Friday, 15 December 2017

Apple Ring Fritters

One of the last winter memory I had of Germany was its Christmas Market, particularly the one in Kassel. There is one dish there that I quite enjoyed, although I've only ever bought it once. It was this Apfelringe—translated to Appel Rings. It was very simple, quite warming and rather good. This time of year just always reminds me of Germany's variety of Christmas Market and how much I miss trying out different kind of food in different towns/cities. The smell of mulled wine in the air really signifies Christmas and the ending of the year—honestly, nostalgic! Since, unfortunately, I can't experience it again myself for the foreseeable future, I thought I'd reimagine the recipe that I found rather fitting for the season. However, before we proceed, there are a few things you need to know. First of all, this is actually my Stepmom's recipe for good ol' banana fritters—she would add egg too sometimes, depending on what kind batter she was looking for. Second of all, this is a vegan recipe, so if you want something meat-free and festive, you've come to the right place. But, if you want fluffier, non-vegan variety, please scroll down below for tips.

Ingredients
  • 3 apples
  • 3-4 tbsp. flour
  • 200 ml water
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin spice (optional)
  • cooking oil for frying
  • 1 tsp. icing sugar (topping)
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon (topping)
  1. Slice the apples and remove the core, creating ring-shaped slices
  2. In a bowl, mix the flour and water together until there are no clumps
  3. Add in the salt and pumpkin spice, mix well
  4. On the stove, heat up a frying pan/wok then pour oil accordingly
  5. Dip each apple slice into the batter, make sure each surface is coated
  6. Put each slice into the hot oil, fry for 2-3 minutes in medium heat
  7. Once each side is already golden, take out the slice and strain the excess oil
  8. Put them on a plate and sprinkle with icing sugar and ground cinnamon
  9. Serve them while they're hot!
Tips: First of all, you can choose to peel the skin or not, according to your preference. People would usually discard of the top and bottom part, but I don't like to be wasteful, so I use them all. To remove the core and create a hole, I think you can use a corer or—if you're poor like me—a knife, both are just as good and easy. The batter should be liquid enough to drip freely, but thick enough to stick. To test if the oil is ready, you can use a small piece of the apples. When it floats, you can put your slices in. If you live in Indonesia, pumpkin spice is basically what we know as "Bumbu Spekoek," which is available in most supermarkets and ingredients stores. If you want thicker/fluffier batter, feel free to add eggs. If you add eggs, mix the eggs with the water first and then add the flour in. Lass es euch schmecken!

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Sunday, 10 December 2017

How to Move On with Your Life

This year 'moving on' seems to be the theme of my life. A few months ago I shared a post on that. While I feel like in the past 365 days I could finally start to make peace with my life-changing decision, compared to the previous years, I can't say that my doubt and pain have completely gone away. There are days when I can totally focus on the present and be optimistic, but there are also days when everything seems pointless and I've got my head in the clouds. In December, particularly, do I feel down right off the bat, because this is the time of year, when I would usually look forward to spending Christmas and New Year's break with Firu. Now there is this void in my heart and I don't know how to fill it.

You know, I have this habit, where at the dead of night, right before falling asleep, I would imagine surprising Firu at his apartment. I would stand at the door of his building or sit on the bed in his room, waiting for him to come home from uni. A smile would be pasted on my face, because I know I wouldn't be able to help it. His face, hopefully, would be full of surprise and delight as he collects me into his embrace. His environment feels so familiar, I could almost see so vividly how he would walk out of the tram station opposite his building, approaching his door. Or the teal-coloured walls that we painted together, the contrasting white bed against it and the mix of orange and red carpet on the floor. Even when I'm not imagining myself in the scenario, just trying to picture what his life looks like at the moment, these details come into view.

However, three months ago, something drastic happened that indirectly affects my life: Firu moved out of his home. It threw me for a bittersweet loop, where I'm not sure whether to feel happy or sad about it. I know, it's probably irrelevant to my actual life, but I can't help but to feel sentimental about the whole thing anyway. I mean, it was the last home of his that I've ever been to. We've created so many precious memories together there. Leaving that place means letting go of them. The walls of his room had to be repainted. His roommates can no longer include me in their lives. And the place is no longer relevant in both of our present—like so many other homes we created before it. Now he lives in a place I've never even known about beforehand, so I can no longer imagine what his life looks like. I can no longer imagine a surprise visit for a faraway future. Everything is completely new and strange.

On the other hand, I'm also relieved. I feel freed from my doubt and haunting regret. If I had stayed in Germany—and, most likely, mainly because of Firu—I would have been miserable, because he would move away anyway. I would be pursuing an education in something I'm not passionate about. I would be living in a shitty apartment that I barely liked. I would only have a few friends to keep me company, granted they'd never left. Who knows what my health and financial condition would be by then. The only light I probably would have had was seeing Firu again soon, which wouldn't happen all that often in his current location. I would be living life as if I'm a ghost, just gliding through each day. It's as if Firu's decision to move away confirmed the vague feeling I have, that the choice I made three years ago was the right one.

Still, I can't help but to feel somewhat guilty, because—let's face it!—whatever the reason, my homecoming was a selfish choice. I constantly feel like I abandoned him, to tough it out alone in a foreign country. Whenever I feel lonely because I miss him so much, Firu constantly reminds me of how lucky I am, to live in a familiar environment, surrounded by my friends and family. And it got me thinking of how alone he actually is, especially now in a different location. While I dream about golden leaves, baroque castles and trams, Firu wishes for rendang, beaches and warmer weather. I would give anything to trade places with him. However, even when he's mad pissed at me, he always says that he doesn't blame me for returning home without him. Why not? I was the reason we couldn't spend time physically together anymore. But, I guess, he doesn't see it that way. He knew I thought it's what was best for me.

Memory is a funny thing; it only lets you see the past the way you want to see it. It emphasises the good and amplifies the bad, depending on where you lean towards. It makes you forget that, even back then, you were just living life. There is a reason the past is in the past and we should trust that we made the right choice leaving it there. People tend to say, "The past can't hurt you," but, at the same time, it also can't make you happy. We're just afraid that change will only bring unfamiliar things—ones that we may or may not like—but if we give it a chance, it may be the best decision of our lives. Every year I say I'm afraid of change—and it may be more glaring and prominent this time—but the next year it proves me wrong. Change is scary, but change is good. Move on.

Goodbye, lovely room, you've been great!

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