Monthly Archives: October 2012

Couleur Nature tablecloths.

Some girls buy handbags; I buy tablecloths. I truly believe you can never have too many table linens. They are the perfect way to commemorate the passing of the seasons… pumpkins and squirrels are perfect choices for Fall.

You can also use table linens to commemorate past trips or occasions. In fact they are my souvenir of choice, like for example I have a beautiful turquoise, silk, elephant-covered tablecloth from Cambodia and natural plaid linen placemats from the South of France.

This lemon tree tablecloth reminds me of my wedding — lemons were a major motif. And of my honeymoon in lemon-covered Capri. The olive trees on this one are also reminiscent of Italy. Anyways, I came across, Couleur Nature (where all these images are from) recently and thought they had some beautiful designs. Check out their site for more pretty tabletops.

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Pop-Up Shopping: Cameo launches.

I’m as straight as they come, but around beautiful women I honestly feel like the cat has my tongue!! And when I met Pernille, I honestly could barely introduce myself!

So it came as a bit of a relief actually when I found out she was a big model back in her native Norway.

See how amazing she looks even eating Yo-Mama fro yo? (Sidenote: how does one look that hot while still eating dessert!?)

And it’s not just that she’s stunning, she has incredible style. (AND by the way, two just as beautiful children.)

So I was thrilled, thrilled, thrilled to hear that she was channeling all of that into her own clothing line. It’s just now launched in English and in Hong Kong, although it’s already a big hit back in her native Sweden.

I will definitely be stopping by her pop-up shop tomorrow, on the hunt for some post-baby new clothes! Hope to see you there. If you’re not in HK, you can still check out her new English site here. And for more pics of Pernille looking amazing (I can’t read Norwegian, but maybe you can!) check out her blog here.

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Peanut-lime chicken salad.

One of my favorite things about living in Hong Kong is learning local-ish cuisine. And ironically one of my favorite Asian-inspired dishes comes by way of an NYC half-galley kitchen: Smitten Kitchen’s cold rice noodles with peanut-lime chicken.

Honestly, this dish is a crowd pleaser. It’s a one-pot-meal and you will be shocked and awed by its depth of flavor. And it’s really quite healthy. Also, I will take a quick minute right now to just state for the record: I’m so over chicken breast… thighs are much more flavorful and less prone to being dry and brittle. And while we’re on the subject of over-popularized cuts of meat, I’m short tenderloin and long rib-eye.

Dipping sauce
6 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
6 tablespoons brown sugar
12 tablespoons lime juice
2 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
Small Thai or Serrano chiles, thinly sliced, to taste

Peanut dressing
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
9 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 one-and-a-half inch chunk ginger, peeled and sliced
6 tablespoons natural unsalted peanut butter
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
Pinch of cayenne

Chicken and noodle salad
1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 6)
8 ounces dried rice vermicelli or other rice noodles
2 small cucumbers, cut in 1/4-inch half moons
2 medium carrots, cut in thin julienne
Additional vegetables, as suggested above
Small handful basil or mint or cilantro sprigs, or your favorite of the three (torn or roughly chopped)
4 or more scallions, slivered
1/4 cup crushed or chopped roasted peanuts
Lime wedges (to serve)

Make the dipping sauce: Whisk ingredients in a small serving bowl, making sure to dissolve the sugar. Leave to ripen for 15 minutes. Refrigerate any extra and use within a few days.

Make the peanut dressing: In a blender or small food processor, puree all ingredients to a smooth sauce, about the thickness of heavy cream. Pour into a serving bowl.

Marinate the chicken: Stir together 1/2 the dipping sauce and 1/3 the peanut dressing (you can eyeball this) in the bottom of a low-sided bowl or dish. Add the chicken to the mixture and toss to coat. Let marinate at least 15 minutes.

Cook the noodles: Bring a large pot of water to the boil, then turn off the heat. Add the rice vermicelli and soak for 7 to 8 minutes. (Package directions may vary; check for doneness by tasting.) Drain when noodles are al dente, and cool under running water. Fluff and leave in strainer to drain well.

Cook the chicken: Grill the chicken on an outdoor grill, a stove-top grill pan, or run under the broiler until nicely browned, about 3 to 4 minutes a side. Let cool slightly, then chop roughly into 3/4-inch pieces.

To serve: At this point, you can place everything on a large serving platter, with piles or small bowls for noodles, vegetables, chicken, the dressing and marinade and toppings (peanuts, herbs) and let your family and friends put it together in their own bowls as they wish. Or, you can assemble it for everyone as suggested:

Toss vegetables with 1 tablespoon dipping sauce in a small bowl. Divide the cooked noodles among 4 to 6 bowls. Top each bowl equally with vegetable mixture and chopped chicken. Toss each bowl with 2 teaspoons of each the dipping sauce and dressing, or more to taste (we wanted more). Add the herbs, peanuts and scallions to each bowl and serve with additional dressing and dipping sauce on the side.


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HK bundle: 2 months.

Our little man is growing up so fast!!

He’s picked up a spare tire and is already outgrowing his clothes, which makes me ridiculously sad. Everyone tells you how tired you will be with a new baby, but they don’t tell you how much you will want to savor each second with your little one and how from day two you feel like they’re growing up too fast. I would definitely keep the sleepless nights in exchange for a few more days with his little self.

I feel like he has a hundred expressions a minute. And it is incredible how they can go from ecstatic to despondent in a mere instant.

Francis enjoyed a visit from his grandparents and he loved every second of it! And mom loved the company and ALL the help with the incessant diapers.

And also his Auntie Bridget, who is quite the baby whisperer!

How is that for a gangster scowl?

And I can’t help but leave you with a yawn. Baby yawns are seriously the cutest things in the world! All photos by Becky Beninans: beckybenians@yahoo.co.uk.

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Yuan Heng Spice Co.

While the summer is all about fresh herbs, I am now getting excited about the spices of fall. And Yuan Heng Spice Co. is the perfect place to do that.

It’s somewhat rare in Hong Kong that you actually find a screaming deal…

So I’m pretty excited about what I can do with all of these delicious and super cheap spices. I’m thinking about cider and mulled wine sachets? Any other great ideas for me?

Have you ever seen such large cinnamon?! It could flavor a GIANT bowl of cider. And I mean giant!!

The shop wholesales to many restaurants in town, but will also sell to individuals. I got a screaming deal on some saffron.

Here they are bagging up fried garlic… maybe this is where Under Bridge Spicy Crab gets all the garlic they bury their crab in?

And I love that they still use an old school abacus… or at least have it out for show!

The shop is right by Pantry Magic. Yuan Heng Spice Co. G/F Tung St., Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

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