Friday, February 27, 2009

Nobel Super Lemon Candy

Wow. All I can say is, Wow! Putting this in your mouth, you get this blast of lip-puckering lemon-y wonder. Sour! Awesome! Tastes like eating a fresh lemon. Much better than those "sour candies" that aren't that sour.

I tried this, because my beautiful Bride told me that she used to like this when she was a girl. I'm glad she did! In Thailand, you could buy them individually, for less than a penny, or in bags. They are made by the Japanese company Nobel.

After the initial 45 seconds, when the outer layer is consumed, you get a nice tasting not-so-sour lemon candy. But, oh, those first 45 seconds!

And, in the inner core, there is an even lemony-er section, quite good too.

Of course, being a candy, this is mostly about sugar, but it does contain lemon juice, with citric acid for extra sourness. Odd, they use turmeric for colour, actually it's better than artificial colour; if you have ever used turmeric, it does stain everything yellow.

Taro Fritters

This is different than the previous recipe for Taro Fritters that I posted, the previous version had no coconut milk in it. I think that this recipe is the superior one, in how they cook, and in how they taste. Very delicious. Another way I'm getting to enjoy taro root, which I knew of a few years ago, but had never eaten, and now can eat every other day.

Taro Fritters
450 g taro, shredded using coarse grater
50 g all-purpose flour
50 g rice flour
1 cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp cane sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1/2 Tbsp baking powder

Mix all the ingredients together to get a batter, not too thick and not thin; add some water if too thick, some more flour if too thin.

Add shredded taro to batter and mix to coat. Add some more water if mixture becomes too thick.

Heat oil to 350F (small piece of fritter should bubble slightly, not too vigorously) in pot (about medium heat - though watch that it doesn't bubble too much, indicating it is too hot), or in deep-fryer. Cook until golden brown, turning once. Drain fritters on paper towel.

Serve with Nam Jim dipping sauce.

Ritter Sport makes some good chocolate bars, which I've enjoyed, this is not one of them. The ingredient listing is okay, sugar, raisins (17%), cocoa butter, chocolate liquor, dried cream, hazelnuts (7%), nonfat dry milk, dried whey, lactose, milk fat, soy lecithin (emulsifier) and vanillin (artificial flavour). The cacao content is at 30%.

I must admit, I only bought this because of the hazelnuts. Because, it is an unremarkable just OK chocolate bar, a milk chocolate with raisins and hazelnuts, that tastes very similar to Cadbury's (actually, Cadbury's tastes better). I won't buy this bar again.

Spry Sugarfree Fresh Fruit Gum

I found this relatively cheap gum ($1 for 10 pieces) with the xylitol sweetener in it that I have been investigating. This one has fresh fruit flavour, read citrus; there is also Cinnamon and Peppermint versions. It tastes pretty good. I am becoming a convert to this sweetener.

Foco Pomegranate Juice Drink

Another good drink from the Thai company Thai Agri Company, this one features the excellent fruit pomegranate. With 30% juice, the only other ingredients are water, sugar and citric acid. It's not a strong-flavoured drink, and just a little sweet, but refreshing.

Jhihuo Rose Oolong Tea

The idea of rose and tea is not new, and is one I have enjoyed before (there is a certain tea that I got from China as a gift, that has rose leaves in it, that I really enjoyed, and am still searching for). This tea from Taiwan features dried rose petals from Europe and oolong tea. I like the smell of the rose that comes out when steeped, the petals seem very fresh. The tea is quite good as well.

Monday, February 23, 2009

All-purpose Thai Dipping Sauce (Nam Jim)

When you get street food in Thailand, anything that has been deep-fried (spring rolls, fritters, meatballs, tod man pla, snacks, for example), you get served along with it a dipping sauce. This recipe is different than the normal dipping sauce, it has not been thickened with tapioca or corn starch (and, if you like it thick, you can add it to this recipe); it is also less dark, as it doesn't add plum sauce, or pickled garlic and its water, or boil the syrup longer till it turns dark (ie. caramelizes the sugar). You can keep this sauce in the refrigerator indefinitely, but it won't last long enough for it to go bad. You can also buy it in bottles in the store, it will be the thick version. The chilies that you use are the long ones, they will be less hot than the small ones. If you like your dipping sauce sweet, add more sugar; sharper, add more vinegar; hotter, add more chili; feel free to play with the combinations of ingredients. The dipping sauce that this recipe makes is sharp, sweet and hot. Delicious.

