Instagram

Art & Design

Recipes

Our Table Stories RECIPES

How to make English Muffin?

There is really no better vehicle for melted butter than the craggy dips and toasted peaks of an English muffin. I think we can all agree on this. Have you ever tried making them yourself? They’re surprisingly straightforward! And since the dough is best when made ahead and refrigerated overnight, they’ve become one of my favorite treats to make over long, lazy weekends.

Here’s a step-by-step recipe for making a batch of English muffins for you and anyone lucky enough to be invited to your table.

A Slow Rise Makes Better English Muffins

I’ve done a lot of experimenting with my beloved English muffins over the years, and I’ve found that the best flavor and most craggy interior texture comes from a long, slow rise. First, I make what’s called a “starter,” which is really just a mini batter of flour, water, and yeast. Let this bubble for anywhere from an hour to 12 hours, and then mix up the dough. If you have some active sourdough starter, use that instead of yeast for a nice, sour tang to the muffins.

Second, I recommend mixing up the dough and letting it slowly rise in the fridge overnight. In fact, you can make the dough and keep it in the fridge for up to four days — the flavor just gets better and takes on a bit of lovely sourness, even if no sourdough was actually used.

You can also make these English muffins straight through if you like — let the starter get bubbly, then mix it with the dough. Let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, and then you’re good to go. Muffins made all in one go like this will have a very mild flavor and a softer texture.

Do You Need English Muffin Rings?

We use round measuring cup for the muffin, however you can get a muffin ring for the standard size too.

“Bake” Muffins on the Stovetop

English muffins are stovetop affairs — no need to turn on the oven! Cook them in a large skillet (cast iron, stainless steel, or nonstick are all fine) with just a bit of butter to keep them from sticking.

They get their distinctive puck-like appearance because you cook them part of the way on one side, then flip them over and cook them on the other side. The only tricky part here is getting the pan temperature right — you want it hot enough that the muffins get toasty and brown, but not so hot that the outside browns before the middle is cooked through. About six minutes per side is ideal — adjust your heat as needed.

Fresh English muffins just off the griddle are a real treat, but the leftovers keep quite well for up to a week, and they are fantastic toasted and spread with butter. Some people I’ve met even prefer English muffins that are a few days old and have had a chance to dry out a bit.

Happily, this recipe makes enough that you can try them both ways and decide for yourself.

Split the English muffins with a fork, spread with butter or jam (or both!), and eat. English muffins will keep for several days in an airtight container on the counter and are fantastic warmed in the toaster oven. Fresh English muffins can also be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and kept frozen for up to 3 months.

Ingridents |

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon active dry or instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 3 1/4 cups (13 1/2 to 14 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour or bread flour
  • Cornmeal for dusting
  • Butter for the skillet

Method |
In the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, combine the milk and yeast for the dough. Scrape the starter into the bowl and use a whisk to break it up and dissolve it into the milk. It should become quite frothy.

Add the sugar, butter, and salt to the bowl and whisk to combine. Add 3 cups of the flour and stir with a stiff spatula until you form a shaggy, floury dough.

Knead by hand against the counter, tills the dough come together. If the dough is very sticky like bubble gum, add extra flour as needed. The dough is ready when it forms into a smooth ball and springs back when poked; it will feel slightly tacky to the touch, but shouldn’t stick to the bowl or your hands.

Transfer the dough to a large bowl lightly filmed with oil. You can also let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours, and then make the muffins immediately.

Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Use a pastry scraper to divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece gently against the counter to shape into smooth, round balls.

Scatter cornmeal generously over a baking sheet and arrange the balls on top, spaced a little apart. If you have muffin rings, place them around the balls at this point. Sprinkle the tops of the balls with more cornmeal.

For room temperature dough, this will take about 1 hour. Depending on the size of your muffin rings, the muffins may not totally fill the rings — that’s okay.

When ready to cook the muffins, warm a large skillet over medium heat. Melt a small pat of butter — enough to just coat the bottom of the pan and prevent sticking.

Cook the muffins 5 to 6 minutes on one side: Working in batches, transfer a few of the muffins to the skillet — allow an inch or so of space between muffins and do not crowd the pan. If using rings, transfer the muffins with their rings to the pan. Cook until the bottoms of the muffins are golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. 

Transfer cooked muffins to a cooling rack. Continue working in batches until all the muffins have been cooked. Add a small pat of butter to the pan between batches to prevent sticking.

Split and serve! 

I hope you enjoy these English muffins as much as we do! Share your muffin with us by taking a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us or leave us a comment! We love to see you trying out our recipe!  Share the love lots! 

xoxo, Joe

Japan TRAVEL

Tokyo Banana in Japan

You can’t miss bringing back Tokyo Banana from Tokyo! Tokyo Banana has taken the world sometimes so far! Everyone, I meant many countries trying to replica what it already got. However, what is always cool about the Japanese’s nibbles is you will never only get the one option! They improvise and bring new things on the table almost every other day with limited edition and make you fell in love all over again!

Here are the free cute little ones we got back from our trip. The classic original Tokyo Banana, Tokyo Banana Coffee Milk with a cute racoon design and not to forget the Tokyo Banana Caramel Disney Edition that you only could get it in Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea! They are cute, isn’t it?

You could get the Tokyo Banana almost any and everywhere but some flavours you only could get it at a designated location or seasonal. Like we mentioned in the previous post that Japan is a delicate country and they produce good seasonal foods.

We mentioned selected designated location; such as Tokyo Yogurt Banana Panda you might only get it at Ueno Station. Tokyo Banana The Lemon Cake you could only found in Ginza. The brand also does a different collaboration with brands like KitKat as well, so if you are a chocolate lover, you surely preferred Tokyo Banana X KitKat.

Do not forget to get your Tokyo Banana when you spotted it! You might be surprised how good it tastes with the different option out there! And only Tokyo Banana taste that good!

We are just sharing an opinion here so we hope that you will like it.

Cheers, Angela.

Moodboard

Mood Board | Back to 70s

These years we listen to music by downloading them online to the phone. However, in the past, we have to buy the album in order to hear them. In the 70s they only have record tape, and you have to listen to them on the record player. I have once heard them in a music store and I can tell you the sound quality is so different.

In the recent years, they still have the record player, most of them are a portable vintage-inspired turntable, totally exclusive to UO, housed in a faux leather briefcase. It is still cute having them in the house. Nevertheless, it is never enough to have just a player, but also a corner for the music lover.

xoxo, Joe

Credit | All shots used on the mood board via our Pinterest boards. 

DESIGN The Moon's Insight

The Moon’s Insight | Kek Lor Si

Standing on a hilltop at Air Itam, near Penang Hill, Kek Lok Si is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia. The complex is divided into three zones while the temple grounds comprise the hill entrance, souvenir, food and drinks stalls and the turtle liberation pond.

The temple is so huge that we couldn’t finish every part of it. The architecture at Kek Lor Si is colorful and very detailed. There is so much to see, however, this piece of wall caught my eyes.

xoxo, Joe

Our Table Stories RECIPES

How to prepare a Cheese Fondue for Friendship Brunch!

Happy Valentine’s (aka Frientine’s) Day, Folks! 14th February, should not be limited to romantic partners or girls. We don’t have enough honest conversations with friends about how much we appreciate them. Why not take this occasion to spread some love with your friends!

On the other hand, for those who like to avoid the sugar rash; instead of chocolate fondue brunch, you probably would love to have a cheese fondue party with your girls/guys!

This is how to prepare a Cheese Fondue for Friendship Brunch! What’s essential for a Cheese Fondue Brunch is putting all your favourites ingredients on the table. To simplify it, we did a mini version to share with you! Honestly, the Chinese New Year food has been territories our stomachs. Let’s start now!

Plan your date ahead! Decide a date whenever you can! It can be on the actual day or one of the days this week! Send your friend a lovely note via the traditional way by cards or green by a e-mesage.

For a Cheese Fondue brunch party, the spotlight is always and always will be the cheese fondue. You could always buy a cheese fondue starter at any supermarket or you could make your own! Here are some of the recipes we love online, do check out which is your favorite!

Ingredients wise, you can bring any food on the table, we meant literally any and every. It could be a group effort as well, yourself or your friends can all bring what they wish to eat on the table. Otherwise here is a list of food we suggest that you could get to fill the table!

For the Meat Lover

– Potatoes (Baby potato is highly recommended)
– Bread (French Bread, Waffle, Sourdough, Baguette or Focaccia)
– Grilled Chicken (sliced or cubed)
– Roasted Beef (sliced or cubed)
– Sausages (cocktail or grommet)
– Fresh Hams
– Cured meat

Don’t eat all just meats, get some veggie that we listed below to matches your party plate!

For the Vegan Lover

– Bread (French Bread, Waffle, Sourdough, Baguette or Focaccia)
– Potatoes (Baby potato is highly recommended)
– Boiled Broccoli (cut into bite sizes)
– Boiled Pumpkins (sliced)
– Fresh Tomatoes
– Baby Carrots
– Boiled French Beans

An additional item for all is cheese!
We love to dip cheese in the cheese fondue, it is the best taste ever. It is really delicious when, different cheese that melts in your mouth.

Lastly not to forget about importantness of decoration. Grab a beautiful table cloth and dining wares that matches your brunch party theme. It could be pinky and dreamy like teen girls and unicorns style. It could be black and stylish, classic and a gossipy girl gathering. Or could be like us, a vintage 60s with polka dots dresses that match your table cloth!

Enjoy the brunch party with your friends, you can fix this quickly despite the last minute rush! Your friend will love your gathering for sure! Make it exciting with your friends and celebrate your friendship with your loved ones. Happy Frientine’s Day! Enjoy!

Therefore, we appreciate all feedback and your kind comment on improving this space we love so much!

Cheers, Angela!

Craft LIFESTYLE

DIY Fortune Cookies

There were variations of a version where fortune cookie originates from. Some said the Chinese, some said the American while it is invented in Japan. Shock! Hence, apparently it wasn’t well spread in Japan locally, therefore, it has been a pop culture in both America and Asia.

While you find it troublesome to make fortune cookies at home, grab some papers and you could easily bring some love and fortune around! It definitely a very easy craft to do it yourself or even the younger audience.

Whether you’re a long-time lover, a secret admirer or celebrating the day with your friends, Valentine’s Day (aka Frientine’s Day!) is for sweet nothings and love (friendship) notes. If you’ve got a case of besottedness, it’s time to embrace the mushy, and show your sweetheart/best friends how you feel!

These little paper fortune cookies are the perfect bearers of your soppiest messages – and they’re a cinch to make. It could be also an interesting party popper for you to have in any parties. Well, instead of cracking them, pull it and find what is the wisdom message beneath it.

Materials |

  • Paper (roughly 4 inches for ours)
  • Compass (or circle cutter)
  • Pencil
  • Super Glue
  • Scissors (optional when you have a circle cutter)
  • Printed/handwritten fortune phase

Method |
Use a compass to draw a perfect circle; cut out with scissors. Photocopy or hand write a fortune on a slip of paper and place fortune onto the circle paper. Fold paper in half loosely to form a semi-circle. With overlapping edge facing up, bend tube ends down until they meet. Affix with super glue or double-sided tape.

Share your luck with us by taking a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us or leave us a comment! We love to see you trying out our recipe!  Share the love lots!

xoxo, Joe

Moodboard

Mood Board | Folding Screen

There are plenty of ways to divide and conquer without completely separating the interior of a modern living room. A great solution is folding room dividers. That is, when you realize that the large airy loft and wide open interior spaces are not quite the ideal space to live in, you don’t necessarily need walls to do this, you can choose screen dividers.

The folding screen is also the best place to add some definition to your study room. You can substitute it as a fake wall, putting it as an inspiration board. It is also the best place to hand your stuff when you are in rush.

Modern, elegant and unique, this timeless geometric. BRABBU gave you a few tips about how to use your folding screen in indoor projects. Have you made up your mind yet?

xoxo, Joe

Credit | All shots used on the mood board via our Pinterest boards.

DESIGN The Moon's Insight

The Moon’s Insight | Tan Jetty

Before Chinese New Year I took a 4 days 3 nights break to Penang. A holiday in Penang is not for the faint-hearted. The island will not coddle you with tourist maps or street signs. There are no sightseeing trails to follow, no town square with all the sights in one place. If you want to experience Penang, you have to work for it. 

To make my time worth, right after checked into the Airbnb, we when straight down to the Jetty and have a look at the Sunset. As it is a busy weekend, it is crowded with lots of tourist. Thus the best way for me to enjoy the beautiful jetty is by capturing with my eyes and paint them down.

There are a total of 12 Jetty, we when to visit the Chew and Tan Jetty. And the Tan Jetty have caught my heart, with the experience of walking the shaky thin road. I am glad to see the bright red house in the middle of the water.

xoxo, Joe

RECIPES Weekend Brunch

Goldfish Tofu Dumpling with Curry Broth

I think making dumplings is so therapeutic. Here’s a simple recipe for tofu dumpling with a savory yellow curry broth. It’s one of my favorite dumpling and broth combinations!

Back in the days, during the Chinese New Year, our mom will always wrap some dumpling for us when they are busy at work. Like most Asian mothers, Mama Lin worried that we wouldn’t be able to cook for ourselves when they are busy.

Making these tofu wontons reminded me of those days. But instead of simply cooking the dumplings in boiling water, we made the dish more sophisticated by serving the wontons with a yellow curry broth. We should always aim higher when we get older, right?

Cooking Notes for Dumpling

  • Folding dumplings: This time we decided to do something special to celebrate the festive season by making them into goldfish dumpling shape compared to the usual shape you see in Sichuan Red Oil Dumpling.
  • Cooking the dumplings and broth separately: The reason why we cook these separately is because there’s usually a lot of starch sprinkled over the wrappers. If you boil the entire batch of dumplings inside the broth, the starch will release into the broth and can affect the texture of the broth.
  • Freezing the dumpling: You can make these dumplings ahead of time. Place the dumplings over a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Make sure that you don’t cluster the dumplings too close together or they might get stuck.
  • After a few hours, transfer the dumplings to a freezer bag. When you are ready to eat the dumplings, just drop the frozen dumplings straight into the boiling water. It may take an extra minute or two for the dumplings to cook.

Yellow Curry Broth

We like preparing the curry broth before making the dumplings because this allows more time for the flavours of the broth to develop.

Ingredients |

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger (about a 1-inch piece of ginger)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons yellow curry powder (mild spice)
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, add more if necessary
  • 3/4 cup (175ml)  full-fat coconut milk (can sub with low-fat coconut milk)

Method |

Heat the 1 tablespoon of oil in a pot. Add the minced ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. And followed by the curry powder and stir to coat the spices.

Add the vegetable broth and 1/2 teaspoon salt, cover the pot, and bring the broth to boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and swirl in the coconut milk. Let the broth simmer for about 10 minutes, covered. Turn off the heat and let the broth sit on the stove, covered, as you make the dumplings.

Tofu Dumpling

  • about 45 to 50 square dumpling wrappers
  • 1 package of firm tofu (I used a 14-ounce package)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 cups shredded green cabbage (ensure they are no longer than 1-inch pieces)
  • 1 large carrot, grated (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 scallions, sliced

Method |

Drain the tofu and wrap the tofu around a layer of paper towels. Press the tofu by placing the tofu block on a plate and weighing it down with a stack of plates. Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the towels and cut the tofu into small 1/4-inch cubes.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan. Add the minced ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the cabbage, carrots, and a pinch of salt to the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Meanwhile, transfer the tofu and scallions to the pan and add another pinch of salt. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Taste the filling. If you want the filling to be a smidgen saltier than you would normally prefer. The wonton wrappers will mellow out the saltiness of the filling.

Get your dumpling-making station set up. Transfer the filling into a large bowl. Take the wrappers out of the packaging. Have a small bowl filled with water, a large baking sheet, and 2 kitchen or linen towels ready. The wrappers and the dumplings dry out pretty quickly. Use one towel to cover the wrappers and another large towel to cover the finished dumplings.

Dip a finger into the bowl of water and wet 2 adjacent sides of the dumpling wrappers. Spoon about 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon of filling into the centre of the wrapper. If you can fit more filling into the dumpling, great! Carry on by sealing the wrapper on the diagonal (dry sides over the wet sides) so that you end up with a triangle shape. Press down on the sides to make sure that you have the dumpling properly sealed. You don’t want the filling to release while they’re cooking.

Lightly wet one of the base corners of the folded triangle, and fold the dumpling in half so that the other base corner overlaps the wet corner. Repeat until you have all the dumplings filled.

Always check if the curry broth and see whether it’s still warm enough for your liking. If not, heat it up over medium-low heat and keep it simmering on low as you cook the dumplings.

Bring a big pot of water to boil. Add about half of the dumplings into the boiling water and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. All the dumplings should float to the top. Transfer the cooked dumplings to a bowl and add the remaining dumplings into the hot water.

Ladle some of the curry broth into a bowl and serve with the dumplings. Top with chili oil and black sesame seeds, if you like.

Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Joe

Japan TRAVEL

Nara Day Guide

Personally speaking, we hate changing accommodations too often when on a sightseeing trip. Packing, unpacking, check-in, and check-out eats away a lot of time. So, a day trip from Kyoto to Nara Park might actually be the best option to see its beautiful temples and shrines.

How to get to Nara from Kyoto?

From Kyoto station to Nara station it only takes about 35 minutes by high-speed train (Shinkansen bullet train).

However, if you are holding a JR Pass like us, then this is the option you want to take. The Miyakoji Kaisoku Express will get you from Kyoto to Nara in 45 minutes. These trains leave every 30 minutes from Kyoto Station and JR Nara Station.

A very dense network of bus lines operates within Nara. So, you might want to consider buying the Nara Bus Pass, which will grant you unlimited Kotsu buses around Nara. It costs 500 Yen.

With the day pass, we start our day by heading to the Todaiji. We knew we are getting closer, as on the way there we are able to see the deer walking on the street and the road. When we alighted in front of the Nara park, we can’t wait to play with them however we decided to head to Todaiji first.

Todai-ji Temple

We reached Todai-Ji Temple at around 9.30pm. Todai-Ji (Great Eastern Temple) is one of Japan’s most famous and historically significant temples and a landmark of Nara.

It is indeed a world heritage site, my mouth was width open when we see the main temple. The temple is so grand and big that it took us two hour to tour finish the place. However, I was so clumsy that I lost my tripod and I only found out after the walk in the temple. Lucky it has been picked up by the wonderful kind staffs at the museum beside the temple entrance.

Entry Fee: 600 Yen

Lunch and Kotonoha by Syoka

There are lots of delicious food around the temple. However, as it is a tourist site, the queue for popular tend to be longer. We are so hungry and exhausted thus we decided to sit down at a cafe which doesn’t require any waiting. After lunch, we enjoy a cup of ice cream at an outdoor cafe called Kotonoha by Syoka. You could check out the other post we shared.

Nara Park

The park is home to hundreds of freely roaming deer. Considered in Shinto to be messengers of the gods, Nara’s nearly 1200 deer have become a symbol of the city and have even been designated as a natural treasure.

Nara’s deer are surprisingly tame, although they can be aggressive if they think you will feed them. Deer crackers are for sale around the park, and some deer have learned to bow to visitors to ask to be fed.

Nara Machi

We ended up spending most of our day at Nara Park. As we have a long journey to Tokyo, we decided to end our day at the Nara Machi.

