Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Typhoon pancakes

After a summer that's been otherwise dry and incredibly hot, we are currently feeling the effects of three typhoons in the region. Kompasu, Lionrock and Namtheun have all been making their presence felt since Sunday night with constant rain, sometimes hard, sometimes soft.

It makes for unpleasant driving on scooters, but it does bring a very welcome relief to the heat and the world is looking clean and fresh again. Both Alexander I noticed how you could smell food being cooked everywhere yesterday, instead of the usual exhaust fumes.

I'm not working this week and decided to make some simple banana pancakes for breakfast this morning. We enjoyed it in bed with cloudberry jam from IKEA and a heavenly sweet and thick caramel Alexander's parents got me in Bali on their recent trip (some pictures of the trip that Alexander joined here), while enjoying views of the green hills and the rain.

We're moving into our own place tomorrow. We've been house-sitting for friends who's been away for two months and trusted us with their house and dogs. I'm excited about having a place of our own, but I am going to miss the area they live in, surrounded by lush forest with the sounds of tropical birds during the day and frogs at night.

I'll try to post some pictures of our new place very soon. I can't wait to move!

Monday, August 30, 2010

I desire- a Butt towel

The first time I saw these fantastic towels I was in the company of my sisters-in-law and Alexander. I was so excited that I shouted "I want a butt towel!" My enthusiasm for a butt towel was met by shocked giggles from the ladies and a disapproving look from Alexander, who was actually the one who pointed the towels out to me.

It's a few months later and I still find myself desiring a Butt towel. Who wouldn't want a towel in this sexy magazine's (site NSFW or Starbucks) instantly recognizable pink with a hot man sprawled over it? You wouldn't? Curious, I can think of nothing that would make me happier.

So if my happiness is important to you (and it should be) hurry on over to American Apparel's website and order me one of these babies. Or two, one for me and one for Alexander. It's still summer season here and we need to give those people at the pool something more to look at besides us.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Since Wednesday I've had Bjork on random on both my iPod and the computer. It has been a long-long time since I've listened to her, and now I can't seem to stop. I'm loving every second of driving around Hsinchu with her voice in my head. Beautiful.

Bjork, some Tori Amos and a bit of U2 helped me survive my final year of high school back in the early nineties. Mostly Bjork helped me survive my first year at university which was potentially the worst year of my life. So we go way back. And I still love her and her music every bit as much as I first heard her voice in my high school dorm room in '94.

Here's some vintage Bjork for you on this lovely Friday.

And then something more recent, a beautifully haunting collaboration with Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons.

And if you're interested, go here for a short NPR interview with Bjork for 50 Great Voices

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tropical fruit cake

Hear this, the Chinese name for passion fruit is 百香果 (bai-shiang-guo). It literally translates as hundred-smells fruit. Our good friend Jing-guo explained that it means it is the fruit that smells better than a hundred other fruits. Beautiful isn't it? I'm only using it's Chinese name from now on.

百香果 is in season at the moment, along with lots of other tropical fruit delights like mango and banana. I bought a bunch of all of them at the market one afternoon, but in the crazy July heat everything ripened incredibly fast and the next day I was sitting with some over-ripe fruit on my hands. What to do, what to do?

Bake, of course!

So I trawled the web for some banana bread recipe, decreased the banana and added some mango. Baked it, made a passion fruit syrup and poured it over the cake. The leftover syrup I mixed in with our cereal and yogurt in the morning. I baked the cake for Jing-guo and his sister who were helping us in our apartment hunting. His little nephew insisted on having the cake for breakfast, so I guess it was popular with him at least!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Return of the blogger

Man alive I am a lame blogger. I knew it would take some time before I start blogging again, but I never expected it to become months. My excuse is that I've been terribly busy with school. Working more hours than I have in almost two years was a shock to my old system.

Besides working we've also been getting back into the swing of living in Asia, visiting markets for fresh produce, teaching Alexander how to ride a scooter, finding the best places for baking ingredients, trying out new dishes and places to eat and visiting big cities like Taipei and Kaohsiung over weekends. And becoming parents to a one-year old French bulldog!

We barely got back when a friend mentioned that she knows someone who cannot take care of hers anymore and is looking for someone who can adopt him from her. We were immediately curious and I think we made a decision even before we saw him.

His name is Japie, he is a beige Frenchie and he is adorable. He has brought about quite a shift in our lives. We're now cooking big batches of dog food once a week, give doggie baths, spend a ridiculous amount of time in pet stores looking for toys and have regular discussions about his bathroom.

He was named (by us) for an Afrikaans boy hero I learned about as a kid. When I told Alexander the story years ago he decided that if we should ever get a dog he should be named Japie, so there you are. I don't think ours is very brave, but he is quite the hero of our hearts.

Yup, he is all I talk about these days.

I'm going to try my best to post more very soon. We're still apartment hunting and that is quite a mission here, so I'll keep you posted on that (I think we may have found a place), I've done some baking and Alexander had his camera ready, I'd like to share some of our market experiences with you and our adventures back in Asia.

I'll be back soon, I promise!

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