{October - Week 3} I've got Banana bread in my mind

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{October - Week 3} I've got Banana bread in my mind

So I do not know whether people like the weekly reflections of Phoholic, but I guess it is like meditation, it gives me a lot of space to think, and to reflect on myself. So here is another weekly reflection with a lot of yums discovered!

APP OF THE WEEK 

This is not a food-related app, but more about wellbeing. I was first introduced to meditation when I saw my dad meditate in his room, whether or not he was sleeping there is a good question. I was not that serious about meditation at that time, but then when sometimes I feel so overload with everything and just want to give my brain a break, I think I should try meditation. At first, I tried to listen to meditation music on Youtube and free my brain at the same time, but I could only do nothing for like five minutes then check Facebook again. Therefore, when I saw Donal Skehan (you should check out his youtube page with a lot of great rustic recipes) using Headspace, I downloaded it and was very satisfied with it. 

So basically everyday, you can meditate using this app for about 10 minutes, and there will be someone talking to you and instructing you to breath, count your breath, be aware of where you are physically and listen to sounds around you. After 10 minutes, I feel completely refreshed and somehow there is not much burden in my brain anymore. You guys should surely try it out, it is free. 

My mom and friends always say that I never say how I feel out, and I always keep whatever upset me within myself (I normally share happy things because I do not want to trouble people with any of my sad times). One way for me to express myself is to write Phoholic. Although I do not express my frustration or anything, writing allows me to calm myself down and dive into my own world for few hours a week. If you do not want to try meditation, writing maybe a good idea to try? A book recommendation for people who want to control their emotions better is "The Chimp Paradox" which is one of the most influential books for myself. Basically, the book is about how to realize when your Chimp (or your instinct) gets naughty and your Human side cannot do anything about it to calm the Chimp down, and how you can tackle this problem.  

BOOK OF THE WEEK 

I just bought "Capture your style" by Aimee Song (owner of the blog Song of Style). I have not found something extraordinary about this book, but it has so many pretty street-style and travel photos that I guess I should take my photos more seriously. Anyway, all the pages look great when I do flatlays. 

I am not that perfume addict; I just helped my friend take photo of her collection 

MAGAZINES OF THE WEEK

I found so many food-bloggers-related-ish in Vietnam buy Kinfolk, but then I was never that 100% committed to buying one myself. Then after I came back, I decided to try one because I wanted to know what kind of magic Kinfolk casted on people. However, the talk is not about Kinfolk, because I have only finished one article. Don't get me wrong, the journal was super interesting and well-written, but I just bought and borrowed from university library too many books that I have not had time to fully grasp the ideology of Kinfolk. 

Last Saturday, I went to Birmingham with my housemates and I bumped in a pop up shop named Provide, and I just spent like 15 minutes in my kind of world browsing all the magazines and chatting with the owner. If only that pop up shop or Birmingham were next to my doorstep. Finally, I bought three magazines (which means that I have to cut down on my food consumption this week) for around 40 pounds. I haven't finished all the 3 magazines, but I feel like my cuisine knowledge has boomed so fast, especially after reading about cafe culture in "Drift" (if you could only buy one magazine, this is the one) and the food culture evolution in Copenhagen. I am about to buy the previous issue of "Drift" about Havana because one of my bucketlist is to visit Cuba one day. 

COOL PLACE OF THE WEEK

I tend to wander around and try new places because I just want to be lost sometimes. Last week, when I walked from the bus stop back to my house after having lunch with my friend, I walked another way which is not the usual path back to my house. I discovered this beautiful "forest" that made me feel like I was lost in a secret kingdom. 

FOOD DISCOVERY OF THE WEEK

I am just introduced to the world of coffee, and I love trying out new recipes with it, such as Affogato with Vanilla ice cream and Corn flake which has been my favorite. My housemates also confirm the magicalness of this dessert. I made the coffee using cold brew method, because I feel that with this method, I can drink coffee any time without waiting for every single drop of coffee to come out, and every flavour of the ground coffee is incorporated. 

METHOD:

With the ratio of ground coffee bean : water of around 1:6, I put both in a bottle, and let it sit for 24 hours in the room temperature. After that, you could either filter twice to only get the liquid, not the ground coffee, and put the bottle into the fridge. Everyday, you could take out a bit and just enjoy. The cold-brewed coffee tends to be sweeter than the normal one. However, I am too lazy and I live in a cold environment, so I just put the coffee bottle outside and not filter it. When I need to use it, I either pour it out onto my Vanilla ice cream or filter it if I feel like to. For the rest of the ground coffee, I use it for scrubbing, because it is a great way to moisturize your skin. 

