Random Thoughts

Wednesday 9 October 2013

I chose roses for my wedding bouquet but only because it was the only name I could pronounce without sounding like an illiterate. Up until last year, I didn't know what peonies nor gerberas looked like. Thank God for blogs and Instagram. *hangs head in shame* Despite my lack of knowledge of all things that have petals, did you know that the rose, other than the fact that it's the national flower of England, symbolizes love and beauty? Hence, the touching gesture of the now wilted bouquet of red roses left on the bench.  (even if you knew the facts, just act surprised anyway)


16 years ago, I could barely find a cafe in London. Out of sheer desperation, I forked out £3 (which worked out to be a stomach churning NZD $10 in those days) for a glob of tar from McDonalds.  These days, you're more likely to see cafes than tea houses. What do you know...... in recent years, my favorite coffee beverage, the great and mighty flat white, developed by the highly intelligent Kiwis (or Aussies depending on who you're asking) has finally arrived to the shores of the United Kingdom.  It has a higher proportion of coffee to milk compared to the more watered down latte.


I took a friend who was visiting from New Zealand to the town's most eccentric pub. The owner is clearly a fan of taxidermy. One of his pub regulars decided to dress the stuffed baboon in a tartan kilt. As for that massive head of a cow perched on the wall, it came all the way from Africa. It's still a rather unnerving experience sipping your drink while feeling that all eyes (albeit fake glass ones) are on you............


I'm not the biggest fan of the Chinese cuisine despite the fact that yes.....I'm obviously of Chinese descent. My poor grandma would be rolling in her grave right now. Lately, I've been inspired after watching Ken Hom's and Ching He Huang's video (Exploring China: A Culinary Adventure). Both the husband and child acted as if they'd been starved for the last 7 years of their lives, not dissimilar to malnourished and rabid wild dogs seeing food for the first time. What's wrong with the Italian cuisine?! Pfffffffft. Seriously!

Speaking of Chinese cooking, I've finally found the best wok I've ever used which turned out to be surprisingly cheap. It's not too thin, not too thick, sturdy, absorbs heat quickly and evenly and comes with a glass lid which is perfect if you're using it for steaming too.

I'm not the best with recipes and rarely follow them. The double cooked wings dish was adapted from a recipe found on the video. I tend to guesstimate the ingredients so feel free to follow, add/decrease or disregard some of them depending on your taste bud.

500g chicken wings
1-2 tsp five spice powder
handful of spring onions, sliced into thin long strips
1-2 chillies, seeded and sliced into thin long strips
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 inch ginger, remove skin and chopped
some Shaoxing wine
some light soy sauce
pinch of salt

1. Marinate the wings in five spice powder and salt. Massage the spice into the meat. Place in a tray and bake for 40 minutes.
2. When cooked. Remove from oven. Heat the oil in the wok until it's smoking. Add ginger and chillies. Stir fry for a couple of minutes until it's fragrant.
3. Tip the wings into the wok along with chopped garlic and spring onions. Stir for 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle 3-4 tablespoons of Shaoxing wine followed by soy sauce (equal amount). Stir for another minute or two.
4.  Dish out the contents of the wok into a large plate or bowl. Add a few strips of spring onions as garnish.


  1. Oh my god, those chicken wings look sooo yummy!! :) Also that delicious cup of coffee! :)

    accidental encounters

  2. Oooh great recipe - going to print that out! Also thanks for the wok to buy - I always struggle so thank you!!


    1. Fiona, my mom bought me this super duper wok that cost a fortune but this one's way WAY better.

  3. When I was young and my now brother in law who's Chinese came a calling for my sister, he would cook for us all weekend, it was fantastic, we hardly left the table for three days, we'd just sit there begging for more!

    1. I didn't know your BIL is Chinese. Mind you, I've met a few with really thick Scottish accent.

  4. Oh no, the wok isn't suitable for induction.. Just as I am starting to get excited.

    1. Oh bummer. Don't think it'll be stable enough. It's ok on hot plate cooker though....not that it's going to help you :(

  5. As an avid (rabid) coffee drinker, I'm really intrigued by the "Flat White" that I keep hearing about... wish it'd make its way over to L.A.! :)

    1. You'll definitely have to try it. Taste wise, it sits somewhere between a cappucino and a latte.

  6. Mmm if I bring some cheesecake or cookies for dinner, can I have some wings?
    I hardly drink coffee, but love it! It's funny because I never heard of it in the US, but discovered it in SE Asia.

    p.s. Roses were my wedding bouquet flower too. I didn't care what flowers I had and they were classic!

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  7. It's funny, I cook Western food much more too, even though I was raised on Chinese food. I've been gradually trying to learn. I hope I can find the perfect wok soon, I think I'll need a few different sizes.



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