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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

my banana tree

backyard banana tree

It’s great that the weather in California is warm enough for the banana plant to thrive.

I was very pleased when I noticed that the banana tree in the backyard was bearing fruits. We did have banana trees in my childhood home in Asia, but I never really bothered to see how the fruit grew.

So this time around, it was very interesting to watch the process. The cone-shaped piece at the bottom of the bunch of bananas is actually a delicacy in Malay cooking. It is know as jantung pisang, literally means the heart of the banana. It is usually cooked in a coconut milk based curry/gravy.

The ripened fruit has a firmer texture and a creamier flavor than the store-bought ones.

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pineapple factory collage

Recently, the pineapple has been an important part of my writing.

The photo on the left  is of the pineapple factory and plantation in Hawaii, from vintage Dole pineapple factory and American Can Company booklets. The photo on the right shows women packing canned pineapples at a factory in Malaysia, seen at the Pineapple Museum in Johor, Malaysia.

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green bean casserole

It’s time again for the green bean casserole to make its star appearance.

This dish was created by Campbell test kitchen manager Dorcas Reilly in 1955, using only  six ingredients: canned or fresh green beans, Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup, soy sauce, black pepper, milk, and French-fried onions.

The dish has indeed stood the test of time, and it is said that during the holiday season, an estimated 30 million households will continue to enjoy this family favorite.

It is also a favorite in our home. I prefer to stick to the original recipe, without any addition or variation. I’ve made it using both cooked fresh beans or canned beans. And somehow, the one made with canned beans always tastes better.

(Photo credit: kcur.org. )

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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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