Friday 27 April 2012

Cooking Asparagus on My Own

 Feeling that my kilo asparagus is lighter than I bought, I wanted to see how much is lost after the paring done by the fruit shop.
 The peelings weigh about 200 gms. Next time I buy Asparagus, will add about 300gms just for the peelings to save on frustration or will peel them myself and include them to make asparagus soup.
I placed the asparagus in a big pot with water, a bit of sugar, slices of lemon and let it cook for more than 35minutes. The man vendor told me I only need 10 minutes to cook them. Hah! Potatoes were cooked with skin on to save on work and not to forget, the nutritious part is found in the skin. Asked hubby to check whether potatoes are done. I have rice cooker but no potato cooker so I need an authentic potato eater for the OK sign. That took about 25 minutes of boiling and hubby said another minute then it would just be fine, a technique he learned from his mother. The technique is that he always tell me one more minute no matter how long I cook the potatoes.
Then I prepared the scrambled eggs adding milk in it while beating. For sauce, I melted a whole bar of good (they always say here good) butter. Nothing is so frustrating for me than having so little sauce while eating asparagus with potatoes. I love them swimming either in Hollandaise sauce or plain melted butter with smoked ham. A glass of chilled white wine should not be forgotten when indulging in asparagus. 

"I stick to asparagus which still seems to inspire gentle thought." 
Charles Lamb

Sunday 22 April 2012

Market Criers in Action

Market Criers in Action
A especial attraction for this city one weekend in April when Marktschreier or market criers come to cry their goods from sausages, cheese, exotic plants to tropical fruits. See the video on this screaming sausage crier who teases his audience by throwing rolls of sausages, showering them with cuts of  smoked sausages while crying the prices for the bags of smoked meat from 10Euro to 20Euro. 

Wednesday 11 April 2012

How Not to Cook Won-ton, Wun tun, Wan-Tun or Wan-Tan Soup

Frozen  wan-tan or won -ton
 A BFF (best friend forever), one of the chosen ones I have inspired me to make wanton soup. Hermie comes from Ilo-ilo which is home to the national  pride of Bachoy La Paz, a soup which I always thought of as a local version of wanton soup, and Hermie has always this soup ready when we visit her in NL. I thought of preparing my own wanton soup while shopping in an Asian supermarket in a local Chinatown in Rotterdam. I wanted only to inquire  if they have frozen wakame (seaweeds salad) but ended up buying wanton and pechay leaves instead. For the soup, one needs also chicken meat, pepper, salt, garlic and chives.
Left, boiled won-ton  and right, fried won-ton
 Heat oil, add garlic and stir-fry the chicken pieces. Then add water and cook chicken until tender. Normally, I add the frozen wontons in the boiling broth followed by pechay leaves and the spices. One can garnish it with fried garlic, chives, young garlic or chopped coriander leaves.
My other BFF, Jeh (and she is The Cooking friend I have) has tasted once my soup which I have been boasting to friends around. She commented that my wontons are over-cooked and suggested that I cooked them separately and just mix them in the soup when ready to serve. Did she say cook in oil or fry in oil? Anyway, I tried first frying the wonton pieces and to my frustration, they turned soon crispy. Did I get her instruction rightly? Jeh, help! Then I boiled the remaining pieces from the mother broth and set them aside for serving. They were all sticking to each other after awhile.
Fried won-ton parcels with chilli-garlic sauce
 So what to do? I was thinking either I have a merienda of fried wonton parcels with the potato salad or plunge them into the chicken broth. How will they taste crisply fried in hot soup? I returned the won-ton pieces back to the frying pan and fried them until they were all real crispy and ready to eat as starters and not as ingredient of the main course which is Chicken-Won-ton Soup. Found a bottle of banana sauce with an expiry date of November 1911 together with this bottle of chilli and garlic sauce. The chilli sauce has not yet expired luckily and it went fantastic with the crispy won-ton pieces. I sprinkled a bit of peanut oil to the other bowl of boiled wontons thinking it might keep them separated but it didn't help. They were all still clinging to each other in pairs or in groups. Tja. What to do?  I chose some isolated won-ton parcels, placed them in a bowl, add two pechay leaves but left out the chicken pieces as I have enough of the fried stuffs as starters. I garnished the soup with black peppers and squeezed a lemon in it. Added a bit of fish sauce (also not expired but the bottle is almost empty) and enjoyed it even without chopped coriander and chives, and hot, hot it was. I was searching for
frozen fruitsalad or ice cream in my host's freezer as first aid to my burnt tongue. This time, I won't even look for the expiry date.

A small joke about this soup. I can't help but remember this joke which I heard on the radio so many light years away. "How do you call it when someone vandalizes a Chinese restaurant?
Answer? Wanton destruction

Tuesday 10 April 2012



By A.E. Stallings

The tulips make me want to paint,
Something about the way they drop
Their petals on the tabletop
And do not wilt so much as faint,

Something about their burnt-out hearts,
Something about their pallid stems
Wearing decay like diadems,
Parading finishes like starts,

Something about the way they twist
As if to catch the last applause,
And drink the moment through long straws,
And how, tomorrow, they’ll be missed.

The way they’re somehow getting clearer,
The tulips make me want to see—
The tulips make the other me
(The backwards one who’s in the mirror,

The one who can’t tell left from right),
Glance now over the wrong shoulder
To watch them get a little older
And give themselves up to the light.

Source: Poetry (June 2009).

Sunday 8 April 2012

Happy Easter!

"Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in spring-time."
Martin Luther

Sunday 1 April 2012

Wish upon Stars in April

                                                    (Source: Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger)

Or would you like to swing on a star
Carry moonbeams home in a jar
and be better off than you are.
             Johnny Burke