Saturday, May 31, 2008

Lamb chops with mousseron mushrooms

We had lunch at X's parents to feast on the mousserons that we had collected the day before. Apologies for the bad photo cos I'd forgotten my camera.

Lamb chops with mousseron mushrooms

Fry the lamb chops in a pan with salt & pepper till brown. Remove then place a crustade over the chops. The crustade is a blend of 1 cup of bread crumbs, 5-6 Tbsp of olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic & lots of parsley. Cook in the oven at 170 for 15-20 mins. We like our lamb chops a little pink, as you can see in the photo, so longer if you like it well done.

Mousseron mushrooms - Fry them over medium heat till water is evaporated (the mushrooms exude a lot of water), if too much, then drain away the water. Next add 1-2 cloves of diced garlic, butter & parsley. These are great side dishes for meat.

Mousseron mushrooms

I talked about how I've been mushroom hunting. This morning Rene brought me to hunt for mousseron mushrooms (also known as fairy ring mushroom so called because they grow in a fairy ring or an arc which means when you find one, you'll find clusters of them). Within 1 hour, we had already collected 5 kg of these babies. I'm not as familiar with the mousseron but I'm a huge fan of mushrooms so any kind is fine by me.

It doesn't have the same thrill of the hunt like for cepes but it was still fun anyway. At least it was until it was time to clean them. What do you do with 5 kg of mushrooms ? Wash, dry, cook & freeze them. I'm already thinking of all the ways I can use them.

How do you eat them ? With meat (watch next post for lamb with mousseron), fried with garlic, parsley & butter or in an omelette (the French love eating wild mushroom omelette).

Girolle mushrooms
We found some of these along the way

Mousseron mushrooms

Cleaning to remove the grass & dirt

This is what 5 kg of mushrooms look like

Update : Read next post - Lamb Chops with Mousseron Mushrooms on how to prepare them.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Vegetable Tempura

It has been a while since I last made tempura & a quick check in the fridge revealed that I had all my favorite veggies for tempura. I don't make this often cos I don't really like to deep fry. But since I had to deep fry the wontons/spring rolls , I thought alright let's make tempura too.

My 3 favorite vegetables to do a tempura with are aubergines, red peppers & zucchinis. I'm not a big fan of red peppers although I will eat it but I absolutely love it tempura'd. I would normally also do shrimp tempura but I'd already used them all up for my wontons so I decided to do some with fish instead (not shown in the picture).

For the tempura batter, I used ready mix packet but since it was running low, I mixed in some fluor. If you don't have any tempura batter mix, just make your own, my mum uses only fluor & cold water. Unfortunately I can't really give you exact estimations cos I really do this by feel. But you can follow the one used here (I don't add egg tho). Besides I like my batter to be light ie. barely coating the vegetable unlike the ones that are like thick jackets completely encasing the vegetable, so I make it a little more watery.

Make sure the oil is very hot before you start. Test by adding a little drop of batter into the oil. The red peppers cook really quickly. Aubergines & zucchinis take longer. Once they are brown, remove else they will absorb too much oil. I always do the seafood or fish last so that the oil doesn't get too fishy.

Tempura Dip

1 cup water
1 Tbsp daishi stock
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin

Add all together in a pan. Bring to a boil then simmer. Serve it warm together with tempura.

Wontons disguised as Spring rolls

I decided to make wontons yesterday & invited Laurence to have a little make your own wonton party. We were happily making them until I realised I ran out of wonton wraps with quite a bit of stuffing left. No worries, I'll make some tomorrow, so I thought. ( By the way, I'm really not a very good blogger cos I totally forgot to take photos of our wonton making session. )

Then this morning, I woke up & was feeling too lazy to make wonton wraps from scratch. Why not turn them into spring rolls instead ? And so I did. So here you are, wontons disguised as spring rolls. They actually taste really good - kind of like deep fried crispy wontons but shaped like a spring roll.



