Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Tennis Side of a Bay Leaf

Our club opened last Saturday for the new season with an apero and it was a gorgeous, sunny day. As i stood there looking down at those four clay courts, it gave me a warm familiar feeling and it brought back a lot of good memories. My husband and i have been members here since seven years and i've played Interclub the last two seasons. Prior to that I ran the club resto for two seasons, an experience i enjoyed (so did the club members and guests) but it gave me less time to play. The club is open from April till early October. Interclub is played on the weekends of May and June.
I started playing the game way back in the Philippines when i was in college, but since i've lived here, i've taken a couple of lessons to improve my technique. It's a pity i played it on and off in the past. But since we've become members here, i play more regularly now. I may be older, but i've improved my game and i'm enjoying it more. Participating in tournaments has also given me some court experience especially in singles matches. So long as the body is still able and my legs can run, then i got the will to play. With pleasure! :)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Raspberry Muffins

When it comes to baking i am a real newbie, but i enjoy it nevertheless, i think to get the hang of it, one just needs to do things on a trial and error method. That's exactly what i've done with these. I still have some frozen raspberries so i took them out and thawed them. I wrote earlier about not having the right measurements when cooking, but when i bake, i do, so for this recipe i sifted 2 cups of flour, then resifted it with 3/4 teaspoons of salt, 1/2 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons of baking powder. On a separate bowl i beat 2 eggs, then added about 4 tablespoons melted butter and 3/4 cup of milk. I then added the dried ingredients to the latter, then the raspberries (which i've sprinkled with about 2 tablespoons of flour before adding them in), then mixing ever lightly for about 20 seconds. (I read somewhere that the secret to a good muffin is never to beat the batter too long, it should come out coarse, as the gluten in the flour will develop and make the dough tough.) Then on a muffin pan i placed paper bun cases and scooped the mix to each form, filling it 2/3. All 12 forms were filled. I then put it inside my preheated oven (200°C) and baked for about 25 minutes then removed and placed in rack to cool.
Happy Easter!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Squid Adobo

Back in the islands, this is the typical adobong pusit, but of course we all have our improvized versions, and this is one of mine. As today is Good Friday, this is a great dish to prepare--- simple, yet enjoyable. The local Migros shop had these giant squids at their seafood counter, a rarity around here, but much appreciated by the likes of me. So i purchased four pieces, washed them, removing the head from the mantle or tube and squeezed to discard its hard beak, then i removed the gladius (that plastic like thing), and cut the mantle into pieces, washed again, and put aside. Then i chopped some garlic, ginger, and onions, sautéed those in spicy olive oil (hubby dipped a few chilies/garlic in a bottle and kept it for weeks and months), added two dried bay leaves, then added the squids, some soy sauce, patis (fish sauce), and freshly grated pepper. I added also a dash of rock salt and brown sugar, dried chili, then mixed them gently, and lastly, a few drops of vinegar. Mixing again, i let it simmer in the pot for a good half hour and till the sauce was thick enough, and inspite of what experts say about cooking it quickly so it stays soft and tender, this one turned out just fine, tender and tasty. It goes perfect with warm perfume rice, the spicy taste of the olive oil lingering in your mouth for just a little bit longer. *note: i don't necessarily have a particular measuring amount used for the ingredients that go into the dish, like salt, pepper, soy sauce, etc., one just gets a feel for these things after a while.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Chili Crab

It's been a while, but here's another food entry. Many's the time when i crave of having fresh seafood over here, so i make do by going to the Asian shops here to get a taste of home. The frozen crustaceans that's sold are quite good actually, and you'd be pleasantly surprised with the blue swimmer crabs they offer here . My mom used to prepare this by just boiling them with a little amount of water and adding salt. When cooked just right, the meat taste just divine. I do them in two different versions, one with spicy coconut sauce, then here's the chili version: for a pack of those crabs (about 1 kilo, frozen, the shell, apron and gills removed, and the body cut in half, the claws still attached) i prepare a tablespoon of grated fresh ginger, a teaspoonful of dried chilies (you can also use the fresh one, slice thinly), 5 cloves of finely chopped garlic, chopped spring onions separating the green tips, about 2 tablespoons of patis (fish sauce), 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1/4 cup lime juice, 1/4 cup vinegar and 2 tablespoons 0f Sriracha hot chili sauce (also available in Asian shops). Here's how i do it: i remove the crabs from box and thaw them, then wash in cold water and put aside. I then heat some peanut oil in a heated large wok then sauté the dried chili, ginger, garlic and spring onions, then add a small amount of water, the patis, sugar, juice, vinegar and chili sauce, then i stir till the sauce thickens. That's when i add the crabs, cook covered for about 15 minutes, (crab changes color by then) i then add the green onion tips (coriander leaves are also optional but the hubby is not a big fan of them). But he loves seafood, his favorites are prawns and shrimps, but this one is growing on him. At the beginning i had to show him how to remove the meat, also placing old newspapers on the table then hammering the claws, but he loves it especially with the chili sauce and some steamed rice on the side. Sometimes when you eat something good you have to earn it, even if the table looks a mess afterwards... ;)