29 October 2014

Fruit Orchards in Khao Yai

As I'm feeling better from slight cold from yesterday so I stay up way later than I wanted to. It happens when I start to look at pictures from my post travels. My mind goes traveling back in time!
I don't think I've told you how much fruit orchards fascinate me. I love how fruits grows and if it's on a tree, shrub or like the pineapple. It does give me a lot of interests. And knowing you can pluck or pick and eat them right from there is heaven.

Those times bring me back to when we were growing up in Illinois and California, where fruits and vegetables were abundantly growing. For me as a kid, I would either be picking plums, apricots, cherries, strawberries, green beans and avocado for pleasure or paid labor on the weekends. When my family came back to Laos, we were met with more exotic fruits like pink flesh guavas (they are smaller in size and juicer and not the sized of an orange), jack fruit lined hanging from its trunk so heavily you think the tree will be falling over you when you walk by and mangoes, lots of mangoes. Those are just a few I'm naming. I still today, where ever we go I would see a 'fruited' tree and ask if those are edible.

So when we took the trip to Khao Yai, three hours north of Bangkok a few months ago, we're making our way to our hotel when we saw lots of fruit orchards like lychee dangling waiting to be peeled as the juice runs down your fingers and make your way around eating the flesh of the fruit as there's a big seed in the middle. Of course we had to stop to take pictures and buy a bunch from the owner. They were selecting and putting them in bunches. I tend to appreciate the fruit more when I see this happening and how it's being harvest. It was hot and we didn't stay long.





The dragon fruit field was on our way back to Bangkok. It's grown from like a type of cactus like. We  didn't get to see the full ripe ones but at least to see the young ones was pure pleasure to me. 

Dragon fruit flowers and fruits

Dragon fruit flowers

Rows of dragon fruit trees

And last but not the least, the humble tamarind tree. I'm not sure if this is the sweet or sour kind. But I love the tree and you can see strands of the dragon fruit leaves growing up the trunk. When we were kids and our teeth was much stronger than it is now, we would save our tamarind seeds and roast them. Nothing like grinding our teeth to the hard nutty taste of roasted tamarind seeds! Oh the memories!

I love nature and the outdoors and crave to be roaming in the wild and the freshness of it. Living in Bangkok makes you crave it even more. Here's to more being out to explore more, cheers!

Sweet tamarind tree

Sweet tamarind

23 October 2014

Date In Dinner

Today being Chulalongkorn Day and one of the main holiday which I keep forgetting about. I went to the mall to get some thing and it was busier than usual for a Thursday. Until I was reminded by my husband that it's a holiday. I'm glad we didn't plan to go out on a date further in town and was best to stay in. For dinner I decided to make the Amish style oven fried chicken. Let's just say even if it's baked there's butter and oil to getting it cooked. The only thing I adapted was the marjoram to poultry seasoning and I liked it better. I liked the coating flour that I can make and not out of a box like Shake and Bake. If your stomach can handle it and that's all you have, use it.

We had it with baked potato and sautéed local spinach. I had my potato plain with freshly ground black pepper. And I shared my dish with Tessa. It was perfect and I'm so full and thankful.

And I had to take a selfie with my superhero!

22 October 2014

Lao Eggplant and Mackerel Chutney

I'm so happy that we have a bigger night open air market that just open across the street from our main entrance gate. When I saw the short mackerel which by the way is budget friendly fish and packed with nutrients. Instead of just making chutney from the eggplants alone I added one mackerel. The other one I prepared it separately for Tessa with tomato sauce. She loves it.

What I did was grilled the chills, shallots and garlic. Put the water with one stalk of lemongrass and mixed with padaek to your taste, mackerel and sliced eggplant in. I eyeballed the juice of padaek so don't put to much in at first as it can get salty.

Once the eggplant is soft enough about 5 minutes to after it has been boiling. Pound the grilled chilis, shallots and garlic in your mortal and pestal. Spoon in eggplant and debone the mackerel, add just the meat. Then pound pound and taste to your liking as you spoon in some juice from boiling the mackerel. Sliced herbs like spring onions, coriander and long Chinese herb in. I like lots so you can adjust to your liking. Serve with sticky rice or steamed rice and fresh sliced cucumber or other veggies you like. This dish can be your main or a side dish. Yum yum!

