Cornbread Muffins

The story began with my sister’s departure for the United States when I was 12.  My companion and friend whom I relied on when boredom crept, when bullies struck and when my parents screamed and fought, left me. I was to face school, home and the world alone. All I looked forward to were the biannual visits  when she would bring comforting American gifts like Jiffy Cornbread mixes. That was my introduction to baking.

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Vanilla Raspberry Jam

I’ll be honest, jam has never excited me.  It was never the spread of choice on my toast or in my croissants. In the true Italian fashion, I preferred Nutella as a child. Then with age and the exposure of American culture my Nutella was replaced by peanut butter, and it makes me feel better about eating it by the spoonful. So, not a big fan of jam, but I do however love making jam. I love hovering over the pot of simmering stew, having the steam rise up to your face, the room sweetened with the scent of fruit and sugar –  it’s the equivalent of going to the spa for me.
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Chocolate, Tahini & Rosemary Cookies

I was that child that had chocolate permanently stained on her face. That child that wasn’t allowed to wear white, and whose tantrum could always be tamed by a bar of chocolate.  It was only ever going to be chocolate ice cream, chocolate cake and nutella on toast for me. Vanilla and fruit could move along, they had no room in my sweet childhood. Maybe hazelnut and caramel could sometimes act as supporting roles, but chocolate always took to be the main star.

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Tomato & Almond Pesto (Pesto Trapanese)

What makes a pesto a pesto? I asked myself that question one dinner in Bologna as I stared uncomfortably into the dish of white lard known as Bolognese pesto. It was spiced fat. Spiced mushed fat. You can imagine my disappointment. Pesto in my mind meant something with herbs, with nuts, with an abundance of cheese, that is fresh and at the same time with a heavy punch. I really wasn’t planning on eating lard for dinner.
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Matcha Biscotti

I am grateful for many of the material things that I have in my kitchen. I love my knives, I don’t know what I’d do without my soft spatula, and whilst I slice myself every time I use my mandolin, it is still a life saver. The newest addition to the family s is my standing mixer, which I’ve named Heston. I’ve had Heston for about half a year now and he’s made life so much easier. This recipe involves whisking the eggs and sugar until incredibly pale and fluffy, about 20 minutes with electric mixers in my hand. But with Heston,  I can just watch TV whilst he does his job. Heston’s great, Heston’s a good boy.
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Mediterranean Roasted Baby Carrots

I don’t like people that take up space. In kindergarten we had classes where the girls had to practice sitting with our legs glued together. The boys got to play outside. I was taught to be small. To walk with small steps, to eat with my arms stuck to my torso, to sit with my legs crossed, to take up as little space as humanly possible. In China I was big. My hips, my shoulders, and my frame didn’t fit the petite Asian mold. That’s why I never want to take up space, it’s not nice to take up space. It’s not nice for anyone to sit with their legs wide open, but unfortunately it’s much worse for a girl to do so, no?
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