Monday, January 30, 2012

Banana Bread

I must be living in denial because after the failed attempt on carrot cake, I just keep up with the baking. What can I say? This stubbornness is a part of me *sigh*. This time I want to present you: Banana Bread!

The ingredients:
125 gram of flour
60 gram of margarine (the recipe says butter, but I'm improvising...again)
1 egg
Palm sugar (as you can see, I use the block-shaped one, next to the egg)
1 cup of banana (mashed)
1/2 tablespoon of baking soda
1/8 tablespoon of salt

As usual, I made it half recipe because there were only three people in my house. If you want to make a larger cake, just double the ingredient. Ok, now how to make it. Quite easy, actually.

Mix the margarine and the palm sugar. At first it was difficult to mix them because both were still in their solid form. Maybe I should melt them beforehand? Anyway, I managed to mix these two ingredients.

Put in mashed banana and egg. Things are getting easier to mix after the egg. Then put the flour in, little by little.

Here's how it looks before being baked  for 35 minutes. It has golden color and tantalizing aroma. 

After the icing. Tastes good, but the icing still looks awful. There are rooms for improvement. But it looks much better than the first one.

Now, you must be wondering if I will continue doing this. You bet I will.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Pop Some Batik With Book

It's weekend already? This week feels so short due to the Chinese New Year that fell on Monday. So, you have any plans yet for this weekend?

A pop music concert awaits you at Erasmus Huis Jakarta on Saturday at 7.30 p.m. Happy Camper music group plays compact pop songs and easily sung melodies with a touch from various parts of Europe. The group recently won the Dutch Edison Award, Special Jury Award. It's free:).

Or go watch a batik exhibition at Galeri Nasional to learn the path batik has taken in Indonesia and internationally.

Or donate your unused English books at a charity event titled Drive Books, Not Cars. The last day to donate is today. Click the link there to see the book drop points, then come to EX Open Space on Sunday between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to buy second hand books. You get a good deal and the proceed will go to charity. Isn't that nice?

Have a fun weekend! 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Carrot Cake Episode: The Baked Cake Vs No-Bake

I made these cakes earlier this month, but only had the time to post now. I stumbled upon a carrot cake recipe in an old edition of InStyle magazine, but the instruction was not clear. Then I googled it up and found not only carrot cake recipes, but a no-bake carrot cake recipe! I told M about it and she agreed to give it a try.

We made this no-bake carrot cake on the first day of January. It was like making a mud cake, we basically mixed all ingredients.  If you'd like to try, below are the ingredients and the how-to.

I  found the original recipe in this lovely blog, but I make do with ingredients I find here.

The ingredients for half-recipe
 3 cups of carrots (grated)
2 cups of peanuts (I used kacang tanah)
1 teaspoon of nutmeg (Ind. pala - Ed)
1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon powder
1 cup of dates, pitted
1/2 cup of orange juice
1/2 teaspoon of orange zest (I use grater since I don't have an orange peeler)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of desiccated coconut (since I can't find this, I fried the grated coconut without oil or in Indonesia we call it sangrai - Ed.)

I don't make the frosting :(.

The tools: from mortar and pestle to blender

How to make:
1. Put carrot, kacang tanah, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and coconut in one bowl
2. Mix orange juice with dates, until smooth. Add to bowl and mix well.
3. Then form it into the shape you desire. I use molds for jelly

The no-bake carrot cake

Verdict: it is good, but perhaps we are not ready to go vegan and consume the no-bake cake on a daily basis. At least for now.

After having a taste of no-bake carrot cake, it is only natural that we want to know how the baked one will turn out. So we made the baked version a week later.

Here are the ingredients (also half-recipe):

50 gram of walnut (I use kenari that I bought during my trip to Maluku)
170 gram of carrot
130 gram of flour
25 gram of chocolate powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
3/4 tablespoon of cinnamon powder
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of vegetable oil

Here's how I made it:
Mix eggs with vegetable oil

Put flour, chocolate powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon powder into the mix. Stir well. Then put carrot and nuts last.

Bake for 30 minutes. Et voila: the baked carrot cake! The appearance looks awful but it actually tastes nice.

Verdict: M likes the baked version better. Since she's a picky eater, I know that it will be a long way to turn her into a vegan *sigh*

What's your favorite cake? Have you ever tried to make a no-bake cake? Send the recipe to me if you like for I want to learn more about it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Canteen At Aksara

I met up with my friends at Canteen in Pacific Place last week. We had a small talk and a big lunch. Since I haven't blogged about food for quite some time, I guess it's time to catch up:). 

The restaurant was located inside and outside bookstore Aksara. The inner area is for smokers, while the non smoking can sit in the outer area. For me the area arrangement is nonsense because the fume will enter the air condition system and be distributed to the whole building. The Jakarta administration already regulate that no building should allow smoking area inside, but they just turn a blind eye to this violation. Hmph!

The ambiance was ok. Anyone who've been to Aksara must fall in love with the place. Aksara is the bookstore for the cool kids, so Canteen is the restaurant for the cool lady who lunches:). The taste? Wonderful. The prices? Well, my friend insisted it was on her. So I couldn't complain. But if I must have lunch in PP a week prior to the pay day, I would have picked another place. 

