Monday, December 12, 2011

Natale in Italia by Surprise!


Ciao Amici! Come Va? Me, molto bene...

How time flies and before I knew it, it's Christmas already. My blog have slept for two months and I couldn't believe it. I have never been missing in action this long! I miss blogging. Come to think of it, there are so many stories to write and so many food photos to post. I have been away and busy for millions of reasons and it's 99.9% positive. I should've been in London at this point and getting ready for the English holiday but sometimes fate has something else in store for each and everyone of us. I am deeply surprised that I am still here in Italy and would spend my first Christmas with snow.

I have been enjoying my culinary studies and Florentine life for the past 3 months that made me think that I'd love to spend my Christmas here. It came to the point that I will do everything just to extend my stay. So many options involved and one of those is studying their language. Well in my heart I'd really love to study it. I would like to see myself to be well-verse in having an Italian conversation. I went on different mazes but it didn't work out. So I just concluded that maybe fate has really planned my life to be in London for Christmas according to my itinerary. Then again it's amazing how fate played it's game on me. What a pleasant surprise that I will have a freelance work in Milano. Up to when? I don't know yet. The good thing is--there is a reason now for me to stay longer in Italy. Opportunity just paved its way!

I just wanted to say hi to my blog today. I am quite very sick and staying at home dealing with my cough and slight fever. It's the weather that I am not accustomed to. Winter is approaching and I really hope that my body can adapt to it. I promise to post more as I back track what happened since October and November. The biggest highlight was--my second solo painting exhibition in Florence. I will surely post the photos here.

The picture above of Ribes & Wine cake is now my favorite cake to do. My recent fixation after discovering the small red berry fruit called Ribes.

Ciao , ciao alla prossima! :-)

big hug,
joanie xxx

Friday, September 30, 2011

Genovese Pesto - Saigon & Florence


My old way of doing pesto in Saigon, Vietnam

Buonasera ragazzi e ragazze!

How time flies that every time I will find time to blog, weeks passed by already and September is ending tomorrow. I have been learning a lot from my cooking school with my dearest teacher Chef Marcella and figo Chef Damiano. One of the remarkable learning I had so far is doing the authentic Genovese pesto. This Italian pasta dish hails from Liguria region and from the province of Genova. I learned that you never cook a pesto which I usually do in my own style and sometimes put bacon on top or chicken. I remember how my Italian boss said it's bastardizing pesto when you add meat. Pesto is pesto in its simplest form and he was right because he is from Genova. So from that learning and new techniques I learned from my Italian teachers, pesto is now one of my favorite staple pasta dishes.

My new way of doing pesto in Florence, Italy

If you notice the picture of my pasta on top which I did when I was still in Saigon, it's quite a bit oily and dark. This one with the linguine pasta is refreshingly green and not oily. How lovely this pasta especially putting my new favorite Pecorino Romano from sheep milk. And the word Pecorino derives from the word Pecora which means sheep. What also excites me doing this pesto sauce is because I have now few Basil pots at my veranda where I usually sits for breakfast and doing skype with my friends.

My pesto ingredients are ready to be blended

My veranda with my Basil pots

I have been out of town lately and I really promise to post separately the pictures of the town I visited. I visited the not so touristy places like Bologna, Lucca, Siena and Fiesole---they are nearby town in Florence. Quaint, beautiful and quiet. But of course I never fail to gaze nor explore the beautiful city of Firenze and one of my favorite spot is the Piazzale Michaelangelo. You will have there the overlooking of Florence with all its landmarks including the river and the cinematic Ponte Vecchio.

Overlooking view of Firenze with Ponte Vecchio

So far I have been around with so many places in Florence like restaurants and pubs with my classmate and new friend Maija. She is from Finland and a very nice girl. I would love to share you guys more of my adventures next time. I have been learning a lot of Italian now and improving just by hearing from my new found Italian friends. And I have some good news next time and I hope I will have some more. Meanwhile, I am excited because I am going out of the country and going back to Spain this time Madrid. I was wishing I can also go back to Barcelona because I really love it but 4 days off school may not be enough. This is it for now...

