Molasses christmas cookies from my childhood

molasses cookies

When I was growing up in North Carolina there were a great many Christmas traditions – a lot of them involving the Moravian traditions of some of the early settlers of North Carolina. The Moravians were among the first Protestants who fled Europe to America in search of religious freedom from Eastern Europe. Because they were in North Carolina for so long, even if, like me, you are not religious or from a Eastern European heritage, Moravian Christmas traditions and foods have been synonymous with central North Carolina Christmas tradition and foods. And so for me, a nostalgic taste and scent memory of childhood Christmas is Moravian-inspired molasses cookies that my mother used to make. Continue Reading →

Bill Granger’s coconut bread

coconut bread 2

It was one of those perfect moments in time, when I was completely relaxed, basking in the warm glow of the setting sun, sitting reclined and reading a beautiful Bill Granger cookbook. This one, Sydney Food, boasts absolutely stunning pictures, which enticed me so much that I wanted to jump up and try my hand at all the dishes asap. But what I enjoy most about Granger’s recipes, is that they are not complicated or intimidating in the least, and every one that I’ve tried so far has yielded the most satisfying and rewarding results. This coconut bread is a prime example. Continue Reading →

Power breakfasts: Maple vanilla French toast

French toast

One of the things I’m most fussy about as a mother, is that my kids start their day right every morning, with a healthy and nutritious breakfast. I try to instill the good habit in my children to gear up for the day ahead by fueling their brain and body. Together with their cup of milk and fruit, the breakfast menu at our house rotates between whole-grain toast, waffles, pancakes, granola, yogurt, oatmeal, muffins, scones, crepes, and my son’s most recent favourite – this French toast.

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Best gazpacho soup recipe from Willy Trullas Moreno of El Willy in Shanghai

willy trullas el willyIf you live in Shanghai, or have visited often, there is no doubt you have heard of Willy and his popular Spanish tapas restaurant El Willy. Formerly located in the French Concession in an old villa, but now on the glamorous Bund waterfront strand, El Willy is a warm and welcoming place (just like Willy). It’s also very well recognised, having  won numerous accolades in local Shanghai media and is also listed in the top 100 Restaurants in the Miele Guide. Continue Reading →

Leftover love – vegetable pancake

vegetable pancakeOdd bits of vegetables are a common sight in my fridge. I will have leftover vegetables from recipe testing, and some are tragically abandoned at some dark corner of the fridge. Of course, I can use the leftovers for another recipe, which also means that I might need to get more ingredients (and end up having more leftovers–vicious cycle!). Continue Reading →

Tuna, lemon and cannellini bean salad

tuna 1

This salad was inspired by a very simple one that I used to take away from a deli a few times a week, way back when I was still working in the CBD. If my memory doesn’t fail me (it’s been almost ten years), all the salad had in it were cannellini beans, onions, celery and a good amount of olive oil and lemon juice. Tangy, crunchy and creamy, it was delicious. I’ve added a few more ingredients to the original, so my version is more substantial and colourful. Since the bulk of the ingredients are permanent residents in my pantry, this is a really convenient and effortless meal to put together as a fresh and healthy weekday lunch. Continue Reading →

Summer antidote – the easiest sorbet recipe you will ever make

easy sorbet recipe

I relish the tastes of summer – BBQ, cold beer on a hot day and delicious fruity desserts like sorbet. One of summer’s rituals is a trip to the ice cream shop, but if you are like me, maybe you prefer to chill at home (directly under the air con) on those sweltering days. Well, in that case, you can do both. What you may not know is homemade sorbet is quick and easy. In fact you might be shocked just how easy it can be. Continue Reading →

Fruit juice jello

fruit juice jello

My children love jello, and I have to admit that my heart breaks a little every time they eat the packaged ones made with nothing but sugar, colouring and preservatives. This recipe is not only extremely easy (only three ingredients), but it also makes jello that is much better for your body and also tastes great. Continue Reading →

Power breakfasts: Avocado shake

avocado shake

I have had this avocado shake for breakfast four times this week. The heat has been relentless since sunrise, and I simply don’t have the stomach for my usual oatmeal porridge, fried eggs or peanut butter toast. Furthermore, I’m plagued by this nagging sore throat, and all I want are cool, refreshing foods that soothe, even first thing in the morning. This breakfast shake is not only quick to make (and drink), but it is also extremely nutritious and most importantly, darn tasty. Continue Reading →