This is what I've been busy with

It hasn't stopped raining since we returned from Paris. We seemed to have skipped spring & now it looks like we're going to skip summer cos it's the end of May & I'm still walking around with a sweater. I want, no, I need summer to come soon.

The only good thing about the rain is that it's time to go mushroom hunting. I adore mushrooms & above all, I LOVE Cepe. I can't tell you where I go hunt for Cepes cos everybody has their secret spot & if I tell you, I'd have to kill you.

I know I ought to write more about my trip & to upload more photos but can you blame me if I'm out hunting for Cepes instead ?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The reason I was in Paris

Actually 2 reasons. Elaine & Todd. They had come all the way from San Francisco so it was the perfect excuse for me to make another trip to the capital to see them, stock up on shabu shabu sauce, catch up with friends in Paris, get a Brazilian wax, go to Muji, go to the bookstore at the Pompidou Centre, have a bowl of ramen or/and pho......Okay so there were more reasons to visit Paris.

Sorry if you were expecting to see beautiful photos of Paris, how about beautiful people in Paris instead ?

Todd & Elaine

The girl in the courtyard of the Palais Royal

You see, there is a picture of me, afterall

At Cafe de l'Industrie

Taking a break from climbing all the steps to Sacre Coeur

We also caught up with Laetitia & her mommy.
The girl was not being co-operative so I had to
crop her out of this photo
but Laetitia is a darling & posed readily.

A bar along Rue de la Roquette (can't remember the name)
Drinking just like old times

Monday, May 26, 2008

Home Sweet Home

I know I need to continue with my trip stories & photos. But before I do that, I just had to post this.

These just came in the mail. Don't you just love receiving packages in the mail ? I do, very much. I had ordered some stuff on the internet for the Girl - baby Havaianas slippers & some more summer clothes from VertBaudet & they all arrived at once. But I was most excited to receive the package from Bangkok - thank you Eunice !! My dear friend sent me Thai food pastes which I'm dying to try. She made me promise to post the pictures on my blog which I will most certainly do.

And then this morning when I'd sent the Girl to school, I got this from her teacher. Apparently she had made this in class the previous week & since we were away last week, she didn't have a chance to give it to me. Une petite fleur. I've already hung this up in the kitchen.

Update : I received yet another package, this time round from Singapore with Prima Taste pre mixes. Thank you Barbs. Even tho I've seen these packets before in Singapore, funnily enough I've never thought to buy them & therefore have not tried cooking with them. My overseas friends all seem to love it so Barbs offered to send me the one for Mee Rebus & Laksa. I'm going to try this out & if all goes well, guess what I'm asking my mum to send over next.

City of a hundred bells

It was Lotus who commented here that each region of France is so varied & beautiful. I couldn't agree more. It's not a particularly big country size wise but each region is so different in terms of architecture, landscape & of course, food.

Northern France is an area that is still fairly unknown to me. Prior to Rouen, the furthest north I've ever been was Paris. That is a region that I really need to explore more. This was my second trip to the historical capital of Normandy. The last time, my camera died because I poured water all over it or something silly like that & so I had nothing to document my trip. This time round, I made sure I was well prepared esp since I wanted to blog about how beautiful the city is.

So I decided to extend my trip to Paris to visit Helena, Simon-Pierre & their 2 beautiful boys. Rouen is just an hour by train north of Paris & thankfully there is a direct TGV line from Valence. I said thankfully because the last time I visited them, I changed trains in Paris & doing that alone was already a hassle - can you imagine attempting that with a 3 year old, a stroller & bags ? No thank you.

The historical centre is on the right bank of the Seine & that's where we explored on foot. Most sights are within walking distance anyway & a word of advice, wear flat shoes, not because of the walking but because of the cobblestoned roads.

The streets are lined with these charming half timbered houses.

The most famous sight has got to be the Cathedral.
It's huge & towers over the city.
Made famous by Claude Monet who painted it several hundred
times at different times of the day thus capturing it in different light.
The picture on the right is one such painting in the Musee des Beaux Arts.

