Updating some old stuff

Right, I’ve been updating some older posts, as things have changed a little bit since I started this project and I’ve also had some additional information, alongside the fact that I’ve actually been to a few more of the supermarkets in the list I’ve done.

I’m going to try to add more stuff to the site as well, I’ve got a fair few restarant’s I should be writing up, but it all takes time. I also need to add more stuff to the FindIT map, but again, this is a hobby project and it’s not as if I have unlimited to do this.

On a more personal note, I’m busy working on a more serious project that will hopefully work out in the end, but as of right now it looks like it’ll be a lot of hard work. I guess there isn’t really much else to say at the moment, so just bare with me and hopefully everything will improve with time :mrgreen:

Filmjölk – Active Lactic Culture

This isn’t a recipe as such, but if you like me have lived away from your home country for a long time, sometimes you get the urge for something special from back home. Well, I found something really great here, thanks to a fellow Swede who used to live here. You can actually buy little packets of Active Lactic Culture here, there are a few different kinds and make sure you don’t pay too much, as the going rate for a pack of 10 sachets is about NT$250. I’ve seen shops sell the same stuff for twice the price and some other brands for near enough four times the price. It’s kept in the refrigerator in health food stores here, so make sure you look in the right place. Also make sure you store it in your fridge. The Active Lactic Culture makes something that is very similar to Swedish Filmjölk, although it’s not quite as tangy. The only similar thing I know of in English is buttermilk, but it’s not the same, as buttermilk is very sour.

It’s really easy to make and doesn’t require any cooking skills at all.

What you need is:

  • 1 litre of milk
  • 1 sachet of the Active Lactic Culture powder
  • A clean container that fits the milk

You could actually put the powder into a milk carton or bottle, but it’s hard to check if it’s ready of you do this. I use a semi-clear drinking bottle with a wide opening. Pour the milk in, it doesn’t seem to matter if it’s cold or room temperature and there’s no need to bring it up a high heat as with yogurt. It might take a little bit longer if it’s cold, but that’s about it. Add the sachet of Active Lactic Culture powde, shake gently and leave outside in a warm (not hot) place for 12-16h, although the instructions say up to 24-36h if it’s cold, but I’ve never had to leave mine for more than about 16h. When finished, the top of the milk should be set, kind of like yogurt, now move the container carefully into the fridge, don’t shake it, as that seems to make it lumpy. Let it cool down for 2-3h and then you can shake it up. The texture should be like thick drinking yogurt and it should have a fresh smell. If it smells funky, then something went wrong in the process and I had this happen to me once. The good thing is that just as with yogurt, you can use what you’ve just made as a base for making more. Add 2-3 table spoons to 1 litre of milk for your next batch and repeat the rest of the steps above.

The package I bought looked like this and it’s made by this company Unfortunately they seem to have gone bust and I haven’t been able to find an alternative.

Gambas al Ajillo

Or prawns in garlic as it’s also known as it’s a traditional Spanish tapas dish and it’s one of my favourite tapas dishes. It’s also very easy to make and you can go more or less complicated depending on what your taste is and what you got at home. I suggest using pre-fired dry garlic (in Taiwan you can get in large plastic containers from RT-Mart), as it makes the dish a lot nicer than when you use fresh garlic. Another reason for this is that you get a nice crunchy garlic that doesn’t give you the bad garlic breath. It’s also worth noting that it’s very easy to burn garlic and it gets very bitter if you do this. There are a few different ways of cooking this, but here’s my take on it, which I by no means claim is authentic. The best place I’ve eaten this in this part of the world is a Tapas restaurant in the green belt in Manila, the Philippines.

So what do you need?

To serve four people as a tapas or two as a main course you need the following:

  • 500g of raw peeled, de-veined prawns, with or without tails
  • Good quality olive oil (as you’ll be dipping bread in it)
  • Chili to taste, preferably a Spanish kind, but most chili’s seem to work as long as they’re not too spicy
  • Garlic to taste (loads!), but as I said above, the pre-fried dry garlic makes for a much nicer dish
  • Fresh bread, either something like a baugette or pita bread

You got to options of cooking this, either in an oven safe container, preferably earthenware, or in a skillet/frying pan. Slice up the chili’s. Heat up the oil with the chili’s in it in your container of choice, either on top of your cooker or in the oven (about 200 degrees C is a good temperature), until it sizzles. Add the prawns and garlic, cook for about 4-5 minutes, or until the prawns are cooked through. Make sure you stir them them once or twice while they’re cooking and if you’re using the dry garlic, I’d add some more just before it’s done, as it stays nice and crispy that way. You can put some freshly chopped parsley on top when you serve and enjoy while it’s still hot.

Is it already March?

Wow, time really flies and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. The last couple of weeks made it seem like summer came early this year, but now it’s a bit colder and wetter again. There was talks about a draught here, as it hadn’t rained very much so far this spring which is unusual in Taiwan, but it looks like the next week is going to be wet, wet, wet, with a few thunderstorms to boot, which again isn’t common here. At least it’s been a long time since there’s been any large earth quakes which I guess isn’t a bad thing in itself, as long as it doesn’t mean it’s building up for a big one…

Right now things are just plodding along, nothing much new to report, just trying to get on with stuff and keep my fingers crossed that everything will work out in the long run. For those of you that live in Taiwan or are visiting, you might want to head to the Tavern this Thursday night, as the Taipei Tech Club is meeting up, if you’re interested in meeting up with some of the people that works in the tech industry here. We try to meet up once a month, although we’re not so well organised, so it happens a bit at a whim.

Well, I keep saying this, but I’m going to try to get better at updating this thing now when I have a proper host that makes it a bit easier. Until next time…