I made biscotti for the first time when I was looking for a baked good to whip up that didn’t involve butter (I’d run out and was too lazy to run out for some) and utilised whatever ingredients I already had in my pantry. What’s great about biscotti is that the options to customise the flavours and additions to suit your current fancy are really quite myriad. Pistachio, cashew or almond; dried cranberry, apricot or orange zest; chocolate dipped or otherwise, etc etc etc. My first couple of attempts at making biscotti was the classic almond recipe from the Kitchenaid recipe book that came with my little red baby; and subsequently, I moved on to this more decadent version that would be chocolatey enough for a post-meal sweet.
Charmaine considers gluttony the most beautiful sin, and enjoys exemplifying it as she goes about her daily activities. Luckily for her, she currently lives in Hong Kong, the purported greatest city in Asia for everything to do with food (it’s a close fight with Singapore, where she was born and bred). These days she can be found (over)eating, thinking of what and where to eat next, and attempting various recipes in her kitchen.
One of the things I’ve enjoyed most during my days as a freelance consultant is having leisurely breakfasts (and pastries) anywhere and everywhere, toting my trusty companion of a Macbook Air (super light and pain free for running around Hong Kong with) along. I’d choose a new interesting looking spot to try out, or head for a regular cafe, and spend a couple of lovely hours working and munching, or just reading away.
I love ice-cream, you love ice-cream, she loves ice-cream, he loves ice-cream. Who doesn’t love ice-cream? That was the thought and inspiration behind the new series of photography from Greg Cohen, who set out to photograph 150 people enjoying their favourite flavour. I was much taken by the alive-ness of the images and how each one beautifully depicts a distinct personality to the subject.
I’m a greedy pig, which basically means I’m greedy for all kinds of food. On the top of my die-die-must-eat list is crab roe Shanghainese rice cakes. Not necessarily easy to hunt down, even in Shanghai itself. So whenever I am in Shanghai and have time to have a meal (lunch or dinner, doesn’t matter) in the city, I would be sure to race down to Xinjishi (I like the Xin Tian Di branch) for the crab roe rice cakes (蟹粉年糕). And Xinjishi always delivers the perfect plate, no matter what season or month it is.
I picked up Molly Wizenberg (of Orangette)’s book over a year ago when I was preggers, following J around on his work trips and doing nothing very much apart from putting away spectacular amounts of food (especially cakes and sweets) and devouring large quantities of food narratives, which often come with lovely recipes.
Macarons – the gorgeous gorgeous little things. I’ve been a fan of these delicate yet intensely flavoured, colourful and dainty to behold sweeties for a while now. And actually, come to think of it, they’re not even toooo fattening, relatively speaking (no butter in macarons!). Whenever I was in Paris, I would invariably hand-carry back at least two or three boxes of the precious little biscuits from the better-known patisseries – Ladurée, La Maison du Chocolat and Pierre Hermé.
I often take the best things in my life for granted, such as my wonderful hubby J who manages to squeeze time out from his non-stop work schedule to take me to my favourite country for a quick break. This time, we decided on Portland and the Oregon coast, road-tripping all the way. We flew into San Francisco airport, did a quick overnighter and then drove out bright and early the next day up towards Portland, stopping by Ashland, spent a few days in Portland, and back down by the spectacular Oregon coast.
When I finally got around to procuring the Kitchenaid mixer (in red, of course), one of the first things that I made was the vanilla cupcake. It would be my first cupcake attempt, and I was super excited. Using the recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook, the first time I made it, and the multiple times afterwards, I’m always happily surprised by how soft, airy and fluffy the sponge is, and how the frosting just lovingly complements the concoction.