Dragon Fruit Buds

Saturday, July 30, 2011
After snapping photos of my desert rose and fledgling porch garden, I wandered onto the side and saw that my dragon fruit were finally budding.

7.29 Dragon Fruit Buds 1

It doesn't appear to be quite as bumper a crop as last year's, but perhaps I'll get a good harvest.

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Forever Nigella: Cheesecake(?) Ice Cream

Nigella's Cheesecake Ice Cream

OK, so it doesn't really taste like cheesecake.  It's not tangy enough.  However, this is a really tasty vanilla ice cream that doesn't require an ice cream maker.  That's right.  I love not having to use my ice cream maker.  It's a pain to clean and it's turned my ice cream mixture into butter on more than one occasion, so I haven't used it in two years.  I should probably give it to Goodwill or something, but I keep thinking I'm going to need it.

Bottom line--if you are sans ice cream maker, you are not dependent on industrial ice cream.  Try this one; it's a lot cheaper than the quality store-bought stuff, too.

Cheesecake Ice Cream recipe at Nigella.com

Top row: CSA eggs make the custard a lovely yellow color; local cream in a glass bottle makes the world seem better
Bottom row: cream whipped to soft peaks; the final product, served with half a digestive biscuit

Thanks to Arthi at Soul Curry for hosting the seventh Forever Nigella Blogging Event.  The Official Forever Nigella page is at Maison Cupcake.


Gene Tierney
I leave you with the gorgeous Gene Tierney.  I really want this amazing swimsuit; maybe I can wear it while enjoying some not-really-cheesecake ice cream?

Desert Rose and Blueberries

Friday, July 29, 2011

7.28 Desert Rose and Blueberries 1

After noticing that the desert rose that I brought back as a cutting from Vietnam was wilting in the sunny spot on my porch, I moved it to a shadier area. Months and months later, the leaves are glossy again and the flowers are all abloom.

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Traditional British Food: Heg Peg Dump

Thursday, July 28, 2011
Heg Peg Dump
The heat this summer has made meal planning difficult.  If anything even remotely sounds good, I don't want to have to turn on the stove or the oven to make it!  So, I've gone out of my way to find recipes I haven't tried before and really really want to experience to force myself into the kitchen!

I recently purchased an out-of-print cookbook, Cattern Cakes and Lace: A Calendar of Feasts by Julia Jones and Barbara Deer.  The book is organized by festivals which marked the traditional British ritual year.  I turned to the July section and lo and behold, a recipe for Heg Peg Dump in honor of St. Margaret's Day, which was last Wednesday (July 20th).  St. Margaret became the patron saint of childbirth (despite her virgin status) due to the story that she escaped unscathed from the belly of a dragon which was Satan in disguise.  Hey, at least it's original.

Saint Margaret, Dressed as a Shepherdess by Francisco de Zurbarán
from Wikipedia

According to Cattern Cakes and Lace, celebrating St. Margaret's Day was most popular in Gloucestershire, where the people created a Heg Peg Dump: "Heg for hedgerow, Peg for Margaret, and Dump for dumpling!" (p. 87)  I supposed my version should (in the interests of veracity) be called "Green Acres Market Peg Dump," but it lacks that certain something.

Beyond the dough, the plums and an apple, the only other ingredients for Heg Peg Dump are sugar and fresh breadcrumbs.

Heg Peg Dump

Paul works to make the perfect pudding-steaming set-up.
Check out this video at BBC Good Food to learn how you can, too.
When a kitchen task (such as affixing foil to the top of a pudding basin with a tricksy little piece of kitchen twine) requires precision, get a detail-oriented, perfectionist engineer to do it. Just don't expect him to get it done quickly.  I know if I need Paul to help me with chopping to give him three times longer than I would need to finish the task.  The man can make beautifully diced carrots.   I, on the other hand, don't give a damn.  Have I mentioned that I'm not a process person?  I do, however, feel a great sense of satisfaction at steaming a pudding.  The only work required is topping off the steamer pot with boiling water from the kettle.  I always make sure a pudding is steaming around teatime, so I can just make a cup of tea when I go to top off the steamer.  Ah, efficiency.

