Jetlagged in Shanghai

Greetings from Shanghai! Christoph and I arrived yesterday to a very sunny and blue-skied city. It is now confirmed that we will be in this bustling city for the next 3 years with Christoph taking the reigns of Wolf's China set up and operations. After a year of being extremely mobile, it was very much good news for me to hear as no matter how much I like hotel rooms, living in one indefinitely is an entirely different matter.

So what would you do when these 3 particular things happen at the same time?
1. The knowledge that you will be permanently based in Shanghai for the next 3 years.
2. Annoying jet-lag that left you wide awake at 4am.
3. You have a brand new bread-making machine that you haven't opened since last year and you have useable bread mix.

You guessed it... we baked a loaf of bread in the wee hours of the morning! Luckily, no fire alarms went off (I'm sure that would not have made us popular had we set off the alarm at 4am!) and we had our very own wonderfully freshly-baked bread for breakfast :-)

Unglamorous bread-baking but with excellent culinary results nonetheless!

Unglamorous bread-baking but with excellent culinary results nonetheless!

City Living

I cherished my recent Swiss visit and being able to be up in the mountains and in nature was wonderful. Although I do love nature (I mean, who doesn't?), I have to admit that for the age bracket that Christoph and I currently fall into, city living suits us very well. I recently had a great example of why I appreciate our urban lifestyle:

What do you do when you don't feel like cooking but still want to eat something decent? Have you ever been able to get a take-out that was super yummy, healthy and still warm when you got home? My recent dinner was from a Lebanese restaurant called Zula and it was hummus with mushrooms and accompaniments. I love hummus and find that when I make it at home, it never tastes as good as what I get from Zula. So I didn't need to cook for one nor did I need to clean up afterwards. Could it be that the convenience of being in a city pays off when I need it to? I certainly think so!

My favourite take-out meal but don't come close to me afterwards...  I did eat all those onions and it wasn't pretty!  

My favourite take-out meal but don't come close to me afterwards...  I did eat all those onions and it wasn't pretty!  

A Great Start to the Year

Christoph and I have spent the last few days visiting family and friends in Switzerland and southern Germany. It's been a tight schedule but we were so happy to have had the chance to meet up with those we saw. To you- Thank you for having the time to catch up with us :-)

One of my Swiss highlights is always when I visit with RR and HR. They live in a small village but have a wonderful set up in a renovated farmhouse. We always feel very spoilt whenever we are here, especially me as RR and I spend a lot of time together crafting or cooking. As a group, we share lots of laughs, enjoy furious debates and share decadent home-cooked meals. On this visit, RR and I made fresh pasta for one of our meals. To use our very own hands to make something that so many of us take for granted - dry pasta in a box - was so satisfying and great fun that I'm already looking forward to the next visit!

Pasta in the making and as a main course accompaniment. 

Pasta in the making and as a main course accompaniment. 

Travelling and Cooking Thai Style

Our friend OM has just left us after a week filled to the brim with activities! I'm exhausted and I hope she is too so that she was able to sleep on the long flight back home.

OM was a great sport in accompanying me in my experiments with using local transport. We had decided to go to Hua Hin for a couple of nights and normally many people rent a car with driver for 2,500-3,500 BHT one way for a 2.5 hour drive (each way). I had heard of the express trains which take 3.5 hours and cost 412 BHT per ticket, per way (the cheapest is 88 BHT for no A/C, hard seats and on the slow train). After almost 5 hours, we made it to Hua Hin unscathed and although the train was delayed, we felt it was worth it if you weren't under time constraints. Our seats were comfortable, reclinable, had a footrest and a fold-out table. The toilets were simple but clean and drinks and a lunch were included. For 12.70 USD, what more do you need?!

Clockwise from top left: platform at the Hua Lamphong Railway Station, the locomotives, OM walking the tracks at the Hua Hin Station and what 412 Baht buys you.

Clockwise from top left: platform at the Hua Lamphong Railway Station, the locomotives, OM walking the tracks at the Hua Hin Station and what 412 Baht buys you.

Once we were back in Bangkok, we partook in a cooking class the next day. To my horror, I discovered that I had been cooking Thai food all wrong! So now, I am extremely glad that this has been rectified and look forward to learning a whole lot more about Thai food :-)

Clockwise from top left: typical Thai market supplies, making soup in a wok, my tom yum goong, pad thai key flavourings, the national Thai dessert- sticky rice with mango, penang curry, our work stations, pad thai.  Centre: OM and I making green curry gai.

Clockwise from top left: typical Thai market supplies, making soup in a wok, my tom yum goong, pad thai key flavourings, the national Thai dessert- sticky rice with mango, penang curry, our work stations, pad thai.  Centre: OM and I making green curry gai.

I love how colourful Thai food is and have really gotten used to eating chilli in and with almost everything. Yum!