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The Pride of Dieng

On The Table

Aha.

I know it doesn’t feel brand new here with me retaining the old design. What can I say, I’m either an old fashioned blogger or just too lazy to whip up a new design. In which the latter seems to be more likely. Nevertheless, it feels home, doesn’t it? Although I’m not quite sure if I’m still into blogging. Despite the time constraint, if I’m still into this, I should’ve always been able to find time to blog, shouldn’t I? To take pictures and write. When I keep coming up with the same old reason not to blog, doesn’t it say something? So why bother then?
Gee, you know what? I don’t know. Maybe I just miss it. Or being too nostalgic. Maybe I just don’t wanna let go yet. Or maybe, by keeping up blogging I’m hoping to be able to go back to those good old times. When everything seemed to be simpler and time was abundant.
Oh, screw.
I wanna tell you a story about the pride of Dieng Plateau. Carica and Dieng potatoes.

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Panci butut kebalik

Will you?

Panci butut kebalik

Turned out that Blogsome.com really is closing down :)

Not that i’m not happy here, i am, but i think ultimately i decided to continue on Blogger.com.

All the old archives will be kept here, safely and– hopefully– for good. So no worries.

While i’m breaking my bones building the new baking realm, please sit down and take your time reminiscing my old baking posts. Nostalgic, like the ice tea in your hands.

Once again i hope you’ll stick with me. Will you?

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Wakatobi!

Wakatobi 003
The fish were so fresh you can see the bones hadn’t even changed color a bit! It’s turquoise blue!

This is just a short share of my backpacking to Wakatobi, Southeast Sulawesi, last year, where food were as fresh as the air and the sea and the sky. We spent most of our days in the sea, so fish were abundant. When hunger struck, we would meet any fishermen and bought fish from them. Fifty thousand Rupiahs and we got a big bucket of fresh fish! And I meant as fresh as just captured! Continue reading

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Just released: Food Photography For Everyone. Yes, everyone!

Food Photography For Everyone
How is it to take a food photo that really works? Can I use my simple pocket camera? How can I start with my entry level DSLR? How is it to perform a photo session when I am on a budget, have only few equipment and choking constraining time? How does different lighting make the food different? What is it about focus, DoF, PoI, angle, composition, styling, props? What are they really all about? I just want to take a good food photo. Period. How?
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Kecipir and Rebon for Mountain Climbing!

Kecipir and Rebon Stir Fry

Just a simple update on my contribution for UMU Magz #3, a mountain climbing e-magazine. Having said goodbye to personal projects and ultimately made peace with it, hopefully have stopped being in denial trying to convince myself that one day, one fine day, one good bright sunny day, I would go back to those good old times, I happily share one of my favorite simple dish invented back in those days.

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From Bangkok With Love

In my confusion of whether or not Blogsome is ending its service (so I double-posted this to my old Blogsome blog), I found myself sitting by my kitchen table one afternoon. Tea with honey. And some sweet nibbles. I remembered wanting to post this but something always got in the way. Like my procrastination habit, that is.

Kenny, a senior writer of Lifestyle+Travel magazine in Bangkok, emailed me one day. He was compiling food blogs for an article in their food-inspired issue and wanted to mention this blog and used some photos. An over-excited me, agreed in a split second :D.

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Hey, you :)

I’m glad you’re here, because most probably you followed a link from my old kitchen on pennylanekitchen.blogsome.com that is about to be closing down in a matter of hours now. Thank you for believing in me.

This new place is still a mess right now, I dunno if I ever get it together, knowing that I needed one whole year to complete the old design in blogsome.com. Hopefully I can break the curse!

The design, of course, will be changing. I still want my “egg” to be up there :)

So, yeah. I hope you stay around.
(i meant: don’t leave me!)

Love,

Riana Ambarsari

Coming Up this July!

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Video by Pinot

Ooh, yeah! I can’t wait to announce this!

