Sometimes I just want comfort food, something simple and yummy. I love warm bread with fresh lemon curd BUT lemons are not easy to get here so my Cambodian twist on it is orange, passion fruit and lime curd. Also the bread really has to be freshly made and not this nasty bought stuff, it is the anticipation when you smell the bread cooking! I had to make do with my gluten free bread but it still tasted nice.
Orange Passion Curd
3/4 c juice
1/4 c cooled melted butter
1 TBS zest from oranges or limes
Juice of 1 orange, 2 passion fruit and about 10 limes to make up 3/4 cup juice (make sure you sieve it to remove pulp and seeds)
Whisk the eggs in the juice until they are mixed throughrally
Add sugar, butter and zest and mix
Cook at 1 min intervals on high, stir each time with a metal spoon until the mixture turns thicker and coats the back of a spoon
Put in sterilized jars and put the lids on and allow to cool before eating.
1/2 tsp yeast mixed with 1TBS sugar and 140mls warm water. Mix and leave to begin to bubble
Mix in 4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 TBS oil
200 mls water
mix all the ingredients together and knead for about 15 mins until smooth and silky.
Put in a bowl and cover and allow to rise for 45-50mins until double the size
Shape into a loaf and put in a greased pan. Cover and leave about 30-40 mins until double the size.
Cook for 35 mins at 180-200. You will know it is finished if it has a nice golden crust and has a hollow sound when you tap it. Allow to cool for about 20 mins before eating.
Alternatively you can put it in a bread maker and follow the makers instructions.
The scent of incense is thick in the air as I drive around the strangely quiet streets, where there is normally hustle and bustle now I see a few cars and motorbikes probably on their way to family celebrations.
The majority of houses are shut up because families have gone to visit family in the province and most shops are closed except it seems the ones who sell food and drink or thankfully petrol! The market corner near the pagoda is subdued with a few sellers hawking last minute fruit and vegetables, in complete contrast to yesterday where there was a traffic jam. At the pagoda the prayer flags flutter in the breeze and people can come and make offerings and ask the monks for a blessing on the New Year.
In every house where people have stayed in Phnom Penh, there is a table set out with candles and offerings of food and drink for the Khmer New Year “angels” and sometimes flashing light and tinsel. This is one of the biggest holidays in Cambodia and a time when family gather in their homes to spend time together.
We know we have been in Cambodia a long time when…
Some of us wear jeans in the hot season
Some of our children choose pork and rice for breakfast over croissants and donuts
28 degrees is a nice cool day for the hot season
We eat more rice than pasta and potatoes
Forget how to drive a car and prefer a motorbike
Can’t sleep properly if there is no fan sound
Will equally choose sweet iced coffee or iced tea over the hot variety (I also like bubbles/tapioca pearls added)
I think it creeps up on you. When you first arrive in Cambodia, everything is new and interesting or difficult to adjust to.Your senses are assaulted with noise, smells, sights and people everywhere. It is difficult to say when you feel you have settled in as it is different for everyone.
I think that having a positive attitude and giving things a try balanced with remembering traditions and special things from your home country helps to live well in Cambodia. Learning from Cambodians and asking for help when you need it and using local knowledge for things we have no clue about. When I first came to Cambodia God gave me a picture about walking like Cambodians. The Cambodians say foreigners are known for walking loudly and quickly where as Cambodians will take a much slower and quieter pace, pausing to look around as they go.
In a new culture I think it is a good approach to take a slower pace, to pause and look around before making judgements about how things are done and appreciate the great things about the culture and people. I know there are loads of things I have learnt in my time so far in Cambodia from my Cambodian friends and more I will still have to learn. So if you are new to a country or have been around awhile then take time to pause and look around at the good and amazing things, but also be prepare to work alongside indigenous people to make good changes which will have long lasting benefits.
We have just had a week off school as Cambodia celebrates Pchum Ben. I have written about it in a previous post so if you want to know more then read here
The celebrations for Pchum Ben start 16 days before the actual holiday with very early chanting from the monks at the nearby wat (sometimes as early as 4.30 depending on who has arrived at the wat and requires the monk to chant) So this month has been somewhat sleep deprived!
