“I wanted to see you again, touch you, know who you were, see if I would find you identical with the ideal image of you which had remained with me and perhaps shatter my dream with the aid of reality.-Claude Frollo ” ― Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame
When I visited Paris, I said to myself the next time I went, I would buy myself a ticket to go around Notre Dame, to walk through its aisles, to gaze up at the beautiful rose windows, to crane my neck and stare at the beautiful flying buttresses that have held my imagination ever since I learned about them during a Humanities class in high school, to climb as high was what was permitted to gaze at Paris from its heights. The last time, I stared at Notre Dame from a seat in the square just in front of the cathedral and I imagined how much I would enjoy myself during the next trip with quite possibly a day adoring the beautiful Lady of Paris.
I can’t be sure I can do that now. Because the beloved cathedral that has stood the test of 850 years and has watched Paris evolved is burning. My heart breaks as I watch the breaking news on telly. The beautiful spire that has towered over the roofs and the nave collapsed as the world watched. I’ve read from reports that the gargoyles were seen tumbling down from their lofty posts.
I’m going to stop watching the news now. I don’t think I can bear hearing about the flying buttresses collapsing. I know that Paris can rebuild, as it often has, because it survives and it evolves. But even if they rebuild The Lady, it will never be the same again.
I’m going to try (very hard) to remember Paris and Notre Dame the way I saw Notre Dame last. Beautifully incandescent in the unexpected Parisian sunshine and blue skies 💔
I’ve been unwell and when I’m unwell my body craves comfort food. Unfortunately, this means I have to cook said comfort food. Not that I mind so much, because I do love to putter about in the kitchen. It’s just that this weekend, I’ve been left with so little energy that I, almost, couldn’t be bothered.
I’ve had chicken karaage from a few places and I must say that this is probably one of my favourite versions of fried chicken (closely rivalled by Korean fried chicken — soy ginger please!).
I’ve tweaked my version of chicken karaage, and this time, I’m using mirin, instead of using Shaoxing rice wine, in the original recipe I posted, funnily enough, almost 4 years ago. Chicken karaage uses sake, which I have never had the pleasure of tasting. I’ve switched to using Japanese mirin to inch closer to finding out what home cooked karaage tastes like.
I do love it though and I hope you will too! As always, if you try any of my recipes, I would love to hear from you and your cooking experience.
500g chicken thigh fillets, cut into large-ish bite-sized chunks
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons mirin
4 tablespoons light soy sauce
100g plain flour
1 tsp salt
vegetable oil for deep-frying
In a ziplock bag, combine chicken, ginger, garlic and soy. Carefully massage the chicken through the bag and marinade for at least 1 hour (better if you let the chicken marinade overnight though).
In a bowl, mix the cornflour, flour and salt, and coat the chicken pieces with the cornflour-flour mixture until the pieces are dry to the touch.
In a frying pan, heat up the vegetable oil. When the oil is hot enough, carefully drop chicken pieces and fry until golden brown (should take about 3-4 minutes).
Serve with a slice of lemon or a teriyaki sauce, on its own or over a bed of fluffy steamed rice! Speaking of rice, I wrote a post on how to cook rice perfectly (I’ve been cooking rice since I was 11 so I like to think I know what I’m talking about – way before there were non-stick pans!).
Here’s a little recipe on sticky sauce that goes well with the karaage.
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Once boiling turn the heat right down and allow to reduce until there is only half of the liquid, making sure that you stir occasionally so that none of the sugar burns. This is brilliant as a little sauce to be sprinkled (sparingly) on steamed rice if you’re having friend chicken or fish.
We went to London to visit friends and to see friends and catch some of the light installations that make up the Canary Wharf Winter Lights.
As always, all great plans can go by the wayside. Even though we planned to see light installations. Notice the “s”? Yep, denoting that we intended to see more than one light installations. We only saw Submergence by Squidsoup though. I’m not complaining though. It was great evening filled with laughter and lovely company and I even got to meet some people I follow on Instagram in real life!
If you’re in London and can get to Canary Wharf, the lights get switched on at 5PM and get switched off at 10PM. Winter Lights is running until this Saturday, 26 January.
We got home really late last night…or early this morning if you want to be specific. So I’m feeling a bit lazy this evening. I’ve got to get ready for work tomorrow so I guess I need to do a few things…aka housework! It’s been a really quick weekend and I’m having to play catch up! But hopefully this week will be kinder than I think it’s going to be!
This week has been quite the busy week, with the days whooshing past.
