Tuesday, February 23, 2010

julie & julia

i couldn't stand nora ephron movies. those meg ryan vehicles always make me puke!

but this is one i could stand. and all credit goes to the "joie de vivre" of julia childs.

i don't know much about julia childs until this movie. essentially 2 movies in one but the julia portion is the hell lot more interesting one. if you like cooking, if you love food, you got to watch this!

meryl streep... last watched her so serious in "doubt", but an absolute blast here. watch these 2 movies back to back and see how she could really act!

amy adams... she's just so adorable!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

my wooden peel

a reader asked how does my peel look like? well, it's so simple! it's just a pc of 2mm plywood, sanded and oiled.

shown above with copious amount of rice flour and a very wet wholemeal multi seed dough. the rice flour prevents the dough from sticking to the wooden peel and also allows the dough to slide easily. so it's really easy to slide the dough into the oven.

and here are the finished loaves cooling on a wire rack.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

french women don't get fat

read this book - french women don't get fat, by mireille guiliano and i absolutely love it!

by far, i'll rate this book superior to "why japanese women don't grow old or fat".

there are some recipes but what's more important is the philosophy. here are a few :
  • french women eat smaller portions of more things. elsewhere, women eat larger portions of fewer things.
  • french women eat more vegetables.
  • french women eat a lot more fruit.
  • french women love bread and would never consider a life without carbs.
  • french women don't eat "fat free", "sugar free" or anything artificially stripped of natural flavour. they go for the real thing in moderation.
  • french women love chocolate, especially the dark, slightly bitter, silky stuff with its nutty aroma.
and a lot more!

so there's not a list of foods not to eat, but the emphasis is on eating what's fresh, in season, good quality and variety. there's also emphasis on exercise and drinking lots of water.

eating quality over quantity is so important. i have a weakness of chocolate but good chocolates are so expensive and cheap chocolates are so bad. [i'll share with you a current chocolate favourite later.]

so if you settle for just a few bites of a good quality dark chocolate (this is the good stuff!), this anytime beats many bars of lousy chocolates. lousy chocolates are typically low in cocoa and high in sugar. thus you need to eat more to satisfy the chocolatey craving. but with dark chocolate, just a bite goes a longgggggg wayyyyyyy... get it?

it's like eating bread! if you eat only white bread, you are never satisfied. 4 slices and i still need a packet of nasi lemak but 3 slices of whole wheat bread, plus some matured cheese... hmm... heavenly... this beats nasi lemak any time!

i never find what's the bad deal about carbs. whenever i hear of people wanting to reduce weight, they'll start off by saying reducing carbohydrate. i don't agree with this at all!

you reduce simple carbohydrate. you increase complex carbohydrate.

out goes white bread, rice, potatoes, beer.
in comes whole wheat bread, brown rice.

also the prevailing theme of her book is... balance. you just need to balance whatever you eat with whatever you exert. if you had the extra bit of chocolate, reduce the bread, exercise more etc. she doesn't say you should enroll in gyms. she advocates climbing stairs for starters and it's definitely the easiest, most accessible form of physical exertion.

all in all, i thorough enjoy this book. you should too, if you want to learn more about eating well and eating healthily.

screw dieting!

ps: i had so much fun with this book, i took my colleague out for lunch. we went to a french restaurant!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

the paradox of our time - cheese!

you should have come across "the paradox of our time" wrongly attributed to george carlin when it was written by a dr moorehead, a minister, author and former pastor of overlake christian church, redmond washington.

it goes something like this...

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but
shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more,
but have less; we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and
smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees
but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more
problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

and so on...

over the past few year, my interest in bread has slowly led to more discoveries.

we have bread, but it's not real bread.  just a load of simple carbohydrates and lots of chemicals!

we have soap, but it's actually just detergent.

and now i learned something new.

we have cheese but it's not really cheese...

go to any supermarket or hypermarket in malaysia and the most common cheese you could buy is cheddar. what's not apparent to all is that most are PROCESSED CHEESE.

read the label. if you want to buy some, buy those described as NATURAL CHEESE.

there is a world of difference between processed and natural cheese. processed is found everywhere! in your burger, in your sandwich, pizza etc. most restaurants nor shops use natural cheese due to the higher cost.

of course, there are better cheese out there but i haven't tried that many. they cost too much! thank god this cheese i'm going to recommend here only cost a few more rm than the typical processed cheese.

bega's strong and bitey vintage cheese has already got us glowing cheek to cheek.

not too salty but a strong rich cheddar cheese flavour. texture is a bit brittle though. i was at hock choon and they sell this plus the Tasty and Extra Tasty variety too. the difference is in how long the cheese is stored as it develops its flavour. the longer you store, the stronger it gets. this Strong & Bitey Vintage variety is stored for 15 months for the flavours to fully mature.

like a match made in heaven, it goes extremely well with the whole wheat ciabatta with sunflower and pumpkin seeds. just bite into it and as your saliva interacts with the cheese and bread... it makes you go... hmmm.... immense satisfaction.

try it!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

let's trade

i'm quite happy with my bread baking journey so far. and i'm proud to say that my 100% wholemeal bread is very tender and delicious! could bake this right every time now. as the saying goes, practice makes perfect.

been meaning to explore other interests/hobbies. one particularly attracts me is making my own soap. i did ask around. one person wanted rm150 to teach me how to do it. i actually know how to do it but i just need to know where to source for lye (or sodium hydroxide). anyway, i'm not that keen to part with rm150.

that said, why not do a trade?

anyone interested in learning how to bake bread, can visit me at my place in taman oug, kuala lumpur as i bake bread every sunday. see how i do it and i'll share where i buy my supplies. actually everything is on this site but nothing beats seeing the process unfold in front of your eyes.

all i ask for is... you share a hobby with me too. i'm interested in making my own soap but if you have something else to share, that's fine with me too. as long as it strikes my fancy. it's all about learning new things, new experience and opening up new horizons. i'm interested in lots of stuffs but a lifetime is just too short to learn everything.

i'm serious about this and i've posted an ad in mudah.my to spread the word.

so do contact me if you are interested!