Brown Cheese Truffles

I live in Norway now. I’ve been here for just under a year, and it still feels very odd, even random, that I’m here. Norway, as a teenager in China ten years ago, was just a Northern European country far, far away. Maybe the only reference I knew was salmon. Never heard of the country in history or geography classes or read about it in the news, I genuinely think I only knew of Norway because of some expensive smoked salmon I ate. And in university when I finally did encounter Norwegians, they were all too blonde, beautiful and cool to be my friends. I most likely didn’t even think of them as “Norwegian” so much as just “Scandinavian”. Then I met a Norwegian man and here I am. Among blonde, beautiful and cool people. And salmon.

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Creamy Pasta with Leeks

I kid you not, if there’s anything that can console us in these apocalyptic times it’s carbs. I don’t know what it is about them that just soothe the mind and improve our outlooks on life, I just know that they work and it’s universal. And for the past six months, it’s been pizza, bread, pasta and rice that have helped me digest all the news on the pandemic, deaths, unemployment, climate change, Xinjiang, Trump, RBG, BLM… *panic* *sweats* *gulp* hold on, let me just snack on some sourdough I made this morning.

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Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

Chocolate was the ultimate comfort food for me as a child. I would fall, scrape my knees, bleed, and chocolate can just switch off those tear ducts in an instance. Looking back, no physical or emotional pain couldn’t be soothed by chocolate.

Unfortunately, because life’s a b*tch, chocolate’s potency has weakened with time. These days the coronavirus gets me down, I eat chocolate, cry even more as now not only am I sad, but I’m going to be fat and sad.
chocolate hazelnut
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Apple Almond Cake

Ok. Let’s keep this content corona-free. I probably spend more time reading about the corona virus than working these days, so this post will just be about the apple cake. Let’s just stop thinking about corona for five minutes and instead find comfort in the baking of an apple cake. A fantastic apple cake that’s more apple than cake, so really, it’s ok to eat now that all gyms are closed and you’re doing nothing but baking and eating because you can’t go out and do anything and baking and eating are the only things that can distract you from reading more about the corona virus. almond apple torte Continue reading “Apple Almond Cake”

Salmon Crepe Cake

I had been rather small-minded about crepes growing up, as I held onto the notion that they were simply vehicles for Nutella. That’s the only way I consumed them in Italy. In fact, those childhood Nutella crepes were only marginally better than eating Nutella out of the jar because it was definitely more crepe on Nutella than Nutella on crepe. When served folded into a messy triangle, you see thick layers of dark brown luscious Nutella with barely visible streaks of yellow crepes in between. Somehow though, psychologically it felt better than just directly eating Nutella on its own. Similarly, Italy also has Nutella gelato in the gelaterias, which, of the few times I’ve tried it, is most certainly just Nutella served at a colder temperature. And again, somehow more socially acceptable than just eating straight Nutella with a spoon which Italians would tut at.

I digress, back to the crepes. Fortunately, with age and more exposure to global foods, I learned that these little pancakes are hospitable to all kinds of fillings. smoked salmon crepe cake Continue reading “Salmon Crepe Cake”

Gravlax with Fennel Remoulade

I have now been in Norway for nine days. It’s part of my whole new year new me thing. I decided to do new country, new job just so I could excuse myself from setting proper new year resolutions. With this new life comes: new language, new flat, new furniture, new friends, new gym, new bakeries and cafes. It’s cool, I’m not overwhelmed. My body isn’t reacting negatively with breakouts on my face and eczema flare-ups and stomach bloating. It’s cool. I’m fine.
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A killer focaccia

What is your favorite carb?

We had a heated discussion about this at work. First, you need to categorize this properly: we are not talking about good carbs and bad carbs. We are in a safe space where all carbs are good as long as they make you happy.

We are separating carbs into grains (rice, bulgur etc), noodles (inc. pasta), bread (inc. pizza). For the purposes of this exercise we will remove sweets and dishes where the carb has a supporting role, like quiches (thereby removing pastry as a category), and the likes of dumplings.  These three categories are understandably very broad. For grains, we will only consider them in their whole form, for if we start thinking about rice flour dishes, then they blur into the other categories.
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Meatballs, Aubergine, Tomatoes & Sage

It’s been liberating to not update this for three months. Blogging can come with so much silly stress. It became another medium to measure myself against. I stressed over the material and I obsessed over readership. It felt like such an easy and quantifiable way of assessing myself. Like my target at work. Like my grades in schools. Like the number on the scale.

I started this eight years ago with nonchalent innocence. It was an exuberant exploration of food, of something I was just beginning to love. I had updated my blog so often because I just didn’t give a sh*t. There were no sh*ts given about the quality of the writing, the photos or the recipes.
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Parmigiana Wreath

I’m a little bit tired.

I have a day job that pays the bills, and a side granola business that’s quite literally the opposite. I’m also trying to maintain this blog. Maintain various relationships. Maintain my physique and work out and feed myself.

Today I really felt this longing for baths. I fantasized the luxury of taking 45 minutes to cleanse myself. I also miss books. I’ve shamefully got three unopened and two half-finished books waiting for me across my apartment – on my bedside table, dining table, coffee table – all to punish myself with guilt wherever I go.  See, it’s not that I’m not reading anything, it’s that on top of everything, I also subscribe to three news publications, and I have to get my money’s worth and read them every day. That means it takes me my entire 40 minute commute to my day job to read all three morning briefings.
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Chinese Sesame Noodles (麻酱面)

Chinese New Year always strikes a sharp homesickness in me. Home is Beijing. And despite the vacancy of my childhood home, the lack of close family ties, and the ever-changing skyline, home is still Beijing. I have no desire to reside there or frequent the place on a regular basis, but around the holiday times nostalgic memories crowd out all the problems surrounding pollution, food safety, and the inability to find adequate cheese.

Every year I tame this longing with trips to the Chinese supermarkets, hours perusing Chinese recipes, and listening to Mando Pop (that is Mandarin Pop, and I’d say only the former two activities are worth indulging in). chinese sesame noodles.jpg
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