chocolate sesame cookies

these are some pretty good and rather interesting – not in the negative-euphemism sort of way – soft cookies, rather a sort of asian-western amalgamation. sesame seeds are very seldom used in european/american cooking, and usually only as toppings (on buns) or lost in the beauty that is hummus (as tahini), and it’s really nice to see a non-asian recipe that uses them as a focal point, much like this cake I made a while back.

they baked up large and flat – the sesame seeds providing good texture in the soft give of the cookie, and luscious dark and milk chocolate (yes, I do think milk chocolate has its place sometimes – don’t judge) in every bite. easy to make, and made further interesting by the inclusion of soy sauce – which gives just the right amount of savoury earthiness – these were some good cookies, though I likely will try to make them a little firmer and crunchier next time.

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coconut candy, mekong delta

while at the mekong lodge, we got a quick look at how coconut candy was made – it’s a semi-hard sort of toffee with a deep caramelly flavour, full of the notes of toasted coconut. essentially, caramel gets cooked in a large pot, thrown on the table to cool, before it’s divided into mounds and pushed out into a mould. these moulds are wooden, with straight trenches so the candy gets shaped into strips, before they’re cut into smaller squares.

we bought a couple bags that had bits of coconut in them, and these are some tasty things – sort of like werther’s originals done up asian-style. tasty!

more on the mekong lodge:

bee farm

jammy swiss roll

the perfect swiss roll – for me – is a slice of tightly-wrapped, chiffon-light but substantial cake spread with minimal buttercream and rolled in sugar. it’s an impression forged amidst nostalgia – a common snack when I was younger and singapore didn’t have nearly that many fancy bakeries was a box of swiss rolls from the polar chain of cafes. fluffy and mildly sweet the way I liked it, these cakes were always displayed perfectly in glass counters, and cost very little for a midday treat.

they’ve lost their popularity now, and while the polar chain remains, it’s a throwback to times that the new generation don’t always appreciate amidst the proliferation of fancy, trendy bakeries with their fashionable cupcakes and bubble tea. and that brings me to this recipe.

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butter cake (no. 2, and even better)

so I’ve written endlessly of my family’s love for loaf cakes, and this cake falls right smack into their favourites. a traditional butter cake texture – which means denser than a pound cake but still light with tender but tightly-packed crumbs – and the rich smell of butter wafting through the air, a not-quite-subtle hint of the moist deliciousness to come.

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jewish quarter zapiekanka, krakow

zapiekanka (1)zapiekanka (2)zapiekanka (3)zapiekanka (4)

mega-overloaded snack in the jewish quarter.

I imagine many people reading this and thinking just when is she going to finish with her polish trip?! and I promise you that there are only two more to come after this.  I hope this information becomes useful to someone out there – I am an incredibly OCD foodie in that I try and search for the most well-known restaurants in places,  especially from blogs, but there was barely any information to be had on gdańsk! the best resource was tripadvisor – which is a good website and all, but still I would have liked to have read more blogs.

in any case, we took up the free walking tour in the jewish quarter in krakow, and we escaped part way from an overtly enthusiastic not-funny-but-thinks-he’s-funny guide who punctuated all his jokes with a sleazy wink. it was a painful experience to listen to that many bad jokes in such a short interval – and we escaped to preserve our holiday mood.

it was just as well that we were in (what I think is) the market square of the jewish quarter at plac nowy. there were fruit stores around (see photos here) and a central building that housed lots of food stores. I think store might be an over-statement since they were basically windows where you ordered.

before escaping from the guide he had told us about these ‘snacks’. I insert them in quotes because these were nearly 1.5 foot long – who eats this for a snack?! however, the rich food in poland probably explains how this could be relegated to snack status.

they are essentially halved crusty loaves topped with ingredients of your choice. we got the standard – which was cheese and mushroom – because we weren’t really sure what it was like. it came topped with ketchup, and  didn’t really taste of much. it was mildly cheesy and savoury, but it was hot and that was all we needed.

my partner became incredibly jealous when we saw that another customer had ordered a version stacked with salami and ham and sorts of man ingredients so I would say go adventurous (and greedy) since it really is just a hot sandwich!

bæjarins beztu, reykjavik


fantastic hotdogs, harbourside reykjavik. iceland is known for its hotdogs, and we stumbled across this hotdog stand – a very lucky thing as it’s supposedly the best hotdog stand in iceland.

seeing as we didn’t know what an icelandic hotdog consisted of, we got three everythings; now I know that means ketchup, mustard and rémoulade over a snappy sausage on a bed of both raw and fried onions. it was very tasty, and the crispy onions added interest to the hot dogs. a little too wet though, and I had to remove some sauce to finish.

we still very much enjoy the hotdogs outside the London british museum with its sautéed onions.