In Naramachi you will experience the atmosphere of old times created by old “Machiya” (historic merchant townhouses) and small alleys full of interesting sights. You can see some cute shops and shopping. We spend some time at a traditional wagashi tea shop before ending our Nara Trip. Angela mentioned that Nara Machi was one of her favourite spotlights during the trip, of course apart from the adorable Deer. We definitely will return again, maybe not a Monday where most of the stores where closed.

I would say we really did a bad planning this time. You need to buff sometime from Nara to Kyoto and to Tokyo as there is no direct train from Nara to Tokyo.

We were almost late for our check-in timing in Tokyo again (like in Osaka). Thus, we encourage you to leave earlier if you are having a day trip from Tokyo to Nara. Highly recommend you to grab a bento at the train station and take a nap during the journey as it will be at least a 3 hours 50 minutes rides

xoxo, Joe

Moodboard

Mood Board | Pampas Grass

Are you a serial plant killer who can’t even keep a cactus alive, no matter how hard you try? There’s hope for you yet. According to a recent Pinterest home trends report, searches for artificial fronds and dried-out flora are seeing a huge boost in traffic numbers.

Always on the hunt for au courant houseplants or creative ways to display our air-purifying friends, we’ve turned to Pinterest to find out more about the botanical trends starting to take root.

At first glance, you may mistake pampas grass for an arrangement of ostrich plumes. The ornamental grass has a feathery feel and comes in creamy white and pastel pink varieties.

Already a fixture of Pinterest wedding boards, dried pampas grass is now seeping into home design. Make it the focal point of your tablescape in a vintage glass jug or display it outdoors in tall galvanized buckets for a rustic look.

xoxo, Joe

Credit | All shots used on the mood board via our Pinterest boards.

DESIGN The Moon's Insight

The Moon’s Insight | Fushimi Inari Taisha

Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社, Fushimi Inari Taisha) is an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto. It is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings. The trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari, which stands at 233 meters and belongs to the shrine grounds.

Fushimi Inari is the most important of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. Foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers, resulting in many fox statues across the shrine grounds.

xoxo, Joe

RECIPES Weekend Brunch

Dan Dan Noodles

Dan dan Noodles (担担面, dan dan mian) is one of the most famous of Sichuan street foods. The freshly boiled egg noodles are served in a savory, spicy broth topped with crispy pork and peanut flakes. Simply stir everything together with a pair of chopsticks to coat the noodles with a bit of everything and slurp! The numbing, smoky, spicy sauce will shock your taste buds, leaving you craving for more.

When you go into different restaurants, you’ll find each chef has their own interpretation on Dan Dan noodles.

In Sichuan restaurants in China, the Dan Dan noodle dish is more of a snack than a main and is usually served in a small bowl. The noodles are soupier — mostly immersed in a thick red broth made with chili oil, with a small amount of pork on top. The broth can sometimes be too spicy to handle for most people, but it depends on the chef. Sometimes the chef will mix Chinese sesame paste into the chili oil to make the sauce creamier and mellow out the spiciness.

If this is your first time cooking with Chinese sesame paste, you will find it is quite solid and very difficult to dissolve into the sauce.

The best way to mix the sauce is by adding the sesame paste first, then mixing in the liquid ingredients little by little. Whisk the mixture with a pair of chopsticks (or a spoon) until the solid paste is fully blended with the liquid. Then add more liquid and repeat.

The ingredient list might look overwhelming, but the dish can be practical to cook even on a weekday evening if you’re organized enough.

The best workflow is:

  • Chop and prep all the vegetables
  • Mix the sauce (make chili oil if needed)
  • Start boiling water for the noodles
  • Use the noodle-boiling water to quickly blanch the vegetables
  • Heat up chicken stock in microwave
  • Serve everything family-style, so everyone can assemble their noodles to their preference

If you’re preparing this dish for a party, I highly recommend you prepare the sauce and the pork ahead of time, and they will stay good in the fridge for a couple days. Simple boil the noodles and heat up the pork and broth in the microwave right before serving.

Ingridents |

  • 4 tablespoons Chinese sesame paste (or unsweetened original peanut butter)
  • 4 tablespoons light soy sauce (or soy sauce)
  • 4 tablespoons Chinkiang vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 stalks green onion, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons honey (or agave syrup)
  • 2/3 to 1 cup homemade chili oil with flakes (or to taste)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon toasted and ground Sichuan peppercorns
  • 2 cups chicken stock, heated
  • 10 ounces (300 grams) dried egg noodles (or 1 pound /450 grams fresh noodles)

Method |

Whisk sesame paste and light soy sauce until fully incorporated. Add Chinkiang vinegar. Keep stirring until mixed. Then mix in garlic, green onion, and honey. Add homemade chili oil, 1/3 cup at a time, mix and taste the sauce. Add more chili oil if you want more spiciness. Add toasted and ground Sichuan peppercorns, 1/2 teaspoon at a time. Taste while you mix, until you can taste the numbing-ness but can still handle it. The more chili oil you add, the more Sichuan peppercorns you need.

Cook noodles according to instructions. Bring the chicken stock to a boil. For each noodle bowl, ladle 1/4 cup heated chicken stock into the bowl. Add 1/4 cup noodle sauce and mix with the stock. Add noodles, top with a few spoonfuls of the cooked pork and some of the spinach. Garnish chopped coriander.

xoxo, Joe

Japan TRAVEL

Nara | Kotonoha by Syoka

Before heading to Tokyo we when for a day trip to Nara. Apart from the deer from the park, there are lots of interesting restaurant, cafes, and shops around the area. And one of the place we got to try was Kotonoha by Syoka.

It is an outdoor cafe that sells ice cream, coffee, and also Japanese tea. When we pass by the cafe we are saying the people are crazy as they are eating ice cream during the cold weather. However, we ended up getting ourselves one too.

What caught our eyes other than the peaceful outdoor garden it is the deer biscuit on the ice cream. How could we miss the chances to try them? This place is indeed an Instagram-able location.

After ordering a Matcha Parfait Soft-cream at the counter we are given a number for wait. We when to got a seat at the garden. I believe the garden will be a beautiful place during the spring as they have a Sakura tree at the middle of the garden.

Worth to try this cafe when you are at Nara, never disappoints you.
xoxo, Angela

LIFESTYLE Moodboard

Mood Board | Gallery of Hats

Have you ever own so many sun hats—well, three—and wear them so often that you want to display them instead of leaving them in the closet? My hats are currently in a teetering pile in the closet, but perhaps one of these tutorials will finally inspire me to display them properly.

I love the idea of displaying the hat like a string of college. However, every time you want to wear one of them there is a moment of holding your breath as you pull it down. One of these days the whole thing is going to come down and you will have to start again. You can display it above your bed, wall or even staircase as a centerpiece.

One of the idea that I also prefer is having the hat stacking on a mannequin. It is like stepping into an art gallery looking at an art piece. Moreover, it is easy to take the hat that you want to wear without worrying about it to fall.

xoxo, Joe

Credit | All shots used on the mood board via our Pinterest boards.

DESIGN The Moon's Insight

The Moon’s Insight | Tokyo Tower

During our visit to Roppongi, as we take in the panoramic view of Tokyo one of the structure that stood out the most was Tokyo Tower. Since young, I always wanted to visit the Tokyo Tower and Eiffel Tower. Now I have accomplished one of it.

The Tokyo Tower can already be spotted when I am far. The bright red color is so magical. When I move closes to it the bright red is so unique, as a color lover I fall in love with it right away.

We are so lucky that during that night of our visit, the tower has a special light display writing ” I love Tokyo” on the tower. All the freezes and leg aching is all wroth it.

xoxo, Joe

Our Table Stories RECIPES

How to make Oden at Home

If you are familiar with Japanese drama or cartoon, you have probably seen a scene of salarymen eating Oden and drinking sake at a food stand at night with their coworkers.  It has been known as a food stall dish during the night time for relaxing after a day of work.  Fortunately, this dish can also be enjoyed at home and we can even take out from Don Don Donki. When I was in Taiwan years ago, I saw the 7-Elevens sell Oden as 關東煮.

I am not sure what’s the right translation for this recipe but Oden is a one-pot dish, which is a little bit different from stew or hot pot.  It’s more like simmered dish: assorted fish balls, fish cakes, atsuage (deep fried tofu), hard-boiled eggs and some vegetables are simmered in soy sauce based broth. 

I usually make Oden a day before so that all the ingredients will absorb good Oden broth and it tastes much better the following day.  In my house, I usually serve with Rice. The color seems boring because of mainly brown color, but the flavor is amazing and exquisite.  Maybe that’s why it’s a lot of people’s winter / new year comfort dish.

Oden Stock/ Soup Base Recipe
There is various type of stock base, and we ended up decided using a combination of kombu and Iriko Dashi.

Ingredients |

  • 2 pieces of kombu kelp
  • 20g of dried baby anchovies
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • salt, to taste, if needed
  • 6 cups of water

Method |
Start by cleaning the kombu kelp with a wet cloth. Then soak the kombu kelp and dried baby anchovies in 6 cups of water overnight. The next day brings the soaked water to boil. When boiling, skim and reduce heat to low and cook for 30 minutes. Season it with mirin and salt to taste.

Ingredients in Oden

  • Daikon (White Radish) – peel and cut into 1-2 inch rounds. I like to cook this before popping it into the Oden stock by placing it in a small pot covered with dashi. Bring it up to a simmer on medium heat and cook, until tender (you should be able to easily slide a butter knife into the center).
  • Atsuage – basically deep-fried tofu, this is one of my favorite things in Oden. The outsides are deep-fried to a golden brown, while the insides are the same pale white tofu that you know and love. Cut into cubes or in half into triangles.
  • Chikuwa – fish cake in a tube shape. Cut them into bite-size pieces and skewer them, or place them in as is.
  • Satsuma-age – fried fish cake and probably one of my favorite things in Oden!
  • Mushrooms – add an extra bit of umami to your Oden. Slice and pop in or quarter and skewer.
  • Whole boiled egg – we all need some proteins and eggs is the best choice!
  • Vegetables – definitely not traditional and not meant to be simmered in the stock, we added some carrots for the sweetness and color.

It’s homey, warming, filling, and one of our favorite things to eat when it’s cold outside. All it takes is a quick trip to the grocery store to buy the ingredients and you’re good to go. One of the best things about Oden is that everything in it is pretty much store bought: fish cakes, fish balls, tofu. But, if you’re feeling like a bit of prep work, you can also pop in mushrooms, chicken, quail eggs, potatoes. Basically the sky’s the limit!

Ingredients |

  • 8 inch daikon radish
  • 5 large eggs
  • Nishime Kombu (dried seaweed)
  • 2 pkg Oden set (Japanese fish cakes and fish balls)
  • 1 Aburaage (deep fried tofu pouch)
  • 1-inch carrot (cut into Flower Petals)

Method |
After preparing all the ingredients, we place them in an Earthenware Pot. Having the radish at the base, we slowly lay the ingridents nicely.

Then pour your stock in just enough to cover the ingridents ( do not over fill it as after the radish will release liquid). Boiled it for 30 minutes and you are ready to enjoy the dish.

Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Joe

Japan TRAVEL

36 Hours in Osaka

Before I get into all the details about where I stayed, where I shopped and where I filled my belly I thought I should do a little debrief. So we went to Japan for 2 weeks in total (Nov 21 – Dec 4 for those reading this in the future). It took us long enough to look through the photographs we took during our trip. Honestly, we were shocked by the amount we have used for this trip. There were at least 24000 shots and videos have been taken. Therefore pardon us, we will be still taking some time to organize and share with you our Japan trip!

To think back that we almost do not have a place to stay on our first night. It’s pretty scary. I wasn’t in the best state and flare up quite a few time, which I believed that it wasn’t for my sister, Joe. I could have been worst.

Before the Trip

Where to Stay?
In my opinion, staying around Namba is like having the whole Osaka at your doorstep. I highly recommend that area, but unfortunately, not my Guesthouse. However, we totally fall in love with our the place we stay Guesthouse Oshiteruya that we booked through booking.com.

Simple and minimalistic, yet excellent! We chose Modern Style Private Room and loved the minimalism and cleanliness. Even though we are late for our check-in, the host was welcoming, firm in explaining rules and friendly.

Osaka Amazing Pass
We bought our Osaka Amazing Pass on Klook website and pick them up at
Osaka City Air Terminal at Namba Station. I am sure you’ve heard some great things about the pass but in case you haven’t, here are all the reasons why you should invest in an Osaka Amazing Pass during your trip. We have then save up to 60% for the trip using the pass in Osaka!

Osaka was the first stop of our two week trip to Japan, and we had originally planned to spend two full days there. However, due to our lack of planning, we ended up arriving in Osaka late at night. That only gave us 36 hours to explore the city. Of course, one day in a metropolis as big as Osaka is nowhere near enough, especially since Osaka has so much to offer. But it was enough for us to get a small taste of this amazing city.

Osaka Castle

Start your morning by heading to Osaka’s iconic castle. The castle opens it’s doors at 9 am and the park surrounding the park is open all to the public at all times.

We really enjoyed the views from the park and spent most of our time here getting photographs and enjoying the scenery. To go inside the castle it will cost you 600 Yen, however with the Osaka Amazing Pass you are able to enter it for free. The inside has been transformed into a multilevel museum that can get quite crowded in the afternoon.

The highlight of going inside the castle includes the view of Osaka from the top floor. If you are short on time, skip going inside the castle. We ended up climbing up the stair than waiting for the life as it was really crowded.

Nearest Subway Station: Tanimachi 4-chrome Station
Entry Fee: 600 Yen (free for OAP uses)

Shinsekai

Shinsekai is an infamous neighborhood regarded as the seediest place in Japan. To break this stigma, we decided to visit the area first and set the record straight.

Shinsekai can be directly translated into “new world”. However, the district is far from being new. Developed before the war, Shinsekai has been around for decades, except that it was much neglected before recent years.

Back in 1912, the neighborhood was constructed with New York and Paris as the model. The symbol of Shinsekai, the Tsutenkaku Tower that stands 103 meters high in the center of town, was an attempt to recreate the Paris Eiffel Tower before it eventually developed its unique identity.

With an Osaka Amazing Pass, you’ll be granted free entry into the main observatory at a height of 91 meters. You can also get 300 yen off if you are visiting the newly (2015) open-air deck (Viewing Paradise).

What to eat? Have some Kushikatsu!
Before you go, do your growling stomach a favor by having brunch in a Kushikatsu restaurant. Most of these restaurants are open 24 hours, so there is really no such thing as being too early or too late! Kushikatsu is one of Osaka specialties: a variety of meat, seafood, vegetables or even fruits battered, deep fried and served on skewers.

Nearest Subway Station: Ebisucho Station
Tsutenkaku’s observation deck is open 9 am- 9 pm, the admission fee is 600 yen (300yen for OAP uses)

Umeda Sky Building

As we headed Osaka during the early autumn season, it has a short day time. Which means the sunset ended early here! We planned to watch the sunset at the tallest building of every city and we did it! If you think the Umeda Sky Building is just a stone throw away, if not just next to the Umeda station itself, you got it all wrong. I was fooled as well. Luckily we get to figure up the map in a little while.

After 15 minutes trying to find the place, we made it at 3.30 pm, which was about 30 minutes to sunset during early autumn. When we went through the see-through escalator, we were enchanted… I never loved a city that much, the architecture in Japan was simply too mind-blowing!

Nearest Subway Station: Umeda Station
Fee: 1000 yen (free for OAP uses)

Dontonbori

We ended the first 12 hours by heading to Dontonbori. From Umeda Station, take the Midosuji Line (Red) to reach Namba Station. Dotombori is by far the most razzle-dazzle touristy neighborhood in Osaka, and there is where you can find the Glico man! But first thing first, you need to go exchange tickets for the Tombori River Cruise before anything else… and then go order your favorite takoyaki, take a selfie with Mr. Glico, shop some cosmetics,  sit around doing nothing, whatever! 

Tombori River Cruise
The boarding point is located in front of the Don Quixote discount store just by the Tazaemon Bridge. You need to be there 10 minutes before the ride. This 20-minute cruise will bring you down the Dotombori river, passing through the bustle of the Minami area and the 9 bridges over the river. It is a fun way to get to know downtown! Plus, the boat will make a quick stop in front Glico man for a photo session.

Nearest Subway Station: Namba Station
Fee for the Tombori River Cruise is 600yen (with the OAP it is free!)

Minoo Park

As the main purpose of the trip is to see the autumn leaves. If you ask a local where the best place is for autumn color in Osaka and you’re likely to hear ‘Minoo Park’.  It’s a short train ride from the city into the suburbs but well worth it for a nature escape and some of the best leaf color around.  While the area is really popular with locals it’s a little off the tourist trail so it makes a welcome respite from the busy city.

Before heading to Minoo Park, we check-out our hostel and head to Umeda Station and left our luggage at the locker there.

It is indeed a good choice that we had made, although it is crowded due to the season. However, we didn’t regret making the choice to head there. As we are heading to Kyoto next we didn’t spend much time there. However, we are glad to enjoy the view with some maple tempura!

Nearest Subway Station: Minoo station
Fee: Free of charge

What to eat?

Since Osaka is food heaven we will only list down a few of the must eat! If not I don’t know how long this post is going to be.

Onigiri-ya Hitotsubu – Onigiri (Rice Ball) at Umeda Station.
Kushikatsu – a variety of meat, seafood, vegetables or even fruits battered, deep fried and served on skewers.
551 Hori – BEST steamed bun and sui mai we ever have! They have it is most of the subway station. Best to have it with the mustard!
Tako Tako King – You can spot this Takoyaki shop right away by finding the giant octopus at Dontonbori.

There is so much that I want to share with you, but it is impossible for me to type out my whole trip here. Thus, leave us a comment below and tell ask what else do you want to know most about the trip. We hope we will answer your questions for any enquire and recommendation. Have a great week ahead!

xoxo, Angela.

LIFESTYLE Moodboard

Mood Board | Living Coral

Announced as Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2019, Living Coral established itself in both our natural and digital surroundings as an embodiment of dynamic activity in modern life. 

Our desire for social connection and authentic experiences are translated by the delicate balance between vibrancy and warmth characteristic of Pantone Living Coral. The soft golden undertones present in the energetic coral hue provides a versatile dynamic that encourages experimentation and playfulness.

Whether it be a houseplant, a landscape, or textures eliciting nature – Living Coral beautifully complements terrain elements due to its essential presence in the marine ecosystem. Inspired by the beauty of the coral reefs, Living Coral pairs elegantly with scenic and earthly elements to create a welcoming, yet familiar environment.

xoxo, Joe

Credit | All shots used on the mood board via our Pinterest boards. 

DESIGN The Moon's Insight

The Moon’s Insight | Yasaka Pagoda

Yasaka Pagoda, the last remnant of Hokanji Temple, is one of the most visible and recognizable landmarks in the Higashiyama District. Visitors may climb up the inside of the five-story pagoda, which is a rare opportunity as most pagoda can only be viewed from the outside.

We are so lucky that we are able to see the night view from the street, a dozen of the photographer is lying off the street to capture the amazing view. We did it too!

xoxo, Joe

Our Table Stories RECIPES

Si Chuan Red Oil Wanton

When it comes to Chinese New Year wonton/ dumpling is one of our favorite food. When we are young we will seat around our mother and she will teach us how to wrap them. However, we always ended up having flour all over us as we are playing instead of helping.