Ciao Bello and Bella! :-)

big hug,
joanie xxx

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Dolce Italia: Gelato & Panacotta

Fig Gelato (Done at school)

Buongiorno Sabato!

It's a lazy Saturday... after I woke up around 10:30 am. Just finished having my pesto spaghetti for lunch and strawberry milk shake. Well it's been two weeks since I came to Italy and a lot of things are happening aside from school activities which are more important things than anything else. I have met a few Italians so far from a coach surfing meet-up party and then I visited a design agency in Firenze which considerably the biggest in town. I must say I met good Italian people so far and I am looking forward to meet more.

The past weeks I also familiarized myself on walking around the city from my house to different point areas like the city center where all the historical places are situated like the Duomo, Stazione Santa Maria Novella, Santa Croce and Punta Vecchio. I attempted to go to Boboli garden but I failed. Before reaching the area I got tired because there are pandemonium of tourist everywhere and it's friggin' hot. But there was this day that I succeeded to reach the Piazzale Michaleangelo which is on the hill overlooking the entire Florence. And I plan to go back again there today with my friend.

Last week I also met up my friend from Milano to have a whole day of fun in Bologna. I had two gelatos that day plus one giant pizza that we shared. We toured the center of the city where all the universities are situated and then we climbed Torre Asinelli and had a view of Bologna as a red city because of its terracotta color. As much as I wanted to avoid shopping, when there is a sale it's hard to resist---and so I did! Bologna was a fun day indeed :)


Panacotta topped with Peaches (Done at home)

Everything is incredible in Italy. The people, the language, the places and of course the food! I just love going to supermarket and market with my trolley bag to buy some good meat, fruits and vegetables. Everything is fresh and of good quality even the dairies. I just love every single moment I spent purchasing food that I often can't find in Asia. My now favorite market is Mercato Ambrogio which is not far from where I live and it's highly recommended by my chef teacher.

I've been learning a lot from my school. Food encyclopedia of Italy and the whole world is massive information that one person cannot learn in one day or in an instant. That's why I am here for few months to learn as much as I could. And I am proud to say that I have made my first fresh gelato with figs which I made at our school with the help of our chef teacher. Then as I try to exercise my expertise mastering the panacotta, I made one at home. The cream and milk were so good! I topped it with my preserved peaches (which I made in our school last week) to compliment or balance the good taste. I am looking forward to post more stories, arts & design, food photos, exciting information & trivia about Italy and of course recipes!

Ciao for now Bello & Bella!

big hug,
joanie xxx

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Goodbye Vietnam, Hello Italy!


Xin Chao everyone!

Hope it's not the last time to say this greeting after leaving Vietnam last week. Yes you heard it right! After the long saga of waiting my Italian student visa, it arrived 6 days before I left Saigon. I had sleepless nights prior to that because of the uneasy feeling that I may not be granted one. Though, I am confident that they will because UK issued me a new visa, so I assumed another Schengen visa wouldn't be a hassle. But we never know 'til we get the stamp on our passport. And I am glad that they gave me one! It was very tiring packing my stuff from my apartment in 10 boxes and bidding goodbye to everyone.

My last cooking buffet in the cafe where I work as weekend chef was a big success. Unexpected number of guests arrived to avail the buffet menu as I bid farewell to my Vietnam culinary and advertising adventures. I can't thank enough all the people who manifested their heart-felt support in every little thing I do. So that's probably one of the things I would miss in Saigon.