I also had enough dough and filling to make a tart with the leftovers.  The tart is ridiculously simple, looks "rustic" (like, on purpose) and tastes caramelized.  It's amazing how different cooking methods create different results with the same ingredients: the texture of the pudding is like a biscuit (an American one, not a cookie) with preserves on top.  If you like a tart topping to your morning toast (like orange marmalade) you'll really like the flavor of the Heg Peg Dump.

Heg Peg Tart

In case you're wondering, I use an All-Clad Multipot (with the steamer insert) and a Mason Cash 1-quart pudding basin.

I'm also submitting this post to Monthly Mingle.  Be sure to check it out!

Sukaina at Sips and Spoonfuls is hosting this month's Monthly Mingle.

How to make Kuzhambu Masala Podi/ Kuzhambu Milagai Thool/ All-purpose Curry Powder

This is a basic all-purpose curry powder used as a base in several South Indian curries and stir-fries. Every household has a different recipe and this recipe was passed on from my grandma to my mom. I have never tried making this powder since my mom never fails to replenish my masala podi stock each time I go home. This masala podi is usually prepared in bulk, by sun drying or dry roasting the spices and grinding them in mills. They can be stored in airtight containers for a few months.

This powder has several names in different households - curry powder, kuzhambu masaal podi, kuzhambu milagai thool, kuzhambu podi etc.

Dry red chillies - 1/2 kg
Coriander seeds - 1/2 kg
Cumin seeds/ Jeera - 1/4 kg
Whole black peppercorns - 100 gms


  1. Sun dry all the above mentioned spices for 2 days. Alternatively, you can dry roast the spices seperately for a few minutes until they turn fragrant.
  2. Grind all the ingredients together in a mill to get a fine powder. 
  3. You could also make this at home in small batches using a mixie, spice grinder or coffee grinder.
  4. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
  5. Use a teaspoon of this powder in all your favorite curries, stir-fries and sambar.

Life This Week: July 25, 1938 and August Movie Recommendations

Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Charles Boyer and Hedy Lamarr in Algiers
The Movie of the Week (article contains spoilers) is Algiers, starring Charles Boyer, Hedy Lamarr and Sigrid Gurie.  It's a remake of Pépé le Moko, released in France in 1937 and starring French icon Jean Gabin.  According to IMDB, Walter Wanger, the producer of Algiers, tried to destroy all copies of Pépé le Moko.  We can thank the cinema gods he didn't succeed.  While definitely not a bad movie, Algiers pales in comparison to Pépé le Moko (available from the Criterion Collection in its original cut).  Pépé le Moko, not subjected to Hays Office prudery, is the more mature film and Jean Gabin works such layers and depths into his portrayal of the passionate, desperate gangster-in-hiding.   However, if, like most Americans in 1938, I hadn't seen Pépé le Moko, Algiers would have been an entertaining way to spend 96 minutes.  Plus, Hedy Lamarr is used to her best advantage as Gaby and Sigrid Gurie, as Pépé's girlfriend Inès, gets much better material to work with than in her previous film.

Jean Gabin and Mireille Balin in Pépé le Moko
Photo from Movie Diva
Also check out:


August 2011 Movie Suggestions

All times are CST, all movies are on TCM.