As people are leaving offerings at each wat for their deceased relatives inside and outside the wat will be these piles of food with a cut out of a person or skeleton. Normally I don’t see them but this year I noticed them outside a nearby wat.
As this is one of the holidays where shops could be closed for up to a week, many Cambodians return to their family in the provinces. It is a time where Phnom Penh is super quiet especially on the roads and the roads going out of Phnom Penh can be busy, so we have always stayed at home and just had a quiet week. This year was no exception! After the actual Pchum Ben day on Wednesday the wat fell blissfully silent and a lie in was actually possible!
I finally finished a project I started 6 weeks ago before school started to make a giant family planner for the wall. Giant it is… and also very bright!
We were also able to get away to a local hotel with a nice quiet pool where they let you swim as a day visitor…well it was quiet until we arrived! We were the only people using it and it was a nice break from the house. We then finished off the day out with a meal at Divine Pizza.
We have finally managed to get BBC iplayer here in Cambodia and to my delight have been able to watch the Great British Bake Off each week. We have been watching it with our lovely friend Ha-na, who was a runner up contestant on last years GBBO, which has been really fun.The only trouble is while you are watching it you just have to eat something and afterwards you just want to bake something yummy!! So this week in honour of GBBO I made a gluten free orange and lime drizzle cake. I thought I would share with all my coeliac friends out there or anyone who fancies a slightly different recipe. As you can see from my picture there was not much left!
Gluten Free Orange and Lime Drizzle Cake
6 oz margarine
6 oz white sugar
2 oz rice flour
2 oz buckwheat flour
2 oz potato starch flour
pinch of salt
3 tsp gf baking powder
1 tsp xantham gum or honey
zest of 1 orange and 3 limes
juice of 1 orange and 4 limes
Beat the margarine and sugar until fluffy
Add the eggs and beat until smooth
Add all the remaining dry ingredients and fold in until smooth
Pour in 2-3 tsp of orange and lime juice and half of the zest and mix well
Divide evenly between two round cake tins and bake at 180 for about 20-25 mins.
When the cake springs back to the touch, take it out of the oven and prick all over with a fork. Carefully pour nearly all the remaining citrus juice slowly over the cake allowing it to soak in around the middle and edges of the cake. Put back in the oven for about 2-3 minutes to let the glaze set.
Sprinkle the remaining zest over the cake and pour the a tiny bit more citrus juice over the cake. Allow to cool.
Between the cakes you can either put a citrus butter icing, marmalade or lime curd.
We had run out of icing and had no lime curd so ate 1 layer at a time straight out of the oven still warm. Very yummy!!! I know if a gluten free cake is successful….there is never much left over for me to eat later!
Then end of term in mid June was the usual crazy madness of too much to do. However for us there was something to look forward to. Granny and Granddad were coming….and lots of goodies. Phoebe the organiser she is drew on the wall (tiles with whiteboard marker) a countdown chart.
Finally the day arrived and we went to meet them from their 10pm flight at the airport …..there was much excitement. The next day we had a catch up on several birthdays and a large pile of goodies. We can get chocolate here but it id quite expensive and has something added o make it melt slower which changes the taste. Each of the children had a small budget and had ordered from Tesco’s online from Cambodia…delivered to Grandparents in Liverpool then brought to Cambodia via Dubai and Thailand in their luggage!!! The things you can do on the internet.
Ewan with granddad Saunders
Lucia with Granny Saunders
Kids with goodies
It was so nice to see Granny and Granddad Saunders again after a year. We had lots of things planned to do but before that we all needed a few days to chill out…except the temperature was 30 and humidity was 89%!!! Lucky we have one Air-con room for them to stay in.
……pigs snouts or durian anyone? I do like going to the local market but there are some things that I actually really do not want to buy!!! These are two of them. I dont usually get to the maket during the week as it is important when getting fresh fruit and veg and especially meat to go early. Sambath our house helper will not buy meat after 9:30 so I follow her example! So most of the time I go on the weekend to our local market or maybe the Russian market, Orassay or Olympic if I am after clothes as they are much better than the local one. I find it is an excellent place to practise my Khmer as the shop sellers are really friendly and willing to correct my misprounouced words…also it ofen will get me the loal price rather than the foreigners price!
However not everything in the market is smelly and horrible….