2020 has been a very hard year for many, but at last we are looking towards a new beginning of another year. 👏👏 New Year’s Eve marks a time to reflect and learn, and what a year this has been!
As I was reminiscing the past year last night, I stumbled upon a video on the internet (typical insomniac behaviour lol) that recapped all the old animations I used to enjoy as a child. I have always been a fan of anime. It’s crazy to think some of these animes are over 20 years old (even older than me at that 😬) since I feel like I have been watching them since forever. It’s really a sad, constant reminder that time really does fly by- every small and seemingly insignificant moments in life need to be cherished and treasured before they disappear forever. ❤️
The future is never set in stone, and endless possibilities and dreams lay ahead! So, let’s smash this year! (Like I did to my chocolate ball dessert! 😂) Wishing everyone a happy new year! 🥳🥳🎉🎉🎊🎊🎊 May all your dreams come true in 2021! ❤️❤️
Happy Christmas Eve! 🎄☃️🌟 Almost a week into tier 4, but funnily enough I am still enjoying my time away from work and being left to my own devices. 😌 Obviously this Christmas is a lot quieter than previous years, but I think it’s good to find some peace in these uncertain times.
Continuing my spree of festive baking, I decided to make a traditional Yule Log today. The filling is a whipped cream with raspberries, wrapped in a chocolate sponge coated in dark chocolate ganache and decorated with tempered chocolates. 😋 It’s very straightforward, and I had such a fun time making it because I just love doing tempered chocolate work. 😁👌 And to finish, all it needs a little dust of icing sugar to bring it to life! ❄️❄️
Despite the fact we are approaching Christmas🎄, I know for many of us in the UK, there will be no moods for celebration. The chaos that has happened in the past few days had most certainly angered and frustrated me (and it’s much more than just having my holiday plan tossed right out of the window). I do believe tier 4/lockdown is the right thing to do, but I sighed at the incompetence, disorganisation and seemingly lack of care shown by the British government that has allowed the situation to be escalated to this stage… It’s such a sad way to end a truly unusual year (and who knows what’s in hold for the new year). Meanwhile, however, I am just happy to stay in my tiny flat and keep myself occupied for this festive period. I am not unused to celebrating the holiday alone, but I know many will be disappointed of being unable to celebrate with their families. I do hope everyone out there get to enjoy the holiday in some way despite the circumstances. ❤️
Taking my mind off everything going on, I decided to go ahead with some festive baking in the upcoming days. Today marks the winter solstice and apparently the ‘Christmas star’ ⭐️ is set to align for the first time in 800 years tonight from a social media account I have read. What a coincidence today that I decided to bake a ‘star bread’ (and it is REALLY a coincidence I promise!😂 Was wanting to make it when I saw it on Instagram a while ago!😄)
I used a simple white bread dough recipe (It’s the same dough recipe I used here 👉https://tangosbaking.home.blog/2020/07/07/rise-and-shine/), and decided to go with a savoury filling of spring onions, ginger, garlic and coriander. I also added hot olive oil into the spring onion filling (apparently it helps to make the aroma of the spring onions to come out better??) The bread is actually easier to shape than I thought – you can see the steps below. Why not give it a try? 😉
It’s been over a month since I last posted… and needless to say work and lockdown has completely took over my life in the past month… 😅 (I was still required to go to work, so not that my routine changed dramatically at all, but the hours have been intense at times. 😛) However, one more week of work left before my official holiday, and I am determined to finish on a good note 💪 and can’t for Christmas to finally come! 🎅🎄❄️
Unfortunately, a close colleague of mine has been tested positive for COVID-19 a few days ago, so I am currently sitting out for self-isolation at home for another week. (Although a little birdie told me that self-isolation period is going to be shortened, so I may be returning to work sooner than I thought…) Meanwhile, it’s good that I finally have some free time for myself to do some baking. Today, I have decided to make some flower sausage breads using a technique I learnt from making a sausage roll wreath last Christmas (after I saw that on Bake Off!) Bringing a little sunshine ☀️ and a feel of spring 🌼🌼 into this gloomy weather! 😊 I was so happy that the dough still managed to rise very well despite the freezing temperature haha! 🥶❄️❄️
I have no idea what I will expect in my upcoming holiday (since I am nervous about booking anything in advance due to fears of change in restrictions), but hopefully some exciting fun will be on the horizon. 😁 What are your plans for Christmas? 🎄
A late ‘Happy Halloween’ from the UK! 👻🎃It’s been quite an eventful night as a second lockdown has been announced tonight… However, I shall remain positive for the upcoming month and take it a day as it goes. 😊 I hope all of you will be enjoying a fun Saturday night whatever you will be doing and wherever you are! 👌
And I did get around to doing some small things to celebrate this Halloween by making some little ‘devil’ steamed pork buns! 😈 They weren’t absolutely perfect but were great fun to do (and hilarious too – I keep changing the design as I was making them before finally settling on one! 😂)
Just realise it’s the last week of October and it will be Halloween 🎃 this weekend! But meanwhile I am going to enjoy my week off work and hopefully do some more baking in the meantime! 😉😂 (Since work lately has made it near impossible for me to bake at all…)
From our visit to Brighton, we had some green apples 🍏🍏 left over from our hotel breakfast sets. So I decided to make some mini apple pies using them, depicting my favourite things from the fall season (mid autumn festival 🌕, Halloween 👻, autumn leaves 🍂 and, of course, squirrels! 🐿❤️) I used my normal recipe of shortcrust pastry which is 2:1 ratio of plain flour to butter. Warm, buttery and tart 😋 😋 – perfect in this cold, rainy day!
