Corks and Chocolate Chips

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I am a hoarder. In other words, I refuse to throw things away, resulting in boxes, jars and shelves filled with cinema ticket stubs, plane tickets, tags off presents, and bottle corks. Recently, after seeing a picture of Dominique Ansel’s cookie shots, I decided to give this a shot myself (ha!) – and finally put something I hoarded to use.

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Since coming back to Hong Kong it’s taking a lot getting used to the heat, the rain (yep complaining about the weather), the massive crowds, concrete jungles, time difference. I’ve also been watching Friends, and seeing Joey and Chandler in London (Westminster “Crabbey”) made me go awwww a little bit more. But then there are also perks, such as finding 2-inch cake tins with a removable base to make these cookie shots and a one-stop-shop for baking ingredients. Yummy homemade food and dim sum. Quit complaining.

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One novelty in my first year of university was the hype of “Midnite Cookies”. We found flyers under our dorm room doors telling us cookie delivery after around 11pm would be available if there was a minimum £10 order worth of cookies, and you would have a boxful of warm, buttery goodness for a midnight snack feast. Whenever we had a “midnight cookie meeting” we would make sure we had a pint or two of milk, which we would dunk these as-big-as-my-palm cookies in. This craze continued for another year or two, where we would call in different accents, or adopted names such as “James Bond” when making our deliveries. Then we started making our own cookies, maybe because Midnite Cookies stopped delivering (or maybe they stopped believing James Bond would order cookies). We even made some in the shape of the letters of our names. These gluttony treats saw me through essays, “deep meaningful conversations”…

…and motivation to go to the gym the next morning.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Shots
Cookie recipe adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

113g unsalted butter, softened
130g soft light brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour, plus extra for rolling out the cookie dough
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
110g dark chocolate chips
150g dark chocolate
corks and 2-inch cake tins (or I’ve read that popover tins also work)
makes 8  – 10 shots

1.     Preheat oven to 170 degreesC.
2.    Cream butter and sugar together with an electric mixer, then add the egg beat until incorporated. Turn the speed to low and beat in the vanilla extract.
3.     Add flour, salt and baking soda and mix well by hand, scraping the sides of the bowl down. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips. Put the dough in the refrigerator so it’s easier to roll.
4.   Wrap 8 corks with foil, and grease the wrapped corks and the cake tins thoroughly. Cut out a circular piece of dough to go on the bottom of the cake tin. Then, wrap a strip of cookie dough around the cork, and insert that into the cake tin too.*
5.      Bake for 16 minutes, then let the tins to cool for a couple of minutes before removing the corks and the cookie shot from the tin. Allow to cool completely.
6.    When the cookie shots have cooled, melt dark chocolate (either in a microwave or over a pot of hot water) and carefully pour into each shot up to its brim. Wait for a minute or so then pour the excess back out, so that you have a layer of chocolate coating on the inside of the cookie shot. Check to make sure there aren’t any cookie bits exposed – this will otherwise cause your shot to leak when you pour milk in.**

*I did mine in 4 batches since I only bought two of those cake tins – it was kind of an experiment and I wasn’t sure whether it would work!
**I’ve heard Baileys is also a very good idea…

P.S. Thank you TJ for the pretty dish!

revamp

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By the Sea

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The sea isn’t crystalline, the sand isn’t sink-in-soft. It’s not a Mediterranean-standard kind of beach but this coastline of Norfolk and the quaint town of Hunstanton offered a different getaway.

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Hunstanton is about 1.5 hours away from Cambridge, which can be reached by a bus from Kings Lynn. This seaside town is a purposely-built resort town that dates all the way back to 1846. My first impression was a run-down town full of old people, but I was way too excited at the prospect of seeing…

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these long whiskered fat blobs! The seal tour was originally fully booked (I threw a tantrum) but then I called again begging to be put on the waiting list and miracles do happen – the man said I was in luck; they’d decided to send out another vessel. And the seals were SO CUTE! I could just about see them lulling about through binoculars, and as the vessel turned closer to them they all waddled to the edge of the sand bay to investigate what was going on. Inquisitive little big creatures!

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We stopped to get soft serve cones. The wind was so ridiculous I couldn’t even take a bite without my hair being dyed white by ice cream; at least I didn’t end up looking like this poor kid (I don’t blame him)…

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The signature striped cliffs of Hunstanton was another something I did not expect to see in the UK. The three layers are white limestone chalk, red chalk and carrstone respectively, the reddening colours reflecting its iron ore content.