FOOD "PROUD" MOMENT

If you are my housemate, you would enjoy a slice of banana bread every two month, because I just always buy banana and do not eat it fast enough. That's why I always make banana bread every now and then, and because my friends love it so much that they always ask me to bake one for them. I have tried a few recipes and here are the ones that I have made successfully and totally fallen in love it: I am a food blog's (I did not put sour cream, and I put oatmeal and poppy seed at the top) and El Rey's (I did not put tahini). My tips after dozens of times baking banana bread are firstly using very ripe bananas (some that you normally would not eat) and secondly do not pull the bread out just because you see the top is brown (you can put foil on top to avoid the top from being burnt, because normally, you may under-bake the bread and inside it is not fully-cooked). 

To complement this week's banana bread, I made Banana and Apple Jam, because my Portuguese friend keeps mentioning that she makes jam every week using her grandmom's recipe. Her recipe includes (she only lists the ingredients, and I make my own measurements). 

INGREDIENTS:

2 ripe bananas, sliced 

2 apples, cut into small bites

1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

1 tablespoon of brown sugar (because the bananas are very sweet already)

1/2 a lime (or lemon)

METHOD

Then I just put all in a small pot and cook it under low heat for around 7 minutes, then smash it to have jam texture (I still keep some small bits of apple). Then I put lime juice in, wait until it cools down and put into a sterilized jar. I actually hoped that this jar can last for a week but I just finished half of my jam with my banana bread, since it is too good. Luckily, I know that I do eat that much sugar so I do not feel that much guilty. 

SOME OTHER DISHES I MADE & ATE

#IMADE

baked.eggs. with avocado.rye.bread

chicken.pho

#IATE

Garnola Pot @Cafe Architect - Leamington Spa, UK 

Sushi & sashimi plate@Sushi Passion - Birmingham, UK

Chai tea latte & Green tea frappuccino @Starbuck's

Brunch @Leamington Spa, UK with catch-up with my friend about her North Korean trip and our worries about graduate jobs

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{October 2016 - Week 2} Reflection on the week

Hi guys, it has been forever since I last wrote a post in English, but now since I have slept for a bit and completely awake now, and to the fact that I suddenly have this dose of inspiration to write for Phoholic that I have been searching for few weeks. In total, I feel that this is a good time I started writing about reflection in foods this week. It may sound random since it is the first week I have done this, but I hope it might be more interesting and personal than restaurant review posts. 

SKILL OF THE WEEK: MAKING MATCHA LATTE

Sorry to all the matcha-addicts out there, I am not one of you. However, whenever I walk in Seoul Plaza (an Asian supermarket near my university), I always stop and pick the matcha powder can up. I am not so sure whether I should spend 9 pounds in a tiny can of matcha powder when I am not that religious about matcha. But guess what, I have finally bought it, tried to make matcha latte after browsing through a dozen recipes on Youtube. So here is my second attempt made with rice milk.

VEGETARIAN MEAL OF THE WEEK

Last week, my flatmates and I cooked dinners with all vegetarian foods. We all decided that we would do this every Thursday, except one flatmate who cannot give up his carnivore nature. It was not that difficult for me to not eat meat, because I love eating veggies, and it is great for me to learn new recipes from all my friends, as well as online. Also, the lovely bit of all of this is I feel that I can have a better digestion system, and not having to harm any animals. Last week, I cooked Pineapple fried rice with scorch rice (I fried a "fillet" of rice in a pan both sides for around 7 minutes until it was crispy on both sides) which I copied from a dish I ate in Ưu Đàm Chay Restaurant in Hanoi. Ingredients that I have used for this dish are rice, pineapple, carrot, courgette, shallot, green onion, soy sauce, turmeric powder (to make the rice yellow) and salt. While I can easily give up meat for a day, I feel cooking savory Asian dishes without using fish sauce is such a challenge, because I have to use so much soy sauce to bring out the flavor.

I also can't help eating so much of my friends' dishes which are Stir-fried Aubergine (lovely flavor), Braised Tofu with Mushroom and Korean potato salad (with cucumber, boiled egg and mayonnaise). All sound so exciting and meat-free. I am thinking of making Vegetarian Spring roll this week, but let's see how my friends surprise me with their own creations?

So this week, I actually made Vegetarian spring roll this week with my flatmates, with fillings including green beans, carrot, cabbage, pho (because I ran out of glass noodles and the Asian shop was closed), egg, mushroom, green onion, coriander, soy sauce, salt, and vegetable seasonings. Of course it was not as good as the meaty one but I think it was pretty good for the first time making. 

Oh one thing I find quite interesting is that in many Asian countries, people normally order few dishes and share them, while in the West, people usually order their own dish and just eat it. Is it because of the culture of individualism versus collectivism of Confucian? Any ideas?

