… {part 2} the YTM series – Hayfever …

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* Credit to mr. ironman for discovering this place! *
Despite always being teased for not particularly good at finding nice new places to eat, he didn’t give up in his search. On Mothers Day this year, he was looking for some nice flowers for his mum at the flower market in Prince Edward and guess what he’d discovered?! It’s a cute and sweet little cafe inside a florist!
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So he asked mr & (soon to be) mrs beancurd&mash to join us for brunch on a Saturday afternoon. The place was quieter than I thought and the customer who was eating on his own had kindly offered the big table to us. We ended up spending quite a long time chatting and eating in this cozy place 🙂

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… Strawberry jam cookies – La laîche …

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The recipe of these lovely jam cookies is altered from the recipe in one of the dessert collection cook books of Daiso. These mini cook books only cost 12HKD each and I brought a few of them to Sydney during my uni years. Miss bonbon and I used to make these cookies at her place and we added more and more strawberry jam to the cookies each time because the chewy texture of the jam after baking was so addictive. 
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We never really knew what the actual name of cookie was (I checked the cook book again and they call it “Fancy”), we decided to give it a French name “La laîche” (we just made it up.. none of us knew any French) and the reason will be kept as a secret 😛
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… {part 1} the YTM series – Coffee Jobs …

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The church I go to is a newly planted church (around 2 and a half years) in Hong Kong. We used to gather in Tsim Sha Tsui but with the growing number of members, we began to consider hiring a bigger room or moving to another place. Soon we had prayerfully found a new gathering place in Yau Ma Tei  around a year ago which suits our needs in many ways (thanks to God); and so my morning coffee hunt in the YMT area began. We will come back to the cafe miss koala and I found in TST (that’s why this post is the part 1 of my YTM (Yau Tsim Mong) series), but today I will show you my most visited cafe in YMT instead (or they say it should be geographically in Mong Kok?).
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… Chocolate lava cake – the softhearted …

In Hong Kong, they give this warm and gooey dessert a special name-心太軟, literally meaning “heart too soft”. I used to think that making this was hard and it required lots of techniques to cook the cake just right; once I saw a recipe that suggested to place a block of dark chocolate in the middle of the batter so that you will be guaranteed to get a flowing “heart” in the middle.

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I saw this short cooking video on a newspaper site and realised that it’s not as complicated as I thought. The chef said that chocolate lava cake is actually just a cake that is not fully cooked; and chilling the batter in the fridge before baking can also prevent it from overcooking. Most of the ingredients, namely flour, sugar, eggs and butter, are what most of us would have at home. All you need for preparation is to get a bar of dark chocolate for your pantry, then go on and make this dessert at home on a random cold winter day!
p.s. I even used disposable foil cake tins to make my lava cakes..

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… Simplylife – not so simple carbonara …

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Did you know that making a plate of classic carbonara is simpler than you think? Traditional Italian carbonara essentially consists of pasta, bacon, eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. Nowadays, people always try to add cream and many other types of seasonings to their carbonara; yet the most traditional way of making this classic dish is by mixing the hot pasta straight from boiling water into the egg & cheese mixture. The temperature of the pasta will then cook the egg just right and a creamy, rich sauce would be formed.
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Now I am going to tell you how NOT so simple to make a nice plate of carbonara. Traditionally, Italians would either use guaniciale (bacon made of pork cheek) or pancetta (bacon made of pork belly) for their carbonara, which have a stronger flavour (not just saltiness) and a better texture. And of course good quality parmesan cheese and fresh pastas would also bring it to another level! Simplylife is a chain western fusion restaurant in Hong Kong that is being part of the Maxims group, it is one of the few restaurants that use guaniciale and fresh pasta to cook their carbonara.
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… Apple & cinnamon Dutch baby pancake …

It has been a while! There has been a lot going on recently and I hadn’t got time to write any post in the past three months! I guess it’s about time to start doing this again 🙂
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I didn’t know about Dutch baby until I tried my first at a Japanese styled western restaurant called Wired Cafe. They serve pastas and many fusion dishes and they have a small section in the menu with sweet and savory Dutch babies. I really loved the eggy taste and fluffy texture of the pancake, and how it was kept warm in a metal skillet.
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… Coffeesmith – wide open spaces…

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My sister and I went on a short trip in Seoul this autumn. Each morning, we visited one cafe before beginning our “shopping battle”. A lot of the cafes in Seoul are chain cafes but it doesn’t necessarily mean each of the stores would lack a peculiar style of their own. 

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Coffeesmith near Hongdae is a free standing cafe with two storeys. I was very amazed to see that a lot of the cafes and restaurants in Seoul are free standing buildings with unique and representational exterior and interior. This cafe here, near to the Hongik University, opens from 9am to at least 1:30am everyday, offering a comfortable open-aired space for many students, trendy shoppers and tourists for a short coffee break or long study hours powered by caffeine. For your information, it’s also the filming location for the Korean drama “It’s okay, that’s love”. 

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