A Girls Gotta Eat… Indonesian Cuisine

Food

Wherever you are in the world, trying the local cuisine is one of the best parts of travelling, it can’t and shouldn’t be avoided. Trying different cuisine can be daunting for even the most adventurous foodie, particularly when you have never come across it before – and quite often are not entirely sure what it is! However, there is a buzz to experimenting with the unknown which I have grown to love, despite doubts which have held me back in the past.

While in Indonesia, I did something very out of character and took a cooking class – until now the furtherest I had ventured in the kitchen is adding mushrooms to my pasta bakes at Uni. With the guidance of a very talented local chef, I immersed myself in all parts of the course, from buying the -very fresh- ingredients at the local market, and experience in itself, to learning how to cook Tempe (fermented soya beans) to finally trying all of the finished products at the end – which turned out to be some of the best dishes I ate over the entire trip.

Here is a little taster of the dishes from that day, my next challenge is to try them at home!

 

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Fresh ingredients being bought from the local market

 

Ayam Goreng (Fried Chicken)

Ingredients:
1kg Chicken
1/2 litre Coconut Oil
1 litre Water

Spices:
5 pieces shallots
5 cloves garlic
50g palm sugar
10g tamarind
salam leaves (bay leaves)
salt and pepper

Method:
1.Wash chicken
2.Crush the spices until fine
3.Boil chicken in 1 litre of water and add all spices, cook until the chicken is half done
4.Fry the chicken until crispy
5.Serve with sambal

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Chicken boiling while Sayur Lodeh is prepared

 

Sayur Lodeh (vegetarian)

Ingredients:
50g long beans/green beans
50g spinach
50g tofu
50g pumpkin/aubergine
300ml coconut milk
3tbsp cooking oil

Spices:
3 shallots
3 cloves garlic
1 red chilli
1 green chilli
1tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 tsp white sugar
2 bay leaves
2cm galangal root

Method:

1.Wash spinach and long beans and put to one side
2.Cut long beans to about 3cm in length
3.Cut tofu into cubes 1cmx1cm
4.Peel the pumpkin/aubergine and cut into cubes
5.Chop the shallots and garlic into thin slices
6.Heat oil in a pan and fry the shallots and garlic
7.Add coconut milk, then herbs and hard vegetables
8.Half cook the vegetables and add salt, pepper and sugar
9.Finally, add spinach and cook all vegetables until soft
10.Serve in a soup dish with rice and fried tempe.

 

Sambal

Ingredients:
2 shallots
2 cloves of garlic
5 red chillis
1/2 tomato

Method:
1.Fry all ingredients together with cooking oil
2.Crush together until fine
3.Serve as a dip

 

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Serve prepared sambal with crackers or sliced, fried potatoes

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…and enjoy!

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Don’t Wear Beige, It Might Kill You

Fashion, Opinion

Fashion has always interested and inspired me, regardless of what may be going on my life. Too many people look down on fashion as a subject, believing it to be a shallow, vain and self-obsessed industry. Unfortunately these things can be true, the fashion industry is a harsh, cut-throat world, where image appears to mean everything. Fashion itself, however, is so much more than that. It is much more than spending hours agonising over what to wear in the morning, what’s new in Topshop this week, or what Cara Delevingne is wearing today. Being stylish and enjoying fashion are also two very different things which are often confused with each other, however I believe they are two things which go hand in hand. If you don’t enjoy fashion, how can you be classed as stylish?

I was inspired to write this post after watching a fantastic documentary on Channel 4 recently, Fabulous Fashionistas. Those who watched the show will need no explanation, within minutes I was hooked, inspired and excited. The show followed four women with an average age of 80, who simply refused to grow old and disappear. Each of them had a fantastic wardrobe of clothes, gathered from charity shops, flea markets and life itself, but what shone through the clothes was their inspiringly influential attitudes. Though the aim of the program was to show viewers growing old could be an exciting adventure, for me, it represented perfectly, the importance of fashion and the effect it can have on your state of mind.

The phrase, ‘fashion is a freedom of expression’ is in my eyes, over used but here it is also necessary, as I can find no better way to describe what fashion is. It is freedom and expression. In a world where women have daily battles with their body image and pour over the features they hate, fashion gives us the power to like ourselves. It allows us to feel good in something, gives us confidence and even hide our so-called flaws. When it comes to choosing what to wear, we are given ultimate choice, and you change your mind you can reinvent yourself again and again. For years I opted out of buying items because I felt they weren’t ‘me’ or were too ‘loud’ – in other words, anything which would attract attention to me in the street was a no-go. Now though, I feel differently when buying clothes, perhaps it is down to my confidence growing, but if I see a pair of blue and green tartan trousers which I love, I think f**k it, I’m going to wear them, and this I have learnt, is how style blossoms.

Fashion is an opportunity for self expression, when it may feel like no one is listening, it is one of the most unique forms of creativity, without having to pick up a paintbrush. It can be a focus (as it has been for me) when other things in life aren’t going well. Fashion is one of the few aspects of life which we have total control over. Fashion is much more than materialism, it is attitude, confidence, power and freedom.

Here are some of my favourite items at the moment:

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Checked Slacks, £14.99, H&M

Mesh panel jumpsuit, £38, Topshop

Mesh panel jumpsuit, £38, Topshop

Chelsea Boot, £45, Topshop

Chelsea Boot, £45, Topshop

Printed Kimono, £15, Primark, Gold necklace, £7.99, H&M, Cross belt, £5, Urban Outfitters

Printed Kimono, £15, Primark, Gold necklace, £7.99, H&M, Cross belt, £5, Urban Outfitters