butter ( make it all together 300gr )

7  tablespoon sugar or more if you like it sweeter

3 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk

Cheese/raisins/choco chips ( optional ) for topping

Direction :

1. In a small bowl , stir together the warm water and yeast, stir  to dissolve and set aside

2. In a large bowl, mix the eggs and sugar just till well combined, add the coconut milk, the melted butter , the condensed milk and the flour. Mix in the yeast mixture.

3. Set aside and allow to rise until double in size.

4. Fill  the buttered muffin pan with the batter, top with  cheese or raisin or choco chips of your preference. You may leave it plain as well.

5. Bake in the preheat 190 degrees C oven for 20 to 25 minutes. For this recipe, you can have around 20 pieces of Apang.

choco chips topping

choco chips topping

The inside

The inside

The cheese

The cheese

The Raisins

The Raisins

A Salute to the General

Though as a part of Chinese third generation in Indonesia, I had never heard or eaten this General Tso’s Chicken till today, not to say to cook it .  I believe not many Chinese know about this dish as well as they know ( I do ) Kung Pao or Gong Bao chicken. In Indonesia, the Sezchuan dishes are more well known than Hunan dishes. General Tso’s chicken is a Hunan dish, the Westerners believe it. I just read its history at http://www.npr.or under the file The Strange tale of General Tso’s Chicken by Fuchsia Dunlop.

I found this recipe while browsing about chicken recipes , thought of cooking simple dish of chicken for this weekend. I read the recipe from some blogs and found the “seriousseat”, “food and wine”  and “the steamy kitchen” have interesting looking one.  I went with the seriousseat’s recipe. As usual, I use any ingredients that I have in the kitchen and substitute one or two things that I don’t have.

The recipe that I choose was from seriousseat . I substituted the rice vinegar with the red wine vinegar which I have and the cornstarch with the all-purpose flour ( I looked for it at two small stores near the house and they were run out of it ).

Please visit the websites I mentioned for a more “decent” recipe of this chicken than I have ( smile ).

These are the picture of my hmm-looking-okay-General Tso’s chicken.

The chicken

The chicken

The sauce

The sauce

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The result

Meditates

A line of closed eyes

The thick eyelashes softly stroke the skin

Slowing down the breathing

She can hear its own sound

Capturing emptiness around

Every piece of affairs racing in

Roaming each corner of its consciousness

Then she starts

Putting them into places

A call to be made

A new book left on page 10

Still waiting an email reply from a colleague

the night spent with a comedy movie might soothe the weariness

or finish the writing delayed for a week already

Trying a new recipe for lunch tomorrow

Wake up early for a walk

or having a luxury of the comfortable pillows for just a bit longer

A charming smile peeks into the sight

Brushing a light blush on the cheeks

A slow scratching ruffles on the door

That small furry Terrier must be in need to go out

A deep air breathed in , lightens a spark of relief

Opens the eyes she smiles

A repose she has gained

From a meditation of her own

My own kind of Czech Kolache

I happened to find this gorgeous recipe when I read Susan’s The Kiwi Cook blog that I follow. I felt in love instantly with the recipe and thought of making it. Then I browsed again and found more about this looks-beautiful-bread where other bakers made the variety of fillings. I decided to give it a try one day ago.

And I think I ‘failed” Susan because mine were not as gorgeous as hers. My Kolache tended to getting bigger than it should , though I directly baked them after doing the filling, had them rest for one time rise only. I had no idea why they did. They tasted good, by the way. Can I say, the looks does not determine the heart ?        ( LOL ).

Well, first time is not always as good as we hope, I guess. I definitely will make it again and again , for one biggest reason ( besides it taste amazingly nice ) …I just love the smell when the bread comes out from the oven.

For the recipe, please visit The Kiwi Cook. Susan has plenty of delicious recipes.

They are ready to be beautiful in the oven

They are ready to be beautiful in the oven

My variety of fillings

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Hearty Soup

It should have started as a cool month , reaching the end of October which in earlier years, we would have had rain and the climate was nice. But nowadays, it doesn’t happen anymore. We cannot predict the season according to the month we are having , everything is becoming unpredictable. Well, I am not going to talk about the season here, but it just reminds me of many Winters I spent in Europe for a Christmas holiday many many years ago, where we always looked for a Chinese restaurant for a nice soup, especially hot and sour soup. I think every city we visited, there was always a Chinese restaurant served a delicious hot and sour soup as one of  their entree menu.

Few days ago, I searched the recipe and found one on http://www.seriousseat.com and it looked so good I decided to try it out. But again, cooking is about doing it daily to master the taste ( I think ) . I know mine was not as good as its original’s image looks like but I liked how it tasted. It’s like enjoying a nice cup of hot coco while the snow is pouring down lightly outside a cabin at the foot of Mt.Blanc.

So here it is, my kind of hot and sour soup, taken from the recipe of J.Kenji Lopez-Alt from  seriouseats. I took out the cornstarch as I don’t like mine to be a thick soup.  I just wanted to have a clear one. Not being original alike but still the taste counts (hehe) . Plus, I know my cuts were not as slivers as they should be. I will make it better next time. If you want to know the recipe, just stop by at the website I mentioned here.

20141013_075459

Hot and Sour Soup

Second soup I made this week was one of our traditional food from Gorontalo, a province in Sulawesi island. It’s called Binte Biluhuta or we say corn soup. The local meaning is binte for corn and biluhuta means flush, soak in water. The main ingredient for this soup is Tuna fish or for people who love to eat fish, like my family, we also use red bass or grouper . And as usual, I omit few of the ingredients  such as shrimp and grated coconut.  The reason I didn’t use them because I didn’t  have them ready in my fridge .The original recipe contains both.

