Be warned, this cake is NOT good for people on diet. It is tasty and more-ish. Very more-ish. See that shiny glossy caramel on top? That's brown sugar and butter. I told you it's not good for people on diet (unless it is a weight gain diet).
Last Sunday, I went to Canberra with somefriends to have a look at Wool Day at the Old Bus Depot Markets. I didn't end up buying any wool but instead came home with some very delicious dip, sweet sweet persimmons, goat's milk soap and some nuts... and a recipe for pear and almond upside-down cake. The girls were talking about it in the car and made it sound so delicious and easy, I could not help myself.
So there you have it, hardly a week has passed and I have already made my first pear and almond cake. Not only that, I am already dreaming up variations.. persimmons, apples, peaches, apricots, quinces, and so many other varieties of fruits.
I did not follow the recipe exactly, though. I did not have buttermilk in the house, and so I substituted with half a cup of yoghurt and half a cup of milk. Seems to have worked. The cake is lovely and moist. Despite reducing the sugar by a touch (and substituting with a little extra yoghurt), it is a touch too sweet for me and I will probably reduce the sugar content further next time.
Alex has been nagging me for quite a while about learning to knit. I finally decided that I should give in and at least attempt to teach him. I brought out a pair of old Boye needles and some sugar and cream cotton scraps. He wanted to knit a scarf for his new Star Wars dollie that we bought today.
I cast on 30 stitches and knit the first row and cast off for him. He knit two rows. A pretty good start if you ask me!
From time to time, Chris and I crave hot food. Not temperature hot, but chili hot.This is expected for me, having grown up in Malaysia with curries and lots of hot food (though, I must confess I was not much a fan of hot food till I reached my late teens and then something changed, and I still don't know what that is), but Chris was never brought up with hot food and yet, like me, the craving hits and then nothing will satisfy it like a good dose of Szechuan food.
To the uninitiated, Szechuan is a province in China known for its hot and spicy food. Liberal use of chilies, garlic, ginger and szechuan pepper feature in their cuisine. many dishes are topped with peanuts or sesame seeds. Among the better known dishes are kung pao chicken, mapo tofu and dandan noodles. However, szechuan cuisine extends far beyond these three dishes that have made it onto the menus of most Chinese establishments.
Our favourite place to eat when we're hit with the "hots" is a little eatery in Eastwood, just northwest of Sydney. You park at the multi storey council car park there and walk across the road to a little doorway that looks like it leads to a hole in the wall. Walk up the stairs and you will find yourself in a large-ish dining hall filled with people enjoying their "hot food".
What we order is pretty standard Tripe and ox tongue in chili oil
Fried chicken in dried chili
While we proclaim that this is as delicious as Szechuan food gets, Alex does not agree with us. "It makes my mouth hot", he whines. Fortunately for us, they do have a few dishes for the non-chili-eater. Their dumplings are delicious and they have two varieties of that - one with a light soy sauce dressing and one in soup. Alex declared that the soupy one is better. They also have a tasty dish comprising of steamed egg with a meat sauce topping. Alex enjoys that dish with some rice on the side or a side of spring onion pancakes - fried crisp and delicious.
So next time you have a craving for something hot, try your local Szechuan restaurant. I hope you enjoy it as much as we have been enjoying "the hots".
(C) 2004 Celia Ng and Chris Hernandez. All rights reserved. This page designed by Chris Hernandez. Many thanks to Amy at www.IndiGirl.com for the original Project Progress Tracker.
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