Monday, August 1, 2011
  • A Street Car Named Desire (8:30 p.m.) there are few films more deeply tragic than this one, but it's amazing
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
  • Now, Voyager (8:00 a.m.) ugly duckling Bette Davis gets a makeover and falls in love with yummy Paul Henreid 
  • The Letter (3:30 p.m.) unfaithful wife Bette Davis beats a murder rap but can't escape the victim's vengeful wife; Herbert Marshall plays Davis's loyal husband
  • Jezebel (9:00 p.m.) Bette Davis plays an unconventional Southern belle who goes after the affections of Henry Fonda
Thursday, August 4, 2011
  • A Tale of Two Cities (7:00 p.m.) Ronald Colman is wonderful as Sydney Carton; bring a hankie
Friday, August 5, 2011
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice (7:00 p.m.) Fairly faithful adaptation of novel; Lana Turner smolders
Poster from Wikipedia
Sunday, August 7, 2011
  • Lured (12:30 a.m.) Lucille Ball (showing her versatility as an actress) has to find her best friend's killer, even if it means exploring London's seedy underbelly; Douglas Sirk really knew how to use George Sanders in film; this is a good one
  • The Private Life of Henry VIII (6:30 a.m.) Charles Laughton plays the titular role to the hilt
  • The Canterville Ghost (11:15 p.m.) Charles Laughton is a ghost who can only enter heaven when one of his relatives performs a brave deed; unfortunately, they've all been cowards; will Robert Young be any different?
Monday, August 8, 2011
  • The Third Man (7:00 p.m.) one of the best thrillers: Joseph Cotten has to discover what really happened to his friend, Orson Welles; also stars Trevor Howard
  • Touch of Evil (11:15 p.m.) Director's cut of Orson Welles's noir masterpiece
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
  • Around the World in 80 Days (3:30 p.m.) David Niven heads the cast in this fun family film
Thursday, August 11, 2011
  • Ocean's Eleven (12:00 a.m.) the Rat Pack movie--dated, misogynist, stylish and fun all at the same time
Friday, August 12, 2011
  • It Happened One Night (10:30 p.m.) One of my favorite films--sparks fly when reporter Clark Gable meets runaway heiress Claudette Colbert
Saturday, August 13, 2011
  • Wife vs. Secretary (10:15 a.m.) Myrna Loy is the wife, Jean Harlow is the secretary, Clark Gable is the man caught in the middle; worth watching just for the cast!
  • The Shop Around the Corner (1:30 p.m.) this sweet romantic comedy tells the story of coworkers who can't stand each other in person, but are falling in love as pen pals
  • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (7:00 p.m.) James Stewart rides his fame as "the man who shot Liberty Valance" all the way to the Senate, but who really killed the notorious outlaw?
Sunday, August 14, 2011
  • Carefree (5:00 a.m.) psychiatrist Fred Astaire treats Ginger Rogers through hypnosis (and dancing); also the Movie of the Week for August 22nd!
  • His Girl Friday  (7:00 p.m.) Cary Grant, Rosiland Russell, rapid-fire banter; highly-rated comedy, not my particular favorite, but it is amusing
  • The Awful Truth (8:45 p.m.) Cary Grant and Irene Dunne divorce but can't stay away from each other
TCM salutes Jean Gabin starting on August 18th; I'll be recording several films I haven't seen yet.
Portrait from Doctor Macro.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
  • Pépé le Moko (7:00 p.m.) Jean Gabin is Pepe le Moko; this is what gangster films should be like; however, I would check out the Criterion Collection DVD, which has the full 94-minute film; I believe the TCM version may be the edited American release
Friday, August 19, 2011
  • Touchez pas au grisbi (1:00 a.m.) Highly entertaining film with Jean Gabin as an aging mobster who plans to retire after one more job; this is a movie both Paul and I really like 
Saturday, August 20, 2011
  • Singin' in the Rain (1:15 a.m.) Does it need an introduction?  It's one of the best movie musicals ever made.
  • From Here to Eternity  (2:30 p.m.) You know you need to watch it for the Burt Lancaster/ Deborah Kerr beach make-out scene
Sunday, August 21, 2011
  • This is the Night (5:00 a.m.)
  • I'm No Angel (6:30 a.m.) I adore Mae West, who plays a circus performer in this pre-code gem; also stars Cary Grant
  • My Favorite Wife (8:00 a.m.) Cary Grant has missing-at-sea wife Irene Dunne declared legally dead so he can remarry; only problem is that she's still alive
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (9:30 a.m.) cute romantic comedy with Myrna Loy, Cary Grant, Shirley Temple and Rudy Vallee
  • The Philadelphia Story (2:30 p.m.) one of my most favorite films: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart and one of the best child actors ever, Virginia Weidler
  • North by Northwest (4:30 p.m.) classic Hitchcock mistaken-identity thriller starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason; famous for train, crop duster and Mount Rushmore sequences; very stylish
  • Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (11:30 p.m.) In this charming film, Cary Grant and Myrna Loy discover that building a house isn't as easy as they think
Monday, August 22, 2011
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
  • Above Suspicion (5:00 a.m.) this is a surprising gem of a movie; married couple Joan Crawford and Fred MacMurray fight Nazis on their honeymoon
  • The Thief of Bagdad (8:45 p.m.) great technicolor adventure, definitely an inspiration for Aladdin
  • Casablanca (10:45 p.m.) Play it, Sam!
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
  • Dark Journey (3:30 a.m.) Conrad Veidt and Vivien Leigh fall in love during World War I; only problem is that they're spies
  • Gold Diggers of 1933 (1:45 p.m.)
  • Dames (8:15 p.m.) Busby Berkley musical; Joan Blondell and ZaSu Pitts are great fun
Thursday, August 25, 2011
  • The Killers (10:30 p.m.) an insurance investigator tries to piece together the puzzling murder of a former boxer
Lobby Card from Doctor Macro
Saturday, August 27, 2011
  • A Letter to Three Wives (7:00 p.m.) the town slut has run off with the husband of one of the three wives in the title, but which one?
  • Hangover Square (10:30 p.m.) Laird Cregar is a talented composer who has psychotic episodes, Linda Darnell treats him cruelly and George Sanders treats him (medically)
Sunday, August 28, 2011
  • Twentieth Century (3:30 p.m.) producer John Barrymore spends a train trip trying to convince actress Carole Lombard to return to the stage
  • To Be or Not to Be (5:15 p.m.) Jack Benny and Carole Lombard star in this Ernst Lubitsch comedy about Polish actors who get caught up in the resistance movement during the German invasion
  • My Man Godfrey (7:00 p.m.) After discovering William Powell while searching for a bum on a scavenger hunt, Carole Lombard hires him as her butler
  • Nothing Sacred (10:30 p.m.) reporter Fredric March makes "dying" Carole Lombard famous
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
  • Kiss Me Kate (10:30 p.m.) Sue me, but I love this ridiculous technicolor musical
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
  • Shanghai Express (5:30 p.m.) Marlene Dietrich is terribly well-dressed in this pre-code train film set in the midst of the civil war in China
Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express from Doctor Macro

