Savory Carrot Cake

I had consecutively experimented with different diets at one point. Not for weight loss purposes but rather to challenge myself as a cook. Adopting a vegan diet taught me to use miso, nutritional yeast and tahini to really boost the flavors of otherwise bland ingredients. My gluten-free diet led me to explore alternative grains. The paleo diet was too expensive for me to sustain as a student for more than a few days. And the raw diet turned me into a horrible human being.
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Ricotta Pie

Back when my waistline was independent from my diet, the New York Cheesecake from Starbucks was a regular snack of mine. I remember having that rich, calorific cheesecake in conjunction with a sweet, sugar-laden frappuccino. Talk about the blessed metabolism of the youth. With time, my waistline and my palate have both developed an aversion for those cheesecakes as they are distastefully sweet and heavy. Instead, the more tempting version today would be the Italian cheesecake with ricotta, which is lighter and more delicate.
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Salmon & Fennel Open Sandwich

“Sh*t, did I just spend £35 on two coffees and two sandwiches?”

That was my first visit to Norway. That was breakfast. That was the result of me stupidly saying, “let’s go out for breakfast, my treat” to my boyfriend. I didn’t know better. The worst part is my sandwich was not even memorable, I had no idea what I hate. I hate overspending on forgettable food.
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Earl Grey, Honey & Orange Macarons

The raw ingredients for these macarons work out to be roughly 25p each, and this calculation is based on retail prices and on organic eggs & butter, thus with whole sale prices and non-organic ingredients, let’s be conservative, we’ll say it would be just shy of 15p. Obviously the rent of the facilities, and the  cost of the chef, electricity, and equipment need to be considered too. Furthermore, with human error and just the regular “shit happens” moments mean that not all the macarons made in a batch will be in the adequate aesthetic state to be sold. Let’s say the rate is 80% for a decent pastry chef, 80% of the macarons made will be sold. I don’t know how much that all adds up to to tell you the average cost of a retail macaron is, but i can tell you that at £2 a bite, the mark up is preposterous.
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A Really Good Apple Cake

This post is really about how to salvage a cake disaster. This was a cake that took a long time in the oven, and it was my third cake of the day, and it was getting late, and I just wanted to go to bed. Therefore, as soon as the cake was done I retrieved it from the oven, and tried to take it out of the tin after five minutes instead of letting it cool properly. So… I inverted it… And half the cake was stuck to the pan. After a series of expletives I pulled myself together as I had to solve the situation. This was my boyfriend’s 30th birthday cake. I had made him three cakes, one for each decade, and the apple cake was his favorite. apple cake Continue reading “A Really Good Apple Cake”

Three Cup Chicken

I love discovering the food-words that exist exclusively in certain languages. Shememodjamo, for instance, is Georgian for “I accidentally ate the whole thing”, to describe situations where one continues to eat despite being full. This word needs to exist in more languages.  This Three Cup Chicken dish is most perfectly described as 下饭 (xia fan) as we say in Chinese, which translates to “sends the rice down”, ie the robust flavor renders the dish perfect with rice. This word, understandably, has little place in other languages.
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Hazelnut & Cherry Loaf

Nutella is fascinatingly one of the most successful brands in the world. It’s so universal that it has been the happy part of the childhoods of people from all angles of the world (or at least in the West). It is so universal that the brand is responsible for forming the association between hazelnut and chocolate. That’s my theory, at least. People say hazelnuts are reminiscent of chocolate, that when roasted, contain deep notes of cocoa. I say bullsh*t. You’re used to the two being together because of Nutella. When you have roasted hazelnuts on its own, you think it’s missing something – its long term partner chocolate.
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St Lucia Buns (Saffron Buns)

There are admittedly days when I feel like kneading a bread dough for 10, 20, 30 minutes.  The rhythm motion of pushing and stretching the soft yeast-scented dough is as therapeutic an activity as it gets for me.  However, if you present me with the alternative of letting a machine do it in five minutes whilst I make myself a cup of coffee…Maybe that’s even more therapeutic. And since I’ve acquired Heston, my beloved stand mixer, I’ve made more bread and rolls and buns.
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White Chocolate & Cardamom Mousse Cake

Urgh. I’ve been on an energy-sapping holiday in Italy. The combination of the scorching sun and unlimited food is putting me in a constant state of lethargy. Everything’s so much effort: stairs, cooking, even lifting fingers to type. Maybe my muscles are finding it difficult to move around the fat that have recently surrounded them… So here’s an old recipe back from culinary school.
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Asian Chicken Salad

“You know, I’ve never spoken with an Asian before.”

I was perplexed more than anything. The statement was from a colleague. A colleague whom I didn’t know well, a colleague whom I had just met and whom I was engaged in rather pleasant small talk with prior to his sudden proclamation that I was the first Asian he had ever spoken with.

I was perplexed. Yes, I was offended because I’m not a different species, dude, so how has this experience been for you? But more than anything I was perplexed because we are literally everywhere, where do you live such that there is no Asian shop or restaurant in the vicinity?!
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