Watch This Space: Honey Beurre Noisette Madeleines


At the Street Kitchen BurgerDog launch with co-founders Mark Jankel & Jun Tanaka.

After a whirlwind of activity I’m finally in a quieter phase. The weather has turned whilst we’re still only in August (big surprise, welcome to the UK) and with the grey skies come a slightly grey mood. It’s inevitable, really, the end of summer always lies heavy on my heart, but the quiet period I’m in at the moment definitely doesn’t help. I’m itching to get back into a kitchen, to keep learning, but for now I just have to wait.

Why the wait, you ask? Well, after two years of repeated visits to the hospital, I’m finally having a scan to prepare me for radio-iodine treatment. About bloody time, right? The upside is: no more fannying about with monthly visits to the hospital for blood tests or constant medication yo-yo-ing; the downside: I need to take about a month off because I’m going to be radioactive and am not allowed to work in close contact with, er, anything. I actually sent that sentence to a potential employer in an email recently, which is, to me, a big giant win.

So whilst I take a break from my mad dash around the UK Michelin restaurant scene (which I’m missing terribly at the moment), I guess I’ll just take some time to do some reading and baking, househunt (yes, again), practice rocher-ing and julienne/dice everything in sight. What else can I do?


Christmas in London: Harrods Gentleman’s Hamper


Christmas, for me, has always been a rather special time of year. No, not for any particular religious reasons or for the promise of presents (though the latter is a rather good excuse for, oh, I don’t know, maybe a new hand mixer? Especially considering how mine blew up in my hand the other day) but because of the food. An excuse to eat yourself silly and not be judged for it? Yes please.

So when I was offered a Harrods Gentleman’s hamper, one of the new food and wine hampers, to have a sneak preview of for Christmas of course I said yes. It may be called the Gentleman’s hamper but honestly, I’d be pretty happy to receive this one myself!


The Calm Before The Storm: Leiths Diploma, Week 3


Asian Mario strikes again…

Happy to say that this past week there were no tears! It was actually a relatively calm week, possibly because it was week 3 when they anticipated all the students would be exhausted so we had our first long weekend scheduled (they give us a few long weekends instead of a half term), possibly also because we had our first test on Thursday and they were giving us time to study; either way, this week was nice and quiet in the kitchens but still packed full of essential learning.


Let Them Eat Cake: A Sister’s Engagement Present


I don’t consider myself much of a baker and yet I’ve had more than one person ask me recently if baking is my speciality. I think it’s probably because I actually make an effort with cake presentation – with savoury dishes, not so much. Then it’s usually a case of ‘more is more’ over pretty food – I think I’m probably just greedy.

Having said that, when my older brother called me up one morning to tell me that he was planning on proposing to his long-term girlfriend, rather appropriately in his birth town of Boston, and that he was giving her a ring he’d bought from Tiffany & Co., I started scheming. I thought about an engagement party, I thought about an engagement surprise and I started to doodle a very special engagement cake. Of course, she hadn’t even said yes yet but I knew she would, so when the excited call came through on Jubilee Sunday that he’d popped the question and the answer had been a resounding yes, I started to firm up my plans.

The plan was to make a cake that looked like a Tiffany engagement box: as you can see from the above photo that didn’t quite work out but I think the end result was much prettier and a whole lot tastier… and I still got to use the Tiffany Blue colour we’d made for the box!


This Is Halloween


I’ve always been a bit of a devil.

When I was a child I loved to pretend. Maybe it was because of my overactive imagination or maybe it was because the thought of being somebody else was so much more appealing than the awkward (and yet precocious) child, teenager and adult I’d become. Dressing up was a game I forced everyone around me – even my older brother – to play and my dressing up box was filled with flouncy party dresses and ribbons, an old lace wedding dress my mother had given me (whom it belonged to I had no idea), and various toys and accessories, including a Chanel handbag which, had I kept it, would be worth a lot of money now, I’m sure.

Of course, dressing up wasn’t just for fun, it was also about competition: you had to be the best looking child with the best costume. The time of year that this was most obvious? Halloween of course.


There Will Be Stock (Part I): Ham Hock & Pea Risotto


Food has always been incredibly central for my family. Every major event has been told over a dinner or a lunch, every holiday celebrated with a spread that was enough to feed a small army, though there were usually only four of us at the dinner table.

