Friday, September 30, 2011

Paris






5 years ago, I got an assignment to make a dream book. I have to make list 10 of my dreams. Some of them are: taking Shifa to Disneyland and a picture of a hotel window in Paris with Eiffel Tower view...It's just a wish and a dream... but it happened..so keep on dreaming & don't let your dream died..., you'd never know someday...



Actually, we can say that this is a unintentionally trip... Almost 2 years we did not go on vacation to our home country Indonesia. We feel super duper bored. Our daughters Shifa & Naila also angry because 3 month vacation doing noting, except "playing games". Remember Susy Ardianto in her blog said: "two years in Kuwait, practically we already explore all around Kuwait or we can say "khatam". Our weekly entertainment only going from one mall to another. And, during summer Kuwait is very hot. It can reach 45-50°C in midday.

Then, we start browsing to go to Turkey for this Eid Holiday. But it turn to be expensive. So we change the plan to Europe after this Eid holiday... Ooo. it was become more cheaper....
We decided to have third party Al Qabas to take care our Schengen Visa application. Al Qabas was just taking care of Visa of 3 destination countries, namely Germany, Italy, French. Finally, we decided to go to French only, Paris.


Here some of our preparation:
1. Book the hotel. We like to use Booking.com
2. Book the aeroplane ticket. We use Turkish Airline, which the meals were recommended by our friend.
3. Complete the documents for visa requirements
4. Collect the documents to Al Qabbas and our Visa ready in 9 day. Al Qabas gave us sms when the visa ready. We also can track our visa status online.
5. Then we prepare the clothes, foods, medicines, and the most important the traveling allowance.

Preparation after the Visa were ready
1. Clothes
Going to Europe, it's necessary for us to know the weather at the time. For end of September, Paris weather will be 12oC - 24oC (for references can be found at Wikitravel). So we bring jackets & umbrella just in case raining.

2. Foods
As Indonesian, I feel more comfortable if I can eat rice at least once a day. So we brought rice, rendang (spicy beed stew), Ceres (chocolate sprinkle), noodles, Quaker Oats, and palm sugar.

3. Medicines
I brought thermometer, children medicines, and my husband medicines.

4. Hotel
We prefer to stay in an aparthotel.There is a kitchen, kichenette (pots, plates, bowls, glasses, knives, spoons, cutting board, electric kettle), microwave, dishwasher, iron & board. Then the Adagio Paris Tour Eiffel become our choice. It about 2 Km from the Eiffel tower (8 minutes by car, 20 minute walk) .. For us, this hotel is quite satisfying.... close to Monoprix grocery store (300 meters, 3 minutes walk), Mc Donald's (450 meters, 5 minutes walk), Darty electronic store (450 meters, 5 minutes walk), Sushi restaurant, Laundry, taxi station.

5. Money change
We had Euro from Al Muzaini, Fahaheel and from money changer counter at Fahaheel Bazar.

6. Others
- Compas for prayer Qibla direction.
- Universal adapter for electronic equipment connections such as: laptop, mobilephone, camera, camcorder.

Ready to go....
Day-1 (Flight & Paris City Tour)
We had flight from Kuwait early morning. Then after 7 hours flight with Istanbul stopover, finally we arrived at Charles de Gaulle International Airport/CDG. We continued the trip with taxi to the hotel. It was quite expensive..50 Euros...
During the trip, Naila seems happy and keep saying: I love Paris ... Kuwait only dessert...

After check in the hotel, we directly went to Eiffel Tower with taxi. Then changed the transportation to Paris L'Open Tour bus, a double dekker city tour bus. Then we began the Paris Grand Tour, including Seine River cruise package on it. We started the tour from the Tour Eiffel, the Hôtel des Invalides, the Esplanade des Invalides, Concorde - Royale, Madeleine, Opéra - 4 septembre, Musée du Louvre, Pont Neuf - Quai des Orfévres, Notre Dame, Concorde, La Boetie - Champs-Elysées, Charles de Gaulle -Etoile (The Arch of Triumph), Trocadero Square, ended at the Eiffel tower .... wow ... Paris, a beautiful city ... After that we went back to the hotel with taxi.

There are things to remember about the transportation in Paris:
1. Stop the taxi at taxi station, not in any place.
- We can not directly open the taxi door, until the taxi driver agreed on route & number of passengers. Because they rarely speak English, we've better write our destination/hotel address/showing map. Then the driver will then count the number of passengers. Usually max 4 will instantly approved. If more than 4, there will be extra charge for the 5th passenger.
- Do not sit directly in front of / beside the driver, until we have the command to be sitting beside the driver.
- Most taxi are equipped with GPS. Their rates are standarized. Initial rate is 2.3 Euros, and when we arrived at destination, there will be additional charge.
- Taxi usually will reject if the destination is too close.
- Taxi easily found around Paris, especially in tourist areas. But if you go far away from city, you would have difficulties to find taxi.