"WHAT I MISS" OF THE WEEK

Since I can cook most of the Vietnamese dishes I crave at my current home, I find myself silently craving for Pizza 4Ps's pizza with that thin crust, the creamy cheese and fresh ingredients on top, and that Crab spaghetti. I can now here my belly protesting now. And I miss Julie Nguyen's cheese tart, actually I just made it myself last week which was pretty good, but now I just want somebody to do it for me. 

"WHAT I WANT TO TRY" OF THE WEEK

Do you know that Dominique Ansel Bakery has just been opened in London? I can't wait to try their Cronut (it is a marriage of croissant and donut, so it is like a donut with a lot of thin pastry layers), cookie shot (a chocolate cookie cup filled with vanilla milk), and of course frozen s'more. One of my foodie friend just went to this bakery (I think she came in the afternoon to avoid queueing) and had a lot of positive comments for this bakery. I will write more about this when I finally have the chance to eat it. 

"NEW FOODS I AM INTRODUCED" OF THE WEEK

I just had a coffee date with a Korean friend of mine, and I asked her what Koreans normally eat when they go out, and she introduced me to her favorite dish: Raw crab in soy sauce (Ganjang-gejang). It is that the raw crab is marinated in soy sauce for three weeks. I read on Maangchi about how to do it but it looks quite complicated and it does not take as long as three weeks to be edible, so I may need to research more about this. Also, I found out that in every Korean household, they have a fridge for just storing kimchi, because they need to store an enormous amount of kimchi for their winter. How cute it is right?

Admittedly, I just made a big jar of napa cabbage kimchi, and I cannot wait to make soup with it after a few days of fermentation. I also just tried to make Salted egg one hour ago, so I guess I can make "bông lan trứng muối" (salted egg yolk cup cake) in 3 week time. So many goods things to be excited at. 

Also, my flatmate just made us Cao lầu (a Hoian specialty noodle, eaten with charsiew pork), and here is the photo. (Disclaimer: I wrote this post for a few days, so the timing looks a bit out of order)

 

"RECIPE I WANT TO TRY" OF THE WEEK

I am addicted to cheese naan in Dishoom in London, I cannot count how many naan I eat when I come there. I just found a recipe for their Garlic Naan, maybe I will try it this week but will try my best to somehow incorporate cheese in it. So here is the recipe for anyone who want to try. This is also a super duper lovely website for recipes, please check it out, you'll surely be amazed. Or maybe I will try this recipe, because the video looks so attractive, and it is CHEESE NAAN.

 

Thank you for spending so much time reading about my week, and I hope that you had an amazing week with wise things realized and good foods enjoyed. See you next week with more stories told. And I would love to hear about your week too, so please share your thoughts with me. 

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{Travel guide} Brighton, UK

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{Travel guide} Brighton, UK

BRIGHTON is always a good starting place to run away from London, to immerse yourself under the warm sunlight, eat a few dishes of seafoods and live in the moment with a cone of ice cream on your hand and a good conversation with your companions. 

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{Recipe} Pork rib soup with Vegetables

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{Recipe} Pork rib soup with Vegetables

Whenever I am sick, my mom always cooks pork rib soup with vegetables for me. Since then, this bowl of comfort soup has always been the medicine to my cold and flu. My secret ingredient for this recipe is bay leaf, which makes the soup so much better than my mom's original one (although I love them all the same). 

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{Travel guide} Lisbon, Portugal

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{Travel guide} Lisbon, Portugal

Take a look at my latest trip to Lisbon, Portugal with all the amazing foods and of course, sunshine. 

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{Restaurant of the Week} On the Bab, London, UK

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{Restaurant of the Week} On the Bab, London, UK

Recently, I have a big craving for both Korean foods and bun (which is more or less Chinese foods), so I decided to go to On the Bab - one of the restaurant on my extensive lists of where to go in London. Apparently, the lovely seasonings and flavorings of On the Bab are what differ it (a fusion Korean restaurant) from other traditional restaurants like Kimchee. So if you love to dig in a tray full of hotly-fried chicken and tasty bun, On the Bab in Covent Garden is the place to head to. 

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{Recipe} Grilled vegetables skewers

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{Recipe} Grilled vegetables skewers

I always try to incorporate as many types of vegetables into my meals as possible, but it is not easy sometimes since all the dishes I can think of are stir-fried vegetables or vegetable soup. Luckily, I have found a way to get myself more healthy but still allow myself to enjoy yummy foods. So today, I will share with you one of my newly favorite dish: Grilled vegetables skewers

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{Not all who wander are lost} My travel tips

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{Not all who wander are lost} My travel tips

"Traveling is the only thing you buy that makes you richer" is such an old cliché but stills remains true no matter how much time has gone by. Travel is the one of the most effective doses of medicine for those who are thirsty of "practical" education, and new ideas. Everybody might have a few or a handful of tips on how to have a good time traveling, so here are some of my suggestions. If you have more, and I am sure that you do, please share some of your experiences in the Comment section at the end of the post. 

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