紅豆椰汁年糕

IMG_4171

Happy Chinese New Year 2016!

I thought I would share a revised recipe that I have changed from an original coconut milk nian gao into red bean nian gao recipe. The product came out pretty decent, when I was worry about adjusting the water content due to the water in the red beans.. but it actually came out pretty well. thick enough to hold the beans in place and not like every beans sink into the bottom!

這個做法是將我很喜愛的椰汁年糕原食譜改過來的。。

紅豆椰汁年糕

糯米粉 600g
澄麵 150g
椰漿 400cc
片糖 400g **
紅糖 50g **
清水340cc *如果喜歡軟身一點,可以多加100cc水
蜜紅豆 500g

做法是片糖跟190水,一起煮至片糖都融化掉。放涼。
糯米粉和澄麵一起放﹐然後慢慢倒入椰漿﹐攪拌勻。
然後再分幾次加入放涼了的糖漿。慢慢攪拌,每次加入糖漿的時候,好好拌均再加。
如果想確保口感好一點的話,可在拌勻後﹐過濾兩次。
倒入已抹油的盤裡﹐拿去蒸約一個小時﹐即成。我是用外賣盒來蒸的。

蜜紅豆做法

蜜紅豆 250g
紅糖 100g
砂糖 200g

用水和豆一起煮至沸騰,關火,讓豆悶一下,約30分鐘。 再開火,煮軟。
到大慨可以軟的時候,可以加入糖,再煮至水分剛好和豆一個高度。
記得方涼後,水分會收的,變的稠稠。

後記
個人覺得,這個食譜糖份剛好,家裡的人不是很喜歡太甜的東西,你當然也可以看你自己喜歡的甜度再去加糖。記得加太多紅糖的話,年糕會很重味。

Street snacks that you must try in Seoul, South Korea

I have to be frank how Asia countries have more street snacks than European countries. While I was on a solo trip in South Korea a little while ago, I have come across the following that its definitely worth trying while you’re out there!

Every time I am on a trip I will try everything I can, thinking that there’s no chance to eat them back home. So be brave with your choices and eating the local foods is the first step to know the country better!

IMG_7397
BBQ chicken Skewer with Leek
Found this at the side road in Cheongdam-dong where there was loads of small boutique and foodie shops. I wasn’t hungry considering I have just had a Churro icecream, but I cannot help not to have one of these when I saw it. It wasn’t expensive and you get to choose spicy or not spicy in BBQ favour. It was funny how the stall owner  asks me straight away in Mandarin for “Spicy or not spicy?” as soon i show no signs of Korean speaking! The skewer was basically chicken and leek pieces, coated in bbq sauce and grill on fire. Yummy in freezing cold Seoul street.

IMG_8022
Ddukbokkie Tteokbokki
This is something that I have been wanting to do in Korea, is to stand in the street food stall eating ddukbokkie. As I was going towards the station from Insa-Dong, I cannot stop myself but to walk towards this food stall and pointing at the rice cake. You eat directly using the skewer and if its too spicy of you needed water, pour some broth from the ladle on the pot where it has fishcakes/intestine. Cheap and local snack foods that you must not missed! And this is now the local eat too, extra point for the experience.

IMG_8016
Mandu Mandu
While staying near Myeong-Dong, the shopping district of Seoul. At night, the main street of this shopping area get filled with loads of food stall carts. You can skip dinner and walk along stall by stall filling your belly with the local street foods. Don’t get alarm with the hygiene etc I have not had any problems! And mandu in Korea is such a signature food, like Cantonese wonton or Chinese jiaozi, similar items but this time it was pan fried served with cabbage salad over some chilly sauce! Wish I have got more belly space to eat another plate!

IMG_7964Coffee flavoured milk
I have seen this before my arrival to Seoul online but I never thought I will really go and give it a try, considering I would prefer proper coffee. Never say never. This reminds me of Japanese canned coffee alike, in fact, it taste pretty yummy. It was really milky and on the sweet side. If you don’t go and compare it with proper coffee, then this should not disappoint you! I like it myself just I prefer the banana milk drink a lot more! ha~~~~

IMG_8858Ppopgi (Traditional Korean toffee candy)
If you have watched Running Man you would have seen the cast showing some traditional toffee candy game, which is the same thing as you. They came in either flat disk form or like this one that I found in a Sunday market stall, in rose form. The stall owner even made the sweet into teddy bear etc. All for 1000 won only. I cannot help not to buy one! It feels like hard boil sweets…

IMG_8845Issac Sandwich
This is definitely cannot be missed while you’re in Seoul, I am not too sure why such simple sandwich is so addictive, I am trying to figure  out if the spread she used was sandwich spread… a bit of ham, egg, cheese, cabbage, gerkins etc voila, a perfecto sandwich! I waited one day for it to open before my bus to airport. Its a very famous sandwich stall which no tourist will missed so make sure this is on your list!

