Rain. A beautiful concept, one which brings about thoughts of refreshing, cleansing, petrichor, mingled scents of grass, water and earth. Certainly, it’s a beautiful thing, rain. One which transforms the landscape outside to smears of blurred landscape. Yes, it’s mesmerizing, it’s magical, rain.
But only when one is indoors.
Yesterday, the clouds were grey, muggy masses looming overhead, as they always say, threatening to crack like eggs and spill their contents. And they did.
The first drops hit the bus, splattering upon impact then streaming as the wind chased them backwards. I groan inwardly.
The past few days have been rainy ones. Ones where my skirt has been soaked stiff and reduced to a chattering ball. But somehow, with some strange logic of mine, it's worth it. Worth seeing the individual droplets. Worth seeing an entire sheet of water against the window. -
Weekly Wanderings 3 - Daybreak
I've said it before. I'll do so again.
Apparently the lady working at the grocery store in the mall recognizes me for that atrociously large white flower clip I so often don. She inquired as to where it was when I got a drink. Wow - I must be really memorable if she can identify me amidst all of the patrons.
from left to right:
#1 lunchbox 02.07.14
#2 noodle lunch @ home
#3 walking home
#4 lunch @ cedele thursday
#5 friday's dinner @ lau pa sat
#6 childhood memories
#7 en route to dinner friday
#8 tea for three
#9 lunch @ cedele friday
The shackles of school are back on!
I spent the first day in a comatose state, the hours blurred as I laid on my bed falling in and out of slumber. Needless to say, being ill is no fun.
Tuesday and Wednesday passed in a blur, the only memorable thing was that class was cancelled for the final three periods of Wednesday. Hallelujah! Look at what 1.5 hours of early dismissal can make us feel.
My week officially begun on Thursday and I got to head opposite for lunch - at 3 pm. A huge round of applause for the bus for arriving 20 minutes after the normal timing.
At last, Friday arrived and that grin on my face sprouted as well. More soup + bread for lunch, this time largely due to my favourite types being available - walnut raisin, raisin, walnuts. Aha.
But Oscar, I shall - I shall talk about the weather here. It's slowed down into late summer where the wind begins to blow and the downpours make a stop occasionally. The grass bears no resemblance of the torture it was subjected to a month or so ago, all withered and jaundice yellow. They're vibrant now, and with a volume which crackles and cackles when you tread upon them. I could go on endlessly, rave and rant on about the birds and bees and everything in between, right until this season departs.
But I shan't. I have something else to say.
Daybreak has arrived.
Daybreak? What daybreak, you ask.
When I was younger and the world not quite so small, I used to think that the sun was like a lamp, a lamp which would dim and brighten in spurts. I'd look at the ground, counting the seconds when a shade was cast over and the sun not so overbearing. Only later did the truth dawn upon me - it was cloud cover.
I now liken school to the sections when the sun is far to strong - an uncomfortable burn which sears your nape, and the weekends and holidays to be, well, cloud cover.
This weekend's shall be longer - thank the heavens for youth day.
And moving on - bread. With that loaf of walnut bread I purchased on Friday, much joy was yielded, and amongst them, this.
With a similarity to pie crusts, bread proves to be an interesting choice for a covering. It's soaked and then toasted, which results in a crusty and crisp surface with a moist, silky inside. Cherries are in season, and their presence is amplified here due to baking. The juices bleed out of the cherries and soak the inner surface of the bread, resulting in a not-too-sweet tang of cherry juice for the bread.
- to be continued -
and a photo essay - of bread
The past week has been one of much. Much fun, much laughter, much done. I've made, marketed and met up. In these dog days of summer, I'd safely declare that this would be, by far, the most productive.
At this point, you would probably be wondering - what has bread got to do with oatmeal? It's not the bread pudding oatmeal I've made before, clearly, and there's that burnished, pockmarked loaf of something that vaguely resembles bread above, it's edges starkly illuminated by morning light.
And if you read the sub-heading, this is a photo-essay - of bread. This sultry heat of summer, despite slowing down my movement, has left my mind to idle. Either way, I've decided to start a new chapter to this space, (inspired by Kinfolk, which I've been hooked onto) one which documents my weekly wanderings, snapshots to suspend in time, and everything in-between. If you visited the recently revamped art section, you'd see that I've compiled my craftwork recipes as well as the particularly noteworthy moments in life. So, in a nutshell (and a big one at that), I'm adding a section to the art section on my Weekly Wanderings, where I'll forage into life and publish these documented moments.
