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31 December 2012

Pomegranate Spumante

We have finished the last chapter of 2012 and starting a new one again, with aspirations for a continuation of good life, more happy times and maybe, an accomplishment of something we have always wanted to do in the past.   I had a fruitful and memorable 2012 and I am stashing all the fond memories I had in my 2012 book to go back to again and again to remind me of how wonderful life had been.  With a new and shiny book for 2013, I am looking forward to filling up the pages with more beautiful memories, happiness and good health for me and my family.  

Thank you for being there, for listening, for writing and being very supportive!

Let's drink to the new year!

29 December 2012

Mozzarella with Anchovies, Lemon & Basil

Time had been ticking so fast that I actually forgot to prepare for New Year's Eve! This morning, we all sat down and decided on our menu together. I posed my initial question to my family.  Seafood or meat?  I am more partial to seafood, my son to meat, my husband to vegetables and my daughter to bread and rice.  Our choices actually comprise a complete dinner.  All things considered, we came up with a menu adapted for my family but will probably get a thumbs down from any restaurant. I am mixing both meat and seafood throughout the courses.  That way, everyone's happy.

28 December 2012

Potato Cream Cheese & Smoked Salmon Bites

Yesterday, we went to Ikea to buy a new kitchen faucet.  My old one, which served me for 13 years decided to die right on the only day when it shouldn't. The day when all the shops are  closed for the Christmas holiday.  I had already mapped out how my 24th, 25th and 26th were going to be.  I managed to schedule my cooking and the Christmas dinner and lunch at the houses of my in-laws without so much free time to spare because yesterday, the 26th, we had a lunch to host at home with our friends.  Until 18:30 struck on the 24th of December when the problems started.

27 December 2012

Brunch: Rosemary Sausage Skewers, Potato Chorizo Salad and Soft Boiled Egg with Piment d'Espelette & Chives

I guess you are all stuffed by now like me.  I had been eating non-stop from the 23rd until today.  I can go on like this for days but if I find myself on the weighing scale right now, which I refuse to do so, I wouldn't like what I am going to see.  But Christmas happens only once a year.  This holiday is about filling up our homes with decors & trees, remembering the fundamental meaning of Christmas, exchanging gifts, cooking and enjoying the whole stretch of the holiday season with family and friends. 

24 December 2012

Buon Natale!

Auguri di Buone Feste 
a tutti voi 
e alle vostre famiglie!

23 December 2012

Pandoro Farcito con Crema alle Clementine (Pandoro with Clementine Cream)

It's December. Multitudes of big colored boxes of pandoro and panettone line the supermarket aisles, food shops and pasticcerie (pastry shops).  It's unimaginable not to have a box or two of these sweet bread at home waiting under the Christmas tree alongside the gifts.  Because of their overwhelming size, they take long to finish.  They are THE DESSERT for the whole month of December but they are also THE BREAKFAST best enjoyed with a glass of milk or a steaming cup of hot tea or chocolate.   

22 December 2012

Almond Panna Cotta with Clementine Sauce

Clementines, mandarins and oranges.  I love these citrus fruits when winter comes.  They're like the sunshine that's rarely present during these cold months.  They give color and life to the table.  And for that, I use them a lot in my dishes, whether they are savory or sweet.  However strange it might sound, I like my food looking bright and lively because I like feasting with my eyes first.

21 December 2012

Baked Scotch Eggs

Although I value my quiet time in the morning at home while doing the chores, cooking, writing or photographing, I cannot say no to a child who fixes me with a pleading stare that she doesn't want to go to school that morning because she doesn't feel so great.  Conferring with my husband, we ride her through the whole nine yards of "medical check-up" which we knew anyway would come out negative of anything.  What can I say?  Kids learn fast.

20 December 2012

Veal Piccata al Marsala and Lemon Mashed Potato Quenelles

"Who's sick this time?" is the guessing game we have at home when the sun rises.  Because of this, I lost kitchen control over the past days.  If you are curious to know, I was the winner in the number of sick days alternating with my small daughter then her big brother.  I had been in bed again, with a temperature.  I was able to prepare our lunch the other morning complete with a freshly baked bread then when afternoon came., zing!  I was waving the white flag from the bed, under 3 thick wool blankets and still shivering.  Sigh.  Hello fever, missed me much?

18 December 2012

Baked Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe, Sausage & Bechamel Sauce and Tide Pod Promo

I can't believe that we have exactly 9 days left before Christmas.  Have you done your tree yet? Are your Christmas presents all accounted for? You didn't leave anyone behind, did you? Are your Christmas menus planned well and ready to be executed for the big day? For the first time, I got everything covered in time.  My tree is usually up late, really late. The latest we did was on the night of 21st of December last year and the last gifts on the 24th before the shops' closing time.  I promised to be better this year.  I don't want my kids to think that I am related to Scrooge.

15 December 2012

Clementine Pork Adobo with Sautéed Green Pea Rice

Being Asian in origin, I feel like I have the responsibility to expose my kids to half of their heritage.  But how do you go about it without suffocating them of all things Asian just like what I see with other families of other cultures?  I want my kids to grow up feeling free to follow what they want to but just to be aware of how things are done with my side of the world.   First and foremost in my husband's and my line of rearing the children is freedom.  Freedom to choose and deciding on their own.

13 December 2012

Crocchette di Patate (Potato Croquettes)

Kids get very antsy when they have to sit still through long meals.  For that reason, I go around with Ipods and Ipads (if my bag is big enough) to entertain both children.  I already lost the battle of antagonizing my initial opinion the first time I saw a child playing with a computer game in a restaurant years ago.  A friend commented that we will have to do the same thing to go through dinners.  I was vehement in my opinion about it.  "No way!"  I ate my words a long time ago.  

12 December 2012

Cioccolata Calda (Hot Chocolate) and Milano Part 2

I was in Milano, sitting on a comfortable armchair beside my husband, inside a warm herbal shop while outside it was freezing cold and dark.  I don't remember any other time when I really enjoyed a steaming (or rather boiling) cup of cioccolata calda (hot chocolate) on a very cold winter night than that time. 

10 December 2012

Zuppa di Farro e Fagioli (Farro & Borlotti Bean Soup) and Milano

I was looking up at the spectacular glass dome of the Park Hyatt Hotel in Milano when the first few snowflakes started to fall.  Along with the Christmas balls dangling from the dome, the snowflakes added to the festive touch.   Christmas is just around the corner.  I could smell it, I could see it and most of all, I could feel it. 

05 December 2012

Risotto al Radicchio e Taleggio

Sono Rodin. 
No!  Io sono Rodin.
No!  Non tu!  Io!   Io sono Auguste Rodin!

From the kitchen, while I was cooking this risotto, I could hear the two kids arguing who Rodin should be.  The only Rodin I know is the French sculptor Auguste Rodin and I didn't expect them to be discussing about the same person!  How can a 3-year old and 7-year old even be aware of the artist's name?  I asked them and they said that they watched it in TV.  Well, what do you know, Rodin beats Spongebob hands down!

01 December 2012

Baked Potatoes With Bechamel, Guanciale and Chives

There is something about revisiting the past and discovering something new that gives me a feeling of accomplishment.  I had been out of the loop with my photography club for an embarrassingly long time so when I received a message about a meeting, I made sure I was there.   Ignoring the fever that had been keeping me in bed the whole week, I was bundled up until the ears with a thick scarf, thick coat and everything thick underneath, walking in the cold towards the pizzeria for our very first Friday night pizza meeting.