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Market Bistro in King’s Lynn is strongly recommended by Tripadvisor, which is where we headed after an hour of slotting in 2p coins into the Coin Dozer – not winning anything but fully understanding why this mindless arcade game was just so addictive. We sat our tired selves down to gin & tonics, and a dinner of crab, quail, pollock and trout. Market Bistro dishes are seasonal, and they claim that their catch(es) of the day depends on what they receive from suppliers every morning. This Alaskan Snow Crab Salad below is inspired by one of the starters we had. Crab salad, air delivery from UK to HK.

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Hunstanton to me was no breathtaking, love-at-first-sight town. But I guess life’s about learning to find that one thing to appreciate in a setting and giving second chances.

Alaskan Snow Crab Salad

(From when I was young up until now, my dad has unfailingly given me a hand (or two) with shelling crustaceans. This was no exception; without his help I would still be wedging crab flesh out of its shell.)

approx 10 legs of Alaskan Snow Crabs, flesh removed
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 pack salad leaves
6 cherry tomatoes, sliced
1 purple sweet potato, cubed
3 radishes, sliced
6 mint leaves, torn into shreds
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp (or more) tabasco
salt & pepper

1.     Place the salad leaves, cherry tomatoes, sweet potato, radishes and mint into a large bowl, leaving a couple of slices of each for garnish. Drizzle olive oil over it and add salt & pepper to taste.
2.   In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise and tabasco together (you get tabasco mayo that can be used for dipping chips as well!). Empty that into the salad bowl too.
3.      Squeeze lemon juice over the crab flesh to get rid of the salty/fishy taste (dad’s tip!). Keep a few shreds to put on the side, and empty the rest into the salad bowl as well. Cover the salad bowl with a large plate and give it a couple of good tosses to mix well. Garnish and serve!

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References:

token

Full Circle

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I’m still here. It’s been a hectic three days trying to cram all that I haven’t managed to do in the past 10 months into 72 hours. I definitely wasn’t ready to leave, and I don’t think Cambridge wanted me to go either – there was a battle with pre-ordered taxis that never came, a coach that was 40 minutes late and two ridiculously overweight suitcases, an overflowing travel bag and a handbag which ate my phone. I finally made it to the boarding gate still giggling at my final souvenir from Cambridge: the images of P and I yelling at the taxi driver – “go go GO!” – and E’s face of determination as he raced beside us on his bike to stop the (wrong) coach from leaving firmly stuck in my head.

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Goodbyes are more difficult with age. As the commotion of today died down it hit me that this was no simple “see you later” kind of goodbye. Graduating from a Bachelor’s degree and leaving London was difficult enough but I didn’t have any concrete plans confirmed when I left. This goodbye to Cambridge and to the UK had a stronger sense of certainty to it, a certainty of the close to a stage of life. This time I’ll be stepping out of a sheltered cocoon into the “real world”. I don’t see myself ever having this much freedom as a student again.

Please don’t burst my (Cambridge) bubble. This academic year started in complete disarray, when there were definitely uncountable occasions where I felt like being thrown into deep waters not knowing how to swim. And then it wasn’t so bad after all. From initially causing havoc on a bike to weaving round zero-awareness tourists on Kings Parade single-handed (still trying to master no-hands!), from not even knowing what “bow” and “stern” was to racing in Bumps…this year I manoeuvred a number of things from scratch and finding my footing finally gave me something to be I’m proud of (albeit with a lot of help). Not to mention finding a bunch of amazing friends from all over the world that always looked out for me in college, on my course and on the river. I’m so grateful for every tear shed as well as every laughter sounded. Thank you for all the epic unforgettable memories.

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Clover Clubs. I spent my last night in Cambridge drinking the first ever cocktail E and I ever made together again and eating chicken at 4 in the morning. This Lemon, Garlic and Tomato chicken was one of my first ever creations – in first year I somehow thought of throwing these ingredients together while grocery shopping without an extensive study of a recipe, and understanding why the three secrets of French cuisine would be “butter, butter and butter” (No Reservations). At the start of this year, this was also the first thing I made after stitches came out of my thumb from a bread knife accident. That scar is barely visible now.

Full Circle. Like other simple constants and repetitions that intentionally or unintentionally painted a few amazing years of university life, this uncomplicated recipe is dotted around the patchwork of my time in the UK from beginning to end. And this phase of life comes to a wrap, I’m hoping to carry forward things worth retaining and anticipate the next.

