Visiting Hong Kong & Beijing

Visiting Hong Kong & Beijing
I visited Hong Kong and Beijing in September last year and I’ve been meaning to talk about what I got up to there for a while, especially the food I saw and ate! I went to Hong Kong with my boyfriend to visit some friends of ours. I’ve actually been to Beijing twice before, a long time ago in 1999 and 2001. So it was really cool to go back there and see what had changed in that time. The Olympics were held in Beijing in 2008 so there has been a lot of regeneration of the city between my visits.

We started our trip in Beijing at The Great Wall of China. We visited the Mutianyu section. I’d previously been to Badaling, which is the more well known and busier section. However I really loved Mutianyu as you take a chair lift up to the wall, and you can ride a luge down – so much fun! There are some breathtaking views from the Wall, but get ready to do some serious walking!


Our guide in Beijing took us to this awesome traditional steamed dumpling place. We really enjoyed the vegetarian dumplings on offer, as well as noodles with signature Beijing sauce. Food is very cheap in Beijing and also the portion sizes are extremely generous! We took the leftovers from this meal back to our hotel and had it for our evening meal too.

Autumn Festival was being celebrated during our visit and we saw moon cakes everywhere. These pastries are filled with a red bean or lotus bean paste and often have an egg yolk in the middle too.

Dates were also very popular and I saw them at markets and street stalls everywhere. Although, they were green or red and looked much harder in texture than the brown sticky dates I am used to seeing in the UK. They are a different kind of date called Jujubes, or Chinese dates.


The bakeries in Beijing showcased such perfect looking cakes, pastries and bread. Everything was so neat and tidy! They love to use very light sponge, fruit to decorate and uniformity is their speciality!

Other places we visited in Beijing included the Temple of Heavens, Tiananmen Square, The Summer Palace, The Forbidden City, The Ming Tombs, Beihai Park and the Lama Temple. I really must recommend our guide service, Catherine Lu Tours, they took us everywhere in Beijing and helped us with everything from getting tickets to ordering food. They were so patient and gracious at every moment.



Back in Hong Kong, we visited the Hello Kitty cafe. It was a very fun place to visit, and Hello Kitty’s face was all over the walls, tables, light fittings and windows. The food was definitely style over substance. It looked amazing, but lacked in taste. However, it was certainly a unique place to visit for a one off!


Ok, now these beautiful things were my absolute favourite treats of the entire holiday! They are Portugese custard tarts from Macau. Macau is a similar kind of place to Hong Kong, in that it used to be owned by another country (Portugal), and has now been handed back to the Chinese. A lot of the Portugese influence and culture still remains, such as these divine tarts. Macau is known as the ‘Vegas of the East’ as it’s full of casinos! There are two cafes that compete over who sells the best custard tarts, and these ones were from Margaret’s Cafe e Nata. I could’ve eaten the whole box!

We visited Macau for the day, you can just get on a boat from Hong Kong and it takes about an hour to get there. You do need your passport to enter and leave Macau. We also found it quite tricky to walk around, it’s not very pedestrian friendly. The most popular site there is the Ruins of St Paul, but I’d probably only return to get more custard tarts!!

Once we climbed the 431 steps up to the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery we found their vegetarian cafe at the top. It was great to find a veggie only place as we did struggle throughout the holiday to find vegetarian food. We really enjoyed the fish shaped fried potato dish above with sweet and sour sauce and rice.

At Victoria Peak, the most popular viewing spot in Hong Kong, we checked out the Forrest Gump themed restaurant Bubba Gump. They served some brightly coloured cocktails and extremely generous portions of shrimps. The garlic shrimp pictured above is meant to be a starter, but I could barely finish it as a main dish, even though the shrimp was so succulent and tasty.


We went to a food court called Food Republic at the City Gate outlet in Tung Chung. The whole place was busy with people and the food options were vast and varied. Again, we struggled with vegetarian options for my boyfriend. He got some rice with steamed vegetables and I had a won ton soup.

