The Summer House is a pop-up restaurant near Little Venice. With tables by the canal, it was a great hit last summer. Back then, I went there with a group of friends and it was a lovely evening. It took me a month to arrange as it was so popular!

The Summerhouse
Sitting by the canal at the Summerhouse
This year, the Summerhouse was the top of my list when I came up with this impulsive idea of meeting my friend E on the longest day of the year. I was surprised that I could still book a table with only a day’s notice. Though it did not take me long to understand why. Read the rest of this entry »

Coca Cola 125th Anniversary Special Edition ‘Hutchinson’ bottles and 50's style soda bar at Selfridges
I went to check out the Selfridges sale and got distracted by the heritage inspired Coca Cola bottles! They are special editions to celebrate their 125th anniversary, sold at £1.99 each.

Some are straight long bottles called Hutchinson, which were first created in 1899. Others are classic curvy ones with the words ‘Coca Cola’ cast in the glass. They are sold in special white paper boxes at the Selfridges Food Hall or chilled at the Soda Bar on the Ground Floor, in the fashion department. It is manned by 50’s styled waiters and waitresses. Continue reading >>


Menu at the Bonnie & Wild (M.Manze's traditional Pie & Mash hall)
Bonnie & Wild is a ‘part-time’ (they insisted that it is not ‘pop-up’!) restaurant named after Bonnie Gull Ltd and Wild Game Co. The former specialises in fresh Scottish seafood and the latter Highlands seasonal game. It is not hard to imagine what the menu of the Bonnie & Wild would be consisted of and I really looked forward to it.

It will open on Saturday evenings from July 2nd but we managed to get a preview meal!

the Bonnie & Wild (M.Manze's traditional Pie & Mash hall)

the Bonnie & Wild (M.Manze's traditional Pie & Mash hall)
The venue blew me away. It is at M.Manze’s in Chapel Market, Angel. Between 11am to 3pm, this 1905 Grade II Listed shop is a traditional English pie and mash shop. Apparently even David Beckham goes there!

Not much light was turned on the night we went. It kind of created an old English charm. We were led to one of the classic wooden booths in the middle of the hall, with seats that were not very deep- a bit like the pews you would find in old churches. As I am petite, I found it comfy. But I cannot imagine how anyone bigger than my size could squeeze in there! In fact, the seat bounced up and down when the diners behind tried to get in and out- kind of charming! Continue reading to see the food >>

Baby Sting bugs on Victoria Plum leaf, coming out from eggs
I was dreaming of eating appreciating the young fruits on my Victoria Plum tree when I noticed some strange lumps on some of the branches (2 photos down). When I poked them, they fell off and left a white powdery substance on the branches. To my horror, they were actually scale insects!

According to Royal Horticultural Society, scale insects are sap-feeding pests with shell-like coverings which are attached to the bark. They like choosing young branches as their bark is thinner.

Victoria Plum
I have been growing this Victoria Plum tree for 6 years. It was about 2-3 years old when I planted it. It has only given me a handful of fruits. But this year, after my neighbour chopped down her nearby 15m tall tree, the Victoria Plum has been maturing fast! I have never seen so many fruits on the tree before and I am not going to let these scale insects weaken my chances of having yummy and juicy plums!
Continue reading about how to get rid of scale insects and stink bugs >>


According to Victoria and Albert museum, Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto “became internationally renowned in the early eighties for challenging traditional notions of fashion by designing garments that seemed oversized, unfinished, played with ideas of gender or fabrics not normally used in fashionable attire such as felt or neoprene. Other works revealed Yamamoto’s unusual pattern cutting, knowledge of fashion history and sense of humour. His work is characterised by a frequent and skilful use of black, a colour which he describes as ‘modest and arrogant at the same time”.

I have never seen the work of Yohji Yamamoto with my own eyes before so I looked forward to learning about this famous Japanese fashion designer.

As we entered the room, we were ‘greeted’ by a sticky sheet of plastic, instead of red carpet, on the floor. I am not sure what it was for, perhaps to get rid of the dirt from our dirty shoes so that it would not ruin the light grey rubber on the floor? It could also be a sharp reminder that we should now pay attention to texture.

