Plum syrup & jam

Paris in May, which means we’re half way through spring already, but for some reasons the weather, for the past few weeks, has been really gloomy, with rain most of the time, and it’s really rare to see a day of sunshine. Spring shower, that sounds pretty romantic, but seriously the feeling of walking out on the street feeling the freezing wind blowing rain in your clothes and face is not fun at all. At times like these, spending time in the kitchen cooking up good food is my way to keep my mood from spiralling downwards. I actually made and photographed this recipes a few months back, but looking at these photos of the beautiful ruby red jam and writing down the recipe makes me feel a whole lot better.

Plum syrup & jam

It’s now the season of plums in Vietnam. Vietnamese-type plum is a rarity here, so I spent the last few seasons just staring at the photos and drooling. Fortunately somehow, back in the end of February, I stumbled over some plums in the supermarket neat my house, those with green skin, red flesh and a sweet sour taste just like Vietnamese plums. I must have consumed a kilogram over a week, and after stuffing myself I decided to make some jam and syrup (which turned out to be a good decision since after that, I couldn’t find any plums in the supermarket anymore).

Plum syrup & jam

If it’s plum season where you live, you should really try this recipe out. One process that yield two products that are both delicious and pretty, and you can use them for other dishes as well.

Plum syrup & jam

Công thức tiếng Việt: Xi-rô và mứt mận

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Chia seeds and berries smoothies parfait

Recently I’m kinda addicted to chia seeds, every day when I have my desserts with fruits or yogurt I would always sprinkle some seeds on top, even when I drink juice or milk I would mix some in for added crunchiness. Chia seeds have been ‘famous’ for a long time already, so I am actually a bit late to the trend since I’ve only started eating and getting addicted to it for 2 weeks.

The benefits of chia seeds are almost endless. First and foremost is the fact that this tiny little seed contains a lot of antioxidant, so us girls should really adore chia seeds to stay young and beautiful 😉 chia seeds also contains little calories and lots of protein, so it’s a very suitable ingredient for diets since it makes you feel full longer and supress cravings. That’s not all, chia seeds have a lot of Omega 3, a type of fat that is really good for your body, especially for the vascular system. Furthermore chia seeds are 40% fiber, and we all know that fiber is really good for digestion.

Personally for me, besides all the health benefits listed above, the reason that I’m addicted to chia seeds is because it’s tasty, very very tasty! Chia seeds themselves don’t have any distinctive flavours, when you eat it as it is the texture is kinda crunchy like sesame seeds, and when soaked in liquids they absorb the liquid and turn into a gel like consistency. Because of that, chia seeds can be paired with a lot of other ingredients: sprinkle on top of baked goods for added crunchiness, soaked in milk or yogurt to create a pudding.

Chia seed pudding and berries smoothie parfait

One of the dishes that I like the most from chia seeds is this Chia seeds and berries smoothies parfait, which can be used for breakfast or as an afternoon snack, and it’s both nutritious and delicious. Chia seeds is not the cheapest thing you can find (a 250g package sold in organic stores here costs €3,50), but for 2 pots of parfait like in this photo I only have to use around 15g of seeds, plus all the benefits of this seeds, I can say that this is definitely worth the price.

Chia seed pudding and berries smoothie parfait

Công thức tiếng Việt: Parfait pudding hạt chia và sinh tố dâu

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Dandelion jelly (without pectin)

It is officially spring here in France, with the clear blue sky dotted by white clouds looking like it stepped right out of a postcard. This is also the season for a flower that can be seen in almost every grass fields, flower pots, or even hiding in a corner in front of the gate: dandelions. Maybe for a lot of people, dandelions is just an ordinary kind of flowers, but for me the image of a green grass field dotted with dandelions as bright as the sun is utterly beautiful. It’s the reason why I sometimes just pick some flowers on my way back from doing grocery to put in a small pot like this, even though they would be wilted when night falls, the bright yellow flowers still manage to light up a whole corner of my room.

Dandelion jelly

Recently on a Facebook page about cooking that I join, there is a trend for dandelion jelly. I was really curious when I first saw it, because I’ve never thought that jelly can be made from flower. After some internet research, I found out that it’s a pretty popular thing in the US, and a lot of people go harvest the flowers and turn them into jelly whenever the season comes. Looking at photos after photos of the topaz-coloured jelly jams  made me want to just sprint outside, pick up flowers and make myself some, but the fear of flowers growing on the sidewalks or parks getting “marked” by puppies made me hesitated a whole lot.

