Monthly Archives: September 2010

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

I was not so happy when we didn’t have Labour Day off, but I’m pretty happy that we have tomorrow off because today is the Mid-Autumn Festival. I like that they give you the day after the festival off so you can recover from all the partying! Even Google is celebrating.

As far as I can tell whether you call it the Zhonqiu or Mid-Autumn Festival, it is really about two things: mooncakes and lanterns. Under the bright harvest moon augmented with lantern light, families get together to celebrate and eat moon cakes and pomelos together.

My lovely friend Wendy (who went to Notre Dame with me and whom I connected with soley through Facebook or I would never have known she lived here!) and her fiance Alex nicely brought us over some mooncakes and fruit in honor of the festival. They are so sweet and so helpful in educating us about the local culture.

The cakes are meant to ressemble the moon and as such they have the bright duck egg yolk in them. They are honestly the richest and most dense thing I have ever eaten in my life. There is no way you could finish one on your own. The filling is made from lotus seed paste and is very sweet in a bean paste type way. They are meant to be cut into thin slices and shared with tea, which makes sense when you have a bite of one!There is  a folk tale about mooncakes being used to conceal secret messages (they certainly are dense enough to hide a letter in!) during the Ming revolution, which overthrew the Yuan dynasty.

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Carrot cake, again.

So I recently posted about my insanely good, family secret, carrot cake recipe. My Notre Dame book club friend Caroline tried out the recipe in cupcake form for a co-worker’s send off and it looks like they turned out great!

From Caroline on cupcakes vs. cake: “I baked the cupcakes for about 25 minutes, but I did everything else the same. It made 24 cupcakes plus a mini-cake (maybe 5x 8 — I had run out of cupcake liners.) I did cupcakes, because they’re easier to share in the office, but I feel like the round cake is really the way to go as it allows for the highest frosting to cake ratio. :)”

I also wanted to let you know that I have figured out how to make nice frosting in humid HK. You cannot buy C&H because it comes in that glassine type bag, but it is not sealed so all of the moisture in the air can get in.

I honestly don’t even know why they sell this here because it is literally rock hard pellets… but what you should buy is this Hong Kong Top Brand icing sugar, which is even finer than powdered sugar and comes in a sealed plastic bag. My cream cheese icing with this stuff was even smoother and more delicious than it is in the States.

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Incredible birthday gift.

So you can imagine, at this point we do miss our beloved San Francisco and so you can’t imagine my excitement when I opened up this incredible gift from my MIL on my birthday.

Leila made the pillows from the Mr.’s grandmother’s handkerchiefs and linen pillowcases and they simply could not be lovelier.

I love the meaning behind the gift and I also love the festive trim she chose. Not only that but she was clever enough to ship the cases without the forms to save on round-the-world shipping. I looked around the apt. for the best place to feature the cases and am still on the hunt, but here are a few locales I’m considering.

Isn’t she simply the most creative and resourceful person you’ve ever even heard of? You can read all about how she made the pillows on her blog here.

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Dining room table hunt.

Remember my debate about the dining room table? Well now I really wish I lived in the Northeast! I happened across this awesome idea where you can go up to Vermont and make your own naked table at Shackleton Thomas out of Sugar Maples.

After making your very own table, all 16 finished tables are combined so you can enjoy a meal with everyone you worked alongside.

I think it’s a really fun idea, although it is the ultimate in yuppy excursions. It reminds me a little of the Outstanding in the Field dinner I dragged the Mr. and my aunt and uncle to–as cool as eating dinner in a field at a 100 person table sounded (and yes the pictures are beautiful), it ended up being such a racket!

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Qipao dress exhibition.

My parents were nice enough to come into town for my birthday and I had really wanted to check out the Hong Kong History Museum so we hopped across the harbor to Kowloon. Poor navigational skills on my part meant we didn’t have long at the museum so we parted ways and my Dad read about the history of the island, while my Mom and I spent all of our time looking at dresses!

The special exhibit was entitled “The Evergreen Classic: Transformation of the Qipao” and it featured 280 Chinese gowns from the last 130 years.
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