Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
"And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left." Isaiah 30:21 (ESV)
"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and He delighteth in his way." Psalm 37:23 (KJV)
"By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going." Hebrews 11:8 (NIV)
Sunday, July 5, 2015
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Sometimes, wanting something so badly has a way of being a huge hindrance to empathizing with someone who has that something.
At some point along this continuum of longing to have a child, I found myself seemingly losing the ability to empathize. It was hard to empathize with the privileges accorded to mummies everywhere, because what about us who are not mummies? It was hard to empathize with world-revolving-around-my-kids kind of worldview, because I felt left out of many conversations and felt comparably empty. It was hard to empathize when any mummy had anything to complain about regarding parenting, because isn't it the greatest privilege in the world in itself, which makes all things bearable? At the worst moment, it was just hard to empathize because that seemingly means admitting to not having something I know deep down can be one of the greatest joys. Since not having brings pain, there is that reflex action of doing all I can, including not empathizing, in order to avoid that pain.
I'm so thankful that along came someone, to change all this.
Enter Tikki the dog, who we had the privilege of dog-sitting for a very short two weeks.
With Tikki, I got a teeny tiny taster of what being a parent may, in some very remote way, feel like.
- It may feel like how it felt when we set the alarm clock a half hour earlier than usual just to walk Tikki and prepare his breakfast
- It may feel like how it felt when we always made sure Tikki ate his meals before ours (and finished them).
- It may feel like how it felt when we had to check Tikki's poop every time to make sure he's healthy.
- It may feel like how it felt when I made it a point to vary his meals, and avoid giving him the same warm salad for consecutive meals.
- It may feel like how it felt when I got creative making Tikki all sorts of warm salads revolving mainly around Kibbles and Rice.
- It may feel like how it felt when we planned our weekend activities around Tikki.
- It may feel like how it felt when I snapped photo after photo away at every opportunity.
- It may feel like how it felt when the floor is covered with a layer of Golden Retriever Fur, and when I step into saliva puddles every four steps.
- It may feel like how it felt when every other night I would get woken up by some noise Tikki was making.
- It may feel like how it felt when I had to say no to Friday night shopping on Orchard Road because Tikki would need his walk and dinner.
- It may feel like how it felt to have Tikki always so needful of our company, and wanting to stay close all the time.
- It may feel like how it felt when I had to keep a straight face and strict tone when disciplining Tikki, like when he tries to lick out-of-bounds-other-dogs'-poo-spots during his walks.
- It may feel like how it felt like when all day at work I knew someone was waiting longingly for me to return from work
- It may feel like how it felt like when our return home was greeted without fail with excited tail-wagging, prancing around, and big smiles all around.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Focaccia with Olives and Sundried Tomatoes
Adapted from The Best of Betterbaking.com
1 cup lukewarm water (should be slightly warm to the touch)
2 tsp instant yeast
1 tbsp honey
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp semolina
1 tbsp italian herbs (dried)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups bread flour
Olive oil, for drizzling
Semolina, for dusting
50 g sundried tomatoes, diced
50 g pitted green olives, diced
6-8 large cloves of garlic, roasted in their skins, diced
Salt and pepper
Hand-whisk the yeast and water in the bowl wherein you will be kneading the dough, and let it stand for 2 minutes.
Add the honey, salt, olive oil, semolina, herbs, and flours. Mix, then knead to form a soft elastic dough (I use my trusty KitchenAid. This forms a soft-ish dough, so it's hard to obtain the windowpane texture, especially with the presence of all-purpose flour with its lower gluten content, but don't worry. You'll know the dough is ready when it feels like your earlobe when a bit of it is pinched between your floured thumb and index finger. Mix in the tomatoes, olives, and garlic.
Once the dough is ready, leave it in a large, lightly oiled mixing bowl for 45 min, until almost doubled.Next, give the dough a good punch-down. Simply punch out all the gas. Let it rest for a further 15 min. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celcius. Prepare the baking sheet or pan you would be using by dusting generously with semolina.
Tip the dough out onto a lightly oiled worktop, and shape it however you please. Generally, this involves pressing the dough out to about a 1 inch thickness into your desired shape.
I like my focaccia as a single ovalish, rustic-looking loaf, but you might like to use a rectagular/square pan instead, so you can end up with focaccia squares instead of 4 odd-shaped pieces...
Finally, dimple the dough with your finger all over, and drizzle extra virgin olive oil generously all over, letting olive oil pool in the indentations. Season with salt and freshly-ground black pepper.
Bake for about 15 min (this is for a single loaf of focaccia. If you're having two smaller loaves, you'd probably need to check after 12 min).
Let cool on a cooling rack before cutting. Enjoy the oliv-ey goodness waft through your house and pretend you're in Tuscany...
Monday, December 2, 2013
Or maybe, I didn't. I could just have waited till they were mostly black and ready to be made into banana nut cake, or banana crunch muffins, or chunked and frozen, ready for the next smoothie.
But I was going to bake a loaf of bread, not the quickbread version of banana nut bread, with butter, and tasting more like cake. It was for breakfast, which meant that it had to aim to be more reminiscent of wholesomeness, rather than indulgent pampering. Of course, I do understand that some mornings, what we do need is indeed indulgent pampering. Never mind, we'll save that for another day.
And so, here is my yeasted version of banana nut bread, specifically: honey wheatgerm banana bread with pecans and dates. Ever since my discovery of preferment, I've more or less given up the straight dough method, as breads made with preferments are just so much better - unless you're eating freshly made bread within a couple of hours of its exit from the oven. Not a luxury I currently have! But bread baking with preferment is a luxury to me, too, due to the sheer amount of time the whole process takes. So I have been relying on the next best alternative : a water-roux, or tangzhong starter. Texture and softness wise, it's not bad.
Banana Nut Bread (Adapted from Christine's Recipes)
For the dough:
310 g bread flour
40 g toasted wheatgerm
5-6 g (2 tsp) yeast
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp + 2 tsp honey
120 g tangzhong (Directions on how to make this are available at Christine's site)
125 ml milk
1 egg (You'll also need a little more beaten egg for egg wash)
30 g butter, cut into small cubes
For the filling:
A handful of chopped pecan nuts
2 just-ripe bananas, cut into small chunks
A handful of dates, diced
Knead : Place the dry ingredients in the bowl of your freestanding mixer, and make a well in the centre. Add everything else into the well, except the butter. Knead for 5 min until a smooth dough is formed. Add the butter and keep on kneading till all the butter is incorporated. Keep on kneading till the windowpane texture is achieved. Throw in the chopped pecans, and mix briefly.
First proof : Form the dough into a ball and place it in an oiled, large mixing bowl. Cover with a damp tea towel and let it proof for 40 min in a warm place. It should double in size.
Punch down and rest: After 40 min, punch the air out of the dough and shape it into four even balls. Leave to rest for 10 min.
Shape : Roll each ball out into an oval, and sprinkle the banana chunks and dates on. Roll up tightly, and place in a loaf tin. Repeat for the other three balls.
Final proof : Leave to proof for a final 40 min, with the tea towel draped over. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius. Just before placing into the oven, brush the top of the loaf with beaten egg.
Bake : Bake for 30-40 min, checking if it is done after 30 min. Do also check the colour of the crust; I found that mine was bronze enough just after 10 min, and I had to place a sheet of aluminum foil over it as a result to prevent further darkening of the crust. When the loaf has a shiny bronzed color, and sounds hollow when rapped on the bottom of the tin, it's done.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
|As is the case for growing Kaffir Lime leaves. No amount of rushing will do.|