Dandelion jelly

Luckily I went on the Facebook page of Vietnamese student union in France and met some girls that had the same interest of harvesting flowers and strolling in the forest. So we made a quick plan, and after exploring the forest and talking about anything and everything, I came home with a bagful of dandelions, and after that a jar of jelly was well in my fridge. If you can I really recommend you to make this jelly, the bright sunshine like colour will make your breakfast or the afternoon cup of tea much more pleasant.

Dandelion jelly

Công thức tiếng Việt: Mứt hoa bồ công anh

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Kompot / Fruit juice

I knew of Kompot when I was in secondary school. Back then we got a really big package of Satsuma Plums (which is a kind of plums that has green and red skin and maroon flesh), we couldn’t finish the whole thing and just left a few of them lying around, so my mom decided to make them into Kompot. The plums, which were ‘rejects’ before, after being turned into a cool, sweet and sour Kompot suddenly became the ‘diva’ of the household, and we were literally fighting for it.

Kompot fruit juice

I was cleaning my fridge the other day when I saw a bunch of fruits lying around: apples with skin starting to wrinkle, strawberries and raspberries being left-over from when I was decorating a cake, each with just 1-2 pieces or a bit less than half a container. I decided to throw them all into a pot, turning them into a pretty ruby coloured Kompot, which both helped cleaned out the fridge, and gave me a big bottle of water for my meals, which is much healthier than soft drinks.

Kompot fruit juice

Công thức tiếng Việt: Kompot / Nước hoa quả tươi

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Peanut brittle (no corn/glucose syrup, no thermometer)

Nut brittle is a common name for a snack consisting of different kinds of nuts coated by hard sugar candy, and it’s usually served in the form of broken pieces (hence brittle) from a big chunk. The snack is named after the nut used (I used peanuts so it’s called peanut brittle).

Peanut brittle

I started looking into how to make this treat when I tried the Macadamia nut brittle flavour of Haagen Dasz and fell in love with the rich caramel taste that reminds me so much of the Alpenliebe candy I used to eat back home. I remembered that back then, the advertisements for Alpenliebe always emphasis on the love and care between couples, between family members, between friends, with the lovely tagline “Sweet as a loving embrace” (I think it’s now changed to “Connecting love”). Since Valentine is coming, I think is a very fitting gift to make and give to not only your lover but also to your family and friends, especially because the ingredients and the process of making this treat is so very simple. Plus, there is no glucose/corn syrup nor thermometer required for this recipe.

Peanut brittle

Công thức tiếng Việt: Kẹo đậu phộng ‘vỡ’ (Peanut brittle)

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Flower cookies (Dipping cookies)

I don’t really remember how I know of these cookies, since for kids born in the 90s like me these cookies are pretty much extinct (at least for me, because before making these cookies myself I don’t even know how they taste). It’s called ‘dipping cookies’ simply because when you make them, you mostly do…the dipping movement laughing dipping the mold into the batter, then dipping the mold with the batter into the oil. I went back to Vietnam in summer 2014, I asked my mom to take me to the market to find this mold, and the sellers didn’t know what I was talking about as first, it took my mom a lot of describing for them to finally found me the molds.

Flower cookies

I went back to France, feeling so excited with the molds, I looked for the recipe on the internet, read a bunch of tips and tricks, went straight into the kitchen to make them and…failed miserably. Either the cookies wouldn’t leave the mold, or the batter wouldn’t stick to the mold, I spent the whole afternoon trying, sweating like crazy, all my clothes and hair smelled like oil, and I ended up with around 10 cookies that were edible. To be honest, the cookies tasted incredible, but just thinking about fighting with the pot of oil and batter sends chills down my spine, so I just put the mold in the furthest corner of my cupboard after that time.

Flower cookies

It was not until a few weeks ago, the weather was quite cool, I cleaned out my cupboard and saw the mold, and decided to give it another try. I was extra careful with the measurements this time, adjusted the heat of the oil, and tada…the cookies were a huge success!!! Looking at the cookies coming off the mold and slowly turn golden brown was an extremely satisfying feeling. After making these cookies a few more times, I have noted down some tips to successfully make them, which I will write down at the end of this post.

Công thức tiếng Việt: Bánh nhúng

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Lemonade 3 ways

 

What kind of beverage do you guys think of when summer comes? For me, whenever the heat goes up I crave for a glass of refreshing lemonade. You are probably thinking why is there a need for a whole blog post on the simple drink of water, sugar and lemon juice? Well, the answer is simply because this is not just a blog post on “How to make lemonade”, but a post on how to spice up your lemonade and make it even more delicious both for your eyes and your taste buds.

