Monthly Archives: December 2012

Happy New Year from Koh Samui!

Wishing you wide open horizons in 2013!! See you in the New Year. xxx

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Black forest cake.

While often made for Halloween, the festive nature of this dark chocolate, cherry and whipped cream cake makes it equally appropriate for the holidays.

To be honest, I would never have thought to make it on my own as I’ve never tasted a decent version and am very adverse to desserts with cherries… but as it was the Mr.’s request, I gave it my best effort!

It is a labour of love! Basically you bake a cake, slice it carefully into three layers, and then fill it with layers of ganache, home made (there is no other way, really) whipped cream and cherries and kirsch (which is a cherry liquor).

But as we were just home for Christmas and not entertaining hordes, I had plenty of time for the requisite steps most notably making sure the cake is completely cool before slicing and I really enjoyed putting it all together.And it was delicious! Recipe: Nigella Lawson community member.

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Home for Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all!!

This is the first time we’ve been home for Christmas and after a whirlwind, 4-city Thanksgiving US tour, boy does it feel good.

It feels so nice to be able to really enjoy our tree.

And our own little holiday ambience (that candle smells like a real wood fireplace) and those clove oranges I made with girlfriends at a holiday crafting night.

And our lil bundle who is getting cuter by the day.

We had the girls downstairs over for make your own ice cream sundaes, with homemade caramel and chocolate sauce and also hot chocolate (spiked for the adults). Ice cream sundaes does seem like the perfect holiday dessert here in Hong Kong.

It’s been unseasonably warm! We enjoyed a lovely lunch at the beach and I was really sweating when I tried to wear my new boots! Silly girl.

Friends from SF stopped by over the weekend for a holiday luncheon.

Francis now has his own seat at the table!

All of our holiday cards are en route.

Packages have been sent and most (fingers crossed!) have arrived. Have I mentioned here that I LOVE HKPost?? It costs the same to send a package from San Francisco to Boston as it does to send it from here to Boston. How is that possible?


Jam has been made… passionfruit this year instead of the usual red pepper jelly.

Now all the candles are lit!

I’m most excited about giving gifts from Vision First and of course I did buy a few of these pretty balls for our own growing ornament collection.

I’ve even made a few plates for our romantic little dinner just the two of us.

We’ve got a brilliant arrangement from Ellermann to make the house feel extra festive. So now we just wait for Baby Jesus to arrive.

Santa has already stopped by… if you’re wondering what that large suitcase is doing under the tree… well I asked Santa to fix my bag’s zippers (something I have been trying to do for no fewer than 18 months) and it looks like I may have been a good girl after all. Sending you all lots of warm wishes for a blessed Christmas day!

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FX’s birth announcements.

I thought I’d interrupt the craziness of the holidays to show you Francis’s birth announcement.

It was designed by vellum and vogue for minted and is called arrow announcement. I really liked the arrow backer pattern.

I had the foresight to ask Meg from Moglea to address them BEFORE the baby was born… thank goodness! No time for that after. Plus she painted the addresses on which ended up looking a million times better than my own handwriting.

And we did cute skinny-wraps. I was really happy with how they turned out!

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Everyday Harumi.

New Year’s resolutions are only a few weeks off so I thought I’d share one of my life resolutions that, unlike so many, has actually been quite successful!

When I moved to Asia I resolved to learn how to cook Asian food. And it’s been very fun and inspring. It would also be a fun resolution if you’re unable to travel in the year ahead… so much of visiting a new place is about tasting the food, but there’s no reason you can’t do that at home, right?!

About a year ago I posted about Tonki’s in Tokyo, which is an amazing tonkatsu (fried pork) place. Donna, a HKHousewife reader, suggested I try out Everyday Harumi and she was right on; it’s a really great book because the recipes are very simple and she makes it easy to get into this new cuisine. Harumi is a Japanese housewife, Martha Stewart equivalent.

I prefer to really get into one type of Asian cuisine at a time… my first year here it was Thai and lately its been Japanese because you do need some staples particular to that type of cuisine so it doesn’t really make sense to only cook in that style once.

There are a lot of toasted sesame seeds and sesame oil for example in Japanese food. You also need lots of dashi (Japanese fish stock), miso, sake!, and mirin (Japanese rice wine), ginger and garlic.

It’s also nice to have lots of little dishes as the Japanese are all about little tastes of this and that. These dishes were re-used from my travel party. For this meal, I made Harumi’s pickled cauliflower, green beans with a sesame dressing, Japanese coleslaw salad and Harumi’s famous barbeque sauce.

Anyways, I think gifting an entirely new genre of cooking to someone is a great idea and I am thinking of giving several copies of Harumi to loved ones this year!

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