Sunday, 23 September 2012


It was Maki who introduced me to baking with rice flour. To encourage me to conduct my own baking experiment, she sent me a packet of rice flour all the way from Tokyo. I used some of it in an almond shortbread. 

Today I made 墨西哥包 (Mexican Bun). The Mexican is widely popular in Hong Kong and Malaysia. In some ways, the Mexican Bun resembles the Melon Pan and 菠萝包 but at the same time it’s different. The topping of the Mexican Bun is piped in a swirl starting from the centre of the bun, whereas the topping of the 菠萝包 is a flat cookie dough that is placed on top of the bread. 

The recipe called for 200 grams of bread flour. I used 150 grams of Lys Dor + 50 grams of Japanese rice flour. According to Maki, using rice flour to bake isn’t something new in Japan, and breads and cakes made with rice flour turn out softer and keep moist for longer. The bread turned out whiter than most breads.  The texture really looks finer, don't you think?

Sunday, 2 September 2012


Heads of offices from around the region are in town.  A crazy work week - reserve hotel rooms, book a restaurant, organize taxis, print maps, race between the office and the downstairs conference room, play fetch. Prep meeting room with bottled water and Coke. Deliver several rounds of coffee, then someone bleats, "Can I have Chinese tea?" The only beverage our in-house café doesn't serve is Chinese tea! Run upstairs to the office pantry to stick a Jasmine teabag into a cup, add boiling water, and dash back downstairs.

It's lunch time and raining cats and dogs outside.  We're ordering food from our in-house café. But then someone wants to stand out from her peers, "But I don't want café food," she wails.  "Can't you get me mee siam from the cafe next door!" (But it is raining cats and dogs, you fool!)

So many people think that everyone can be an executive assistant. I'm telling you now, not anyone can do the job. We're Girl Friday, manager, mother, disciplinarian, diplomat, babysitter. We’re a rare breed.

The best way to recuperate is to spend a lazy weekend, stretched out on the sofa with a good book (or, in my case, usually several books) - and a nice cup of tea!

I blame Holly Finn.  She started it.  All because I fell in love with something she wrote:

For those weary of coffee and couture and in real need of something soothing, the Salon de Thé recently opened at the legendary Fauchon food emporium in Paris, is worth a winter visit. There, on Place de la Madeleine, the emphasis is not on fast-forwarding, either one’s heart rate or one’s fashion status. It’s about stopping – taking a deep breath and a long sip. No matter how rudely random Parisians have treated you that morning you’ll soon feel better about the whole Franco-thing. A slice of Tarte au thé Darjeeling (a specialty of the house) restores confidence not just in your ability to translate, but in the civility of left-seat drivers, all sorts of things … A reminder of the bond between tea and sympathy.

And so I went out and bought some rather expensive Fauchon Darjeeling teabags.  For isn't Fauchon the company that "sold tea to royalty, pastry to politicians, and caviar to movie stars"?