Moreover whenever one of our family is under the weather, or when I need to whip up something quick for dinner, Si Chuan Red Oil Wanton often comes to the rescue. This comforting bowl of classic wonton is our family all time favorites.

In the dumpling you can wrap anything that you like from minced pork, prawn, cabbage, chives, spring onion to chicken or even tofu! These time we ended up making our homemade classic recipes – a combination of everything!

Homemade wontons make all the difference because of the fresh ingredients we use in the fillings. Nothing is more satisfying when you bite into these juicy little dumplings, served in a flavorful chilli sauce using our Homemade Chilli Oil.

The wrappers used for wontons are square in shape. However, we also use the round one to make various type of shape. As are several ways to wrap wontons and everyone has their own preference.

Homemade wontons can be frozen and keep well for 1-2 months. Whenever you make wontons at home, make sure to make a bigger batch. This way you can quickly put a meal together whenever your family craves a bowl of wonton soup or when you need some tasty fried appetizer for a party. We call them the great emergency food – super convenient yet wholesome. 

Ingredients|

  • 2 green onions/scallions
  • ½ kg shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • ½ kg minced pork 
  • 1-inch ginger 
  • 1 package wonton wrappers 
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp potato/corn starch
  • ¼ tsp white pepper powder
  • Chilli Mixture (2 tbsp of Homemade Chilli Oil, 1 tbsp of vinegar and 1 tbsp of soya sauce)

Method |

To make fillings, chop 2 green onions into small rounds. Save some chopped green onion to serve with the sauce. Chop cilantro and set aside to serve with the sauce.

Cut the shrimp into smaller pieces, and then cut them into even smaller pieces (almost like a paste). In a large bowl, combine the pork, shrimp, and chopped green onion. Grate fresh ginger and add to the mixture. Add all the wonton seasoning ingredients to the mixture and mix well. We like to marinate them in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

While you wrap wontons, bring a large pot of water to boil.  Place a wonton wrapper on your hand. Place a teaspoon of the filling in the center of the wrapper. Start with a small amount so it’s easier to work with. Use your finger to moisten the edges of the wrapper with water.

When the edges have been moistened, fold the wrapper in half to create a rectangular shape, pressing any air that might be trapped around the filling. Fold the sides inward so that they overlap.

Wet the portion where the sides meet. Pinch to close and seal. Place the finished wontons on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic to keep them moist as you continue with the remaining fillings and wrappers.

After wrapping wontons, put 5 to 10 wontons in the boiling pot (depending on how big your pot is – the key is not to overcrowd the pot). Cook 5 minutes, or until wontons float on the surface of the water and are tender and translucent. I boil wontons separately from the stoup so the soup stays clear.

Transfer wontons to serving bowls. Continue with the rest of wontons. When you are done with cooking, pour some chili mixture over wontons and garnish with chopped green onions and cilantro.

Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Joe

Japan TRAVEL

Tokyo Renga Pan

We got lots of nibbles back in Japan, and one of the spotlight are Tokyo Renga Pan. The Tokyo Renga Pan literally translates to “Brick Bread,” created after the iconic red bricks of the Tokyo Station building.

We purchased the most popular choice is the box of four such pieces of bread that itself comes in the brick design. The bread itself hides two layers on the inside: red bean paste and whipped cream infused with white bean paste. The gentle sweetness is addictive!

Since it is made freshly daily, we purchased them during the last day of our trip. We are so lucky that we are able get them as they are always sold out everyday.

xoxo, Angela

LIFESTYLE Moodboard

Mood Board | Back to School

Remember the good ole days of decorating your locker with neon magnets and stickers? Lockers were like our own little slice of personality-heaven in a world where we were told when to learn math, when to eat, and when to turn in our shoebox dioramas. I’m here to say those lockers days don’t have to be over just yet.

Can’t find vintage lockers in the color of your choice? Spray paint is always an option, just be sure to sand down any rust, and tape off any hardware you want to be left alone. My favorite one is the inbuild locker, it became part of your wall rather than furniture for your house.

Have you ever refurbished lockers or other vintage metal furniture? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks!

xoxo, Joe

Credit | All shots used on the mood board via our Pinterest boards.

DESIGN The Moon's Insight

The Moon’s Insight | Shinsekai

Shinsekai

Head for Shinsekai, the area with the atmosphere of the good old days with working-class shops and restaurants all lined up. There is a row of places specializing in the Osaka dish of kushikatsu and you can taste some of that Osakan down-home cooking such as takoyaki and okonomiyaki.

We then walk over to Tsutenkaku, the symbol of Shinsekai. The tower that was built by the same man behind Tokyo Tower. It cannot be said to be an ultra-high building but you can enjoy its retro appearance and its good sense of distance for Osaka. Don’t forget to greet the famous Billiken statue and stroke its feet to earn good luck.

xoxo, Joe.

Our Table Stories RECIPES

Homemade Chilli Oil

We just welcomed the new year and bid goodbye to the holiday seasons. By the first week of the new year most of the decoration have been removed. But as an asian, the holiday is far beyond over.

Usually, Chinese New Year will falls during the period of either January or February depend on the Chinese calendar. This year Chinese New Year came quickly. It falls on the 5th of February therefore, it is another busy month to go. Like Christmas, we need to get really and do spring cleaning at least a month ahead.

The kitchen would be like a battlefield as well. We will start shopping for decoration, goods and ingredients. Especially pre-making all the homemade sauces as these are the most basic and allow you to store it for a longer period of time.

Chili oil is such an important staple for Chinese families, equal to soy sauce and vinegar. For many Chinese people, chili oil is as important as ketchup is to American people. It always shows up on tables of small diners, no matter whether it’s a dumpling or noodle place. Once you’re hooked, you’ll want to pour it on everything.

Whenever I’m talking about chili oil, I always refer to homemade chili oil. It tastes ten times better than the store-bought product, lasts just as long if you store it in the fridge, and does not contain additives or MSG. There is this fresh aromatic nuttiness that bottled chili oil never delivers.

Plus, when you use chili oil like a Chinese person, you gotta mix in the chili flakes as well. The chili flakes are well toasted when you cook the chili oil, so they taste less spicy but quite smoky with a crispy texture. When mixing with noodles, these tiny umami bits coat the ingredients evenly and each bite releases waves of piquant zing to your taste buds. It’s as exciting as throwing a handful of Pop Rocks in your mouth!

The process might look intimidating at first, but you won’t believe how easy it is once you try it. There are three steps involved.

  1. Combine chili flakes with aromatics of your choice in a heatproof jar/ bowl.
  2. Heat the oil until it reaches 190 C, you don’t want to overheat it! If the oil is too hot, it will burn the pepper flakes and sesame seeds, and the resulting chili oil will be bitter in taste.
  3. Pour oil into the bowl with chili flakes. The oil will bubble fiercely at first and quickly cook the chili flakes. Simply mix everything together with a spoon and let the oil sit until cooled down.

That’s it! Now you have a jar of delicious chili oil to use to create an authentic Chinese flavor. The oil can be stored covered at room temperature for two weeks, or up to six months in the fridge in an airtight container.

Ingredients|

  • 4 tbsp crushed chili flakes
  • 2 tsp five spice powder
  • 1 tsp ground Sichuan peppercorn
  • whole star anise
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup vegetable oil 

Method |

Combine chili flakes, five spice powder, sesame seeds, star anise, Sichuan peppercorns, and bay leaves in a heatproof ceramic bowl that can hold at least 2 cups liquid. Place the bowl on a heat resistant coaster.

Heat oil in a wok (or a skillet) over medium-high heat. Add ginger. When the ginger starts to wither and turns golden brown, immediately turn off the heat. The oil should reach 370 degrees F (190 C) and no higher than 400 F (200 C) if read with an instant thermometer.

Carefully pour oil or use a ladle to transfer oil into the bowl of mixed spices. The oil will bubble for a few seconds and cook the spices. While the the oil is bubbling, use a metal spoon to stir gently to mix the spices, so they’ll cook thoroughly.

When the oil cools down a bit, scoop out and discard the star anise and bay leaf.

The oil is now ready to use! Its flavor will mature if you let it rest for a day, allowing the spices to infuse into the oil. Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Angela.

Japan TRAVEL

Kit-Kat in Japan

We love Japan; from their culture, people to all the kawaii (cute) goods. Not to forget their delicious snacks and locals products you could get there. I would say they are one of the most originality countries in the world. Following weeks or months, we will occasionally introduce some of our favourites items or snacks visually via our blog. Be it, it’s from Japan, locally or worldwide.

We hope that you could get to know more with what we love and sharing some of our favourite snacks. Also what we would purchase during the travel to Japan.

We love chocolate and KitKat is one on the very top on the list. We would say that you should get while travelling in any part of Japan. You will be surprised to get to taste all kind of favours. What’s more is that what you can grab in Kyoto might not be able to find in Tokyo! In different cities, you get to try different favours of the local speciality. That’s what I love about in Japan! Everyday, everytime you get to try something new!

As designers, what we love the most about – are their packaging. The Japanese pay attention to all the little details and usually, it implements in their package designs and daily life. Many years back, KitKat pushed out writing the message on the box and it was my favourite design of all. It help me save papers and I’m able to write down any message and give it as a gift to people I love.

Over the years, KitKat also comes out with the design for New Year. Instead of just having a red package, it packed along with the classic KitKat. In Japan, their New Year is on the very first day of the year. During the New Year, gift money called “Otoshi-dama” will be given to every child by the family members and relatives. It is a very similar idea to the Chinese.

Something that we need to know is that, Japan make their Kit-kat in term of the season. I always thought that Japan is the land of green tea, however in the pass few month the shelf is always out of green tea snack, now I know why! So during Christmas it is their strawberry season, thus we able to get the Strawberry kit-kat on the shelf.

As far as we know, bananas don’t grow in Tokyo. Against all odds, Tokyo Banana’s achieved city souvenir status. Only brands with something special do KitKat collabs – they’re rare. So it’s our honors to able to get these limited edition tokyo banana kit-kat!

Please let us know if you enjoy post like this! We appreciate your feedback and comments and what more we love to exchange and communicate with all of you. Stay tuned for more new post weekly.

xoxo, Angela.

LIFESTYLE Moodboard

Mood Board | Live Young

Crate chic is anything but new. We’ve been perching on wonky old milk crates down at the hipster café since the turn of the Millennium.

But a bunch of European style-setters have taken the trend and given it a fresh new look by appropriating pastel-coloured bottled water crates for their homes.

The Insta-worthy results look straight out of a Wes Anderson set, with delicately-hued Evian crates working hard as design-led decor. Take a look at how these multi-tasking beauties have been used in some of the most stylish homes around the world.

xoxo, Joe

Credit | All shots used on the mood board via our Pinterest boards.

DESIGN The Moon's Insight

The Moon’s Insight | Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle is the very first stop that we went when we reached Japan. It’s really simple to find, and with 5 minutes walk, we can see the very beautiful white building – Osaka Castle.

I and Angela are not history fans so we planned not to visit the museum within Osaka Castle. However, with our Osaka Amazing Pass, we are able to enter free of charge. Thus we ended heading in, and I am happy that we did, as the view from above is impressive.

The park is huge so expect that the walk from Sakuramon Gate (which is South of Osaka Castle) to Yamazatomon Gate (which is North of Osaka Castle) to take approximately 15 minutes (a full walk around the entire castle grounds can take 30-45 minutes!).

Stay tuned for our blog on more about our Japan Trip!

xoxo, Joe


RECIPES Weekend Brunch

New Year Cold Soba

Slurp in the New Year with this traditional noodle dish. Made from buckwheat soba noodles in hot dashi, mirin and soy sauce soup, New Year Soba symbolises wishes for good luck in the year ahead and is eaten for dinner by the Japanese on 31st December every year.

For those who lived in a tropical country like us, we are surrounded by hot weather. Instead of eating the hot soba, we definitely prefer the cold ones. making soba at home is actually pretty easy, it’s incomparable to those we ate in Japan. But I promised that it definitely taste so much better than those you eat at some commercial restaurants out there.

When you cook at home, we always choose all the quality ingredients and make it with love.

Ingredients |

  • 14 oz dried soba noodle
  • ¼ cup sake 
  • ½ cup mirin 
  • ½ cup soy sauce 
  • 1 kombu (dried kelp)
  • 1 cup katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) 
  • shredded nori seaweed (kizami nori), 2 green onions/scallions and Wasabi for granish

Method |

For the dipping sauce, in a medium saucepan, add ¼ cup sake and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Let the alcohol evaporate for a few seconds. Add ½ cup soy sauce and ½ cup + 1 Tbsp. mirin. Add 1 x 1 inch (2.5 x 2.5 cm) kombu and 1 cup dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi). Bring it to boil and cook on low heat for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside until it cools down. Strain the sauce and set aside. You can keep the sauce in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to a month.

For the noodle, boil a lot of water in a large pot. Unlike pasta, you DO NOT add salt to the water. Add dried soba noodles in the boiling water in circulating motion, separating the noodles from each other. Once in a while stir the noodles so they don’t stick to each other. Check the tenderness and do not overcook.

Drain the soba noodles into the sieve and rinse the noodles to get rid of starch under running cold water. This is a very important step. Shake off the sieve to drain completely and transfer the noodles to the iced water in a large bowl. Set aside till the noodles are cool.

To serve the noodles, place a bamboo sieve or mat over a plate (to catch water from noodles). Put soba noodles and garnish shredded nori sheet on top.

Put one part of cooled dipping sauce and 2-3 parts of iced water in a serving pitcher or small individual bowls. Put chopped green onions and wasabi on a small plate and serve with the soba noodles.

Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Angela

Home

7 Simple Self Care Ideas to kick start New Year

Before we realised it is a brand new year, we still feel surreal. On the first day of the year, we decided to share 7 simple self-care ideas to kick-start the year.

You don’t have to be ambitious in bigger dreams. Start taking care of yourself with the basis in our daily life and it’s as simple as 1, 2, 3. So our goal this year is to maintain and promise ownself to love ourselves more.

1. Drink Water
 Drink a glass of water each morning to give yourself an energy boost!

2. Cleanse 
Cleanse yourself each morning with love and care. It’s a self-care action to yourself by giving a lot of love to begin each day.

3. Breakfast
It’s important to grab a breakfast every day before work, it allows one to stay active and being productive. 

4. Moisturise your skin
Always moisturise your skin and keep it hydrated.

5. Breathing Exercise
I was first introduced by @inbusinessandlife about breathing exercise. I enjoyed it and I hope that you will like it too!

6. Read a book(at least a week)
A wise man gains knowledge in two ways; travel and book. While we can’t travel every day like a rich man, we could spend some time to pick up a magazine or a book and read!

7. Sleep early
Sleep early and sleep enough. At least sleep a good amount of 6 – 8 hours of sleep for an energic day

Our best wishes to you have a wonderful year ahead.
Happy New Year 2019! 

xoxo, Angela.

SISTOLOGY

No. 5 | Look Back 2018

2018 it has been a great and busy year for both of us. While today marks the last day of 2018, new year eve of 2019. We are both excited, fearful and looking for what coming next. excited about the new project we want to challenge, fearful of the unknown circumstance we might face, yet looking forward to the blessing that God has to provide us in the near future. Thus, before that let throwback our 2018, to recollect the high and low of our 365 days.

March and April were exciting and devastating months. Angela got to go on to her dream “solo” trip to – London spontaneity. Something that she wouldn’t have done without planning. And yet she nailed it this time. it’s always sad to say to goodbye but don’t do something that you might regrets. Our grandma has left us to another world.

Letting go it hard but it’s always good to learn new things and spending more time with your love ones. Everyone including Joe told me that works never end so we need to at least enjoy a little in our daily life. agree?

I’m definitely a winter person as compared to Joe but I will never miss the last day of the Summer for an amazing picnic. During the July, it’s offically a Picnic month. Most importantly, it always good to have our mom with us.

When it comes to August and October, we spend most of our time in the kitchen creating different recipes. We wanted to make use the time we have before our Japan Trip in November.

During the autumn, the market is full of colorful ingredients. Not to say there is our favorite holiday of all year – The Halloween. In these month we also achieve our aims of making more traditional delights that we like.

Ending the year, we step to one of our very important journey to a new country – Japan. We are blessed that we got to see the beauty of autumn leaves. We’re in love with cities we’ve never been to and people we’ve never met. Ending the year, celebrating with our loved ones – our family and friends.

This has been a busy year, we have lost our loved ones but at the same time, we learn the meaning of treasure the time we have. New year — a new chapter, new verse, or just the same old story? Ultimately we write it. The choice is ours.

xoxo, Angela

DESIGN The Moon's Insight

The Moon’s Insight | Magic Wand

Elder Wand is said to be the most powerful wand in the magic world. However, in the end of the day Voldemort lost the battle but the power of loves wins it’s all.

In this modern day, there is one things that we can’t live without and that’s a phone. It is a very useful and powerful technology, it helps people to get connected to the world. However it is also a very toxin object as we have been staring it all day, and there is time we overlook the important ones.

Thus, no matter how powerful a wand or a phone is, heart is the most important things in the world.

xoxo, Joe.

RECIPES Weekend Brunch

Roasted Cauliflower with Gruyere Cheese

Many people we know don’t like cauliflower and I think it’s because they don’t know how to make delicious recipes with this amazing veggie. We used to hate it as well, but it has become a staple in my kitchen and we couldn’t live without it.

Whole roasted cauliflower is a great vegan alternative for the holidays. It’s healthier, lower in fat, so I prefer to eat it as a side dish or with some kind of starch.

This recipe is not only for Christmas, but also for special occasions or everyday cooking because the cauliflower is ready to bake in just 5 minutes and then just only need to bake it until golden brown. Besides, it goes well with everything and is delicious with any spices or herbs you have on hand.

Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Joe

Our Table Stories RECIPES

Host a Christmas Tea Brunch

How did you spend your Christmas? For us, we make a little Christmas brunch for our family and friends. There’s a level of excitement in the air during the holidays that’s unlike any other time of year. But with that excitement comes an element of chaos that can get in the way of eating thoughtfully and healthfully.

That’s why, when it comes to holiday entertaining, we try to make as much food as possible ahead of time — and that includes the oft-forgotten Christmas breakfast. We make as much of the brunch as we can the night before so we can spend time with friends and family (not alone in the kitchen) that morning.

For this Christmas brunch we prepared the following;

It might seem like there’s a lot to do, but we promise with good time management you are able to make this happen.

During the day ahead, we start by making Plain Challah and Homemade Muffin as both of them requires at least 3 hours to rise the dough. While setting them aside and rise you can start preparing for the other dishes.

Next, we start making 7 layers Smoked Salmon Cake Dip and Green Goddess Pistachio Goat Cheese Ball. As both required to be set overnight in the fridge.

For the Salmon Cake Dip, we use a sliced smoked salmon from IKEA and don’t skimp on the red onion and radishes, though! You need that sharp bite to contrast all the creaminess. This is exactly the type of food I crave, and I know I’ll be making it again and again and again.

We when ahead next to prepare for the Cheese Bread. This takes a while to make, as you need to roll the ball up one by one. After frying them you might see yourself snacking them right away.

Meantime both Plain Challah and Homemade muffin should have been complete. Now you are able to shape them and start cooking them. After done cooking, you can leave them in the freezer for the next day.

End of the day you can do your Gingerbread House. You don’t have to worries about having the ant while leaving gingerbread house in the open air. I have tried it and I promise not one ant came. You can use your end of the day to slowly decorate your house.

