Long weekend with ‘peach & chamomile mousse cake’

The long awaited bank holiday weekend has finally arrived. Most people will be out of town or be doing something more interesting. But I’ve opted for a quieter day in. No alarm clock! Just wake up whenever I’m all charged up, be a total slop wearing my pjs most of the day until I sink into a warm fruity bubble bath. But of course with clean teeth. Can’t have my lovely hot choc in my morning breath. =) Took out my well loved Bodum milk frother to froth hot milk for a thick cuppa hot chocolate! Yumm…

…reading on my balcony in the perfect weather of blue sky with white fluffy clouds and a good view

This is a very special bank holiday weekend! My dear flatmate has guestSss over at ours for more than a month. It is as if, they’ve taken over my flat, with fully stocked up fridge with little space left for my food and kitchen top filled with food as well. There’s so much food, you’d think they are planning to hibernate for a quarter of a year! And I don’t even have space and tele to wind down after work. Guess who’s been hogging the tele! So this particular weekend is when all of them including my flatmate are out of town!! How lovely! I finally have the place to myself and relax all I want. But before I start doing all that, a thorough cleaning was needed!

It felt more like home after some cleaning and tidying! Time for brunch then!! Big fat juicy mushrooms with scrambled eggs and toast with butter…  forgot baked beans but it doesn’t matter. The main ingredients were all present. Once I was well fed, it was time to make some indulgent dessert, the ‘Peach and camomile mousse cake’! It’s a recipe I got from the lovely blog, Tartelette with her ever so attractive photos.

…my attempt of the peach and chamomile mousse cake…

My mousse cake turned out quite well although it didn’t set as well as I’d like them to. I used gelatin sheets instead of the powdered form she used so maybe four films wasn’t enough. The mousse layers on hers is more differentiated whereas the peach colour on mine was a little lighter so I’ve added a drop of red colouring to make it more vibrant. What’s most important, it looks lovely and tastes heavenly. My dear friend who was lucky enough to try this cake went mmmmm…. mmmmm… and more mmmm…. finished with a big smile on the face! That makes me happy!

…bliss.. does include sinking in to a warm cranberry bubble bath.. =) would be even better if the bathroom has a lovely view instead of just 4 blocks of walls..

I was thinking of bringing some of these mousse cakes to work but one of my colleague is a vegetarian. So she won’t be able to have anything with gelatin. Since there were extra lemon olive oil cake that was yielded from the cake recipe, I’ve created something out of it. I  sandwiched it with strawberry jam and topped with slices of peach. It was a lovely combination. The peach slices bring out the olive oil flavour.

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Benihana

We were very well greeted at the King’s Road branch of Benihana. The staff were friendly and showed us to a very spacious waiting area with a bar to wait for the rest of our mates to arrive. The initial vibe was good until we were served the onion soup. It was so salty, it tasted like MSG soup and when the chef came to the table to cook our food, I was initially slightly taken away by the fire spectacle but later found it overly fussed. Too much drama.

For the price you pay, even with the toptable promotion, I wouldn’t recommend this place for the food but I would understand how some people might like this restaurant for the entertainment sake. If you you are a group who likes some food tossed into your mouth, you’ll most likely like it here.  Just be prepared to come out of the restaurant smelling like food.

The fire spectacle on the hibachi grill

A walk along the Thames

It was a rainy day and the best thing is of course be indoors.  So avoiding the rain in the Design museum is a great way to fill up some time. The best thing was to have the sky cleared off when I stepped out! GREAT! Time for a pleasant walk along the river and to explore my new camera! It’s my first camera with most manual functions, still not and SLR but it’s good enough to start with.

This would have been a much better shot if I remembered to use macro. This is what happens when your fingers get numb with the chilly wind.

Some of my minor obsession with feet and shoes… hmm  :p

Cantonese egg tarts

Having been brought up to have dim sum almost every sunday for brunch when i was young, it is no surprise I have a few favourites. The usual must haves are the har kau (shrimp dumpling with shiny translucent skin), sesame balls and of course the egg tarts.