All-purpose Thai Dipping Sauce (Nam Jim)
425 mL white vinegar
600 g cane sugar
1-1/2 Tbsp + 1/2 tsp salt
125 mL water
50 g long red chili
50 g garlic (1 whole bulb)

Place water, vinegar, sugar and salt in pot. Bring to boil. Stir. Once sugar has dissolved, lower heat.

Meanwhile, slice chili 1 cm thick. Chop garlic. Place in food processor and process into very small chunks.

Add chili-garlic mixture to heated vinegar. Heat for 2-3 minutes more.

Let cool. Once cool, place in glass container. Keep in refrigerator.

Green & Black's Dark Chocolate with Whole Cherries

I find this bar tastes very sour, sour enough that I wonder if they use sour (tart) cherries (the dried cherries I have in my pantry are dark red and tart too, and not dried sour cherries, but these seem even tarter). The cherries don't look like sour cherries, at least they are dark red (like bing cherries) rather than the medium red of sour cherries. Again, I say, very sour, very tart. So, saying, behind Green & Black's Ginger, this is my second favourite bar. A close second. The ingredient listing looks good, organic cocoa mass, organic raw cane sugar, organic cherries (20%) (organic dried cherries, organic sunflower oil), organic cocoa butter, emulsifier: soya lecithin, organic vanilla extract and organic whole milk powder (present because of cross-contamination with their milk chocolate bar, made on the same line). The cacao content is at 60%.

How does it taste? As I said, quite sour, quite tart (sharp is the word they use on their website, perhaps it has a better meaning than sour, but I mean the sourness of lemons and limes and sour cherries, all of which I like - but, okay, I wouldn't quibble with calling it sharp). The dark chocolate is of course good, though doesn't snap quite so well, and pairs well with the cherries (I've liked the combination before, and will again, I'm sure). It is the cherries that are the good part of the bar, they smell wonderful, and I'm glad there are quite a few in the chocolate; it's hard even to break apart pieces, the cherries stick to the chocolate. I would definitely buy this bar again.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Green & Black's Live in the & Contest

I didn't quite understand the meaning behind this contest name, until I read on the back of a chocolate bar of theirs I recently tasted, and I quote "Our name was chosen to illustrate our blend of ethics and intense taste. Green represents our sustainable and organic principles which we employ whilst making our chocolate. Black represents the colour of our original Dark 70% chocolate bar and the intense taste of all of our chocolate.". So, "living in the &" represents the idea of living green while also enjoying the dark chocolate, or black, taste of Green & Black's.

So, Green & Black's has created a "Live in the &" Contest based on this concept, partnered with Food and Wine (or should that be Food & Wine). From their website - Just share your secret for making eco-friendly choices while not compromising on life's every day indulgences. Tell them how you "Live in the &" and balance both the green & the black in your life. If the judges select your entry, you'll win a trip for two to the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen (June 19-21 2009) - including round trip airfare for 2 to Aspen and accommodations for 3 nights, Guest passes to the Classic in Aspen Grand Tastings, insider access to the exclusive Grow for Good Dinner and passes to select seminars. Unfortunately, only open to residents of the U.S. Good Luck!

Khanom Phing, or Soften Cookies

I had to work quick to write about these, as you can see, half of them have been eaten. By my beautiful Bride. Called khanom phing in Thailand, they translate as Soften Cookie from the Vietnamese (where these particular ones are made) - ok, I wouldn't translate them as that, more like sweet meltaways. They come in coconut flavour, which are white, and durian flavour, which are yellow. So, these are durian flavour.

Popping them in your mouth, they melt immediately. You can smell the durian flavour as you open the, admittedly cheap but cute, bear container, but they don't really taste like durian, and certainly these are mostly sugar with a little tapioca starch.

Lime Prawn Pasta

This is one of those quick healthy recipes I found in a health magazine for women, that has Asian flavours, but is not Asian. Nevertheless, it tastes pretty good. We used prawns without heads, which, my beautiful Bride noticed today, has more cholesterol than with heads. I like the redness of the tomatoes, with the pink of the shrimp, matched against the green of the avocado and cilantro.

Lime Prawn Pasta
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 lb uncooked prawns, shelled and deveined
1/2 tsp grated lime zest
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 large tomato, chopped
2 cups cooked whole wheat spaghetti
1 avocado, cut into chunks
cilantro, chopped, for garnish

In large saucepan over medium heat, saute garlic and prawns in olive oil.

Once the prawns are pink, add lime zest, lime juice and tomato; bring to a boil.