IMG_8283Binggrae’s Banana Flavored Milk & Grilled Squid
I knew about the banana milk before I fly off, I brought a bottle as soon as I landed just to see what it taste nice, pretty yummy and I have been repeating purchase everytime I see it in stall. While the grilled squid was indeed of a local delicacy, I found this in the Art Wall area. Its totally different to the Hong Kong dried squid. It was rather chewy and fresh squid taste.

IMG_6875Bungeoppang
Similar to the japanese cake with red bean filling. This is identical, fish shaped pancake with red bean fillings. I just cannot miss buying this when I walk pass one of these stalls. however, this snack are located anywhere and everywhere.. easy to find and don’t need to trek your way out for it.

IMG_8859Bite-sized mayak gimbap from Gwangjang Market
I must have got into the Gwangjang Market at the wrong time when it was ultra packed. After having my mung bean pancake, I wanted to have this as well but cannot fit my belly at the time so I brought a take away and after some exercise of walking along the stream, I decided to sat down by the side and enjoy a bit of the stream view while eating this. Apparently, this gimbap is famous and to the fact that people jokes that it has drugs in them. *Laughs* One of the famous items in this market, make sure you don’t miss this!

IMG_8837Macaroon Ice cream, Insa-dong main street
Not having enough time to hunt for the macaroon ice cream on list. I randomly walked past this stand on Insa-dong. Although I think it’s a little expensive (maybe I was broke after all the masks I have brought!) but I still went for it. This is new to me, I have never had a macaroon ice cream before beside homemade choux puff with homemade ice cream! I can assure you the texture is different but indeed worth the money you have paid. The only downside of this is probably the ice cream was too hard to bite into in comparison to the crunchy macaroon!
Other must visits includes Antique in Hongdae, Macameron, A la papa Cafe in Ehwa Woman Uni.

Don’t forget to have a look at my Top ice-cream spots in Seoul 

IMG_8009Egg cake
As the name says it, I first saw this was on some korean drama where the female lead wanted egg cake and the male lead drove and got her some. It interests me at the time until I really tried it, It actually has an egg inside!!!! The cake texture its pretty light and when you have it with an egg in it, you might find it weird at first but when you chew it somehow the texture comes pretty matching. I really want to eat one right now in the cold British winter!

IMG_8827
Korean Strawberries
I know what you’re thinking here, Strawberries!? you are joking? Nope, I am not, recently Korean strawberries has become a hit for locals and tourists. I have seen some tourist purchase boxes of them back via hand carry luggage space!? My word of advice is, I do think Waitrose ones are nicer….

IMG_7973Bindaetteok pancakes from Gwangjang Market
As soon as I’ve entered the market, I was aiming for this pancake straight away, my research was telling me that there’s specific shop with a mama’s logo on, is the one you should go for! The queue was long and yet, you might get confuse with the location as there are many other mung beans pancake stalls too! I don’t remember how I have managed to order without knowing the language but the lady knew what i wanted. They give you free sides and unlimited water to drink. A kind next door neighbour gave me some local soft alcohol drinks. Appreciated.

I reckon this is only a small fraction of street snacks that is available to eat, the belly are way too small for the amount of foods that’s available in Seoul. And for western tourist whom are not really feel street foods are reliable, trust me, this is all good to consume and I have no belly issue.

Vernazza to Monterosso Hike, Italy

IMG_2806-2

I have had a very fulfilling 2015 with many travels opportunity solo or with friends. I have managed to ticked off my to do bucket list of travelling solo in Japan and South Korea. Yet, I can never have enough of group travel, be it being exploring in the UK or going away with my travel buddy to Cinque Terre.

This is one of the two hikes that I have hiked in Cinque Terre region. The first one that we decided to do was the route from Vernazza to Monterosso route. We quickly went hiking as soon as have dropped our baggage and got myself ready. Grabbed some water on the way to the start of the route, following our host’s advice we opt to start from the end of the town centre, walking up staircases between the green doors and off we go….!

IMG_3238-2

There wasn’t any signs once we have reached the top of the staircase, using our instinct, we opt to go for left hand side.. and luckily, our instinct was correct, we are at the back of these residential area and walking up the unpaved path towards the start of the hike…

be aware that when you want to go hiking, you will need to buy Cinque Terre hiking pass. There’s option for 1 to 5 days pass to suit your needs. You can either get this pass at the train station or from the start of the route where there will be someone checking if your pass is valid.

IMG_3253-2

The weather was absolutely amazing on my arrival day!

