Thursday, 14 July 2011

At the market

Swasdee ka! Buying local food at Bangkok.

You can meet new people just by sharing a bench when you need a rest.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Home made crakers

It has been a month or maybe over that I haven't bought any bread at the supermarket. Being Italian I am very fond of bread but the bread I find here ...I understand is more a build up of calories than a nutritious accompanying.
But with the pesto just made...and even next day, with the pesto in the fridge...
It was necessary to create an alternative to bread.
Here they come Crackers.

I called them crakers because of the flat shape and because this is a bit the use they do for me but I have no idea how to make real crackers.
This are instead the ingredients to make the Piadina, (except that flour should be white) but I used them in a different way.
I mixed 500 gr of wholewheat flour (possibly organic and stone grounded) with half tea spoon calcium bicarbonate, 50 gr (yes, I weight it!) extra virgin olive oil and made it into a soft dough.
Then I pulled out the historic pasta maker that every mother of a certain generation gives to the daughter of a another certain generation (just to remain vague) and that I always bring with me anywhere we move, and I made few irregular stripes that I then cooked on a double panini sandwich grill.
Finally I opened the fridge and put my hands on the Green Gold. After this it was its flavor to guide me!

Green Gold in Bangkok

My husband got three days off after 150 consecutive working days!!! It was great to have him at home! I had run to the supermarket the day before grabbing just the right food and amidst fruits, vegetable, free range eggs and  plenty of pulse that I always keep at home, I brought home some super fragrant basil to make a super good pesto.
We can't resist at pesto and this is one of the most authentic Italian food you may have here in Bangkok because though the basil is always really fragrant, tomatoes (other pivotal ingredients of the Italian cuisine) are seldom fully ripe and sweet as they should be.
So Pesto, I have to say,  it's one of those things that you won't have difficulties to have it done properly.

Well, ok, I forgot to say that I have at home first cold squeeze organic extra virgin olive oil from my father in law's centuries-old olives trees in Umbria, and I still have nutty pine nuts from the wild pine trees that grow on the forested hills of Liguria (till they last, then I guess that any pine nuts will do, I recon myself lucky just to find some!), so maybe this is why my Pesto is always a success with friends but another reason could be that I pound the basil in a mortar avoiding the violent process in the cutter that steal away all the fragrance from the basil.
The other ingredients that I add to this magic mixture in the mortar are a touch of garlic (just a touch though, it shouldn't mortify the basil) and freshly grated Parmesan cheese (not Grana Padano and not anything even less then this).
The aroma that comes out from the pesto is one of those that literally throws you back. I cannot imagine which sensor it tickles but should be very positive sensors because it gives you a kind of 10 second intense happiness that only few situation in life can give.
Maybe this is why it is also called "Green Gold".

Friday, 1 July 2011

New friend

Long time I haven't post anything because my niece kept me terribly busy and after she left, she left a big "hole" in my daily life.
In any case I knew at the moment this blog is almost secret, I believe I am the only reader, so I am not disappointing anybody if I miss some activities.

So, if you are wondering what do expatriate women do in Bangkok, here I have an example for you.
Nice surprise 2 days ago I found a new friend trough the internet. She is from England, she is one of my inspiring jewellery artist on Etsy where we both run a shop and I happily found out that she had just moved to Bangkok.
One click and I invited her to meet me, one click and she warmly accepted although she had never heard from me before. Actually, I have gone far ahead because I have clearly told her that I would like to learn few techniques more specifically relevant to the art of silver jewelry since I am specialized in ceramic jewellery and I really want to personalize my items 100 % being able to make my own earrings hooks, for example.
Emmie, this is her name, has shown great openness in making herself available and so an Italian coffee at my place was highly preferred by Emmie over a Starbucks' one to celebrate our meeting.
To receive her worthily, I have prepared a crostata with my mum's jam.
Crostata is typically made with sweet dough (much like Dorie's sweet tart dough) and a jam topping. When the jam is home made by your mum who only uses fruits from our 100% organic garden in the country back home and who only add minimum quantity of sugar required, well, you may understand that you are already half way through the success.
I keep postponing naming the flavor of the jam because my mum often uses to mix fruits according to what she finds perfectly ripe in the garden and this is one of those cases.
Anyway I am sure that quince apples were definitely there.
The dough was made with stone grounded organic flour from Australia, organic palm sugar, free range eggs, butter from New Zealand (all available here at Tops supermarkets) and 100% natural yeast cream of tartar that I got sent from Italy.
It was all an experiment in the sense that if it is already enough to change one of these ingredients to a well experimented recipe to have a different result, imagine if you put together new ingredients never used before! But Emmie and I were quite happy with the result that I will surely replicate.
Ah! I forgot to say that I added to the mixture a pinch of grated kaffir lime as I wanted to give a local touch to my crostata. I quite like it and next time I will augment the dose.
Emmie has such a transparent, sincere and good nature personality that our afternoon together flew in a blink of an eye and it was a very relaxing and "creative" one.
I really wanted to thank her for her willingness and openness so I gave her one of my raku decorated flower that she had openly complimented earlier for her to make it into a silver/raku ring.
She can't wear it since she still has to do the silver ring but she wore two of mine that I coupled with a stretchable thread  joined by an oblong shaped silver bead. It looks wonderful on her hand!

Emmie shop:
My shop:

For a picture of the Crostata, wait till next time since we were a bit hungry and couldn't wait to eat it as soon as it came out from the oven.