In other news, Tivo and I parted ways yesterday.  We were going to have to exchange our Tivo box for one that actually works and the replacement was $50 more than just buying a new box, but we couldn't buy a new box because then we'd have to pay service for both boxes, even though the other one doesn't work.  On top of that, they said that they couldn't offer us a warranty on the replacement box.  It's a good thing Paul was talking to the customer service representative.  I was livid.  They have had the worst customer service of anyone throughout this whole process (our insurance and our cable provider have been wonderful in comparison).  We decided to pay off the rest of our contract (which is crap, but it was a contract) rather than have to buy a new box and continue to deal with Tivo.  Paul's now researching capture cards.  I'll let you know how that goes.  I'm back to recording via VCR for now.

On Brocade Slippers and Spaces

Monday, July 25, 2011
June started off with a visit from one of my very favorite people.


Lan of Angry Asian Creations was in town for several days to visit me! Well, and her grandparents too. :P After picking her up from the airport, we had lunch at Merkato Ethiopian Restaurant & Market - Los Angeles. Then I took her to the J. Paul Getty Center & Museum - Los Angeles where the bougainvillea were vividly in bloom. The garden is my favorite part of the Getty. We went to Santa Monica afterward and then got stuck in traffic for two hours before getting home. Dinner was wonton noodle soup and sizzling udon at Garden Cafe - Alhambra.

