rice terraces; longsheng
To continue with my 22-day saga through China, I will dedicate an entire post to Longsheng because it really was one of the visual highlights of my trip. We stopped over for one evening while on the way from Guilin to Yangshuo as we had heard about the amazing rice terraces – rolling fields textured with rows of rice crops against a backdrop of mountains upon mountains – and simply couldn’t say no. I can’t say I’m sorry.
rice terraces; longsheng
I also got to try a regional specialty – rice mixed with meat and vegetables and then cooked in a tube of bamboo over a fire. Delicious and so interesting to see!
bamboo rice; longsheng
And spending an evening in this cute town was a good choice, as there were a couple of restaurants at the top of the terraces where you could sip some jasmine tea and enjoy the view.
the town; longsheng
top of the hills; longsheng
Oh, and because I find things like this interesting – some pretty cool vegetation. Doesn’t it look like something straight out of an animated movie?!
Have a fantastic weekend, everyone!
*Once again: with travel posts, some photos belong to a travel buddy of mine.
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karst formations; via li river to yangshuo
As I mentioned in my previous post, I traveled from Guilin to Yangshuo by boat to see the beautiful karst formations along the Li River. I recall staying in Yangshuo for about 2-3 days, which gave me the opportunity to enjoy the scenery in the area as well as bike up to Moon Hill.
li river; via boat to yangshuo
view of li river while biking; yangshuo
My favourite memory from this portion of the trip was biking up to Moon Hill. Since I went in May, jasmine was in full bloom in the region and everywhere you went you could smell the phenomenal fragrance of the flowers. Imagine biking through this amidst an expanse of out-of-worldly karst formations.
Once you arrive at the foot of the hill, there’s a long, winding staircase path that takes you to the top for some fantastic views.
hiking up moon hill; yangshuo
moon hill; yangshuo
Yangshuo is one of those places I continue to think about even long after I’ve left. How I would love to go back at some point!
Have a great weekend, everyone!
*And as always with travel posts, some photos belong to a travel buddy of mine.
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reed flute caves; guilin
While I was on exchange, I had this amazing grace period of just a little over three weeks where I a) was finished class b) still had plenty of time to study for final exams. Thus, I set off on a 22-day trip through parts of China, making stops in Sanya, Guilin, Longsheng, Yangshuo, Xi’an, and Beijing.
Pictured up top are the striking and magnificent Reed Flute Caves in Guilin. Naturally formed from limestone, the entire cave is lit up with different colours to give the entire site a mystical effect.
Below are a couple more snapshots from my stay in Guilin:
sun&moon pagodas; guilin
Excuse a bit of the blurriness in this photo – I simply couldn’t commit to lugging around a tripod for three weeks so my night shots suffered slightly. Located in Banyan Lake, the Sun and Moon Pagodas are the perfect highlight to an after-dinner stroll where you can stop by and see the street markets nearby as well.
making silk from silk worms; guilin
stretching silk; guilin
Something interesting I saw in downtown Guilin was someone making silk from silk worms – I’ve never seen anything like that before!
from guilin to yangshuo; via boat on li river
I stayed in Guilin for only 2-3 days before taking a boat to Yangshuo, known for its beautiful karst formations. This shot was taken while on the boat deck, cruising down the Li River.
Have a great long weekend everyone!
*As with some of my other travel posts, some photos belong to my travel buddy : )
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french concession; shanghai
Although I was there a little more than a year ago, I just remembered that I never got the chance to share some of my experiences in Shanghai while I was on exchange, as well as its beautiful neighbouring city Hangzhou.
Shanghai is incredibly lively and energetic with a fine mix of food and entertainment, and it was a great decision on our part to contrast it with a day-trip to Hangzhou, which is much quieter with its scenic river views and walks.
starting the day at Kommune; shanghai
One of the days we were there we were really craving a standard eggs&bacon kind of breakfast, so we headed over to Kommune at the French Concession.
Traffic in the Huangpu District, near where we stayed.
pan-fried buns; shanghai
One of our many delicious meals in Shanghai, featuring steamed buns (xiao long bao) on the left and pan-fried buns on the right. I’ve mentioned my love for buns before in my post on food in Taipei.
various raw noodles; shanghai
I also love noodles – if it weren’t for the fact that I was living in residence at the time and lacked the tools necessary to cook them, I would’ve bought a boat-load home (in Hong Kong, at the time). Look at how fresh they are!
west lake; hangzhou
Despite the incredibly cold and windy weather, we still managed to survive a several-hour stroll around the lake purely due to the incredible gorgeousness of the scenery. Next time I go I would like to stay overnight – a day-trip definitely doesn’t do it justice! And next time, I’m bringing mittens.
