Friday, April 22, 2016

Taro Layered Cake (Lapis Talas Bogor)

Taro (Talas/ Bentul) or Colocasia Esculenta in Latin, is widely tropical plant in Southeast Asian, East Asian, African and Mediterranean Basin. The root vegetable is grown for its edible starchy corm (and some as a leaf vegetables). The corms have a light purple color due to phenolic pigments. Contains of natural sugars, talas has a sweet nutty flavor and smooth texture when it’s cooked.

In Indonesia, Talas is usually steamed and simply served with salt or shredded young coconut. But it’s also common to find fried talas in traditional street vendor. Or most of times, steamed cubed talas is used as Ambonese sago porridge mixture, just like what my mother used to make. The slightly sweet soft talas is a real soul mate to jelly like texture of Ambonese sago porridge and thick coconut sauce. I promise I will make old fashioned sago porridge on my next post!

In the last following years, Lapis Talas Bogor (Bogor Layered Taro Cake) is booming and i just can't wait to make it. I don’t exactly know the original taste, since I never try them (and waiting Bogor people aka Henny Marlina to send me the popular cake is like waiting a miracle). So this recipe isn't authentic or resembles the famous Lapis Talas Bogor. But one thing for sure, this cake is really great! The texture is moist with a decent taro taste blended perfectly with cream cheese frosting and shredded cheddar. Just be sure to add Talas Flavor (perisa talas) or Taro powder to enhance the talas flavor and give a sweet purple color.

Lapis Talas Bogor KW
Modified from ita-griyadapurkhayangan

150 gr mashed talas
50 gr fresh milk
1 sdt talas flavor (or taro powder)
150 gr caster sugar
4 big eggs
150 gr all purpose flour
1 sdt baking powder
100 gr cheddar cheese, shredded

Cream Cheese frosting (mix until combined):
50 gr cream cheese
2 tbsp confectioner sugar
20 ml fresh milk

Pre heat oven to 170 C. Sift flour and baking powder set aside. Using blender, mix steamed talas and fresh milk, set aside. Grease 2 22x10 cm pan, line base with baking paper.
Beat sugar and eggs until thick and pale, carefully add flour mixture and process until just combined.
Add talas mixture, mix until combined.
Lastly, pour melted butter into the batter then mix.
Divide the batter into two bowls, add Taro flavor and mix in the first bowl while yellow color to the second bowl.
Spoon onto 2 prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until firm to touch.
Set aside to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Take the yellow cake and spread it with cream cheese frosting then shredded cheddar.
Sandwich together with the purple layer, spread with cream cheese frosting and top with shredded cheddar.

Slice the cake, enjoy with your beloved.

Recipe in Bahasa is in my instagram account @dianandariskia 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Chilli Con Carne

I have to admit that I have no experience in Mexican food, though I am a big aficionado of it. The first encounter to any Mexican stuffs is telenovela, for which I used to watch in my tv like twenty years ago. I knew Thalia’s telenovela more than Paramitha Rusady’s sinetron (a well known Indonesian artist, well at least 20 years ago). And talking about Mexican food, I never taste the authentic one. But nowadays, where we can find frozen Tortilla in the market or buy some cheap Churros and Quesadilla in a cafĂ©, Mexican food seems so familiar in our taste bud.

And I have to admit, agaaaaain, that this Chilli Con Carne isn’t authentic because I made it from Breneboin Soup leftover. Aha. Yes. I know what you’re thinking. Breneboin Soup has slightly Italian taste due to the addition of oregano (at least for the Breneboin Soup recipe I tried, though some people never add oregano on it). But, but here’s my apology: a dash of oregano would vanish when you add a wholesome of cumin, coriander, cinnamon and cardamom pods. Trust me, those exotic spices blend perfectly with minced beef, red kidney beans and tomatoes. I just can’t get enough of this spicy, sprightly and comforting food.

Breneboin Soup before turn into Chilli

Quick Chilli
Source: Nigella Lawson – Nigella Express

250 gr minced beef
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
2 cardamom pods, bruised
250 gr tomato sauce (I used 250 gr chopped tomatoes)
200 gr can red kidney beans
30 ml sweet chilli sauce
¼ tsp chilli fakes

Cook minced beef for 5 minutes until brown. Stir in the spices and then add the tomato sauce, beans and chilli sauce. Add the chilli flakes if you need something kickin your taste bud.
Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Or in my case, Quicker Chilli (only if you have Breneboin Soup leftover):
Add chopped tomatoes to the soup, then cook until its broth almost dry. Add the spices, chilli sauce and chilli flakes, simmer for 20 minutes. Done!

