27 March 2007

Happiness is...

... this.
And being incredibly contented. To me, contentment is ranked way up there, together with confidence as an attractive.... trait? Characteristic? Knowing my own greedy desires, I never thought there would come a day when I would actually be wholly contented with my life. There's usually always something I'm hankering after, or lusting for. There's usually always something I feel would make me a lot happier if I had or could achieve.
But I found that ever since I started work in Feb, I've been slowly engulfed by this warm feeling of joyousness... and contentment. There's nothing more I could ask for in life, nothing more I would need in order to be happy because I was already happy. Work is great (the dynamics in the office is fantastic and tremendously welcoming), my extra-curricular activities are thriving, my family is doing better than before. And very importantly, I felt like my friendships were all thriving. I may not have been able to stay as connected to every single friend I've made, but I have definitely been trying for the ones that matter a lot to me.
In case I get misconstrued, I must clarify that it is not in my intention to brag, but merely to share. I feel like happiness is bursting at my seams. Emanating from my pores. Once in a while, I would actually catch my colleagues' attention with a cheerful 'Sarah' or 'Parvee', and give them a huge grin just to let some of my happiness out and to spread the joy. Just like the children in the photo, I am loving my life and I hope that whoever you are, reading this, can always feel this way too (if not more).

My mum rightly said that my family will only get to enjoy my cooking when I get inspired. The weekend was a great time to get inspired, especially after flipping through the gorgeous food photography in Donna Hay's March issue, because I had plenty of time to act on it. While I may not have used any recipe from the magazine for the dinner I planned for my family, it did effectively lure me into the kitchen. I was happy, and wanted to make sure my family was too, by making sure they had happy bellies first. So I got my brother into the kitchen with me and set to work on the various interesting (or easy) recipes I picked out.

From Gordon Ramsey's Secrets, I found two dishes that I decided to combine - Herbed Cauliflower Puree and Caramelised Baby Onions. When I chose the recipes, I already pictured how it would be plated. And to add some crunch as well as colour to the dish, I threw in some french beans. They all went well together, the creamy and smooth cauliflower puree with the tender, sweet and slightly tangy pink baby onions, and the crunchy buttered beans.

The best sounds I heard that night were the murmurs of pleasure especially with the first mouthful of onion and cauliflower. Perhaps not a common pairing, but definitely one that works. And actually way too easy to put together than it might look!

Puree of Cauliflower Scented with Herbs

Taken from Gordon Ramsay's Secrets (serves 4)


1 medium cauliflower, 300 ml milk, 1 small bay leaf, 1 sprig of thyme, sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Trim cauliflower, discarding leaves, and cut into florets.

Place in saucepan with milk, herbs and 1/2 tsp salt.

Bring to boil, cover and simmer gently for about 12-15 mins until cauliflower is very tender.

Drain the cauliflower, discard the herbs and reserve the milk.

Whiz florets in a blender until very smooth, adding enough of the reserved milk to give a very creamy consistency (you'll have to scrape down the sides a couple of times to get it moving).

You may need to blend the mixture for up to 5 minutes to achieve a really smooth, silky texture.

Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding a little pepper if required. Serve piping hot!

Caramelised Pink Baby Onions

Adapted from Gordon Ramsay's Secrets (serves 4-6)


100 g butter, 250 g baby onions or small shallots (peeled), few sprigs of thyme, 1/2 tsp sugar,

3 tbspns of juice from bottled beetroot, 100 ml chicken stock, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Heat butter in large saute pan, adding baby onions/shallots with thyme and sugar when it starts to foam.

Cook for 5 mins until lightly caramelised (should turn translucent and slightly brown), seasoning with salt and pepper as they cook.

Add beetroot juice and stock, bring to boil then cook uncovered for a further 5 mins, stirring occasionally until onions are just tender but still retain a bite.

Transfer onions to a dish and bubble up the pan juices until reduced to a syrupy glaze.

Return onions to the pan to heat through and coat in glaze.

Discard thyme and serve.


Dee said...

Aww, nice to hear such happiness :) And the food looks great too!

Anonymous said...

=) Thank you. I hope you're happy too!

justbrat said...

such sophisticated photos.. very artistic! what do u use to take them? a lomo camera? ;)

Anonymous said...

it's actually a canon S2IS. A semi-pro camera that's not as bulky as the pro ones, but still has some of the functions. =)

Chang said...

Yay! Great to hear that you have found what you were looking for in the pursuit of happyness! :) Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

chang yate? Haven't spoken to you for a while! Are you ever coming back to this part of the world? Please distribute your wealth when you do!! =)