Tag Archives: bananas

Inspiration

7 Nov

Yesterday, I didnt post, even though I really really wanted to. I had nothing to say, nothing to write, and the things I did cook had been posted already. I had the cookblogger’s version of writer’s block, and it was a bit scary. I sat in front of my laptop, and started to write about… Cook’s Tips? Orange Olive Oil Cake? Nothing inspired me. Nothing made me excited or happy or intrigued. There was nothing to say, really, so I didnt say it.

Today when I woke up, I found I still had that feeling. May be it has something to do with the weather – hot (as always) but slightly damp, overcast and softly raining. Curling up in bed with a good book and a cat seemed like a plan. But I know myself. I am the best (or worst, depending on who you ask) procrastinator in the world. I could curl up with a good book and a cat forever and a day, and be perfectly happy. One of the things this blog has given me is discipline, and there was that nagging empty feeling inside because I hadnt posted.

Its a strange thing, this discipline. I never understood it before, not clearly, but the discipline of writing this blog is a gift I give myself. I feel good when I write a blog post. Not just because I get wonderful responses that stroke my (still slightly fragile) cook’s ego. Not just because I enjoy having a history of my food thoughts and creations. But because something in me has begun to flower and bloom – and the discipline of writing every day is like sunshine and water to that nascent joyous self. It makes me realise I can do anything I set my mind to do – and I can do it consistently, over time, and learn and grow from it.

So after finishing the book, and cuddling the cat – because, after all, I am still me, and I love my sensual lazy creature comfort Sundays… I hauled myself out of bed, had a cup of coffee, and thought about what I should do today and where I should go in order to find some inspiration. And I realised that it was Sunday – and that means the Bangsar Sunday Market would be just beginning and a little wander through all the sights and sounds and colours of that market might just be what my soul needed… and my be even my tummy!

Many years ago, there was a woman who came with her two children and sold the most astonishingly delicious home made vegetarian nasi lemak (with about 10 different dishes to choose from – rendang, char siew, masak lemak – all made with veggie proteins) for the princely sum of RM5 (about USD1.50). I thought I would find her again, take some photos, choose my dinner, and wander home with a meal and a blog all done… but a very friendly gossipy auntie told me the nasi lemak lady couldnt afford the license for her stall and so did not come any more. I almost turned back then, but I am glad I didnt.

The Bangsar Market is on Jalan Maarof, right next to the mosque, in front of Bangsar Village II. Its an open air market with plenty of stalls. Many neighbourhoods have open air markets one or two days a week. Its when the residents can come and buy fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and meats from stall holders who are traders – and who deal directly with farmers and fishermen and the like. This is our version of the western farmer’s markets – and I have been going to market in Malaysia for as long as I can remember. My grandmother used to take my sister and I to the wet market in what is now the very touristy Central Market in the centre of town. I can remember the scents, the textures, the colours, the haggling and bargaining and laughter and teasing as if it was yesterday.

So, since I could not find my nasi lemak lady, I thought a slow stroll through the stalls might re-awaken my mind … and oh my goodness, it did so much more than that! The colours, sights, sounds, textures. Everything conspired to pull me in, to tempt and tease and slowly bring me back into myself. I thought Whole Foods was amazing … but this! Such abundance, such freshness, such textures. Everything was so beautiful, people were so knowledgeable and friendly and I wanted to touch and stroke and poke and sample everything. Instead, I took photos, and these are my inspirations. My grounding, my home…

Bangsar Market

Vegetables of every colour and texture arranged in gorgeous glistening piles … just waiting to be taken home and turned into delectableness!

Green Green Green

Every possible shade of verdant green you could imagine …

Green Green Green

In overlapping patterns of green

Beautiful

And the most delicate shades of smooth cool green

Purple and Green

And patterned green juxtaposed against deep purple … Which brought me to…

Mangosteens

The bruised beauty of my favourite fruits… mangosteens …

Purple Red

And earthy purplered beets… melding into …

Tentacles

The bloodred tentacles of roselle (with a tiny green bug nestled in a petal). And then I move on to sweeter reds …

Pink

The juicy bright pink seductiveness of watermelon … prettier than any lipstick…

Pink

The fragile yet wild blushing pink of the dragonfruit gave way suddenly to sunshine …

Orange

 

Carrots arranged with pride and care …

Yellow

The patterns of bright bananas (pisang mas) and honey papayas ….

Beautiful

Offset by the jagged symmetry and perfume of luscious looking pineapples.

Everywhere I looked, everything I touched… beautiful. Inspiring. The noise and jostling of the crowd of people. The light soft coolness of the rain cutting through humid heat…

And in the midst of it all… In their own space and silence.

Dog

A woman with a fabulous looking knife, preparing jackfruit, and her dog, kipping a nap in the midst of all the hustle and bustle.

I think … I think I have my inspiration back …. ūüėČ

 

 

 

Banoffee Pie

2 Jul

This is not the traditional recipe for Banoffee Pie. For that, you will have to go here.

But this is the banoffee pie of my childhood. A cookie crumb crust made with HobNobs and melted butter. A thick dark golden brown slather of dulce de leche. Bananas. And a mound of unsweetened vanilla whipped cream. Each on its own, good. Combined together. Nirvana. Honestly. And its one of those desserts that you learn to make from very young, and because its so easy (given the preparedness of the ingredients), you feel a sense of achievement and satisfaction when it is served to ooohs and aaahs.

Assembly is easy, and you can certainly make this divine pudding over a few days, and assemble a few hours before serving. Its really good as breakfast too. Heh.

Crust

  • 3/4 roll of Hobnobs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter

Put about 3/4 roll of HobNob cookies in a zip loc plastic bag. You should have may be 5 or 6 left (good for a cook’s tea!). Break them up a bit using your hands, and then, using any heavy object (the bottom of a wine bottle will come in handy here) smash and crush the biscuits to a fine pebbly sand. You might need to do this in two batches.

Pour the crushed biscuits into an 8 inch round, non stick, springform cake pan. Pour the melted butter over, and mix. Using your fingers, create a crust at the bottom, and about half way up the sides of the pan. Put in the fridge for about 20 minutes to harden up a bit.

Whipped cream

I stabilise my whipped cream with agar agar, which is a vegetarian gelatin made from seaweed. Its totally flavourless, and about 1 tsp of agar agar to 1 cup of cream ensures the cream stays whipped and high, even after 12 hours in the fridge.

You will need to whip:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp agar agar
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence

together until they hold hard peaks. Set aside for the assembly.

Assembly

Take the crust out of the fridge, and pour in the cooled dulce de leche. It should completely coat the bottom of the crust, and be about 1/4 inch thick. If you want more, go ahead and add more, just remember it is VERY sweet.

Take about 6 -9 small pisang mas bananas (or whatever is available for you), and slice lengthwise. You should get about 3 long slices from each banana. Layer the bananas over the dulce de leche. Put in the fridge for about 20 minutes to firm up again.

Cover the entire pie with the unsweetened whipped cream, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and up to 24.

When you are ready to serve, run a knife around the edges, and unmold the springform pan gently.

Serve with love and gratitude.