For anyone who is not usual to this kind of food, here are some ways to enjoy Chilli Con Carne (thanks pinterest for the inspirations!)

serve hot with baked sweet potato
Tex Mex Faux: Chilli with Rice
Enjoy with Tortilla Chips
or... Chilli Wrapped Tortilla

Monday, April 11, 2016

Pear, Honey and Cashew Tart

It’s been three weeks since he was gone. That almost 5 years old kid took his last breath in his father’s chest, without growled in pain or shed a tear. He just slept, that no one would notice, for eternity.

Kian, six months younger than him, with his bright big eyes asked us why we were crying. Then slowly, we explained him about death. But we know so well that there’s nothing easy about death, something we, human, barely understand with its mistery and misery. And especially explain it to a toddler who doesn’t understand yet about time and space.

Four months ago when his great grandmother died, it was a bit easier to explain her gone. We talked about life cycle, from baby, toddler, kid, teenage, adult, old people, and here comes the death. Done. Though at our surprise, Kian took it seriously. I mean, he sometimes talked about our old neighbor and said that he was old but not die yet.

But how could we explain him the cropped cycle, that death wouldn’t always come to those whose old and rotten, but also come to anyone, whether kids or teenager? Would he understand that death isn’t solely bound to physically sickness, but also because of human greed, war, criminal, mental disability, emotional shutdown, catastrophe, and other things we somehow never know why?

Death isn’t something unfamiliar to me. My brother died when I was 8 years old in distance, in unreachable state. He was coma for a month after diagnosed with Hep C. My mother took care of him at Sanglah Hospital Bali, while my father and his three daughters continue our lives in Malang. That night, ambulance came with his stiff body inside. A wayfaring brother and son came home after years without his breath. He seemed so familiar, yet so strange. And I cried that night, and nights after. And I remember, that night, for the first time in my life I was questioning God will.

Why there is a war? Dangerous disease, poverty, disability, agony, crime, angers, hatred, sadness, greed, regret, sorrow, etc? Why can’t we just live in heaven for eternity? Why God created satan, heaven and hell? Those questions remain in my head and went deeper by the time. I started to think about religion and humanity when I was in Junior School. I read Karen Armstrong, Bernard Shaw, Ahmad Deedat, Sabili Magazine, The New Testament, Quran, until some cheap old supernatural books in Senior School. The freedom and access of information in university led me to philosophy and its branches like feminism, metaphysic, hermeunetics, until post modernism. I had no idea what I was looking for in every page of human thought and Holy Book. Maybe to search for a light. For God. For understanding of life. Of God.

I hadn’t found any answer when suddenly my phone rang in that cloudy evening, when I was reading Tao of Physics. My sister’s late fiancĂ©, with his trembling and worry voice informed me that my father passed away of accident. No sickness. No awful smell of hospital. No bottles of medicines. No long waits of miracle to cure some disease like we used to hope when my brother dying. He was just gone, in a blink of an eye, like a wind. So sudden. Yet so devastating. It was only 4 hours from home but it was the longest time I spent in the road, rolling every million tiny pieces of memories in my head. Remembering his words, his behavior, his laughs, his grin under his moustache, his dry humor that always made us laugh, his happy go lucky charm, his possessiveness to his daughters, his weird steps, his last call a day before his death, his demanding order which always made me resent, his cook (his fried rice is the best), his… everything. Hoping to keep his image before time erased him. Before soil bury him. Before his face vanish in my head, just like my brother. When the bus reached Pasuruan, an hour from my home, I realized one thing. The more I learned about death and loss, the farther I get from understanding. And once again, I was numb. Are you playing me, God?

It is always hard to understand, to accept death. Maybe because we are too accustomed to live with somebody we love. The loss is losing the activity of to love and be loved. Death is erasing their names from every conversation and every gathering. Death is reconcile and to adapt, again, with a new shape, new activity, new dictionary of what is life to continue our life; but at the same time trying to always remember their pieces in our heart, that they ever exist, came in our life, touch our soul; that whether significant or not, have help us to make us now. 

There’s nothing easy about death.

But I guess, it is quite easy for a toddler who began to think rationally but still lack of empathy.

Every time I named Sultan, mostly because I forgot that he’s gone, Kian always remind me that mas Sultan is gone. Or just like yesterday. He leaned his back against the wall while playing lego. I was reading a book when he suddenly muttered. Mas Sultan is buried alone, his body is wet when it was raining. I gasped. We’re all end up like mas Sultan, son. I breathed heavily hoping he didn’t hear me.