Life for my mother consisted of an early start to feed my father, my brother & I, a mad dash into school where we’d be dropped off and collected by car every day, a small snack to help us through homework, a martini or other cocktail for my father when he returned home, and dinner on the table every evening by 7pm (sometimes on little tables in the TV room, if we were lucky). Every single day growing up, this was the way we operated. It was routine; it was synonymous with family.


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.


This Is The End, My Friends: New York


As I write this I’m sitting in my own bed in London, my clothes strewn across the floor, my bag unpacked but my trusty backpack still sitting next to me, as it did every single day of my travels. I’ve been back for a week and, despite the fact that it’s quite nice to be settled for a bit, I wish I was still travelling, still exploring and still meeting wonderful people across the globe. But I’m back, though ‘home’ I’m not sure if I could use.

I think people underestimate the power of travel and the feeling of freedom it brings. I took the trip to discover, to meet friends and to eat, I did all of those things and more, but I also took the trip to escape. I visited cities I have never known before, caught up with old friends, solidified friendships that have hitherto been solely based online, fell in love with people, with places, with ideas… and so yes. Yes it is a come-down to be back in a place where I do not – have never – felt that I belonged, but it’s also an opportunity for me to prepare myself for what may be many more Big Adventures, to recharge my batteries, and to wait for another chance to meet so many more friends and discover where it is in the world that I may call ‘home’.

This is the last post in my travel series from the Big Adventure. Thank you all so much for the friendship, the support, the laughter and the tears, the singing, the food – everything. It’s been wonderful.


The Beginning Of The End: New Jersey


I really wanted to put New Jersey and New York into one last post, a nice little button-ending on my travel series, but I found when I was trying to pull it all together that there was far too much for just one.

You see, even though there were no food bloggers to meet up with in New Jersey, I was staying with my Uncle Ian and Aunt Wai, Momma Lee’s youngest brother and his wife. My Uncle Ian has always been the relative who would send crazy-awesome gifts in the post at Christmas, such as this past year, when he sent me a pair of socks that look like Lucha Libre wrestlers (they even have little arms and legs, they’re the coolest; yes, I realise my excitement over this is entirely juvenile, but it’s the simple things that excite me), and also, like all of my family, has quietly followed along with my adventures through the blog.

When I arrived he told me that though they had been thinking about where to take me to eat, as I was visiting them right at the end of my trip they couldn’t compete with the rest of the world, so they would just take me to their favourite places, or feed me “crap”, as my Uncle Ian put it. How silly, because you know what? I ate well, I ate heartily, and to be honest it was nice just to have a bit of a breather with family for a stint, catch-up and make stupid jokes (many of which were made, including an extended conversation about the Double Rainbow video/song, which then ended up in the sermon he delivered at his church that Sunday). In fact, I think I ate more in New Jersey than I had anywhere else on the trip: weird, right?

Thank you Uncle Ian & Aunt Wai!


Momma Lee’s Naughty Corner: Introductions


Sadly not my photo!

As you read this I’ve landed in Hong Kong and am at my grandmother’s place to begin my adventure. In the meantime, as promised, here is a brand new feature for I Am A Feeder: Momma Lee’s Naughty Corner! Yep, I love her, you love her, and Momma Lee will be sharing anecdotes, recipes and answering your questions periodically. I just hope she doesn’t say anything too embarrassing… if you have a question you’d like Momma Lee to answer, please send me an email with Momma Lee’s Naughty Corner in the subject field – foodie related or life related – she’ll answer them all! Hope you enjoy and update you on my Odyssey soon!

Momma Lee’s Naughty Corner
….too old for ecstasy, too young for lawn bowls*……
(*esoteric and quintessentially British Empire type game of rolling balls over immaculate lawns whilst others take afternoon tea and look on: like curling, without the ice and the mops.)

Well hello my dahlings! I am Momma Lee. Goodness gracious me, not entirely sure how I got here; but I suppose it’s through Baby Lee’s occasional references to my hyuk-hyukking in the corner as she typed her little socks off about her sundry exploits in the kitchen. That has somehow sparked a curiosity amongst some of her readership as to the identity of this invisible guffawer. This then, is my come-uppance: instead of writing 200 lines of “I will not laugh in the kitchen”, I am to sit in my Naughty Corner and become, literally, a Yummy Mummy – and talk to you once in a while about food and cookery. It is after all, my passion as much as it is my daughter’s: she inherited it from me and from ancestors who all loved food, and had food stories to tell. I will share some of those stories and family recipes with you each time I appear in my corner.


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