2. There are two hop on hop off bus for tourists. There is a Paris L'Open Tour (yellow color) and there is Les Cars Rouges (the red one). We chose yellow bus because, according to the reviews on Tripadvisor , the frequency of yellow buses are more frequent. This double dekker bus is also equipped with an audio tour guides in various languages. Same like taxi, the bus has to be stopped at its station. On this yellow tour bus, is green/yellow/red/blue label stick on the front window. The label color shows its route.




Day-2 (Seine River cruise & Champs-Elysées)
Since we arrived at the Louvre Museum late, and saw that there were already a long queue, we gave up. Change the next destination to the Seine River cruise, ride the yellow bus, get off at Pont Neuf, and walked to the base Seine River cruise (manage by Batobus).





Then we continued to the Champs-Elysées. Ate Margarita Pizza .. Hmmm soft crust pizza, crips, so yummy .. the best we ever taste.

On the way home, we stopped to nearby Monoprix grocery store. We bought some oranges, apples, papaya, bread, butter, eggs, sugar, oil, and drinking water. On the upstairs floor, we found orange squeezer and electronic adapter for our laptop, mobilephone, and camera.

On the afternoon, I cooked rice with old-fashioned way. Only using pan & correct amount of water, started with medium heat then continued to low heat until cook thoroughly.




Day-3 (Louvre Museum & Louis Vuitton)
Early morning on the next day, we went to Louvre. Louvre is a museum with the most complete collection of the world. The maestro masterpiece and world famous historical relics are stored here.
To go inside the Louvre, we queued for a while in front of the pyramid for security check, then went downstairs to pick up brochures and buy tickets at automated machines. Ticket price is 10 Euros/person.
To study the museum map, we sat for a while at Paul Cafe. We gave chance to Shifa & Naila to decided, which collections will be seen. Because if you do not have any plan, surely you will get tired all day long exploring the museum. Finally, Shifa decided to see Mona Lisa and the Aphrodite statue.




After 3 hours of walking around inside Louvre, we decided to buy souvenirs.
We went to Notre Dame area to buy souvenirs.. Tired.. we went back the hotel ..take a short rest, shower, and then continue our tour.

The next destination: Louis Vuitton ... To buy a LV bag was a special request from a close friend of mine. While we queued to get into the store...suddenly, a LV officers came out.. said "We're close, come again tomorrow ".... oooo alaaa.. it still 6:30 pm. For us, it's too early to close a store..But fine.. Then we went back to Eiffel Tower and back to the hotel.

We back to the hotel but first want to stop by to the Monoprix. Unfortunately, it was closed... So remember, most shops closed on weekend and you should already enough food stocks for the weekends.

Hari ke-4 (Disneyland, Arc de Triomphe, dan Louis Vuitton)
Next destination: Disneyland.
The night before we bought a reservation ticket at the hotel. We took 1 day, 1 park package.
We went from the hotel at 7 am, ride taxi to the Charles de Gaulle Metro station, Triopme D Arc. Buy return tickets to Marne-la-Vallee station (Parcs Disneyland). It took 35 minutes to the Disneyland.



Arriving at the Marne-la-Vallee station(Parcs Disneyland), we entered into the queue area of Disneyland and had security checks to the ticket counter .. here we are .. in Paris Disneyland...

The first step, we're looking for a restaurant. My friend Mba Rita gave us reference to eat at Hakuna Matata (located in Adventureland). Here, while studying the map, we once again asked Shifa & Naila to decided which playground will be visited. They chose the Phantom Manor (Haunted house) in Frontierland, Alice's Curious Labyrinth in Fantasyland. But unfortunately Haunted house was closed, perhaps in preparation for Halloween.




After 4 hours in Disneyland, we returned to Paris. Incidentally exit the Metro right in front of the Arc D Triompe. We immediately took family photo....and yes there will be someone always grumpy for photo session....Shifa...

Look around.. there was LV store in sight ... queued again .. until finally succeeded in carrying a special LV bag..



Back to hotel...preparing for check out tomorow and booked a taxi van for our transportation to the airport..hmmm...again.... quite expensive, 70 euros.

Hari ke-5 (Eiffel Tower go to the top)
Woke up in the morning, we went to Eiffel tower by walk. The ticketing cashier open at 9:30 am, you should already lining up 30 minutes earlier. At the Eiffel top, we took some picture and had Paris sightseeing.
This is my sugesstion: If you want to ride up to the Eiffel tower, you should come early morning to avoid long queue !!!

At 10:30, we went back to the hotel ... Ready for check out ... Going to the airport.

Bye bye Paris, till meet u again ...
In fact, there are still many places that want to visit. I still want to take picture in front of "Le Cordon Bleu", an international culinary school icon.

Visiting Paris in 4 nights wa not enough. But most of all ... We have fun .. During this trip.
Alhamdulillah ....




I hope this sharing can be useful ...







Bacaan:
Al Qabbas Assurex
Booking.com
Catatan Ardi's Family
Disneyland Paris
Google maps
Paris L'Open Tour
Wikipedia
Wikitravel

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

KBB # 25 Devonshire"Birthday Party" Tea



Let's celebrate the 4th KBB's birthday with Devonshire-style tea party, which is a typical British dish of tea came from Devon. In Devonshire-style tea time, scones served with clotted cream and jam.