At the start of d-day, start by bring things from the freezer to de-freeze. Next, you can start to do your base of the mini s’more tart, however, control yourself when making it. It is so easy and fun to make at the same time we couldn’t stop making them.

Moving on you can start to make your mini egg benedict’s eggs and hollandaise sauce. When it is about time you can start heating up the food and serve them to your table. As we have still a little time we ended up making some pepper muffin for our guest.

Adding bits of decoration to our house, our brunch is official starting! What do you think about this? Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Joe

Our Table Stories RECIPES

Gingerbread House

Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas! A gingerbread house is a lovely way to decorate for the holiday season. You can bake the house from scratch, assemble, and decorate it to make it truly yours. This project is broken down into the steps you need to take.

Step 1: Making your gingerbread biscuit

Roll the gingerbread dough directly onto the parchment paper to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Try to cover the entire sheet of parchment paper with rolled-out dough so you’ll be able to cut the maximum number of pieces.

Lightly dust one side of the cardboard pattern pieces with flour and place them floured-side down on the rolled-out gingerbread dough, leaving a 1-inch space between pieces. Try to fit as many as you can without crowding. For clean edges, cut with a non-serrated pizza wheel or pastry cutter.

Carefully remove the gingerbread dough scraps and cover them with plastic wrap until ready to re-roll for the rest of the pieces.

Bake as the recipe instructs. Make sure the pieces are slightly brown around the edges and bottom. Repeat until you have all the pieces you need cut and baked.


Never pick up individual rolled and cut pieces of gingerbread by hand to transfer them to a baking pan. This will distort them. Instead, pick up the parchment paper by opposite corners and place it on the baking pan. 

Step 2: Making your icing sugar

Royal icing is the edible “glue” or mortar that holds a gingerbread house together. It can also be used to make fancy sugar decorations. Royal icing got its name from being used to cover fruitcake to keep it moist. Fruitcakes were, and still are, the traditional wedding cake of English royalty.

If the gingerbread house and royal icing will be eaten after it has served its decorative purpose, we prefer to use pasteurized fresh egg whites (now available at grocery stores in cartons) instead of meringue powder because the result is smoother and it has better “stickability.” 

Make sure the egg whites are at room temperature for better volume and are careful not to over-whip your royal icing or it will crack as it dries and your house will collapse.

Step 3: Assembling your house
Keep your fingers clean and free of icing at all times otherwise, your house will have unsightly smears all over it. The edges of both sides of the pieces of gingerbread should have a strip of icing.  That way the icing touches the icing instead of the bare gingerbread. This creates a stronger seal.

  • Place a strip of icing on the edge of the gable that you will be setting down first.  
  • Set the gingerbread house gable side in the bead of royal icing.
  • Place a long gingerbread house side in the other bead of royal icing. While holding the pieces with one hand, run a bead of royal icing up the seam, making sure all gaps are covered. Hold for a few seconds and release. If you have trouble with slippage, you can prop the walls up with whatever is handy.
  • If the project you’re working on isn’t an intricate pattern, dependent on exactly matching pieces, don’t worry if there are gaps between pieces. Just fill them with royal icing. The decorations will cover a multitude of sins.
  • Wait until th two sides are completely dry before moving onto the next walls!

Step 4: Decorating the Gingerbread House
We makes simple decoration using the royal icing, if you want you can add in some sweet for some color too. We add in some cute animals as decoration even thought we can’t eat them

Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Joe

DESIGN The Moon's Insight

The Moon’s Insight | Flying Broom

Flying Broom

As every school-age wizard knows, the fact that we fly on broomsticks is probably our worst-kept secret. No Muggle illustration of a witch is complete without a broom and however ludicrous these drawings are (for none of the broomsticks depicted by Muggles would stay up in the air for a moment), they remind us that we were careless for far too many centuries to be surprised that broomsticks and magic are inextricably linked in the Muggle mind.

xoxo, Joe

Our Table Stories RECIPES

Christmas Checklist

Christmas is just 2 days away and you have not got anything done yet? No worries we all know that there is always a time that we procrastinate. Likewise, it happens to us too.

1. Sending Invitation
Since it will be just a dinner for our family this year, we do not need to worry about an invitation. However, if you do need with the modern technology that you have (your phone) you can simply send a message to your loved ones.

2. Planning your menu
Now here comes to the important part of the dinner – your food! Forget long hours in the kitchen with complicated recipes. Make this Christmas dinner a no-fuss, unforgettable evening with these easy, elegant menus.

If this is your first attempt at cooking a traditional Christmas dinner we wish you the best of luck. Just think of it as a slightly bigger Sunday roast and you should be absolutely fine. Understandably, the fact that this dinner is only eaten once a year can be pressurising in the kitchen but as long as you relax and remain organised you will confidently cook and serve up a tasty meal.

3. Christmas Decoration
What is Christmas without all the decoration? We don’t spend a lot of time making crafts but there are a few crafts I really enjoy making. For this Christmas, we decided to make our own wreath for the door than buying it.

4. Table Setting
Everyone has their own way of decorating their dining room for what is arguably one of the best meals of the year. Some people like to make an impressive statement using colourful centrepieces, candles, and more on the dining table. It certainly makes the room look more festive and gets everyone in the spirit of the season.

Do you have a go-to item on your ultimate Christmas dinner checklist? Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Joe

Our Table Stories RECIPES

Salt Crusted Lamb with Mint Jelly

This technique has been on my to-try list for ages. I wish I had a good reason for putting it off so long, but we’re making up for lost time. We may or may not have enjoyed three fish prepared this way in the past week alone. It is incredibly easy to do, and in my experience, turns out perfectly every time.

If you happen to have a nice oven-proof serving platter available, I would encourage you to serve the whole rack of lamb tableside straight from the oven. It’s fun to watch the crust being cracked open, exposing the perfectly cooked fish. Word of warning though: Have a spare plate available for the pieces of the salt crust as you remove them or you’ll have a mess on your hands.

Before you start to worry about if the lamb will turn out too salty, I can assure you that it does not. In order to ensure that your lamb is perfectly seasoned without tasting too salty, there are a few things you need to be sure to do correctly:

  • Use Kosher Salt. If you absolutely cannot find Kosher salt, you can use Sea Salt, but it must be coarse ground. Do not use table salt. I cannot stress that enough. You will ruin your fish. No. Table. Salt. Ever.
  • Be sure to bake the lamb long enough, and not spread your salt mixture too thick. You want the salt crust to be a deep, golden brown color, being careful not to allow the crust to scorch. You need the egg white to cook through and not still be liquid on the inside at the end of the baking time. The trick is to have the egg white/salt mixture covering the lamb completely on all sides so that it seals in the moisture and allows the lamb to steam inside of the crust. You also don’t want to spread it on so thick that it doesn’t cook through. If it hasn’t cooked through completely, the remaining uncooked egg white/salt mixture could cause the lamb to taste too salty. I usually try to spread it 1/2-3/4 inches thick, but not more than that if possible.

We then plate it with the mint jelly we brought during our Melbourne trip. This mint jelly taste perfectly with this meet.

Ingredients |

  • free-range spiced racks of lamb
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 kg fine salt
  • 500 g coarse salt
  • 3 egg whites
  • 20 g thyme, chopped

Method |

Sear the Woolworths free-range spiced racks of lamb in a hot pan in olive oil for 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

Mix the fine salt and coarse salt with egg whites and chopped rosemary. Place ⅓ of the salt mixture in the bottom of a roasting tray into which both racks of lamb will fit snugly. Top with the racks of lamb and pat the remaining salt mixture onto the lamb to form a crust. Bake for 25–35 minutes. Test with a meat thermometer – the internal temperature should be 135°C – or remove part of the salt crust and cut into the meat to see if it is cooked to your liking. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes before wiping or brushing off the salt.

Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Joe

Craft LIFESTYLE

DIY Christmas Tree Lighting

So, it’s always a pleasant surprise when I find some new material or media I’ve never seen before, and to think of all kinds of cool stuff to do with it. This holiday season, it was the papier-mache cone.

So, I was inspired bysome little porcelain trees from West Elm, which are now…sold out! (And were…pricey!) No matter, we’re gonna make out own by the dozens, for less than $1.00 a piece.

Begin by chucking two-three small bits into your drill, and start making holes in a random pattern. We chose to make mine a little more dense and the bottom, and let them thin out towards the top. As you see in the photo, drilling into paper doesn’t always leave a smooth hole, but it can be smoothed out with sandpaper.

If you happen to have a rounded bit, you smooth out the holes while maintaining the circular shape. If not, use a pencil or small dowel rod with the sandpaper to make everything smooth.

We painted our tree 2 coat of glossy silver paint and a coat of sparkling silver paint. Make sure you let them dry totally in between each coat. (It is like painting your nails, you doesn’t want to waste your time.)

Materials |

  • Papier-mache cones, available in the doll making section of the craft store
  • Electric drill and assorted drill bits
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Gloss silver paint
  • Gliter silver paint
  • Paint brush

Method |

Begin by chucking two-three small bits into your drill, and start making holes in a random pattern. We chose to make mine a little more dense and the bottom, and let them thin out towards the top. As you see in the photo, drilling into paper doesn’t always leave a smooth hole, but it can be smoothed out with sandpaper.


If you happen to have a rounded bit, you smooth out the holes while maintaining the circular shape. If not, use a pencil or small dowel rod with the sandpaper to make everything smooth.

We painted our tree 2 coat of glossy silver paint and a coat of sparkling silver paint. Make sure you let them dry totally in between each coat.

That’s it. You can make a whole whimsical forest of these guys is not much more time and for around a dollar a piece. For an extra punch, use a few LED tea lights to make ’em glow with holiday cheer!

Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Joe

Our Table Stories RECIPES

7 Layer Smoked Salmon Cake Dip

Everything we’ve ever tried from Bon Appetit  — every recipe, every cooking tip — is flawless. And we’re not just saying that. If you find yourself banging your head against a wall, searching for that one perfect recipe to impress even the snobbiest critics, you cannot go wrong with Bon Appetit.

Smoked salmon with cream cheese is certainly not revolutionary, but they have taken all of my favorite parts of a traditional Sunday bagel brunch (which is a very big deal in our family) and pulled it together in, dare I say, an extremely elegant way. We use a sliced smoked salmon from IKEA, but you could certainly sub this out with any canned smoked salmon flakes that you can find locally. Don’t skimp on the red onion and radishes, though! You need that sharp bite to contrast all the creaminess.

This is exactly the type of food I crave, and I know I’ll be making it again and again and again.

Ingridents |

  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 1 pound smoked salmon, skin removed, flaked, divided
  • 2 large radishes, trimmed, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • Bagel chips or pumpernickel bread (for serving)

Method |

Line a 16oz ramekin with plastic wrap, pressing it along the bottom and up the sides. Pulse cream cheese and, lemon zest in a food processor until well combined and creamy.

Press a third of smoked salmon spread into an even layer across the bottom of mold. Spread half of cream cheese mixture evenly over salmon, smoothing surface with a rubber spatula.

Toss radishes and onion in a small bowl to combine, then scatter over cream cheese mixture and press down lightly into mixture. Top with half of remaining salmon spread, making an even layer, then scatter radish over. Spread the next layer cream cheese mixture over red onion and finish with a layer of the remaining salmon. Repeat it again then cover dip with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour to let dip set and flavors mold.

Uncover dip and carefully invert onto a plate. Remove ring mold, then carefully peel away plastic wrap. Top with chives. Serve with bagel chips for spreading over. 

Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Joe

Festivals TRAVEL

Visual Journal | Christmas in town

After two weeks living in Japan, enjoying the pre-winter. I’m in love with the country that blends between the traditional and unique culture. It tells wonderful stories through a man-heart. While their Winter Christmas Illumination has been the best experience yet. Hence, I will stop that for a moment and share our tropical version of Christmas in town. 

Just the week that I returned, my best friend invited me along to Christmas Wonderland at Garden by the Bay. It was an enchanting night despite the humid weather we had in Singapore. I enjoyed surrounded by the sparklers and it just allows myself to feel for a moment I’m in a cold country. 

Photography: Angela Leong

xoxo, Angela.

LIFESTYLE Moodboard

Mood Board | Simple Christmas

While Christmas is getting closes and closes, we have lesser time to prepare our Christmas. Thus the key to it is keeping everything simple.

1. Choose only 2 to 3 colors for your Christmas
Since we will be having a Christmas tree, green will be our primary color. I also love to complicate it with color like brown and grey.

2. Using clear glass in your decoration
As we need to keep the color minimum, using material like the clear glass will bring another texture to your Christmas. As it is a cheat code of transparent color.

3. Woven socks/ throw over
To make the Christmas simple and cosy at the same time, add some woven socks and throw over to your house. It will instantly warm up your heart.

xoxo, Joe

Credit | All shots used on the mood board via our Pinterest boards.

DESIGN The Moon's Insight

The Moon’s Insight | Felix Felicis

During my secondary school, one of mine teacher told me that I always need to work harder in my studies. The reason why I could pass my testes is just that I have all the little luck in me.

When I grow up I start to believe that all my successes came only from the luck I have. As there isn’t anything best about me. 

However, when I am older I told myself, the luck I have is mine own invention, my masterpiece; the crowning achievement of my career. Like liquid luck it is a bottled good fortune. Brewed correctly the drinker of this potion will be lucky in all their endeavors.

xoxo, Joe

Our Table Stories RECIPES

Cheese Bread

Brazil is famous for its pão de queijo–cheese rolls with soft chewy centers. These traditional snacks and breakfast treat come from the state of Minas Gerias in southeastern Brazil. Although pão de queijo didn’t become popular until the 1950s, they are said to have been around since the 18th century; the original version, however, did not include cheese or milk as those ingredients weren’t available at that time. 

Pão de queijo is made with cassava flour (tapioca flour), the ground root of the manioc plant. Like many other Brazilian foods, this cheese bread originated with African slaves, who would first soak and peel the cassava root before making the bread.

Pão de queijo smell wonderful when they are been deep-fried, and plump up into perfectly round balls. This recipe calls for regular farmer’s cheese but if you can find the Brazilian cheese queijo minas in your local Brazilian market, your pão de queijo will be even more authentic. Otherwise, any firm, fresh cow’s milk cheese will work well in this recipe.

The only weird ingredient is tapioca flour. Bob’s Red Mill makes it, and you can find it at Whole Foods. Tapioca flour is gluten-free, so this cheese bread is great for gluten-free eaters.

Ingredients |

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 4 1/4 cups tapioca flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups grated farmer’s cheese (or any firm, fresh cow’s milk cheese)
  • Optional: 1/4 cup cheddar cheese (grated)

Method |
Mix milk, salt, vegetable oil, and butter in a pot, and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, remove from heat. Stir tapioca flour into the milk and butter mixture. Stir in the eggs and the cheese, and mix well. Let mixture cool for 15 to 30 minutes so that it will be easier to handle. (You can chill it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so).

With floured (tapioca flour) hands, shape the dough into golf ball-size balls and place them on a baking sheet. Deep-fried the rolls for 5 to 8 minutes, until they are puffed up and golden. They will rise slowly and puff up mostly in the last 5 or 10 minutes.

Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Joe

RECIPES Weekend Brunch

Easy Apple Galette

Galettes are the alternative to pie when, you know, you don’t feel like making an actual pie. The easiest addition to pie goals. Have you ever made one before?

They’re friendly, approachable, and my favorite: low maintenance. Basically a free-form pie where any possible mistakes are comforted in the fact that you can’t mess this up. If you know how to fold dough over filling, you know how to make a galette. The best part is that you’ll receive heart-eyed reactions anytime you serve an elaborate-looking galette, as if you slaved away for hours on end to make something so beautiful and delicious.

A flaky dough made from simple ingredients like flour, butter, and ice cold water is where it all begins. Make sure you chill the galette crust before rolling it out and filling it. When you roll out galette dough, don’t be a perfectionist. Oh how I love that thought! Whatever shape the dough rolls out to be, leave it. If it’s not a perfect circle, who cares. The galette will still work its tasty magic.

You can make the galette crust ahead of time. If you completely have your life together, you could even make this galette crust TODAY, freeze it, then have salted caramel apple galette for dessert *in a snap* on Christmas day.

One thing to keep in mind– and We’ve mentioned this about galettes before– is that unlike pies where you can pile the fillings super high, galette’s don’t really like it when there’s too much filling. The crust will become mushy and no amount of oven time could save it. Plus, you won’t have enough dough to fill over an over-filled galette! So here’s a tip: keep the filling flat and compact, while leaving a 2-3 inch border so you can fold the edges over. Just like this:

Brush the top of the crust with a little egg-wash to achieve that shiny golden brown crust, then top the whole thing casted sugar. And now it is time to bake them!

Ingredients |

  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 cup of cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup of ice cold water
  • 2 – 3 large apples, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1/4 cup (50g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons (12g) all-purpose flour
  • egg wash: 1 large egg beaten
  • optional: 1/3 cup of casted sugar

Method |

Make the crust: Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Using a couple of forks, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse, pea-sized crumbs. (However, sometime I would love to use the tip of my finger.) Add the water and stir until the flour is moistened. Add 1 more Tablespoon of water if the dough seems dry. Gently knead the dough a few times on a lightly floured work surface until it all comes together. Shape the dough into a ball and flatten it into a thick disk. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days (or freeze up to 3 months).

As the dough chills, prepare the filling: Mix the apples, brown sugar, and flour, together in a large bowl. Cover tightly and let sit until the dough is ready. I usually cover it and keep in the refrigerator during this time.

Preheat oven to 425°F (190°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch by 9-inch rectangle (or any shape, really!). Trim the rim of the circle to make a clean cut if desired. Transfer dough to the prepared baking sheet.

Arrange the apples (not the juices) into the center of the dough, leaving a 2-3 inch border all around. Gently fold the edges of the dough over the apples, overlapping the dough as necessary. Press gently to seal the edges. Brush the crust edges with egg wash and sprinkle the whole thing sugar. 

Bake until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown, about 35-38 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

The galette crust, both flaky and buttery, is the quintessential home to the warm and tender apple slices. Which are, by the way, swimming in brown-sugared, cinnamon-spiced, salted caramel enrobed goodness. Is this easy Fall dessert enjoyment or what?!

It’s also really good the next morning for breakfast… the ice cream too. 
Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Joe

LIFESTYLE Moodboard

Moodboard | Christmas Vibes #07

We are now entering the month of December which is the month of Christmas. Christmas is one of my favourite holiday of all year as I am going celebrate a month of it. 

Well Christmas can be overwhelming, thus let’s us keep it simple and focus only the important elements.  With all of the busyness this time of year, it’s easy to have activities planned for almost every night and never actually be home with your family. 

Thus adding bits of elements to some corner of the house can spice up your holiday. Such as adding simple garland or stars to your house. 

xoxo, Joe

Credit | All shots used on the mood board via our Pinterest boards.

DESIGN The Moon's Insight

The Moon’s Insight | Philosopher’s Stone

I have just re-watched Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone last week, and it is still my favorite among all the film. As it is still less evil compared to the rest of the film, where most of them is still about love and friendship. 

My favorite part in the movie is when Dumbledore told Harry “Your mother died to save you. If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn’t realize that love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves its own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign…to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever. It is in your very skin.”

xoxo, Joe

Our Table Stories RECIPES

Green Goddess Pistachio Goat Cheese Ball

Bon Appetit featured three “cheese balls” back in October and from the moment that we saw them, we knew we would try at least one of them. They all looked appealing, but when we saw “Green Goddess” our decision was made.