The Pottinger bar at The Mercer hotel was a super swanky place with a roof terrace area. They served such fun and unique cocktails including the True Blood themed ‘blood bag’ cocktail above. If you watch the show True Blood, you will really appreciate this cocktail!

We also checked out a Thai restaurant called Sala Thai and I really enjoyed the dish above. It was very similar to a chow mein. They also served these delicious fruit iced teas that were far too easy to slurp down!

So that was out trip to China! We had a great time visting our friends, seeing the sights and trying lots of new food. If you are planning a trip to Beijing or Hong Kong please feel free to ask me any questions and I’ll be happy to help!

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Cardamom & Sea Salt Chocolate Ganache Tart (Vegan & Gluten Free)

Cardamom & Sea Salt Chocolate Ganache Tart (Vegan & Gluten Free)
A while back the kind people at signed me up for 3 magazine subscriptions of my choice. (If you follow my blog you may remember this delicious Coconut Bar Cake I made from Olive magazine.) So this time round I got my first issue of Veggie magazine through the letterbox. I chose all food related magazines for my subscriptions – obviously! As we’re a vegetarian friendly household I’m always looking out for new veggie recipes so it was the perfect fit.

Veggie magazine is completely vegetarian, from it’s recipes to the beauty and skincare products it recommends. It also includes some vegan and gluten free recipes. My sister is vegan and we’ve recently found a love of baking together so when we do we of course make vegan friendly treats. So this chocolate tart was an easy choice to make as it sounded damn delicious!

I started by making the tart base which involved gently warming 75g coconut oil and 4 tbsp maple syrup in a pan. Once it melted together I added 150g dessicated coconut and 2 tbsp cocoa powder and mixed in.

I pressed the base into a tart tin making sure to pack it as tightly as I could and also cover the sides. I decided to use my rectangular tin as I love the elegant look of a tart this shape.

I baked the base on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes, I left it to cool. Put it on a baking tray when in the oven as some of the coconut oil can leak out.

I made the filling by warming 270ml coconut cream, 1 tsp ground cardamom and a pinch of salt until just simmering. I then left it to thicken for 10 minutes with a lid on the pan.

I added 100g 70% dark chocolate to the coconut cream and stirred until it melted. If you want this to be a vegan tart make sure the chocolate doesn’t contain any milk (‘may contain’ is ok as this is related to people who have allergies).

I poured the ganache into the tart base and put it in the fridge for 2 hours to set. Once set I decorated it with raspberries and a sprinkling of salt. You could decorate it with any fresh berries you like, or some grated dark chocolate, or leave it plain.

Wow this tart was decadent! The filling was so rich and creamy with the perfect chocolate hit. The cardamom lingered delicately in the background and the sea salt provided the perfect kick. The base was deliciously crunchy, it all came together so well. This is a dessert that can be enjoyed by vegans and non-vegans alike, and would be perfect for a dinner party where your guests have mixed dietary needs.


I’m entering this into We Should Cocoa hosted by Tin & Thyme. The theme this month is butter, or coconut oil for vegan recipes.

And the Sunday Fitness & Food Link Up hosted by Marathons & Motivations and Ilkas Blog.


Cardamom & Sea Salt Chocolate Ganache Tart (Vegan & Gluten Free)


  • 75 g Coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 150 g Desiccated coconut
  • 2 tbsp Cocoa powder
  • 270 ml Coconut cream
  • 1 tsp Ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 100 g 70% dark chocolate
  • 10 Fresh raspberries


  1. Gently warm the coconut oil and maple syrup in a pan. Once melted, add the desiccated coconut and cocoa powder and mix in
  2. Press the base into a tart tin, pack it tightly along the bottom and sides
  3. Bake the base in the tart tin, and on a baking tray in case any coconut oil leaks out, on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes. Then leave to cool
  4. Make the filling by warming the coconut cream, ground cardamom and a pinch of the salt until just simmering. Then leave it to thicken for 10 minutes with a lid on the pan
  5. Add the dark chocolate to the coconut cream and stir until melted
  6. Pour the filling into the tart base and put it in the fridge for 2 hours to set. Once set, decorate with raspberries and a sprinkling of salt
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Leftovers Savoury Bread Bake