Here are some photos of the food there.


 Lasagna bolognaise

 We had tea. I ordered green tea sencha, my friend had English Breakfast.

Another friend came and ordered this menu, basically a sausage wrapped in a pancake

Our dessert for share: banana pancake. Yum.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Diamond And Differences

"Both diamond and graphite are made from carbon, but both have different characteristics. Formed by strong atomic bond after undergoing heat, diamond is the strongest and clearest of all carbon's allotropes while graphite is dark and soft. As a human, will you change into diamond or graphite when undergoing difficulties?" -- A university friend* wrote those words on his drafting board when he took the final assignment.

I remembered those words when I recently attended a leadership event for high schoolers. The students were bright and smart, the kind of teenagers teeming with happiness and positive energy. But on the last session about self reflection, each poured out their hearts (and tears) and I found what an amazing battle each of them had gone through.

To protect the innocent, let's go anonymously. A boy, preferred to be called A, said that he had abusive father who always beat him or spit at him. To escape the abuse, he studied really hard and won a scholarship for high school. Now he's working for a scholarship to universities. He loves mathematics and dreams of studying abroad. 

Another student, call her B, said she had a Christian father and Muslim mother, and each had fought to won her belief. When she chose to be Christian, her mother beat her. When she converted to Muslim, her father beat her. She attempted suicide seven times, failing miserably. But the trials and tribulations shape her into a tough girl. Her life sounded like a sinetron (Indonesian soap opera) story, didn't it?

"Now I only have one goal in my head: to have my own place. I study hard, graduate quickly, go to university, get a job, then I can buy a house of my own," B said.

B has strong opinions on everything. When her friend (a girl named C) said that her friend called her gaptek Eng. technophobe), B told C to ignore the verbal bully.

"Don't listen to them. The most important thing is you don't cause them any harm, you don't ask money from them to pay for the school tuition. Just keep studying well, make your parents proud and we'll see who will laugh in the end," B told C.
Hearing such wise words from such young girl makes me feel embarrassed for being an ungrateful person sometimes.

On a lighter note, not every students has diversity issues, some even celebrate the differences.

For example, D, another student from Bali says that her father is a Buddhist and her mother is a Hindu, and she gets all supports for choosing to be a Hindu. According to D, there is a street in Bali where we can see mosque, church, pura and klenteng stand next to the other. She said that during one religious holiday, people of a different faith living on that street would make a communal event.

Moral of this post is...(1) trials and tribulations can change people into that strong diamond shining the light for others, or (2) differences are here to stay, so live with it.

Have a thrilling Thursday, people!

*He got A for the final assignment.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Kidding Around

Dik Trom marktplein (market garden? I've lost many Dutch words I accumulated in my gray cells)
Hello, sweeties! It's Friday, a very crucial day to plan our weekend. Hahaha. Gosh, it's been quite some time since the last time I made the Weekender post, I kinda missed doing it.

If you have kids, bring them to Erasmus Huis Jakarta as the Dutch cultural center will open an exhibition on children books and illustrations on Saturday. The event, which will start at 1 p.m., will invite visitors to listen to Pak Raden reciting a children story. 

In case you can't come this weekend, don't worry, the exhibition will last until Feb. 10.

Then at 2 p.m there will be a movie screening of Dik Trom. The story plot goes like this: Dik Trom is a cheery boy; honest and a bit fat. His happy life changes when, together with his family, he moves to Thinhaven, where his father opens up a new restaurant. In Thinhaven no one is outgoing or fat. When Dik Trom falls in love with Lieve, the skinniest girl in town, he will go out of his way to win her heart and, at the same time, show the people of Thinhaven that true beauty lies within.

The movie will also be screened at 4.30 p.m.
Also takes place on Saturday is the first anniversary of atamerica, the US cultural center. Celebration will feature singer Glen Fredly between 2 and 4 p.m. On Sunday, the center will invite Robin Lim, 2011 CNN Hero from Bumi Sehat Foundation.
Do you have anything fancy this weekend? Hope you have a fun weekend!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Rainy Days

It's been raining cats and dogs lately, and here are some photos about rain I found in the internet. Stay warm and dry, guys!

A cute umbrella on a bike amidst the rain is photographed by Danny Santos.

Looking like flames in the rain. Photographer: Nodie26

Someday I'd like to visit Zagreb in the rain, as photographed by Slatkatajna 

I love this BW rain photo by Rui Palha

Sometimes I dream of golden rain too, just like bella

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Year's Eve - A Hollywood Movie

A still from the movie shows Paul (Zac Efron) dances with Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer). Taken from here.

My CCF friends held a gathering last Saturday and we decided to watch New Year's Eve, a 2011 romantic comedy directed by Garry Marshall. The star-studded movie depicts a series of holiday vignettes of several people living in New York City. 

Tangent: a friend said that it resembled the director's previous work Valentine Day. But since I haven't watched Valentine Day, I find it similar to Paris Je T'aime. Back to the movie.