We were tired of the same ‘ole cheese platter…wait, I’m never tired of a cheese platter, rather, we were wanting to round out a cheese platter display when we came across this winning recipe moments before Thanksgiving. We all gave thanks for each other and for cheese and, because this pistachio-crusted spread was a smash hit, you can make it for Christmas. Either your family will be gracious or starving, but this appetizer nod to the Seventies disappeared as fast as shag haircuts.

It’s easy because you pulse the ingredients together in one machine and the do-ahead potential means having time watching my favourite drama.

The ingredients should be at room temperature and you’ll need to refrigerate the cheese for at least three hours after mixing, so plan preparation ahead of time. It’s the perfect do-ahead appetizer, leaving just the nut coating until game-time. Using just a food processor for combining, you save the time of chopping watercress and herbs and for clean-up.

Ingredients |

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup mixed tender herb leaves (such as mint, parsley, tarragon and/or cilantro)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • Kosher salt
  • ¾ cup pistachios, toasted, chopped
  • Crackers (for serving)

Method |

Process cream cheese, goat cheese, and butter in a food processor until smooth. Pulse in herbs, and chives; season with salt. Scrape mixture into a small plastic wrap–lined bowl; gather plastic around cheese, using your hands to shape into a ball. Chill until firm, 3–12 hours.

Just before serving, unwrap cheese ball and roll in pistachios. Serve with crackers.

Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Joe

Our Table Stories RECIPES

Plain Challah

Been a week since we came back from our trip from Japan. However, it is still holiday for us as Christmas is just around the corner. The older we get and the less we care about presents, the more we care about holidays that revolve around big feasts and merriment and being cozy and autumnal.

One of the things we love to do during the Christmas is bread making. Inspired by mynameisyeah’s Orange Juice Challah we modify her recipe and make our very own Plain Challah. This Challah is a braided bread with your favorite seeds or nuts. It might seem hard to make at the beginning but it got better after a few tries. 

Sorry for the shaky-ness, we need to invest in a tripod real soon.

It would be equally at home as a turkey sandwich or as a sweet french toast, it’s a versatile little loaf! We’ve made twelve mini loaves here, but you can totally make fewer larger loaves, just increase the baking time.

Ingredients |

  • 2 1/4 tsp of active dry yeast
  • 2 cups of warm water
  • 6 cups of all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp of kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup of  flavorless oil, such as canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 tbsp of water
  • sesame seeds/ sunflower seeds, for sprinkling

Method |

In a medium bowl, combine the yeast, and warm water. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, until slightly foamy. meanwhile, in a large bowl or the bowl of stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar and salt. in a medium bowl, whisk together oil and 2 eggs.

Add yeast mixture and egg mixture to the flour mixture; stir to combine. knead, either by hand on a floured surface or with a dough hook on medium speed for 7 to 10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary (but resist any urge to add too much!), until you have a smooth and slightly sticky dough.

Transfer dough to a large oiled bowl. cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until doubled in size, about 2 hours. (alternatively, chill dough in refrigerator overnight, then let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before shaping.)

divide dough into 8 pieces. divide each into 4 logs and shape according to the gif above (alternatively you can make mini swirls or mini 3-strand braids or even just blobs!). place on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing evenly apart, cover loosely, and let rise 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375ºf. in a small bowl, whisk together the remaining egg and 1 tablespoon water. brush rolls with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. bake until they are golden and have an internal temperature of 190ºf; begin checking for doneness at 18 minutes. transfer to a wire wrack to cool slightly and enjoy. 

Challah is best eaten within 24 hours, after that it’s ok if you toast it or use it for french toast. it also freezes well!

Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Joe

LIFESTYLE Moodboard

Moodboard | Plain Jane Tree

Embrace your tree’s arboreal beauty with ultra-minimalist decor that lets the pine speak for itself. This sky-high tree is decorated with simple twinkling lights for a subdued spirit without all the glam.

When you’re big on holidays but short on space, a tiny tree is a perfect solution. The quirky shape of this miniature pine is accented with spaced out ornaments, including simple white candles, heart-shaped cookies, and grassy green balls.

Our favorite will be a plain wreath on the door, welcoming our guest when they reach our house. While most of our doors and walls are white, this plain jane Christmas is the best solution for us.

xoxo, Joe

Credit | All shots used on the mood board via our Pinterest boards.

The Moon's Insight

The Moon’s Insight | Sorting Hat

With the recent movie Fantastic Beast, I went back watching the previous Harry Potter series.  I was wondering why not end the year with some Harry Potter painting?

I am a proud Gryffindors. Gryffindors perceive magic as a weapon. Gryffindors tend to excel in aggressive forms of magic, like offensive and defensive spells, and they are good at dueling. But a true Gryffindor knows that the power is a responsibility, and so they must always use their powers to stand up for what’s right. They are the sword of the righteous, which makes them as good at Defense Against the Dark Arts as they are at combat magic.

You can do you test here and share with me which house are you.

xoxo, Joe

Our Table Stories

Mini S’more Tart

One of our favorite activities is making s’mores around a campfire on the beach. While it is a little cold for a trip down to the beach thus with today’s recipe, you can enjoy s’mores all year round. This may be a little bit different version than you make around the campfire but it is just as delicious!

The first step is to form your graham cracker tart shell.  I used an aluminum cupcake holder, I put 1 1/2 Tbsp of the graham cracker mixture in each cupcake holder and then used the handy-dandy little roller to form the tart shell.  You could absolutely do it with your fingers but this little tool is so much easier and faster. Isn’t it awesome!

After your tart shells are formed and baked for five minutes you fill them with your chocolate mixture and then bake again.  Use a sharp knife to gently remove them from the muffin tin and allow them to cool on a cooling rack. 

Place the tarts on a baking sheet and then place half of a large marshmallow on top of each tart. Here comes my favorite part, put them under the broiler until the top of the marshmallow is golden brown. Watch them closely so they don’t burn. (This is the first time we use the broiler function in our oven.)

I think these cute little mini s’mores tarts are best eaten warm but truth be told they are pretty yummy after they have totally cooled too. Now, the only thing left to do is enjoy.  You can pop the whole thing in your mouth at one time, they are that small or make the yumminess last a little longer and enjoy it in a couple of bites.

Ingredients|

  • 1/3 cup of  butter
  • 3/4 cup of sugar (1/2 cup for the filling, 1/3 cup for the tart shell)
  • 1 1/4 cup of finely crushed graham cracker crumbs 18 squares
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 C flour
  • 1/4 C unsweeteened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 C butter melted
  • 10 large marshmallows halved

Method |

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

For the tart shell; melt the butter and add in the sugar. Stir in graham cracker crumbs. Press crumbs into bottom and sides of the cupcake holder (approx. 1 1/2 Tbsp crumbs per tin). Bake for 5 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

For the filling; combine sugar and egg. Beat on medium for 2 minutes or until thick and pale yellow. Whisk together flour and cocoa. Add into the egg mixture and beat until smooth. Add in melted butter. Spoon filling into tarts.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until set and slightly puffed. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes and then gently remove tarts from the holder. Cool Completely.

Cut marshmallows in half. Place half of a marshmallow cut side down on top of each tart. Broil for 30 seconds or until marshmallows are puffed and lightly toasted on top. Now you can enjoy them!

Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Joe

Our Table Stories RECIPES

Hearty Winter Potato Ratatouille

Last week we have purchased some royal blue potato for the dish Rosemary Honey Roasted Chicken and there are still a few of them left. Inspired by the movie Ratatouille we decided to make a hearty winter potato ratatouille with sour cream. 

This recipe is so simple that you can cook it under 30 minutes. Moreover, this will be the perfect recipe for a quick snack during the cold weather. It is also a perfect dish for you Christmas dinner, as you doesn’t need to do too much.

Start by slicing the potato into thin slices.
We season it with lots of chop garlic and garlic oil. This garlic oil has been our recent favorite, we have been using in most of our dishes. Layer your potato in your dish.
Then top it with the garlic seasoning that you have made. We really put lots of garlic for this dish, and the results really amazed us.
Baked it for 20 minutes at 200C, serve it with a big spoonful of sour cream and garnish it with chopped spring onion and you are good to go.
Ttadada!

Ingredients |

  • 4 big royal blue potato
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 4 tbsp of garlic oil
  • 2 tbsp of sour cream
  • spring onion for garnish

Method |

Start by slicing the potato into thin slices. In a bowl mix the chopped garlic and garlic oil. Layer your potato in your dish. Then top it with the garlic seasoning that you have made. Baked it for 20 minutes at 200C, serve it with a big spoonful of sour cream and garnish it with chopped spring onion.

Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Angela

DESIGN The Moon's Insight

The Moon’s Insight | Christmas Socks

You hop out of bed with a big grin, walk to the kitchen counter and pour yourself a warm glass of milk to go with a plate of cookies. Are you wondering why it’s acceptable to gorge on cookies for breakfast? The answer stands behind you, draped in fairy lights, tall and green, your magnificent Christmas tree.

Christmas is on its way and it’s your time to play Santa to your circle of friends. If you have trouble deciding what to get your friends on the nice list, well we might have a little magic product. It’s a pair of socks! As it is cute, practical and at the same time keep you warm. Thus, I am going to head down to get some sock for me and my friends now!

xoxo, Joe

RECIPES Weekend Brunch

How to make Ravioli

This delicious Homemade Ravioli recipe is easier than you might think, and so much tastier than any pasta you can buy in a store. Plus you don’t even need a pasta maker!

Have you ever made homemade pasta? It’s nothing like store-bought pasta. I’m really not a fan of that dried up stuff you need to smother in the sauce to eat. Sure it can be a good vehicle for getting more sauce into your mouth, but on its own, it’s rather gross. Homemade pasta is a whole other story.

This time we have tried to make the ravioli, unlike the last time we make homemade linguine this time was a total success. 

And speaking of friends, this whole process is a lot more fun if you do it with a company. Helping each other out, and making mistakes together, makes it a less burdensome process. And making mistakes is fine; your first batch will not be perfect. With his ravioli dough, the right fillings, and some insider tips and techniques, you’ll be speaking ravioli in no time.

The secret to remarkable ravioli dough is stretch. You need a forgiving dough to pull over your fillings, one that will bend and expand without cracking or ripping.

Thickness is another huge factor here. If you ravioli dough is too thick, the corners (where the two layers of dough come together) will be much thicker than the rest of the ravioli. This leaves you with undercooked dough, which will give you an unpleasantly chewy and crunchy texture. The solution? Make sure your dough is thin. Whether you’re rolling by hand or using a pasta machine, you want to be able to see the shadow of your hand move behind the dough when you hold it up to the light. Spending the extra couple of minutes is totally worth it.

Not all pasta dough can be ravioli dough, but this ravioli dough is great for basically any pasta. The secret is the use of both egg and oil in the dough, which allow for a bit more flexibility than a traditional egg and wheat pasta dough. It’s the ultimate ravioli dough and your best friend through this cooking process.

As important as the dough the filling have much to consider too. There are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind when it comes to making ravioli.

  • The dough is just as important as the filling: Most store-bought ravioli suffer from thick, gummy skins that lack the tender, translucent elasticity of their handmade brethren.
  • Avoid watery fillings: Fillings that have too much cream, butter, oil, or stock come out watery and loose, and can make your dough too sticky to handle.
  • Make your filling flavorful and use lots of it: Creating your own delicious filling is one of the main advantages to making it from scratch—your filling should taste good enough to eat on its own with a spoon. And once you have that perfect filling, don’t hold back! You want to the dough to be stuffed until it’s stretched pretty tight for the right balance of filling to pasta.
  • Watch out for air bubbles, but also accept that a little air is inevitable:Be sure to press out as much air as you can, regardless of the method you’re using. But also know that, especially early on, you’ll probably wind up with some bubbles. And guess what? Your ravioli will survive.

Ingredients|

  • 3 large eggs, beaten to blend
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Method |

Mix eggs, flour, oil, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with your hands until a shaggy dough forms. Knead with dough hook until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rest at least 30 minutes. Cut and roll as desired.

Do Ahead: Dough can be made 1 day ahead; tightly wrap and chill.

Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Joe

Our Table Stories RECIPES

Chocolate Swirl Bun

For this year Christmas, we decided to challenge us in making something new. We woke up bright and early and got the dough ready for these Chocolate Swirl Buns. We left it to rise, sat down with my coffee; and things began spiraling south, soon after.

On any given day, if something such had happened, I would’ve been the first to abandon a project and settle with chilling instead. At one point, we thought, ‘Forget it; we’re just going to dump the dough!’ But then we thought, ‘Sure, someone has gotten to us and we’re hurt.

But it’s up to me to do that little something for myself that brings me joy. So we went ahead and baked these glorious buns and created food photography that we consider to be some of our best work.

with a little twist and turn you now have your little chocolate swirl bun.

For the chocolate filling, we combine 130g of dark chocolate, 120g of unsalted butter, 50g of caster sugar, 2 tbsp of cocoa powder and lastly 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon in a bowl. Using the double boiler method, we melted it and leave it aside to cool.

These Chocolate Swirl Buns are a treat, both for the eyes and the palate! With a glossy, crackling ‘crust’ which leads into a soft, cloud-like interior and ribbons of dark, lush chocolate oozing, they are everything you want in a baked goody!

The notes of cinnamon are reminiscent of the much-loved classic, the cinnamon role; while also lending a certain oomph to the flavour profile. And that granulated sugar in the filling is all the crackle and crunch you need to fall deeply in love with these baked masterpieces!

Ingredients |

  • 2 3/4 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup of milk powder
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 4 tbsp of caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp of instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup of milk, lukewarm
  • Eggs – 3, lightly beaten + 1, for the egg wash
  • 90g of unsalted butter, cubed at room temperature

Method |

In a bowl, mix the sugar, lukewarm milk and instant yeast and set aside for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk flour, milk powder and salt. Add in the yeast mixture and three lightly beaten eggs. Knead the dough until well incorporated.

Add in the butter and knead for about 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth, leaves the sides and comes together. The dough will be a bit sticky. Grease a large bowl with vegetable oil/non-stick spray and place the dough in it. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise for 2 hours.

Punch down the dough lightly and turn it out onto a generously floured surface. Roll it out into a 9-inch by 12-inch rectangle. Cut the dough into 12 equal portions.

On a floured surface, roll each portion out into a 4-inch by the 7-inch rectangle or until the dough is 1/2 cm thick, with the shorter edge facing you. Add about a little over a tablespoon of filling and spread it towards the sides, leaving about a centimeter around the edge. Begin rolling the dough from the side closest to you. Make sure the dough is tucked in a tight roll. Chill the rolled pastries for 10 minutes in the freezer.

Remove the rolled logs from the freezer and leave them out on the counter for 15 minutes. Using a sharp knife, cut along the middle of the log, lengthwise, to get a cross-section that reveals the ribbons of chocolate. Pinch together both the sides at one end and twist them carefully to achieve a loose rope braid.

Starting with the right edge of the rope braid, roll inwards and tuck the left edge tightly under the bun. You can use a little water as ‘glue’ to secure the roll. Place the buns on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let them rise for 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 190 °C/ 375 °F. Beat an egg and using a pastry brush, lightly brush the buns with egg wash. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until the buns are fluffy and the tops are nice and golden. Remove immediately once done, and place on a wire rack to cool. When they are cool enough to bite into, dig in!

They are worth the work and the wait, I promise you. They are also super addictive. And perfect to have at your weekend brunches and afternoon teas! So, this coming weekend, clear your schedules and get baking; your tummy, and those of your loved ones, will thank you!

Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Joe

LIFESTYLE Moodboard

Moodboard | Pegboard

Mostly used in laundry rooms and garages, however, it makes perfect sense for the kitchen, garden and even the study table for me.

While using in the kitchen think about it: A pegboard can add storage space to a small kitchen that doesn’t have a ton of cabinets or drawers. A pegboard can go on a wall where a shelf or cabinet couldn’t (maybe a shelf would stick out too much?). 

You can add on shelves for your items or even just hand them on the hook. For the OCD you can arrange them in an orderly manner. For the creatives people, you can arrange them and form an art piece.

My favourite will be having them on the study table as it could act as an inspiation wall. A pegboard also costs way less than shelves or cabinets. Also, most rooms have walls!

xoxo, Joe

Credit | All shots used on the mood board via our Pinterest boards.

DESIGN The Moon's Insight

The Moon’s Insight | Bird

Whether you are a seasoned birder or new to the delightful joy of watching birds, you can help gather data for the Christmas Bird Count, one of the largest citizen science data sets in the world! Every December and January, thousands of bird enthusiasts across the world count individual birds in specific areas to get a general idea of the population shifts throughout the years.

The weather is looking cold and dry, so the counts will be accessible by hiking rather than snowshoes or cross-country skis like in years past. Happy birding!

xoxo, Joe

Our Table Stories RECIPES

Prep your Thanksgiving with no hassle

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. If you’re not quite ready yet, don’t worry — that’s why we’re here. We have gathered some useful recipes for you to get ready for your dinner or party. But before anything, preparation is essentially important therefore here is a guide for you. 

Cross-check your Checklist

  1. Check your cookware and kitchen tools
  2. Plan your dinner menu
  3. Prep your dishes
  4. Make the pie crust ahead or even make the pie now
  5. Freeze your sauce
  6. Make a schedule of events for Thanksgiving day.

Things to prepare months ahead

Mark a note or cross your day on your calendar for Thanksgiving. Start finding ideas and gather mood-board, you can do it at the same for the holiday season. It allows you to plan ahead and not be in hurry for the last minutes.

Plan your menu and we above are what we suggested. And you could start ordering or start to purchase the required supplies and ingredients that you need just a month before Thanksgiving.

Things to prepare 1 week ahead

No matter how many guests you’re expecting for your Thanksgiving meal, you can make your table setting cozy and inviting with a few simple touches. For a multi-course meal, make sure you have salad, dinner and dessert plates for each guest.

Consider adding a charger or placemat underneath each setting to add visual depth and interest. Allow space for gravy boats, bread baskets and serving platters, as well as candleholders, flowers and decorations. Trivets are perfect for hot dishes that go from oven to table. If you are serving your meal in a separate dining room, write out place cards and set the table a day or two before the holiday.

Like we mentioned, orders that you made earlier should be delivered in time for preparation for the feast. Always prep 1 week ahead and you could save a lot of time on an actual day.

Things we suggest to prep ahead that include making the pie dough, cooking the sauce or stock.

Things to prepare 2-3 days before dinner

You could start making the appetizer or the salad. Start cleaning and drying salad greens and store them in a resealable plastic bag. Assemble and bake pies; store them at room temperature (unless they’re custard-based, such as pumpkin pie, which should be refrigerated).

Prepare any side dishes, such as mashed potatoes, that can be made ahead and reheated in the microwave.

Things to do on actual day

On the actual day, be a beautiful host with minimum of cooking, yet unlimited of fun. The first thing to prepare is to cook your mains, like the chicken or the pie. Defrost breads and any other prepared items that have been frozen. Then start preparing your drink bar, like chilling your wine and beer. 

While most of the food has been prepared, you can simply serve them after dressing the salad and plating them. 

Give our Thanksgiving checklist a try this year. A little planning and organization in the week before the holiday should make the day itself more enjoyable. When it’s time to eat, you’ll be able to relax and appreciate food, friends, and family. And that’s something to be thankful for.