Leftovers Savoury Bread Bake
I am always looking for ways to use up leftovers as food waste is something I really can’t stand. Did you know that we throw away 7 million tonnes of food every year? Reducing food waste not only helps the environment, but it helps your bank account too! We’re so lucky to have access to food whenever we need it that most people forget it isn’t like that everywhere in the world. So, I think it’s really important to try not to waste any of it. Joseph Joseph and Love Food Hate Waste have joined forces against food waste this month and in order to help with their campaign I’ve created this Leftovers Savoury Bread Bake, which you can fill and flavour with a variety of leftovers. It will also easily feed a family of four.

I love Joseph Joseph’s Nest Storage Set for storing leftovers in. They are space saving in your cupboard when they are not filled with leftovers as they all stack into each other. They come in sizes perfect for taking your lunch into work, storing cupcakes and biscuits or of course any leftovers in the fridge! Plus they’re colour coded so you can quickly match up the tubs to their lids.

The leftovers I had in my fridge were half an onion, a red pepper and about 8 cherry tomatoes. You could also put other veg in this like mushrooms, leeks, courgettes or aubergine. And if you’re a meat eater, any leftover meat like chicken, chorizo or ham would work well. I pre-cooked my onion and pepper in some olive oil and garlic. I’d advise pre-cooking any veg you decide to use.

I sliced 5 slices of bread into diagonals, buttered each one, and arranged them neatly in my dish. I used my Berndes 27x18cm dish. The crust of the loaf is perfect for this recipe and often gets leftover.


I whisked up 4 eggs, 500ml semi skimmed milk and 50ml double cream. If you don’t want to add the cream, just replace it with more milk. I also added 1 tsp mixed herbs and 1 tsp salt. You can add your favourite spices or herbs to flavour this to your taste.

I spooned the cooked veg in between and around the slices of bread, I then added the cherry tomatoes which I sliced in half.

I poured the egg mixture into the dish and left it to soak into the bread for 5 minutes.

Finally I sprinkled over 75g mature cheddar, and popped it into the oven on 180C/160C Fan/350F/ Gas Mark for 40 minutes.

I left it for 10 minutes or so, as it sets better together, a bit like a lasagne. Then I dug in! This bake is great served with salad, fresh spinach or any green veg like broccoli.

It was so yummy! I loved the soft eggy bread and vegetables, but then the crispy cheesey topping was equally as satisfying. This is a fabulous way to use up lots of different types of leftovers and feed hungry family and friends!

I’m entering this bake into Simply Eggcellent, hosted by Belleau Kitchen. This month’s theme is anything goes!

And into the No Waste Food Challenge hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary.

And this month’s Credit Crunch Munch hosted by Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food 4 All.


And Extra Veg hosted by Utterly Scrummy and Fuss Free Flavours.


Leftovers Savoury Bread Bake


  • 1/2 an Onion
  • 8 Cherry tomatos
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Red pepper
  • 5 slices of Bread
  • Butter
  • 4 Eggs
  • 500 ml Semi skimmed milk
  • 50 ml Double cream
  • 1 tsp Mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 75 g Mature cheddar


  1. Dice up then fry the onion, garlic and pepper in the olive oil
  2. Slice the into diagonals, butter each piece, and arrange them neatly in a 27x18cm dish
  3. Whisk up the eggs, milk and double cream. Add the mixed herbs and salt
  4. Spoon the cooked veg in between and around the slices of bread, then slice the cherry tomatoes in half and add them too
  5. Pour the egg mixture into the dish and leave it to soak into the bread for 5 minutes
  6. Sprinkle over the mature cheddar, and pop it into the oven on 180C/160C Fan/350F/ Gas Mark for 40 minutes
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Strawberry Cupcakes with Nutella Buttercream

Strawberry Cupcakes with Nutella Buttercream
 January can be quite a slow and dull time of year, but it feels like as soon as February hits, there is so much going on! It’s Chinese New Year today, Mother’s Day is fast approaching, and Easter is not long behind it. And of course this weekend we have Valentine’s Day, which I think is a perfect time of year to show love. It doesn’t just have to be about romantic love, why not spread love, happiness and kindness to your family, friends and colleagues too! And the perfect way to do it? These Strawberry Cupcakes with Nutella Buttercream of course! Easy to make, pretty to look at it, and best of all – totally delicious to eat.