The magnificent wooden door of St Maclou Church

Faïence is the conventional name in English for fine tin glazed
pottery on a delicate pale buff body.[1]

Gros Horloge or Great Clock - an astronomical clock
constructed in the late 14th Century

The beautiful Palais de Justice
where you can still see bullet holes left from the war.

Rouen will always be linked to Joan of Arc (or Jeanne d'Arc in French). It is here where she was imprisoned & later burnt at the stake by the English.
Left picture : Joan of Arc tower where she was imprisoned during her trial
Right picture : Modern church in her honour at the site of her execution

On our final morning in Rouen, the Girl & I encountered a demonstration which is nothing unusual in France. While we were waiting to cross the street, a young student approached us to advise us to stay away. Right after I took this picture, somebody had thrown a fire cracker which landed just meters away from the Girl's stroller.

Goodbye Rouen, next stop Paris

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

We just got back last night. Phew 3 nights in Rouen & 2 nights in Paris. Lots & lots of pictures to share. I still love Paris (& always will) but either I've been living in the countryside for too long or it's just age or the fact that I was travelling with a 3 year old, I was so tired.......of the crowds, of the mass of people everywhere.

But mostly I was happy to catch up with my friends.

By the way, France being different from the rest of the world, celebrates Mother's Day today. So what will I be doing - unpacking, doing the laundry, cleaning, cooking, playing with the Girl - I guess what mother's do everyday. And you know what, I don't mind it one bit. I enjoy being a mum. To all mothers, a very Happy Mother's Day.

Once I've finished my chores, I'll sort out the pictures. Here's where we left from - Valence TGV station.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Cold Soba Noodles

I'll be in Rouen & Paris this week - visiting friends. First I had friends from HK last week & then I'll be meeting some other friends from San Francisco in Paris & of course, catching up with ones who live there. When it rains, it pours. I couldn't be happier.

I love Paris & always look forward to going there. I've been there with the Girl before but that was 2 years ago. Last year I went alone without her. Now that she's older & more communicative, I'm curious to see how she's going to enjoy the city. Besides I can't wait for my friends to meet her.

In Paris, one of my must go places is Kioko, the Japanese supermarket. There is of course, the temple known as Tang Freres. It is huge & has every conceivable Asian product that you can think of. Where here we have aisles of yoghurt, they have aisles of instant noodles. But going there is bad for my heart. I hyperventilate each time I step inside & I get dizzy with their selection. It's too much of a good thing & unless I'm prepared to leave with a cart full of stuff, I don't venture there. Kioko, on the other hand, I can manage. It has all my favorite Japanese specialty stuff which, believe it or not, I wouldn't be able to find in Tang Freres. Plus of course, I can get my fix of ramen just down the road.

So on that note, I will leave you with this - Cold soba noodles. Our friend, Take who is a Japanese chef was here in Feb & brought with him packets of these & also showed us how to prepare them. Poor Take, he was here on vacation & yet we made him cook.

Cold Soba Noodles


Grated Ginger
Seaweed, cut to thin strips
Spring onions, sliced


Soba Sauce

1 cup water
20ml sake
20ml soya sauce
20ml mirin
1 tsp hondashi stock

Mix & bring to a boil then simmer

1. Cook noodles as per instructions on the packet

2. Drain & set aside

3. Serve sauce in individual bowls & allow each person to customise their sauce by adding the condiments - seaweed, spring onions, ginger & wasabi. The sauce should be warm

4. Dunk the noodles into the sauce & slurp.

I'll be back in a week with lots of stories & photos.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Home made Dress

If you've been following my blog, you'll realise that I mention home made a lot. From home grown vegetables to home made jam, sorbets, sausages, pizzas etc. Wherever possible, people around here will make it themselves.

Here's another example. The Girl's grandmother made this dress for her. I love it. A simple summer dress made from a pretty pink fabric. She's wearing the dress here. I joked that I was going to put this on my blog & start taking orders.

Isn't it the prettiest little dress ?

Random shots taken in Viviers - right before my battery died