Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Here in Hong Kong the weather has not cooled down but the humidity has lessened and our patio was the perfect location to celebrate American Thanksgiving. This year our Thanksgiving table came together quickly after a quick trip to the craft district in Hong Kong. We purchased what was left of the blue checked bolt of fabric choosing it for the durability of the cloth. The price point of a couple US dollars helped as well. I had picked up a bag of cheap plastic animals from the toy store, which I then covered in gold glitter. Miniature white pumpkins that were leftover from Halloween also got a coating of gold glitter. Another trip to the Flower Market down the road from us, where we picked out orange ranunculus and miniature decorative cabbages for our floral centerpieces. We added a few feathers to the floral arrangements as well as incorporating them into the name tags at each place setting.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
The puns for what we themed this Halloween party could go on and on. We chose to keep our color palette dark with pops of green and incorporated as many eyes into the design as possible. A year ago, as I was walking through Ikea to pass the time before I had to pick up my two children from school, I discovered Halloween party items on clearance! Even with the limited storage space in our apartment, the party planner in me could not pass up the opportunity to pick up some well priced party supplies.
We invited friends over for a small playdate to keep things simple. We planned activities like pumpkin painting, and other fall themed crafts. We asked for everyone to come in costume, and it was fun seeing what our friends came dressed up as.
We pulled our dining room table outside and set up the party on our back patio. I need to remind myself that humidity and cotton candy do not mix well. The same rules apply to buttercream icing and ice-cream! We served fresh Granny Smith apples, mummy cupcakes, pistachio ice-cream, an Oreo chocolate cake, skull chocolates, cotton candy cups, and kiwi juice.
Monday, October 12, 2015
One of our favorite appetizers to serve our dinner guests is a cheeseboard out on the patio. A cheeseboard is an easy, simple, and informal dish that you can set out and then forget about while your guests serve themselves from it and you finish preparing your meal. What makes a cheeseboard so easy is that everything is on one board. Here are some of our steps to creating your perfect cheeseboard.
The first step is to pick out your wooden cutting board. Since we are in Hong Kong, our storage is small and we have one main large cutting board in our studio. It's a simple board in a rectangle shape, but you can use any shape you have on hand.
Once we have the board selected, we want to create a symmetry as we placed our food items on the board. A cheeseboard is very similar to setting a table centerpiece. It's all about balance, layers, and texture.
For our cheese selection on this particular board we chose a runny cheese like a brie and a salty cheese which was a nice bleu cheese. We like to pair the bleu cheese with something sweet, so we added some fresh figs and nestled them onto our board. Pointing the triangles of cheese out towards the edges of the board allows your guests to easily serve themselves. Typically, we would want to serve a goat cheese log and/or a sweet cheese that has some dried fruit in it on my board as well. It's all about flavor variations that excite the palate.
Since we had the fresh figs on our board we added some cured salami meat, and the balance of the salty and sweet play off of each other well. For a tangy bite, we added a bowl of olives that my assistant picked up from me from our local Chinese grocery store.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Is there anything better than a fresh fruit pie in the middle of the summer? With all of the fresh fruit in our home, my daughter and I thought it would be a great idea to make a crostata.
A crostata is a pie or tart and can either be sweet or savory. Like most of our cooking and baking, we did not use a specific recipe, instead we used what we had in our pantry. Our filling consisted of fresh apricots, blueberries, and pear. We also added some dried cranberries for some texture. The juice and zest of one lemon, sugar, flour (to thicken the natural juices of the fruit that bake out), and a pinch of salt.
We rolled our pie dough into a circle, placed it on the baking sheet, and poured our fruit filling into the middle of the dough. One of my favorite aspects to a crostata is the free form it has. We pulled the edges up around the sides of the fruit, creating a little basket or bed for the fruit to lay in while it baked!
Thursday, July 23, 2015
If you've been on our Instagram feed, you'll know I recently did a little gardening. I decided to wait until after our holiday to Thailand to try my hand at growing succulents. I've always admired them, but for some reason have approached these plants with trepidation and a bit of anxiety. I did not just want my plants to survive, but I wanted them to thrive!
A stop in to the Flower Market, here in Hong Kong, and I had my plants with the necessary potting soil and rocks to supply proper drainage in my white Ikea pot.
I love the end result. I've done the research regarding proper lighting, watering, and maintaining the plants. Here's to keeping these alive for the next year!!!!