Or just like days ago when Kian got fever and I asked him to eat and take medicine, he answered, “When we are get sick we have to eat and rest a lot, so we don’t die like mas Sultan?” I bit my lip and nodded slowly. How is that easy for him to say death without even know the meaning behind?

Or maybe, he knows so well what the meaning of death, instead. Maybe, that is supposed to be our behavior in facing death? That death is always there and stare us whenever, wherever. That death is just a phase of life cycle that will always come, no matter ages, status, gender, whatsoever. And maybe, our fear to death is because we’re just too damn scared that the death’s eye is staring at us at the moment…

Pear, Honey and Cashew Tart
Modified from Fig, Honey and Almond Tart by Donna Hay Magazine

65 gr softened butter
75 gr superfine sugar
½ tbsp grated lemond rind
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
90 gr cashew meal
35 gr flour
½ tsp baking powder
40 gr chopped cashew
1 pear, sliced
45 gr honey

Preheat oven to 160 C. Lightly grease a 16 cm flutted loose bottomed tart tin.
Place the butter, sugar, lemon and vanilla extract in the bowl of electric mixer and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add the cashew meal, flour and baking powder and mix to combine.
fold in chopped cashews.
Spoon into the tart tin and spread until smooth.
Place the pear sliced on top of it, pressing down slightly.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden.
Remove from the oven and while still hot, brush with honey.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Spiced Banana Bread and Chai Tea

How do you explain mood swings? All I know is I was numb for two months, leaving kitchen activities and forget my camera. Then in a sudden, a passion rush back in my bloodstream. All I remember is yesterday I went to supermarket, grabbed this and that with head full of any kinds of recipes I wanted to try. Today, I woke up early and started baking and cooking. Before noon, I finished making and taking photographs of Banana Cake, Brineboin Soup, Tahwa (Indonesian silk tofu pudding with ginger sauce) and Chai Tea. And in this cloudy night I sit in front of my laptop to write about this after edit the pictures in my phone.

Why Chai Tea?

Remake from Asri's picture

I guess because spices. Its smell and taste never cease to amaze me, and I just want to dive in its exotic rich taste to bring back my mood, to relieve my stress. And secondly, mostly because Chai Tea always remind me of Bune, one of my all time idol turn to best friend. Her Chai Tea pictures were lingered in my mind for so long, long before I fell in love in Food Photography and know her personally. And this is why I remake her Chai Tea recipe and pictures to celebrate her art works and friendship we have. We love you Bune *smooch*!

Chai Tea
Source: Asrie Rie

325 ml water
100 ml fresh milk
75 ml evaporated milk
2 sachet black tea
5 cardamoms (should be green cardamom, but I have none, so I used white cardamom)
2 tsp fennel seed (skipped)
5 cloves
5 cm ginger, bruised
3 cm cinnamon
1,5 star anise
Brown sugar

second remake

Stir the water, tea, ginger and spices in a saucepan over medium heat, then bring to the boil. Add milk and evaporated milk, stir and bring until simmer. Pour in two glasses, add brown sugar as desired.

Spiced Banana Bread
This recipe is a keeper, it has moist texture and deep flavor of banana. A bit longer to make than other recipes because it needs mixer, but hey eggs beating always result a fluffier texture, rite? The original recipe doesn’t use any spices powder and use chocolate chips as filling. But as a queen of kitchen, we are free to play our imagination and use any kind of ingredients we have in cupboard. Long live for us!!!

Tweaked a bit from Julie Hesson’s recipe.

350 gr all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp all spices powder
½ tsp cinnamon powder
¼ tsp salt
225 ml vegetable oil
150 gr brown sugar + 50 gr caster sugar
4 eggs
450 gr mashed banana
1 tsp vanilla extract
100 gr chopped walnut
50 gr raisins

Pre heat oven to 170 C. Sift flour, baking powder, all spices and cinnamon powder in a bowl, add salt. Meanwhile, whisk sugar and oil until sugar is dissolved, then gradually add eggs until thick and fluffy.
Add mashed banana and vanilla extract, mix thoroughly. Carefully fold flour mixture into the batter, then add walnut and raisins, mix.
Spoon into 24 cm diameter bundt pan, and bake until it springs back when lightly pressed (about 60 minutes). Cool completely in tin.
Enjoy a perfect afternoon with Banana Cake and Chai Tea..