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How to Bind a Quilt Tutorial

Sunday, July 24, 2011
How to Bind a Quilt Tutorial 1

I've blogged how to bind a quilt before, but this is a slightly different method so I figured it deserved a separate post. The binding, that strip of dark blue fabric all along the edges of the quilt, help keep the ends from fraying and gives it a nice finished look.

Or so thought lil' sis who marveled at how nice it made her Favorite Things quilt look.

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Lil' Sis's Favorite Things Quilt

Saturday, July 23, 2011
Lil' Sis's Favorite Things Quilt 1

Last month, lil' sis helped clear a large space in my library/office/spare room. I tossed out mounds of receipts and credit card bills that dated to the late 1990s. On June 13th, I woke up and marveled at the bare space leading to the bathroom. Boxes had blocked part of the entrance for way too long.

So that night, I decided to get started on a quilt for lil' sis, a combo thank you and birthday present. Disney princesses! Hello Kitty! Penguins! Polar bears! Oh my!

It's a quilt of all her favorite things.

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Salju Dessert - Alhambra

Friday, July 22, 2011
After the Indonesian grocery store Tip Top Mart - San Gabriel, Gourmet Pigs and I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. At the movie theater, the people in front of us were speaking Indonesian. And of course, I was hanging out with an Indonesian. So then I mentioned that I saw an Indonesian shaved ice place under renovation and we could check it out after the movie to see if it had opened yet.

Salju Dessert - Alhambra 1

Sure enough, it was.

And what we found was even better than shaved ice. Sure there was regular shaved ice, but Salju Dessert also had shaved snow.

And not just regular shaved snow, flavored shaved snow. Matcha green tea, mango, taro, strawberry, and chocolate ice that gets shaved.

Plus three toppings.

Plus condensed milk.

I've been telling all my shaved ice buddies and the excitement was palpable. Hey, I'm not kidding. Flavored shaved snow is the best thing to happen to shaved ice since, well, since shaved snow. :P

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Masal Vadai

Masal vadai with a hot cup of coffee/tea make a heavenly combo! These crunchy fritters can be served hot any time of the day as appetizers, snacks or as part of any meals. This masal vadai is usually found in menus in almost all south indian restaurants. It can be made with minimal ingredients and is packed with protein. I made these yesterday and we enjoyed a cold day with these crispy masal vadai and some masala chai.

Channa dhal/ Bengal gram dhal - 2 cups
Onion - 1 small sized
Green chillies - 3
Fresh ginger - 1/2 inch
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Asafoetida/ Hing - 1/4 teaspoon (optional)
Sombu/fennel seeds - 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Soak the channa dhal in water for atleast 1-2 hours.

Remove about 1 tablespoon of the soaked dhal and keep it separately. Grind all the remaining dhal along with salt and the fennel seeds into a coarse paste without adding any water to the dhal mixture.

Chop the onions, green chillies and fresh ginger very finely. In a bowl combine the ground dhal mixture, the reserved dhal, onions, green chillies, ginger, curry leaves and asafoetida and mix until everything is combined together.

In a kadai or a heavy bottomed vessel, heat oil for deep frying. Make small lemon sized balls with the dhal mixture and flatten using both palms. When the oil turns, hot carefully add the prepared dhal mixture. Cook on medium heat for about 2 minutes on each side until the vadai turns golden brown in color.

Drain on paper towels and serve warm!

Tip Top Mart - San Gabriel

Thursday, July 21, 2011
Gourmet Pigs and I made plans to watch the last Harry Potter film together. So sad. *Sniffle.* She bought the tickets; I paid for dinner. She had recently tried some of my leftover potstickers from Luscious Dumplings Inc. - San Gabriel and really liked them, even cold. And when I found out she had not been before, I had to to take her. Mmm. Beef brisket noodles and potstickers.