Toss prawn mixture with hot pasta.

Add avocado chunks just prior to serving. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Restaurant Review - Makimono Japanese Restaurant

We were given the heads up about a new Japanese buffet restaurant in Pickering, and, since my beautiful Bride likes Japanese food, we decided to check it out the other Sunday. Makimono Japanese Restaurant has several locations, one in Ajax and several downtown Toronto, the only one that has a buffet is the one at Pickering. Located at 1790 Liverpool Road, where the Pizza Hut used to be, west of Durham Centre Mall and just north of the 401, on the west side of Liverpool Road; walking inside you can see that they have transformed the place from when it used to serve pizza, there is Japanese decor all around, including the large screen beside our table that hid the entranceway from our view (and prevented us seeing her brother and friends arrive just before we left ourselves - it was her brother that told us about this restaurant, ironic...). The restaurant appears to be owned by Japanese; at least there are no Korean dishes available indicating it was owned by Koreans. The buffet is not traditional in the sense that there are no buffet tables, instead you order a la carte, and they make the dishes fresh as per your order and bring it to your table; if you want more, then you order more. I think this is good in a number of ways; there is little wastage for the restaurant and the restaurant can get feedback as to what people prefer; you don't order as much as you would take from a buffet table and thus you don't eat as much; food is fresher and hotter as opposed to waiting under a heat lamp; and you can sample a greater variety of dishes as opposed to eating what they have out on the buffet table for that day. Weekdays lunch is $14 and dinner is $21; weekends (Friday-Saturday-Sunday) it's $15 and $23 respectively).

How was the food? Good, very freshly made and hot, but there were some misses - I thought the Katsu Don (deep fried pork cutlet with onion and egg served on a bed of rice) was a little too runny for my tastes, the Gyoza were okay, and the Chicken Udon was also not that tasty, mostly because of a weak broth. There were some great dishes, I especially liked the Dynamite Roll (shrimp tempura, tobiko, avocado and cucumber) and the Salmon Teryaki, Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura was good. You can also order take-out, I went back and bought some sushi, Dynamite Rolls again, and Spider Rolls (soft shell crab, tobiko, avocado and cucumber), some vegetable spring rolls and gyoza, all of which suffered from the trip home across the city. I wish this restaurant were much closer, driving close to an hour to get there is on the border of not worth the drive, but I would recommend it to lovers of Japanese food.

Crofter's Wild Blueberry Premium Spread

Like the other two I have tried, Blood Orange and Strawberry, this one has a good ingredient listing (organic wild blueberries, organic golden sugar (made from cane sugar), natural fruit pectin, ascorbic acid and citric acid) and features 1/3 less sugar than conventional jams, but I saved the best from Parry Sound, ON, for the last, because this one contains wild blueberries, my favourite fruit (while there is no indication of the origin of said wild blueberries, let me tell you that Ontario produces some of the finest blueberries of the wild kind, and I have eaten my fair share of them - though not enough, there's never enough).

Opening the bottle reveals the heady scent of those blueberries, and I was more than hopeful that they had done themselves proud with this blue offering. And it does taste good, the best of the three, though, for me, I can eat them as they are, straight off the bush, but this is another way of enjoying them.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Khanom Kluai - Banana Pudding

This steamed dessert came over directly from Thailand, it's made of banana, rice flour, sugar and coconut milk, often with coconut meat, though this one has taro pieces. Quite interesting tasting, not like pudding in how North Americans would think of it, but still good tasting, chewy and banana-y. The little cups are made from banana leaves, stapled into its form (which you wouldn't see if it was for export sale).

Nelakee Vegetarian Ham

This is the vegetarian ham that we normally buy, it's made of soybean protein and vegetarian spices and is produced in Taiwan. It's a very versatile "meat"; you can steam, fry, boil, grill or stir-fry it. It's quite good tasting as well.

Grapor Pla - Fish Maw Soup

Fish maw is an unusual food, to say the least, it the dried gas bladder of certain large sea fish. In Thailand, it is eaten as a soup, as here, or in a salad (Yam Grapor Pla). The texture is interesting, slightly chewy but with little flavour; it provides texture to the dish. We used large fish maw, there are smaller ones about 1/3 the size; the small ones are preferred in Thailand. We used half a bag of fish maw, about 15-20 fish maw, there would, of course, be far more with smaller ones. We also used about 1/3 of a roasted chicken we bought, feel free to use any leftover chicken you might have around. I suppose that this soup might even be good without the fish maw, but the fish maw gives it an added edge.

