Monday, May 25, 2009

Salad Days

I've turned the hothouse into a baby leaf salad grower. One of my first forays into an edible gardening habit was strewing some gourmet micro green seeds, watering them whenever they looked like they wanted water, and then reaping the benefits with homegrown salad. It turned out so successful last time, I sowed with confidence this new batch for spring.

In this particular mix is some mizuna and mustard greens. There might be an odd dandelion green growing in there -- which are, incidentally, edible, but that would be due to the air being suddenly filled with the seeds of dandelion clocks yesterday.

One usually sows and then collects the salad. Depending on the type, it might grow again, or you need to grow from seed again. The turnaround is around two weeks, so it can be ideal to sow one week, and then sow the next week if you want to keep yourself in baby leaf or micro green salads.

Growing salad is easy as long as you keep it away from snails. We've been trying to grow carrots, parsley, leeks, yellow summer squash, salad, baby salad, and peas, but without fail, our outdoor garden is besieged by hungry garden snails.

We laughed when we saw the wild-eyed Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall on his program click on and off the flashlight while he searched at night for these destroyers of all a gardener's hard efforts, but who is laughing now?

Snail prevention tips welcomed!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Frightened by Fuzzy Logic?

I have a confession to make. I am frightened of my new Toshiba Electric Rice Cooker/Warmer.

I just bought it in Thailand. Yes, I had to go to Thailand to get a decent rice cooker. While I didn't search too ardently here in Sweden, the price was right for a fuzzy logic Toshiba Rice Cooker. While I admit that Zojirushi is the king of rice cookers, I don't exactly have the budget for one.

So, I finally broke out my Toshiba, and pressed start. I have never worked with such a fancy rice cooker before, so I'll also own up to popping open the lid sometimes to check on what exactly was going on!

Turns out, what I am not accustomed to is the 'soak' stage. It hardly emitted any steam at all (where did it go?). Each rice granule was frighteningly perfect. Perfect rice?!? I'm very used to over/under cooking rice by adding a bit too much water or too little and then either adding more water to try to soften it or letting it dry out when it gets too wet, but perfect rice?

I'm going to get spoiled. And how!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Here Come the Mangoes

There was a picture intended in mind to show you how these small mangoes are in relation to a normal sized Thai mango.

Unfortunately (or fortunately), all of these mangoes, small or otherwise, ended up too rapidly in my gullet for picture taking. But! I managed to snag this shot of the small mangoes at the market in Mae Rim.

I was in Thailand for the first time with my mother, which made a lot of unclear things much clearer since she is a native. This was the first time I was in Thailand at what seemed to be high season for mangoes (not for pomelo, unfortunately), and she told me that these small mangoes were known for being sweeter AND juicier!

Of course, I couldn't resist such a temptation and ate these with both coconut yoghurt and sticky rice as much as possible. I discovered tiny puffed mung beans as perfect counterpoint to the yumminess of coconut sauce laden sticky rice.

Thailand really is mango heaven.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Where to Start?

The delicious small sweet mangoes or the huge brioche gelato sandwich I ate in Palermo? Though I stopped blogging for three weeks due to a family emergency, dial-up, and no wifi (the Sicilians tended to call it wee-fee), I definitely did not stop eating!

Let's start with the brioche. What an ingenious idea. Gelato has the most lusciously soft creamy texture that makes it so eminently edible. Then, take one of the most rich custardy textured breads in existence: the brioche. Together it's a heavenly combination.

I had eyed the Sicilians curiously as they passed me by holding one of these concoctions. I finally had the greedy pleasure of one in Palermo at Spinnato on Via Principe del Belmonte 117? I will have to look up the address when I get home. Turns out I'm not the only one to discover this particular antique cafe!

Cafe Spinnato

But then again, a picture is worth a few thousand words, right? I can't stop eating pistachio and chocolate gelato together, and then cantaloupe plus yoghurt flavor for a lighter treat.

Friday, May 15, 2009


For the abrupt cut off in connection! I was in Thailand for a family emergency, but I ate lots of gorgeous Thai food, and I have many blog entries/pictures to post, but today, the order of the day is finding the finest gelato in Palermo and to eat it in a brioche. Wish me luck!