There are some flavours that are almost universal in their appeal. Pandan is such a flavour. Pandan’s power lies in its versatility. It is not limited to Asian dishes. I made pandan pannacotta earlier this year, to serve as dessert for my Chinese New Year meal. I made the pannacotta in a rabbit mould and this resulted in the wobbly little creature above. In the UK, pandan can be bought from most Oriental supermarkets. If you live in London, Golden Gate Cake Shop on Macclesfield Street sells pandan layer cake. My sister and I have since started obsessing over pandan macarons. Since being back in KL, I have had them twice. They are, as you can imagine, seriously delicious. These can be ordered specially from The Huckleberry Cafe. I have not seen this concoction sold anywhere else.
I find it quite strange that in a city like KL – where there must be the highest number of foodies per capita in the world and the most interesting mixtures of flavours and fusion food, I have yet to see pandan used in other European desserts. Pandan coconut meringue pie, pandan cream puffs, pandan coconut crepes…mmmm I can see so many possibilities! Someone, make ’em a reality!
I love mixing things up. So when the opportunity came to make some cupcakes to look like a happy meal… it was too good to resist.
Sarah came to visit and we baked. The result is the above. Hamburger cupcakes and sugar cookie fries.
Chocolate brownie is sandwiched in between Vanilla cupcake. Attention to detail meant toasting some sesame seeds and scattering them on the top bun; using coloured icing for the lettuce and cheese and jammy jelly for ketchup.
This Christmas, I decided not to send out any Christmas cards. I had the idea of making stained glass cookies and giving them out instead of the more traditional paper option.
Starting out with a mixed bag of boiled sweets, Katrina and I crushed the colourful sweets and placed them in little pyrex ramekins to urge us on with this fiddly, but exciting baking job.
We listened to some music and worked hard together, waiting to see the end result. It was a satisfying feeling to see the shortbread cookies turn out looking like stained glass. They looked unlike jammie dodgers but in your mouth, the cookies had the unique texture of being both hard and soft.
I love living in a big city where it seems like the world is always within reach. After having lived in London for nearly one and half years, I have only just discovered the tiny strip of Korean eateries on St Giles High Street. Here, in this little pocket just off Tottenham Court Road I feel like I’ve been transported into a Korean film.
And here away from the maddening crowds of Oxford Street, I tried Kimchi Jjige for the first time. This is a dish that uses a combination of ingredients that epitomises the best flavours for my palate- spiciness and sourness.
Traditionally this is a hot pot of leftovers- made using old kimchi and cooked with beancurd or tofu and either pork or beef. It reminded me of my favourite Chinese New Year dish, a spicy and sour soup, again made with leftovers from the Reunion Dinner feast.
Now that the days are darker and the air crispier, nothing is as warming as having a bowl of kimchi jjige with some rice.
It was a rare weekend treat for me to have one of the weekend days staying in. I thought that my summer-long hiatus from the kitchen was to come to an end. I was going to rediscover the joys of cooking and baking. I looked at some recipes and decided to bake some muffins (choco-banana and pecan) and cupcakes (carrot with orange frosting).
And always, when baking I would use the little egg whisk that I inherited from Sarah when she moved to NY.