Last weekend I bought 3 books at an op-shop in Bathurst NSW. They were $2 each.
1. Economics (a student guidebook) by Frederic Benham 3rd edition printed in 1946 2. Great Britain - from Adam Smith to the Present Day by C. R. Fay 3. Economic History of England by H. O. Meredith
They were in good condition, extremely cheap and could be of value sometime in the future. If the Antiques Roadshow ever come here, I might bring them books along for a valuation. At the moment, book no 1 is selling for $20 in ebay (5th edition) and the new prints for US$40 in barnes & noble.
Anyways the point I’m writing here today is not about the books, but it is about who used to own them.
Mr. Wiburd had written his name in book 1 and 2, and I’m assuming he owned book 3 because the books were in the same shop. I should also add that the books weren’t shelved according to its genre, there were trash fictions mingling amongst these gems when I was browsing the aisles.
When one buys things from the op-shops, especially when the items are old, you would generally accept that the people who used to own them may be deceased. But with the power of internet, this is a little bit confronting, I felt like I’ve stumbled upon too much. All in all, I’m glad that Mr. Wiburd was a good citizen and not a psycho criminal.
Thank you, Mr. Wiburd for collecting these books. If it hadn’t been for you, I wouldn’t have found them.
Additional notes to ponder on: Somebody must have chucked his books out to the op-shops! And his other items! If I were his relative I would have been horrified, but one man’s junk is another’s treasures.
Also, collecting material goods are no good. In the end, it is the immaterial characteristics that you’ve developed over time that matters.
Yesterday I had a massive craving for onde onde. This kuih is one of my favourites and my passion for them has motivated my lazy bums to find ways to make them. I’ve previously made them successfully; using
pandan water (I blend the leaves with a little bit of water) to mix with the dough. Gives colour and most importantly, improves flavour of the flour
With making the onde onde, I can’t help but to stress more about the importance of using coconut sugar/gula melaka. There is not substitute for it!!!! (reasons which I will stress below)
Unfortunately I did not have them both, so I figured I could substitute them. Note: the steps below are what you should NOT do if you want to achieve sublime onde onde. If you want mediocre ones, then follow at your own risk.
less than 1 cup of glutenous rice flour
coconut powder (with pandan flavour) mixed with 100ml water
green food colouring (which also contains pandan flavour)
palm sugar mixed with some brown sugar
dried shredded coconuts
a pinch of salt
1. mix flour, a drop of food colouring and coconut milk to form dough
2. i microwaved both the sugars for 30 sec. they started to smoke a little, and despite my vigorous stirring they weren’t caramelizing. then I added 2-3 drops of water, and like magic, the mixture immediately sizzled into a thick syrup. i got quite a shock just from looking at that.
3. left the syrup at room temperature to harden, after awhile I realised that wasn’t happening and placed the bowl into the freezer.
## The reasons why I believe gula melaka is the best sugar to use are because of its melting point and its malleability. They melt slightly in the microwave, but left on their own they solidify slightly. And at that state, you can roll them into tiny balls which you can then use the dough to wrap the tiny sugar ball. Because they stay solid in room temperature, the sugar DOES NOT melt when it is in the dough ball. With that, you can prepare rows of rows of onde balls ahead of time before you boil them.##
4. i don’t fucking know what chemical properties the palm & brown sugar combo contains, but after I let the sugar filled dough ball sit awhile (2 freaking minutes), the sugar started to melt on the inside and started leaking.
5. with that, i decided to just boil the dough balls and leave the sugar out of them. To boil, popped the tiny balls into boiling water and waited for them to rise.
6. added a pinch of salt onto a bed of dried shredded coconut flesh. rolled the balls onto the bed and made sure each ball has a nice coconut coat.
Results: It was junk. The dough was pretty good though.
We had some mushrooms dying in the fridge and some arborio rice in the pantry, so I decided to make mushroom risotto. Unfortunately I only had a opened bottle of red wine, a dilemma because risotto typically uses white. Once again, internet saved dinner because I found this recipe!
The only thing that I did differently was;
chucking a slice of bacon into the soffrito
only used button mushrooms
doubled the garlic portion and the butter
red wine I used was Yarra Tail’s Cab Sav
did not add cheese (I found the texture to be rich enough, and we only had lousy homebrand parmesan and adding that into the risotto might ruin it.)
Halfway through the cooking process.
The risotto turned out to be a tad salty (the bacon which we found out later was exceptionally salty). And I have not adjusted the stock properly, it totally slipped my mind that as the stock condenses the goodness gets more concentrated.
That aside, the risotto was to DIE for. I literally outdid myself. It was so good that I forgot to plate it up nicely for photos. We just scooped them into our bowls, plonked our fatty arses onto the sofa and digged in. Thank you Katerina (author of the food blog).
The next time I make this, I will soak the bacon into some warm water and use that as my stock. Perhaps that will combat the saltiness.