Oh hi, and Happy New Year!
It has been a while…. This blog has remained silent for the large part of the year after my Europe trip in October. I have been struggling to finish off the cookbook, start a new job while still try to retain my sanity.
But I feel the most daunting part of the cookbook is done when Chi Anh and I can wrap up the recipe testing and photo production just right before 2012 ended. I wouldn’t lie, it was daunting to test, bake and shoot cakes weekly on top of the normal full-time job. It was a fruitful but at times frustrating process in which I have learned a lot.
When I edited the last photos, I felt a sense of freedom. At last! Sure I still have plenty of writing up to do, but the hardest part has largely completed.
For a few days between Xmas and New Year, I pushed my DSLR aside, jumped on the bike to ride around our neighbourhood with Mr. B. We also did hiking, and I felt a great sense of belonging.
I started the first day of New Year photographing something different, a peaceful still life of odd things around the house: a book we collected from a second hand bookstore, a favourite Japanese style jar, and lavender sprig from our garden. Simple, calm and not-a-cake!
I am also getting to the habit of photographing my food, flowers and daily happenings with my trusted mobile phone and posted them on Instagram. You will find me there much more frequently than on this blog and other social media channels…
But the New Year also brings me back to the joy of cooking. I have always loved food, but this sense of freedom to cook whatever I like is refreshing. I have done a lot of Vietnamese cooking during the little break, and loving all the dishes to pieces.
Simple and refreshing, this smoothie is for the current hot weather in Australia. Soursop (or custard apple) smoothie is a staple in Vietnamese café, enjoyed by the young and old alike. I re-discovered this amazing drink during a short trip to Adelaide, and have been making them quite frequently.
Fresh custard apples or soursops are hard to come by unless you have access to well-stocked Asian shops. But the good news is the frozen soursop are just as good. You can find them in the frozen section of Asian/Vietnamese groceries. (I know I have used soursop and custard apples interchangeable But soursop is less sweet and has smoother skin than custard apples).
Once the ingredients are sorted, making the smoothie is too easy…
- 1 frozen custard apple can, slightly thawed (or 2 large fresh custard apples, white flesh only)
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons castor sugar (or honey)
- 1-2 tablespoons condensed milk
- 1 cup ice cubes
- A squeeze of lime
- Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately with a squeeze of lime!
- Note: I have used custard apples and soursop interchangeably here but they are only related fruits I think. The soursop variety is smaller and less sweet than custard apples. So adjust your sweetener accordingly.