Monday, November 21, 2016

Easy Fresh pasta or noodles by hand

Fresh pasta or noodles is easy to make! I used to be intimidated by making anything with flour and dough. It seemed like such an arduous task and difficult. A friend of mine told me she makes her noodles from scratch and dumpling skin from scratch! I didn't believe her that it was easy until I decided to experiment in the kitchen and try it out for myself. There are only a few ingredients needed to make fresh noodles. 

White flour
Egg (or if you can choose not to make egg noodles)
Cold Water

Tools you will need: 
Rolling pin or a round cylinder like a bottle or a can but it needs to have some weight to it
Mixing spoon
Large clean flat surface
Sharp knife

I've made noodles with and without the egg the method is the same. 

1) Place the flour into a mixing bowl

2) Trickle in the cold water and mixing the flour and water thoroughly until the flour becomes a thick paste

3) Add the egg and mix thoroughly until the batter turns into dough

4) Sprinkle flour on your flat surface and your hands (this is to ensure the your fingers don't get sticky!)

5) Place the dough onto the flat surface and season it well with flour on all sides

6) Rolling it in your hands into a ball and then flattening it on the surface. Add more flour to the surface as needed. 

7) When the dough is a bit more seasoned with the extra flour and feels less sticky but more dough-like. Roll out the dough with the rolling pin. 

8) Keep rolling the dough out and try to make it thin and even.

9) Season with flour. 

10) Folding the end delicately as if you're going to roll sushi roll the dough into a long cylinder. It will probably look like a giant spring roll. 

11) Using your sharp knife, cut into small sections similar to cutting sushi but in much smaller and precise millimetres. The width depends on whether you want to make tagliatelle, fettuccine, or pappardelle. 

Flat noodles: Unroll all the pieces and lay them all out on a flat surface and season well with flour.

Noodles: Unroll all the pieces, roll the pieces into noodles then pull them out delicately to thin out the texture. It takes a bit of practice to do this. 

12) Add the noodles into boiling water and add salt to the water. You don't want to overcook the noodles into a soft oblivion so about 45 sec. - 1:30 is probably ideal. Drain and serve with your favorite sauce. 

See I told you it was easy! You don't need a pasta maker or have the hand-pulling skills of a lamian chef. It does take some patience and time though. Also a lot of trial and error. My pasta and noodle making skills are getting better over time. Fresh pasta is worth the effort though because it does taste much better and its also healthier too because commercial made dried noodles and pasta or sometimes the fresh pasta that is found in the refrigerated sections of the grocery store have added preservatives to the pasta that will help prolong the shelf life of the pasta. Have you ever wondered why dried pasta has a long shelf life? 

Chilli sesame noodles
Mee rebus with veggies, soft boiled egg, shrimp.
Mee rebus
Pesto Pappardelle
Stir fried noodles with veggies and pancetta

Fettuccine bolognese (My red wine bolognese recipe)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

CHAMELEON: A TCK/CCK experience : A need for communication and peace

CHAMELEON: A TCK/CCK experience : A need for communication and peace:
There is a need for communication, peace, open hearts, paired with lots of art, food, wine/drink.

Communication because misunderstandings happen all the time. 

Peace because there's enough strife and conflict. 

Open hearts because we've become isolated, distrustful, fearful, and scared. (I'm working on this one.) 

Art because it strikes a chord with the emotional, thinking, feeling, perception, and diffuses difficult conversations with beauty. Dance, sing, act, paint, draw, sculpt, etc. 

Food because who doesn't love gathering around with good food. 

Wine because the complexity of personal stories pairs well with complex wines!

We need peace.

Talk to people, make friends, hear other people's stories.

Stand up for your own beliefs if you feel threatened. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Where would you go?

I've joined several Travel Blogger groups on Facebook and find myself reading the most inspiring posts from other bloggers as well as following a lot of travelers on Instagram. Much like foodporn, I'm inspired and love hearing other people's stories. I asked my fellow travelers this question:

If you could go back to a place, where would you go and why? 

"The place I would love to go back to is Ubud, Bali. I was just there 2 weeks ago and I just can't shake it off my head. Everywhere I look, there is always a touch of art. It has great ambience, plenty of things to do and everything seems reasonably priced." - Sara F. of Travelosio

Photo Credit: Travelosio
Photo Credit: Travelosio

"Switzerland is heaven on earth. There is never a dearth of wonderful places in Switzerland. Snowcapped mountains, an abundance of greenery, gorgeous lakes, picturesque landscape and much more appropriate to be a travelers paradise. We were based out of Geneva and would plan day trips every weekend which was invigorating and rejuvenating. We have visited a dozen of places and still the country never stops to mesmerize us.  
One can also choose Bern or Zurich as a base. Most of the stunning landscapes are around Interlaken. There are many quaint villages which can be visited. Switzerland is great in terms of transportation and facilities for tourists. One can also plan easy trips to prominent cities of the neighboring countries of Germany, France, Italy and Austria." - Rashmi and Chalukya of  Go Beyond Bounds

Photo Credit: Go Beyond Bounds

"I would like to travel back to Chandratal situated in the Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh in India. It is a place that offers serene beauty and if you are lucky enough you could get the perfect reflections of the brown peaks and the clear sky.. Its simply breathtaking. 