 After dinner, we went next door to Tip Top Mart so she could grab some Indonesian ramen.

Tip Top Mart - San Gabriel 1

Tip Top Mart opened some time last year? I remember noticing when it had replaced the previous business and telling GP since I always tell her when I come across a new Indonesian place. But I didn't really have a reason to stop in until now.

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Life This Week: July 18, 1938

Silver Fizzes look like a used bubble bath, but they taste pretty good.
Not to be defeated by Gin Juleps, I put on my game face and got ready to attempt another Hiram Walker Gin recipe: Gin Fizzes.  Boy, am I glad I don't buy eggs from battery chickens, because this drink calls for raw egg whites.  These two coupes represent just half a recipe (I was apprehensive about committing two jiggers of gin to something that could be a complete disaster).  I used:

  • the juice of a lemon
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar
  • 1 jigger of gin  
It gets really thick and viscous and difficult to pour out of the shaker.  I divided the mixture between the two glasses and topped with soda (which comes out of my very own siphon!).  The drink feels like drinking bubble bath, but is surprisingly good and quite possibly a more enjoyable way of using up leftover egg whites than making a meringue, or (shudder) an egg white omelet.  I have to admit being rather prejudiced toward the egg yolk.

There's also an article about the influence of the Hays Office on films.  The best of the listed films (that I've seen) are:

Wings of the Morning (1937), the first British technicolor film, starring Annabella and Henry Fonda (and Leslie Banks in a small part).  It's just your average horse-racing, cross-dressing romantic comedy. (Plus gorgeous color shots of Ireland and London.)

Starring Greta Garbo and John Gilbert (in their last pairing), Queen Christina tells the story of a rebellious Swedish queen (Garbo) who falls in love with a Spanish envoy (Gilbert) after he unwittingly offers to share a room with her in a crowded inn--she's dressed as a man.  Is a pattern emerging?  No romantic comedy, Queen Christina is one of the best films ever made.

Fredric March plays Robert Browning opposite Norma Shearer as Elizabeth Barrett.  This film tells the story of their courtship and their determination to have a life together despite Elizabeth's illness and overbearing and icky father, played by Charles Laughton.

Bette Davis (in an early publicity photo, above) plays the unsympathetic role of Mildred in Of Human Bondage (1934), but she knocks it out of the park, constantly torturing Leslie Howard's Philip Carey.  Despite skipping all of Philip's formative years, Of Human Bondage is an excellent adaptation of the Maugham novel.  (I'd still recommend reading the book, though.)  Leslie Howard was made to play Philip Carey.  I also think he'd have been a smashing Lord Peter Wimsey, by the way.

Fun items:

Pulikachal/ Puliyodharai Mix

Tuesday, July 19, 2011
This is the way amma makes pulikachal/puliyodharai mix. Made with tamarind, the mix is a very tangy and delicious one and makes a comforting rice dish perfect for lunchboxes and picnics. Puliyodharai can be whipped up in a matter of minutes when you have this pulikachal in hand. The mix stays fresh for quite a few days because of the addition of tamarind. The rice can be had all by itself, or a simple potato fry or papads or vadagams or coconut thuvayal.

Tamarind - 2 lemon sized balls
Gingelly/Sesame oil - 4 tablespoons
Mustard seeds - 1 tablespoon
Urad dhal - 3 tablespoons
Channa dhal - 3 tablespoons
Red chillies - 6 or 7 depending upon spice levels
Curry leaves - few
Garlic - 7 cloves (optional)
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Fenugreek/methi seeds/vendhayam - 1/2 teaspoon
Asafoetida/Hing powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Cashews/Peanuts - 1 tablespoon (optional)
Salt to taste

Soak the tamarind in about 1/2 cup of warm water for about 10 to 15 minutes. Mash the tamarind well and strain to get a thick tamarind paste.