Ok, here we go. Once upon a time, 4 female foodbloggers, met online and got to know each other via blogs and emails. Two of them live in Kuwait, one lives in New Zealand, one in Jakarta, Indonesia. They were bonded by two things they’re really passionate about: food and photography. One sunny day, they decided to write a book about the two: food photography. They worked on it for about 8 months, and now the book is on its way to the bookstores in Indonesia!

They call themselves EmpatRana, which translates as Four Shutters. They are Arfi Binsted, Dita Ichwandardi, Irra Fachriyanthi and me, Riana Ambarsari :)

Here how the cover will look like:

Food Photography Made Easy

Here, we talk about food photography in simple, easy to understand terms, the way we learnt it in the first place. We reveal our humble home studios, which are basically a table, a source of light, some help from reflector and props, and more little help from our children :).

The book is projected to be available at bookstores in Indonesia this July 13rd, 2011 at the latest. So stay alert, you will wanna have this, trust me!

To Welcome Ramadhan: Snickerdoodles!

Snickerdoodles
 
I made these 2 years ago :D

Oh, well. Found the photo in my hard drive and suddenly realized I never published it except in my own head. You think I’m a little ‘cuckoo’, you might be right. Are you scared? *grin*

What I love about these cookies is that, first, it was cinnamon and nothing but cinnamon. Second, it used wholewheat flour instead of white flour. To my palate, whole grain has more layers of flavour than the plain white one. And third, again, it’s cinnamon.

Was it good? My God, yes. Perfect for the coming Ramadhan and Idul Fitri.

I took the recipe from HillBilly Housewife, but I think it was very similar with the recipe from Allrecipes.com except that it uses butter instead of margarine. Use whichever you fancy since it doesn’t make much different. I’ll use butter for the second time around, not that margarine will make it bad though. Now, let’s roll.
 
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Nigella Kitchen: Imperfectly Perfect

Nigella Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the HomeNigella Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home by Nigella Lawson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I always love Nigella right from the very beginning I saw her television program. I love everything about the show: the pictures, the photography, the flow, the concept, everything. The recipes are so-so, but i don’t know why that flaw, if it is actually one, doesn’t really matter to me. To me, recipes are more like ideas that we adapt freely from time to time rather than some sort of instruction sets. As long as they are not totally fraud, I appreciate and cherish them as the treasures I am obliged to explore more. And I love the simplicity and throw-your-caution-to-the-wind attitude she boasts which I think is more important than batting yourself with perfection. So far, I managed to try out some of her recipes, and even though I think the Triple Chocolate Brownies was not really a champ, I love her Cardamom Macaroons I wished I could have them everyday.

When I saw this book, I knew I would adore all the photos exactly like I dreamily stare at every frame, shot by shot in any television programs of her. They were the first thing I looked for in this book. But then I read it, and the writing,.. I heart! I enjoyed her narration so much I found myself taking notes of words I love :). I love her way of thinking incorporating gadgets and equipments, not only the ones that work for her, but also those that, in her words, “languished gathering dust in a cupboard under the stairs before being sent, defeatedly, off to the thrift store.”

I think I owe the adoration and religious loyalty of sitting in front of my TV set everytime she’s on to the fact that I simply see myself in her. Capturing imperfection as fun, enjoying kitchen mess like it is the most interesting decoration reflecting live and liveliness, I even agree with her idea about banishing kitchen drawers in any way other than for storing mugs! :)

So, from me, five stars :)

View all my reviews

Sneak Peek

Three Desserts
 
To masquerade my lack of food blogging lately, let me share some sneak preview from the upcoming recipe book by Fatmah Bahalwan and NCC Team that I happened to be the photographer of. It is the last instalment of the recipe book series of 60 Foolproof Recipes: Dessert and Drinks.

As with the last book, I worked with two of my colleagues, Citra and Nadrah, to help me with the styling. And it was one of the smartest decisions I made in life, beside quitting office work and getting myself a good handblender stick :).
 