Because I work at an accountants, I do want to ask this question: have you filed your taxes already? The deadline for the Self Assessment 2018 tax return is on 31 January 2019. For everyone salaried, we don’t necessarily have to worry about this, but if you do self assessment, I would suggest filing sooner than later. The HMRC website has known to crash on the deadline date because a lot of people leave it until the last possible moment. For more information, you can go to the HMRC website.
Public service announcement done.
In other news, I’ve almost finished The Silent Companions! Pretty good going eh, since I’m aiming to read at least 24 books this year! What are you reading?
Since Christmas I’ve been battling a flu-ey thing. The minute I think I’ve kicked it, it rears its ugly head. So for a little while it’ll have to be quiet evenings at home, on the couch, reading, browsing on the internet, binge watching and staring mindlessly at the telly. This is probably the human version of hibernation: head down, nose relatively snotty and travel only done when absolutely required (in my case it’s home to work to home!).
Even though I’ve been sleeping in (and apparently, there is scientific evidence that sleeping in to catch up on sleep may be a good thing), I’m still feeling very blecchy. Are you ready for the work week? Are we all ever ready anyway?
If you’ve got any tips for easing myself out of this schlumpy mood, am all ears!
New year and new (recycled) resolutions. Have you written written down yours?
I’ve said I would, this year, do the following:
Write more (either blog or journal, although, great Instagram captions might apply?)
Get healthy (no that’s not a metaphor for me gaining weight, on the contrary, I need to lose weight, lower my blood sugar levels and move more)
Take more photographs (for the blog, for Instagram and for my personal development)
Finish the Instaretreat (I am such a good starter but a very weak finisher. I need help and motivation!)
Bake and cook more (and write about it, hey, it’s two birds with one stone! Yay me!)
I’ve been busy with real life and the past few weeks have been quite the challenge. I have been adjusting to my new meds (that’s another blog, in itself. But it takes courage to write it down for all and sundry to see. I’m not quite that brave yet!), and they make me really sluggish. But I’m trying to find ways to deal with the sluggishness and the excuses I make for being stuck in the inertia of inactivity.
The week started with me hitting the ground running. It was a short week, but was it ever so busy. The work just kept running and I just felt that some of the people I worked for were throwing stuff at me because they wanted to hold my attention for longer. I used to work for just one person but now that I’m working for 3 directors, someone feels a little less looked after. Bless! I can be magnanimous now but at times this week, I’ve had to bite my tongue and sit on my hands and give in to my desire to say, “Hey, I know what you’re up to, and I’m not falling for the rank-pulling! What are you, five?!” But I didn’t…and I am proud of myself.
I’ve put together a book list and I’ve started with a humdinger of a read. I’m reading Laura Purcell’s The Silent Companions. Have you read it? What are your thoughts? Unlike some people, I don’t mind spoilers because I do get stuck in and despite knowing the end, I still, somehow, get surprised (if there is an unexpected twist). Opinions are welcome! Oh and if you are reading something, what are you reading? I’m curious!
The kitchen in my tiny little flat has been busy this weekend. I’ve actually managed to make banana jam. Why banana jam, you ask? Because Alan and I went to Yotam Ottolenghi’s Spitalfields restaurant and I fell in love with the banana jam (it’s slathered on that lovely piece of sourdough on the the left in the picture below).
Alan found the recipe and I couldn’t believe something delicious only had 5 ingredients and it was so easy to do! I’ll have to remember not to scarf down my banana jam-laden piece of toast and take a photo for the blog (and my food IG account @yellyeats…yep, I’m not ashamed to self promote!). I’m told (by the blog I read it from) that this recipe isn’t in any of Ottolenghi’s books so if you’re interested in making it, the recipe I used Belleau Kitchen’s measurements and it’s ever so yummy. I will, however, take a page from Dominic’s book and tweak it so that it becomes my version of the recipe. I do have a few more bananas left so I guess that means I’m baking banana bread again!
In terms of health, I am going to charge up my Fitbit again and start counting steps again. I’m going for 10,000 steps or more every day. Fingers crossed!
I’ve got to stop now as I do need to finish washing up and making a fish pie for supper. It’s been a lazy weekend but a busy one too! What have you been up to?
These days, I think I keep saying it more and more often. That the days are all rushing past me. It is once again, the official start of Christmas (mind you, in Manila, Christmas starts as soon as 1 September!. Yes, September! I know! Crazy right?)
I can’t wait to get back to London to see the lovely lights that were switched on a couple of weeks ago!
What Christmas traditions do you have that starts as soon as December rounds the corner?