Saturday, June 23, 2012

Italian to Indian

So living here in England I feel I should be taking advantage of Indian cuisine as it seems to be very popular.  I must admit my exposure to Indian food has been limited, but I have always been interested to try those seemingly exotic flavors.  Well, I happened to receive a quick curry base recipe from Pam, my Indian friend. I tried it and I love it.  (Even my food snob Italian husband likes it.)  I think the perception of curry is that is always has the curry spice in it....well according to Pam not so!  This dish has ingredients I am familiar with and believe it or not are all used in Italian cooking too, so no wonder an Italian would eat it. 

The secret to rice is to find a good quality brand and to rinse the grains well before cooking.  I find Tilda to be great.
I usually add salt to my rice but if you want to up the flavor try adding a cube of bouillon of your choice or half if you are worried about the salt.
For the base chop up two onions
Now you can use fresh ginger and chili if you have them or to speed things up I love these frozen cubes
I like a lot of flavor so I use 3-4 cubes of ginger and 3 cubes of chili...I know Trader Joes sells these in the US
Cook the onions down, after a bit you should add chopped garlic, but today I was out of garlic!  I know my mother in law was shocked and told my husband that we should always have like 10 heads of garlic on hand...because what can you cook WITHOUT garlic?!  So I used a cube of alio and prezzemelo, if you don't know this, check out my previous post
Add your fresh or frozen cubes of garlic and chili, cook down about 2 minutes
Here is where the recipe gets interesting, just throw in on hand beans, veg or I am using chickpeas, but you could put in chicken or bell peppers, whatever you like!
After cooking your beans, veg or protein almost to the level of "doneness" you like (is that even a word?) Add a tin of chopped tomatoes and keep cooking a I like to add one more cube of ginger.
The best part is the chili, garlic and ginger give so much flavor you really don't need much salt or just a bit of finishing salt....serve over rice....probably this took me 15-20 minutes...Pam recommends to serve with fresh coriander on top, but that might be pushing my luck with my picky half

Friday, June 22, 2012

Stuttgart Benz

While in Stuttgart last weekend, we stopped by the Mercedes Benz museum.  Regardless of the content inside, the building itself was stunning.  All the details from the materials, patterns, lighting, colors and point of purchase everything are extremely well thought out.

3D dot pattern on the building panels that fades away
A cafe wall made of nylon bristles

Apparently in Stuttgart people eat pretzels for we did too...

So many of the museum walls were made of concrete....I love how text for the exhibits was printed on it
A view of the futuristic/retro-esque elevator
Text leading to the racing section....the large text is both simple and impactful
Clever how the plaques with information about the cars rus like the white stripes in the road

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pimm's Punch

About 250ml of Pimm's to 1 liter of lemonade

Since we haven't really done anything extremely "British" these past few days of the Jubilee holiday, I felt we should do something....thus I decided to make a pitcher of Pimm's (even though the sun really has not made an appearance for the holiday weekend.)  When my husband's English friend (who in a cruel twist lives in Laguna Beach) came to visit around Easter time he made a pitcher of Pimm's and added some green chili, I absolutely loved it.  So I decided to do the same here.  I think the only difference here is I didn't have any strawberries, but it was just as good without.  This punch is great as it reminds me of one of my favorite cocktails, the dirty martini as it comes with olives, (like a mini snack!)  This punch contains orange slices, mint leaves, cucumber slices, etc. like a mini salad!  (If you let the ingredients marry long enough with the liquid the infusion of flavors is really great.)  Great for a hot day outside. Also strangely enough, I do believe Pimm's can be found in the US for a cheaper price then we get it for here in England....Cheers!

My crop of herbs is great, thus the inspiration to make the pitcher of Pimm's since you can't forget the fresh mint

I sliced up what I had on hand, but feel free to try lemon slices, apple slices or add strawberries

Funnily enough Pimm's has the coloring of tea!

Bank Holiday Outing

For the bank holiday we decided to take advantage of our central location and drive down south to Stonehenge.  While I was quite excited to see the world famous monument in person, when you initially come upon it, it doesn't seem quite as big as it does in images.  Tourists are also kept at a distance, so up close examination of the stones is just not possible.  Nonetheless, it was great to see them in person and ponder their existence and just how 5000 years ago people could move and cut stone prior to the invention of the wheel!

Lichen grow on the stones, there are at least 77 different types of lichen growing on them

Overhead photo of the site, taken from our guidebook

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Ugly Can Be Good

I have to say Coca-Cola here in England just tastes different....maybe not quite as much sugar as in the US?

This cake is ugly, not pretty, but so the taste is so wonderful, so addictive it cannot be described in words. One can only truly understand after they have eaten a piece of this cake warm, almost immediately out of the oven.  Which as we all know cakes are generally not consumed or frosted immediately out of the oven.  This cake defies all rules of baking and food combinations as it uses, butter (Hello!  Lots of it!) coca-cola and cocoa.  I found the recipe on Pintrest via followed it to the letter and it was great....maybe leave out the cinnamon next time, but that would just be for my picky husband, who only eats a bite of something like this anyway, because Italians don't trust butter....(but give them anything with olive oil on it and they are happy.)  I brought the remainder of this cake to work and the British liked it too.  I would really recommend consuming right after it is made because that is when it is best.  So maybe for a large gathering or a late night purge for yourself watching Sex and the City reruns :)

Dry ingredients for cake

Yes, you actually use Coca-Cola no lie

Heating wet ingredients for cake on stove, buttermilk, coke and cocoa powder

Now it's Paula Deen time!

Mixing wet ingredients with dry

After mixing and adding are ready to pour into pan

This cake only takes about 30 minutes to bake, so cravings can be satisfied almost immediately

Making glaze....again Paula Deen time!

Finished glaze

Cake out of oven

Cake with glaze (which you pour over hot-out-of-oven cake)

Consume right away, this cake is like a Krispy Kreme donut, ok later but best when hot off the line!