So it’s finally half term, which means I will be taking off a week away from work! YAY! 😁👏👏 It also just happened to coincide with with my mum’s work break, so we decided to travel together this time. 👵Obviously, with the current pandemic, we had to think long and hard about which was the best place to visit, and we finally settled on visiting Brighton for a four-night stay! 🌊
It wasn’t a long train ride to get to Brighton (and I took off immediately after work! 😂) This time, we had to travel separately, so I ended meeting my mum at the hotel there. With her working as a chef for a hotel group, we were also very lucky to get a free stay in the city. 😁👌
Since my mum and I were both enthusiastic foodies, we were so happy to get to enjoy so many great food on this trip! 😋 One of the first places we visited was Riddle and Finns just by the Brighton Seafront. Nothing can really beat a luxurious seafood lunch by the sea! 🦀🐙🦪🐟 (And how can one possibly say no to seafood when you are in Brighton? 😉)
My favourite dishes there were the oysters (the Rockefeller style was the best of the three for me), octopus and the tempura monkfish cheeks (loved that dip!) The clam chowder was okay, but I personally would enjoy it less thick and the vegetables more cooked. My mum (who is even pickier than me with food) really enjoyed the oysters too, but she also liked the crab, though it was hard work and a messy job getting all the meat out! 😂 💪 Actually felt like a proper workout after! 🤣 (I found the dish okay, but we both thought the Malaysian coconut sauce was slightly too sweet and I wasn’t a massive fan of crab to begin with… 😅)
Luckily the rain stopped pouring when we finished our lunch, so we got to enjoy a stroll around the seafront and the city, including visiting the famous Brighton Pavilion. We snapped many pics! 😆📸
Brighton is truly hidden gem with its ambient, relaxing atmosphere and a beautiful seaside. Over the new few days, it was such a delightful surprise to discover all these great food places within the city! 🤤🤤 Here are some of the best ones!
Our last meal in Brighton was a French dinner in the Petit Pois Restaurant. 🇫🇷 And we managed to finish on a high as this was our favourite meal throughout the trip! 👍
We absolutely loved the earthy nuttiness of the croquette appetiser! 😋❤️ The dish of the night though was the scallops. The artichoke purée and the acidity of the apples marries perfectly with the lightness of the scallops. 🤤 My mum also really enjoyed her Bouillabaisse. For me, the duck breast was also very yummy with a medium-rare cook (which it’s how I always like my duck) and I wished they gave me more of that delicious blood orange sauce! 😂 I couldn’t get enough of it!
Once we finished dinner, we ran back into the hotel passing through a storm ☔️ ☔️ as the rainy night marked the end of our trip. 😝
Happy Sunday! Only a very short post today, but it’s nice to get back to some cooking/baking after some time. After several long weeks of work, it’s nice to be able to catch a break today, so I decided to make a classic brunch with a bit of a twist. These fluffy American pancakes 🥞 are infused with nori (Japanese seaweed) and served with crispy bacons 🥓 – one of my favourite things of all time! 😋 Perfect and rich when served with a dab of butter!