I started by dicing up 400g fresh strawberries. I added 1 heaped tsp flour and mixed in, to ensure they wouldn’t sink when baking.

I stirred together 480g self raising flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 1 tbsp cinnamon.

I added 285ml almond milk (or you can use regular milk), 225g melted butter and 2 beaten eggs.

I gently folded in the strawberries and 285g caster sugar.

I filled 23 cupcake cases with the mixture.

I baked them on 180C/160C Fan/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 25 minutes until golden brown, then left them to cool.

To make the buttercream I mixed together 150g butter and 300g icing sugar.

I then added 200g Nutella, 3 tbsp double cream and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.

I piped it onto the cupcakes using a piping bag and sprinkled some pink heart sprinkles on top. The cupcakes are perfectly moist with a delightful strawberry flavour, and the buttercream is absolutely delicious! It’s just the right amount of Nutella flavour. These would be such a perfect treat for any of your loved ones on Valentine’s Day.

I’m entering this into myself and Cakeyboi‘s monthly challenge Treat Petite, this month hosted by United Cakedom. The theme is Like It, Love It, Gotta Have It! And I certainly feel that way about Nutella!

And into this month’s Food Year Link Up hosted by Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen, for Valentine’s Day.

Sponge recipe from Ina Garten, buttercream recipe from What Jess Baked Next.


Strawberry Cupcakes with Nutella Buttercream

Servings 23


  • 400 g Fresh strawberries
  • 480 g Self raising flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tbsp Cinnamon
  • 285 ml Almond milk
  • 225 g Butter melted
  • 2 Eggs
  • 285 g Caster sugar
  • 150 g Butter
  • 300 g Icing sugar
  • 200 g Nutella
  • 3 tbsp Double cream
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract


  1. Dice up the fresh strawberries. Add 1 heaped tsp flour and mix in, to ensure they won't sink to the bottom when baking
  2. Stir together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon
  3. Add the almond milk (or you can use regular milk), melted butter and eggs
  4. Gently fold in the strawberries and the caster sugar. Fill the cupcake cases with the mixture
  5. Bake them on 180C/160C Fan/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 25 minutes until golden brown, then leave them to cool
  6. To make the buttercream, mix together the 150g butter and icing sugar
  7. Then add the Nutella, double cream and vanilla extract. Pipe onto the cupcakes using a piping bag and nozzle of your choice, then add sprinkles as desired
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6 Month Bake Box Subscription Giveaway

6 Month Bake Box Subscription Giveaway

I am so excited about this giveaway! You may have noticed that subscription boxes are all the rage at the moment, I’ve seen them for beauty products, geeky gadgets, weeknight dinners, snacks, alcohol… the list goes on! And now finally I am so pleased that Bake Box has come along for all the bakers out there. And I’m even more pleased that I am offering you the chance to win a 6 month subscription!

Each box has a surprise theme, which I found so fun as I had no idea what to expect when I opened it. It was so exciting discovering what was inside.

As well as the theme, you get 6 recipe cards with each box, 6-8 baking gadgets or tools, 1 decorative ingredient such as food colouring and access to the Bake Box Bake Club!

From the box I chose to make the Fashonista Biscuits. The recipe card was so easy to follow and all the baking gadgets I needed to create the biscuits were included in the box. I used the dress shaped cookie cutter, the circular plunger, and the fondant wheel cutter to shape and decorate the biscuits.

It was perfect timing as I was hosting a clothes swap party that weekend and these colourful dress biscuits went down so well! I used some Renshaw ready to roll fondant that I already had in the cupboard too so I got creative with my dress colours and designs!

I really love Bake Box and I honestly wish I could win this giveaway myself! Well I can’t win it, but you could! Enter using the Raffecopter below…

-Giveaway has finished-

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