IMG_3258-2

I guess, you rather have the photo under expose than over exposed? which one is best?

After you have walked passed the forever long alike staircase, you will reach to a path with wooden fence. As a dare devil person (aka “don’t know how dangerous things are” person) I jumped off the fence and opt to have a photo taken closer to overseeing Vernazza town.

IMG_3247-2

IMG_3249-2

Hey, there are  love locks everywhere! Can I find someone that’s wiling to hike around the world with me?

IMG_2778-2

Being able to see it real life than images on the google search, its pretty amazing!

It once again, make me realised how amazing this mother nature is!

IMG_3261-2

I didn’t find this hike difficult to hike  at all, even for an irregular hiker like myself. And what I really suggest hiker to do if you don’t hike often, its take it slow and breathe deep as you can. No point rushing the hike but run out of breathe where you will end up lightheaded.

IMG_3262-2

IMG_2766-2

Have to share this scene in horizontal view. Amazing colour building forms this amazing town!

IMG_2801-2

And then we have reached another photo spot… but another devil in me told me to walk to the edge and have a photo. er…. I didn’t know I was so closed to the edge until I have had my photo taken. That was close…. scarier than the previous one!

IMG_3287-2

Every time when you reach to such photogenic scene, all the pains you have on this hike are totally worth it.

IMG_3271-2

We walk kind of mid way and there were some area to have a pit stop, where you begin to see some landscape of Monterosso.

IMG_3281-2

Not to mention that the hikes in Italy are differentiated by colour coding on the walk of the path. This hike are represented by red and white signs, like the photo above.

IMG_3273-2

As we reach to this area, we are going more down hill hike and guessing we are almost to the end of the time or maybe just a quarter of distance left until the end of the hike.

Yet, we have reached to an area that doesn’t look like is a path with no protective fence, yet again I won’t say its dangerous but rather be more careful when walking across it.

IMG_3300-2

And we have reach to downward staircases, met an American couple that told us to walk past them. However, we still decide to take it slowly… and walk down at a similar pace to them, slow!

IMG_3303-2

The hike near the end seem a bit dark and the path seems rough, but yet you wouldn’t feel unsafe hiking down hill.

Likewise, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. The end of the hike will lead you overlooking into the Monterosso beach; by then you can the walk down the stair case and jump into the beach. Be aware that this is not the main Monterosso outside the main station, this beach is further away to the main Monterosso beach.

IMG_3308-2

Look at how pretty Monterosoo town is! This is it, the hike is complete. What an amazing journey that I have had over the last 1.5 to 2 hours. We didn’t keep track of time while hiking but I know we have spent quite sometime on the hike.. what’s the rush? Enjoy every single moment on the trail while you can right? You never know when you will return to this piece of mother nature in the future.

IMG_3310-2

Hike Information
Vernazza to Monterosso
Duration is approximately 1 hour 30 mins
Trail mark: red and white stripe
Start of the trail: From end of the Vernazza town next to a pizza shop, between the two green doors. Walk up, once you have reach to the end, turn left and follow on the path.

Dragon’s Back Hike

IMG_9605

Times flew by just as if you were fasting forward the video cassette, 6 months back into home land but yet I cannot forget how easy access Hong Kong is for hiking. You can hike any peak on any given good weather weekend without any advanced planning. Unlike my Brecon Beacons hike in September, took 3 days off for hiking.

Having been real slow with sharing some of my Hong Kong highlights, I pull myself to write up the hikes now esp its the best season in HK right now to hike. Hong Kong is still standing at above 25C degree, making it the perfect time to explore the nature again.

And here I am, sharing one of my beloved hikes in HK that I have experienced… The Dragon’s Back.

IMG_9370

All hidden before sunnies, I am sure my friends wouldn’t mind I shared this photos on my blog! There you go, a bad example of hiking gear was to wear converse to hike. Make sure you wear shoes with good support to your ankle for any hikes.

IMG_9372

Off we go, we took the bus to Shau Kei Wan MTR, Exit A3 towards the bus stop, for bus 9 towards Shek-O, alight at To Tei Wan on Shek O Road where you will see the hike sign that we took a selfie from.

From that starting point, we decided to finish the hike at Shek-O and aiming to hop on the Tai Long Wan (Big Wave Bay) for a dip of water to end our day. Literately, as soon as you start the hike you will not get lost, but rather crowded with loads of hikers around.

IMG_9374

That day was a warm day with loads of clouds blocking the sun, else I am sure I will get burn like crazy!  The path are all clear without any shelters, so you have to make sure you’re sunscreen covered, visor or hats ready for this harsh sun. Think HK has the deadly sunshine compare to UK…

IMG_9398

IMG_9402

Look at the landscape views that you get from this hike,  any hard work is worth it right?