I arrived Milano at Malpensa airport last Sept 3 at 7:30 in the morning. My former Creative Director/friend from Philippines is currently based in Milan and he picked me up in the airport and I stayed at his place for two days. His cousins are very warm and accommodating in the house where I stayed. They even brought me when they went to outskirt of Milan to attend a Sunday mass with a massive Filipino attendees. The name of the church is Caravaggio, named after famous painter Michaelangelo Mersi da Caravaggio who was born in Lombardy, Milan. I surprisingly had fun attending the mass because the homily was very nice and it was hosted by an Italian priest who spoke three languages at that time. He delivered the entire mass 90% Filipino and 5% of English and Italian. That totally amazed me!

After two days I left Milano on Sept 5 to move to Firenze, Italia--where my culinary study will take place. I will tell you next time the beginning of my Florentine life story in the next posts I will be having. In the meantime, I would like to share all of you the first ever successful cake I baked. This successful baked cake is a milestone for me since I am not into baking but I guess the world of culinary is not just about cooking but baking as well.



MATCHA & CARAMEL SPONGE CAKE

Ingredients:

• 1 cup sugar
• 1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
• 4 large eggs
• 2 tablespoons warm water
• 1/2 teaspoon real vanilla
• 2 cups cake flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 2 tbsp Matcha powder (diluted in hot water)
• 1 pack Jello caramel
• Milk
• 1 cup cream
• Butter (of course)

Procedure:

Put the sugar and matcha liquid in a blender or food processor. Add this mixture to the softened butter. Beat with a mixer on medium until fluffy. This should take about 5 minutes. Add the eggs to the sugar and butter one at a time, beating well after adding each one. Add the water and vanilla. In a different bowl, use a whisk to mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add half of the flour mixture to the rest of the ingredients. Mix on low. Then add the rest of the flour mixture.

Now beat at medium speed until the cake batter becomes shiny. The mixture should also turn a white color. Do not skip this step or reduce the mixing time. The longer you mix the batter, the more air bubbles you create. This is what makes sponge cake recipes light and fluffy. This step of the sponge cake recipe should take about 15 minutes.

Pour sponge cake batter into two round cake pans that have been greased with shortening well and liberally floured. If they haven't been greased and floured thoroughly, your sponge cake recipe will stick to the cake pans.

Bake Matcha sponge cake in a preheated 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven for approximately 25-30 minutes. The sponge cake should pull gently from the sides. It will be golden in color and spongy to the touch. It should spring back when touched. To be sure the sponge cake is done, test the center with a toothpick and see if it comes out clean. Do not open the oven while the sponge cake is baking. Remove the Matcha sponge cake from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10-15 minutes before removing the cake from the cake pans. Let the sponge cake cool completely before putting the caramel pudding mixture. Just follow the instruction of jello pack when adding milk in the mixture then add some cream and butter and put it in a piping bag then top the sponge cake.

I dedicate this post to the birthday of our beloved Mother Mary...

Buon Contempleanno Vergine Maria! :-)


big hug,
joanie xxx

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Olives & Cherry Tomatoes Fusilli


Good morning Sunday! What a sunny day to share a lunch, isn't it matey?

How is it going with me lately? I am in a bit of afloat and pending mind. Tomorrow or Tuesday perhaps, I'll be finally receiving the result of my visa for Italy. Oh dear GOD, I still hold on to your promise-- positive result, thy will be done! Non-refundable air ticket- check! Tuition fee full payment- check! Housing reservation payment- check! Outbound air ticket from Milan to London on December-check! But the feeling of twirling and kinda twisted at the moment is how I juggle my mind--just like my dear pasta called Fusilli.


This Fusilli pasta dish is also one of the dishes in my Geisha menu. Again not much people order for it maybe because of the unfamiliarity with the word Fusilli and mixed with my Aubergine Caviar Pate will definitely sound foreign to the local consumers. But then again few Westerners have sat down for this already and they dearly like it. I hope one will stumble on this dish and will get to order it at Geisha Cafe.


