Spiced Corn & Pea Fritters

I used to make pancakes with my mom. Other than that, the only times I’d really pass by the kitchen would be when she was baking so I could lick the batter off the spoons and the beaters. But pancakes we did together, because it was always my initiative. We had this vintage Cook’s Illustrated that was clumsily held together by rolls and rolls of tape, and the page with the pancake recipe was detached from the rest of the book. I’d take it to the kitchen to my mother, and I’m sure I must have helped out with the measuring and the mixing… But I have no recollection of that. I just remember sitting on the high chair next to the stove, and eating the pancake one by one as they got out of the pan.
green pea fritters
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Homemade Oreos

I was disgusted at the launch of Oreo Double Stuf.  For me, the best bit was always the cookie, and I always made an effort to open them up gently and delicately scrape away that white frosting with a knife. And it made me realize that not everyone is like me, which I often forget. I look at certain food launches in the world and their successes baffle me because I personally wouldn’t consume them.

Orange neither complements or contrasts chocolate and I find the pairing groundless. Infusing anything with rose makes it reminiscent of soap. Licorice should just be pulled out of the market, because it is actually one of the few things that I refuse to eat. And why hasn’t Oreo launched Oreo No Stuf?
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Chocolate & Hazelnut Quinoa Granola

During exam period in university I survived on nothing but granola and coffee. With food being strictly forbidden in our libraries, granola was the perfect library-friendly food to sneak in. See, your crudites and hummus made too much sound. As would a pack of crisps (imagine the glares as you open the pack).  Anything warm or capable of emitting odors was a strict no-no as well. And anything involving utensils will just decrease your productivity. On a nutritional level you need a healthy kick of sugar and carbs. My granola habit was however, boarding on unhealthy.  I could still munch on dry granola like there was no tomorrow, which is why I rarely buy or make it – no matter what healthy, organic refined sugar-free wholegrain granola made with extra virgin coconut oil and studded with a range of superfoods – 400g of it as an after lunch snack is still not good for you.
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Bread by Bike (London)

I am on a constant quest to find good bread – good sourdough, in particular. The ones with a good crust – the kind that crackles and sings when a knife saws through it; with a moist, elastic and stretchy interior, like a sponge featuring holes large and small; and importantly, a deep earthy flavor with a slight sour edge. To ensure one ticks all the boxes, one needs to really understand the science of it all, and really devote their heart and soul into it. I was therefore thrilled at the news that Andy Strang, the man behind the new bakery Bread by Bike in Kentish Town, is a physicist.

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Arepas with Black Garlic Chicken & Salsa

Foreign restaurants in Beijing when I was a child definitely lacked diversity. There were the French, the Italian, the Japanese – all of which were mediocre at best. More “exotic” ones did open but their lifespans lasted as long as this arepas dish would in your fridge.  My favorite pastime was reading Time Out to discover all the new strange and wonderful openings and sell the idea to my father. Trying out these restaurants with my father was my second favorite pastime.
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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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