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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

navel orange closeup

Added a fun touch to the tree: two feathered creatures from the crafts store.

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backyard  orange tree

The backyard orange trees harvest is a little early this year.

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pumpkin pie aesthetic

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flavored teas

My quest for flavored teas brought me to two unusual ones.

I was intrigued when I saw the pineapple tea. When I sipped it, there was a slight taste of pineapple. On the one hand, I might prefer a stronger taste of the fruit. But on the other hand, I realize the complexity of blending pineapple flavor into tea, so that its sharp tang would not overwhelm.

Have you ever come across an odd pairing of flavors that sounds weird, but turns out to be a great combination? Well, the peppermint and English toffee tea is one such success story. (English toffee is a confection made from brown sugar and butter.)

The combination of mint and toffee creates a rich, refreshing blend.

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cakes from Wales

I’ve always wanted to try Welsh Cakes, and I had the opportunity to do so from a food booth at a literary festival.

They were offered by a baking company started by a family who had migrated to the United States from Wales, so it was good that it was authentic.

Welsh cakes are a traditional treat from Wales. They are made from simple ingredients like flour, sugar, milk and butter. Some family recipes might add currants or spices. The unique thing about these cakes is that they are not baked, but cooked on a griddle.

I tasted the Welsh cakes with the classic traditional flavor. It had a “less crumbly” texture than scones, and had a creamy taste with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg.

The cakes can eaten plain, or with butter and jam. I tried the cakes plain, and also with a little butter for topping. Either way, I really enjoyed them.

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Bubbly Choc

aero chocolate bubbles

Memories can cut across generations in a family. So can a love of certain food, in this case chocolate.

The Aero chocolate bar was a huge favorite of my Grandmother and my Father. I enjoyed it too as child around them, although I believe I enjoyed its bubbly texture that can only be found in an Aero bar, rather more than the taste.

I haven’t had them for many years. Then I excitedly came across Aero chocolate bars at a European-style deli in Los Angeles. And this time, I could appreciate the creamy, smooth flavors – and still enjoyed the bubbles.

Aero was launched in 1935 in North of England, and its unique bubbly texture made it a big success. Glad it is still bubbling around.

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Kitkat Japan

I’ve seen pictures of the Maccha Green Tea Kitkat, popular in Japan, and I’ve always wanted to try it. Well, I almost jumped for joy when I saw it at an Asian supermarket.

And what made it even more convenient, the American distributor has stuck a small label listing the ingredients and nutritional value in English. Some of the ingredients listed included green tea powder, cocoa and vegetable oil.

Now for the sampling, to see how the matching of chocolate and green tea turns out.

I think it tastes more like a creamy dessert with a subtle fragrance, reminiscent of the green tea ice cream that I have had the chance to try on several occasions.

And rather strangely, the flavor and fragrance of the Green Tea Kitkat reminds me of pandan flavoring. Pandan is an extract from the pandanus leaf, and is used extensively in Malay and Indonesian desserts.

I do like this interesting Kitkat flavor. And best of all, these bars still have that famous, addictive Kitkat crunch.

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kacang botol winged bean

Ulam, raw vegetables and herbs is integral to Malay cuisine. On the right is winged bean/kacang botol, and part of the dipping sauce shown (at bottom right).

In this post, I would like to highlight an aspect of Malay cuisine – ulam, which is a version of Malay salad.

Ulam consists of a platter of raw vegetables and herbs, and may also include some that have been blanched. It is eaten with a sambal, a spicy chilli-based dipping sauce. Ulam is usually served as part of a rice based meal.

Kacang botol, the green bean shown above is one of my favorites. It has a lovely combination of a crunchy texture and a mildly creamy taste.

Kacang means bean in Malay, and botol means bottle. I’m not sure why it is so named; must be an interesting anecdote somewhere. Incidentally, it is known as winged bean in English, perhaps named after its uniquely shaped edges. Well, it seems like the bean encouraged people to be quite poetic in naming it.

The bean plant grows as a vine, and it is said to be a good source of vitamin A.

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my garden oranges

Navel oranges from my backyard tree.

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backyard fruit tree

The tree needs little maintenance.

yellow grapefruit

The first fruit harvested – always an exciting experience.

 

When we first bought the small tree, we thought it was a lemon tree.

I planted it in a big pot. But it didn’t do well at all. So I managed to find a space in the backyard and plant it in the ground. Over the years, it grew fast, but nothing, no fruit.

Just I was standing there contemplating if we had here a non-fruit-bearing tree, I noticed a green bud peeking between the leaves.

The bud grew…and grew. I was baffled. Till I figured out that it wasn’t a lemon, but a grapefruit. It turned out to be a yellow grapefruit, sometimes also known as white grapefruit. The flesh has a translucent white color, and it has a brisk-sour taste. The first fruit harvested recently measures about 6 inches in both width and length.

And it looks like the tree has found its rhythm, after revealing its mystery. There are at least five more fruits and buds on its branches, waiting for the sun and for time to ripen them.

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