OLIVES & CHERRY TOMATOES FUSILLI

Ingredients:

• Aubergine Caviar (see my previous post for the recipe)
• Cherry tomatoes (sliced into halves)
• Green Olives ( sliced)
• Fusilli Pasta (boiled)
• Fresh Basil (chopped)
• Garlic
• Salt & Pepper
• Olive Oil
• Butter (of course)

Procedure:

Heat pan with butter and add a little olive oil. Saute garlic and avoid it turning into brown. Add Cherry Tomatoes then next will be olives. Saute for 3-5 minutes then add the Aubergine Caviar. Mix well along with the boiled Fusilli then have a dash of salt and pepper. If mixture gets dry add a good lug of olive oil then top it with the chopped basil and serve into a plate.

Buon Appetito Amici! :D

big hug,
joanie xxx

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fish in Ginger Teriyaki Sauce & Baked Carrots


Good day Mates, Happy Tuesday!!!

This fish recipe I have here today is among the sumptuous dishes I have in the menu at Geisha Cafe. This is very much underrated nor unnoticeable by most customers and they don't realize how good the combination of pan seared herbie Dory fish and creamy baked carrots. I always tell the waiters to push for the rarely sold dishes because customers may not know just by reading the title I did in the menu book. This is a bit complicated and delicate to do and has to be done properly to get all the flavors come all in together. Each glorious bite of this dish is composed of a meticulously done cooking procedure.


I just want to romanticize more of this dish by explaining how I did it and how I put all things together in one gorgeous plate like this. I wouldn't be able to give the recipe as I normally do it, but I will narrate it in a manner understandable to all foodies and will be appreciated by people who love to eat.


First of all I have to get a nice Dory fish and marinate it with lemon, herbs, salt & pepper. Put it in a fridge and start doing the carrots. Grate a few pieces of carrots, then put it in a bowl. Add chopped parsley, onions, eggs and cream. Season it with salt and pepper then get a rectangular or square baking dish and cover it with foil then bake it for 40 minutes to one hour. While baking it prepare a pan and drizzle it with a bit of olive oil and pan sear the marinated Dory fish. As you cook the fish ready your sauce by getting a small pan and stir fry ginger and leeks together then add the home made Teriyaki sauce. When everything is cook, plate it all together the way you see it in the visual. I guarantee that this food is so good.

I dedicate this lip-smacking dish to a French chef from Paris, Pierre!

big hug,
joanie xxx

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ablaze the beauty of LONDON!


This was my first London trip last October. Yes it's almost a year already since then and it's just now that I am alerted to post it. This week, I just received another UK visa and I am off to go to London again and some parts of UK to spend Christmas Holiday this coming December. Amidst all the riots and ablaze buildings, I was reminded that I haven't post the beauty of one of my favorite cities in the world that I finally conquered. The first two photos are the typical London tourist photos that I am pretty much sure that you've seen it a thousand or million times! I do have a lot of photos with Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Picadilly and the London eye. But I feel I'd like to share on my blog some photos I didn't put in my Facebook album. Some photos that is also about London that people should know...

Nice Tour Guide at Sandeman Tour at The Wellington Arch

Saatchi Gallery London

House where I stayed at Morpet Place, Victoria - London

Notting Hill at Portabello Market


Bricklane Gallery at Bricklane Road

Around Windsor Castle

The famous Stonehenge

Middle of nowhere between Stonehenge and Oxford

Double Decker Bus

Inside Old Spitalfields Market

Stumbled on students somewhere in Old Street, North London

Old Tom - Named after Tom Tower and the name of the bell

Inside Oxford University

The inspiration of Harry Potter's scar on the forehead

And the first thing I saw at China Town - London

Some of the photos are one or two hour drive outside London. The Stonehenge, Windsor Castle and Oxford University are worth to visit just give yourself more time. Don't squeeze them in one day like what I did. You will miss a lot opportunities. It's like you are shuffling from one place to another just to get a photo. Savor the moment because there's so much beauty that your eyes shoyld see. Anyways, all the loverly people of London and the rest of the world-- I'm so sleepy now and I must hit the sack.

