Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Chag Sameach, Habari Gani and Io, Saturnalia!

Making an early morning post because it's bad luck to begin the Swahili New Year with an emo entry at the top of your blog. (Incidentally, have you read the wiki for Kwanzaa? Turns out it was rabidly anti-Christian when it started out, then got toned down to gain more widespread acceptance.)

Anyhoo, we do too celebrate Christmas in my family, and we have a nice sparkly tree up, and I've been buying gifts - had a big runaround trying to find some books in Bahasa Indonesia for my Indonesian maids; settled for Bahasa Melayu but then Popular didn't have any, and of the three Malay employees at Raffles City MPH only one girl knew where to buy a Malay book. (When I asked for a Bahasa Melayu book at Popular, they directed me brightly to the "Let's Learn Foreign Languages" section. Monoculturists.)

This is the Confucian-Protestant-Capitalist representation of Abraham Lincoln. Note the caricatures of grateful black people at the lower bottom (of course, everyone gets caricatured in this series, but still). I have no reservations about calling Confucianprotestantcapitalism a monoculture: just take a look at the bookshop's seamless juxtaposition of its Christian Inspiration and Fengshui shelves.

Finally scored at Tanjong Katong Shopping Centre, near Paya Lebar MRT.

The title means "My Heart/Liver in Harajuku". I was hoping to get a classic, but even a thriller is better than a romance novel. Sigh.

Also snapped up some Lucky Plaza DVDs for Maria (who's been with the family for 18 years). Isn't it weird how Filipino romance novels are in English only on the front cover?

The back cover blurb is in Filipino, just like everything inside. Also grabbed some "tingling" sensation lube for myself which I believe in retrospect was designed for external application only. My toys are washed, but my rectum still sparkles in fear.

Anyhoo, I don't have much time to sleep tonight - my sis touches down from the US of A at 6:45 ayem (on SQ21, no less!), but I've been biding my time making homemade cranberry sauce. We actually have an annual tradition in the family of eating stuffed turkey with bacon fried rice, and I'm the one who gets to help my mum butter and baste the bird, which I enjoy thoroughly, having been the only kid of us three who never had to study Home Economics.

I used Dani Spies's ginger-pecan cranberry sauce recipe, because I go apeshit over pecans. Unfortunately, it calls for toasted pecans, and I could only buy fresh ones. Fortunately, the recipe online for toasting involves dipping each individual nugget of nutmeat in molten butter.

Don't they look cute? Into the oven they go. Now, the recipe also calls for the zest of an orange.

What's zest, I hear you cry?

Zest is the gratings of just the top layer of the orange peel, 'cos it's the white stuff underneath that's the actually bitter. I love the word! Zest zest zest zest zest. But it makes the orange look unnaturally naked.


We also need grated ginger. I luv rhizomes.

Unfortunately I got the grated ginger and orange zest mixed in the same bowl before I found out you're supposed to keep one bit of zest for garnish. So my proportions went all screwy. We'll survive.

It's around now that I smell something heavenly and I open my oven. Turns out I've cremated my precious pecans. Grrrr. Ah, still edible. Saveur de charbon.

Now, we have to combine orange juice, zest and ginger on a stovetop and bring to a boil.

Also two tablespoons of brown sugar. I economised and bought the weirdly orange cheena brown sugar at Cold Storage.

You can't see it in the photo, but it really is neon orange. After I dumped it in, the orange juice base turned vermilion.

After it comes to a boil, add 12 oz whole cranberries... and half a cup of HONEY.

Then boil the living daylights outta those pustules.

Seriously. Cranberries are sour and bitter at the same time. How is that even chemically possible? They're only acceptable in sweetened or processed form. We're kinda spoiled in Asia - mangoes, mangosteens, durians, soursops, rambutans, lychees and longans are so perfect fresh, and we've managed to breed most of them to be pan-seasonal. (Of course, there are those awful green mangoes, which can only be rendered edible through assam powder. But I digress.)

It's true. As you leave them to simmer, the cranberries pop. Like pustules, I say! Like cysts!

15 min on the stove (Dani suggested 10, but I wanted mine smoothie-style), and it's done. Add the last bits of zest and chopped pecans, and you're ready for the fridge.

In you go, my pretty.

Actually, no-one in my family likes to eat cranberry sauce much. And this stuff tastes too much of oranges (it smells of cranberries, though). More sensible to get the canned stuff next time. And it was fun, but I'm not linking again to Dani Spies because she has inexcusable grammar in her blog entries. (How the hell can you get "their" mixed up with "they're"? How stupid is that?)

Maybe next time round I'll make this little concoction I saw in Lucky Plaza.

Better than chocolate Rice Krispies: chocolate rice pudding. It's fecally fantastic!

Gonna snooze for 45 min before fetching E-Ch at the airport. Toodle. More shots to come.

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