Over 60 creations of Yamamoto were displayed on mannequins together in one room with double height headroom (Gallery 38). It was flooded with bright white light- Together with the decorative steel scaffoldings, it felt informal and welcoming. Visitors were allowed to wander around freely. As the garments were not kept in glass boxes, they could check out the details in close distance. They were not supposed to, but a lot of them could not help themselves from touching the garments. Apparently no photography or even sketching was allowed. Many still did so but the security guards were not that bothered to say anything. Read the rest of this entry »

Inside Chinese bamboo leaf-wrapped dumplings 糉子
Dui Ng Festival 端午節, better known as Dragon Boat Festival in English, takes place on the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar on which the Chinese calendar is based. Around that day, we have bamboo leaf-wrapped sticky rice dumplings 糉子 (zong zi) and dragon boat racing. (Why? You can find out at the end of this article.)

Anyway, I am too lazy to do dragon boat racing but I love eating, so 糉子is my highlight around this time of the year. You can buy them in Chinatown or Chinese supermarkets but I prefer to make my own as I can put more of my favourite ingredient inside! Here is my grandma’s recipe:

Dry bamboo leaves for Chinese bamboo leaf-wrapped dumplings 糉子
INGREDIENTS (to make 21 dumplings):
1. Dry bamboo leaves (photo above)
~ 4 leaves per dumpling, get a few extra as some might split in the middle
~ available in big Chinese supermarkets, e.g. the ones in Chinatown.
~ pick the pack with larger leaves as it makes wrapping easier.

Salted duck egg yolks for Chinese bamboo leaf-wrapped dumplings 糉子
2. Salted duck egg yolks (photo above)
~ my favourite ingredient!! In fact, I decided to make my own 糉子 because Continue reading about how to make Chinese bamboo leaf-wrapped dumplings 糉子>>

Alphonso mangoes
I did not realise that I was surrounded by closet alphonso mango lovers until I happened to order a box of them while making an order online for my Lock & Lock airtight containers (curiously my suppliers of Lock & Lock containers also sell boxes of mangoes) . I started to get requests for add-on orders from my mango loving colleagues! And when the boxes of mangoes arrived, I received moans from others for not letting them know I was ordering in the first place. Apparently, alphonso mangoes are everyone’s secret favourite mangoes! (Ok, at least by those who sit around me in the office!)

Alphonso mangoes
What is so special about Alphonsos mangoes?
They are Continue reading >>

Slicing Jamón Ibérico de Bellota
A trip to Spain is incomplete without having Jamón, which is the Spanish dry-cured ham. You can just see them everywhere- bars, restaurants and markets. They look a bit like the Chinese version on the outside but while we cook ours, the Spanish do not. They love pairing it with melon which is sweet and moist.

In the famous Boqueria Market in Barcelona, I was curious to see the large price differences among all the Jamón, which ranged from Euro 35/kg to Euro176.60/kg. I decided to do a taste test between the most expensive Jamón, Jamón Ibérico de Bellota , and the cheapest one, Jamón Serrano Bodega.

Spanish Jamón Ibérico de Bellota
Sample 1 (photo above):
The meat was dark red and beautifully marbled with fat, with a subtle golden colour. It was moist and smooth in the mouth. The fat was soft and rich in flavour with a hint of sweetness. It felt like it melted in my mouth! It was not too salty which was fantastic! Amazing! Continue reading about Jamón blind tasting >>

The Queen of Hearts, the Red Queen, the White Queen, the Rabbit and the King of Hearts, Dining with Alice
Just what happened to the characters in Alice’s adventures when they were no longer needed in her dreams?

I went with five friends to find out as they hosted a special banquet at Elsing Hall, Norfolk. This banquet, Dining with Alice, was organised by Artichoke and Sky Arts, as part of the Norfolk & Norwich Festival.

Alices looking across the Lake, Dining with Alice
Built in 1470, Elsing Hall‘s landscape and architecture formed a great backdrop for the evening. On the way to the dinner reception, we bumped into Alice who was hiding in the maze. We also saw a lot of long dining tables, reminscent of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, scattered around the beautiful gardens. ‘Is this where we are going to eat?’ I wondered with excitement. {If you are going to attend, stop reading now as I am about to reveal some of the surprises}

Dining with Alice
The Queens and Kings arriving, Dining with Alice
While we waited for the Royals to appear (photo above), we nibbled on the Plungent Fleck (Kettle game chips and Victorian Dips, photo below) with the Hendrick’s Buck (Gin and Ginger Ale) in hand. Continue reading >>

Pineberries
I was curious and excited when I first saw these white beauty- pineberries. They are about the same size as wild strawberries, except that they look like their albino cousins. White body and red seeds- very odd looking indeed!

I like how they played tricks on my senses. While they looked like strawberries, pineberries actually carried an amazing sweet fragrance similar to that of pineapples. This aroma was even stronger at room temperature.

Just when I thought they would taste like pineapples, I was wrong again. Continue reading >>