Its taste is wonderful and unique as you can have the bilimbi, lime, basil and chili flavor in one bowl. I have made it with tuna before and yesterday I wanted to try it with chicken and put more other  ingredients to give it a rich flavor. After trying both tuna and chicken, I decided I love both, They have different flavor and both are delicious.

Here goes the Tuna and Chicken .

The Tuna

The Tuna

The Chicken

The Chicken

The Recipe ( these are the ingredients I used for the chicken )

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Ingredients :

* one piece of chiken breast and one piece of chicken leg, cut into small bites

* 400ml water

* one ear of corn, shucked

* one tomato, sliced into 6 pieces

* 3 or 4 onions/shallots, thinly sliced

* 6 to 10 pieces of bilimbi, sliced ( if you could not find it in your area, just substitute it with the juice of one lime)

* 2 or 3 chili padi, thinly sliced ( if you want to have a spicy flavor in the soup )

* 1 green onion, thinly sliced for garnish

* 3 tablespoon of fresh basil leaves for garnish

* sea salt

Direction :

* Boiled the chicken together with sliced onion until it’s half tender

* Add the corn, chili padi and bilimbi . Cooked until the chicken is tender

* Season it with salt and a teaspoon of lime juice. But if you use lime juice instead of bilimbi, just season it with a sprinkle of salt to level the sour of the bilimbi

* About two minutes before you take the soup from the stove, put in the sliced tomato so it won’t be overcooked in the soup.

* Ladle it into a bowl and top with the fresh basil and green onion

Because of

Skyscrapers arrogantly spread their wings

chained their octopus feet deep in the ground

leaving a tight space to stand or walk

Fresh air hanging on tip of the leaves

of the dying trees who struggle to stay alive

At many nights , the stars prefer to take a long deep sleep

hiding their beautiful faces behind the night’s wings

leaving the moon to play by herself

she jumps around among the dusky cloud

hopelessly let its grimy haze brushes her cheek

Nowadays , God sneezes more often

Constantly gets cold and high fever,

HIS runny nose and tears floods the earth

Delighted Lunch

Lunch at the office , sometimes could be a hard-to-decide-thing-in-empty-stomach. Living in Jakarta where every tenant in an office  building ( almost 99% ) goes out to have lunch either at shopping mall where you have thousands of chosen menu,  warteg ( a local hawker who set up his food stall near the office building during lunch time ) or office canteen , and a few, like me, bring our homemade lunch to the office. In Indonesia, when we have lunch, it means having rice  with chicken or fish or meat and veggies or a bowl of spicy noodle. For most of us, we just don’t have sandwich for lunch as the Westerners do.

I don’t always have time to cook in the morning ( I should make it , though ) as many mornings I’d prefer to get lazy having my coffee or tea after getting some sweats from morning run , than busy cooking in the kitchen. But for the last two weeks, I pushed myself to have a time  to cook my daily lunch , experimenting recipes I get from Jamie Oliver’s, Just One Cook Book’s site ( simple Japanese food ) or other Indonesian food blogs.

Actually my Mom is a great cook , and she has many menus that I love to share but cooking a delicious Indonesian food , for me, will always take an extra time to prepare all the ingredients as we use many varieties of spices in our menu.

I love veggies and chicken besides the fish as our main menu at home. But cooking fish is taking more time to prepare while I have only 30 minutes to rumble in the kitchen.

And these are some of the lunch I made and took picture of them, along with dessert. All these are the first trial menu , except for the Brownies. And I must say, they were all good ( LOL  ) for my taste. Pssst, Mom said they were yummy . Well, you know Moms, the great admirer of their kids , haha.

20140926_132959

Honey soya sauce chicken from Just One Cook Book and herb potato from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolutionary

Okonomiyaki ( Just One Cook Book ). I modified the recipe by adding more veggies ( carrot and beans). Its original recipe is just go with chinese cabbage

Okonomiyaki ( Just One Cook Book ). I modified the recipe by adding more veggies ( carrot and beans). Its original recipe is just go with chinese cabbage

French baked potato from Jamie Oliver

French baked potato from Jamie Oliver

Teriyaki chicken from Just One Cook Book and fried ( could be grilled as well ) green eggplant of my own ( I  sprinkled it with salt, black pepper and oyster sauce )

Teriyaki chicken from Just One Cook Book and fried ( could be grilled as well ) green eggplant of my own ( I sprinkled it with salt, black pepper and oyster sauce )

Spicy Thai dressing broccoli from Jamie Oliver . Very good one. It goes well with rice or baked potato.

Spicy Thai dressing broccoli from Jamie Oliver . Very good one. It goes well with rice or baked potato.

Tonjiru from Just One Cook Book. A refreshing soup with lots of veggies and pork belly ( just few cuts )

Tonjiru from Just One Cook Book. A refreshing soup with lots of veggies and pork belly ( just few cuts )

Classic tomato spaghetti and chili Mexican corn , both from Jamie Oliver's book

Classic tomato spaghetti and chili Mexican corn , both from Jamie Oliver’s book

And here goes my dessert

Gooey Brownies from Laura Vitale. One of my favorites . I have baked it many times and it tasted the same ; yummy

Gooey Brownies from Laura Vitale. One of my favorites . I have baked it many times and it tasted the same ; yummy

Paleo Apple . The recipe was from one of the good food blog, I don't remember  it

Paleo Apple . The recipe was from one of the good food blog, I don’t remember it

Caramel Pudding

Caramel Pudding

Lost

Too scared to open the eyes
to lose again the joy
for not even started to spring
Closed eyes touching emptiness
only despair felt
building walls against the light
of scattered wishes

( pic by Lee Jeffries )

lee jeffries