Goodnight LOVE!!! :-)

big hug,
joanie xxx

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Strawberry Fields Forever!


How is it going mates? My arvo is heaps busier compared to all Sundays I had :-)

So today, I miss blogging and I realized it's friggin' August already. How time flies so fast when you're busy and when you are preoccupied about accomplishing a lot of things in a small amount of time. Yes I am a great crammer. I thought I am prepared for all the things I have planned way back January, thinking everything is just like peanuts. I hope so... I have one month to deal with those things anyway. So veering away from those in the meantime, I just have to put here one of my favorite quotes which I tweaked a bit to fit in my favorite fruit and for my post for this evening.

" Life is like a basket of strawberries, you'll never know what you are getting until you taste it. Sometimes it's sour and sometimes sweet."


Since today is a busy day for me, I have a lot of random things to share that I was very happy to be busy about. Like my UK and ITALY visa are still a work in progress given the tight schedule but I am claiming everything will fall into place in no time. Next to that was the arrival of my Dad and sister here in Saigon to bring home some of my stuff. They brought home two giant boxes and 3 luggages. Only one luggage belongs to my Dad and sister and the rest are few of my bags, shoes, clothes and kitchen stuff. I played the role of a city tour guide for a couple of days and what I like the most was our lunch buffet at Hotel Sofitel. So yesterday morning my Dad & sister left Saigon and as for me, back to normal phasing.

Today, I miss The Artist Chef intimate dinner stint that I've been doing for more than two years in Manila. I only stopped when I left for Saigon on 2009. After that I had four special stints for special couples. All of those stints were done by requests. How I miss my sweet & thoughtful customers and the people who featured me. (from all mediums from TV, magazines and internet) There are still a lot of customers who write and book some reservation, I miss doing it and I realized how lucky those one hundred couples whom I spent time with and served sumptuous meals.

And also today I met Lyra (a writer by passion/business consultant at COWAN Design) who interviewed me for a magazine article. As I share her my life I was reminded that I am off to another journey pursuing another dream by obeying the desires of my heart. They are all about ART & FOOD. Those two basic and essential ingredients of my life. Like strawberries, I hope I'll pick more sweet ones in the coming days to come. Meanwhile I want to share you a special recipe that I really really like. This time inspired by Nigella Lawson :p



STRAWBERRY FRENCH TOAST DOUGHNUT


Ingredients:

• Fresh Strawberries
• Sliced Loaf Bread
• Eggs
• Milk
• Vanilla Syrup
• Icing Sugar
• Whip Cream
• Frying Oil
• Salt
• Butter (of course)

Procedure:

Beat eggs with milk and a pinch of salt. Add in some icing sugar and vanilla syrup and beat it again. Grab some sliced bread and soak it over the mixture. Heat pan with butter and mix with frying oil in medium temperature. Fry the soaked bread and flip until both sides are a bit golden brown. Get a blender or food processor and put some strawberries with icing sugar and pureed it together. Thinly slice few strawberries and place it on top of the bread. Pour or drizzle the pureed strawberries and top it with some whipping cream and serve. A must try this lip-smacking dish!

This post is for my Mom and Adrian's birthday...

Buon Compleanno
to both of you!


big hug,
joanie xxx

Monday, July 25, 2011

French Moutarde Chicken


G'Day mates :-)

I just woke up today and told myself it's a beautiful day isn't it? I don't feel sleepy nor stressed. The past days I was really unwell. Coming from a tiring work in Bangkok and a tiring yet happy about the recent Sunday Off-the-Menu Buffet I did for Geisha Cafe. Little joys in life that I am embracing every time it happens.