Grapor Pla - Fish Maw Soup
Dried fish maw
Shredded cooked chicken
3-4 shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water
slivered bamboo shoots
chicken broth
3-4 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
2 coriander roots
3 cloves of garlic
5 white peppercorn
cornstarch stir in water
sliced coriander and spring onion for garnish
chili sauce

Soak dried fish maw in cool water for 30 minutes, then blanch in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Cut it into long slices.

Grind coriander roots, garlic, and white peppercorn together with mortar and pestle.

Slice softened mushrooms into thin long slices.

Blanch bamboo shoots; set aside.

Mix cornstarch with a little water.

Bring chicken broth to a boil, then add the coriander roots, white peppercorn and garlic. Add fish maw, shiitake mushrooms, sliced bamboo shoots and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Add shredded chicken and season with light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and ground white pepper. Add cornstarch in water and stir soup until thickened.

Garnish with sliced coriander and spring onion. Add chili sauce as desired.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Jack 'N Jill X.O. Chocolate Shake Candy

Well, I'm disappointed. This doesn't taste at all like a chocolate shake. Not, as the packaging purports, "Smooth, rich, as real as it gets". OK, you might say, I should have known, but I was hoping. Perhaps it would taste better, more like a shake, if it wasn't a hard candy, if it was softer, creamier. Certainly, it tastes chocolate-y, but not creamy enough. Ah, well.

Lindt Roulette Lait and Noir

We found these for sale in the new Lindt store in Kitchener, it seems to be a regular Lindor with a little bit of crispy wafer inside. I can't seem to google anything about them. Not bad.

Lindt Outlet Store in Kitchener

My sister told me about the new Lindt Outlet Store in Kitchener opened up before Christmas, it's located at 4500 King East, or, more specifically, south of Pioneer Sportsworld, north of Chapters, in a little strip mall. We went there last weekend, being in the area, it seems to have similar savings of Lindt products.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Xylichew Mints Raspberry and Chocolate

I have been looking for a replacement breath-freshening gum (up till now I preferred Arm & Hammer's Whitening gum, which, while having some of these bad sugars, was better than the alternatives, and, while I could never find a good source for it, now I can't find it at all), it seems that most if not all gums these days contain aspartame and other artificial sweeteners, which I will avoid, because I'm not at all convinced of the safeness of them; in fact, from what I've read, aspartame could be the cause of lots of health problems in many individuals. I came across this brand, they have a gum as well (more expensive), this is their mint (which, despite being called Xylichews, are not chewy at all, they are hard and seem like they even could chip a tooth!).

Xylitol, as I have discovered on the 'Net, is a sugar alcohol found in the fibres of many fruits and vegetables (such as birch, raspberries, plums and corn), that has less calories than sucrose, virtually no aftertaste, and is advertised as safe for diabetics and individuals with hyperglycemia. It is also a "tooth friendly" sugar, with a plaque-reducing effect, and an ability to attract and "starve" bacteria in the mouth. The box also has a claim on it, that Xylichews fights dry mouth. So, it appears to be a good alternative to other breath-freshener gums out there (with their suspect sugar substitutes).

The two flavours I got where raspberry and chocolate, both have fairly good flavour, though I think that the raspberry tastes a little better; the fakeness of the flavour is better in the raspberry, in other words. It seems to freshen my mouth after a meal, though I have to wait for any long term positive effects on my teeth (which would be great!). I think that I have found a good alternative to standard breath-freshener gums and will continue to use them.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Nestle Kit Kat Senses

Putting hazelnut in something and count me in is not quite true, but it will certainly intrigue me. This new take on Kit Kat bars, which I also like, but find more and more that they are very sweet, adds hazelnut cream to the mix. There's a claim of only 170 calories in this small (31 g) bar; that seems like a lot. The ingredient listing is not great, but pretty similar to most chocolate bars these days, sugar, cocoa butter, modified milk ingredients, wheat flour, cocoa mass, modified palm and vegetable oils, hazelnuts, soya lecithin, salt, sodium bicarbonate and artificial flavour.

How does it taste? Adding hazelnut cream doesn't make a good bar better, in this case I would say it might make it worse. Certainly it's as sweet as I remember regular Kit Kat bars are, the hazelnut cream is more creamier than hazelnut-y, but not bad, at least I can taste the hazelnut. Overall, too sweet for my tastes.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Rock Sugar Oranges

These were called rock sugar oranges in the supermarket where we found them, I can't seem to find out anything about them. They were quite sweet and delicious, despite being tiny, or perhaps because of - like wild blueberries versus the larger commercial ones.