How do you prep for Thanksgiving dinner? Share your favorite tips and tricks with us by using the hashtag #leplaincanvas

xoxo, Angela

Our Table Stories RECIPES

Rosemary Honey Roasted Chicken

The roasted chicken tight is one of the easiest ways to make fast protein for the whole family – or stockpile some leftovers if you’re only cooking for one or two. If you’ve never roasted a chicken before, it looks a little intimidating the first time, but it’s not hard at all: really all you have to do is put some vegetables inside the body cavity and stick it in the oven.

The vegetables and herbs give the chicken a great flavor from the inside out, and brushing the bird with our homemade rosemary honey glaze adds just a little bit of extra intensity. And as a bonus, it gives you an extra-delicious layer of chicken skin.

Ingredients |

  • 6 pieces of chicken tight
  • 4 tbsp of homemade rosemary honey
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of whole grain mustard
  • 1 tsp of mustard
  • 2 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 4 potato, cut into cube

Method |

Preheat your oven to 450 F. Season the chicken to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. In a bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, and the chopped rosemary. Rub the rosemary mixture all over the chicken. 

Drizzle oil in the baking pan, and bake the potato for 15minutes. Add in the marinated chicken to the potato. Place in the oven and roast for 45 minutes, basting once in a while with the juice in the pan. Let the chicken rest before carving.

Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Joe

LIFESTYLE Moodboard

Moodboard | Tiled Ceiling

Usually, it is normal to opt for the plain white ceiling but now you have to say no to it. Why stop at the ceiling?  For a bold, modern look, choose one wall to cover in tile and extend the tile to cover the ceiling.

This creates drama and reflects even more light in the space.  For this look, we suggest a lighter tile color.  Dark colors on the ceiling can make your space look even smaller.

One additional advantage to tiles ceiling is that it is easier to clean compared to the painted white ceiling. Thus, say no to the white ceiling now!

xoxo, Joe

Credit | All shots used on the mood board via our Pinterest boards.

DESIGN The Moon's Insight

The Moon’s Insight | Candy Cane

Candy Cane
Christmas is like candy; it slowly melts in your mouth sweetening every taste bud, making you wish it could last forever. Christmas is getting closer and closer, seems like we don’t have much time to prepare and get ready for it.

As Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind. We are trying to perfect it making our Christmas a good one.

xoxo, Joe

Drink RECIPES

Rosemary Vanilla Coffee

Hohoho! Are you ready for both the winter and upcoming holiday season? Well, I was lucky to enjoy my first winter and witness the snow earlier this year in London. And, we are so excited to celebrate pre-Christmas in Japan in the weeks time. We can’t wait to walk down streets with the infamous Christmas lighting in Japan. 

For those are embracing the cold weather we highly recommended you with our Rosemary Vanilla Coffee. Thus, this is one of our favourite homemade brew coffee. We love the scent of rosemary, especially for this festival season. You will always feel the warmth around you. 

I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor, though I remember wishing it was slightly less rosemary-y. So, this is my take on their recipe: the perfect Rosemary Vanilla Coffee. To make the syrup, you’ll want to make simple syrup—sugar and water—and then add vanilla extract, and rosemary.

Note: If you don’t want to add the vanilla extract and want a little taste of premium taste, you’ll want to add an extra 1/2 tsp of vanilla bean.

The result is a delicious iced vanilla latte with a hint of rosemary, and it’s so tasty! Once you make the syrup, you’ll add it to the bottom of your glass, fill the glass with ice and milk, then pour espresso shots over top. You can also enjoy this syrup in your cold brew coffee if that’s easier/more accessible. You can store the syrup in a container in your refrigerator for up to two weeks. 

Ingredients |

for the syrup:

  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

for the drink:

  • 1-2 tbsp vanilla rosemary syrup
  • Ice
  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 1-2 shots of espresso

Method |
To make the syrup: add sugar, water, rosemary, and vanilla extract to a saucepan. Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean and place them in the pan, and then place the whole bean in the pan too. Bring mix to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Then, pour syrup through a fine mesh strainer and into a glass container. Allow syrup to cool before using.

For the drink: add syrup the bottom of your glass then fill the glass with ice. Pour milk over top, then add the espresso. Stir everything together, the add more syrup and/or sugar to taste.

If you’re looking to switch up your [iced] latte game, this Rosemary Vanilla Coffee should be the next kind you try! Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Joe

RECIPES Weekend Brunch

Marinated Lamb Skewers

Perfectly moist and crispy succulent lamb souvlaki skewers! Get the fire started. It’s barbecue time this weekend with this amazing Greek lamb souvlaki recipe! Souvlaki is one of the most popular street foods in Greece and for good reason! Juicy and well-seasoned meat garnished with cooling Greek Yogurt sauce served or wrapped in a delicious crispy and fluffy pita. Well, one couldn’t ask for more!

Although I just love the classic Greek chicken and pork souvlaki skewers, I think you will agree that there is nothing better than the smell and deliciousness of a barbecued lamb souvlaki! It’s a shame that nowadays lamb souvlaki is commonly substituted with pork skewers, as a much cheaper alternative. But if you like me, just love lamb, here is very easy to follow Greek lamb souvlaki recipe with fluffy pita bread and creamy Greek Yogurt sauce to make your own homemade juicy lamb souvlaki skewers from scratch!

The most important step in making the perfect, traditional Greek lamb souvlaki is nothing else but the marinade! For this traditional lamb souvlaki recipe, the meat is first marinated to soak up all the wonderful Mediterranean flavors and then grilled, to get all crunchy, nicely colored and juicy.

Marinading your lamb souvlaki in the fridge for at least 4 hours will allow the aromas to infuse the meat and give it the desired flavors. It’s best to leave the meat for the lamb souvlaki marinade overnight, to soak up all the wonderful flavors. (If you are at home blend the marinade once in a while).

The best way to serve your traditional Greek lamb souvlaki is nothing other than with some delicious traditional Greek pita. You can also make your own homemade pita bread with this super easy recipe. Of course, Greek yogurt is the preferred sauce to garnish your lamb souvlaki.

Nevertheless, another delicious alternative of this lamb souvlaki recipe is to serve the lamb souvlaki with roast peppers and tomatoes. With a full spoon of yogurt seasoned with a pinch of cumin, salt, pepper and lemon zest.

Grill the peppers and tomatoes on a grilled pan over high heat to get them all nicely colored and finish in the oven along with the lamb souvlaki for extra flavor.

Ingredients |

  • 1 kg lamb leg or shoulder, cut into chunks
  • 80 ml olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 red onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp dried Greek oregano
  • 1 tsp dried dill or some fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp smoked sweet paprika (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 10 metal or wooden skewers
  • 1 cup greek yogurt

Method |

To prepare this Greek lamb souvlaki recipe, cut the meat into equal sized (3 cm) chunks and set aside.

Prepare the marinade for the lamb souvlaki. In a large bowl add the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, the herbs and spices and season with freshly ground pepper – don’t add salt yet. Whisk all the ingredients to combine. Add the meat and the chopped onions and blend to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, chill and let marinade for at least 4 hours. 

To assemble the lamb souvlaki (skewers), you can either use wooden or metal skewers. Lift the chunks of lamb out of the marinade and thread the pieces, comfortably, on the skewers. At this point don’t forget to season your lamb souvlaki with salt.

Heat a grill, barbecue or griddle pan and cook the lamb souvlaki for about 10-15 minutes, until cooked to your liking.

Enjoy this delicious Greek lamb souvlaki recipe with pita bread and greek yogurt sauce. So go ahead, prepare his traditional lamb souvlaki recipe for your friends and family and enjoy over a glass of cold beer! Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Joe

Moodboard

Moodboard | Woodland Animal

As the title would suggest, woodland animals aplenty feature within this trend. And the hero for this season is the handsome hare.

From lighting to decorative bedding to dinnerware, they’re a key motif, outshining all other countryside creatures this year. Moreover, adding small woodland animal elements like cushion cover, photo frame, or even branches. It helps to bring up the theme without doing many changes.

It’s also worth noting that dried flowers are a rising trend on Pinterest, with searches up 345 percent year on year. Dried flower arrangements can play a huge role in bringing a touch of nature indoors.

All the big names on the high street are bringing out decorative hare lamps – similar in style to the designer Seletti lamps. These quirky designs give the look a modern, playful feel – rather than a classic and heritage a country feel.


xoxo, Joe

Credit | All shots used on the mood board via our Pinterest boards.

DESIGN The Moon's Insight

The Moon’s Insight | Merry Berries

Merry Berries
I am starting to get anxious, as it is already November. Before our trip to Japan, there is still a huge list of task to complete. Moreover, the weather is not helping us, as it has been raining almost every day. 

I have seen many storms in my life. Most storms have caught me by surprise, so I had to learn very quickly to look further and understand that I am not capable of controlling the weather, to exercise the art of patience and to respect the fury of nature.

The month of November, I am preparing for the month of Christmas. So let’s start the celebration by painting some of the Christmas elements.

xoxo, Joe

Healthy Breakfast RECIPES

Green Pea Salad with Grilled Shrimp

Holiday is coming and therefore, both of us decided to come out with some light and a healthier meal before we all forgot during the holiday season which is also unavoidable. I love this Green Pea Salad with Grilled Shrimp. It is one of our proudest original recipes. surely it can’t be compared to the restaurant standard but for a home party, we are happy to serve this.

There are days that we all wondering how to have delicious meals yet also controlling our diets. Yes, surely exercising is the most amazing way as it allows you to eat all the food you want but keep you in shape! However, apart from that we also could control the way we prepare our food and the choice that we intake. A healthier choice is always the best option as it gives our skin a boost as well. 

A zesty grilled shrimp salad, and green peas. The best bright, colorful, and fresh autumn salad, full of grilled shrimp, and peas. All made in under 30 minutes, and all done on the grill. This is quickly going to become your new summer staple salad recipe.

Ingredients |

  • 6 medium prawns
  • 2 cups of frozen green peas
  • 1 spring of scallion
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
  • sliced reddish for garnishing

Method |

Heat up 2 tbsp of oil in a grilled pan. Pan-grilled the prawns till it turns orange, and season it with salt and peppers.

In a pot of boiled water, leave the green peas to cook till soft. Strain it and mix it with chopped scallion, salt, and butter. At the same time use a fork and mash the peas. 

Now it is time to serve, using a circle mold, fill it with the green peas salad. Using a spoon, make sure your peas is pressed firmly. Slowly lift the mold up. Now place the prawn on it and garnish with radish and edible flower.

We love this dishes a lot as it could be served in all season – especially this fall. A very easy appetizer that is also healthy and fulfilling served as a salad.  You will be the superstar host to serve this GreenPea Salad with Grilled Shrimp. 

xoxo, Angela

LIFESTYLE Moodboard

Moodboard | Ceylon Yellow

Ceylon Yellow is “savoury and spicy”, not sunshine bright yellow or flashy neon yellow, it’s a little more of a muted and exotic type of yellow, making it extremely non-seasonal for your home.

This rich silky hue of mustard yellow sits somewhere between the true yellow of gold and the greenish undertones of brass. A perfect colour for Fall.

You can incorporate this tangy hue into your look with the pattern or texture tiles. Use it as the unifying colour to mix daringly different prints and create a cohesive look or as an unexpected pop of colour when paired with shades such as Red Pear, Martini Olive, Russet Orange, Sargasso Sea, Almond Buff and Meerkat! 

These muted yellow indeed give a pop of colour to the house. It brightens ups your room and mood at the same time at the start of the day. 

xoxo, Joe
Credit | All shots used on the mood board via our Pinterest boards.

DESIGN The Moon's Insight

The Moon’s Inside | Ginkgo Leaves

In Japanese decorative art, the ginkgo’s distinctive fan-shaped leaf has carried symbolism along with its singular beauty: the ginkgo has been a symbol of longevity (the tree can live for a thousand years) and of a more profound endurance (four ginkgos survived the blast at Hiroshima and are still growing today).

Can’t wait for the trip to Japan in a month time. I am going to see the real ginkgo leaves for the first time. But memories are time beings, too, like cherry blossoms or ginkgo leaves; for a while they are beautiful, and then they fade and die.

xoxo, Joe

Our Table Stories RECIPES

Gluten Free Chocolate Tahini Brownie

Most folks have only experienced tahini in the traditional sense–in a creamy hummus dip or a tangy tahini sauce atop a juicy kabob.

My friends, it’s time to expand your tahini experience. Added in desserts like our today’s chocolate brownies…well, it’s a game changer!

While adding flavor to chocolate brownies isn’t a new thing, I’ll have to agree with Christopher Kimball, the occasional marshmallow, nut or swirl of peanut butter, doesn’t take brownies much farther. Most remain one-note wonders.

I made a batch at the very last minute for my holiday party last year (bonus points for making the house smell like brownies just as guests arrived) and friends have been asking for the recipe ever since.

Like all good brownies, these are dense, silky, and super chocolaty with a crackly top. There’s a tahini swirl in the center and on top that lends a nutty, salty pop against the rich chocolate. I like my chocolate treats on the salty side, because chocolate tastes good that way.

Brownie aficionados everywhere will tell you that your brownies are only as good as the kind of chocolate you use, so spring for a quality brand, preferably one with 70-percent cacao.

Tahini and chocolate are a complex grown-up pairing; you’ll discover they are such the perfect match. But the whole point of this tahini brownies was not to simply add a different flavor to a classic brownies recipe.

Tahini is a key ingredient here. Instead of adding tahini to a classic brownie batter, we stir chocolate into a tahini base. The game does change. A lot!

These are everything. They’re nutty and fudgey and salty and sweet and bursting with rich chocolate flavor. They are easy to whip up and don’t take too long in the oven.

If you can, let these brownies cool completely, even overnight. I love the flavor and texture so much more the following day, best when chilled in the fridge. But if you must eat them warm, keep it a-la-mode with a scoop of your favorite ice cream.

Ingredients |

Method |

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sprays an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with coconut oil. In a large bowl whisk together cocoa powder, plain flour baking powder, and salt and set aside.

In a large heatproof bowl, combine coconut oil, coconut sugar and chocolate. 

Place a bowl over (but not touching) simmering water to create a double-boiler. Heat up over medium heat, stirring often, until melted and the mixture is smooth.

Remove bowl from heat and whisk in tahini. Whisk in eggs, and vanilla. Mix in the cocoa powder mixture. Transfer batter to baking pan ensuring the top is smooth. Add 9 dollops of tahini over mixture. Using a butter knife, create swirls to make the pattern along the top.

Using a butter knife, create swirls to make the pattern along the top. See the video above for further instructions. Allow brownies to cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting into 16 squares and removing from pan.

Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Joe

Our Table Stories RECIPES

How to make poached pears

Poached pears make the ideal cold weather warmer as they’re comforting, look fabulous and take no time at all to prepare. In this method of gentle, stove-top cooking, the pears are slowly simmered with all sorts of syrups and spices to bring out their delicate and distinct flavours.

What makes them even better is that you can serve them any way you want. They’re delicious in their own right, drizzled with a spot of cream, stewed in a spicy wine or even chopped up and served with crepes and yoghurts. The possibilities are near endless!

The key is to remember that the longer the pears sit in the flavorful syrup after poaching, the better they’ll taste – making this an ideal option for those who like to plan and prepare ahead. The fruit becomes tender, reduces down and absorbs the beautifully concentrated flavour of the liquid.

You can create a simple poaching liquid by mixing two parts liquid (such as water, wine, or fruit juice) with one part sugar. Follow our simple tips below for perfectly poached pears.

Peel 2 medium pears, leaving the stalk intact. Place them into a saucepan with crushed cardamom pods, caster sugar, a vanilla pod, saffron, a cinnamon stick and 500 ml of water.

Poach for an hour or until the pears are tender, then remove them from the heat and allow them to cool.

Boil the leftover syrup until it reduces to a sticky glaze. Serve the pears with 2 tablespoons of the saffron glaze and granola.

Ingredients |

  • 2 medium pears
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 320 g caster sugar
  • ½ a vanilla pod
  • 100 mg saffron
  • 1 small stick of cinnamon

Method |

Peel the pears, leaving the stalk intact. Crush the cardamom pods.

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan with 1 litre of water, bring to a simmer and gently poach the pears for about 2 hours or until tender. Remove from the heat, allow to cool, then refrigerate overnight to steep.

Before serving, remove the pears and set aside to bring to room temperature.

Boil the syrup until reduced to a sticky glaze, about 250ml. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of saffron glaze over the pears, then serve with ice cream or cream.

Not only is this fruit dessert delicious, but it’s also a great way of getting one of your five-a-day. What do you make of poached pears? Will you be incorporating this classy festive dessert in your fall menu?

Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Joe

Moodboard

Moodboard | Cosy in Fall

If we were to create the Ten Commandments of Fall, the first one would be “Thou shalt be comfy.” Your abode during the cold part of the year must be your refuge. That is, after all, the main task of decorating – to make your life better through functionality and style.

We see it primarily as the color of autumn. Sepia introduces a characteristic retro vibe and warms the interior. It will look absolutely dashing on seasonal accessories, especially textiles.

Wooden elements always heat up the atmosphere, making it more homely. Virtually anything can be made of wood, from kitchen bowls to wall panels. The latter are especially in vogue due to the ‘statement wall’ trend. In the autumn it is worth refreshing the interior with a wooden element. Regardless of whether it will be a small kitchen accessory or a dining table, we guarantee that the interior will become cozier.

According to the Scandinavian principle, comfort is always in the first place. As you know there is nothing more uncomfortable than sharp light. In autumn, the upper lighting has to make way for the side lights. Floor lamps and night lamps, as well as candles and lanterns, are going to take the spotlight. Worry not if you don’t have a fireplace! Lanterns with inserted candles will beautifully adorn the veranda, while the bedroom may be lit by lovely cotton balls.

xoxo, Joe

Credit | All shots used on the mood board via our Pinterest boards.

DESIGN The Moon's Insight

The Moon’s Insight | Maple Leaves

Maple Leaves

Many people decide to plant these because they work well as shade, street and specimen trees. Maples are renowned for their autumn colors.  They love to put on a display of oranges, browns, yellows, and reds every year. Some trees may have leaves sporting several of these colors at once! Another desirable trait of some species is their ability to tolerate drought. Isn’t it a beautiful tree. 

“In every change, in every falling leaf, there is some pain, some beauty. And that’s the way new leaves grow.” 

xoxo, Joe

Our Table Stories RECIPES

Baked Caramelized Peaches with Feta Cheese

There is nothing better than a juicy peach on a cold autumn day! Our family loves buying a big box of fresh peaches this time of year. While we love snacking them during the Summer to quench our thirst. It’s our favorite is using them in all of our Autumn desserts.

One of our favorite ways to make them is to bake them with cinnamon sugar. It creates a deliciously caramelized top that is out of this world. If you love peaches and cream, you are going to love this dessert. These baked peaches are so simple to make and taste so delicious!

These baked peaches are so easy to make (5-minute prep) and taste amazing! They also taste amazing when grilled. So good! I love to top my baked peaches with feta cheese and bacon bits for a little crunch!

  • Slice peaches in half and remove the pit. Place in an oven safe pan. Place a small piece(about 3/4 teaspoon) of butter in the middle of each peach.
  • Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Then sprinkle over the peach. Add in the bacon oil and rosemary.
  • Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or until golden. Top with bacon bits. 

When peaches are at their seasonal peak, they can speak for themselves with only a few added flavorings. In this recipe, we used bacon and seriously these must be made immediately.

