Hello Hong Kong! LOG-ON, Midori Traveler’s Notebook Hong Kong Tramways Edition and Simply Life

Information: Simply Life  Shop A,C&D, G/F, 13-15 Cleveland Street, Fashion Walk, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong |銅鑼灣Fashion Walk加寧街13-15號地下A,C&D舖 | Log-On Fashion Walk, Level 1 Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.

When I was in Hong Kong, I made time to visit the Log-On Store to see the「Traveler’s notebook and Hong Kong Tramways」special edition. The Log-On store that carries this line is located in the Fashion Walk shopping complex, in Causeway Bay. (I went to the other Log On Store in Kowloon Tong, and they did not have them there)

IMG_8832

In case you are wondering, Log-On is a branch of City Super, which is a chain of grocery stores that sells a combination of local and imported products. I think the City Super chain originated in Hong Kong, and now there are several branches in Taiwan too.  In Hong Kong, Log-On houses all the lifestyle, homeware and stationery products and is in a completely separate section from the groceries. In Taipei, there is some stationery in the City Super Stores, but the layout is not very user friendly. It’s sort of squished in the same section as the sweets and personal care products.  While it’s convenient enough to do some impulse shopping, while you are popping in to buy milk or something, I think it would be better to have  a separate section just for stationery and lifestyle products.

Back to the Log-On store in Fashion Walk, which was really very pleasant to shop in. The layout of the store is clear, and there is plenty of space for you to browse. Naturally, the first thing to catch my eye was the washi tape display.

IMG_8850

The Traveler’s notebook and Hong Kong Tramways special edition display is located a little further into the store.

IMG_7948

I seriously wish it was my job to design these bulletin boards. Love everything on this board, and the way it was laid out. So many fun details.

Continue reading

Field Trip: Finding kitchen treasures at Woolloomooloo’s WXY Yakka~ 讓我找到回憶跟創意的小店

Many of you know that Woolloomooloo is a hip urban gastropub in Taipei that serves Australian-style lattes and a wonderful variety of Western style entrees and appetisers.

IMG_3546

But, to me, the best part about Woolloomooloo is the desserts.  My most heartfelt love goes to their strawberry tart.  It is perfection on a plate. The organic strawberries are ripe, sweet and juicy, and the creamy smooth tart base has just the right hint of tanginess.

IMG_3550

 

學生時代的時候, 我在澳洲住了將近四年。 那時候, 最enjoy的是澳洲的咖啡。 那裡的咖啡就是小小的一杯, 但非常濃郁。 喝完了那一杯真的會讓你精神百倍。 回想一下, 我那幾年加起來大概喝了上百杯的小小杯咖啡吧! 後來時透過好朋友 Janet 才知道 Wolloomoolo 也能喝到澳洲 style 的咖啡。

Continue reading

Field Trip: Royal Copenhagen Cafe, Taipei~皇家哥本哈根咖啡輕食複合店

Information: Zhongxiao Sogo Department Store(the one with the clocks in the front) 4th Floor, Zhongxiao East Road, Section 4, No. 45, 4th Floor, Taipei City. 忠孝SOGO 4F 台北市忠孝東路四段45號4樓

Hello! It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged, not because I’ve had blogger burnout, but because of poor time management. Time management is on the top of my New Year’s resolutions for 2015, alongside with “do more of what I love,” so blogging about food, desserts and kitchenware will all be a big part of my life this year. One of my favorite places of 2014 was the Royal Copenhagen Cafe here in Taipei.

IMG_5788-2

I’ve been there a few times before, and find myself going back every once in awhile for one main purpose.  To ogle the dishes. That’s not to say the food isn’t good (some of it is!) but the dishes are  truly the leading stars of this show.  (For brevity, I’m going to condense about 3-4 visits into this post)

IMG_4453

不好意思讓大家久等了, 我回來了! 抱歉, 最近事情實在太多了, 所以時間管理大亂。 但剛忙完一波 應該會比較有時間寫文章了。在2014 年的時候, 我發現了皇家哥本哈根咖啡輕食複合店~一直沒機會跟大家分享!

