Friday, December 21, 2012

Tang Yuan

I was told today is Guo Tong or  Yuanxiao day. It has been at least 15 years since I last ate this. I remembered making this with my sister and mum. And while preparing this all 3 of us would gathered around the pot of ginger sugar syrup and rolling these little balls and chat, exchanging stories, which was fun. 

When DH Friesland told me about it I wanted to try it too. Then came my daughter looking so interested and wanted to help. I suddenly feel this Tongyuan is such a mother daughter bonding dish. She wanted to know the story of Tongyuan too.

Of course I have to tell her the story of Tang Yuan and why are we making this. She finds it bizarre.

Luckily I had googled and read about it from

Tāngyuán is a Chinese food made from glutinous rice flour. Glutinous rice flour is mixed with a small amount of water to form balls and is then cooked and served in boiling water. Tangyuan can be either small or large, and filled or unfilled. They are traditionally eaten during Yuanxiao.


According to a legend,  in the Han Dynasty, there was a maid of honor who was called Yuanxiao. She missed her parents a lot but she could not leave the palace. Therefore, she wept all the time and even wanted to turn to suicide. A minister knew her story and promised to help her. What Yuanxiao needed to do was to make lots of Tangyuans, which was the best cuisine she could make, in order to worship the god on 15th day of the first month in Chinese calendar. Finally, Yuanxiao did a great job and the emperor was so contented; therefore, Yuanxiao was permitted to meet her parents, Tangyuan was named as Yuanxiao and 15th day of the first month in Chinese calendar was considered to be Yuanxiao Festival.
According to the record of history, Tangyuan has been a popular snack in China since Sung Dynasty.

Traditionally it is supposed to be white or maybe pink. But I want to make it more interesting to entice my kids to eat it. I found out I was not the only one :) who like rainbow colours.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Tree Cupcakes adapted from Martha Stewart


Cook Like a Star Martha Stewart December 2012.

My sis of  asked me if I want to bake like a star? Yeah! Why not? If I know how to.
Bake Like a Star as informed by sis was an idea from Zoe of collaborating with Baby Sumo of Eat your heart out and Riceball of Riceball Eats

I have always like to be Martha. So knowledgeable, elegant and calm, her kitchen and art & craft space  ever so tidy as oppose to mine and  like her I love gardening too. If I ever clicked on to I always ended spending hours there admiring everything from  food, homes, gardens, pets and even weddings ( although I am way over weddings)

So I can't just say no to this chance to pretend I am Martha by joining in the fun baking like Martha. 

Yes, I saw this at Martha Stewart's Facebook and like a stalker I bookmarked this recipe and the step-by-step on how to bake this Christmas cupcakes. It is a good thing.

Luck was really on my side after piping this very first tree , it began to snow! Can't help but place this cupcake to chill the frosting outside on the picnic table.

 This will make a great table centre piece before eating it up.

Click here for Martha's cream cheese frosting

Look I see many stars cooking like a star.


Christmas tree check, snow check, sweets check...I miss my mixpod music here......

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Xmas Crafts with kids

In The Netherlands the Dutch celebrate Sinterklaas on the 5th of December. 
Kids would get presents on their shoes or on the day itself Zwarte Piet ( Sint Nicholaas help) would deliver a sack of presents for kids.

For big kids who do not believe in Sinterklaas anymore, say beginning 10 year old, would participate in a name lottery system. One could get a name and he or she will play secret Santa and buy for the recipient a present anonymously. He himself will get a present from some other secret santa too. My kids school practice this and so do we at home.

 It is extra exciting when one would  hide the present in a "piñata" presentation together with a poem. These "piñata" are called "surprise" (pronounced as "surprees" as in "see") I wanted to call it surprise so much. I wonder why the word "verrassing" is not  used because that is a Dutch word for surprise. So everyone is calling it a surprees but it is spelt as surprise.

                                 Cute bunnies huh? Real Carrots!


My son's class decided on a free theme "surprises".  There are more boys in his class. Boys and their toys.

Meanwhile, my daughter's class has a "fairytale" theme. There are coincidently more girls in her class.