Today I double checked my cupboard and realized that I still have plenty of pastas, mustard and jams from France and Italy. Then my mini condiment jars are still filled with my spices. I still have a month and a few days to consume them before I head to Italy. I'm not going to replenish any of those goodies but I plan to do some cooking lesson with this little girl named Alex. She is the daughter of my neighbor Luis. She's such a cute smart little girl that is very enthusiastic about cooking. And our common denominator---we both LOVE Jamie Oliver! To my fascination with this kid, I shared her some of my precious liquorice and the Jamie Oliver button I got when I went to Jamie's Italian Liverpool, England. I wish I knew Jamie when I was her age :)

And last realization today, I haven't posted this mustard chicken I did and it's inspired by the recipe from the 30-minute meals cook book of my beloved James Trevor Oliver! Now I am sharing this to everyone so you can also try how divine this chicken mustard recipe especially when I used this mustard from Paris. Have a try...


FRENCH MOUTARDE CHICKEN


Ingredients:

Few sprigs of fresh rosemary
• Chicken breasts
• French Moutarde
• baby leeks or 1 large leek
• Cloves of garlic
• White wine
• Cream
• Olive Oil
• Butter (of course)

Procedure:

Turn the heat under the frying pan up to medium. Pick and finely chop the leaves from the rosemary sprigs and sprinkle them into the pack of chicken. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of mustard over each breast, then season and put some butter into the frying pan. Massage and rub these flavours all over the meat. Put the chicken breasts in the pan, skin side down. Use a fish slice to press down on the chicken to help it cook. It should take around 18 minutes in total. Quickly trim the leeks and halve lengthways. Wash them under the cold tap, then finely slice them and add to one side of the chicken pan. Crush 4 unpeeled cloves of garlic into the pan of chicken. Flip the chicken breasts skin side up, then press down on them again. Stir the leeks and add a good swig of white wine. Turn the heat off. Transfer the chicken breasts to a board and slice into uneven pieces. Stir 1 heaped teaspoon of whole grain mustard into the sauce, then taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Spoon the sauce on to a platter and put the sliced chicken on top. Drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil and take straight to the table.

Enjoy this with vegetables or potatoes...

big hug,
joanie xxx

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Radicchio & Okra Consomme


It's been raining hard the past days here in Saigon and apparently it's my favorite weather. I would just love to stay in bed then cuddle my pillow and stay lazy as I watch the rain on my window pane. This weather is also the perfect time to make some soup for the hungry tummy. Since I am lessening my intake of carbs, I decided to make my favorite soup concoction on this rainy evening of Bastille day. I marry the slimy texture of okra with the purple radicchio and together I boiled it in beef broth. So the usual tactic, before eating-- I am excited to take photos of my food for my ever dearest blog. I fancied placing my autumn leaves from Paris as part of my food set up. I just remember the day I picked them as I walk around Ch√Ęteau de Vincennes in Paris. I just miss France and I want to go back again to probably visit Versailles, Provence and Bordeaux. Soon.



So today, I am happy to have cooked again this consomme dish in commemoration for France independence which they usually call Bastille Day. I also love French dishes so as their taste palette. It's another cuisine that I am opening myself to immerse with in the future. Now, I am a bit sleepy mates and I am taking off another trip to Bangkok tomorrow morning. I hope I can get unfamiliar food trip this time and steal some moments to shop. I promise myself to go back to Bella Napoli.



RADICCHIO & OKRA CONSOMME


Ingredients:

• Onions (minced)
• Radicchio (shredded)
• Okra (sliced)
• Beef Broth
• Salt & Pepper
• Thyme
• Olive Oil
• Butter (of course)

Procedure:

Heat pan in medium temperature with butter and drizzle with some olive oil. Add minced onions and saute until a bit of a golden brown. Add the the radicchio and okra then saute with the onions. Seasoned with salt, pepper & thyme. Add next the beef broth and simmer the mixture for 2-5 minutes and it's done. Serve in a bowl or cup. Bon Appetit!

Happy Bastille Day!!!


big hug,
joanie xxx

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mongolian Scampi for Daddy!


Hey there mates!

