Adrienne

May 172016
 

Wow – it’s been nearly 2 years since I posted here, really? Well, I haven’t experimented with or adapted a recipe in so long that was so good! This one was just a make-it-up-as-I-go along recipe… so, here goes. It’s definitely vegetarian, but could easily be vegan if you omit the parmesan. Maybe dust with some yeast flakes? Not sure how that would do flavour-wise, but it’s worth a try!

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced (I tend to press 1 clove, but leave it whole, and then mince or grate the other clove)
  • 1 tsp marmite
  • 1/2 tsp dried red chilli flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 medium sized zucchini, roughly shredded or grated
  • 2 Tbsp dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cup water, boiling
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup vegetable stock or white wine
  • salt and pepper
  • dried tagliatelle — enough for 3-4 servings
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley

Preparation:

Prepare the tagliatelle according to package directions, setting a timer to ensure the pasta cooks al dente.

Boil the water and add the porcini mushrooms to soak.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or frying pan over medium-low heat. When warm, add the garlic. When the garlic starts to smell, add the marmite and chilli flakes, stirring to break up and dissolve the marmite.

After the marmite has dissolved, add the grated zucchini to the pan and sauté for 3-5 minutes, allowing the zucchini to release its liquid. Stir occasionally, and add a sprinkle of both salt and pepper.

Add half the stock to the pan and turn up the heat slightly. Allow to simmer, to reduce the liquid a bit, for 3-4 minutes. In the meantime, drain the mushrooms and squeeze dry. Add half the mushroom broth to the pan also.

Chop up the porcini mushrooms and add to the pan, stirring.

Reserve the vegetable and mushroom stock and add as necessary once the ragú begins to thicken; every few minutes, thin it out with some stock and allow to reduce again. Taste, and add salt, pepper, and chilli flakes to taste. Continue cooking until the sauce reduces to your consistency of choice. A ragú should be thick but not chunky or gummy, with enough liquid to coat the pasta it will be served with. Continue tasting and adjusting seasoning as necessary.

When the ragú reaches the appropriate consistency, remove from heat or turn down to the lowest heat possible.

Once cooked, drain the pasta, rinse with cold water, and toss with another tablespoon of olive oil.

Add the pasta to the same pan as the ragú; toss to coat the pasta completely. Leave in the pan for 3 minutes, tossing occasionally, to allow the pasta to soak up some of the flavour of the sauce.

To serve, dish into pasta bowls, dust with some parmesan and toss slightly. Garnish with chopped parsley and a fresh drizzle of olive oil.

Serves 4 (or 3 very hungry people! hah).

Sep 082014
 

Another recipe adaptation, yay! This one used to be a lamb ragout, and it’s from the same Spanish cookbook as the lentil recipe. It continues my love affair with tempeh. Nomz. This was was a pleasant surprise and success! You could use tofu, too, but probably would want to freeze it, thaw it, and press it before cooking.

 

Mmmm another adapted recipe. Tempeh and by CanadianAEh, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  CanadianAEh 

 

Ingredients:

  • 250-300g tempeh, cut into bite-sized pieces (if not fresh, steam for 15 min first)
  • 1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce (or veg equivalent)
  • 1 Tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (use tamari if unavailable)
  • 1kg-1.2kg of small white potatoes, scrubbed, trimmed and quartered or cut into bite-sized pieces — peel only if necessary
  • 250g carrots, sliced
  • 250mL white wine (you could try with red, too)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup dried shiitake mushrooms (use cremini for a different flavour!)
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced and separated
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped coarsely and separated
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, separated
  • 1-2 tsp salt, to taste
  • Water

Preparation:

Season the tempeh with the worcestershire sauce and liquid aminos, as well as with the 1 clove of chopped garlic. Leave in a non-reactive dish to marinate for 20-30 minutes or more. When ready, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and brown the tempeh. Remove and put in a large pot or casserole pot. Add the sliced carrots.

Add 1-2 cups boiling water to the mushrooms. Let them soak 15-20 minutes.

Fry the chopped onion in the same oil used to brown the tempeh. Add a splash more of oil if needed. When onion is brown, remove from heat and add to the casserole pot.