In this challenge, KBB member were expected to create a light textured scones then serve them with a "tea party" presentation.




Talking about scones.... it remind me of the raisin scones that I bought at Al Kout Sultan Center. This kind of scone is one of my choice when I want to eat something starchy other than bread or cake.. Actually, while eating the crispy scone, I wondering myself how to make it. Then I looked the ingredients list...there're flour, butter, buttermilk, baking powder .. ooo...Let's make it anyway

Baking 911 said about the Scones: If any breads deserve the name "quick," it's the English Scone.
Instead of sweet, scones can be savory: add some caraway seeds or chopped dill, etc. to the plain dough with a pinch of salt. Serve with sour cream or crème fraiche.
Scones have been described as smoother than an English muffin, heavier than a muffin, and thicker than a flat bread. When made, scones have some height from rising in the oven, though not as much as a biscuit, are lightly browned on the outside and cooked all the way through on the inside. When opened, they should be slightly crumbly, tender and almost cake-like or flaky depending on how they are made. They are served freshly baked, warm from the oven, with butter, lemon curd, cream, honey and/or jam. Scones are traditionally served at English Tea Time, but in America they are served at any time during the day.


So, scone should be light, crumbly, not expanding too much, and the most important: it should cook thoroughly....

After browsing, my scone recipe choice is: Basic Raisin Scone Recipe from Baking 911 (By: The California Culinary Academy )
Makes 18 - 24

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold
1/2 cup buttermilk, cold
2 large eggs
1-1/4 cups raisins, currants or dried cranberries (can be mixed)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
2. Cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs.
3. Mix together buttermilk and eggs. Add to dry ingredients, mixing to form a soft dough. Stir in raisins.
4. Knead dough on a floured surface several times.
5. Pat out dough 1 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes and place on ungreased baking sheets.
6. Bake until golden brown (15 to 20 minutes).

Makes 18 to 24.

Place scones 1-1/2 to 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F oven until golden brown (20 to 25 minutes).
—————
Notes: You can make scones in any size or shape you wish -- circles, squares, triangles, hearts, crescents, stars. They're delicious as "sandwiches" filled with thinly sliced ham.

Per serving: 191 Calories; 8g Fat (35% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 28g Carbohydrate; 37mg Cholesterol; 262mg Sodium; 2 grams fiber






After all, I got the conclusion that making scone is easy & quick...
Come, try it...

The most important key in making scone is almost the same like making pie crust: use chill butter, do not touch the dough with hand intensely. Better use pastry cutter (look step by step photo) or 2 knives to blend the butter & flour.
Shape the scone with push down pressure, no need to press it around. If the oven already full, the left shaped dough can be refrigerate until ready to bake.
The complete tips can be seen in Baking 911.


Since the amount of baking powder is use quiet a lot, scones tent to be bitter. And for those who have low salt/sodium diet (hipertension), they should consider the amount of baking powder consumption.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Barbie & Kuwait Tower Tumpeng

Tumpeng is an iconic Indonesia food and has certain traditional meanings. Want to know more about it...????? You can read the following NCC article here.
Although before, we can only see the traditional cone shape of this sticky yellow rice, but now we often see the other creations & shape of tumpeng, such as the Barbie & Kuwait Tower tumpeng below. Both tumpengs stand beautifully at Indonesian stall in English School Fahaheel, during International Day, April 2011.



(Photo courtesy of Dudi Mulyadi & Menti Russiantini via Facebook)



(Photo courtesy of Dudi Mulyadi & Menti Russiantini via Facebook)



(Photo courtesy of Dudi Mulyadi & Menti Russiantini via Facebook)



I am using the sticky yellow rice recipe from NCC, while the others side dishes recipes using my own recipes which have not been standarized.

The sticky yellow rice recipe from Fatmah Bahalwan:
Ingredients:
800 gram rice
200 gram white glutinous rice
1200 mL coconut milk
1 tablespoon finely grated turmeric
2 tablespoons salt
4 salam leaves
1 pandan leaves
2 stalks lemongrass
1 tablespoon lemon juice.

Instructions:
1. Mix the rice and glutinous rice, wash and drain well, steamed.
2. Meanwhile, mix turmeric and coconut milk, strain, discard turmeric pulp. Cook with the salam leaves, pandan and lemongrass. Add salt. Continue to cook until boiling. Turn off the heat.
3. Add the hot rice into the coconut milk and stir well. Allow until the coconut milk is absorbed. Pour the lime juice. Stir well.
4. Cook in steamer for 20 minutes, remove from heat.
5. Shape into Barbie skirt & Kuwait Tower. These tumpeng can spend as much as 2.5 recipe of the sticky yellow rice above.

For food hygiene, always use plastic gloves when shape the tumpeng and putting together the side dishes. And to prevent contamination during the transportation, tumpeng should be covered with plastic with enough hole to vent the food steam.