Friday, 12 December 2014

Excited Beginner Gardener-in-Progress

I actually remember the last few min of my dream very vividly which happened on Thursday morning.


Coz I was plucking a lot of blue pea flower (a.k.a butterfly pea). I squished them into a ball to compact them so I can pluck more and the weird funny part is they start to dry and shrivelled and then turn red into raspberries.  I was like huh? 日有所思也有所梦, is it asking me to pluck the ones I spotted along Tanjong Katong area?

Clitoria Ternatea (single petal)
This flower, when bloomed, resembles the shape of the female vagina and so the other name for this flower is Clitoria Ternatea.

Color is extracted from the flower and used as natural food colouring in nonya kuehs and also made into a tea drink which I read is quite common in Thailand.

Moving on....

That Thursday noon, a friend's mum who grew such flowers dropped by my office and handed me a couple of dried rose buds which was not able to bloom due to the recent wet weather.  It seems my dream that night before was like a prediction of sorts.

My despatch uncle saw me met up with my friend and I told him about the flowers.  It so happens that he grew such flowers just outside his house in Malaysia.  I was like are you serious? He said yes, and the flowers were used for praying purpose at the altar.  He volunteer to bring some for me and I asked if he has the seeds?  He said he would check.

The next day, which is today (Friday) he came into office and gave me a bag of freshly plucked flowers which were washed and to my amazement, he also gave me a small size plant with the roots for me to plant at home.

That set me into hyper mode but soon turn into worried mode because I do not have a flower pot or soil at home to plant it.

Right now, the plant has been out of the soil for almost 10hrs and it looks so thin and fragile, even turning slightly yellow already.  Despatch uncle helped me to wet the roots area with damp newspaper and I don't know if it will survive another few hours more as I have to look for pots and soil.

No nursery near my house area thou unless I travel to Tanjong Katong which I would have a problem bringing home a flower pot and a bag of soil.  I hope the cold storage have what I need.

For now, 6pm, I will leave office and head straight home to place my stuff and head out immediately to cold storage first.  At least if I do manage to get pots and soil, I would have free hands to carry them and not risk breaking the already fragile looking plant...

Poor thing... I will get it potted soon, it must have been deprived of nutrients...

-Back home-
Was disappointed at cold storage as it turns out there was no pots that caught my eye and the soil was was out of stock.  So I bought the fertilizers, went home and head out to Ban Nee Chen Pte Ltd at 45 Amber Road.  With the kind help of the auntie there, I manage to get a pot, soil and was given free chipped clay tiles for base and a stick since this is a vine-type of plant.  Cost me $8.50 in total and the auntie was kind enough to let me pay by nets although their minimum purchase was $15.00.
Thanks a lot! (Manage to bring every thing home and took the bus)
So it begins...
Line base with chipped tiles to cover the holes at the base
Fill half with soil
Place the plant, fill up with soil to about 3/4 of the pot
Kept on rearranging the sticks and plant cause it was too thin n fragile
Did not tie the plant to stick with a string thou.  It was too fragile for me to handle.  

Place some of the fertilizers on top of it and watered the soil
Place it at the corner. This spot has the morning sun.

As you can see, it was bend in the middle. I wonder if this plant will even survive in the first place.  I am also worried about the length of this plant.  Clearly, I needed more stick support for the plant to twirl and curl but before I buy more sticks I have to see if the plant survives with the bent in the middle.

Rearrange the plant again. really hard to make it secure... some of the leaves are drying up

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Rain's Kitchen: Rice pudding

I have not eaten rice pudding before so I had no idea what came over me to make one.  There were many ways and recipe of doing it as I realise while Googling for a recipe.  Some were really thick and soupy in texture and some were not.
A check on Wikipedia shows that rice pudding is "found in nearly every area of the world" so that explains the variant in pudding types since different country would have their own unique recipe catering to their customs or preferences.
Without having any idea how it was suppose to taste or feel like, I could not really compare my end product but on the whole it taste quite alright and I liked it so, I am saying it was a success. Haha~  After all, it is quite a nice dessert/snack as a comfort food.  I do not have an oven at home at the moment so I am using the boiling method to make the rice pudding.
I have since tried twice for this recipe and will combine pictures of both attempts in this post.

(makes 8 dessert cups)
450ml low fat milk*
 1 cup medium grain rice
1/2 cup sugar (less 2tbsp)
80g dried raisins
2 cinnamon sticks
cinnamon powder
1tsp vanilla essence
1/4tsp fine salt

 heavy cream/whipping cream*

*may need extra to adjust consistency to own preference

1. Boil rice with 400ml of milk, sugar, salt and cinnamon stick over medium heat.  Stirring once in awhile. 

2. When it comes to a boil, lower heat to small and simmer with lid for about 25-30mins.  Keep an eye on the stove and be careful not to let the milk boil over with the lid on. (damn tedious to clean up later)

3. Remove the cinnamon sticks and as you can see by now
most of the milk has been absorbed.  Add in the remaining 50ml of milk and stir quickly and continuously for 5mins.

4. Add in the vanilla essence and stir to well combine.  Turn off heat.

 5. Add in the dried raisins and mix well.  I didn't have a casserole dish so I just use a normal square cake tin.  Transfer the pudding over and let it cool down slightly before chilling in the fridge.
As you can see, as it cools slightly, it becomes thicker in consistency.  Place cling wrap directly above the pudding before putting it in the fridge to chill for an 1hr or 2.  I did this at night so I had it chilled overnight instead.
6.  After chilling, remove from fridge and loosen the pudding up by stirring it.  It would have hardened quite a bit by now.
 Add in more milk or heavy/whipping cream to adjust to desired consistency.  Lastly, dust some cinnamon powder. Fold it a few times and transfer them to dessert cups.

7. Serve best when chilled.
dust with cinnamon powder before serving

DONE~! and the pic spam begins
(taken with my galaxy note 1: no filter with just natural sun light and normal kitchen lighting) 

2nd attempt 29/11/14

1st attempt 14/11/14
(taken with my galaxy note 1 & Samsung camera with miniature setting?)
Used cool lite whipped cream initially instead of whipping cream
The pudding in the first attempt was a bit too sweet and thick.  Each time before I eat it I would always add in about 1tsp of water into the dessert cup and stir before eating it.  Taste about the same but just smoother in consistency.
So for the second attempt, I adjusted the sugar amount and used whipping cream instead.  Texture is not as thick as the first and not as sweet.  I prefer the second batch one.
Hope you enjoyed it!