Put 1 Tbsp of garlic in a mortar and crush it with half of the chopped parsley. Put the parsley-garlic mixture in a separate small bowl and mix with the white wine. Pour the entire mixture — wine, garlic, parsley — into the casserole pot with the onions, carrots, and tempeh. Cover and cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Season the potatoes with the rest of the chopped garlic. Sauté them in another tablespoon of oil over medium heat. When lightly browned, remove them with a slotted spoon and add them to the tempeh-carrot mixture, which should still be on medium heat.

In the same frying pan used for the potatoes, sprinkle the flour and stir over low heat until it turns golden brown. Add water and stir, cooking for a few minutes. When slightly thickened, remove from heat and add to the casserole pot.

Check the mushrooms and slice coarsely. Add them to the casserole pot. Add the mushroom soaking water to the casserole pot, too, and stir. Add water to cover all the vegetables, and cook 15 minutes uncovered on medium-low heat. Stir occasionally.

After 15 minutes, check for salt, and add as necessary. Cook for another 5 minutes or more, until potatoes are fork-tender. Serve piping hot. Garnish with remaining chopped parsley.

Aug 312014
 

Although I’m mostly vegetarian these days, I still have a lot of cookbooks that aren’t. I’m reluctant to get rid of them, however, because they have so many great recipes. Also, I love challenging myself to adapt recipes that contain meat. I know a lot of vegetarians are opposed to eating things that taste like meat, resemble meat, or remind them of meat, but I’m not one of those people. While I recognize that bacon is really bad for my body, I know that it’s very hard to replicate the depth of flavour it adds to some dishes.

This dish is one of those.

I tried my best. I think it’s pretty dang yummy, truth be told. The original — in an old Spanish cookbook — called for only 1 rasher of bacon.

Spanish Stewed Lentils

mmm lentils!

So I gave it my best shot. Here it is:

Ingredients: 

  • 250g. green or brown lentils
  • 1 medium sized onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, or more to taste, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 red pepper (capsicum), chopped
  • 1 plum tomato, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (this isn’t vegetarian, though you could make your own or buy one of the vegetarian versions out there)
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce or more to taste — I probably used upwards of 2 teaspoons
  • 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • dash (or more, but you probably don’t want a lot) of liquid smoke

Soak lentils for a few hours, or use the quick soak method.

Put half the onion, the garlic, the pepper, and tomato in a large casserole or saucepan with the soaked lentils. Add the bay leaf, paprika, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Cover with water, cover with a lid, and simmer gently for 30-40 minutes until lentils are tender. Add a teaspoon of salt just before turning off the heat.

Heat remaining olive oil (1 tablespoon) in a frying pan, and add the rest of the onion. Fry until gently browned, then add the liquid smoke and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Fry for two more minutes.

Add the fried onions to the lentil mixture, and check for salt, adding the last 1/2 teaspoon or more if necessary. Add Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco to taste (amounts above are guidelines only), and a splash more of olive oil. Cover and cook on medium-low heat, simmering, for another 5 minutes. Check for taste, adjust accordingly, and serve piping hot when ready.

Serves 4-6.

(Goes nicely with potatoes or rice!)

Dec 122012
 

Well, here’s what I did. 

  1. Spent a good week using my Google search ninja skillz to find out how the heck people eat this weird tuber
  2. Spent another good 3 days figuring out if there was a way to eat it in a soup that wasn’t Chinese nor with meat. 
  3. Tweeted about it and posted on my family website, where 2 professional chefs and many more amateurs — I think last count was 8 — would see it. 
  4. Found 3 recipes that sounded decent (seriously — a lot of the recipes out there for arrowroot in soup sounded wayyyyy boring) and decided to do a recipe mashup. 

Recipe 1.

Recipe 2.

Recipe 3. 

And so here is what I made. I’m calling this Adrienne’s Mash-up Arrowroot Soup (real original, eh?). It’s a nice, comforting, easy-to-eat soup. It’s the kind of soup you’d wanna eat when you’re sick. Or tired. Or both. It’s not really a gourmet meal. And it photographs *terribly* which is why I don’t have a single picture. Sorry. 