As we can’t possibly think of anything else in the world except for these peaches covered in sugar then baked with bacon grease. Then real-roasted with rosemary and more sugar and bacon grease drizzles and then topped with the crunchy bacon crumbles and we can’t go on until this is done.

Ingredients |

  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 4 large semi-ripe peaches, cut in half with pit removed
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 large sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Method |

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a bowl, mix together the sugars.

Heat a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat and add bacon, frying until crisp and fat is rendered. Once crispy, remove with kitchen tongs and place on a paper towel to drain. Pour most of the bacon grease out of the skillet and into an heat-safe jar, leaving just a thin layer in the skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low.

Sprinkle the cut-side up of peaches with half of the sugar mixture, the salt and the pepper. Place them cut-side done in the skillet, tucking the rosemary in between. Cook for 5 minutes, or until cut sides are caramel and golden. Sprinkle the remaining sugar on the un-cut side of the peaches. Drizzle a bit of bacon grease (1-2 teaspoons) over the peaches, then place in the oven and roast for 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and flip the peaches so they are cut-side up. Roast for another 5-10 minutes, until soft and fragrant. Remove from the oven and serve immediately, discarding rosemary, and sprinkle on the crumbled bacon and blue cheese. Serve alone or with ice cream, yogurt or salads.

So yes: peaches, sugar, rosemary, bacon, bacon grease, and smoked blue cheese. I’ll die for this. Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Joe

Our Table Stories RECIPES

Our Autumn Tea Blend

Both of us, who is an ardent aficionado of all kinds of tea. During the autumn you can’t spread us from enjoying them too. Thus we decide to make our very own blend of autumn tea, using fruits dried and combined with some green tea, dried herbs, and flowers. It was so soothing and refreshing.

The best thing about this is that you will not need to use added sugar, as the dried fruits will release their sweetness during the tea infusion. Besides, that perception of sweetness is further heightened due to the sweet fruit flavours.

After the first attempt the result was unimaginable thus we wanted to recreate that as a gift for our friends. Here is how we did it, let’s us get started!

For this autumn tea blend, we start we a base of Honeydew Green Tea for Tea drop that we got it last autumn from our Melbourne trip. Green Tea is more delicate in flavour and nature compared to black tea. Although white tea will be the best choice. Still, we ended up using this Green Tea as it also has the benefits of antioxidants and minerals.

The second layers of the tea we added dried flowers such as roses and marigold. We have a big jar of dried roses we gold from a herbal shop along Bugis Street. I always some of them to any of my tea as the fragrant and taste of it help to calm me down. Not to mention roses are great for the ladies, as it helps to ease menstrual pains.

Moving on as it autumn we added bits of Marigold for Spice Garden in as a natural colouring for the tea.

During the autumn, the weather is slightly colder than usual. Thus we ended up added the stars anise. The stars anise are able to warm up your body during the cold days at the same time it is great for the people with a cough and flu.

Lastly, our main lead of this tea blend the citrus. We used lemon this time, as a lemon tea can never get wrong. However, you can replace them with grapefruit or oranges. We tear some of the lemons into small pieces and place them in the jar.

Here you go, you now have your very own blend of tea for this wonderful autumn.

Time to enjoy this cup of tea! As we know the temperature of the water is always an important condition when brewing tea and coffee.

Green Tea: 1-3 minutes | 160° to 180° F
White Tea: 2-5 minutes | 160° to 190° F
Black Tea: 3-5 minutes | 200° to 212° F

For us, we are using Green Tea, as they are easier to brunt thus a lower temperature is used.

How do we brew the tea?

Place the tea in the pot, filling one-third of the pot. Given that tastes are different, strength preferences come into play as well as not everyone has a scale in their kitchen, 2 grams is approximately  1 tablespoon of loose tea leaves.  The other factor that comes into play is the size of your tea leaf.

Once your kettle is done heating your water and turned off, pour the hot water into the french press.  Stir gently and cover with the lid. Let your tea steep for the recommended steeping time.  For green tea, this is 1 -3 minutes.

Pour into your favourite cup, add a slice of dehydrated citrus, sit back, sip and relax.  Another nice thing about this tea is the brew smells just as heavenly as the blend.

There are many varieties of commercially available teas of this kind. After all the research, and try and error, we are been limited to the ingredients we can use. Thus we decided to invest a food dehydrator at home, you can easily make your own copycat Teavana tea creations – all for a fraction of the cost and it is so much fun.

Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Joe

Moodboard

Mood Board | Red Pear

There are two shades of red in this year’s fall palette.  Red Pear is a blue-red with a brown undertone where Valiant Poppy is an orange-red with a gold undertone.  Both shades are very rich and bold and closely related to other shades from the past.

Red Pear is similar to Tawny Port from last years fall color with a bit more red and Valiant Poppy also has a bit more red than the previous Aurora Red.

Usually brown and orange came to my mind when it comes to fall. 

xoxo, Joe

Credit | All shots used on the mood board via our Pinterest boards.

DESIGN The Moon's Insight

The Moon’s Insight | Acorn

It is very rare to find acorn in Singapore, however it is one of the fall item I would like to see them in real life. Squirrel is one of the animal that I love. If I am not wrong they like to eat acorn.

Aprils have never meant much to me, autumns seem that season of beginning, spring

xoxo, Joe.

Our Table Stories RECIPES

Sichuan Mapo Tofu

Mapo tofu is one of a must-have entree on our dining table. There’re tons of option to make a Mapo tofu; you could buy the pre-made sauce in any Chinese/Japanese provision store or supermarket. However, to achieve the authentic taste you can simply make it from the stretch. This post we are going to share with you how to make it without a fuse – like the original Sichuan version.

Unlike the Japan version, this is less creamy and you will taste not only the spiciness but the numbness of it. Which you simply just have this dish to serve with a few bowls of rice.

Cooking Chinese food is pretty much freestyle, it’s the easiest yet complex culinary on the earth. You do not need much skill or procedure when come frying a dish. In a traditional Chinese family “wok” and the “ladle” are the most essential of all but not to forget the fire (which is very silly to mention about it).

Then you will need to have all the basic condiments in the kitchen such as oil, sesame oil, chilli oil, cornstarch, salt, and pepper. There are so many to list on but those we have mentioned are the most basic of all.

We do not use Olive Oil in Chinese dishes as it required heated heavily on the “wok”.  Olive Oil, its flavour, its low burning point (280 degrees), and if nothing else, its expense, olive oil is not appropriate for Asian cooking. We highly recommend you other kinds of plants oils; that included Peanut Oil, Corn Oil, Sesame Oil, and any Vegetable Oil.

So this recipe another highlight of it are the chilli (oil), fermented black bean and (Hua jiao fen). Without these three main ingredients, the dishes will not be as delicious as it should be.

Another common step that we often used in Chinese cooking is called “勾芡, Gōuqiàn”. It’s like how the western region adds the flour to thicken the soup or the sauce.

Thus for us, cornflour is used regularly in Chinese cooking to thicken the sauces of the dishes. In our recipes, we have written that you need to add in 2 tablespoons of cornflour mixture. Cornflour mixture, in this case, refers to 1 tablespoon of cornflour mixed with 2 tablespoons of water.

Ingredients |

  • 1 block silken tofu 19 oz box
  • 1/4 lb ground pork
  • 3 tablespoons Sichuan spicy bean paste 辣豆瓣酱
  • 2 tablespoons chilli powder
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 3 tablespoons chilli oil
  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns roasted and ground to powder
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon fermented black beans rinsed and pounded
  • 1 stalk of leeks or scallions chopped into 1 or 2-inch length
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Salt to taste

Method |

Cut the tofu into small pieces, drain the water from the tofu and set aside. Heat up a wok and pour in the cooking oil and chilli oil. Add the chopped garlic, ground pork, spicy bean paste, and stir-fry until the pork is half-done. Then add in chilli powder, soy sauce, fermented black beans, and stir-fry until aromatic.

Add in the tofu and water; stir gently to blend the tofu (don’t break them) well with the sauce. Lower the heat and simmer for about 3-5 mins or until the sauce thickens.

Add in the roasted Sichuan peppercorn powder and chopped scallions. Gently stir and blend well. Dish out and serve hot.

Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Angela.

Moodboard

MoodBoard | Autumn Vibes Vol 4

The unique colour of pumpkin brings along a cooler feeling, and they’re a great thing to incorporate into your fall decor. Pinterest is full of inspiration, and they have some amazing fall displays right now that incorporate all different coloured pumpkins, including the blue ones!

If you’re looking for a new way to display your pumpkins, the perfect ombre pumpkin tower is the best way to display them. Why wait till Christmas for a Christmas tree, where you can have a pumpkin tree instead. Pumpkin literally spices everything up. Even pumpkin the market, brighten up the wet and humid place.

Dried hydrangeas, faux and real pumpkins all work together to create an elegant tablescape. For seasonal decorating, I almost always mix real and faux greenery together. When you add something fresh to the faux, you have greater difficulty telling which is which!

A small pumpkin can do much to create an awesome autumn vibe. 

xoxo, Joe.

Credit | All shots used on the mood board via our Pinterest boards.

DESIGN The Moon's Insight

The Moon’s Insight | Pumpkin

Pumpkin

Hello October! October is one of my favorite month of the year as it’s the month of Halloween and the welcoming of autumn. During October we are able to see a market full of pumpkin. Which means it’s time to make awesome and delicious pumpkin dishes. 

The very first dish that I will be making is the one and only homemade pumpkin puree. Before I forget, as in most cases, homemade pumpkin puree tastes so much better and fresher than the canned stuff. When you see how easy it is to do, you’ll never look back. You can use the pumpkin puree in any recipe that calls for canned puree.

But let us start the month by painting the pumpkin first before heading to eat them up.

xoxo, Joe.

Our Table Stories RECIPES

Spicy Chorizo Prawn Pasta

This autumn what I love the most is having all kind of pasta, seafoods and desserts. Feeling all blend, you would love this spiced up Autumn Pasta – Spicy Chorizo Prawn Pasta like us.

So we love to eat meat and cheese, therefore we always kept salt-cured meat like chorizo and eat it whenever we want. Hence, there are always some left over in the freezer, and when you wonder how to finish them, this is the recipes you are looking for.

It’s a super easy recipes for any dining plan – it just take you less than 30mins and get it done. So here is how you begin.

The most important step of the dish is to blend the chorizo as that is the highlight of the dish. I really love my blender, a gift from last year Christmas, it really saves me from all the trouble when come to blending, stirring and mixing. However, for those who don’t have a blender, don’t worry, we can always use the traditional method just chop it finely as fine as possible.

Meanwhile, you can also start cooking your pasta – this time we decided to use spaghetti as we find that it tastes a lot better. Nonetheless, you can always replace with a different kind of pasta you got at home. Cooking is a way to be creative that is how we always found joy when we do all the different experimental in the kitchen.

So let begin cooking, hit your pan with finely chopped garlic and the well-blended chorizo in the olive oil, stir fry them till fragrantly. Then add in the prawn, cook them till it turns orange. We then add in the homemade prawn stock as a flavoring rather than adding salt.

We then stir in the cooked pasta for a minute and serve them in a plates garnishing with basil leaves.

Ingredients |

  • 400g of Spaghetti
  • 300g of Air-dried Chorizo, chopped
  • 3 tbsp of Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 3 tbsp of Homemade Prawn Stock
  • 500g Peeled Prawn, Halved Lengthways
  • Basil Leaves, To Serve

Method |

Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 6–8 minutes or until al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup (125ml) of the cooking liquid.

Place the chorizo in a food processor and process until finely chopped.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add the garlic, chorizo, prawn stock, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until golden and crisp. Add the prawn and cook for 4 minutes. Add the pasta, reserved cooking liquid and toss to combine. Serve with basil leaves.

That’s easy and beautiful, isn’t it? The warm colours just match it so well that it fits in the seasonal vibes. What you wait for? Cook it and let us know how much you enjoy the sea favour of the dish!

xoxo, Angela.

Home LIFESTYLE

Stay Eco-Friendly for a Substainable Home

Looking to start living a waste-free life? Here is some eco-friendly way for a sustainable home will help you make the switch to reducing the use of plastic and other harmful materials. Remember, small changes can have a big impact on the world!

5 ways to start a waste-free living.

1. Reusable Shopping Bags

Always say “no” to plastic, bring a reusable/foldable shopping bag with you all the time. There are so many beautiful tote bags and grocery bag, why would you want to carry a plastic bag instead? While many grocery stores will sell reusable shopping totes for a couple dollars which is a great option too. I also recently ordered this Macrame Tote Bag for the grocery shopping which I love it a lot. There is a lot of beautiful option online so it’s very convenient.

2. Glass Storage Containers

Glasswares are really the best invention on the earth – it’s safer than plastic in all way. And you could use it for a lifetime. We love to use glassware as it’s heatproof with multifunctional purpose. Most importantly it doesn’t absorb smells as compared to plastic and it helps keep food clean, fresh and tasty for a longer period.

3. Beeswax Wrap

Say goodbye to the days of using plastic wrap to store everything! This Beeswax wrap is reusable, antibacterial, plastic-free, and compostable. It will also keep your food nice and fresh! They usually come in different designs and sizes – while the ones that we are using are sustomi beeswax and beeswrap from the UK.

4. Bamboo-ware

These days your favourite kitchen-ware should be all made out of bamboo. From what we studied bamboo is technically a grass and can be cut without killing the plant. They could continue to grow from the same root. This makes bamboo a highly renewable, eco-friendly resource. So why are we killing the trees when we could replace with something better and cheaper? For those planning to change your kitchenware or even furniture, consider Bamboo as your first choice.

5. Gardening

Leading a waste-free living, we should start appreciating the little that comes to us. Hence, gardening and plant your own food is the most efficient way to kickstart with.

Besides switching to an eco-friendly product, some additional tips on sustainable living are said no to “one-time waste“. Stop using straws when you could drink from the cup. If for hygiene reason you could start to consider opting for bamboo straws or metal straws. Also reducing the time you use water, recycle and compost when you can, walk or take public transport, and be mindful.

xoxo, Angela.

Moodboard

Mood Board | Fladis Basket

Belly baskets are ubiquitous. And depending on whom you ask, they’re either tired or inspired. There are serval different type of belly basket, however, my favourite is the Fladis Basket from IKEA.

I’m all for them. For one thing, you can’t deny their usefulness in corralling whatever your home throws its way: blankets in the den, shoes in the entry, rolls of toilet paper in the bath. Push the top of the basket down so that it pops inside and the handles disappear, essentially cutting its height in half, and you can even use it in the kitchen as a fruit bowl. For another, their soft shape feels organic and natural—and still very much of-the-moment. They can also be easily personalized; you can paint them or add pompoms.

Best of all, there’s an upside to their popularity: Because they’re so trendy, they’re easy to find and also pretty inexpensive. Have the handles turned up to hide your things, or turn them down to display the contents – you choose. This multifunctional basket is handwoven and adds a natural and genuine expression to any space.

xoxo, Joe
Credit | All shots used on the mood board via our Pinterest boards.

DESIGN The Moon's Insight

The Moon’s Insight | Bay

Bay

Bay leaves are the dryer sheets of the kitchen. I know that they do something, I’m just not entirely sure what it is, and I don’t really miss them when I run out. Yet I keep buying them because of this what human that cook does. They buy bay leaves and put them in things.

Next time I am going to do an experience on what does the food taste with or without the bay leaves. Can’t wait for this challenge.

xoxo, Joe.


Our Table Stories RECIPES

How to cook prawn stock

Making your own stock or broth is never a difficult matter, you simply need to spares some of your time to make it ahead. This week we would love to share with you how to make good prawn stock and never throw away your prawn head like a waste again. 

As you know prawn head have cholesterol however if you boil them into stock and use them wisely it would never be a harmful effects but adding in flavors to your food. 

It seems like every day somebody asks me “How do you make prawn stock, Angela?” or “I was thinking of making some prawn stock, how would you do it?” Given that we are a pretty average type of guy, I know that you too must be harassed on a regular basis with prawn stock conundrums. So we are going to tell you how to do it.

First, you need a decent quantity of big fresh Dublin Bay Prawns. I have mentioned these previously. The last time, I cooked them and we ate them. This time, we need the prawns for their heads and shells only. 

For this recipe you will need the following:

  • Nice fresh prawns
  • A bag of prawn bits
  • garlic
  • Black peppercorns
  • The patience of Jobe for shelling the prawns

First, pull the heads off the prawns and then put the bodies in the freezer for 30 minutes. This makes it much easier to get the meat out of the shells. To do this, squeeze the shell on the open end until the shell cracks or your finger bursts and you start to bleed. Bandage up the fingers and get the rest of them done.

When you are finished, you should have a pile of prawn meat. This has no place in the stock recipe so discard this and place the shells, heads, legs, claws and other bits into a pot and fry them in batches, in some garlic and oil until they change color somewhat.

Next, add them to a big stock pot and cover them with water, adding the peppercorns. Simmer (don’t boil) this for a couple of hours, removing any scum that rises to the surface.

Strain it all through kitchen paper in a cheesecloth or sieve to leave an intensely prawn flavoured stock. This will make an excellent basis for a bisque or for making a seafood risotto.

Following the steps we shall you will be enjoying the flavorful prawn stock in your food. Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Angela.

Our Table Stories RECIPES

A Dreamy Mid Autumn Festival

Happy Mid Autumn festival everyone – especially for those who have sweet tooths must be celebrating. It’s time most of us almost forgot all about the dieting rules and nibble with all kind of mooncakes and sweets. There are lots of variety these days, from the traditional ones to the snow skin mooncakes. This year we challenged both of it and both win hearts from the crowds. 

Walk down the memory lane, I remember it used to be our favourite festival where on an actual day our granny brings us around the neighbourhood in the evening where we get to gather around with other children to show off our beautiful lantern. 

There are years we purchase the most expensive cartoon lantern and there are also years that our parent encourages us to make our own Pomelo lantern (it is similar to the idea of pumpkin lamp during the Halloween). 

This year onward would be difficult for us to celebrate with our granny anymore, but it reminds us the happy memories we shared with her. However, our traditional celebration will never change. This year we will be celebrating the mid-autumn festival with homemade snow skin mooncake, lantern, and pomelo dandelion tea.

A little different from the usual year, this year we made our very own mooncake and pomelo tea. We have a fun time as we get to enjoy spending the time making the mooncake with my family members.

One of the cons in homemade food that it is healthy at the same time low in cost. There is the time where I am so tempted to get the store made moon cake, however, they are all too expensive. So why not made them, at the same time enjoying ever moments with your family?

As we stayed in Chinatown, every year they are this celebration at the neighborhood. They are a light display and a cracker performance, it is also crowded with people. Nevertheless, with 23 years of experiencing it, we decided to give it a pass this time. Therefore, this year we will be spending time with the moon tonight.

Wishing you a Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

xoxo, Angela.



Moodboard

Mood Board | Pastel Dream

I believed in waking up in a beautiful space that brings you joy. Whenever we decorating our home the first thing that we focus on is clean and well-designed spaces. However that is a big no, color is one of the important element you will need to consider first.

With different colors, you can bring up different style to your home. With your color mood board, you are then able to get the furniture that is suitable for your home style. This time I would talk to you about pastel color.

Pastel colors never fail to brighten a space! They often add to a relaxing atmosphere and help keep your room from appearing small and moody. Unfortunately, they are often thought of as frivolous and “girly”. Contrary to belief, these soft shades can actually help your home appear modern and chic.