21 October 2014

A Date to Jim Thompson House Museum

A Thursday ago, we went out on a date to the famous Jim Thompson House Museum in Bangkok. We've lived here for six years and finally ventured out to this museum on a guided tour. Bruce was determined to take me to this place as he took one of our guests from the States here and they loved it. The garden and flora to me was the place to go to when I crave being somewhere like this and it's not to far out. It's surrounded by other concrete buildings but this place is a gem hidden in the middle of noisy polluted Bangkok.

I tend to love history more now as I get older. Never thought I would be saying that but I did. Ask an eighteen year old me when I worked as a tour guide and talk about history was not my cup of tea.  It's interesting how Jim Thompson an American business man revived the silk industry back then. He frequent this business trips to Burma, Cambodia and Laos. And collected all sorts of artifacts from those countries as well. He was quite a collector and you can see it all in this museum. The only thing I wanted to see was his small western bathroom that was closed to the public. I asked the guide why we can't see it. She said something about the bathroom being too small to be open. OK, it doesn't make sense.

It still a mystery how Jim Thompson died and no one knew until today. It was supposedly that he could've been eaten by a tiger in Malaysia when we was out on a walk by himself on Easter Sunday, March 26, 1967 in the Cameron Highlands Worth the time to visit if you're in Bangkok.

Beautiful lotus flowers

Beautiful lush green garden.

A slug, not Bruce but the slug itself on the pole. We walked around the not
so huge of a compound but very the garden is very well kept.

Pretty jaded color pattern on the walls.

That turtle was huge! This swimming area for the turtles was next to the gift shop
which we didn't go in.

Couple selfie time!

Of course, I had to posed in the garden. I love the wild ginger flowers.

Lunch was average nothing spectacular and over priced. I enjoyed my company more:) I ordered
beef cashew nuts and Bruce was with chicken. My watermelon, lime and passion fruit
smoothie was really refreshing!

Can't get over the lush greens at the entrance.

Boat services along the klong (canal) where Bruce is standing used to be the former
service entrance.

16 October 2014

Cake Baking

No other excuses not to be blogging (don't I say that often) but, yeah I've been baking and cooking more than usual. I think it usually happens when the weather is extremely hot and I tend to thrive in the heat, if it's in my kitchen and bearable. When the cooler weather comes then I tend. to. hibernate. Like bears:) That's a good excuse right, right? OK OK...but look at the cakes!

The next two cakes I'm not going to lie but it was pretty intense following the recipe. I had to re read it like more than five times. And I still manage to kind of lost track of the instructions, yes, I'm a woman. Anyhow, it was fun and I enjoyed sharing to my neighbors which they say they liked as it wasn't way to sweet. I'm looking for more cake recipes to bake and if you have one that I should make, please tell me!

Carrot Cake Cheesecake
Adapted from Cooking Classy

Two of my favorite cakes in one, divine!
A slice of cake cheesecake carrot anyone? My two favorite kind of cakes in one. Moist and rich and yummy! You can get the recipe at the @cookingclassy blog.

Toscakaka (Caramel Almond Cake)
Recipe from Poires au Chocolat

A phenomenal Swedish cake that just blew my mind away. Even though the cake didn't quite rise as it should. Make this, just make it. My husband had two servings right when the cake cooled down.

Gingerbread Cake with homemade whipped cream
From my William Sonoma Food Made Fast Baking Book

On the dry side and not enough molasses and spices for us but we wanted gingerbread cake fast. Will make again again adding those two ingredients mentioned.
Gingerbread cake with homemade whipped cream. A bit on the dry side and needs more spices for me. But still good:) #homemade#homebaking#bakingseason#gingerbread#cake

Dark on dark chocolate chip brownies
I forgot where this recipe came from, oops. But again not overly sweet and yummy.
Dark on dark chocolate brownies. I was surprised how dark it came out. A bit on the dry side but still chocolatey good. #homemade#homemaker#brownie#chocoalbrownie