Monthly Archives: August 2013

Tai Tai Pie Pies

Nothing says love like a home-made pie but not all of us have the luxury of time to bake for our friends and family. Luckily Tai Tai Pies Pies has come to the rescue and made pies so delicious everyone will think it’s fresh from your oven. Chef and pie specialist RJ Asher has put his heart and soul into this artisanal pie baking business. Everything, right down to the pastry, crumble, and fillings – all imported meats, proves that RJ lives and breathes his specialist business. Fresh and wholesome – their apple pie is a definite favourite. 

When it came to planning the styling for the photographs we took our inspiration from the natural flavours and spices RJ uses in his culinary creations. I used turmeric and tea together, which turned the linen napkins to a beautiful soft yellow hue. For all my spices (a whole other story we will get onto another time) I always go to this tiny little shop in Wan Chai. 


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Chocolate and Cinnamon Mousse Cake

Chocolate and Cinnamon Mousse Cake
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  1. 360g butter
  2. 400g dark chocolate
  3. 150g bitter chocolate (85 percent cocoa minimum)
  4. 430g light brown sugar
  5. 90ml water
  6. 1 tbsp cinnamon (you can also use ginger or cardamom)
  7. 7 eggs
  8. salt (pinch)
  1. Preheat over to 170 degrees celcius.
  2. Line base and sides of 25cm springform pan with baking parchment.
  3. Place butter and both chocolates in a large mixing bowl over a pan of gently boiling water (bottom of the bowl should not touch the water).
  4. Meanwhile, put sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.
  5. Pour the sugar syrup over the chocolate/butter and stir until smooth. Remove from heat.
  6. Separate eggs, placing whites in a mixing bowl. Add yolks to the chocolate mixture. Stir in ground spice.
  7. Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and whisk them until they hold firm peaks.
  8. Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mix and pour about 75 percent of the mixture into the spring-form pan and place in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
  9. Flatten the top of the cake with a spoon or palette knife and then pour the remaining batter on top and put back in the oven for 25-30 minutes. The top layer should be set but still a bit 'wet'.
  10. Leave to cool completely before removing from the tin.
  1. Serve with fresh cream and fruit.

Pork Dumplings with Water Chestnuts

Pork Dumplings with Water Chestnuts
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Dumplings Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup of fresh coriander
  2. 2 spring onions finely chopped
  3. 6 fresh water chestnuts peeled and finely chopped
  4. 300g minced pork
  5. 1 tbsp Black Bean sauce
  6. 1 baby cabbage finely chopped
  7. 8cm fresh dumpling wraps (white in colour)
Dipping Sauce Ingredients
  1. 3 tbsp seasoned red vinegar
  2. 4 tsp chilli oil
For the Dumplings
  1. Mix all ingredients in a ceramic bowl.
  2. Place one teaspoon of mixture in the centre of each wrap. Fold over and seal with a little dab of water.
  3. Steam in bamboo steamer for about 10 minutes or until firm to touch.
For the Dipping Sauce
  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve with dumplings.

Steamed Ginger Puddings with Ginger and Cardamom Sauce

Steamed Ginger Puddings with Ginger and Cardamom Sauce
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Pudding Ingredients
  1. 350g jar of Chinese Stem Ginger in Syrup, drained and coarsely chopped. Keep syrup aside
  2. 2 cups of all purpose flour
  3. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  4. 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  5. 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  6. 3/4 stick (6 tbsp) butter, softened
  7. 1 cup castor sugar
  8. 3 large eggs
Sauce Ingredients
  1. 1 3/4 sticks (3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp) butter
  2. 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  3. 1 cup heavy cream
  4. Reserved syrup from Stem Ginger
  5. 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  6. 1/2 tsp ground cardamon
For the Pudding
  1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sifted flour, baking powder, ginger and cardamom and beat until just combined.
  3. Mix in Chinese stem ginger with a wooden spoon until just combined.
  4. Pour batter into greased ramekin or terra-cotta bowls (make sure they will fit into your steamer).
  5. Arrange bowls in steamer and place the lid on and steam for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Make sure to keep topping up the water in your steamer.
For the Sauce
  1. In a heavy based saucepan, melt butter over a moderate heat and add brown sugar, ginger and cardamom.
  2. Bring mixture to the boil, stirring occasionally and stir in cream and reserved ginger syrup.
  3. Simmer sauce, stirring occasionally until thickened slightly, about five minutes.
  1. Serve steamed puddings with cardamom sauce and vanilla ice cream.

Thai Fish Cakes

Thai Fish Cakes
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Thai Fish cakes
  1. 500g orange roughy fish fillets, uncooked
  2. 250g green prawns, shelled
  3. 1 egg beaten
  4. 3 tbs cornflour
  5. 1 tbs fish sauce
  6. 3 tsp red curry paste
  7. 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves
  8. 2 Kaffir lime leaves, thinly chopped
  9. Knob of fresh ginger grated
  10. Juice of 1 lime
  11. Coconut oil for cooking
Dipping Sauce
  1. 1 cup white wine vinegar
  2. 1/2 cup caster sugar
  3. Pinch of salt
  4. 1 chilli, chopped (optional)
  5. 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  6. Knob of ginger, grated
  7. 1/2 cup fresh pineapple finely chopped
For the Thai Fish Cakes
  1. Process the fish and prawns in a food processor.
  2. Add the egg, cornflour, fish sauce, curry paste, coriander, Kaffir lime leaves and process until combined.
  3. Form mixture into large patties using a spoon or wet hands.
  4. Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan.
  5. Fry patties and turn when golden brown. Remove when cooked and drain.
  6. Serve with dipping sauce.
For the Dipping Sauce
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix thoroughly. Serve with fish cakes.