*As with some of my other travel posts, some photo credits belong to my travel buddy. I really need a new camera.
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frittata; leeks, sun-dried tomato, herb & pecorino
The other day, my housemates and I hosted brunch at our house for a couple of friends, one who’s vegetarian and another who doesn’t eat pork. My housemate J, a loyal bacon-lover, thought we were doomed because all good breakfast foods have meat. I disagreed however, especially after months of reading some fantastic food blogs – tons of breakfast foods don’t have meat! So in addition to carrot cake pancakes (best. idea. ever.) and hash browns, we made a delicious, flavour-packed frittata.
Leek, Sun-dried Tomato, Herb & Pecorino Frittata
Adapted very loosely from Williams-Sonoma
- 12 eggs
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 3 stalks of leeks (white and light green parts only), washed and sliced thinly
- 3 tablespoons of finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- 1/4 cup of finely chopped basil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
- 1 cup pecorino romano cheese, grated
- salt & pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Whisk eggs in a bowl. Add basil and mint. Set aside.
In a large pan (make sure it’s oven-safe!!) over medium-heat, melt butter (or use olive oil). Add leeks and season with salt and pepper as desired. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, which till take around 15-20 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and then slowly pour egg mixture on top of the leeks (stir a bit to make sure everything is evenly distributed). Cook until edges are set but the middle is still a bit runny. Sprinkle with the pecorino romano cheese.
Turn off the stove and transfer pan into the oven*. Bake for a few minutes until egg is fully cooked and cheese is golden.
Remove from oven and let it sit for a minute before slicing up with a spatula.
egg mixture; basil & mint
frittata; before cheese&baking
* Since my housemates and I are graduating soon, we didn’t want to invest in a new pan that was oven-safe, so we just transferred the contents of the pan into a oven-safe casserole dish before sprinkling with cheese – not as ideal but you can barely see the difference once the egg cooks all the way through
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spinach&ricotta pasta shells; baked
I love homemade bolognese sauce. The one in Williams-Sonoma’s Complete Pasta cookbook is one of my all-time favourites, but I didn’t happen to have the book on hand at school so my housemates and I opted for the one in Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Food Revolution. Easy and versatile, it’s quicky evolved into one of our go-to recipes when we don’t know what to eat.
Last week, we did spinach and ricotta-filled pasta shells (a comfort-food of mine) baked on top of bolognese sauce (seen in the opening shot and below). I improvised the spinach and ricotta mixture (again, didn’t have my Williams-Sonoma cookbook), and it was a cinch (and delicious, if I do say so myself!):
- approximately 1 pound of spinach
- 1 large onion, chopped finely
- 400g of ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 200g shredded parmesan cheese
Boil the spinach in a large pot of water. Once wilted (it’ll only take a few minutes), drain, cool, and squeeze out all the water. You can use cheesecloth or a colander and with large spoon. Chop into fine pieces.
In a large bowl, whisk the two eggs. Add ricotta and mix thoroughly. Add spinach and onions and mix. Then add salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon mixture into cooked pasta shells, arrange on top of the sauce (spooned evenly into a bake-safe casserole dish), sprinkle with parmesan cheese, cover with aluminum foil and bake till sauce is bubbling (I like to remove the aluminum foil for the last five minutes to get the cheese all golden).
baked pasta shells; served
Clearly we really liked it, because this week, we whipped up another batch of bolognese sauce for some homemade lasagne from Jamie’s Food Revolution.
bolognese lasagne; served
P.S. It was my first time trying whole-wheat lasagne (I’ve had whole wheat pasta before, but usually only in spaghettini-form) – and I loved it! Doesn’t change the lasagne experience whatsoever, and it contributes to my fiber intake – yay!
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creamed swiss chard; kitchen
swiss chard; chopped
I’ve always loved creamed spinach, but spinach has been such a staple in my diet lately that I wanted to give something new a try. Enter swiss chard with its numerous health benefits and this fantastic recipe that requires no cream (I used milk instead, as recommended by Smitten Kitchen), and we’ve got ourselves a seriously delicious, hearty and healthy dish.
I had mine with chicken, but it’s honestly so good that you could just slice up some baguette and call it a day.
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