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Lemon, Garlic and Tomato Chicken

5-6 pieces of chicken thighs and drumsticks
25g unsalted butter
5 cloves of garlic, minced
10 cherry tomatoes
zest and juice of half a lemon
2 sprigs of thyme (optional)
salt & pepper

1.       Preheat oven to 175degreesC.
2.     Rub butter and salt onto the thighs and drumsticks, followed by the minced garlic. Then, place the cherry tomatoes and chicken into a casserole dish. Finally, sprinkle zest drizzle lemon juice over the chicken and add thyme and black pepper.
3.      Bake for 25-30 minutes and you’ll get a dish of goodness swimming in lemon-butter, which I have the tendency to soak with bread or use to go over pasta!

so I say thank you for the music

Goo

They say the Chinese eat anything, and in this case I sure am grateful to the person who decided that pig’s trotters could be a delicacy. Especially when after being braised for over an hour, it becomes melt-in-the-mouth and gooey, and leaves my lips sticky with the collagen in the pig’s skin. Beautiful messes.

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Pig’s trotter can be made with fermented red bean curd, another Chinese ingredient that fascinates me. When I was younger I found the smell terrible – it was stinky, like rotting fruit, and I refused to eat it. I guess all foreign things scare me a little. My dad once told me that fermented bean curd is the “Chinese Cheese”, and I would agree. It’s not unlike stilton in terms of texture, flavour and smell, and it’s also what one would call an acquired taste.

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The biggest drawback about spending Chinese New Years away from home is missing out feast after feast that happens for about a week (and the red envelopes of money of course!), and this dish was first made with my flatmates as a consolation prize. It became an annual tradition, but also to comfort visitors who missed home. And although it’s not Chinese New Years today, having three traditional Chinese dishes, a bowl of jasmine rice and Chinese soup sitting in my tummy makes any day a good day.

Braised Pig’s Trotter in Fermented Red Bean Curd (南乳炆豬手)

1 kg pig’s trotter, hair removed and chopped*
8 slices of ginger
4 stalks of spring onion, chopped into smaller stalks
3 tbsp Chinese rice wine
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tbsp fermented red bean curd
1400 ml water
1/2 tbsp each of dark soy sauce and light soy sauce
~30g rock sugar
1 tbsp corn starch

1.     Blanch the pig’s trotter in 6 slices of ginger, spring onion and 5 tbsp Chinese rice wine for around 30 minutes.
2.     Saute the garlic, 2 slices of ginger and fermented red bean curd in a deep saucepan for a minute or so, then add the pig’s trotters.
3.     Add the water, soy sauces, rick sugar, 2 tbsp rice wine and corn starch, bring to boil, then cover the pan and allow to simmer for 40 minutes to an hour, until the pig’s trotter is soft and gooey.

*I found ready chopped frozen pig’s trotter in a package from a small Asian supermarket in Cambridge – definitely made my life easier as I didn’t have to deal with the little hairs that come with them!

block

Contrasting Japanese

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Rain poured onto Cambridge this Sunday morning as I stood at the edge of Market Square. I couldn’t tell whether I was being drenched by water tipping off from canopies of stalls or the skies – actually, both. E and I had talked about a sushi night ever since Michaelmas and with less than a week to go until I leave we finally decided to make it happen. So here I was, standing in the rain, eyeing up the fresh fish at the fish stall.

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“Let me know next Sunday how your sushi goes yeah?”  said the lovely fishmonger, handing me my swordfish and salmon. I won’t be here anymore. I’ve never bought fresh fish from a fish stall and made sashimi / sushi out of it – I was so apprehensive I’d checked to see whether there was diarrhoea medication at home. But the fishmonger said it was fresh so I guess there was nothing that a lot of washing couldn’t get rid of.

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Excuse my slicing efforts! I might add that I don’t know much about making sushi; I’ve just known how to eat it. So it was a lot experimenting and pairing ingredients we thought complemented each other. E came running into the kitchen at one point with excitement, proudly presenting the two jars below. Another case of east-meets-west? Garlic mayo, and truffle paste brought all the way back from Milan with love. I think we need more of that in this world.

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I had so much fun building blobs of rice and fish into little sculptures. Sushi has always been a father-daughter thing in my family. Mum doesn’t really like the thought of cold rice and raw fish. So whenever it was just Dad and I left to our own devices for dinner, we’d go to the sushi train that used to be down the road from where we lived. Dad always got the “Boston Maki’ and katsu prawn rolls.