Mango Sticky Rice

Mango Sticky Rice
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  1. 3 cups of sticky rice (glutinous rice)
  2. Steamed in a rice cooker (following manufacturers instructions) using half water, half coconut milk.
Coconut sauce
  1. 2 cups of coconut milk
  2. 3/4 cup palm sugar
  3. 1 Kaffir lime leaf
  4. Juice of 1 lime
  5. 4 ripe mangoes
  6. Zest of lime to garnish
  1. In a heavy based saucepan heat the coconut milk, Kaffir lime leaf and palm sugar until sugar has dissolved. Be careful not to let it boil.
  2. Take sauce off the heat and add the lime juice. Leave to cool for 5 minutes and remove the Kaffir lime leaf.
  3. Pour the coconut sauce over the cooked rice and place freshly cut mangoes on top with a zest of lime.

Vintage Frames

Everyone can see Hong Kong has recently become more accepting of secondhand and vintage. In the past it was not out of the question to fly over to Amsterdam, Sydney or Paris to go completely vintage crazy and shop for amazing finds. But I love how Hong Kong is changing – more and more stores are opening up with secondhand gems. And the ones I really love are the vintage eyeglasses frames. The thing about them is that they make you look unique and offer an easy way to individualise your own style. Have a look at our finds: 2007 Zhan, Shop 1 G/F Po Hing Court, 10- 18 Po Hing Fong, Sheung Wan, +852 2559 3001. and Select 18, Shop A, G/F Grand View Gardne, 18 Bridges Street, Central, Soho, +852 2858 8803. If you don’t have the patience or don’t go for vintage in the way that I do (I just love the thrill of the chase) just remember the label can make the decision easier for you (Yves Saint Laurent for example definitely holds its value. Ray-Bans as well are more than agreeable). Transforming an old name brand pair of sunglasses into remarkable reading frames is also a clever way to go out full face with a completely new look. 

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Ginger Jars

In China – about the mid-19th century – ginger jars were a way to store goods and export ginger, salt, oils and spices out of the country. The oriental symbols and designs are beautiful; double happiness is often inked on the blue and white jars and some colours have different meanings (one is fit for an emperor, others are given for weddings and special occasions). The ginger jar also looks pretty fine in a bathroom or on a delicate armoire in a bedroom.

Belinda’s mum, who once worked in outback Queensland, speaks of the days when the travelling hawkers journeyed with their wares, and in their carts filled with linen, pots and pans were ginger jars. A gift was often made of them to Belinda’s mother from her mother all the way from the Blue Mountains, stocked with Chinese stem ginger – and she still has the collection in her home, too. 

Chocolate Lychees with Stem Ginger recipe below from Belinda’s mum…  

It’s not easy to source an antique ginger jar with no breaks or cracks. Try fossicking for old and new ginger jars in Hong Kong at Tung Shan Porcelain Co, Shop 2, G/F, Ying Pont Building, 69- 71 Peel Street, Central, +852 2857 3665 and Yuet Tung China Works units 1-3, 3/F, Kowloon Bay Industrial Centre, 15 Wang Hoi Road, Kowloon,  +852 2796 1125.  

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Chocolate Lychees with Stem Ginger

Chocolate Lychees with Stem Ginger
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  1. 100 g Dark Chocolate
  2. 565 g Can of lychees in syrup
  3. 260 g Jar of Chinese Stem Ginger in syrup
  1. Drain lychees well and pat dry.
  2. Drain Stem ginger and cut the ginger into quarters.
  3. Place a piece of ginger inside each one of the lychees and place on a paper towel to soak up any further liquid.
  4. Melt the chocolate in a double saucepan until smooth.
  5. Using small forks or a skewer dip the lychees into the chocolate until completely covered. Let the excess chocolate drain off for a few seconds and then carefully place on a sheet of grease proof paper.
  6. When all of the lychees are dipped, place in the fridge until set hard.
  1. Serve as an after dinner treat with coffee or a fresh mint tea.
Adapted from From recipe by Vivienne Rogers
Adapted from From recipe by Vivienne Rogers

The Crafties

The latest social and constructive venture we love is The Crafties on Des Voeux Road, Sheung Wan where you can learn everything from sewing, knitting and crocheting to quilting, using a loom, beading a necklace or making your own leather goods. Their drop-in crotchet classes take place on the first Thursday of every month. The focus is on creating a sense of community which craft is perfect for. So if you have a project in mind, possess the skills to teach a class or just need a space to work in (you can hire a table or corner) get in touch with Sky Chow on +852 3461 1368. For more information go to their website 

We love hand-made products and you can find a good selection at The Crafties. Check out baby blankets knitted by Kimberley Knits. For jewellery, lovely leather goods and for bibs and baby shoes see To whit To whooo. For some vintage inspiration Vic & Lily are sourcing some reasonably priced special pieces from all around the globe. Creative director Maggie Chan from Liliput Tales works and sells her quirky mossariums here as well. 

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