Who Says Being Stranded At Home During A Hurricane Is B.O.R.I.N.G?... Well, ok it is quite boring, but NOT totally!
My date with the hurricane in pictures… Just to prove I really went on a date!
When it rains… It surely pours!
I always stare at this coconut tree even in quiet days, but it has shown me its resilience during the storm. And I believe, I’ve never been in love with a tree before until now.
Compared to the flood we suffered a month and a half ago… this flood was quite obedient and decent as it stayed outside our house and never invited itself in. (pic 1)
I would love to try PLANKING but paddling in flood water just seemed a yucky and a bad judgement call. @@ (pic 2)
And cement blocks were used to hold down the roofs… as cables snapped and broke.
I always believe that there is always art in everything… even in muddy flood water. Raindrops and ripples and the use of the last remaining battery life of my laptop to last-minute edit these photos made these flood pics artistic! :)
My nephew doing what every 12 year old would do… play games and listen to music on his Ipod when bored. I, on the other hand was quite amused with his shadow.
Dinner by candlelight is always a gorgeous idea, it even makes one look gorgeous even if one eats like a caveman.
Soup here is Sopas (Chicken Macaroni Soup) which I just discovered, when sprinkled with grated Kraft Parmesan/Romano cheese tastes even more delicious and well… cheesy! :D
Another totally goofy idea… make a paper hat, wear the paper hat on your head and become the Card Master Shuffler… 12 years old is the proper training age for this!
I caught up with my fashion magazine reads and suddenly decided to have a photo shoot of my own in Sepia Au Naturale. I even took a self portrait of my knees… well, because I never see my knees in pictures!
When bored… you find every excuse to indulge your Vanity! @@
During a hurricane you still can go outside the house… just don’t go too far away from outside your front door.
And finally, this may look like a lame activity but nope… this is still totally cool!… Make shadow puppets that no one can really tell what animal it is you make. e.g this picture, some say it’s a dog, others say it’s a dove… I say it’s a freaking mythical creature!… end of discussion! @@
(Candlelight pictures were taken with my battery operated Olympus camera… you gotta love Energizer batts!)
I’ve been making this candy for years now. I never sought any proper recipe for this candy when I thought of making it the first couple of times. I always challenge myself to make everything my own, and most recipes I have, I’ve perfected through trial and error.
After four sucky jaw breaking results (4 years ago), though still edible and still “candidly” consumed batches, making this confection, I finally got the right timing and the right amount of baking soda to make the molten sugar, not just expand, but beautifully expand and grandiosely foam up (a chemical reaction, a thermal decomposition of sugar caused by the bicarb which produces carbon dioxide which then produces air holes) and get aerated having lovely suspended air holes which brilliantly imitates a honeycomb.
Hokey Pokey is a Cornish term for Honeycomb, it is also known as Sponge Toffee. It is traditionally made with just sugar, corn syrup or golden syrup (like the English make it) and bicarbonate of soda. I on the other hand wanted a Hokey Pokey that tastes rich and buttery… like the crunchy buttery caramel in Caramel Popcorn, thus, my addition of butter… because Butter makes everything taste more wicked and delicious!
2 cups white sugar
1 cup corn syrup or glucose
1/3 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
Bamboo or wooden skewer - Ideal to use to swirl the sugar around the pan before and while it boils (product of my thought bubble, thank you very much!)
Silicone Spoonula (spoon/spatula)
- Best and highly recommended to use when making candy, as the melted sticky sugar does not stick to silicone unlike to a wooden spoon, and does not melt along with the molten sugar like a rubber spatula… I am speaking from experience here!
Baking parchment (24 square inches)
Large baking sheet or Jelly roll pan
Glass half filled with cold water – Cold Water Test
– If you haven’t got a candy thermometer to test whether your sugar is the right temperature or the right stage (soft ball to hard ball), by placing a drop of the melted sugar into cold water you can easily determine if your sugar is in soft ball (when the sugar is still pliable when cooled) or the hard ball stage (when the sugar feels like a bead of glass between your thumb and index finger once it touched the cold water).
