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Skills in The Skillet: Baked Polenta, Tomato Sauce, Guanciale & Eggs


Sep
10

Autumn is coming – you can feel and smell it in the air. It makes me sad that the summer is over for another year – a patchy summer at best – but I love the fact that I’ll be able to wear big jumpers and make big pots of comfort food (legitimately) again.

If you follow me regularly you’ll know how much I love polenta, how perfect then is this dish of baked polenta, topped with a rich tomato sauce, meltingly soft guanciale and eggs? So perfect that I ate the entire skillet over one day by myself. Hey, I’m just padding up for the winter…

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There’s More Than One Way to Roast a Chicken: 40 Garlic Clove Chicken


Sep
07

I think chicken is my favourite meat. I could genuinely just eat chicken every day and not get bored… maybe that’s why whenever anybody eats something new and unusual it always tastes like chicken.

Here’s another quickie recipe for you starring chicken and 40 cloves of garlic. Yeah, you heard me: 40 cloves of garlic. Amazingly you won’t even smell that bad after eating it… but your kitchen will temporarily smell like, well, garlic. If you need to stave off the vampires it’d make a good hangout.

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Comfort Food: Hainanese Chicken Rice


Aug
06

Comfort food, for me, is a big bowl of white rice and tender chicken. Luckily for me, Hainanese Chicken Rice or hoi nam gai fan as it’s known in Cantonese, is exactly that. I make this far too often for my own good – I could probably live off it quite happily. I’d be very fat… but very happy.

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Lookit What I Made, Ma


Aug
03

For about a year and a half now I’ve been quietly executing small catering jobs for private clients. I say quietly because I never really expected to be making such a shift in direction, so I didn’t really advertise my services. What started as a couple of small jobs for a favour turned into word-of-mouth jobs, which in turn have landed me with the beginnings of a pretty tidy little business.

So look ma: here’s what I’ve been making.

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Salty Piggy Goodness: Chilli Whipped Lardo


Jul
04

If there’s anything I’m really good at, it’s disappearing off my blog for inordinate amounts of time. Whoops. This time I do have a good reason, though – I moved house! Yep, I’m finally out and free of the bedbug-ridden hell hole I was stuck in for a year and am in a lovely little place in SE London with two (new) friends. We’ve been slowly setting up the house (my current project is attempting to build us a coffee table as we didn’t like anything that was available on the market) and it’s coming together, slowly but surely (I still have two boxes to unpack as I don’t have a desk/home office yet). Pretty soon I’ll be able to share some photos but for the time being I’m going to leave you with this oldie but goodie – chilli whipped lardo.

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Dear Queenie: Happy Diamond Jubilee


Jun
06


Jubilee Coffee Cupcakes by Bruce.

My heritage and accent are a great source of puzzlement to everybody who meets me. Born in London but possessing a rather international family (both blood relations and friends whom I now consider family), ten to fifteen minutes of conversation pass before I’m inevitably asked, “where are you from?” or, the (strangely) rather more common, “are you Australian?” Let’s get this straight – I’m British, through and through. I’m not English, I’m not Aussie, I’m not Canadian or American: I am British.

My “British-ness” is something that has taken me a while to embrace – my family are Hong Kong Chinese, with a smidgen of Japanese and Russian blood, my parents both born in Hong Kong and possessing a tinge of an accent (my mother’s a natural slight American drawl, which is where I’ve picked up my own), so that aspect of who I am has always been celebrated and recognised, but this country in which I live has never felt quite where I belong, London too busy, too anonymous, too A-to-B for my liking. It wasn’t until I lived in America that I suddenly felt that this, my “British-ness”, made me stand out a little more, made me special, and at that point I fully started to appreciate the country I was born in, the little points of interest like our (relatively) fantastic public transport, our education system, history and culture, and our Royal family.

As many of you will know, this past weekend was set aside to rejoice everything Royal because we’ve been celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee – 60 years on the throne. I’m not one to go particularly nuts over the Royals (during the recent Royal Wedding I skipped the telly watching and flag waving and nipped off to the hairdresser’s to chop off my long locks for The Little Princess Trust) but I fully admit that I love good ol’ Lizzie – she’s a real gem and it will be a sad day indeed when she’s no longer Queen of England.

So whilst the country engaged in street parties left, right and centre and a good 1.2m people showed up in Central London to watch the Royal Parade on the Thames (and in the pouring rain, typical bloody England; Liz did not look particularly happy as she was rowed up the river), I headed over to my good friends Mowie & Bruce’s around the corner for a Right Royal (Indoor) Picnic. Raaaather.

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On Change: Katsu-Don


May
04

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.

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Jackie’s Spicy Pickled Cucumbers: Who Wants A Nibble?


Mar
06

Every now and then we all need a break: from work, from friends, from life. When those moments occur I like to take a step back, take stock and figure out what’s really important to me and every time, without fail, my health and happiness come first.

I kept saying that 2012 was going to be my year and despite a bit of a rocky start, the past two weeks have me thinking that maybe my bold statement will hold true, maybe this is the year that the pieces will start to come together. Health and happiness are both ticking along nicely and with those things under my belt I feel like I can tackle the world – I’m even beginning to ease myself back into work very slowly and have plans for a mini get-away later this month to Morocco (very exciting, I’ve never ventured into that part of the world before).

So if you find yourself backed into a corner maybe you should do what I do and figure out what’s really important to you… then you should make my spicy pickled cucumbers and treat yourself because they’re freaking delicious.

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Winter Food: Shabu Shabu


Dec
14


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.

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This Is Halloween


Oct
26


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.

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