The key to this would be to pair pastels with cool whites, soft greys, and other neutral colors. Also avoid using elaborate and ornate detailing in rooms that have plenty of pastels, and keep things simple and light. By adding some pastel elements to the small object like ladders, cushion or throw over. Or even big elements like to your window or wall. So let’s start to build our dreamy room now.

xoxo, Joe.
Credit | All shots used on the mood board via our Pinterest boards.

DESIGN The Moon's Insight

The Moon’s Insight | Sage

Sage

Italians are known to add flavor to veal with sage, while the French uses it for sausages, stuffing and cured meats. The herb’s warm and musky essence also probably reminds you of homemade turkey dressing — a Thanksgiving staple loved by many Americans.

Sage is a herb with no flavor, however, it provides lots of health benefits. Sage is like family, the love from the family is the one we thought of less, however it’s needed in our life.

xoxo, Joe.

Our Table Stories RECIPES

Easy Making Pita Bread

This is the first time I made my time Pita Bread, It’s a big success! The homemade pita bread is seriously going to change your life. This is a bold statement, but trust me, this stuff is ridiculous. I can confidently say that after making pita bread at home, you won’t ever want store-bought pita again.

We were initially nervous about making pita bread at home, but it turns out that it is pretty simple and requires just 5-ingredients. The longest part of the recipe is the rising time!

Pita is also great make-ahead bread. I often prepare the dough through the first rise, punch it down, and then keep it refrigerated for up to a week. The flavor actually improves after a few days of chilling. You can bake the whole batch at once or cut off just what you need to make one or two flatbreads at a time.

If you don’t have a standing mixer, no need to worry. You can make this recipe with a bowl and a good ol‘ wooden spoon, it will just take a bit more time with manual mixing and kneading.

Aside from the hours it took for the dough to rise to perfection; my active time on the recipe was but 45 minutes. And it bakes in a quick 8 minutes! So when you make this recipe, I recommend you start earlier in your day. And while your dough is rising, you can get other things done. Better yet, prepare the dough in the evening and leave it to rise overnight.

Although it is ideal that the pita bread will begin to puff up and fill with hot air to get the perfect “pockets”, it is not necessary or always expected.

Ingredients |

  • 1 cup lukewarm warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) active dry active yeast
  • ~3 cups all-purpose flour (or enough to form a soft and slightly sticky dough)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt

Method |

Add the warm water, sugar, and yeast to the bowl along with 1 cup of flour. Whisk everything together until uniform and set it aside for 15 minutes. The mixture should bubble and foam. Add the olive oil and salt, along with 1 1/2 cups of flour. Mix until the dough is soft and no longer stick to the sides of the bowl. If it does stick, add an additional 1/4 cup of flour at a time (we added 1/2 cup more for a total of 2 cups). Knead on low for 5 to 6 minutes.* Remove the dough from the bowl, turn it out onto a floured work surface and form it into a ball.

Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough inside. Turn it over to coat it with oil, and cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise in a warm area for 2 hours or until doubled in size. Remove the dough from the bowl and place onto a floured work surface. Form the dough into a large ball and cut it into 8 pieces using a sharp knife. We roughly estimate here but if you would like everything to be even, use a food scale to weight out each dough piece to ensure they are equal.

Form each piece of dough into a small ball, pulling dough from the sides and tucking the ends underneath the bottom. Place the balls about 1-inch apart onto the floured work surface and cover them with a lightly oiled piece of plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.

Once rested, roll the dough balls out into flat and round pitas, about 1/4-inch thick. If you do not have a rolling pin, you can simply use your hands to pat the dough flat as best you can. Allow the dough to rest for 10-30 minutes. From our experience, the longer the better! The longer the dough sits, the more likely it will form a pocket in the pita when cooking.

Brush a cast-iron skillet with a tiny bit of olive oil and place it over medium-high heat. Add the pita bread dough into the skillet. Cook until bread begins to puff up and the bottom has browned about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for 2 minutes more. Wrap the cooked bread in a clean dish towel as you continue cooking the rest of the pita to keep them warm.

Best if served immediately; if not, the pita will last in the airtight container at room temperature for about 5-7 days.

xoxo, Joe.

Moodboard

Mood Board | Lover Seat

When looking through furniture options for your living room, it may be hard to tell the difference between a sofa and a loveseat – especially if you’re looking online. Often loveseats and sofas will come in the same style as a pair to fit into your living room. You don’t always have to purchase them like this, however. Mix and match your choices to fit your personal style, but don’t get confused about whether you want to purchase a sofa or a loveseat ever again! 

The biggest difference between a loveseat and a sofa is the size. Sofas are larger and come in a lot of different lengths, although the traditional three-cushion seat is one of the more common styles. Loveseats, on the other hand, are much smaller and usually only have room for two adults to sit.

As loveseats are smaller and are usually used as an accent piece to complete a room. They’re also useful for small spaces where a larger sofa wouldn’t fit.

xoxo, Joe


Our Table Stories

Kitchen Challenge | Snowskin Mooncake

Asian Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节) is just around the corner! This year, it falls on the 24th of September. I’ve been busy these days testing recipes for mooncakes, the traditional delicacy that Chinese people enjoy on this special occasion. Today, I’d like to show you how to make no-bake snow skin mooncake, Green Tea Custard Mooncake, and Beetroot Coffee Lotus Mooncake.

We want to challenge ourselves making them because the one they have in the market is too expensive. Moreover, we want to make some as a gift for our friends and family.

My love for snowskin mooncake is unparalleled. Love is probably an understatement. I’ve got to have at least one of these so-easy-to-binge-eat doughy sweet treats all to myself every Mid-Autumn Festival. No sharing is allowed, even if it comes in a large size.

Besides being so easy to munch on, snowskin mooncakes are actually really easy to make too! That’s great for me as I can make as many as I want to till my heart’s — and belly’s — content, and so can you.

This recipe is so simple; it’s like playing an adult version of Play-Dough. You could make a whole batch of it while watching your favorite TV show or get grab a kid or two to keep them occupied and entertained.

Let’s us get started by preparing the filling of the mooncake first. This time we are going to make some homemade custard filling. For the coffee lotus filling, we will be using pre-made one that we got from Phoon Huat.

Ingredients for Custard filling |

  • 20 gm cake flour
  • 20 gm custard powder
  • 55 gm caster sugar
  • 30 gm whisked egg
  • 30 ml condensed milk
  • 80 gm coconut cream
  • 45 gm butter, melted

Method for Custard filling |

Sieve all flours in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar. Whisk together the egg, condensed milk, and coconut cream until combined before adding melted butter. Pour into flour and mix until a smooth. Strain into a large and shallow pan. Cover with foil and steam for 15 to 20 minutes over medium-high heat.

Once firm removes and lets it cool down, give it a few kneads until smooth then wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for later use. Divide into 8 portions of 32g each and roll into balls.

We also make some extra Custard filling aside as we want to wrap it in the Beetroot Coffee Lotus Mooncake, making it look like the egg yolk in the traditional mooncake. Then divide the custard filling into 8 portions of 12g each, and the coffee lotus into 8 portions of 20g each. Afterwards, roll the custard into a ball. Then using the coffee lotus we wrap the “egg yolk” in it.

Now that we have our filling ready and leaving them aside. We can now make our skin! Start by sieve all flours in a large mixing bowl then add sugar and stir with a whisk to mix. Mix milk and condensed milk together before pouring into the flour mixture. Mix until combined then stir in vegetable oil.

Strain through a fine sieve into a large and shallow pan. Cover with foil and steam for 15 to 20 minutes over medium-high heat. Let it cool down before transferring to your mixing bowl and add green tea powder. Knead until you get an even green dough. Divide into 8 portions of 33g each. Roll each piece into a flat circle, keeping the center thicker.

Now come to the fun to wrap and chop them! This is my favorite part in making them, as it’s so excited to see the out come of the mooncake!

Here some little tips for you, to ease your pain in making them!

  • Shortening fat is vegetable fat with less grease. Other brands besides Crisco, can be found in major supermarket stores and baking supplies shops.
  • Rest the soft dough to turn it into moist and pliable textured snow skin. If rest soft dough longer than 10 minutes, covers the dough with the dry cloth or cling wrap when resting it.
  • Snow skin can make into different flavor and color by changing the flavor/ essence, according to different filling used.
  • If you wish to add salted egg yolk, reduce the amount of lotus paste to half. Salted egg yolk and lotus paste can be found at major supermarkets.
  • As the snowskin is so sticky it is best to work with the clear wrap of plastic gloves. It is totally a mess when the mochi skin sticks onto you or anywhere.

Ingredients |

  • 40 gm glutinous rice flour
  • 20 gm rice flour
  • 8 gm wheat starch
  • 12 gm plain flour
  • 35 gm caster sugar
  • 160 ml milk
  • 35 ml condensed milk
  • 30 ml vegetable oil (such as sunflower oil or canola oil)
  • 1½ tsp matcha powder & beetroot powder
  • 3 Tbsp cooked glutinous rice flour, for coating

Method |

Now that we have our filling ready and leaving them aside. We can now make our skin! Start by sieve all flours in a large mixing bowl then add sugar and stir with a whisk to mix. Mix milk and condensed milk together before pouring into the flour mixture. Mix until combined then stir in vegetable oil.

Strain through a fine sieve into a large and shallow pan. Cover with foil and steam for 15 to 20 minutes over medium-high heat. Let it cool down before transferring to your mixing bowl and add green tea/ beetroot powder. Knead until you get an even green dough. Divide into 8 portions of 33g each. Roll each piece into a flat circle, keeping the center thicker.

Wrap the filling with the snowskin dough firmly and seal the edges well. Coat with cooked glutinous rice flour. Shake away the excess then press in a floured mooncake mold firmly then press it out to unmould. Store in an air-tight container covered with a kitchen paper in the fridge for a couple of hours before cutting and serve. These mooncakes are really soft and need to be handled gently. If you like, you can freeze first in order to cut them into neat slices.

Mooncakes can be kept for a few weeks in the chiller. Just thaw it before serving.

xoxo, Joe.

Moodboard

The Moon’s Insight | Rosemary

Rosemary
Rosemary is a perennial evergreen shrub with blue flowers. It is an aromatic and distinctive herb with a sweet, resinous flavor. Here’s how to grow your own rosemary plants. 

Rosemary is ideal for a rock garden or the top of a drywall. It is often used for seasoning poultry, lamb, stews, and soups. Today we will be using it to make a Rosemary Vanilla Coffee drink. Thus please stay tuned for the recipes.

xoxo, Joe.

Moodboard

Mood Board | Green Living

There’s nothing worse than ending the day in a stressful way. One way to ensure a better quality of sleep is to fill your home with beautiful flowers and plants. Not only do they look great and bring vitality and life to your living spaces, but they can have fantastic relaxing and purifying benefits – which in turn can promote a healthy sleeping pattern.

With stress and anxiety causing half of all insomnia issues, it’s a good idea to fill your home and bedroom with a variety of plants that have a calming effect. After all, studies clearly show that spending time in nature reduces stress levels, so why not simply bring nature indoors?

Some little tips that we have discovered, if you love a dark palette, use plants with strong forms. Darker-colored and more architectural leaves add depth to moody spaces. On the other hand, a lighter space will make your plants stand out more. Whether you are after a dark or light palette, let your plants spill out into your room. Use cascading plants on windowsills and mantelpieces, tall upright growing plants on the floor and smaller plants on coffee tables. When you build a bigger collection of plants, start experimenting by layering with color, texture, shape, and size.

xoxo, Joe

Credit | All shots used on the mood board via our Pinterest boards.

DESIGN Moodboard The Moon's Insight

The Moon’s Insight | Olives

Olives
Olives have been one of the food that I dislike the most. As the black olive on the pizza is always sour and disgusting. The source of olive oil, a damned agreeable pizza topping and available in many shades, it would seem the olive has had a positive influence on the world – particularly seeing as an olive branch is the symbol of peace. 

However, after me falling in love with eating cheese. Eating olives alongside has been a habit for me. The texture and flavor just compliment each other. Nowadays there are times I just eat the olives alone.

xoxo, Joe

 

Drink RECIPES

Pomelo Dandelion Tea

Mid -Autumn Festival is around the corner, lantern and lights are already up, all ready for the event. During the mid-autumn festival or mooncake festival, other then mooncake one of the foods that will be seen is the Pomelo. It has the shape of roundness and the full moon to associate with the mid-autumn festival. So Pomelo is a popular fruit for harvest festival celebrated by Chinese. Chinese New Year comes, this seasonal fruits is to use as decoration and also popularly selling in the market as believe and symbolic is ‘to bring prosperous’ and “to have” wealth and good fortune in meaning.

Since we have so many Pomelo, we decided to make some Honey Pomelo Dandelion Tea for the humid day. Honey Pomelo Tea is made from the flesh, skin, steep in boiling for 1 and half hour with rock sugar and honey, as the skin of Pomelo has the effect of reducing and lower blood level, in alternative healing this syrup is made to use in home remedies for treatment.

In Japan and South Korea is famous in taking “Honey Pomelo Tea” as healthy drink and therapeutic care purpose, Chinese name it as “You Zi Cha”, in fact, it looks like fruit jams or syrup jelly in jar selling in most of the superstore. It is commonly used as a beverage for cooling heat effect as well.

Wash Pomelo skin thoroughly in warm water with salt. Peel the skin and cut it into thin slices. After cutting the Pomelo skin into slices, place them into the warm water with salt and soak it overnight. This helps them to remove the bitter taste. Bailout the Pomelo skin and discard the salt water, rinse with clean water and set aside ready for use.

Peeled the Pomelo fruit pulp or flesh of Pomelo beforehand, slightly blend it with the juicer for 1 min. Or use “compress” method to press it with spoon lightly. Keep aside for use. Remove some of the thick peel or rind and all the membranes the translucent segments containing the teardrop sacs, which is bitter in taste.

Ingridents|

  • 1 Pomelo (Skin & Flesh)
  • 70g Rock Sugar
  • 2 tbsp of “Mai Ya” Sugar
  • 300ml of Pure Honey
  • 2 tbs.Salt (for soaking and cooking the skin)

Method|

Firstly, use 2 cups of water to cook Pomelo skin slices with 1 tbs. of salt for 10 minutes. Discard the salt water and rinse it thoroughly with water and drain dry.

Place the blended or “compressed” Pomelo flesh and juice and Pomelo skin to cook till boil, stir in rock sugar and mai ya sugar continue cooking and stirring.

possible to continue cooking and stirring it for at least 1 hour, slowly reduce to low heat and stir till the ingredients become more and thicker, the color will turn to golden yellow. Remove from heat when it turn to golden yellow and in thicken form like jams.

Wait till it is almost cold, add in pure honey and stir well. Keep into the clean glass container and keep in a refrigerator.

Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Joe

Moodboard

Mood Board | Morning Coffee

For a huge coffee lover like me, it’s always good that I am able to enjoy a cup of warm coffee once I wake. There is the time I am so lazy to head out as I just want to stay at home and be lazy. Thus I ended up feeling all lazy with my morning coffee. Therefore, it is always great to have a little coffee corner in the kitchen for a coffee person like me.

It’s always so hectic in the morning and I couldn’t find my coffee or sugar. Therefore, lay them on the working batch is the best idea as you are able to see them in one view. Leave your coffee or even tea in the jar so that you are able to keep them away from the dust. From my experience, it is best to leave a few cups near your coffee machine as you and just grab and make your coffee.

Now I am going to grab my coffee while waiting for Angela to wake up and we shall start with our new project. Happy Monday!

xoxo, Joe.

Credit | All shots used on the mood board via our Pinterest boards.

DESIGN The Moon's Insight

The Moon’s Insight | Basil

Basil

Welcome September, time flies without me know it happen. Recently I have been trying to use the herb in our food. As it is the most natural way of adding flavor to the food. 

Basil is a common aromatic herb in the mint family. Basil, of course, is used to adding flavor to a variety of recipes, but what may surprise you is the many benefits of basil that make it well-known for its immunity-enhancing properties. Basil extract, or basil essential oil, is proven to help prevent a wide range of health conditions, which makes it one of the most important medical herbs known today.

xoxo, Joe.

Our Table Stories RECIPES

Orange Chocolate Bread

We love making our own bread, however, to make a perfect bread the amount of flour and water is very important. Even the type of flour will highly affect the texture of the bread. Thus when we are craving for some homemade bread, there are times we use the pre-mix flour. 

During our visit to Medi-ya (still our favorite Japanese supermarket), we picked some of this Cuoca Premium a Loaf of Chocolate Bread Mix. We have never tried them out before but it was really a great pick.

We faced a small problem when we decided to make the bread. All the instruction are in Japanese words. Thus we try to search online for translation or even tutorial for help. But we didn’t have the luck, thus we try our best to figure it out using the knowledge we have in making bread.

In the box, it comes with a package of pre-mix flour and dry yeast. All you need to do it to combine 150g of water and 20g of melted butter with the pre-mix flour and dry yeast. Combine it well.

After combining all the ingredients, it forms a soft dough form. To spice it up we decided to add some chopped Orange Chocolate that we last got from Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market. We try some of them before adding them in, it still tastes amazing like the first time we got it. 

Here comes the problem, as the instruction on the box is all in Japanese we don’t know what’s the next step after mixing them up. However, since there is yeast in the mixture, we decided to let it rise at room temperature from 30 minutes. 

After 30 minutes, we aren’t sure if the dough is ready for baking. Since we will be having 2 loaves of bread. We decided to try baking one of the loaves in the oven to bake for 25 minutes at 190 C. And we left the other loaf to rise. 

Yes, we are right. The loaf of bread is still able to rise. Thus we suggest you leave your bread to rise at room temperature for an hour. Although the first loaf of bread hasn’t been raised well the end product still tastes awesome. 

Simple as simple can be, this bread is exactly what a quick bread should be: quick and extremely non-fussy. The result is a very tender, very chocolatey bread that is moist and delicious and believes it or not, is as delicious (if not more so) the next day.

The is the most simple recipe I ever tried. Mix, leave it to rise for an hour and bake it. In just 3 steps it gives you a moist and yummy chocolate bread. With this mixture, you can customize your bread by adding nuts, chocolate or even dried fruits.

Take a photo of your version, send us an email, tag us on Instagramtweet us, anything. We love to see you trying out our recipe!

xoxo, Joe.

Moodboard

Mood Board | Market in Green

There was a time where I would freely use plastic bags, drink from plastic straws, use one-time use containers…etc. It’s not that I didn’t care about the impact of using these items, it’s that I just had no idea of the impact they had on the environment!

Going green has been around for years, it is not only just a trend but a living habit a lot people been doing now.  There is a lot of ways by going green, one of the ways is by reducing to use of plastic in our everyday life. For us, we try our best to reduce the plastic bag uses during the market trips.

Any kind of bags lying around your house can be a recycle bag for your market trip such as the trusty cloths bulk bag. The small size is handy for buying nuts, lentils, coffee, etc. This reusable bulk bag is perfect for all your bulk purchases! The fishnet bag is also a good alternative as it is small and light to carry, it also added a little style to your #ootd.

“Stay, stay at home, my heart and rest; home keeping hearts are happiest. For those that wander they know not where, are full of trouble and full of care; To stay at home is best.” -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Remember, small changes can have a big impact! 

xoxo, Joe

Credit | All shots used on the mood board via our Pinterest boards.