On Change: Katsu-Don


As a child I didn’t like change. A fairly serious, determined young thing, I was very black and white in my thinking – sometimes literally. I remember being given an elephant to colour in at nursery school and whilst the other children coloured their elephants pink, red, yellow, blue or a combination of the four (shock, horror), I took a lead pencil and very carefully shaded in my elephant grey (all within the lines, of course). When asked if I wanted another colour I remember telling my teacher rather firmly and with some derision – she should’ve known this for herself, after all – “no. Elephants are grey.”

When I was due to start a new school year, every year without fail, I would start to feel an overwhelming nausea as I approached the school gates with my mother. There was nothing wrong with me but nerves would take their toll every time – fear about who would be my new classmates, about who would be my new teacher, whether or not they’d like me, where my classroom would be, why it had to be different every year, why it had to change. Of course, as soon as I entered the building and had read my name on the list of classes whilst clutching my mother’s hand tightly, I’d merrily skip off to class, all anxieties forgotten and ready to start anew, barely even remembering to wave goodbye to my bemused parent.

I’m somewhat more relaxed now (though if you give me a picture of an elephant I’ll still colour it in grey) and I’ve realised – somewhat reluctantly – that change is inevitable. Don’t fight it, just embrace it – it’ll make your life a whole lot easier.


Winter Food: Shabu Shabu


All photography in this post brought to you by my iPhone & Instagram!

The flavour hung thickly in the air, flickering across my tongue and creeping down my lungs tantalisingly. I swallowed hungrily, saliva collecting in my mouth again almost instantly. The lid of the red pot was lifted and with a heavy sigh more fragrant steam was released, condensing against the cold windows of the conservatory. I stood against the sliding glass door, watching carefully as plates piled high with meat and vegetables were shuffled; I wondered whether the condensation would taste like the air and watched a single drop make its jagged way down the blinds, dropping to the floor and shattering like a liquid crystal.

Time moved in slow motion as my stomach rumbled in anticipation of the great feast ahead of us – was it ready yet? Could we eat now? How about now? Patience was not a virtue I possessed but could you blame me? It was shabu shabu season.


On Being A Writer: Nasu Dengaku


A little while ago I was asked, “do you have any writing advice or tips for what makes a good writer?” Wow. What a question. Honestly, it’s a mammoth one and I’m not entirely sure that I’m qualified to answer it. I am, after all, just a girl who likes to tell stories. I find it hard to embrace the title and tell people that, yes, I am a writer and I write about food; I always find myself blushing a little as I do.

There’s an idea of glamour that goes along with the term ‘writer’. The thought is that other people value your words, that you have the power to influence, that the pen is mightier than the sword… but I’ve never really seen it that way and so small successes are always a surprise.

For me writing has always been somewhat cathartic. I find that my brain moves so fast sometimes that I can’t always vocalise what I’m thinking – with writing it’s my only way to silence the voices or the nagging questions, to slow down and normalise. It’s word vomit (if you’ll excuse the phrase on a food blog) and in the past I’ve been known to actually burn or tear up a piece of paper full of my words, jotted down out of necessity – an unloading of ideas, frustrations and cerebral noise.

So I don’t know if I can give you any ‘tips’ or ‘advice’ that’ll be helpful to you, all I can do is tell you what I’ve discovered and the ideas and principles that I stick to, because at the end of the day writing and especially good writing is all about your personal experiences.


One Year Later: Mason Matcha-Misu v.2.0


Photo credit: David Mason.

The end of last year was one of the worst times of my life. My then boyfriend David had moved to Canada and I was mourning not just the loss of a relationship but of a close friend; I had completed formal education and in one swift move had gone from being the girl with the five-year-plan to the one drifting from day-to-day, unsure as to what direction my life should take; I was working two jobs at once, one as a private caterer and the other in retail, and though I adored my boss and my retail “family”, I wasn’t doing what I wanted and it was making me miserable.

My personality is such that when one aspect of my life is in jeopardy the rest of it goes completely to pot – it’s terrible but I simply cannot function when something is out of whack. Food was my escape – it didn’t judge, it was there, comforting me and the sense of satisfaction when I created something beautiful was almost better than eating it.

For David’s birthday that year I created this dessert which I named the Mason Matcha-Misu; it was my present for him even though he couldn’t taste it as he was in Canada. Based on David’s family mocha tiramisu recipe, I made the Matcha-Misu with matcha green tea powder, white chocolate laced with pistachios and even more pistachios, chopped roughly. It was a good first effort but it wasn’t quite there yet and so I didn’t share the recipe.