Ingredients

  • 1 medium Arrowroot (remove skin, cut into 1 inch bits)
  • 12 pieces dried oysters
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup of dried shrimp (I am estimating)
  • 1 cup of raw peanuts
  • 10 dried red dates, washed
  • 2 fresh corn cobs
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1 inch slices
  • 1/2 cup adzuki beans, pre-soaked for 10-15 min
  • 2.75 L water
  • light soy sauce to taste

Put the water on to boil. While it is heating, peel and chop the arrowroot. Put pieces into the pot as you slice them. 

Soak the oysters and shrimp in warm water for 10 minutes. At the same time, soak the adzuki beans in a separate bowl with water to cover. 

While shrimp and oysters are soaking, peel and slice the carrots, then husk and cut the corn cobs (note to self: buy a bigger, sharper knife / cleaver for this, or buy fresh corn not on the cob).

Put peanuts into a separate small pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, simmer for 3 minutes, then drain. Set aside. 

Add carrots and corn to the pot. Add also the drained shrimp, oysters, and adzuki beans. Bring to a boil. 

Reduce heat to low and add red dates. Simmer for 1 hour. 

Add peanuts. Simmer for another 30 minutes, or until arrowroot is very soft and adzuki beans are tender. Taste, and add soy sauce to preferences.

Remove from heat (sadly, I forgot this step and after serving myself a big bowlful, I then proceeded to burn the rest of the soup. Sadface).

Serve hot in bowls. Add more soy sauce at the table if you like.

Serves 4.  

 

Nov 302012
 
Maintaining industrial harmony is very important to Singapore, particularly because public transport is one of the essential services so we have to take it in a very serious manner,” she added.

The bus drivers have a genuine concern: their Malay colleagues have a different contract than them. Yet, they are doing the same job with the same job description. This is discrimination by race / nationality. It means bus drivers’ contracts are neither equal nor equitable. Yes, SMRT should step up and ensure these complaints are handled in an appropriate manner via appropriate channels. But I genuinely wonder: is “industrial harmony” — that is, ensuring that public transport is running — more important than equality between humans? Is it more important than racial harmony?

Oct 152012
 
<blockquote class=’posterous_medium_quote’>The problem isn’t that men are coming out to look for women. That women are waiting to be picked up. The problem’s that poor men and poor women are forced to leave their families to look for work far from home and their own people. The problem is we pretend we can suppress these natural urges and we refuse to talke about them with our domestic help. The problem’s that we leave our domestic help  so little time for leisure and for expression, they’re forced to seek it on the sly.</blockquote>

I liked this post. It’s honest and discusses something that most won’t or don’t want to discuss: Singapore’s sub-culture of foreign workers.

Also:
“Helpers are humans. They’re adults. We can’t treat them like half-grown children. In the same way we’re not going to let our daughters out into the wild wild world without “that conversation” its up to us to have “that talk” with the help. It’s up to us give back the responsibility for their sex lives to them.

Otherwise, we’re just going to wring our hands and dither. And the park around the corner will remain HookUp Hub.”

Sep 132012
 

The Virtues Project: Awaken The Gifts Within

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The Virtues Project (VP) empowers individuals to live more authentic meaningful lives, families to raise children of compassion and integrity, educators to create safe, caring and high performing learning communities and leaders to inspire excellence and ethics in the workplace. Honored by the United Nations and endorsed by The Dalai Lama. The VP is 5 simple strategies for bringing out the best in ourselves, our children and others. The VP is being used to transform families, schools, businesses, organizations in over 90 countries. www.virtuesproject.com

This looks and sounds AWESOME. And it’s offered in Singapore — what an opportunity.

Aug 202012
 

I’ve been making this for a while now and can’t remember how / where I pieced it together. I am fairly certain I got the idea from browsing several food blogs, recipe sites, and cookbooks. All I know is that my current “recipe” consists of my hand-written notes scrawled in pencil on an A5 piece of scrap paper, which a magnet holds to the hood of my stove…. and I use this “recipe” fairly regularly. 