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My flatmates and I also had sushi nights in university. Exam period is normally when I get so fed up with repeating the same mundane task for 16 hours that I get most creative. In  third year, I got back from an exam and decided I would take the afternoon off revision by making brown rice sushi. Sadly Sainsbury’s “Scottish Salmon Fillets” didn’t look “sashimisable”, so I used smoked salmon instead. I also added sea urchin cream which I had bought from Muji to make little seaweed-rice-salmon mini rolls. I was so bored I started making little pictures with the sushi-ettes, according to J.

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As I mentioned in “A Cultural Melting Pot”, Hong Kong is where all types of traditions are blended together and homogenised to recreate its own unique culture. On the contrary, in face of ethnic and cosmopolitan components, the Japanese are keen to retain its cultural identity by initiating stark contrast with the West (Hiroko, 2008: 12). For example, although sukiyaki and tempura are commonly identified as Japanese cuisine, they were in fact adapted from Western dishes as a result of Westernisation, but reinforced its Japaneseness through its serving practices and presentations (ibid.). As demonstrated in E and I’s little experiment with these rolls, sushi has even counteracted Westernisation to globalise and allow other cuisines to infuse their own complementing components, whilst preserving its representation of “being Japanese”.

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N.B. All the sashimi-slicing / sushi-rolling was part of a trial and error and the result of utilising everything in the fridge and I’m definitely not in any position to “teach” anything but here is a list of ingredients for inspiration: fresh salmon, fresh swordfish, avocado, cucumber, garlic mayo, truffle paste and wasabi paste.

Sushi Rice:

2 cups* sushi rice
3 cups water
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tbsp sugar 1/2 tsp salt

1.     Put the rice and water into a pot and bring to boil, then cover with a lid and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
2.     Take it off the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then, mix in rice vinegar, sugar and salt, and cover the pot with a damp tea towel until you make the rice rolls** to stop it from drying up.

*This is a rice measuring cup. Apparently it’s 3/4 of a standard American cup. **When making the rice rolls, it’s useful to keep a small bowl of water at hand to keep your hands wet. This will stop the sushi rice sticking to everything.

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Reference: Hiroko, T. 2008. “Delicious Food in a Beautiful Country: Nationhood and Nationalism in Discourses on Food in Contemporary Japan”. Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, 8: 5-30.

experimental

Crumble

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I very nearly gave up on writing today. I spent the most of today crumbling down my room and packing the bits and pieces into suitcases and boxes. Packing to go home again. I’ve played “moving house” countlessly for the past seven years and I think it’s safe to say that this time it’ll be a while before this happens again. Contradicting feelings of relief and of missing the implications of exploring new places that comes with the packing…

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12am rolled by and I gathered up my remaining strength to fill three ramekins with apple bits, rub some butter and flour together to make one of the first desserts I’ve ever had. I was about 4 years old and it was maybe at Pizza Hut when I was living in Australia. I was still to young to realise that the delicious crumbly bits in my mouth was the taste of butter. Then I went to a British boarding school in Sixth Form and was overjoyed at the prospect of crumble for pudding on a rainy day – only to find they had put rhubarb in it. I was very, very upset.

In university, I went through a crumble phase, pun very much intended at the description of falling desperately behind at law school (when was I ever ahead…ha). I also realised how quick it is toss a few ingredients together for a steaming hot breakfast (yep, dessert at 9am). And I so started “crumbling” everything. Peaches. Bananas. Butternut squash and spinach. I promise you it was just a phase.

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Apple Crumble

1 apple, cut into chunks*
4 tbsp light brown sugar
5 tbsp flour
40g butter
2 tbsp oats

1.     Preheat oven to 190degreesC.
2.     Mix 1 tbsp sugar with the apple chunks and spoon into three or four ramekins.
3.   Place flour and remaining sugar into a bowl and rub in the butter, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the oats and mix well. Spread the crumble topping on the top of the apples.
4.     Bake for 20 minutes, until apples are soft and the crumble is golden brown.

*Might be a good idea to taste the apple first and add less sugar if it’s really ripe – I found my crumble a bit on the sweet side!

now, time for bed.

A Cultural Melting Pot

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At home, oxtail came in the form of a warm pot of soup, with tomatoes, onions and potatoes. I remember looking for that little hole in the bone of the oxtail when I was young, then sucking out the remnants of soup and what seemed to be marrow inside the bone. And being very fascinated.

