Thursday, July 30, 2009

Villach - Strassenkunstfestival

In summer, Villach is lined up with lots of activities which added quite abit of hustle and bustle to the otherwise relatively small and quiet town south of Austria.

I was lucky to arrive in time for the Strassenkunstfestival held in mid-July. It is essentially a Busker's festival held over a 2 days period right in the city center. The performers came mainly from different parts of Europe and at least one group from China.

The performances began at about 1000hrs till the wee hours of 2300hrs which is considered really late for a small town in Europe.

Despite the scorching mid day sun, the city came alive with locals and tourists crowding the walking streets, eating and drinking in open-air cafes.

Naturally, I was also enjoying the many performances with a fat juicy piece of Leberkäse wedged in between a freshly baked semmel. Yummy!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Weisskirchen - Food and Sights

Spent a relaxing weekend at the small town of Weisskirchen, Steiermark. It is summer now, sometimes at a scorching afternoon high of 35°C.

It is also the mushroom season and interestingly, I was informed that there is a local regulation stating that each person can only harvest a certain quantity of mushroom from the forest. With that, I decided to try my luck hunting for mushrooms in the nearby forest.

I'm lucky enough to spot some mushrooms but unfortunately, they were either poisonous or already half-eaten by insects.

Along the way, I also found some wild blue berries growing from the bushes but they were extremely sour to the taste. So much for having absolute zero patience and being a glutton.

Summer here is for a relatively short period of time compared to winter. So while it's here, everyone's taking the opportunity to enjoy the sun, buzzing insects and the bright colours that nature brings along with it - the white, white clouds, the blue, blue sky, the green, green trees, the red, red flowers and the brown, brown wheat harvest.

And of course, the Austrian cows which are a fantastically, photogenic bunch. :)

I also had the luxury of enjoying home-cooked Austrian food which were simply delectable!

Faschierte Laibchen mit Kartoffel puree
(Oven roasted meatloaf with mashed potato)

(Pancake slices in beef broth - my all-time favourite)

Pistazien Kuchen
(Pistachio Cake)
Nuss Strudel
(Bread with nut fillings)

Chinese Salad Anyone?

One more resolution to add to my list for 2009: To eat like a cow and not look like one. :)

And when creativity hits me, I'll add a twist of Chinese touch to 'brighten up' my salad.

The Coming of a Great Artist

Development of the right hemisphere at 1 year, 10 months & 14 days...

Titled: "姑姑的Spiderman Wallet"
Cost: Priceless

Attack of the Sweet Tooth Monster!

Question: "Will human ever get enough of money?"
Answer: "No"

Question: "Will I ever get enough of desserts?"
Answer: "NO"

4-in-1 Dessert@ Bollywood Veggies
(all 4 desserts are nonya kuehs which came in just the right portions and ain't too sweet)

Durian Puree with Pomelo Sago @ 记得吃, Liang Seah Street
(seriously, why bother spending tens of dollars buying durians at Geylang only to curse at the sub-standard quality WHEN you can have the bitter-sweet durian presented to you in a chilled bowl without the seeds!?!)

Celebration of a Union


(Mushroom Rugout stuffed Tartlets with Truffle Oil)
(Smoked Salmon Rillettes with Caviar)

(Seared US Scallops with Chestnut Puree & Shisco Cres, Vanilla Foam)

(Mushroom Soup with Truffle Oil)

(Pan Seared Foie Gras with Brandy Prunes & Petite Salads)


(Choice I: Crustacean Bolognaise with Linguine & Caviar)

(Choice II: Slowed Braised Chicken Stew with Baby Onions, Mushrooms & Lardon Served with Puff Pastry)

(Choice III: Oven Baked Miso Codfish with Celeriac Puree & Asian Green Vegetables)

(Choice IV: Char Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Mushroom Gratin, Truffle Mashed Potatoes & Borderlaise Jus)

(and of course there's something for Baby Alicia as well!)

Dessert Buffet
(Apple Crumble)

(Lemon Madeleine)
(Profiterole with Chocolate Fillings)

(Panna Cotta with Summer Berries Compote)

(Valrhona Chocolate Fountain with Fresh Fruits & Mashmallows)

~the beginning~

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Lemon Yoghurt Cake

Got this recipe from The Straits Times and according to the article, it's supposed to be an easy and idiot-proof recipe.

So obviously, I was the idiot who somehow still managed to mess it all up! The cake was very heavy and didn't raise much. The inside of the cake has this "kueh-like" texture. I would say it is still edible but other than the dog which was eyeing it, the rest of the family were only glad that it went straight to the rubbish bin.

200g plain flour
2 tsp double-acting baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
250g plain, full-fat yoghurt
225g sugar
3 large eggs
zest of 3 lemons
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
125ml vegetable oil

(1) Preheat oven to 180degC. Grease and flour a 21.5 by 11cm loaf pan.

(2) Sift the flour and baking powder into a medium-sized bowl, add salt, set aside.

(3) To a large mixing bowl, add the yoghurt, sugar, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla extract. Whist together until smooth. Whisk in the flour mixture slowly.

(4) Pour in the oil and fold it into the mixture gently using a rubber spatula. The batter will curdle but just keep at it until the batter is thick and smooth.

(5) Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
(6) When the cake is done, stand it on a metal rack set over a foil-lined tray and let it cool in the loaf pan for 15 minutes. Using a blunt knife, loosen the cake gently from the sides of the pan. Remove cake from pan and place over the metail rack.

Makes 1 loaf cake which serves 8 to 10.