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Everyone probably all knows how to make basic lemonade: take a cup of water, squeeze in some lemon juice, then add sugar and adjust to your preference. My method is basically the same, with just one small addition of making simple syrup, a mixture of water and sugar, and I use that syrup to sweeten the lemonade instead of directly using sugar. The nice thing about using simple syrup in making lemonade is that simple syrup dissolves in water much easier than sugar, so it can be added directly into cold water without fearing that it would be hard to dissolve like sugar.

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The ratio for lemonade I use down here is perfect to my preference, but you should adjust it to your own taste. If you are going to serve your lemonade with ice, you should make the lemonade a bit sweet so the ice will water it down to the right level. These recipes will work for key lime as well.

Công thức tiếng Việt: 3 cách pha nước chanh

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Black bean sweet soup with tapioca and sweet potato pearls

I was given a package of basil seeds by my friend 2 weeks ago, and I immediately thought of the refreshing black bean sweet soup with basil seeds. I still have some tapioca starch left in my pantry, so I decided to make two more treats that are now all the rave in Vietnam: tapioca pearls and sweet potato pearls. Come to think of it, I am quite obsessed with tapioca pearls, so it’s a bit weird that I haven’t written a proper post on how to make them, better late than never I guess tongue

Black bean sweet soup

Making black bean sweet soup, tapioca pearls, and sweet potato pearls is not difficult at all. The only thing is that it takes a bit of time to make the black bean sweet soup, since you have to soak the beans before cooking, and you have to hand-roll the tapioca pearls. I usually take advantage of the soaking time to make tapioca dough, then put on a movie and roll the pearls while watching, killing two birds with one stone wink Home-made tapioca pearls is better than store-bought in many ways: it’s much bigger and much more satisfying to chew on, you can make as much or as little as you want, in any flavours you’d like to, and you are sure about what goes in the pearls.

Công thức tiếng Việt: Chè đậu đen trân châu khoai dẻo

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Oatmeal milk

My facebook newsfeed is now filled with status about how hot it is in Vietnam. I’m quite lucky since Grenoble is pretty much surrounded by mountains, so even though the weather is warmer now, it’s not yet at the point of making you feel like melting. Still, the temperature is enough for me to crave cool drinks and desserts. My kitchen, therefore, has been pumping out a bunch of desserts the past few days, which I of course will share with you guys on this blog.

To kick things off I want to introduce a very simple and quick recipe: Oatmeal milk. I bought a box of oatmeal milk from the supermarket once and was quite satisfy with the taste, so I wanted to try making it at home. I have to be honest though, when I first taste the homemade version I was a bit…disappointed, because the milk doesn’t have the same rich taste as the store-bought version, and after reading from other bloggers, they all say that homemade oatmeal milk taste very different from store-bought, since the method is different and store-bought also have added ingredients.

Oatmeal milk

I didn’t want to waste the milk so I had to try and drink everything, and the taste started to grow on me. The homemade version is less rich, true, but it has a much more prominent  natural ‘sweetness’ of the oatmeal, and it also feels much fresher. I added a bit of vanilla extract and sugar so it’s much easier to drink. It’s very quick and easy to make oatmeal milk so if you have some oatmeal to spare, you should really give this a try, after all, homemade version is still safer and more authentic than store-bought wink

Oatmeal milk

Công thức tiếng Việt: Sữa yến mạch

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Honey orange marmalade

After making candied honey orange peels I have a lot of pulp left. I got tired of eating them for dessert so I decided to make some honey orange marmalade. One big bowl of orange pulp, add some thinly sliced orange zest (I juiced this orange to use later), and I got myself three little jars for breakfast or tea.

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Orange marmalade is very easy to make, and it doesn’t take much time either. The basic ingredients are oranges, water and sugar, but in this flu-prone weather I altered the recipe a bit so it’s more ‘up-to-date’, adding honey which is very good for your health. Homemade orange marmalade, compared to store bought marmalade, is just as fragranced, bonus the very subtle sweet smell of honey, the color is somewhat richer as well, and the orange taste is much more obvious, and it is so tasty with the additional tangy taste of the orange zest. On a gloomy February day, eating breakfast with this jar of golden marmalade feels just like bringing the sun inside.

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Công thức tiếng Việt: Mứt cam mật ong

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