This is hands-down my favorite way to cook tempeh — at least that I have discovered so far. In fact, it’s so good, that I made it again today — and I had just made it on Saturday! There are many, many ways you can adapt this recipe, and I daresay I hardly ever cook it the same way in back-to-back uses. I’ve included adaptations in parentheses.

Please note that the amounts are approximate. I don’t ever measure anything when I make this — I just have everything out and I toss it in as I’m ready. 

Ingredients:

  • 100g (1/4lb) tempeh, diced into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 medium sweet potato, diced into 1-inch cubes (regular potatoes also work well; or omit altogether if you don’t have any on hand) 
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced finely (if you have no garlic, or you’re not a garlic fan, use garlic or onion powder, but add it with the other spices below)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or Earth Balance, and another 1-2 tablespoons reserved
  • 1-2 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (light soy sauce or tamari also works well)
  • 1 teaspoon dried red chilli pepper, or to taste (use cayenne or Tabasco if that’s what you’ve got — can even use a fresh pepper if you want some serious zing!)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2-3 teaspoons smoked Spanish or Hungarian paprika — very important that you use the smoked version! 
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (this is optional but trust me it is SO much better with it)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 100g spinach or other quick-cooking greens (optional)
  • 1/3 cup of cooked beans (optional — any kind will do: cannellini, kidney, black-eyed, pinto, I’m sure even lentils would be great!)

Preparation:

  1. Fill a small saucepan with water and set it on high heat. Add a dash of salt and the potatoes. When it reaches a boil (5-7 minutes), check the potatoes to see if they are fork-tender. Drain and set aside. Note: If you’ve not yet steamed the tempeh, it’s a good idea to do this at the same time! Put the tempeh (whole, uncut) into a steamer or collander and set on top of the saucepan. Cover and when the potatoes are done, your tempeh is probably steamed enough, too.
  2. In a wok or large frying pan, heat the first tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions; stir constantly for 1-2 minutes, just until you can smell the garlic, being careful not to burn it. 
  3. Add tempeh to the frying pan, along with the Bragg’s / soy sauce and the dried chilli pepper. Stir-fry 2-3 minutes, or until the tempeh soaks up the Bragg’s and begins to brown nicely.
  4. Add cooked and drained potatoes; stir and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add paprika and cumin (if you are not using garlic but have garlic or onion powder, add it here, too). Stir to evenly coat all of the tempeh and potato bits. Add more of either spice if you like it strong! 
  6. Stir in nutritional yeast and reduce heat to medium-low. Note: nutritional yeast will thicken this substantially. At this point, add another splash of olive oil, particularly before or at the next step. You may need it for the spinach, too. 
  7. When everything is coated in nutritional yeast, add the spinach. Stir to evenly wilt spinach. Note: If you are using a heartier green such as bok choi or chard, you may wish to add even more olive oil and cover the pan for 2-3 minutes. 
  8. Just as the spinach is wilting but before it is completely cooked, add the beans. Stir a few times to heat through, and remove from heat. 

Serve hot out of the pan! 

Serves 2 on its own, or 4 if you add toast and fruit for a full brunch spread!

Aug 162012
 

I’ve been working professionally for about three years now, writing articles and blog posts, taking photos and working on documentary films. It’s not a very long time to be working, and there are many people who are far more experienced and savvy than I am. But even in this comparatively short time I’ve spent working, I’ve learnt that one of the most basic rules in storytelling is to never, never, see people as anything other than what they are – human beings just like you and me. They may have different cultures, religions, languages, opinions, perspectives, values, clothing, customs, habits, food, but at the end of the day they are still people and you never portray them as less than that.

I don’t care whether they were friendly or mean, or if they’re a big-hearted philanthropist or a bank robber. You can praise their ideals or criticise their actions as much as you like, but you do not Other them in a way that makes your audience look at them as less than human.

After all, as Terry Prachett wrote in his book Carpe Jugulum: “And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things.”

I love love love love this post. And the lesson brought forth on storytelling. The documentary in question (click the link, go watch it) is terribly done. It’s not a documentary. It’s a spin. And sure, many documentaries are, I guess. But I love how clearly Kirsten’s post spells out how wrong it is to Other-ize the subjects of this film. Kudos.