It's been a while again since my last blog. I know it's my fault. Sigh. I've been really busy with a lot of things lately most specially with work and I feel a bit exhausted. I kept telling myself few weeks ago that I owe my blog a Father's day post. So I hope it's never too late to pay tribute and give my hats-off to all the good fathers all over the world.

Every person on this planet has his or her own side of the coin. I take the side of my Dad and I consider myself as a Daddy's girl ever since I was a little girl. There are deeper reasons behind it and I cannot itemize everything here. But I have tons of little anecdotes why I always like to be with my father.

When I was small he always take me to his office at the advertising agency he used to work with during his younger days. Then often bring us to movies and eat out on fancy restaurants or cool fast food place. He also bought us stationery and other stuff we need not just when we were small but also until we grew up. He always brings me to his work related activities before that's why my exposure to advertising world started at an early age. I may not be the ultimate creative person in my industry but in my heart I know that my creativity and being an artist is in my genes. And I owe my father for that.

Now that I am a grown-up lady, I am still in advertising and I still keep my hobby as a painter. Those things that I am busy about on a regular basis, reminds me of my father often. He still helps me whenever I need him big and small help. And time tested everything that during my trying times he can still be there for me.

I thank my Daddy for my existence in this world. I continue to dream a lot of things for myself and for my family as well. Sometimes things are just hard to achieve but I do believe a positive mind can bring me to the road where dreams can turn into real. I still have plenty of dreams that haven't been immortalized. One of them is buying my Dad a big billiard table. There is still a lifetime ahead to hopefully fulfill this. In the meantime, here's a hearty recipe for Daddy.

MONGOLIAN SCAMPI


Ingredients:

• Prawns
• Squid
• Shitake Mushrooms
• Red / Green Capsicums (sliced diagonally)
• Bean sprouts
• White Onions (sliced into rings)
• Garlic
• Paprika
• Salt / Pepper
• Olive Oil
• Butter (of course)

Procedure:

Peel the prawns and slice the squid into rings and set aside. Heat wok in medium heat then add butter and a bit of olive oil. Add garlic and onion and saute for 2 minutes. Add shitake mushrooms and stir-fry for about a minute. Then add prawns followed by squid and stir-fry again for a few minutes. Then quickly add the capsicums. Stir-fry again for 3o seconds then add paprika, salt and pepper. Then lastly add the beansprouts and stir-fry everything for about a minute or two. Then when it's cooked prepare a small bowl. It's good to eat this dish with your chopsticks and some Thai Jasmine rice.

Hope you like my post Father's Day blog! :-)

big hug,
joan xxx

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Shitake Mushroom Bruschettas


The beautiful month of June has arrived and before I knew it, it's more than ten days had pass and I am just writing my first blog. Recently I had a photo shoot at Geisha (the cafe where I work during weekends) with my recipes on their menu. I did the food styling and the photography out of generosity. Today, I am posting this lovely and colorful Shitake Mushroom Bruschettas to represent how colorful life can be. It's just my way of musing things and giving meaning to the food I concoct.


Back home, June is considered as the wedding month decades ago. But through the years things have changed. Couples are detaching from the old school mindset of choosing to get married on the month of June. So to speak, December to February is now the popular choice because of the cold weather. April also climbs the chart because of the summer heat and the beach wedding theme. A lot of people are now breaking the traditional rules of the boring and repetitive ways of executing a wedding occasion. Every couple just wants to be different. And in the future I would assume I am not an exception.


Autumn. Probably my most favorite season of the year. I like the turning of leaves into tangerine and the falling from the branch of trees. And look how lovely the Autumn flowers are? Thanks to OnceWed for the photos here. It serves as my daily inspiration on how to see my matrimonial event as simple, exclusive yet colorful in an opaque or subdued tones.

To every woman, wedding day is a fairytale but for me it's not. I don't even want anyone to witness how I exchange my I DO's except for the priest or who ever will conduct the ceremony and that's it. It's the solemnity and exclusivity that matters to me. Many people ask me why? Don't you want us to see you walk down the aisle? I don't know what to say. Maybe because half of my life I had this inferiority with the crowd. I hate to deal with so many people. Even with friends I am most likely happy to deal with just one constant companion. I always like intimate bonding than a group of crap.


