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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Grapefruit & Fennel Tart

Allow me to recount the story of the salted lemon tart. It was in the first few weeks of culinary school, when confidence was at a low and there was constant anxiety over little things like turning on the stove.  We were making a tarte au citron in pastry class — a short crust pastry encasing lemon curd topped with Italian meringue — a fresh and delicate classic. I had been stirring the curd for almost 20 minutes and it just didn’t look right. Time was running out so I just went with what I had and poured it in my tart shell.  As I prepared the Italian meringue on top I caught some curd on my finger and licked it – I gagged. I had mistaken salt for sugar in the curd. I had about a cup of salt in that pie. I had completely butchered that French classic.
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Almond Tart

I go to restaurants and I pay money for food and with that money comes expectations. I don’t think I’m being unreasonable when I sigh disappointingly at a split hollandaise on my plate. Or dry chicken. Undercooked bread. Overcooked steak. Underseasoned vegetables. Greasy sauce. Wilted salad leaves. These are the things that upset me the most.

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Lemon & Coconut Tart

Words are too simple for emotions. Anxiety can be synonymous with nervousness, unease and also paralyzing fear. We say that one is depressed after a disappointing game result, one is depressed after losing their wallet, and one is also depressed when they’re looking down from the edge of a bridge. These feelings, these emotions, are sometimes felt simply flooding one’s mind, but some feel it deep in their stomach, suffocating in their chest, or clogging up their throat. We lack words that describe the combination of emotions. Despair can be hopelessness and sad, but what would we call the oxymoron of distress and delight, or the curdling mix of shock, remorse, hope, and guilt?p1000060

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Plum & Brazil Nut Galette

My hatred for crowded areas stems from growing up in Beijing, where the high population density meant that there was no personal space in public spaces. To be fair, that also means that I have quite a high tolerance for cramped settings, as I don’t consider it “cramped” until I’m in constant physical contact with strangers. But when it is that “cramped”, I become one of those nasty human beings with a resting b*tch face. That is why, I don’t go to Borough Market, despite the fact that it is undoubtedly the best food market in London. I don’t go despite all the lovely things it offers – all the fresh produce, innovative craft goods, all the colors, all the smells, all the tastes – I don’t go because these wonderful things hide in the midst of irritating humans jammed together like a rush-hour train carriage.

But I missed it. I craved it. So this weekend, instead of sleeping in, we got up early to go to Borough Market whilst the rest of London was hungover. It was wonderful. And I bought wonderful plums to make this plum pie.
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