When asked the origin of this oxtail stew, I realised that it was a case of East-meets-West. A quick google search on “Oxtail Stew” displays results from Jamie’s “Insanely Good Oxtail Stew”and the like, with suggestions to cook this with herbs commonly used in Western countries, such as rosemary and thyme, served with pasta or mashed potatoes. However, in Hong Kong, this dish would be found in local restaurants, or Cha-Chaan-Tengs, served over rice. (A Cha-Chaan-Teng is a local restaurant serving a wide range of dishes, from instant noodles to Western-influenced pasta and rice bakes.)

screenshot_taipingkoon(source: http://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/photos-of-best-food-in-hong-kong#slide-5)

Hong Kong was once a British colony, and is a highly Westernised global city embracing the juxtaposition of Western colonial and local cultures – Westernalisation interpreted as import of values, cultures and traditions from the West (Bond & King, 1986:357; Eves et al., 2012:184). Cha-chaan-tengs, or local restaurants incorporating Western styles such as Tai Ping Koon (featured above), serve as examples of Western influences where traditionally British, American, Italian or Portuguese (the list goes on) dishes fuse with Chinese cooking methods and ingredients, then served with a bowl of steaming jasmine rice.

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Having spent substantial periods of my life in both Hong Kong and the UK, I do realise how Hong Kong has homogenised Western and local cultures to earn its title of a “cultural melting pot”, in creating a unique “Hong-Kong-ese” culture. Specifically, in my rendition of this oxtail stew, I added in oregano into the pot knowing that it paired well with the tomato base. However, I also threw in a chunk of rock sugar to braise the oxtail. The Chinese suggest that rock sugar has medicinal purposes which can soothe respiratory tracts and stop coughs; I used it with the handed-down knowledge that it can break down the toughness in meat while braising.

Perhaps, in the pots of melting goodness within Hong-Kong-ese cooking, the Orientalist influences into Western dishes are symbolic of the preservation of one’s own cultural originality in face of Westernisation – a common phenomenon in the process of colonisation (Said, 1978:7). Or maybe, we all just want food to taste good.

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Braised Oxtail Stew
Prep Time: 2.5hrs

1kg oxtail
3 slices of ginger
2 carrots, chopped into chunks
1 onion, sliced
4 tomatoes, sliced
3 tbsp tomato puree
half a cube of beef stock
1 bay leaf
2 tsp oregano
1 chunk of rock sugar (size of a pound coin)
4 chestnut mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper

1.     Add slices of ginger and blanch the oxtail in boiling water, for about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2.     Add the beef stock cube and fill a pot halfway with boiling water, then place the blanched oxtail, carrots, onions and tomatoes until the water boils again. Then, add tomato puree, bay leaf, oregano and sprinkles of salt. Cover the pot and allow it to braise on medium heat for two hours.
3.     After two hours, sauté the mushroom and garlic, and add to the pot. Allow to braise for another 15-20minutes, and season to taste. If the stew is still a bit watery, add cornstach / flour to thicken the juices.

References:

  • Bond, M.H and King, A.Y.C. 1986. “Coping with the threat of Westernisation in Hong Kong”. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 9: 351-364
  • Eves, A., Lumbers, M. and Mak, A. 2012. “Globalisation and food consumption in tourism”. Annals of Tourism Research, 39: 171-196
  • Said, E. 1978. Orientalism: Western conceptions of the Orient. London: Penguin Books.

bananas – [           ] – hard-boiled eggs

Something Sweet

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Thank you to all those who’ve encouraged me for the past week of my blogging – from realisations as to why this deranged woman is manoeuvring a saucepan, the stove and a camera at the same time, to appreciation of my work so far. Can’t say how much those small comments make my heart dance, so thank you again and I myself in particular hope I can keep this up!

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“Cooking isn’t housework! Oh wait…” I guess this was primarily an extremely first-world, comment where food on the table is so taken for granted – it appears either because someone at home cooked and laid it in front of you, or that it could be so easily bought by a phone call and the swipe of a card. But more importantly, when an activity is a hobby it no longer is a chore. Because I ultimately find solace and enjoyment in the number of sensory nerves triggered in the process such that cooking-as-housework has become a foreign concept. Then again… maybe it’s because I know that I’m spoilt enough with the niceties of life to not have to cook for a living that I can afford to make a hobby out of ‘housework’. Chicken and egg circular argument.

