Archive | November, 2011

finding my Christmas mojo

28 Nov

I’m definitely a Christmas elf; I don’t think there’s a scrooge-bah-humbug bone in me when it comes to tinsel, mulled wine and Christmas carols. But it’s hard to get in the mood in 35C tropical heat and miles from home. It was, I decided, time to get my Xmojo back.

First up was the shopping malls; all Christmas pop on repeat and glittery baubles. Commercialised to the max. And, yes, I know that the holiday period is commercial in the UK, but at least we have festivities outside of shopping – carol concerts, dodgy ties and office parties.

So next I hit up Starbucks, not somewhere I really visit even in England. Starbucks had bathed in the Christmas spirit, it was everywhere, from take-out mug-shaped decorations to themed drinks and Christmas trees. Humming along to Bing Crosby and sipping a cranberry-white-mocha-something I felt a buzz of Christmas spirit, or perhaps just the caffeine…

In search of something to balance out the syrupy hit of coffee Christmas next on my list was satsumas. Clementines, tangerines…whatever you want to call them…for me they’re Christmas.

And as I drank my coffee, ate my fruit and watched palm trees and blue sky I realised that even if I can’t join in all the festivities this year I look forwards to at least sharing the holiday itself with my family. And isn’t it this coming together of friends and family from wherever they may be that Christmas is all about?

In other Christmassy news I’m taking part in Pretty Much Penniless’ Blogger’s Second Hand Secret Santa and I have my present all ready to send!

I’m also a crafty Christmas person, but without much time this year for homemade presents. So to challenge myself (and to help out any of you last-minute shoppers out there) I will be posting an easy homemade gift idea once a day from 20th-24th December. These will all be quick and simple, and easy to make with items you can find at home or in your local shops. Obscure ingredients and crafting tools have there place, but not amidst the Christmas crush.

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A Taiwanese dessert with a difference

13 Nov

The first time I was taken to Snowflake I didn’t appreciate it. It was late, I was tired, and I had no idea what black beans and taro were doing in my dessert.

Then I went back and gave it a second chance. This time the combination of shaved ice with chewy toppings including glutinous rice, tapioca pearls, taro balls won me over. Perhaps it’s just a novelty factor. Perhaps it’s just so darn cooling in the tropical heat. Perhaps it’s the fact it feels like quite a healthy treat.

I can’t imagine rustling one up when I get back to the UK. But perhaps I’ll take back some of the elements of a Snowflake; ice instead of icecream (sorbet?) and flavourful glutinous rice in Asian inspired cakes or good old British rice pudding. Think I’ll be keeping beans in the main course for now though…

Afternoon Indian Tea

8 Nov

Let’s start like we mean to go on here.  Afternoon tea.  Not just a kitkat and teabag moment either.  Proper sit down and savour the moment high tea, Indian style.

So not everyone’s working in Malaysia and able to pop out for such treats on a Monday afternoon. But the principle is still the same. Eat cake. Eat scones. Eat ridiculous cucumber sandwiches if you really want. Consider it an exercise in good time management as you’re probably not going to need dinner. Enjoy!