In a kadai, dry roast the fenugreek seeds and grind it into a fine powder.

In the same kadai, heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds. Once the seeds start spluttering, add the urad dhal, channa dhall and saute till they turn golden brown in color. Add the cashews/peanuts if using. Add the red chillies, curry leaves, asafoetida and fenugreek powder.

Switch to low flame and slowly add the tamarind extract. Take care because it might splutter. Add the garlic, turmeric powder and salt. Simmer and allow it to cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the mix thickens well. It should be in a thick paste like consistency and the oil well separated from the tamarind extract.

Once done, switch off the flame and when required, add a little amount of the mix along with some cooked rice and enjoy warm!

We had the puliyodharai along with some coconut thuvayal.

Dorothy Lamour's Strawberry Ice Cream

The ice cream is a very delicate, Laura Ashley pink.

I'm running behind on my posting (my, we had a busy weekend), so I thought I would just post this little shout-out to Jenny at Silver Screen Suppers, who posted the recipe for Dorothy Lamour's Strawberry Ice Cream this month.

A beautiful publicity shot of Dorothy Lamour (from Doctor Macro)

Ms. Lamour seems to think it only takes 15 minutes to freeze ice cream, but Jenny and I agree that it takes a bit longer.  Just to test this theory, the photo from above was taken two hours after the mixture went into the freezer.  Not that it wasn't fabulously tasty, but it was still just really cold strawberry whipped cream.  The next night, though, after the ice cream had a chance to "ripen," it was so very yummy.  I didn't even get a chance to take a photo.  It looked like proper ice cream at that point.

I only had enough strawberries left to make 1/3 recipe.  After adding the cream and whipping to medium-ish peaks (not soft, not firm, just right), I needed a quart-sized container for it, so be prepared if you need to store an entire recipe!

If you can still find strawberries where you are, run out and get some and make this ice cream and then eat it while watching one of the Road movies.  Or go the Laura Ashley route and eat between rounds of croquet on the lawn.
Also be sure to stop by Jenny's other site where she's cooking a Vincent Price meal a week: Vincentennial Cookblog.  As you can imagine, it's right up my alley.

Mixed Veggies Poriyal/Stir Fry

Friday, July 15, 2011
This is a simple stir fry made with mixed veggies and can be made in a jiffy. It can be prepared in 10 to 15 minutes and great for lunch-boxes or weekday meals. I used the frozen mixed veggies from Costco to make it even more quicker. The veggie mix had beans, carrots, peas, corn and edamame beans. The stir fry is slightly spiced and makes a simple accompaniment to any meal.

Mixed veggies - 1 cup (carrots, beans, peas, corn etc.)
Oil - 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Urad dal - 1 teaspoon
Channa dal - 1 teaspoon
Onion - 1 small sized
Green chillies - 2
Curry leaves - few
Grated coconut - 2 teaspoon
Salt to taste

If not using frozen veggies, chop all the veggies into equal sized pieces. Also chop the onions finely and slit the green chillies lengthwise.

In a kadai, heat the oil and do the tempering with the mustard seeds, urad dal, channa dal and curry leaves. Once they start spluttering, add the chopped onions and green chillies and saute until the onions turn translucent. Add the mixed veggies, salt and sprinkle little water. Cover and cook until the veggies turn soft.

Finally, add the grated coconut and mix thoroughly. Serve warm with some rice and dal!

Traditional British Food: Chicken and Mushroom Pie

Thursday, July 14, 2011
I finally got to use my pie bird!

This is the second Chicken and Mushroom Pie recipe I've posted.  Is it possible to have too many Chicken and Mushroom Pie recipes?  I think not.  This recipe serves six, so I divided it up into three portions so the pie could be baked fresh every time.  I actually think it was better after the flavors in the filling got to meld in the refrigerator!

