Chocolate Marquise Cake

It was my mother’s birthday yesterday, so I wanted to make her a really special chocolate cake! Trouble is, I’ve never made a chocolate cake before. I absolutely adore the chocolate marquise cake at Starbucks…yes, I know it sounds wrong – but try it and you’ll see what I mean! It’s super sweet and has insane amounts of icing on it. Eating it by yourself is so bad but oh so good!

I adapted this from a Japanese cookbook recipe I found online, so I had to do a trial of this cake before serving it to my mothers friends. My family will always forgive me if I do something wrong, but dinner guests will never forget! It’s a good thing I did too, because so many things went wrong … the cake was flat, not moist, and can you believe it – I forgot to add the butter!!  Continue reading

Madame Sixty Ate

After discovering that Linguini Fini doesn’t take reservations, we decided to go to Madame Sixty Ate for dinner on a Tuesday night. I dined with 3 girlfriends, and a colleague of one from Bangkok who was in town for a few days. This lady looked amazing, has two children (the oldest 13!), runs marathons, and she doesn’t look a day over 32. I’ll eat whatever she’s eating, thank you very much!

The restaurant is nicely laid out with good space between tables so you don’t feel like other people are intruding on your conversations – great for a catch up dinner or an intimate date. The kitchen is open and you walk past the chefs busying away on the way to your table. I’d heard about this restaurant many times, and each time was a raving review – however, I couldn’t for the life of me remember what the tag phrase was that everyone mentioned. So when asked our very attentive waiter where the chef was from, he explained that he used to be culinary director at the W Hotel (Ah! That’s what it was!”). “You mean the guy with the crutches in the kitchen?”, one of us asks. Turns out that he was in a serious bike accident where his bike collided with a minibus (bleeping minibuses!!), and he’ll be in recovery for 6 months. Anxious to get back to it, he left the hospital after 5 days and went straight back to the restaurant, where he sits on a bar stool conducting the kitchen likes it’s an symphony orchestra. Now that’s what I call a dedication to food!

Drink wine

When writing a blog, there is a little bit of hesitation when it comes to how much you reveal about your personal life. After all, a blog is essentially a diary with a theme, one can’t help but talking about their life, friends and family along the way. At the moment this is just the beginning, and of my 10 blog members :-), 9 of them are close friends. I woke up this morning to find a new member, someone who I don’t know (hi, Dang Minh!!), and that is quite exciting in the fact that I realise that perhaps I may be reaching out to a wider audience then just my lovely friends! But it also makes me think about how I’m going to mention them in this blog without outing them by name. After last weekend (which involved LOTS of alcohol), I had a lightbulb moment of inspiration and thought it would be fun to name my friends after drinks and cocktails. I seriously put a lot of thought into them! Then I thought that’s a little naff…. so I’m sticking to the boring initials until I think of a less-naff idea.

What an incredible weekend of excess it has been! It was spent with lots of different friends, in varying settings, doing all sorts of things – it was all spread evenly across the board. Really and truly a great 2 days. It has made me think of a poem that VC (I was going to a.k.a her as ‘Veuve Cliquot’…) mentioned to me, from an adaptation of poems by Omar Khayyam, called Persian Love:

“Drink wine, it’s what remains of the harvest of youth – the season of roses and wine and drunken friends. Be happy for a moment, that moment is your life.”

I LOVE financiers!

And no, I don’t mean the types that work at IFC. I mean the sweet, almond-buttery French teacakes that are so versatile and so easy to bake that I almost feel like I’m tricking people when I make them. I’ve read that they were first made in the late 19th century by a pastry chef whose shop was close to the Paris Stock Exchange, and originally financiers were baked in rectangular molds that were said to resemble bars of gold, hence the name. Continue reading

I cheated last night…

I did something on Saturday night that made me feel like I should hide my head behind a menu…I cheated. I went out with P for a dinner/movie night, and we had a craving for Korean food. Now, when it comes to Korean food, I am true to only one restaurant: Arirang Korean Restaurant in Times Square. Believe it or not, having lived in Kong Kong for 15+years, it’s the only Korean I’ve ever been too (not including a cheapo all-you-can eat place). I have my reasons, namely that it’s one of my best friend’s mothers restaurant and I grew up eating bulgogi, bibimbap, banchan and panjeon at Arirang. And another being that it’s truly amazing food. Continue reading