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Below is the recipe for a dessert that is another of those “g/oldies” – sometimes I do wonder who came up with these classic desserts that is always welcome. They say that “desserts is stressed spelt backwards”. And bashing up biscuits can be a very good stress relief…

Banoffee Pie
Prep time: 1 hour

100g butter, melted
250g digestive biscuits
100g soft dark brown sugar
380g condensed milk
4 bananas
300ml single / whipping cream, whipped
4 squares of chocolate
a cake tin

1.     Base: crush the biscuits until they become crumbs. (This can be done by putting them into a ziplock bag and running a rolling bin over it, or whizzed through a blender). Stir in the melted butter, then press the mixture into the base and up the sides of the tin using the back of a spoon. Chill the base while you make the filling.
2.     Filling: slice the two bananas and line the base. Place the butter and sugar into a non-stick saucepan over a low heat, stirring until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Add the condensed milk and bring gently to boil, stirring continuously. When the caramel has started to boil, remove from the heat and pour over the biscuit base. Cool, and then leave to chill for about 1 hour, until firm.
3.   Topping: Slice the bananas, fold softly into whipped cream and spoon over the caramel base. Decorate by running a vegetable peeler along the squares of chocolate to create small chocolate curls.

fabrication

Aspergers, or just men

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In a pudding-and-tea session, the subject of Asperger’s came up.

Y: “One characteristic of people with Asperger’s is the failure to detect emotional patterns in others and/or react to it. They can also be very literal. For example, a man with Asperger’s may see his girlfriend crying:

Man: ‘I see tears on your face and I’ve been taught this means you are upset, but I don’t know what to do.’
Woman: ‘You could give me a hug?’
Man: ‘Yes, I could.’ (stays rooted to the spot)”

B: “That’s just what most men are like nowadays regardless of whether they have Aspergers or not!”

We all cackled at that, but that also made me think how there are moments where all human beings, regardless of their sex, can be a little insensitive, fail to understand, or think one step ahead and derive from others’ behaviour what they need without them having to say.

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And then I’m also thankful for having people in my life who are the complete opposite of Asperger’s patients, men and women alike. Sitting in the Newnham kitchen and seeing L‘s left-behind belongings made me remember the time she bought Vitamin C in the form of oranges and lemons for when we were all sick and ailing. E caught me having an embolism in the kitchen over this featured chicken (I was tired and grumpy and having an I-never-want-to-cook-again fit), simply quietly took the knife I was wielding, then proceeded to debone it and placing the pieces on plates. It’s precisely because of these compassionate, amazing people in my life, and many more, that set an example for me to take that little extra step and make someone’s day too.

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Hainanese Chicken Rice
Prep time: 1.5 hours*

1 small whole chicken
6 stalks of spring onions (4 chopped and 2 minced)
half a ginger (half sliced and half grated)
14 cloves of garlic (8 sliced and 6 minced)
1 lime (halved)
2 cups of jasmine rice
2 tbsp sesame oil
half a chicken stock cube
cooked oil
2 tbsp fish sauce
3 tsp sugar
4 tbsp white vinegar
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp honey
chilli
salt

1.    Wash and drain the rice thoroughly. Heat sesame oil and lightly fry 2 tsps garlic and 2 tsps ginger. Then, fry the raw rice for a couple of minutes, making sure it is coated in oil. Set aside in rice cooker.
2.     Heat oil a big pan and lightly fry the slices of ginger and garlic, as well as the chopped spring onions, then add boiling water to about half way. Add 1 tsp salt, the chicken stock cube and juice of half a lime. Immerse chicken in the boiling water, turn to very low heat and let it barely simmer for 25-30mins.
3.     After 25-30mins, ladle the chicken soup into the rice cooker until the required level of liquid normally required to cook the rice. Meanwhile, allow the chicken to cool before deboning, and make the three condiments:

a) Ginger-spring-onion dip: mix the minced ginger and spring onion in the cooked oil and season to taste.
b) Sweet and sour vinaigrette: mix fish sauce, 2 tsp (or more) sugar, white vinegar, minced garlic, juice of half a lime and a sprinkle of chilli (optional).
c) Black sauce: mix dark soy sauce, honey and 1tsp sugar

It definitely will make your life easier to prepare and lay out all the ingredients neatly before starting the cooking for this particular recipe – and even so it always always takes longer than I think!

stay smiling