On New Year's Eve, Vice President of Times Square Alliance Claire Morgan (Hillary Swank) is making the final arrangement for the ball drop with colleague Brendan (Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges). There's Ahern Records secretary Ingrid Withers (Michelle Pfeiffer) who quits her job and offers tickets of a masquerade ball to delivery guy Paul (Zac Efron) if he can help fulfilling her resolution before midnight.

Paul's sister Kim (Sarah Jessica Parker) has troubles with her teenage daughter Hailey (Abigail Breslin), who wants to spend New Year's Eve at Times Square with boyfriend Seth (Jake T. Austin). Paul's friend comic book illustrator Randy (Ashton Kutcher), who hates New Year's Eve because his college girlfriend dumped him,  gets stuck in an elevator with Elise (Lea Michele), a background singer for Jensen (Jon Bon Jovi), who plans to rekindle his relationship with former girlfriend Laura (Katherine Heigl).

At a hospital, Stan Harris (Robert de Niro) who refuses chemo and treatment only wishes to see the ball drop for the last time after his doctor (Cary Elwes) says he does not have much time. Stan is accompanied by Nurse Aimee (Halle Berry) and Nurse Mindy (Alyssa Milano). Also in the same hospital Griffin (Seth Meyers) and Tess (Jessica Biel), who are about to have their first child, compete with James (Til Schweiger) and Grace (Sarah Paulson) for a bonus offered by the hospital for a baby that is born nearing the New Year.

Meanwhile Sam (Josh Duhamel) a businessman from Ahern Records tries to reach the Ahern Records Ball where he should deliver a speech after his car breaks down. During the ride to New York, he recounts a meeting with a woman in the previous year and wonders if he should meet her again.

Will Stan survive to see the ball drop? Can Ingrid complete her resolution on time? Is there a second chance for Jensen and Laura? Whose baby wins the bonus? Everything ends happily, but of course everybody can tell for it's a Hollywood movie.

Have you watched the movie? Which story is your favorite? I like the Resolution Tour story with Zac Efron and Michelle Pfeiffer as it reminds us that resolutions are made to be fulfilled, even if we must use our imagination. Have a great day, people!

Friday, January 6, 2012

This Weekend Is For Your Family And Friends

With friends from former office. I read a nice reminder today: "If you fail in life, your boss/client won't be the person to offer a helping hand but your family/friends will do."

A friend of mine passed away today. She was 32. Her name is Murti Indarti, but I call her Iin. In fact, I posted photos of us when she went to Jakarta, just a few months ago. I learned about her death through her friend's status on Facebook. I was really shocked.

Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rojiun. May you get the best place on His side, dear Iin.

Time is a mystery, indeed. Who would have guessed that it was my last time seeing her? What if I let my hectic work got the best of me and I passed up the chance to meet up with her that time? I'm never good at making resolutions but starting today, I will try not to pass any chance to meet family and friends, because you will never know if you ever see them again.

And so, this weekend may be a good time to start it. Tonight, I have a small reunion with colleagues from my previous workplace. On Saturday afternoon, my CCF friends invite me for a free movie date and at night, there's a plan for karaoke with my journo friends. And I may bake a cake with M on Sunday (Let's hope the cake turns out fine).

Do you have any fun plan this weekend? Have a wonderful weekend, y'all!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Edith Piaf - Non, je ne regrette rien (Officiel) [Live Version]

In 2011, I took Chantal Kreviazuk's This Year for my annual soundtrack. For 2012, I'd like to take Edith Piaf's Je Ne Regrette Rien.

The lyrics (taken from this site, it has English translation too! yay!):

Non, rien de rien
Non, je ne regrette rien
Ni le bien qu'on m'a fait
Ni le mal; tout ça m'est bien égal !

Non, rien de rien
Non, je ne regrette rien
C'est payé, balayé, oublié
Je me fous du passé !

Avec mes souvenirs
J'ai allumé le feu
Mes chagrins, mes plaisirs
Je n'ai plus besoin d'eux !

Balayées les amours
Et tous leurs trémolos
Balayés pour toujours
Je repars à zéro

Non, rien de rien
Non, je ne regrette rien
Ni le bien qu'on m'a fait
Ni le mal; tout ça m'est bien égal !

Non, rien de rien
Non, je ne regrette rien
Car ma vie, car mes joies
Aujourd'hui, ça commence avec toi

Found here

Have you ever heard of the French songbird Edith Piaf? The 2007 movie titled La Vie En Rose brought her name into my radar despite the fact that I've taken French course since 2005. Her songs are mostly love songs, but this one is more about getting back on your feet after a hard blow. Well, it pretty much sums up how I'm feeling right now :). Another similar song I've also listened to lately is Adele's Rolling In The Deep.

Do you have songs you'd like to listen when you're feeling down? Share with me, please.

Here's to hoping this year will be wonderful one. Cheers!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Let's Make The Best Of Our Days

Found here

If you are pitched into misery, remember that your days on earth are counted and you might as well make the best of those you have left.- Yann Martel's Beatrice and Virgil