1. In a medium saucepan, put the white sugar first and then drizzle all of the corn syrup or glucose over the sugar. Mix well with a bamboo skewer.
2. Place the pan over medium heat and let the sugar mixture melt first, then turn to a bubbly boiling goo, and finally into a molten light amber syrup (this takes about 3 minutes after the sugar has melted over the heat). Also if you want to make sure that the sugar is ready and is in the hard ball stage, do the Cold Water Test.
3. When the sugar is light amber in color, add the butter and stir thoroughly (keep in mind that once you add the butter into the very hot sugar, the sugar will have a reaction and will violently bubble up).
4. Once the butter is well incorporated, remove from heat and add the bicarbonate of soda. Stir quickly and thoroughly while letting the sugar expand and foam up.
5. Immediately transfer the foamy sugar mixture onto a baking sheet or jelly roll pan lined with baking parchment brushed with butter.
6. Cool the candy completely and let it harden before bashing and breaking the flat mass into pieces with a mallet or (in my case) a meat tenderizer (A great thing to do specially if you’re momentarily mad with the world!).
7. Store the hokey pokey (… made me smile when I typed this!) in an air tight container.
Note: This candy when crushed becomes more evil sprinkled on luscious vanilla ice cream or pannacotta for contrasting texture, lovely when chopped and made as topping for caramel or mocha cake with buttercream icing, fabulous when dipped in dark chocolate then put in a decorative tin can and given as gifts for the holidays or dinner parties.
Rice Pilaf with Shiitake Mushrooms and Cervelat Sausage
I love Basmati Rice! I find the long and slender grains so elegant and graceful on the plate.
I don’t cook with Basmati rice that often because it is like 80% more expensive than our regular rice staple, but still I buy a 2 kilo bag of it just to cheer myself up… yes, certain food ingredients have the ability to cheer me up and one that gets the grand price is CHEESE (specifically BRIE and CAMEMBERT) but that is a different story that is bound to be told one day. Anyways, back to Basmati!
As I was saying, Basmati rice cheers me up because I love cooking Rice Pilaf and fragrant and brilliantly spiced Biryani dishes. I mean, What could be better? All one has to do is put any kind of meat and spices and aromatics along to flavor the rice, cook everything in one pan, wait for the Basmati rice to cook and after that, all one has to do is dig their spoon into a mound of savoury rice which serves as a complete meal + you only have to wash one pan! :)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 medium size red onions, diced small
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 cups Basmati rice
4 cups chicken stock
2 links Cervelat sausage (or any sausage of your preference), sliced and fried
2 cups dried Shiitake mushrooms (rehydrate mushrooms in hot water for 30-45 minutes before cooking, then drain)
1/4 cup chives, chopped fine
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped fine
chili flakes (optional)
salt (if needed) and cracked black pepper to taste
1. Rehydrate the dried Shiitake mushrooms in hot water for 30-45 minutes. After mushrooms are rehydrated, drain and set aside.
2. Slice sausage links into rounds and brown in a skillet. Once cooked, set aside.
3. In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, melt butter and add onions, bay leaves and turmeric powder. Saute the onions until soft and translucent. Then add the Basmati rice and saute for 5 minutes.
4. Add the drained shiitake mushrooms and chicken stock and gently stir the rice. Turn the heat to high and wait for the stock to boil. Once the stock boils, turn down the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer rice until all stock is absorbed and the Basmati rice is cooked and tender, about 15 minutes.
5. Uncover the pan and add the chili flakes (optional), chopped chives and browned sausages and season with salt (if needed) and cracked black pepper to taste. Gently stir the Rice Pilaf using a large serving fork (to easily fluff up the rice and prevent it from clumping together).
Finish this dish with chopped parsley and serve hot with a side of dressed salad greens.