Continue reading

Product Discovery: Nordic Ware Baking Pans at City Super(諾迪威造型烤盤)

I always do a quick glance at the bakery supplies shelf at City Super, whenever I’m there doing my grocery shopping.  This time, I was so happy to discover these baking pans from Nordic Ware!  I may, or may have let out a tiny shriek of delight when I saw this ice cream cone cupcake pan.
每次有機會去 City Super 買菜的時候, 我都會去他們的洪培區看看有沒有新的產品。 最近他們的 選擇真的變了很多~ 這次讓我眼睛發亮,心跳加速的是這些可愛的 “諾迪威” 烤盤。 第一個吸引我的是冰淇淋造型的烤盤 !
photo1

Continue reading

Baking with Alessi cookie cutters~ 烤餅乾的新玩具!

I’ve always been an admirer of Alessi products, so I was so thrilled to receive these Alessi cookie cutters as a gift from my brothers.

 

 

Alessi Classics
In this set, there are six cookie cutters in total, and are all shapes of iconic Alessi products: the Espresso Jug, the Mami Pot, the Figure  (Girotondo) the Hot Bertaa Kettle, the Bombe Teapot, and the Alessandro M. Corkscrew.
photo8
photo9
前幾個月, 我哥哥跟弟弟寄了一個surprise 給我~我打開包裹看到這套Alessi Cookie Cutters 的時候真的是開心的尖叫了一聲! 有空的時候 就會把盒子打開來欣賞一下這幾個可愛的形狀。 前幾天終於為了慶祝美國的 “National Siblings Day” 拿出來使用。一邊烤餅乾,邊想著我很幸運, 夾在一位可靠的哥哥跟一位有智慧的弟弟中。 讓我同時享受當妹妹跟姊姊的樂趣。
photo5
For my first time using these cookie cutters, I used my absolute favorite sugar cookie recipe from the Kitchn. (Please see recipe towards the end of this post) I love this recipe and I make them whenever an occasion calls for a cookie. From experience, I find that these sugar cookies are sturdy enough to withstand the flights of your imagination, and yet are still melt in your mouth in texture.(Personally, I omit the almond extract, and use either vanilla extract or vanilla bean, depending on whatever I have handy at the moment. I think the addition of cream cheese is brilliant. It adds a slight tanginess to the cookie, that elevates it from being just an ordinary sugar cookie, to something memorable.  Depending on the occasion, I’ve topped them with chocolate ganache, sandwiched strawberry jam between them, or sprinkled with lemon zest and sea salt flakes).The cookie cutters are made from 18/10 polished stainless steel, and cut nice clean edges.
photo1
I like to roll the dough out quite thickly, so the cookies are akin to shortbread, and are that much more of a satisfying treat.

photo6

 

One of the minor mishaps is that the skinnier parts of the cookie, such as the handle of  the espresso jug, or the Bertaa kettle, or the neck on the Alessandro corkscrew are a bit fragile. So I used a plastic butter knife to gently ease the cookie dough from the cutter.

 

photo12

 

It’s been a while since I’ve used cookie cutters, so I had forgotten how satisfying the process of rolling out sheets of dough, and pressing the cookie cutters into the dough is.  It’s such a simple and precise, and calming feeling.

 

photo1

 

On a side note, I’m starting to notice that my oven is showing signs of age, it seems that the heat is no longer being distributed evenly. Considering that this oven is almost 30 years old, it might be time for a replacement soon.

 

photo2

I’m loving the shapes of all these cookies! The Hot Bertaa Kettle is a distinctive Alessi shape, but I also love the friendly shapes of the Mami Pot and the Bombe Teapot. (Both shapes are I think I will include next year in my holiday cookie gifts).

photo10

這次用的餅乾食譜是我最常用的, 覺得這個食譜真的是白搭~可以用來做各式各樣的形狀~上面還可以加不同的 toppings (例如巧克力, Nutella, 海鹽跟lemon zest, 或是變成夾心餅乾)現在有了這套 cookie cutters, 我明年送出的聖誕節餅乾會更精彩了! 大家可以期待一下喔 :)

photo11

Enjoy!

photo7

 

Best Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
2 to 3 dozen cookies, depending on size

1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature for 1 hour
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl, using a hand mixer), cream the butter and cream cheese with the sugar. Beat for several minutes, or until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and almond extracts, and lemon zest.

Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl then gradually add to the butter and sugar mixture until fully incorporated and a soft dough is formed.

At this point the dough can, and should be, chilled or frozen. If making cookies in the near future, divide the dough into 2 balls and roll each out to 1/4 to 1/8-inch thickness between large pieces of parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Or freeze the dough balls, wrapped in plastic wrap and a freezer bag, for up to 1 month. To thaw, leave in the refrigerator overnight then proceed with the recipe.

To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare baking sheets by lining them with parchment or a Silpat. Cut cookies out of the rolled dough and place on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake cookies for 8 to 12 minutes, depending on thickness. Let cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet, then remove to a wire rack.

Cool completely before icing or decorating, and store in a tightly covered container.

Best Cut-Out Sugar Cookies (Large Batch)
8 to 12 dozen, depending on size
3 cups unsalted butter, softened at room temperature for 1 hour
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons lemon zest
9 cups flour
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl, using a hand mixer), cream the butter and cream cheese with the sugar. Beat for several minutes, or until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and almond extracts, and lemon zest.

Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl then gradually add to the butter and sugar mixture until fully incorporated and a soft dough is formed.

At this point the dough can, and should be, chilled or frozen. If making cookies in the near future, divide the dough into 2 balls and roll each out to 1/4 to 1/8-inch thickness between large pieces of parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Or freeze the dough balls, wrapped in plastic wrap and a freezer bag, for up to 1 month. To thaw, leave in the refrigerator overnight then proceed with the recipe.

To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare baking sheets by lining them with parchment or a Silpat. Cut cookies out of the rolled dough and place on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake cookies for 8 to 12 minutes, depending on thickness. Let cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet, then remove to a wire rack.

Cool completely before icing or decorating, and store in a tightly covered container.

(Original recipe posted at: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-best-cutout-cookies-38629
)

Continue reading

On My Cookie Cutter Wish List: 餅乾的各式各樣的可能性

As I mentioned in a previous post, one of my favorite souvenirs to bring back with me on my travels are cookie cutters. This is a small collection of cookie cutters that I would like to eventually add to my collection.
I tend to prefer “obvious” shapes~ cookie shapes that can be easily identifiable, without the aid of elaborate frosting techniques.   To be honest, I’m not especially patient when it comes to frosting cookies, and sprinkles are usually the extent of my decoration efforts.  I also prefer metal or copper cookie cutters, because they make nice clean edges.
Recently, I’ve come across comfort grip Wilton cookie cutters.  The silicon cushion makes it easier to press down onto the dough, without causing dents in your fingers.  This year, I added a snowflake one to my collection, which makes an enormous, yet quite detailed cookie.  I think I’ll give them out as gifts next year for Christmas.
Cookie Cutter Wish List
(點圖片可以進購買網頁)

Continue reading

Favorite Gifts for Kids~ 兒童節快樂!

April 4th is Children’s Day here in Taiwan. It’s a national holiday, so even I get a day off (even though I am no longer a kid) So, I thought that this would be a good occasion to share with everyone my favorite gifts for kids.  I generally like to give gifts that have a common theme.  If I find that a kid loves a particular toy, I’ll buy  something to add to his/her collection next time.  I also like to give supplies like crayons or a set of pens, if the kid is older, because they always come in handy.
I love giving wooden toys~ among my three favorites are this coffee machine, toaster and robot.  They are sturdy and colorful.  The toaster actually comes with two pieces of wooden toast that can pop up!
The adult in me also enjoys selecting accessories for a kid’s room. I love the easy shape of this wooden lamp~ the on-off switch is just the cutest, and would be easy for little fingers to operate.  I also like the animal shaped bookends.  And of course, you can’t give bookends without giving at least one book. I love Amy Rosenthal’s book “Chopsticks” which teaches the importance of friendship and teamwork.

