The Obligatory Royal Wedding Post


Image courtesy of CBBC.

If there is anything I really do not care about it’s the Royal Wedding, which as Isabelle pointed out to me the other day probably means that they’re going to kick me out of the country for not being a good little Brit. But I’m sorry, I just can’t muster up a shred of a damn about it.


I’m A Nudie Foodie


Photo by David Mason Photography.

So yeah… this happened. Want to see more? Yeah you do, you perv. Go on, get on over to the Nudie Foodies website to see my feature with more bonus photos not in the book/calendar, live today! Meow.

Peace and love,

Jax x

Cookbook Review: Five Minute Bread + A Give-Away!


One of my food goals for 2011 was to bake more bread, so you can imagine how thrilled I was when Zoë François and Ebury Publishing asked me if I’d like to review a copy of her US best-selling book Five Minute Bread (in the US known as Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day), co-written with Jeff Hertzberg. Newly released in January of this year, the book claims to contain a “revolutionary new baking method: no bread machine, no kneading!” – well, for it to be the no. 1 baking book in the US it certainly seems to have caught onto something good here!

When the book arrived I eagerly tore open the packaging, read it from cover-to-cover, and then decided that there was nothing left for me to do but to pull out the flour and yeast and get baking! But why just read what I have to say about the book? Why don’t you decide for yourself? Ebury have very kindly offered to send a copy of the book to one of you guys so that you can have a go at baking from it – how generous is that? For the book review and details of the give-away read on…


There’s More To Life Than Braai, Bru – South African Tourism Event


I think, perhaps, the South African accent is my favourite in the world. The very hint of it makes me swoon, butterflies flying into a tizzy in my stomach, my brain fuzzy with ardour. It makes me stutter and stumble over the smallest of words, blushing all the while like a schoolgirl in the flush of first love. Yes, I think I am in fact in love with an accent. But to be in love with an accent is silly… if, after all, you haven’t even visited the country of origin or the cuisine. Thankfully I can now cross the latter off my list and begin to claim that I am not in love with the accent alone but perhaps just South Africa in general…? Yes, maybe that’s it.

The lovely folks over at Publicasity and South African Tourism invited myself and a handful of other bloggers to their dinner event, being held at the Bbar in Central London. We were promised an evening of fun, learning about South African food and, even better, getting to cook it ourselves. What a privilege! Of course I said yes – it was far too good an opportunity to pass up… especially at the thought of Safa accents surrounding me. Be still my beating heart.


Take It Off, Take It All Off


Remember how I said that I was involved in two projects to raise money for Japan? Well the other project is somewhat more risque. Or maybe it’s just perfectly in character? Wink wink, nudge nudge.

The entirely fabulous Linda from Salty Seattle decided to organise her own little project, namely a nude cookbook and calendar, featuring bloggers in the buff with some of our fabulous recipes, the proceeds of which would be donated to a charity of our choosing to aid Japan (to be confirmed). When she emailed me tentatively to ask if I was interested in participating, of course my response was a resounding yes.


Sharing With My Goong-Goong


Two summers ago my Goong-Goong (maternal grandfather) died. It was a difficult summer that year, I had just returned from my year abroad in Portland and was feeling unsettled, a major event occurred that changed us forever, my Goong-Goong had caught pneumonia and was in the hospital, and then, one evening, we got the call: he had died. The rest of that summer was a blur. My mother flew out to Hong Kong first to sort out the funeral arrangements, we were to come a few days later, we hastily started throwing clothes into suitcases: black, black, black. It was the height of summer in Hong Kong – the worst possible time for a funeral. Before we knew it we were back in Hong Kong and I felt lost. I clung to my mother’s arm like a child, feeling once again like that 10-year-old in a foreign city, my tongue numb and useless with a language I couldn’t speak. At the funeral I cried until I felt I could never cry again; the tears poured down my face into my lap, my throat tightened and my head throbbed. My Goong-Goong, whom I loved so much, was never coming back, my life was falling apart, and the sadness that overwhelmed me was indescribable. I couldn’t speak, couldn’t look at anybody, could only weep.

My Goong-Goong introduced me to pâté when I was very young. He loved food and was a real connoisseur of the good stuff. I remember the first time I tried pâté with him: he was visiting us from Hong Kong and it was summer time. We were sitting in the kitchen of our old house, both of us on little black wooden stools by the table, and he was spreading something on some crusty bread. He handed it to me. What is it? I asked, holding it up dubiously. Pâté. Try it. I took a small bite with him watching me and felt my world expand: it was delicious. The creaminess of the duck liver combined with the sharp tanginess of the orange jelly was unlike anything I’d ever eaten before. It quickly became one of my favourite foods and my Goong-Goong and I would often sit together in the garden or the kitchen, eating pâté.


Don’t Be Dim: Dim Sum at Ping Pong


Photo courtesy of Digital Tribe.

When I was a kid I hated dim sum. My parents used to force us to go every Sunday to a Chinese restaurant that was on the top floor of the Whiteley’s shopping centre in Bayswater and the dim sum was always terrible. We would order the same things – char siu bao (steamed buns filled with roast pork), har gow (prawn dumplings), cheung fun (a rice noodle roll, usually filled with different meats), pai gwat fan (spareribs rice; we called this ‘pee goo fan’ which means ‘asshole rice’ – I know, we’re a terrible witty family) – and we’d be horrendously disappointed by them but for some reason every Sunday, without fail, we were back again. I loathed Sundays, hated having to trudge all the way out to Bayswater just to eat sub-par food (usually wearing my Sunday best) and dim sum became like a swear word in my vocabulary.

That is until I was a little older and in Hong Kong with Momma Lee. For some reason we’d travelled out there by ourselves and spent our first few days wandering around her old haunts, eating Shanghainese food and dim sum. It was like I’d never eaten food before: I simply couldn’t get enough of it. I was hungry for Shaghainese xiao long bao (soup-filled dumplings), drank gallons of guk fa cha (Chrysanthemum tea) and ate blocks and blocks of lo bak go (fried turnip cake). When I returned to London all I wanted was dim sum, and though our usual haunt had long since been closed down (thank goodness) just up the road was a fantastic restaurant whose dim sum was authentic and delicious. This was several years ago and I still rarely go anywhere else for dim sum.

So when Ping Pong invited me to a blogger dinner at their Appold Street venue I was, understandably, a little dubious. I have grown up with dim sum, have had bad dim sum and excellent dim sum, have been to Hong Kong almost every year since I was born; this is not new to me, and the idea of modern dim sum, as Ping Pong claims to be, is one I find very hard to get behind. But I’m always open to having my mind changed and I had heard about Ping Pong for a long while, so off I trotted for dinner.


On Being A Traveller


Ah, the curse of being a traveller: once you start you just can’t stop. I often wonder to myself how amazing life would be if I could be a nomad, travel around discovering new places, new foods, new people. I imagine that I would be known as ‘That Travelling Girl’, I would carry my possessions on my back, I would write about my experiences and live the perfect existence… and then I think about my comfortable double bed, my jingly-janglies that I always wear, and my love for pretty shoes… yeah. Maybe not. But it’s still nice to dream, no?

Some of you may know that the other week I disappeared to Copenhagen for the day to have lunch at the number one restaurant in the world, Noma. After such a huge trip around the world you may have wondered why I was still travelling and, even more importantly, why for only one day. You may have said, ‘but Jackie! You only just got home! Why can’t you be satisfied with home?!” Well, I’m sorry – I just couldn’t help it. Home is where my heart is and at heart? I’m a traveller.