Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Dinner guests

My house guests

Apologies for not posting for some time. Have been busy lately as Pat's father is ill and in hospital, so after work, go home, go to hospital visit him, and then back home and have dinner. So by the time dinner's over, sometimes it is already 9pm and just to lazy/tired to log on. Pat's father is 91 he was hospitalised slightly over a week ago. At first we suspected that he had stroke as he could not speak, but he had the use of his arms and legs, so that could not be. He had a brain scan on Monday and the doctors told us that it was indeed not a stroke and when they did a blood test, we were told he had contracted MRSA and the only place that he could have gotten that was at the nursing home that he was at. So please say a prayer that he will recover soon.

Anyway, back to my dinner guests 2 Saturdays ago.
I only got to "speak" with terri. of Daily Obsessions recently. I normally read a lot of blogs but I am a silent reader. But because I sent Terri an award, and she replied. That's how I started communicating with her. I learnt that she would be in Europe for 2 1/2 months holiday as her daughter was finishing her 6 month exchange student stint, so she took the opportunity to travel around the continent.

So when I heard that Terri would be coming here, I took the opportunity to invite her over to stay the Saturday night for dinner and then take her and daughter to airport the next day. I live about 20 mins from the airport so it is really convenient! I was so happy that she accepted my invitation! I had a really good time with Terri and Yi. Thank you!

Was not sure of what to cook for dinner, but this was my menu for the evening. And as for dessert, made summer pudding. This is a typical English dessert which Pat loves and now Terri says she loves it too. So Terri, recipe is below and I will post step by step pictures shortly.

Satay Babi
Banana/Mango/Prawn packet
Thai Grilled Chicken
Yong Tau Fu
Nonya Chap Chye
and for dessert - Summer Pudding

I did not take pictures of the food as Terri and Yi were doing so! So my pictures are just file pictures (when I did them before)

Satay Babi - file picture

Banana/Mango/Prawn packet - file picture

Summer pudding
Recipe from Saturday Kitchen - James Martin

400g/14oz mixed berries, trimmed
2 tbsps water
50g/2oz caster_sugar
14 thin slices white_bread, crusts removed
oil, for greasing
200g/7oz clotted_cream/thick cream, optional

Preparation method
1. Heat the berries, sugar and water in a saucepan until boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
2. Blend half of the fruits in a blender and strain the purée through a sieve. Reserve the remaining fruit.
3. Stamp out four circles from four slices of the bread to fit the bottom of four small dariole moulds* and set aside. Stamp out four larger circles for the top of the moulds and set aside. Cut the remaining bread into wide strips the same height as the moulds.
4. Lightly oil the inside of each mould and line with cling film.

5. Dip the small bread circles into the purée and place into the moulds. Repeat with the wide strips of bread and use them to line the sides of the mould, making sure that they overlap slightly.
6. Fill the moulds with the reserved fruit and a little of the purée and press the mixture down firmly.

7. Dip the larger circles of bread in the purée and use them to cover the tops of the moulds. Cover with the cling film competely.

8. Chill the puddings in the fridge until ready to serve.
9. To serve, turn the puddings out onto serving plates and serve with a spoonful of clotted cream or double cream if using.

*Note: I used ramekins

Friday, 16 July 2010

Work and pleasure in Nice

Work and pleasure in Nice, France
June 30 - July 4

Sent by my company for course in Nice. Arrived there Wednesday afternoon and the course was till Friday afternoon. My coursemates were from all over Europe and there were about 20+ of us. Mostly ladies but we had 3 thorns amongst the roses. 2 came from Luxemburg (English but living there yonks) and the other was a Russian. We gave up with the Russian as he did not understand us. They did not join us for dinner on Wednesday evening, so when he was at our table the next morning, I asked him why they arrived late yesterday and his answer was... "Yes" and then I asked another question and his answer again was ... "yes". At this point I thought, ok, no need to ask anymore! Then at lunch and a conversation about him cropped up and apparently someone else asked him at coffee break - "so where did you go for dinner last night?" and you guessed it... his answer was.... "Yes" bwahahaha! Aiyo, I wonder what they are doing there - there were 3 of them at the course. I do not know about the language capabilities of the other 2 ladies as I did not get a chance to speak to them as they did not join us for lunch or dinner. The course cost Euro 1600+, so for 3 persons.... go figure!

Anyway, back to the course. It was good, gave us a chance to understand the whole venture capital business from set up to exit.

The rest of the group was a fun lot and during lunch break of the first day which was an hour and 45 mins, 4 girls decided to go for a swim during the break! Crazy or what?! Anyway, it was so hot in Nice, on Thursday, the temperature showed 34 degs!

Then the course ended on Friday after lunch and Pat was flying in for a short break. But instead of landing at 8+ which was the estimated arrival time, there was a 2 hour delay at Heathrow and he only arrived around 1000 and by the time he got out and we went for dinner was like 11+

The next day we went for a tour of the Provence countryside. I had booked a tour but it was only the 2 of us, so it was a nice leisurely one.

The on Sunday, I tried to book a late check out but because it's summer time, all their rooms were booked, so we were kicked out at 1230. As we had a late breakfast, we took a walk around Nice town, then went to the park and slept in the shade, went for lunch and then went park to our spot under the trees again till 5. While walking back to the hotel to collect our luggage, there was a band playing the "Can can song", so I was trying to do the cancan and whilst doing so, stepped on uneven ground and twisted my ankle! argh! hehe, don't worry, I'm ok now!

Perfume factory - antique bottles


Market - cannot really see as there is nothing to compare to, but the garlic and the pepper were huge!

Medieval village


Sweet factory