Chicken and Mushroom Pie

If you happen to need a pastry recipe:
Short Crust Pastry

Since the original recipe for Chicken and Mushroom Pie came from a lovely little book called Favourite Dorset Recipes, I want to tell you about a new-to-me television show that takes place in Dorset: Escape to River Cottage.  The series is hosted by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who decided to leave life in London for a small farm in Dorset.  I like how honest he is about the realities of growing one's own food and raising livestock.  I like that he admits he's become attached to his pigs, but doesn't lose sight of the reason he bought them in the first place.  He then goes on to make the most wonderful things one could ever imagine from pork--a fitting end for his first year as a small-holder.  I've also read Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage Cookbook, which is definitely worth checking out.

Escape to River Cottage isn't available on DVD in the US, but you can download episodes from Amazon.

In other news, my TiVo is now refusing to pause live television and is randomly recording things, even though I turned off the "suggestions" almost as soon as I got it.  I turned it on and it was in the middle of recording something called Swamp People!  So--TiVo is going to get a call today, preferably from Paul because I don't want to deal with them anymore.

And my Netflix subscription is now $23.98.  So, Paul and I have a lot of thinking to do about our entertainment expenses.  Grrr.

Nature of Water: An Art Exhibition Inspired by the Philosophies of Bruce Lee - Nucleus Art Gallery and Store - Alhambra

Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Nature of Water An Art Exhibition Inspired by the Philosophies of Bruce Lee - Nucleus Art Gallery and Store - Alhambra 1

The Harry Potter Tribute Exhibition reminded me that I had these old photos from January 2008 of the Nature of Water: An Art Exhibition Inspired by the Philosophies of Bruce Lee. This was at Nucleus Art Gallery and Store's former location, just up the street from where it is now.

If you're a serious Bruce Lee fan (and who isn't?), there were some really great pieces and some so-so pieces. With a brother who's a lifelong Bruce Lee fan (we even visited his and Brandon's grave), the Nature of Water exhibition was a nice interlude.

At the time, I thought these photos didn't really have a place on the blog, but as I've started including more and more of my interests, it's as good a time as any to share them. Besides, don't you want to read about my two degrees of separation from Bruce Lee?

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Harry Potter Tribute Exhibition - Nucleus Art Gallery and Store - Alhambra

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Harry Potter Tribute Exhibition - Nucleus Art Gallery and Store - Alhambra 1

I swung by Nucleus Art Gallery and Store in Alhambra to check out the opening night of its Harry Potter Tribute Exhibition but the line wrapped around the corner and far, far into the parking lot to the other end of the block. So I decided to visit my cousin and meet his new baby instead.

The next day I returned to check out the exhibit. I asked the clerk how many people showed up on opening night and he said they estimated 1,300! As it was, the last person in line didn't get through the door until nearly 11 p.m. Guess it's a good thing I didn't go because I don't have the patience to wait 4 hours in line. Bummed I missed out on the house-brewed butterbeer though. :(

I was really pleasantly surprised by the quality of the artwork. I think it truly shows how much people love Harry Potter and the whole universe that J.K. Rowling created. I took so many photos and even after paring them down, still ended up with 50 so be forewarned.

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Show me Your Summer Cooler Roundup

Summer is fun! And summer can be made more exciting and fun with these delicious and refreshing summer coolers! Here are the various entries I received for Show Me Your Summer Cooler! event. Hope you enjoy them. Also do check out the next in the series - Show me your Dosa!

Nirmala - Mixed Fruit Milkshake

RS - Badam Milk

Vaishali - Lemonade

Vaishali - Honey Dew Cooler
Vaishali - Falooda
Vaishali - Mocha Orange
Vaishali - Pink Lady
Priya - Rose Yogurt

Prathima - Apple Lemonade
Vatsala - Cucumber Water
Denny - Rose Milk

Divya Vikram - Blueberry LemonadeVatsala - Mixed Fruit Juice

Thanks everyone for participating and sending in your refreshing ideas!

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