This appetizer called bruschetta hails from Italy and it is my all-time favorite appetizer. Have you heard of Torino, Puglia, Positano, Siena, Verona, Amalfi coast, Cinque Terre and Fiesole? These are some off-beaten paths that I am currently eyeing to visit as I go to Italy this September for quite a long period of time. I am excited to bask under the Tuscan Sun and feel the breeze of the wind during Autumn. I would love to have the Italian cuddle once more. More to speak, I miss everything about Firenze. They say our fate is a fair share of what is destined for us which we are not in control of and half is something we have to put our actions. For me fate is like Newton's third law of motion. In every action there is an equal or opposite reaction. So I am taking a big leap and risk whatever my palm is holding right now to seize the moment where life and fate takes me. I always wanted to break my routine and as much as possible I risk eloping from the ordinary life. I believe life is colorful and I hold the responsibility to choose the color palette I want. Whatever is bound for me in Italy, I know my heart will be happy to discover whatever it is.

In the meantime, I still love the world of advertising as I exert my creative juices on a daily basis. In a few days I am off to fly to Bangkok again for a photo shoot.

big hug,
joanie xxx

Friday, May 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Jamie Oliver!

May 27 has just arrived again. Another day for me to remember the man I consider GOD in my culinary journey. I will forget to blog on the day of my birthday but never on Jamie Oliver's birthday. This is his first birthday that I would greet him after meeting him in person in London last October. For me he is the noblest human being that has ever existed on this planet, without any exaggeration. Being aware about all his campaigns and good deeds in life in helping people by using his ultimate passion and talent about food, makes me admire him more each day. He has already proven himself that he is more than just this fat chef with a drum kit as what Marco Pierre White has brutally said about him couple of years ago. I would vehemently disagree on that. I would just wish he continue to produce good TV shows, delightful cook books and stunning food campaigns. I also wish he will continue to develop good products through his JME online products.

Behind all these countless activities this man is busy about, at the end of the day --he is a good dad and a loving husband. I think he wouldn't ask for more now that he has a gorgeous wife--Jools, 3 lovely daughters and an adorable son. A very good family man. Never became conceited. In this world, good people are blessed because of their good deeds and Jamie is one of those. He is like a pitcher filled with blessings and what he does is to pour it to other people and share it.


So last night I just watched episodes from Jamie's 30-minute meals and Jamie's at Home. While watching, I made a slow roast pork which I marinated in beer and herbs & spices. I wasn't able to finish roasting it so I don't have photo yet. I only took the photo of my roasted tomato soup which smells and tastes really good. This tomato soup will beat all the tomato soup I have tasted. This soup is a lip-smacking one and the sensation of the herbs and spices are vivid but not overpowering the essence of the mashed roasted tomatoes. The after taste is something you will never forget. A recipe i would recommend to everyone.


ROASTED TOMATO CURRY SOUP

Ingredients:

• Tomatoes
• Curry powder
• Paprika
• Turmeric
• Cayenne
• Salt & Pepper
• Milk
• Onions
• Marjoram
• Thyme
• Olive oil
• Butter

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 180 degree celsius 10-15 minutes. Wash tomatoes and put it in a baking tray. Drizzle with some olive oil and dash some salt. Reduce the temperature of oven into 150 degrees celsius the put the tomatoes inside the oven. Heat it for 30-40 minutes. When cooked, peel it and mash but leave some chunky texture. Heat casserole with butter then add onions. Saute for few minutes then add the mashed tomatoes. Season with all the herbs and spices and add a bit of milk and water. Simmer until it thickens. Serve with toasted bread.

I dedicate this post to James Trevor Oliver!

Happy Birthday Jamie!! xoxo

big hug,
joanie xxx