This year has been a contemplative year for us and we were not really able to devote much time for the Spice Project. Nevertheless, we are hoping we can make up for the lost time in the new year. A year to start with a fresh new slate....with prospects of making new friends, going to new places, discovering old treasures and cooking up new flavours!
We wish you all a wonderful new year and all the best wishes for all your new ventures!
3 tablespoons olive oil
750g thin cut fillet steak
1 onion, sliced thinly
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 chilli, sliced
2 star anise
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds, crushed
1 cinnamon stick
1 red pepper, cut into strips
2 spring onion stalks
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
2 tablespoons ground bean sauce
Heat half the oil in a wok and stir fry the beef in batches for 1-2 mins. Remove and keep warm.
Heat the remaining oil in the wok and stir fry the onion until softened. Add the garlic, chilli, the spices and the red pepper. Stir fry for about 5 minutes.
Return the beef to the wok with the fish sauce, the ground bean sauce and spring onion stalks. Stir fry for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve hot.
Friends of Alex gave us some plants 2 summers ago. One was a baby Frangipani. By now, we are fully aware of my luck with plants (a cherry blossom bonsai and a maple bonsai died while in my care....) and we weren't expecting the plants to last that long. Well, the tomato died but before it did, it did manage to grow quite a bit which encouraged me to grow tomatoes again this summer (I am happy to say, we managed to eat some very juicy and sweet cherry tomatoes as a result!). Now the Frangipani, nothing happened to it for the longest time. That is to say it didn't even seem to grow, it did shed some leaves but we were totally expecting it to die out on us. Amazingly, a couple of days ago, while the Autumn leaves are beginning to shade elsewhere, our Little Frangipani blossomed! We have a cluster of fragrant Frangipanis on our balcony now! Ah, that was enough to cheer me up the whole week!
The Gentlemen's Run was an event sponsored by the Gentlemen's Report, a new lifestyle magazine for men. Anyone who could bicycle could take part in it.....provided they were dressed up for it! Well, not actually having bicycles did not deter the two of us from participating. We simply borrowed one each from the Züri Velos and then we dandied up a little bit (yes, there were some women despite it being a Gentlemen's event!) and off we pedaled! It was truly a 'vintage' experience!
The collection of bicyclists could not have been more colourful! There were all age groups, different backgrounds, countries, and of course all sorts of of bicycle enthusiasts. There were some guys who had actually made their own bicycles!
We started the Run from the Landesmuseum and made two pitstops for some refreshments and then ended up at the Hyatt to a rousing applause. And a fine young gentleman who had made his own bicycle won the award for being the best dressed! Am sure his bicycle helped him win it too!
While I was in Malaysia, the only time we actually spent a lot of time in the kitchen was to bake. Food is sooooo cheap in Malaysia that it makes more sense to buy them rather than prepare them yourselves at home. And since I always crave for the local Malaysian fares while I am in Switzerland, I pretty much just ate out or got myself a 'tapau' (take-away) every chance I got. Yes, not very healthy.
So we wanted to bake another cake, my sister and I, but this time we had a request from my Dad. He wanted to have an Orange cake. But the person whom we were actually baking this cake for is a hardcore Chocolate cake fan. As a compromise we decided on Nigella's Chocolate Orange cake. It was decadent!
2 oranges (weighing approximately 375g together)
1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate soda
200g ground almonds
250g castor sugar
50g of good quality cocoa
Boil the oranges for 2 hours in a saucepan filled with water (or alternatively, pierce the oranges through at least 3 times each with a skewer and then boil them in a saucepan for 30 minutes until soft). Drain the water and set the oranges aside to cool.
When cool, cut the oranges in half and remove any large pips.
Grease a 20cm diameter baking pan and preheat the oven to 180°C.
Pulp the cooled oranges in a food processor before adding the eggs, baking powder, bicarbonate soda, almonds, sugar and cocoa. Process it all together to get a smooth batter.
Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake for an hour. Check after 45 minutes as you may need to cover with a foil to prevent burning before the cake is cooked through
Let the cake cool in the tin before removing.
For the glaze
1/4 cup margarine, melted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups of confectioner's cugar
In a large bowl, beat the margarine and cocoa together until combined. Add milk and vanilla, beat until smooth. Gradually beat in the sugar until desired consistency is achieved. Adjust with more milk or sugar if necessary.