What makes me want to go back there is the feeling it gives me to live the moment to the fullest because while on the route to lake and stay in the nearby camp is so challenging that you never know weather you'll be there for the next moment or not. This trip makes me to love those little moments we have in our life which people generally ignore due to the problems they face. Also I missed the view of the lake at its best the last time I visited so would visit again with a new hope of capturing it this time." - Mohit A. of Jaunting Journeys

Photo Credit: Mohit Arts

"I would return to Kutna Hora, Czechia. Prague is beautiful, isn’t it? But can you imagine some time ago a city nearby seriously competed with Prague in terms of wealth, architecture and importance? Yes, there was such a city – Kutná Hora. It rivalled Prague both economically and culturally, being the favourite residence of several Bohemian kings. It boasts different architectural styles, unique buildings from various historical periods and a long history of wine making. Kutna Hora is 120 kilometres away from Prague, an hour by train or 40 minutes longer by bus, which makes for an easy day trip. Kutná Hora and the neighbouring town of Sedlec are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. In the 14th-15th centuries trading silver made Kutna Hora one of the richest places in Europe. The single currency of the entire Kingdom of Bohemia, Prague ‘groschen’, was minted here." Anita from The Sane Travel

Photo Credit: The Sane Travel
Photo Credit: The Sane Travel

"Niagara Falls is where my partner first said he loved me and is our fave place in the world. It was the first place we ever "travelled" too so brings back lots of memories of our first trip and that first anxiety you get when exploring the world. This place is so beautiful is settled my nerves and made me fall in love almost instantly!!" - Katie from Creative Travel Guide

Saturday, November 5, 2016

24 Hours in Crans Montana

I was recently asked to Guest Blog at One Day Itinerary and write about a place that was a 24 hour Guide to a place. I thought about the smaller cities and towns I've visited that people would not feel rushed to SEE EVERYTHING and not sleep. I'm not that kind of traveler anyway! I do love watching Anthony Bourdain's The Layover when it was airing but the frenetic pace was just tiring for me. Even if I'm traveling for work or leisure, I need some down time to be in the present and look around me as opposed to rushing around. Its better for health and sanity in my opinion.

My decision: Crans Montana

Here's the post on the site: One Day in Crans Montana

I lived in this area for over a year during my postgraduate studies. Its a sleepy place but beautiful and peaceful. The morning, afternoon, and evening views are amazing! I miss seeing the stars at night walking home from the gym or a group meeting. Going to school here was wonderful.

I'm cross posting some highlights from the post below.

Crans Montana is a premier winter destination for skiing and is the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Made up of two towns, Crans and Montana have their own distinct character that is so typical of a Swiss Mountain town. Most of the year, these towns are fairly peaceful and calm except for the Caprices festival of electronic music in the spring and the Golf OMEGA tournament in August. During the winter ski season, Crans and Montana is teeming with skiers from all across the globe and businesses are open later than usual.

Top things to do in Crans Montana, Switzerland
Have breakfast at Taillens in Montana
After riding the funicular up to Montana from Sierre, walk to the Taillens café in Montana for a quick breakfast of a pastry and coffee (or tea if you prefer). For a heartier breakfast, they also have a full menu where you can order sandwiches, eggs, pasta, etc.

Rent your skis and head over to the ski station
You can rent your ski equipment (or snowboard equipment) from any of the retailers in Montana or Crans. Plan to leave your shoes at the rental location and take your equipment to either the Crans ski station or Montana ski station. It is probably the most convenient to rent your equipment that is nearest to either of these ski stations.

Ski all morning and then go up to the peak of Plaine Morte
Ski the areas of Cry’d’er, Bella Lui, and across Violettes then take the cable car up to the peak of Plaine Morte just before lunch time. It is highly recommended to go up before the lunch crowd settles in as there is a cozy bistro restaurant with beautiful views but limited seating. 

Ski from the top of Plaine Morte down to ski station
Skiing from the top of Plaine Morte down to any of the ski stations at the bottom of the mountain with stops along the way to take pictures of the beautiful Swiss Alps. By the time you reach the bottom you would have worked up quite an appetite.
Have a burger dinner at either Burger Lounge in Crans or Montana Diner
The perfect après ski dinner meal is a classic burger and fries washed down with beer. Burger Lounge  in Crans is known for their gourmet burgers. They are a favorite among residents and open most of the year. If you plan on dining here, pre-plan and reserve a table because it is usually to full capacity. A good alternative, the new Montana Diner by the lake and their burgers are solid with a beautiful atmosphere and large floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the lake.

Apres ski party at Zerodix
After dinner, walk back up to Crans ski station for the après ski party at Zerodix. The djs would already be turning up the volume and the party atmosphere is happy drunk. The party ends around 9 pm.
Join the crowd to the nearest pub before clubbing the night away
There are a number of bars in Crans that is popular among visitors and residents as well as students. Leo’s bar, Le Pub, Pacha, and Sky club are all popular and the party will keep going until 4 or 5 a.m. depending on the night of the week so make sure to bring your dancing shoes.
Some extra tips for visiting Crans Montana?
If you don’t plan on skiing there are also other activities in Crans and Montana that don’t involve downhill skiing. Some of the sports activities include ice skating, bowling, cross country skiing, curling, dog sledding. Crans Montana also has a wonderful array of luxury retail shops and quirky boutiques. For a quieter night, try a Fondue or Raclette dinner at Petit Paradis the tomato cheese fondue is addictive! After the fondue you will certainly be in a cheese coma so cozy up to a room at the quaint family owned hotel.