#1 and #2 : bread basked in morning light
#3 : Thursday's breakfast, to the likeness of incredibly-flattened bunnies
#4 : Wednesday's breakfast, after snapping the above shots
Alright, so what exactly is bread? There's so many different versions of this amorphous term, much like the shape-less dough itself. Bread is that giant loaf of dense walnut rye down to the petite jam-filled bun. Bread is both artesian and Asian. Bread is both man and machine-made. And bread - it is the stuff of childhood.
I kid you not. It is bread I truly love. It's enveloped me in it's pillowy embrace, has me fascinated with it's pockmarked perfection. There's nothing better than tearing apart a piece of bread and watching the fibres of it's being separate before placing that chunk in you mouth, savouring the feeling of teeth sinking into the fluffy substance which borders on chewy.
#1 and #3 : sourdough slices with rhubarb jam
#2 : pumpkin bun from the market which I'm currently munching on now - a childhood favourite
But, halt! This isn't going to draw on into another dusty and dry monologue filled with dreamy drawls as I marvel at bread - been there, done that. Here, I'll fill you up on what I've done this week - which firstly was to bake bread. Not that combine-flour-water-yeast-bread-machine bread (for the indolent), but true sourdough consisting of the naked essentials of water, flour, salt, and good faith in Michael Pollan's book Cooked. Really, I condemn that machine-made bread. It pales in great comparison to bread from the hand, not just in terms of effort, but of crust as well (get it?). I've spent much of the end of last week and beginning of this to stare at my starter, occasionally giving it a dubious sniff.
It's bubbled and emitted a fermented smell, pungent and resembling that of yeast. Later, combined with the leaven and dough, which was a wet mess, it never really worked out fine. I watched it tumble onto the floured sheet with dismay - would it work? Still, I wasn't about to dump my slodgy dough away without attempting to wing it first. So into the oven it went, despite bearing a startling likeness to wet cement, and out emerged a browned loaf of pockmarked bread, dense and slightly wobegone, but I Did It!
Celebration involved the next few days consisting endless thick toasts, slightly differing to normal sourdough in terms of moisture, but a success taste-wise. Back and forth I'd go, toasting bread and slathering on a multitude of spreads (see above) - peanut butter, black tahini, chocolate, jam, marshmallows!, etc. Pictured here is toast with rhubarb + ginger jam I attained from Mark and Spencer's, and a worthy purchase at that.
It's incomparable to real rhubarb, which I've hunted up and down for, but no luck. So armed with the concept of something is better than nothing, I went ahead, stretched out my hand and in the basket it went.
What other (mis) deeds I committed this week:
- went out to the relatively-barren Universal Studios with a soul-sister with an aptitude for baking and largely similar habits as me i.e picking at food when full. We successfully conquered nearly all the rides, leaving aside the ones which fulfilled the criteria of children-targeted and in-the-sun. Overall, it was a day well-spent and bid farewell to with both of us pulling home (balloon) cows.
- went grocery shopping at the market by myself, and returned with an abundance of cherries. Hooray indeed!
With those freshly purchased cherries, I proceeded to make honeyed black tea cherry oatmeal.
They mock me, those cherries, nearly glowing and bursting with ripe-ness. See? It was worth making that trip to the market (which wasn't super).
Honey (and tea) proves to be another of my childhood staples. There was never anything better than the last slurp of a spoon after my mother dipped it into the jar for some beverage or another, handing me the spoon to lick clean. It's got a homely taste, honey, a subtle sort of sweetness which lulls, unlike maple syrup which pops with syrupy sweetness. Knowing that cherries and honey go well, as do sweet and sour, I've incorporated them into this recipe which brings back the flavours of home.
Have cherries for a simple topping, or add more, if desired. And as always, enjoy warm.
*head to the bottom for S'mores Toast
Honeyed Black Tea Cherry Oatmeal
1/2 c oats
1 tsp of black tea leaves
1 c liquid (1/2 tea, 1/2 milk)
1-2 tsp honey (adjust to preference)
3-4 cherries, pitted and halved
1. Boil water in a pot and brew tea. Pour out 1/2 c worth and set aside.
2. In a pot, combine oats, honey and cherries. Stir and let it cook over low heat for a minute or two.
3. Pour in tea and milk. Increase the heat to med - high and stir occasionally.
4. When the liquid is almost fully absorbed, pour into a bowl and top with a few more cherries and honey, if wished. Serve warm and enjoy.
2 slices of bread
A small handful of marshmallows, chopped if they're too big
1 tbsp. cacao powder
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1. Lightly toast bread. Remove and preheat oven to 'broil'.
2. Spread marshmallow evenly over bread.
3. Broil for approx. 2 mins, or until marshmallows are lightly browned.
4. Meanwhile, whisk together cacao and maple syrup.
5. Remove bread and drizzle. Serve warm and enjoy.