Nestlé Savoy Edicion Especiale Almendres

This is another chocolate bar brought to me by my friend and co-worker from Venezuela. It's made by Nestle, the big chocolate maker in Venezuela. It's a milk chocolate bar with almond pieces.

How does it taste? A little too sweet for my tastes, but not bad. It's not likely that I would buy this again, but I appreciate the thought (he knows I like chocolate!).

Hanuta Haselnuss Schnitten

This snack from Ferrero features rich hazelnut chocolate mixed with hazelnut bits and smothered in between two crisp wafers. The ingredient listing is not so healthy, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oil, hazelnuts (13%), wafer, whey powder, low fat cocoa, natural flavor, lecithin and vanillin. I found the hazelnut cream to be tasty, but the wafers were a little too crisp for my tastes.

Roast Squash, Onion and Garlic Soup

This is a good winter soup, the natural sweetness of the butternut squash is brought out by roasting. I definitely like the yellow colour of the finished soup. I also like roasted garlic; they become sweet and delicious. Put in a good chicken broth for even more flavour. Serve hot with a good hunk of bread.

Roast Squash, Onion and Garlic Soup
1 butternut squash (1/2 kg)
1 onion
1/3 bulb garlic
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/4 tsp dried rosemary leaves, crumbled
pinch coarse sea salt and pepper
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth

Preheat oven to 190C/375F.

Peel skin from butternut squash, cut into half, then scoop out seeds and seed membranes from inside; cut into 2-inch chunks. Cut onion into wedges. Separate cloves of garlic (about 7-8), but do not remove skin.

In medium bowl, toss vegetables with oil, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Spread onto a large shallow roasting pan and roast for 40-45 minutes, or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven.

Squeeze roasted garlic cloves out of their skin. Remove any burned vegetables. Puree roasted vegetables with vegetable broth until smooth (or leave a little chunky for more texture). Heat in saucepan until bubbling and hot.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Organic Traditions Cacao Nibs

There's been a lot of press about the benefits of dark chocolate, eating a bit each day could be good for your heart. Certainly I would advocate eating dark chocolate anyways, it soothes the soul, and if it brings health benefits as well, only better. But there is an even better source of the good stuff in chocolate, that is raw cacao nibs, essentially chocolate before it is processed and becomes chocolate. High in flavonols, cacao nibs are a great source of antioxidants, one of the highest food sources (more than blueberries, strawberries, spinach, kale and broccoli). I like the Organic Traditions brand, opening up the package brings the wonderful smell of chocolate, very fresh. I have it in my morning cereal, and have had it in cookies, and would like to try it with my coffee (to make mocha). And one day, I'd like to try it at the source, right on a cacao bean farm. Of course, it's not for everyone's tastes, it's only cacao, no sugar or other flavourings, so it's very chocolate-y, and high in the "kick" that good dark chocolate has.

Chocolove Rich Dark

Chocolove makes better dark chocolate than milk, and this bar is no exception. The cacao beans are from the Caribbean and from Africa; the cacao content is 65%. Like all their dark chocolate bars, the ingredient listing is good, chocolate liquor, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin and vanilla.

How does it taste? I was thinking today, that a measure of how good a bar is, is, for me, whether it leaves a good taste in my mouth, and whether I would want to brush my teeth, whether I enjoy the after-taste. This bar is good in that way. Smooth chocolate melts easily in the mouth. I think I would definitely buy this bar again.

Restaurant Review - Masamune Japanese Restaurant

We decided to try this Japanese restaurant we googled one weekend, it's located at 5200 Dixie Road in Mississauga, south of Matheson, on the west side of Dixie, in a strip mall in the end unit. Masamume Japanese Restaurant has from my first impression quaint Japanese decor when we entered (we were the only customers), and, as we found out, like a lot of Japanese restaurants, it's either owned or run by Koreans, there are quite a few menu items that are Korean. We arrived too late for lunch (a direct result of having a time-stealing baby), so we were prepared to pay the much higher prices that are associated with most Japanese restaurants for their dinner menu. We didn't order any sushi items, so we have no opinion on that, other than another two came later to order sushi takeaway (the only other customers we saw), and what we did order was a bit from the Japanese menu, and a bit from the Korean menu. For appetizers, we ordered the Shrimp Tempura, which also comes with vegetables in tempura batter, with sweet ginger sauce (which we both liked); Korean gyoza, which have a mixture of beef and pork meat within (which I really liked, and would order again); and Wakame salad (which did not impress us in the least). For the main dish, my beautiful Bride ordered Seng Sun Chi Gae from the Korean dishes, which is a mildly spicy clear fish stew with vegetables and tofu in a daikon radish broth (you had a choice of three kinds of fish, she picked whiting fish, which she didn't care for; there was also cod (probably a better choice) and another fish). I also ordered from the Korean dishes, mine was Pork Dup Bap, which is stir-fried pork and vegetables in a spicy sauce over rice, which I enjoyed. Overall, I think there was enough here that we liked, that we would want to go again. I do think that this restaurant suffers from its location, it's kind of hidden (the strip mall is below street level; there were also high snow banks), but it's worth checking it out.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Some things from Chinese New Year