Fast forward a year and I’ve found myself making a living (or trying to) with food and words. David has also returned to London for the time being but we exist together solely as very good friends, a decision that is perfect for the both of us – I get to keep my best friend, mentor and muse with none of the drama that comes with relationships. It’s a tough world but I’m doing well, not the least because of my diagnosis and subsequent medication that is totally re-aligning all of my chakras, or whatever you want to call it. Yes, I’m single, yes, I’m still fighting to make a name for myself, yes, I’m living in a country I’d rather not be in and sometimes I wring my hands with despair at my situation, but for now? This is where, who and what I am and I’ve found a contentment in that. In other words: I’m happy.

And as for this Matcha-Misu? This year I not only perfected it, David finally got to taste it and give it his seal of approval.


Yo? No! – Yoshi Sushi, Hammersmith


It’s January which means that summer is still a good five months away. Boo for the old tan and venturing out in t-shirts and shorts, but hurrah for continuing with comfort foods and warming meals! Not that it makes much of a difference anyway, as I’d happily nom them all down, regardless of the weather.

Yoshi Sushi has long been a favoured haunt of mine for sushi and Japanese food, but it wasn’t until fairly recently that Momma Lee & I actually tried some of their other fare. Y’see, they also do some Korean food, and, more importantly, they do an awesome Shabu-Shabu.




Tonkatsu, originally uploaded by jaxies.

So let’s get one thing straight: I am Chinese. I am not mixed, nor am I Filipina, Hawaiian, Japanese, Taiwanese, Malaysian, or any other brand of “Oriental”. I am full-blooded Chinese. My family are from Hong Kong. This is me.

However… I think I love Japanese food more than I love Chinese food. Sorry heritage. That’s just the way the panko crumbles.


Feng Sushi, Borough Market


Chilli Edamame, originally uploaded by jaxies.

Just a quickie post to tide you over whilst I’m still recovering from (what I have now discovered to be) an infection in my left parotid gland. That’s saliva gland to you and I ordinary folks. Thank you all so much for such lovely messages wishing me well, you’re the nicest people I’ve never met! Ha! Seriously though, really appreciated it. You can read more about my experience with the doctor’s surgery this morning over on my Life Blog, including some photos NOT of food but of people! Unheard of. Phew!

So the other week I took Jun (of The Great Brownie Disaster) out for dinner to cheer her up. The tenth flat she’d looked at to move into at the beginning of August had fallen through on her and she needed some food therapy. Since she currently works around London Bridge of course we had to go down to Borough Market. Bully for us, it was a Monday evening, market’s shut. But oh well, Feng Sushi has always been a nice experience! And we are all about the Japanese food. Unfortunately, this time the experience was somewhat tainted.


Oh I’m A Terrible Tease, I Am


You see those beautiful little muffins right there? Take it in. Take it all in. Imagine those melting in your mouth (because melt they certainly do). Now hear this: I’m not giving you this recipe.

“WHAT?! HOW CAN YOU TEMPT US LIKE THIS, JACKIE?!” I hear you cry (…in my head I hear this. In reality you’re probably thinking, ‘meh. Big freakin’ deal’). Well that’s because I’m holding back on this gem for the cookbook.


Warning: Imminent Mouth Orgasm


Holy-Crap-These-Are-So-Good, originally uploaded by jaxies.

I’m pretty much a fan of all things fried. I say ‘pretty much’ because it doesn’t matter how you prepare ’em, I refuse to eat bugs of any kind or oysters. The former because the idea freaks me out, the latter because I hate the flavour of oysters. Ick. For a girl who eats everything my ‘no-can-do’ list is pretty short, but for anything else, I’ll do it. I’ve even been known to eat fish eyeballs and chicken’s feet are a regular on the menu when we go out for dim sum.

Anyway, we’re getting off-topic here. Fried food. Delicious, gorgeous, crunchy fried food. What’s not to love?

A while back I read on Chubby Hubby’s blog that he had found the most amazingly beautiful creamy crab croquettes so of course I bookmarked it immediately, earmarked for consumption. Then I forgot all about it. That is until the other day when I was browsing through my (many) food links and decided, heck, enough time had passed, it was now summer – I was ready to tackle the crab croquettes.

I adjusted the seasonings a little, adding a little chilli to the final mix, and although my first few were definitely a frying failure (burnt, burnt, underdone, underdone, underdone) after that I managed to get into the swing of things. I took one bite and despite the fact that the panko was a little too crispy (aka. burnt) my mouth literally exploded. Okay, not literally. That’d be ridiculous. But helloooo mouth orgasm. Holy majoly. My photos do NOT do it justice at all. It was amazing. It was all I could do to stop myself from eating all ten before Momma Lee got home. She took one bite and fell in love too, as did Brother and my bestie Jun (of the great brownie fail), whom I invited over for dinner (I made copious amounts of food that day). Also, apologies for not taking more photos, but as you can imagine these disappeared into our mouths so quickly there just simply wasn’t enough time.

If you try one recipe this week, make it this one. You won’t regret it. Just please use fresh crab meat – it makes all the difference. Om-nom-nom…