So at the very minute when a friend called to attend a dinner session at his place, I quickly volunteered to make desserts. “Surprise me!” he said. The decision was quick, egg tarts it is! Flipped through my recipe folder for one of the well praised cantonese tart recipe from Christine’s blog, went to get some missing ingredients and VOILA!

My first batch of egg tarts!! =)

I was surprised at how easy it is to make. A good recipe makes all the difference. So a great thank you to Christine for her amazing recipes and her note to pull open the oven door at the last stage. It was very helpful. It kept the egg custard from puffing up, keeping the flat and smooth surface.

** I reduced the sugar for the custard to 60g instead of the 110g since I did not want them to be too sweet.

A dunking discovery

I am quite fond of the dunking concept. It is an art! You have to get the technique and the pairing of drink and biscuit right. And yes, when dunking is concerned, it is usually biscuit with tea or cookies with milk. Frequently some sort of biscuit dunked into a drink.

This will be my regular dunking pairing:

  • McVitie’s digestive with Milo (a chocolate flavoured malt drink)
  • Rich Tea biscuit with tea
  • Biscotti with coffee
  • Cookies and Oreos with milk

Surprisingly, having most the common dunking combination on hand, I used none of them. That is because I had a morning struck of brilliance!! With the availability of my day old brioche, which would usually be toasted and spread with some butter, I dunked the plainly toasted slice of brioche in orange juice!! It works! It is a lovely combination; brioche soaked in orange juice with a light crisp of the toast! Heavenly!!

Toasted brioche cut into a decent dunking size with a cup of orange juice

Toasted brioche soaked up with orange juice

A smile in return

As I was going to work, walking up hill and cutting across the residential area as usual, I looked up and saw a lovely old lady with her all white, short and wavy hair walking towards my direction. She has a very friendly face and a slight smile on her face. She looked at me and I flashed her with a smile. She returned with the sweetest, most sincere smile ever. This lady reminds me of my late grandmother who has the kindest eyes and most contagious smile ever…

It makes me think about the simplest things money can’t buy that makes a good day. A simple smile does it! Even if it does not last the whole day, it would have at least made your morning. A clear blue sky with random white fluffy clouds does the trick too. Even when someone opens the door for you, a smile and thank you in return makes a difference. It is equally the same when a colleague makes tea for you when they are making one for themselves.

…the simple things in life…

Peanut Cookies

(fah sang peng)

Since the Chinese New Year treats are not as widely available here as the mince pies during Christmas, I decided to make some to increase the festive mood just in time for our celebration on the eve. My mates love them and could not stop eating. They had practically finished the whole box before we even had dinner. Mmm…

This cookie is easy enough to make and is a real indulgence for a festive treat. Pack them nicely in a box with a lovely ribbon to be given away or stack them up on your cookie tray for when your guests arrive for open house. Just make sure not to put all of them out on display cause once your guests tried one, they would not stop popping the next one into their mouth. Gosh.., they melt in the mouth!

Happy Chinese New Year to all and hope you have a roaring start!!

Peanut cookie recipe

  • 600g peanuts (skinless)
  • 600g flour
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 500ml peanut oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 big heap tbsp of peanut butter
  • 10g grated dark chocolate (I used 85% cacao) [optional]
  • Egg yolk for brushing
  1. Toast the peanuts until fragrant. Be careful not to burn them.
  2. Ground or blend the toasted peanuts until fine in a food processor.
  3. Mix the ground peanuts, sugar and salt.
  4. Add in butter and peanut butter then lastly the flour. Mix well.
  5. Pour in oil and blend until it becomes a dough.
  6. Roll them into balls and place them on a greased baking tray.
  7. Bake in preheated oven at 175ºC for 18 minutes.

* Be careful while handling them as they break easily. This recipe yields about 6 takeaway plastic boxes so you can half the recipe.