Health, happiness, wealth, joy, luck, and surprises I wish for all my friends and family.

It's the Year of the Ox.

Colourful lucky candies are given out. These are made from peanuts and feature several flavours - cocoa, sesame, coffee and almond.

Cards are sent to friends and family as part of the New Year celebration. This one features a lucky dragon on the front.

Chinese laughing dumplings are supposed to bring happiness, as the cracks in the flour look like smiles. The fried balls are sometimes filled with red bean paste and are usually covered with sesame seed.

Crofter's Organic Strawberry Premium Spread

Having tried their more unusual product, Blood Orange Spread, this one is more conventional. Again, this spread has 1/3 less sugar as commercial jam, and its ingredient listing looks good, organic strawberries, organic golden sugar (made from cane sugar), natural fruit pectin, ascorbic acid and citric acid.

How does it taste? Not as sweet as commercial jams, certainly, but still good, with lots of fruit throughout (you can see I've already consumed a fair bit).

Anthon Berg Chocolate Origins Ecuador

The third of the single-origin chocolate bars from the Danish chocolatier Anthon Berg that I have sampled, this features cacao beans from one of my favourite regions, Ecuador. In fact, along with Trinitario beans, it features Nacional cacao beans, rare beans found only in Ecuador. The cacao content is at 72%. Like the other bars, the ingredient listing looks good, cocoa mass, sugar and soy lecithin (as an emulsifier).

How does it taste? This bar certainly redeems my faith in Ecuador chocolate, it is a smooth and good tasting chocolate, snaps well and tastes great. I would buy this bar again.

Bua Loy

This Thai dessert can be found throughout Central Thailand, certainly in Bangkok, though it mostly likely features only ones made from taro, and sometimes sweet pumpkin. It's also served sometimes with a poached egg. My beautiful bride decided to try her hand at making five different kinds (and she actually made six, but the one with avocado did not turn out) - though she tells me it wasn't her favourite dessert in Thailand. Each of these kinds requires a different amount of rice flour, add about half the 100 g, then keep on adding until the dough becomes smooth and is no longer sticky. Make very small balls, smaller than a marble; they cook better and thus taste better. Probably one of the more labour intensive desserts we've made, at least rolling the little balls, I guess you'd get good at it if you do it enough! The end result - delicious! And interesting colours, the sweet potato and beet root turned out especially well. You can get frozen pandan leaves in some Chinese supermarkets.

Bua Loy
100 g of each peeled potato, taro, sweet potato, japanese sweet potato or beet root
100 g glutinous rice flour per each of the above
1 cup warm water
1 can coconut milk
1 cup water
1 piece palm sugar
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 pandan leaves

Cut all root vegetables into smaller chunks and steam them separately until soft. Once they are done, mash each of them finely using a potato ricer or masher (if using beet root, use a food processor to chop finely).

Knead each root vegetable with up to 100 g glutinous rice flour (start with half the rice flour, and add more as needed); gradually add 1 tablespoon of warm water and knead until it becomes a smooth and not sticky dough (for sweet potato, add 1/2 tablespoon of water); if the dough is sticky, add more flour - don't add more than 1 tablespoon water at a time. Break off small pieces of the dough and roll between your two palms to become a small ball (smaller ones tastes better).

Tie 2 pandan leaves into a knot and put into coconut milk. Add water, palm sugar, brown sugar and salt and bring to boil. Tie another 2 pandan leaves into a knot and put into a pot of water to boil. Have a pot of cold water by the side. Boil each of the small balls separately; once they float it means they are cooked. Put the cooked balls into the cold water to stop them cooking and to prevent them from sticking together.

Put some of each of the different balls into bowls and top them with prepared sweet hot coconut milk.