This is called a 'sprookjesboom" a fairytale tree. A famous tree in fact in Holland if you believe in fairytale. It could speak but here it can't, it just suffered a little transportation drama from home to school this morning, *snort*.

                                              Guess this is Dumbo.

                      Ahhhh...The Money Tree...Now, that is Fairytale!

                                             A princess......

Meanwhile at home....I saw this idea of creating rainbow hues with colourful strings in a magazine from a local supermarket Albert Heijn.

  I love it and decided to copy the idea!

And my daughter came up with this idea which I thought is super cute! I secretly hope she is my secret santa.

On the 25th of December Dutch in Holland celebrate Christmas too. Double celebration, double preparations, double presents, double joy. (Double whammy mummy double broke) Presents, food, christmas cards....etc.

My daughter is participating in a program Day for Change in her school. Making her own Christmas Cards and sell them in a Xmas Market at school. I thought it would be cool to print photos of Christmas cookies we had baked before and just paste in on a card.

My daughter created some spring forms from these papers to create some spring suspensions under our cookie photos so the cookie "pops" right out at ya! LOL!

And we saw this idea at Martha Stewart and  thought "oh super cute" and kids would be able to make these. 

So we made some, using whatever papers we could find at home.

                         Now what is missing over here, is some snow .......

Sunday, November 18, 2012


5 December over here in Holland is a big celebration, the ceramic atelier will be closed. Weeks before 5 December people will be shopping for presents. Basically from what I understand, long time ago there was a Saint called Saint Nicolaas ( now affectionately known as Sinterklaas) who will come to Holland from Spain on his birthday to give kids presents. He has assistants called the Zwarte Piet ( Black Piet). There are many Zwarte Piets. They carry a sack each. And in each sack are "Pepernoten" cookies and presents. Zwarte Piets are dark because they used to be pirates in the sea who got tired of being pirates and wanted to do good, so they decided to help Sinterklaas.

I suppose there are better information out there like

        Spice here is basically anise, cinnamon and clove.

       Videos on how to bake pepernoten in DUTCH/English :

     Here is how Zwarte Piets doing the Gangnam Style :


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pandan Chicken Bondage style for 50 Shades of Grey challenge and my vote for Grey

DH Germany came up with an idea to cook something inspired by  50 Shades of Grey, a book written  by EL James. DH Zoetemmer cooked up a very submissive looking chicken on the plate, DH France prepared sausage bundled up in bacon and sauce oozing out in the middle of it. And frankly I have no idea anymore. So I suppose I would just take the only tied up chicken dish I know the Pandan Chicken or in Thai commonly known Gai Haw Bai Teoy.

How erotic can it not be? All tied up with aromatic pine"screw" leaves "bondage" style. With a potato ball as a "butt" plug (!?) Hahaha..okay, I think I sucks in writing moreover trying to write erotically about a chicken.

Here you go, this is my sub"mission" for the 50 Shades of Grey food challenge.

                 Pine"screw Chicken "sub" mission.

Since I can't write maybe I will try paint it...with wax. How about that huh? Naughty enough? We aim to please ;)

By the way, on a serious note, I am thinking of giving this away as this is small enough to mail, it is 30x40cm, to any 50 Shades of Grey fan out there who would go here

and click "like" my page.( This seems important nowadays)
So click away to stand a chance to win this painting!
Laters baby!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Porcupine Pain- Collaboration with sis in France

I went to France to spend fall with my sister of

As usual I would sit in her kitchen and it would feel like I am visiting a cooking show set. There was a lot of baking and eating until midnight.

This time  we have decided to collaborate a pain, a rustic French bread. She would knead & bake the pain.

Made with ❤

                               And I will just play dressing up the pain.

This recipe below is pain rustique making chef, levain, refreshments for the purpose of using some of it for a new batch, as in traditional bakeries. This process is without using yeast. It is kind of making yogurt which reminds me of the time I learnt how to make natural yogurt with Ayse my turkish friend. Using a spoon of 'old' yogurt to 'activate' 'new' milk into yogurt but as soon as yogurt is ready, we would save 1 spoon 'old' yogurt for the next batch.

    A delectable experience. Simpla et facile. Bon appétit.