What do you like to eat your pancakes with? What are you having for brunch/breakfast today? Let me know in the comments below! 😉
I didn’t realise how tired I was last night until I was back in my hotel room and quickly fell fast asleep. 😴 Lately, I have been struggling with insomnia and intense dreams, so I was glad to wake up this morning feeling really refreshed. Guess this weekend away from London did do some good for me after all! ☺️
After enjoying a Full English in the pub area of the hotel (I genuinely was quite surprised to see that there were a good handful of people staying in the hotel last night 🙂) and another bath time 🛀 back in my room, I headed out to round off a few things in town and visited Salisbury Cathedral among a few other noticeable places in before hopping on the train back to London which was scheduled just after lunchtime. The weather was just as miserable as it was yesterday 😅🌧🌧, so it was a bit of a hassle at times juggling between the shoppings (mainly some sweets for my colleagues at work) and the umbrella in my hands. 😂🛍 ☔️ (I was determined not to lose my umbrella again today! 🤣)
A friend of mine who originated from Salisbury recommended me to check out the Haunch of Venison, a gastropub in the area. I loved the old, historical interior look of the pub immediately which made me the more excited to try out their game menu! 😋
Now I am ready to board the train 🚂 with a full stomach!
Happy weekend, everyone! Hope all of you had a good week. In my case, this week has certainly felt long, so I was glad I have finally made it to my “birthday weekend”! 😛 Despite my original plan of going away abroad is now thrown out of the window, I decided (at the very last minute) that maybe it was worth going away from London for a bit after all. Therefore, on Thursday, I decided to book a train away to Salisbury to see the famous Stonehenge. I appreciate that, for some people, the place is nothing more than a pile of rocks, but 10 years old me would have been so excited! (At that point in my life, I was obsessed with a lot of the mysterious locations in the world such as Loch Ness, the pyramids in Egypt and Machu Picchu among many places.)
The weather in London has been very rainy in the past days! ☔️☔️ As a precaution, I checked weather forecast (something I normally don’t do if I am honest! 😂) and anticipated that it would also be raining in Salisbury. Before I stepped out of my house, I kept on reminding myself not to forget the umbrella (more on that later lol) since I have an awful habit of leaving it behind whenever I go!
Initially I was worried if it would be complicated to get to Stonehenge from Salisbury (since I don’t drive), but it turns out that there is a direct bus one can board from the city centre. I purchased the all included ticket (total to £32.50) that covers the bus and entry to both Stonehenge and Old Sarum Castle. The bus journey wasn’t very long (around 30 minutes from the city centre of Salisbury) and I quite enjoyed the scenery of all the open fields around the area – since I really needed a break from city life lately. 😝🌾🌾
To get to the Stonehenge from the visitor centre, there is a choice of either taking a shuttle bus (which arrives in less than 5 minutes) or walking (around 20 minutes). On a nicer day, I might choose to walk, but today I decided to take the shuttle bus. The foot path is designed to be a circuit around the Stonehenge, so I have taken lots of snaps 😝 and here is Stonehenge from all directions!
Before leaving, I also took a scroll in the exhibition area and sat down for the a small lunch in the café.
Boarding the bus again, I then headed to Old Sarum Castle (which was about 20 minutes away from Stonehenge and only about 7 minutes away from city centre.) The castle was situated in a very peculiar spot (in my opinion at least 😂) that required one to cross a long winding footpath through the fields and up the hill. And only when I was halfway gone, then I realised that I left my umbrella on the bus! 🤦🏻♂️
As the rain started to get heavier 🌧🌧, I tried to still go around the castle (without my umbrella of course…) but it did gradually get to a point when I had to retreat since I was soaked from top to bottom (if anything, my frustration was more with my own forgetfulness than the weather! 🤦🏻♂️) So I finally settled down at a spot underneath a tree and patiently waited for the tour bus to come back. 🚌 (And luckily, since it was the same tour bus that kept going around in circle, I was thankful that I was able to get my umbrella back 😂☂, otherwise it would have been long gone!)
After checking in the hotel and soaking myself in a warm bath, I then headed out for dinner in Zizzi. (Tonight felt even busier than I imagined a Saturday night would be, so it took me some time before I finally found a place with spaces. And it was pouring rain as well, so I didn’t walk around looking too much.)
And the perks of staying above a pub means I got to take a pint to my room to enjoy! 😉