Animal Cuteness

Here’s a bit of what I got to do over the weekend.

[At the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust]

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is an elephant orphanage where they rescue baby elephants whose parents have been killed by predators, poachers, etc. They currently have 20 elephants. The two above are 4 months old and 6 months old (the bigger one being the youngest one). Aren’t they adorable?? Makes me want to adopt an elephant.

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In Kenya

After 24 hours of travel, I finally arrived. I’m in Nairobi! The sky is clear, the weather is cool and people are extremely friendly. As soon as I opened the cab door, I could hear the loud voices of the crowd sitting on the patio of the hotel restaurant. Apparently, there is an all-you-can-eat buffet of pork ribs every Thursday night that attracts people from all over town. Sounds pretty good to me.

Hopefully I get to taste a lot of the local food, and take pictures. Stay tuned.

Tuesdays With Dorie: Oasis Naan

Two weeks ago, one of my dear middle school friends visited from France with her husband and adorable 11 month-old baby. We hosted them for dinner on a weeknight so making a meal from scratch seemed too daunting a task, especially with my hectic work schedule these past few weeks. We brainstormed good take-out options and decided to order from our favorite Indian restaurant, Royal Taj, a place that we’ve visited on a couple occasions with Indian friends. Then Dave had another brilliant idea – I would make the naan for the meal. How perfect was it that the next TWD recipe happened to be naan?

This naan is called Oasis Naan in Baking with Julia. I tried to search for the origin of the name but did not come up with anything. I made the dough the night before and let it rise in the fridge. I had a bit of trouble shaping the dough and may not have prickled it enough before baking. As you can see, mine are quite puffy while the ones photographed in the book are much flatter. They were still very tasty but likely more hearty than intended (although it seems that for many other TWD bloggers these came out thicker than in the book as well) and made for a very fine vessel to scoop up all the curries we had that night.

Oasis Naan
You can find the recipe at Maggie’s blog – Always Add More Butter  - or at Phyl’s  blog – Of Cabbages & King Cakes. The recipe calls for 5 cups bread flour and for me it came out to be exactly 2 pounds.

Royal Taj (link)
8874 McGaw Road
Columbia, MD 21045
(410) 381-1111

Chouquettes

Not enough time these days for detailed long posts and it unfortunately won’t get much better in June with all my work travel, but I’m excited to tell you about it  (Kenya! Burkina Faso! How fitting that I’m watching the national GeoBee on National Geographic right as I type this). I baked these little chouquettes a couple weeks ago just because. Well, actually I wanted to compare pâte à choux recipes. One recipe was the one I used in my eclairs, the other one is Pierre Hermé’s recipe (yes the famous macaron guy).

Both recipes are actually quite similar, the proportions of milk to water and butter differing only slightly. I couldn’t really tell the difference between the two on taste, but for some reason, a few of PH’s chouquettes came out a little flat, literally. It could be that I was a bit too heavy on the eggwash which prevented their rise. These were the best chouquettes I’d made to date though, golden, just the right puffiness, a nice depth of flavor and a good amount of pearl sugar. Decreasing the amount of salt ever so slightly is the only thing that I would change next time.

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Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day

Just a quick post to let you know that today is Food Revolution Day. You may have heard of Jamie Oliver’s show Food Revolution in which he tries to change school lunches and encourage people to eat more healthy. You may also have heard of his foundation, the Jamie Oliver Foundation, which he founded in 2011 to educate, empower and inspire people about food.

I have to admit that I have never [gasp] watched Food Revolution or tried any of his recipes, but I do identify with his message. I used to volunteer in primary schools in college and was horrified to see what American school lunches involved (at least in the schools that I visited) – a few pieces of nuggets, a couple sad looking tacos, or a slice of pizza for the students while some of the teachers ate those packaged cheese crackers that you can buy in vending machines. And all of this had to be gobbled up in 10 or 15 minutes so that the next round of students could take their seats. It made me sad for the students that they didn’t have better options and didn’t have time to learn to enjoy food.

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Tuesdays With Dorie: Pecan Sticky Buns

Hello! Sorry this is a bit late. Between weekend travels and work projects I did not find the time to post this yesterday. This week’s TWD recipe: Pecan Sticky Buns using Nancy Silverton’s brioche dough.

I’ve talked about this brioche dough before so the recipe didn’t look so scary to me despite the many steps. After three rises, and LOTS of butter, you end up with these lovely little buns. I only made one batch (one pan, seven buns), and drastically cut the amount of butter down like a lot of my fellow bloggers. Definitely not as decadent and sticky but they still tasted pretty darn buttery.

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Island Paradise – A Guide to Bermuda, Part I

With a population of about 65,000 and with offshore finance as its primary sector, Bermuda not only boasts beautiful turquoise waters but also one of the highest GDP per capita in the world. It doesn’t come as a surprise then that island living is fairly expensive, the average house costing around $900,000. It was claimed as a British territory in 1609 but as was rightfully pointed out to me by a taxi driver at the airport, it was actually first discovered in 1505 by Spanish sea captain Bermudez. Bermuda is perhaps most well-known for being the easternmost point of the Bermuda Triangle. And indeed, you can find a lot of shipwrecks around the islands and even take shipwreck snorkeling trips (we did go snorkeling but didn’t get to see any shipwrecks).

Overall, we had a truly wonderful time discovering the main island. But what struck me overall was how friendly everybody was. Of course since tourism is so important for Bermuda’s economy, you’d expect people to be welcoming but on more than one occasion, people really went out of their way to help us. The bus driver let us ride for free when he saw we didn’t have exact change, people got out of their cars to ask if we needed directions when we looked lost, and our Couchsurfing host Angelo welcomed us into his home as if we were old-time friends.

So in honor of Bermuda and Bermudians, here’s the first installment of a two-part guide to Bermuda (addresses at the bottom of the post). I can’t wait to visit again!

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