到了兒童節 就想跟大家分享我喜歡送給小朋友的禮物
我喜歡送木頭的玩具 這個咖啡機,麵包機跟機器人都是我的 top 選擇。這些玩具小孩看了眼睛會亮起來 大人看到了 也會覺得放在家裡當擺飾也很精巧

除了玩具 我也喜歡送房間的小東西 像這個電燈, 故事書 & 動物形狀的書擋(bookends)

Favorite toys for kids (Children's Day, Taiwan)

Continue reading

Field Trip: Marimekko Taipei ~ 讓你在生活中找到亮點!

Marimekko has arrived in Taipei!  The store is located in Taipei’s East District (東區) and is right at home in this neighborhood filled with independent cafes and clothing stores.
芬蘭布藝、家品、服裝設計品牌 Marimekko 來台北了! 小時候我媽媽幫我買了一個 Marimekko 小紅花的杯子。雖然杯子不知道已經去哪兒了, 但那個 cheerful 繽紛的小花還是牢牢的印在我的腦海跟想像力裡。
20140221-233709.jpg
The moment you walk into the store, you are greeted with color.  Every corner that you turn you will see different patterns and combinations of color. My aesthetic tends to lean towards neutral, Muji-esque colors, so I was surprised how  invigorating it felt for me to be in a room filled with color.
20140221-222431.jpg
I felt like a kid let loose in a candy shop when the shop assistant took down all the bolts of fabric to show me.
20140221-233535.jpg
We had a fun conversation about what the fabrics could be made into~ and he gave me several really helpful suggestions, one including that I take photos of all the fabrics that I liked, and to compare them with the existing items in my home.
20140221-233553.jpg
在逛的過程 我覺得每一塊布料都好美, 好繽紛! 每天在家裡看到 應該每天都很 happy! 店員也非常有耐心的跟我討論每一個布料的設計,靈感來源~ 真的是一位非常有創意跟內涵的店員。
Now looking back on the photos I took, I’m glad he suggested this to me. The riot of colors which look so reasonable in their natural habitat might be a bit overwhelming in my everyday space, which gets a lot of natural light, but realistically, is approximately the size of teacup.
But I didn’t leave the store empty handed~I bought two small items that could be easily incorporated into my everyday life: this cosmetic bag in the Räsymatto print fabric.
20140221-233626.jpg
Since each bag is cut from a different part of the fabric, each bag looks a bit different from the other. The one on display didn’t have the yellow dots, which really is what  initially drew me to this particular fabric.  When I mentioned this to the shop assistant, he said “Oh! I just saw one in the storeroom that had the yellow dots! Let me find it for you!”
photo_2
The inside of this bag is lined with waterproof lining.  While handy as a cosmetic bag, I found it to be even better suited for the miscellaneous electronic accessories that I need for the day. (I still get a thrill every time I look into my bag and see those yellow dots!)
photo_1
I also bought this cute Päärynäpear   (the Finnish word for “pear”) mug. I remember the first time that I used this mug was on one of those insanely busy days~ my desk looked like an aftermath of a tornado, with teetering stacks of papers, books, and a confusing flurry of multi-color Post-its.  I was about to implode with stress, when I caught the site of this pear mug out of the corner of my eye.  The refreshing green color of the the pear, and its fat round shape really provided an instant of good cheer. One quick sip of industrial strength coffee later, and I was ready to face the battle again.
photo
One thought that I took away from the Marimekko experience is the effect that colors can have on your senses.  Even though I tend to lean towards solid color neutrals, I find that an occasional or unexpected splash of color, or an ordinary everyday item that is a unique shape, really makes an environment seem more energizing.
20140221-233347.jpg
逛完的時候我有一個很深刻的感覺 就是雖然偏愛 大地色,簡約 Muji 風格的我, 日常生活中, 還是要選一些比較繽紛的小東西。 每天看到開心, 會覺得很refreshing (清新?)所以我會陸陸續續的收集一些 Marimekko 的家品!
I’m sure this will be one of many trips to Marimekko, so I’ve compiled a wish list of items that I hope to collect for my home in the future.
My Marimekko Wish List

Continue reading