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About Fixing Things On Your Own


 
I know, I know, most of you will frown. Especially those of you who live in Indonesia, where the cost of repairmen is fairly low. So convenient to just simply make a call and let them take care of the business while you’re sipping your ice tea and reading the latest Martha Stewart Living on the porch. And for how much? The cost certainly won’t kill your cash flow and thus it will be totally, totally worth it. Hence the ice tea :)

However, you know, I was born a crafty hand. I inherited it from my late beloved Mom, who fixed her own sewing machine and would climb up the roof and saved us from fluttering potentially tumbling tiles tragedy. So I grew up not only adapting some fixing skill from my Mom, but also in deep appreciation toward this craftsmanship and the zeal that goes along with it. I figure if I live in western countries it would be very useful for us to master this skill. I know my Mom still needed a repairman to fix her oven, but I think if she didn’t have 7 kids hanging on her back 24 hour a day I’m pretty sure she would’ve taken the matter into her own hands.

I came across this website about 2 years ago, PartSelect, it sells spare parts of almost all appliances you could possibly have at home. I know it doesn’t make your jaw dropped, but here is the catch: what if it tells you how to fix your appliances?

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Wedang Ronde

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We were in Yogyakarta end of January this year, me and my NCC fellows. We got to do a cake decorating demo promoting our books in Solo, then took the advantage of time and place by taking further trip to Yogyakarta. It was our last day, we drove to Alun-alun and spent the whole afternoon having Wedang Ronde, cycling around, giggling unstoppably along the process :)

Wedang Ronde is a Javanese dessert, one of the pride of Yogyakarta: glutinous rice balls stuffed with sweet peanut paste, floating in a hot and sweet ginger tea. Wedang means hot. But this dessert can be enjoyed cold too, although uncommon.

Classic, refreshing, nostalgic.
Damn good.

Here is the recipe taken from the upcoming book of Fatmah Bahalwan & NCC Team, which is the 4th installment of 60 Foolproof Recipes series: Drinks & Dessert. So this is kinda a sneak preview.
 
Wedang Ronde
Food styling by Citra Anggraini Kusuma & Nadrah Shahab
 
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Female Coffee – One Perfect Mornin’ at Bangi Kopitiam

Kopi Perempuan dan Jurnal

These photos are from last year. I was at Bandar Baru Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia, waiting for my class to begin. I’d be teaching food photography class that very morning. I got to Sugarflours too early, obviously. The store was still closed, it was around 7. I found this old style cafe in the corner of the block. It was the only business opened in that early hour. The smell of the coffee vaporized and intrigued me in a second. Bangi Kopitiam.

Dragged my heavy backpack to a table at the farthest spot from the counter, plunked myself in a chair and grabbed a menu. One coffee caught my eyes in an instant: Kopi Perempuan. Or translated as Female Coffee. I could almost feel it in my mouth already.

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A Red Afternoon

Glossy from the Top
 
I have been knowing this dessert for quite long and loving it for its simplicity and complexity at the same time. Simple in your hand, complex on your tastebud. Almost everybody will frown the first time: balsamic vinegar with strawberries? Ya-ha! Not me though. The first time I read about this, it tingled me so hard I ran to the store and got the vinegar i never had any clue before. And it turned out so beautiful i loved it at once. Yada yada yada, it was another love at first bite.
 
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The Magnum I Know

Dipped and Topped

An email came to my inbox the other day, leaking the news: Magnum Cafe will open next Thursday in Grand Indonesia. One eyebrow was raised, all my reckoning was one and one only thing: that joy on the stick i called adult chocolate lollipop ice cream.

I was right. The cafe is dedicated solely to this Belgian chocolate covered ice cream. Yea, that thing. That Magnum. The Magnum.

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Interesting Questions


 
Got featured by Femina India Online, so cool. The reporter, Rajani Mani of “Eat Write Think“, she threw very interesting questions like:

  • Your favourite cooking smells?
  • 5 ingredients you just need to have?
  • Other than the knife, name one kitchen tool that you can’t do without?

They are that interesting, try answering them yourself and see if you ever could reach fixed answers. I couldn’t.
 
Although she misspelled my name as Rianna, maybe confused with Rihanna :), it was a wonderful article because I got to share my childhood story of where it all began. And, and.. I got to mention Kerupuk, as the one food I simply can’t live without! :D
 
Thank you, Rajani. You’re pretty.