Aug 012012
 
The world is pulling too much from me right now.
It’s time to re-adjust, re-align, re-configure, re-group, and reflect. Definitely reflect.
I mean, I always reflect … it is a big part of who I am and is a big part of the structure of my day. I spend time each and every morning in quiet contemplation on my yoga mat — some might call it meditation. Each evening I also pause before I go to bed, too, to process the day’s events, though not in as regimented a manner as I do in the morning — at night I typically do it while washing my face or as I close the book I’m reading. I try very hard to consciously make that time reflective rather than worry about or inventory what will happen the next day. I’m not always successful, but it is an active goal.
But lately, I can’t shake the feeling — an intuitive, gut, CORE feeling — that what I’m doing is not enough. This, my “normal” regular balance — plus yoga and other exercise — isn’t enough.  And quite frankly, it’s driving me crazy that it isn’t enough. (“But it’s been fine up till now! I was balanced a few weeks ago!” These are the arguments I have with myself in my head.) Indications are that I need more reflection. And wayyyyy less extroverted energy. I feel like my Vata dosha is tipping the scale a bit too much. 
This might surprise people who know me well, as I am a classic extrovert. I gain energy by being around people. I am very social — too social, some might argue, for my own good (right, Mum?). Well, this is one of those times, I guess. They are rare in my life, but not unheard of. I don’t typically do all-or-nothing. And I don’t typically cut out social activities, either. But from time-to-time I do need to re-focus. The last time I took such measures was probably 3 or 4 years ago. 

I suspect some of this has to do with my being rather unhappy about a handful of Very Specific Things happening in my life at the moment. Unfortunately, I’m not able to go into more detail about these Things right now. (Hey, you know me — as soon as I can, I will. 🙂 )  Also unfortunate is that these Very Specific Things are things I have little control of. I do know that waiting for things to change is just not working for me. And thus … rock—>me<—hard place. I don’t do so well with life stasis in general, and this kind of stasis is my least favorite. 

So. I need to re-evaluate and re-configure, and maybe just spend more time spending time. I do sense that being active on Twitter and Facebook is not making things better right now. I am not sure it’s making it worse, either, mind you. These two networks are my favorite networks for several reasons: I have close friends and colleagues in both places, I feel comfortable in them, and although they have completely different modes and I use them very differently, they both fulfill a need for me to be connected to people and to learn and to grow. I am tremendously attached to these networks and the people who connect with me in them. However, these networks demand energy from me (there’s that Vata again), and as I said earlier, my intuitive sixth sense is kicking in to LOUDLY tell me that I need to redirect that energy. It needs to be better spent elsewhere at the moment. I’m not sure where, exactly, but I do know that lately Twitter and Facebook have been feeling like they are sucking energy out of me. It is NOT normal for me to feel this way. Hence, the decision to withdrawl for a bit.

Earlier today I decided to read my monthly horoscope. I try to stay up-to-date with Susan Miller’s posts (thanks to Rae Rae for putting me onto her!), but I often miss a month here or there. Anyway, today I thought, “Oooooh it’s August 1st. I should see what’s what.” And here was the first bit:

A big, tender full moon will brighten the very start of the month, August 1. It will fall in your privacy sector, Aquarius (9 degrees), so you may simply want to sit back and enjoy your own company. You’ve not had much time to simply take it easy, sleep a bit later than usual, and simply think about your next moves, but this full moon will allow you all the time you need.

🙂

I guess I’m on the right track. I have not been 100% myself lately, and I really want to be.
Thanks in advance for your patience and understanding as I renegotiate my balance. 

I will still be reachable on Skype, email, Instagram, Flickr, my blog (remember when I used to do that?), GChat, SMS, and … old-fashioned phone. I’m not disappearing. Just disengaging from the networks that demand interaction from me — interaction that I greatly value and normally thrive on. I want to be in that headspace again, and I will be, in good time.  

I’m going to try this social network fast for a week, starting Monday… and might go longer. We’ll see. Oh, and if you’d like to join me, that’s cool too. 

[Edit: 2-Aug-2012] I decided I will respond to DMs within Twitter. At least for now. So there ya go.