Pantry Basics: Easy Chocolate Ice Cream Shell

mini-magnums

It’s definitely ice cream weather right now! You would think that to get a thin coat of chocolate on your ice cream would be a simple matter of dipping it into some melted chocolate. Well, think again. I’ve made some spectacular mistakes. It doesn’t help that doing something like that in the sweltering tropics makes it doubly complex. But I’m happy to report that I’ve finally found a simple chocolate ice cream shell recipe that works: chocolate and refined coconut oil. I did try the venerable Thomas Keller’s recipe first, but it still resulted in a shell that was far too thick. It was the Chocolate Bombe Shell recipe from the fabulous Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams that did the trick.

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Comfort food – my mother’s recipe for macaroni and cheese

macaroni and cheese

I grew up in the Southern part of US. And what everyone now calls “comfort food” was just regular ‘ole food to us. Southern food is rich – with dishes like fried okra, ribs, creamed corn, BBQ, buttermilk biscuits, mashed potatoes and such being part of the everyday diet. When I go home and visit my mother in North Carolina every year, I start thinking about my mother’s cooking…and when she asks me, “do you want me to make anything special for you?,” it’s her homemade mac and cheese that tops the list. Continue Reading →

Tips for a terrific family road trip

roadtrip3

School’s out and I’m guessing that many of our readers will be hitting the road with their families for the holidays, so I thought a quick list of useful things I discovered on our first family road trip with our two-year-old in tow might be a helpful thing to share.
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Heaven on a plate – prosciutto and parmesan pasta

prosciutto pasta

One of the first blogs that really got me hooked onto reading about food, and inspired me to write about food, was Orangette. When I read Molly’s writing, I feel like I’m sitting right in her living room, sitting cross-legged on her sofa, listening to her stories. I fell in love with her heartfelt words, her honest photographs, and mostly, her delicious, never-fail recipes. Whenever I find myself in need of gastronomic inspiration, I browse her recipe index and pick whichever I’m in the mood for that day. She always has just the thing for me. Take this prosciutto pasta for instance. Continue Reading →

World Peace cookies

cookie stack

I’ve found a new pen pal in my editor, Charmaine, who’s based in Hong Kong. We write each other about once a week, mostly just girl/mommy talk, but discussions inadvertently find their way back to food. One of our latest topics has been what we bake when we need a little pick-me-up, something that lifts our spirits on a dowdy day, or a sweet treat when we are simply in a gluttonous mood. Continue Reading →

Pantry Basics: Play Dough

play dough recipe

Regular readers may have noticed that I really enjoy making the odd children’s amusement from scratch. I think even CH didn’t fully comprehend my love of working with my hands until our toddler T came along. After almost a dozen years of marriage, it only recently dawned upon him that I’m a “crafty kind of girl” (I’m not quite sure if the pun was intended). I simply don’t believe that children ought to only discover things through pre-packaged stimuli that come out of a box. Of course, T receives plenty of toys, I don’t shun them, and he loves technology. But I try my best to throw in simple things like squishing play dough (yes, that’s a burger made out of play dough pictured above), touching grass with your bare feet, playing with ice cubes, finger painting, threading pasta, counting soybeans, and learning to tear sheets of paper into the mix.

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One-pot wonder: cauliflower and red lentil soup

chunky cauliflower soup

The hubby and I are hoping to lose a few, seeing as we basically haven’t stopped eating since the Christmas season last year. Soups have been our go-to lunches since the amount of liquid in them deceive us into thinking we are full just after one big bowl. To my surprise one day, the hubby requested for cauliflower soup. Some time back, I cooked a roasted garlic and cauliflower dish with cheddar cheese melted over. It got him loving the veg, and he has since been on kind of a cauliflower bender. Continue Reading →

Travelling with the toddler to Kyoto, Japan, Part 2

T-Chomping-on-Toast

Dining with toddlers when travelling is a world apart from eating out when it’s just you and your hunny bunny. On previous trips to Japan, I would have made reservations at cult places I’ve been dying to try or restaurants that I already love weeks in advance. Because many of my favourite haunts are uber-popular, booking ahead is essential. However, with the tiny one in tow, not only could I not plan ahead, but the kinds of restaurants we visited were very different.  Continue Reading →

Travelling with the toddler to Kyoto, Japan, Part 1

kyoto-kids-monkey-park-1

My wife S and I have been to Kyoto many times. But until this past April, we’d never gone there with a young child in tow (of course, since we only had our first child two years ago, that would kind of make sense). This most recent trip, because we had brought along our son T, was remarkably different from all of our previous trips. Our schedule, because we had to plan everything around his schedule, was different. Where we went and what we did each day, because we wanted to do and see things that would be fun for him, was different. And where we ate, because we wanted to go to places that served food he liked, was different.
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Family Food: Buttermilk Pancakes

buttermilk pancakes

Fluffy and tasty even on their own, these are our house pancakes. I’d even pack a whisk into my suitcase just to be able to serve these buttermilk pancakes when we’re travelling.  They’re that easy to make. And they’re that good!

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Power Breakfasts: Peanut Butter Pancakes

peanut butter pancakes

A very bizarre thing about my hubby, is that he slathers peanut butter onto his cheese burgers, nestling it between the lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mayonnaise, melted cheese, ketchup and pickles. It’s apparently the way things are done in a family diner called Triple XXX in West Lafeyette, Indiana (where he spent six years, as a young and impressionable student). The Duane Purvis All-American is a house favourite among Triple XXX’s avid followers, and after all these years, the hubby still deems it the best burger in the world. We could be eating the most sumptuous Waygu burger, and he would still woefully lament that it lacked creamy peanut butter (never chunky!), preferably a ¼-inch thick.

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