IMG_9409

And yes, our aim was to walk down hill to the Tai Long Wan (Big Wave Bay) and there its where we was aiming.

IMG_9432

Time flies when you’re having fun, a few more jokes, resting stops for the nice view, viola, we arrived at the bay to enjoy some chilled out by the bay. Enjoyed a few snacks by the stall nearby, brought a red bean ice lolly and sat by the bay….

Some useful information
Starting point:
From MTR Shau Kei Wan Station Exit A3, take bus 9 at Shau Kei Wan Bus Terminus to To Tei Wan, Shek O Road.
End point: Walk from Tai Long Wan to Shek O. Then take bus 9 at Shek O Road back to Shau Kei Wan Bus Terminus. From here, public transport is available to other destinations.
Distance: 3 km over duration 2 to 3 hours depending on your pace

Top Five Gelatorias of Cinque Terre & Pisa

There are times that you would feel really guilty regarding what you’ve eaten into your belly! We all to some extent tends to be really cautious of what we eat during our daily meals, however, when we are away from home and on holiday, your cautious mind relaxes and think this is he time to indulge in foods that you cannot get back home..

…and this is the same with Italy. What they are famous for?? GELATO!!!

My 5 lists of gelato places in Cinque Terre and Pisa region. Its always so good to be back to Italy and explore different area.

IMG_2713 - Pisa gelato-2
La Bottega del Gelato, Pisa
We had a very satisfied meal on our arrival night and googled the nearest gelato place that are still opened and found this little gem across the bridge. It’s roughly about 10 mins walk from Pisa Centrale Station and it is super easy to get to, just walk down through the main road of all the shops, cross the bridge and you will see it by the little square full of locals/tourists.
I’ve got mine in a waffle cone with hazelnut and pistachio flavour gelato for 2.50E and from then onwards, I was shocked at the price that I have to pay in London!! The gelato texture in La Bottega was on the soft side but the flavour was awesome!!

Love Italy once again OVER a gelato!

IMG_2752 - gelatoria vernazza-2
Gelatoria Vernazza, Vernazza
Next up, its the famous Gelatoria Vernazza, the name says it all. Its located in Vernazza the town that I called home for the 4 days while I was there. Pretty amazingly it was only diagonally opposite my studio flat, I had to control myself every on my way back to the flat. It was super tempting….. honestly!
Once again, I had the same flavours as the last location, hazelnut and pistachio flavour, oh la la.. I thought the previous one was good. This one is even better! Not only the gelato was more dense in terms of texture so were their flavours too!

The only downside of this place is, they use an icecream scoop on me? whyyyyyy not the traditional gelato scoop?

IMG_3064 - Gelatoria Il Porticciolo-2
Gelatoria Il Porticciolo, Vernazza
After getting back into Vernazza from the afternoon hike, I said to myself I need to this gelatoria by the dock, else I would not have enough time to fit them all in. I am glad I choose to try it on the spot, because the following few days this gelatoria closes early or I wasn’t in town early enough before their shop closes. Definitely a great gelatoria, I tried Pistachio and Mango sorbet, another classic combo of mine! I can tell you not only the pistachio flavour taste so great, real smooth and not artificial taste. The mango sorbet was really greatly made, love the texture..! Definitely on my recommendation list for you.

IMG_3112 - Gelatoria Alberto - Cognilia
Gelatoria Alberto, Cognilia
This was already on our list even before we depart for our trip, their infamous signature Nutella gelato was waiting to be tried… We instantly noticed his gelato shop as we walk into the centre, you cannot miss it, at the entrance to the center of the town. We decided to try the gelato after our lunch instead… and I have to say do not missed this place, I went for nutella and coconut flavour, I wanted something lighter to balance the richest of nutella, I was right! Their nutella gelato was so rich in flavour and really smooth in texture that it was good to pair it with something light.. Definitely worth giving a try!

Forget about the calories you are taking, you’re on holiday!

IMG_3269 - Gelatoria Bar Centrale Riomaggiore-2
Bar Centrale, Riomaggioire
I really was trying to hold myself back from eating another one but as we wander around Riomaggioire, we got a little bored after our lunch by the pier, thinking shall we go back to vernazza or wander around a little more? In the end, we went to get ourselves a gelato before chilling by the benches and start people watching activities (Saw two cool oriental bikers in their motorbike!). Can’t fault much but yet I find their gelato a little lack of flavour and generally on the bland side. Texture wise was pretty smooth but melts relatively fast.

Think I have absolutely nailed it with my accommodation location!  I do think my top two choices are within Vernazza, so make sure they are on your list to visit!